- Take an authentic Guatemalan cooking class in Antigua
- Roast marshmallows over the heat of the active Pacaya Volcano
- Meet traditional Mayan weaver collectives around Lake Atitlán
- See the tallest Pre-Columbian structure in the Americas at Tikal National Park
- Bathe under a unique hot spring waterfall in Finca Paraiso
|Day 1||Arrive in Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 2||Antigua Walking Tour & Cooking Class||Antigua|
|Day 3||Free Day in Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 4||Volcano Hike & Spa Day||Antigua|
|Day 5||Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Boat Tour||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 6||Free Day on Lake Atitlán||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 7||Kayaking & Hiking Tour||Antigua|
|Day 8||Iximché Ruins & Transfer to Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 9||Flight to Tikal||Tikal National Park|
|Day 10||Tikal & Uaxactún Tour||Tikal National Park|
|Day 11||Yaxhá Ruins & Transfer to Rio Dulce||Rio Dulce|
|Day 12||Rio Dulce Boat Tour||Rio Dulce|
|Day 13||Finca Paraiso Hot Springs||Guatemala City|
|Day 14||Depart Guatemala City|
Day 1: Arrive in Antigua
Welcome to Guatemala! A representative will be waiting to pick you up at Guatemala City International Airport.
From here, you'll head straight to the colonial city of Antigua, which is about an hour away. After checking in and resting, you'll be free to roam about the city at your own leisure.
Once the capital of Guatemala, Antigua is surrounded by volcanoes. The contrast between these imposing mountains and the colorful architecture of the city makes it one of the prettiest places in the country. Walk around the cobblestone streets, treat yourself to local snacks, and see why UNESCO lists the city as a World Heritage Site.
Day 2: Antigua Walking Tour & Cooking Class
In the morning, you will meet your local, expert historian guide to explore the beautiful city of Antigua. This former capital boasts an impressive catalog of colonial relics in a magnificent setting. Streetscapes of pastel facades unfold beneath three volcanoes. Many old religious and civic structures are beautifully renovated, while others retain tumbledown charm with fragments strewn about park-like grounds.
On this tour, you will visit the City Hall Palace, the Palace of the Captain’s General, the Cathedral with its majestic ruins, and the Paseo de los Museos. You will also learn about Maya archaeology through the spiritual jade stone.
After the tour, you will have time to enjoy lunch, relax, and wander around Antigua on your own. In the afternoon, you will head to a cooking class, where you will have the chance to immerse in the rich culture of Guatemala by learning how to prepare a local meal.
Guatemalan cuisine is a curious mixture of traditional colonial Spanish and Indigenous Mayan flavors. Your cooking class will be taught by native Guatemalan chefs from Sacatepequez who have specialized in their centenary regional cuisine. Besides the main dish, you will also learn how to prepare Guatemalan tortillas and a traditional dessert.
At the end of the class, you will enjoy the meal with your chefs!
Day 3: Free Day in Antigua
Take advantage of a free day to explore and enjoy beautiful Antigua. The city is famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture, as well as its various ruins of colonial churches.
Besides its rich history, the town also offers great restaurants, bars, shopping, and people-watching. The local market and ruins are often high on visitors' list of things to see.
If you wish to do excursions outside of the city, it is possible to visit coffee plantations or even do ziplining.
Day 4: Volcano Hike & Spa Day
Today, you'll rise early to climb Pacaya Volcano.
Pacaya's slopes and unique landscapes make it one of the most impressive volcanoes in all of Central America. Set in its own national park, Pacaya is a storybook volcano with a continuous plume of smoke rising from its summit. A massive dry lava field forms the valley at the base of its caldera.
This hike to the top takes about 2 hours and is moderately difficult. Horses are an option for those that would rather enjoy a more relaxed trip to the summit.
You'll enjoy a freshly-prepared picnic lunch after summiting and roast marshmallows over the volcano's natural heat. You'll cross the dried lava fields before beginning the descent through Pacaya’s lush and lesser-known forests and farmland.
After the hike, you will relax at a nearby thermal spa whose natural springs are heated by underground activity generated by the volcano.
