- Discover ancient Maya ruins at Tikal National Park
- Enjoy beach days on Guatemala's Pacific and Caribbean coasts
- Hike to the blazing peak of Pacaya volcano
- Take forest hikes, bathe in waterfalls, and sail down the Río Dulce
- Kayak on sparkling Lake Atitlán
|Arrive in Guatemala City, Maya Culinary Master Class
|Transfer to Cobán, Ram Tzul Trekking
|Day Trip to Semuc Champey
|Transfer to Flores via Candelaria Caves
|Transfer to Tikal National Park, Maya Ruins Tour
|Tikal National Park
|Transfer to Livingston with Río Dulce Boat Tour
|Siete Altares & Playa Blanca
|Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Flyboard in Lake Atitlán
|Lake Atitlán Villages Boat Tour & Zipline Adventure
|Visit Chichicastenango Market, Transfer to Antigua
|Antigua Walking & Street Food Tours
|Pacaya Volcano Hike, Transfer to Monterrico
|Free Time in Monterrico & Mangroves Tour
|Transfer to Guatemala City, City Tour
Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Maya Culinary Master Class
Welcome to Guatemala City! Your driver will be waiting to greet you and take you to your hotel in Central America's largest metropolis. Settle in and then enjoy a Maya culinary masterclass. A chef will share their ancestral knowledge of Maya ingredients and how they benefit the mind, body, and soul. Learn how, for the Maya, food is more than just a source of nourishment; it's used to prevent and treat illness.
The class occurs either in a 17th-century mansion or an outdoor kitchen in the middle of a forest. The chef will teach you how to prepare a typical Maya meal. Menus vary according to the season, but they will always include pepián (a spiced stew made with meat, vegetables, and fruit), jocón de pollo (chicken cooked in a tomatillo and cilantro sauce), and a vegetarian dish.
Day 2: Transfer to Cobán, Ram Tzul Trekking
Today, your driver will take you north to Cobán, stopping along the way for a forest hike at Ram Tzul. This lush nature reserve has a restaurant where you can have lunch, as well as trails through the thick forest and a crashing waterfall. Hike to scenic viewpoints to photograph the vast cloud sea that cloaks the trees. Look out for beautiful quetzals, Guatemala's iconic green and red birds. After your hike, continue to your Cobán hotel for a quiet evening.
Day 3: Day Trip to Semuc Champey
Today, hop in a 4WD vehicle for the journey to Semuc Champey National Park. This otherworldly landmark is famous for its terraced pools surrounded by jungle-covered cliffs. You can enjoy adventures such as swimming, tubing, and hiking here. The popular trail to El Mirador offers majestic views over the terraced pools 2,300 feet (700 m) below. The best place to snap photos near the terraces is atop a natural limestone bridge that rises 100 feet (30 m) above the water.
Day 4: Transfer to Flores via Candelaria Caves
This morning, your driver will pick you up for the six-hour drive north to Flores, a tiny town that lies on an island in Lake Petén Itzá. On the way, you'll stop to tour the Candelaria Caves. Hidden inside towering limestone mountains in Northern Alta Verapaz, the caves are filled with underground rivers and caverns dripping with stalagmites and stalactites. Embark upon a tubing tour through the system of caves.
Afterward, continue to Flores, where you can spend the evening wandering streets filled with charming plazas and pastel-hued colonial buildings and enjoy a meal in a local restaurant.
Day 5: Transfer to Tikal National Park, Maya Ruins Tour
Today you'll explore the famous Tikal National Park. The park is known worldwide for its grand Maya pyramids and sprawling ruins. The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya civilization. Spend the day with an expert guide exploring this vast complex of temples and pyramids. Highlights include Lost World, Complex Q, The Great Plaza, and The Window Palace. Along the way, your guide will also tell you about Tikal's biodiverse wildlife, pointing out colorful toucans, spider monkeys, and the distant calls of howler monkeys.
Watch the sunset from Tikal's 270-foot-tall (70 m) Temple IV (The Great Jaguar), the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas. Take in panoramic views of the landscape from the top of the temple. As you watch the sky change color, your guide will share stories of Maya mythology. Afterward, you'll head back to your hotel for a free evening.
Day 6: Transfer to Livingston with Río Dulce Boat Tour
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
This morning, head around five hours south to Río Dulce, which means "sweet river" in Spanish. Take a boat trip on the river, floating on the peaceful jade waters. Keep your camera ready, as the banks are lined with stunning rainforest scenery, orchids, and quaint villages. Water birds like herons are constantly flitting overhead or resting on the lily pads, and you're sure to see blooming flowers like orchids and white water lilies. Stop off at some hot springs and caves along the way.
The journey will take you to Livingston, a small town on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala. Here, you'll see a different side of Guatemala. This Afro-Guatemalan community is defined by its distinctive Garifuna culture, which has its own language, cuisine, and customs. You can take a dip in the warm waters of the Caribbean, do some bird-watching, and try tapado, a seafood stew that's the community's most popular dish.
