- Explore the colorful town of Livingstone and Río Dulce National Park
- Take a dip in the freshwater pools and waterfalls of the ancient Los Siete Altares
- Learn about the storied history of the ancient Maya civilization
|Day 1||Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 2||Transfer to Río Dulce, Los Siete Altares Hike & Explore Livingston||Río Dulce|
|Day 3||Finca Paraiso Hot Springs, Quirigua & Copán Maya Ruins||Río Dulce|
|Day 4||Transfer to Lanquin via Cuevas Candelaria National Park||Lanquin|
|Day 5||Explore Semuc Champey's Waterfalls & Caves||Lanquin|
|Day 6||Transfer to Guatemala City & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua
¡Bienvenidos! You’ve arrived in Guatemala, a country of legendary Indigenous culture and breathtaking landscapes. It’s one of Central America’s most intriguing countries; rugged rainforests sweep through the land, dotted with ancient Maya ruins, volcanoes and lakes. Guatemala’s storied colonial history, paired with its striking nature and year-round spring-like climate, make it the perfect country for a trip filled with adventure.
After your transfer to Antigua, you’ll have free time to explore the city on a self-guided walking tour. This UNESCO World Heritage city is known for its colorful colonial town and plaza, juxtaposed with a backdrop of three volcanoes and a mountainous landscape. Wander through the cobbled streets and try the local food, like tostadas and empanadas (called dobladas in Guatemala). Make sure to tick off the historic landmarks; Antigua houses the beautiful Santa Catalina Arch, the ruins of the 16th-century Antigua Guatemala Cathedral, and the 18th-century Convento Santa Clara.
Day 2: Tranfser to Río Dulce, Los Siete Altares Hike & Explore Livingston
Today you’ll transfer to the intriguing town of Livingstone and Río Dulce, a national park named for the eponymous river that serves as a gateway the the Caribbean Sea. The park is a resting spot for migratory and native birds and is home to more than 150 species of mammals, like crocodiles, howler monkeys, and manatees. Livingstone is perched along the Caribbean coast and has a culture distinct from the rest of the country. It was first populated by escaped enslaved people, and the local population is predominantly Garifuna, who are largely known for their music, dancing, and vibrant culture.
Your day will start with a hike to Los Siete Altares, a name that originates from the seven well-known waterfalls and freshwater pools that exist in the area. The population at the time believed that the waters had medicinal powers, so people suffering from mystery illnesses flocked to Los Siete Altares to heal their bodies. You’ll spend the first part of the day swimming in the pools and soaking up the scenery whilst learning about the history and heritage of the Garifuna.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Finca Paraiso Hot Springs, Quirigua & Copán Maya Ruins
In the morning, travel to Finca Paraiso, a waterfall attached to a river that meanders through the Guatemalan jungle fed by natural hot springs. Take a dip in the cooler water and take in the natural beauty surrounding you before perching under the thermally-heated waterfall to warm up. There are rugged ledges to jump from and mud to exfoliate your skin with. After making the most of nature’s spa, you’ll enjoy a bite to eat for lunch before hiking to a nearby river cave adorned with stalactites, rock formations, and another waterfall.
Later on you'll visit one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the Maya world at Quirigua. It’s chock full of eighth-century monuments and an impressive series of carved sculptured calendars and stelae, which are a vital source for the study of Maya civilization. Then you’ll visit Copán, otherwise known as the the “Kingdom of the Sun,” an ancient city that dates from the Maya Classic period (300 to 900 CE), declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It’s considered one of the most spectacular and mysterious cities of ancient Maya times, known for its striking stone temples, altars, and hieroglyphics.
Day 4: Transfer to Lanquin via Cuevas Candelaria National Park
Day four starts with an exploration of Candelaria Caves National Park, one of Central America’s largest cave systems set within the limestone mountains in northern Alta Verapaz. It spans 14 miles (22 km), with ceilings that reach as high as 200 feet (60 m), and consists of seven separate caves that are interconnected by the Rìo Candelaria river. The caves were a sacred spot for the Q’eqchi Maya, most likely acting as a place of worship; they were considered to be passages into the underworld.
You’ll spend the best part of the day exploring the park’s caves and caverns by flashlight, sailing 1 miles (2 km) down the underground river, and stopping to swim in a natural roofed cave pool with sunlight filtering through, illuminating the water. Afterward, continue to Lanquin, your base for the next two nights.
Day 5: Explore Semuc Champey's Waterfalls & Caves
Hop in a 4WD vehicle today and head to Semuc Champey, a naturally-formed limestone bridge with six picturesque turquoise pools. Along the way, you’ll stop to explore the Kam’ba Caves, where a guide will lead you by candlelight into underground caverns filled with rivers, waterfalls, and magnificent rock formations. After, jump in an inner tube and cruise down the Río Cahabón and through B'omb'il Pe until you reach Semuc Champey.
Once you’ve arrived, take a 45-minute uphill hike to El Mirador, where you can enjoy sweeping views over the terraced pools 2,300 feet (700 m) below. After taking in the sights, spend some time soaking and swimming at the falls, snapping photos at the natural limestone bridge that rises 100 feet (30 m) above the water before heading back to your hotel to rest and rejuvenate.
Day 6: Transfer to Guatemala City & Depart
Enjoy a final morning amid sights and sounds of unspoiled Guatemalan nature. When the time comes, you'll transfer back to Guatemala City's airport to catch your departing flight. ¡Buen viaje!
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