- Stroll the historic cobbled streets of Antigua
- Hike Pacaya Volcano and bathe in natural hot springs
- Tour indigenous villages around Lake Atitlán
- Visit ancient Maya ruins at Tikal National Park
- Take a romantic boat ride down the Río Dulce
|Day 1||Arrive in Guatemala, Transfer to Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 2||Antigua Walking Tour & Cooking Class||Antigua|
|Day 3||Antigua Free Day||Antigua|
|Day 4||Volcano Hike & Spa Day||Antigua|
|Day 5||Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Boat Tour||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 6||Lake Atitlán Free Day||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 7||Kayak Atitlán & Hike to Lakeside Villages||Antigua|
|Day 8||Iximché Ruins & Transfer to Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 9||Antigua to Tikal National Park||Tikal National Park|
|Day 10||Tikal & Uaxactún Tour||Tikal National Park|
|Day 11||Yaxhá Ruins & Transfer to Río Dulce||Rio Dulce|
|Day 12||Río Dulce Boat Tour||Rio Dulce|
|Day 13||Finca Paraiso Hot Springs||Guatemala City|
|Day 14||Depart Guatemala City|
Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala, Transfer to Antigua
Welcome to Guatemala! A representative will meet you and your significant other at the airport in Guatemala City and give you your detailed itinerary for the next two weeks. Then transfer 1 hour west to Spanish colonial Antigua, where you'll check into your hotel. Feel free to stretch your legs on a romantic stroll around one of Central America's most well-preserved Spanish-colonial cities.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for the historic Old Town situated around its main plaza, Central Park. Walk the cobbled streets and you'll be amazed by the pastel-colored facades of the colonial mansions, churches, and convents that abound in the area. You also won't miss the several volcanoes surrounding Antigua. The contrast between these imposing mountains and the colorful architecture of the city makes it one of the prettiest places in the country.
Fun fact: Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala; however, it was abandoned in 1773 after a devastating earthquake. Some historic buildings survived, and even many that were damaged were rebuilt. That's why today the historic center of Antigua retains its Spanish colonial architecture and charm. Highlight buildings you'll want to visit include the 16th-century Antigua Guatemala Cathedral and the remains of the 18th-century Convento Santa Clara.
Day 2: Antigua Walking Tour & Cooking Class
In the morning, meet your local guide (who's also an expert historian) to explore Antigua. Guatemala's former capital boasts an impressive array of Baroque buildings and colonial homes painted in bright pastels. Many old religious and civic structures have been beautifully renovated after major earthquakes while others retain a tumbledown charm.
On this 3-hour tour, you'll visit 18th-century landmarks like the Palacio del Ayuntamiento (City Hall Palace), which houses the town offices and a museum of ancient books; the Palace of the Captain's General, home to the headquarters of the Guatemala Institute of Tourism; the Casa Santo Domingo, a former convent that is now a hotel and museum; and La Merced Church, whose canary-yellow Baroque facade is a hallmark of the city.
You'll also learn about Maya archaeology and their use of jade. To the ancient Mayans, this mineral was more valuable than gold and held great religious and spiritual significance. After the tour, take some time to enjoy lunch and relax. But don't eat too much—up next is a culinary experience every foodie will love.
In the afternoon, you and your partner will discover Guatemala's smells and flavors during a cooking class. This cuisine is unique in that it's a potent mix of colonial Spanish and indigenous Maya flavors. Native Guatemalan chefs from the surrounding region of Sacatepequez will lead the class, teaching you how to cook a main dish, make authentic tortillas, and prepare a traditional dessert. Of course, at the end of the class, you'll sit down with your fellow chefs and enjoy the meal you've prepared.
Day 3: Antigua Free Day
Take advantage of a free day to explore beautiful Antigua. The city is famous for its Spanish Baroque architecture as well as its ruins of colonial churches. Besides the rich history, there's a great food scene here and the city is filled with cafes and restaurants serving up regional specialties. You can also head to the local food markets for quick eats like tostadas and empanadas (called dobladas in Guatemala).