Day 7: Siete Altares & Playa Blanca
Spend a day on Guatemala's tropical Caribbean Coast. Start by exploring Siete Altares (seven altars), a waterfall that cascades into topaz pools, surrounded by rainforest. Hike up to different pools where you can cool off and enjoy the sounds of the jungle. Spend the rest of the day relaxing on the soft sands of nearby Playa Blanca, Guatemala's only white-sand beach, lapped by clear azure waters perfect for swimming.
Day 8: Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Flyboard in Lake Atitlán
Say goodbye to the Río Dulce today and fly to Guatemala City, where your driver will be waiting to take you to Lake Atitlán, one of Guatemala's most popular attractions. The lake sits in a volcanic crater in the southwestern highlands and is surrounded by jagged peaks. Settle into your hotel on the shores of the lake before heading out to explore. Start with an exhilarating Flyboard adventure, where water jets will propel you up to 30 feet (9 m) above the water and offer unique views of your surroundings.
Day 9: Lake Atitlán Villages Boat Tour & Zipline Adventure
Visit mighty Lake Atitlán's Maya villages on a private boat tour today. Sail across the lake, stopping to meet villagers and learn about daily lake life. In San Juan La Laguna, you'll join a traditional apiary and painting workshop and hike to Mirador San Juan, which local artists decorate with paintings. You'll also visit Santiago Atitlán, home to the Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum, founded by the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers.
Next, soak in the pristine nature of the lake at an eco-focused reserve that offers an adrenaline-pumping zipline—whizz through the canopy with views of waterfalls, coffee groves, and steep cliffs. The reserve also features a butterfly preserve and forested trails with spectacular hanging bridges, which you can explore. Head back to your hotel for a restful evening.
Day 10: Visit Chichicastenango Market, Transfer to Antigua
Say goodbye to Lake Atitlán today. Your driver will head west to Chichicastenango, which is famed for having one of the biggest markets in Central America. The market is held every Thursday and Sunday and draws locals from surrounding villages who come to sell handicrafts, textiles, regional clothing, and produce. Take a guided walk through this historic Maya market, sampling dishes like pan de muerto (bread of the dead).
Afterward, visit an artisanal mask factory and textile business, then tour nearby Iglesia de Santo Tomás. This 16th-century Catholic Church is built on the site of a former Maya temple and is a striking example of Guatemalan syncretism, a mix of ancient Maya religious beliefs and Catholicism. The trip ends with a traditional dance performance before checking into your Antigua hotel.
Day 11: Antigua Walking & Street Food Tour
Explore Antigua on a guided tour today. The former capital of Guatemala is a UNESCO site with a colorful old town surrounded by smoldering volcanoes. Visit top landmarks such as the City Hall Palace, the Palace of the Captain's General, and the San Francisco Church. You'll learn about life before the Spanish conquest and the city's rich history on the Paseo de Los Museos (Museum Path), where you can delve into the roots of Maya archaeology and culture.
Along the way, you'll take a street food tour of the city, getting to know Guatemalan culture through its cuisine. You'll stop at eight restaurants and vendors, each serving up a variety of savory and sweet local treats, many with influences that date back thousands of years.
Day 12: Pacaya Volcano Hike & Transfer to Monterrico
This morning you'll embark upon a guided climb to the 8,370-foot (2,551 m) peak of Pacaya volcano, whose slopes are home to some of Central America's most impressive volcanic landscapes. Set in its own national park, Pacaya cuts an imposing figure with a continuous plume of smoke that drifts from its summit and a lava field at the base of its caldera.
After roughly two hours of trekking, you'll reach the summit and relish a picnic while admiring views of three nearby volcanoes: Fuego, Agua, and Acatenango. You'll have plenty of opportunities to explore geothermal hotspots on the cooled lava formations—and even use them to toast marshmallows! Later, hike back down across the dried lava fields through tranquil forests and farmland. Your driver will be waiting to take you to the fishing village of Monterrico on the Pacific Coast.
Day 13: Free Time in Monterrico & Mangroves Tour
Spend today in the small coastal town of Monterrico, a favorite beach haunt in Guatemala. Relax on golden sands and savor a meal with ocean views. Later, you'll head to a volcanic black sand beach to catch a boat down the Chiquimulilla Canal, passing tangled mangrove forests where you'll spot wildlife. Take an optional visit to Tortugario Monterrico, a sea turtle conservation project where you can help release hatchlings into the ocean at certain times of the year.
Day 14: Transfer to Guatemala City, City Tour
Today you'll drive north back to Guatemala City. Check into your hotel and then head out to explore the city. Highlights include an archaeological site and market where you can learn about Guatemala's diverse history and taste its Maya roots. The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology, the Ixchel Museum, and the Archaeology Museum also make interesting stops. Enjoy a final evening in Guatemala, wandering the cobbled streets.
Day 15: Depart Guatemala
Today your Guatemala adventure comes to an end. Your driver will take you to Guatemala City Airport in time for your onward flight. Safe travels!
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