Shopping is another great activity in Antigua. To see a more authentic side to the city, head to the colorful Mercado (municipal market). Here rows of vendors sell hand-crafted goods, garments, and textiles that make great gifts and souvenirs. And If you'd like to have an adventure outside of the city, it is possible to arrange a visit to a coffee plantation or even do some zip-lining.
Day 4: Volcano Hike & Spa Day
Get an early start for a guided climb up the 8,370-foot (2,552-m) Volcán Pacaya. These slopes are home to some of the most impressive volcanic landscapes in Central America. Set in its own national park, Pacaya cuts an imposing figure with the continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit and the massive dried lava field at the base of its caldera.
This moderate hike takes about 2 hours to reach the top, but horses are an option if you and your partner would prefer a more relaxed ascent. Upon arrival at the summit, you'll enjoy a romantic picnic lunch amid panoramic highland views and even roast marshmallows over the volcano's natural heat. The hike down traverses more dried lava fields before descending through tropical forests and farmland.
When you reach the trailhead, you'll visit a nearby thermal spa whose natural springs are heated by Pacaya. Your couples treatment includes a Thermal Circuit in which you'll immerse your body in various natural hot springs. Then move on to a combined steam/hydrotherapy bath followed by a cold-water shower and top it off with a relaxing 25-minute massage. You'll have time afterward to take a dip in the spa's natural pools and enjoy a fruit smoothie before returning to Antigua.
Day 5: Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Boat Tour
This morning, you'll start a scenic, 3-hour drive to Lake Atitlán, traveling along parts of the Pan American Highway, a network of roads stretching from Alaska all the way down to Argentina. As you near Atitlán, keep an eye out and your camera ready for incredible views of the lake and its surrounding volcanoes.
You and your partner will arrive in the town of Panajachel, on the north shore of the lake. Here you'll hop on a boat for a guided tour of Atitlán's indigenous villages. These are special places, abounding with rich Maya culture evinced in the local traditions, markets, arts, crafts, and the stories of the people.
Your first stop is the town of Santiago, which is known for its quality artisanal crafts as well as being home to the infamous Maya saint of Maximon. Nearby is San Juan, a village famous for its textiles and weaving co-ops run by indigenous women. You'll visit one of these co-ops to learn about the natural dying process and other time-honored techniques that go into producing beautiful handmade clothing, handbags, shawls, and other products.
After the tour, you'll head to a beautiful lakeside hotel. For the rest of the afternoon, you and your partner can relax, swim in the lake, and enjoy the views.
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
Day 6: Lake Atitlán Free Day
Today is yours to enjoy beautiful Lake Atitlán on your own schedule. Start the day with a romantic breakfast at your hotel complimented by strong Guatemalan coffee. Then maybe hire a boat to take you around the lake and visit the different villages. You can also arrange specific tours like zip-lining, visiting women's weaving co-ops, and more.
If you and your partner do wish to spend more time on the water, you can rent kayaks, go swimming, or enjoy some water sports. There are many public water taxis to help you get around, and several companies offer specialized themed tours.
Day 7: Kayak Atitlán & Hike to Lakeside Villages
Wake up to views of the lake and its towering volcanoes before meeting your guide for today's expedition. You'll start out in a kayak, paddling westward along the north shore of Lake Atitlan for roughly 2 hours. Pass by villages perched on lakeside cliffs, hop in the lake for a swim, or even do some cliff-jumping. Your destination is a spot between the villages of Tzununá and San Marcos La Laguna, where you and your partner will leave your kayak behind and lace up your hiking boots.
Follow the lake trail that runs between the villages, taking in views of the San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán volcanoes. You'll hike along the shoreline and through small villages for about 1.5 hours, at which point you'll arrive in the town of Jaibalito. Enjoy a hearty and well-earned lunch at your hotel, then continue to explore Atitlán on your own for the rest of the afternoon.
Day 8: Iximché Ruins & Transfer to Antigua
Take a boat and then a private car from Lake Atitlan to the archaeological site at Iximché. Back in the 15th century, this was a great capital of the Kaqchikel Maya kingdom. Its ruins sit in the western highlands of Guatemala and include pyramid temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ball courts. Take a guided tour through the site, which was declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. After the tour, you'll stop for a quick lunch on the way back to Antigua, where you'll overnight.
Day 9: Antigua to Tikal National Park
Take the morning to explore Antigua one last time with your spouse. Maybe visit some Baroque buildings and colonial churches you missed the first time around. Or pass by the Mercado for a quick bite to eat and to pick up last-minute souvenirs. In the early afternoon, you'll transfer to Guatemala City and catch a flight to Flores, in Guatemala's northern Petén Province. This is the gateway to Tikal National Park.
Upon arrival, a representative will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your hotel, which is within the 220-sq-mile (576-sq-km) park.
Day 10: Tikal & Uaxactún Tour
You and your spouse will enjoy a guided tour of one of Guatemala's treasures: the ruins in Tikal National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its ancient citadels, pyramids, palaces, and plazas. Most of these structures date to the 1st century CE and represent what was once the capital of a formidable Maya kingdom. As a testament to its grandiosity, Tikal boasts the tallest pre-Columbian structure in Central America: Temple IV, which stands at 230 feet (70 m) tall.
Throughout the tour, you'll follow your expert guide through the temples and pyramids, stopping at all the major points of interest. This includes Temples I, II, III, IV, and V, the Lost World, Complex Q, the Great Plaza, the Window Palace, and more. After a break for lunch, you'll have more time to explore the site on your own. Keep an eye out for exotic wildlife like toucans and howler monkeys.
But the adventure doesn't end in Tikal. In the afternoon, you'll venture deeper into the jungle, to Uaxactún. This archaeological site dates to 600 BCE and is home to a village that has been inhabited by the Maya people for centuries. Here you'll tour temple ruins and visit a small forest community made up mostly of chicleros (harvesters of natural gum). It's a great opportunity to learn about indigenous life—plus you'll get to see the first Maya astronomical observatory ever built.
Day 11: Yaxhá Ruins & Transfer to Río Dulce
This morning, you'll travel outside Tikal to the archeological site in Yaxhá National Park. On a tour, your expert guide will take you around these ruins and explain their significance. This was once the third-largest Maya city, which was inhabited from about 500 BCE until it was abandoned around 1000 CE. The site has more than 500 structures, including 40 stelae (stone slabs with engravings), 13 altars, 9 pyramids, and 2 ball courts. Also here is Plaza C, the only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal.
In the afternoon, you'll transfer south to Río Dulce and check into your hotel for the evening.
Day 12: Río Dulce Boat Tour
After a leisurely waterfront breakfast, you'll hop on a boat for a romantic ride along the jade waters of the scenic Río Dulce. As you travel north along the tranquil waters, keep your camera at the ready, as the banks are lined with stunning rainforest scenery and charming villages. Waterbirds 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.
The ride will take you to Livingston, a small town on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Along the way, you'll stop at the famous 17th-century Castle of San Felipe. You'll also visit a protected island home to exotic birds and a natural hot spring.
Once in Livingston, you'll experience a different side of the country, as this community is largely made up of Afro-Guatemalans. The local Garufina culture means that the area has its own traditions, cuisine, and even music. Here you and your spouse can stroll the white-sand beaches, enjoy the warm waters of the Caribbean, and do some birding. You'll definitely want to try tapado, a tropical seafood soup that's the community's most popular dish.
In the afternoon, you'll return to the boat and travel back down the river to the main town on Lago Izabal.
Day 13: Finca Paraiso Hot Springs
There's a special treat in store for your last full day in Guatemala: a trip to Finca Paraiso. This romantic waterfall and lagoon is fed by natural hot springs and is a real hidden gem. In the morning, you'll transfer about 45 minutes along Lake Izabal from Río Dulce Town to a trailhead and embark on a short hike to the waterfall. Here you can swim in the cool river and then splash around under the hot falls.
Afterward, you'll return to the hotel to freshen up and have lunch. Then, transfer to Puerto Barrios Airport to catch a flight back to Guatemala City. Perhaps enjoy one last romantic dinner at a nice restaurant in the capital.
Day 14: Depart Guatemala City
Sadly, your honeymoon in Guatemalan paradise has come to an end. No doubt you'll leave the country with romantic memories to last a lifetime. At the appropriate hour, your driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport where you'll catch your flight home. ¡Buen viaje!
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