Begin your spa session with a "Thermal Circuit," which consists of immersing the body for short periods of time in natural thermal pools of varying temperatures, moving from hot to cold. Next, you will move onto a "Combined Steam and Hydrotherapy Bath," where you can fill your own personal tub with thermal water at your desired temperature. Your spa therapy will finish on a high note with a relaxing 25-minute massage. Afterward, you will have plenty of time to take a dip in the natural swimming pools, and enjoy a snack and fruit smoothie.
You'll return to Antigua in the late evening to rest.
Day 5: Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Boat Tour
This morning, you'll start a 3-hour drive to Lake Atitlán. You'll traverse through parts of the Pan American Highway, a network of roads stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina. As you get closer to Atitlán, keep an eye out for astonishing views of the lake.
Once you arrive in the main town on Lake Atitlán—Panajachel—you will start a village boat tour with a local guide. Many smaller Mayan villages are located along the lake, and you'll stop by a few of them to learn about local arts, traditions, and stories. Highlights include visiting a local women's weaving co-op and a shrine of the infamous "Maximon" Mayan saint.
After wrapping up the tour, you will head to a beautiful lakeside hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax, swim in the lake, and take in the magnificent views.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Free Day on Lake Atitlán
Enjoy a free day in beautiful Lake Atitlán. Whether you choose to relax on the grounds of the hotel or get out to explore some of the villages that surround the lake, you are sure to have an enjoyable day.
Rent kayaks, go swimming, or do other water sports. There are plenty of public boats that take you around the lake, and several companies offer specialized themed tours.
Day 7: Kayaking & Hiking Tour
After waking up to gorgeous views of the lake and its towering volcanoes, you'll meet your guide to begin today's adventure.
Start with an exciting kayaking tour, paddling westward along the north shore of Atitlán for about 2 hours. You'll pass by tiny villages perched on the sides of sheer ridges that rise up from the azure waters of the lake. If there is time, it may be possible to stop for a dip in the lake and/or cliff-jumping. Once you arrive at your destination between the villages of Tzununá and San Marcos La Laguna, you will trade your kayak for hiking shoes.
Hiking on the lake trail, which connects village to village, provides spectacular views of San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán Volcanoes. You’ll traverse some picturesque villages as you follow the shoreline for approximately 1.5 hours, eventually returning back to Jaibalito.
After a hearty and well-earned lunch at the hotel, you'll have a free afternoon.
Day 8: Iximché Ruins & Transfer to Antigua
This morning, you'll board a boat as you leave Lake Atitlán. Then, enjoy a private shuttle transfer through the beautiful highlands of the region on your way to the ruins of Iximché.
Declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s, this archaeological site includes various pyramid-temples and palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. On your private guided tour, you'll get to learn the history, symbols, and legends that are preserved in Iximché.
After the tour, you'll stop for a quick lunch on the road to Antigua, your destination for the evening.
Day 9: Flight to Tikal
Enjoy one last free morning in Antigua, visiting any landmark that you previously missed, or buying souvenirs.
In the early afternoon, you'll drive back to Guatemala City to catch a flight to Flores, the gateway to Tikal. A representative will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your accommodation, which is within the Tikal National Park.
Day 10: Tikal & Uaxactún Tour
Get excited to visit one of Guatemala's most important treasures: the Mayan ruins of the famous Tikal National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its impressive pyramids and sprawling ruins. As the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya, Tikal boasts the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas: Temple IV, which stands at 270ft (70m) tall.
You will spend the day with an expert guide exploring this vast complex of temples and pyramids. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to see all of Tikal's major sites, including Temples I, II, III, IV, and V, the Lost World, Complex Q, the Great Plaza, and the Window Palace. Keep an eye out for the wildlife that inhabits the ruins, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle.
In the afternoon, you will go deeper into the jungle to visit Uaxactún. This archaeological site and village has been inhabited by the Maya for centuries. Today, it features partially restored temples, and a small forest community that’s made up mostly of chicleros (harvesters of natural gum). Learn more about the daily life of this community and see the first Mayan astronomical complex in the world.
Day 11: Yaxhá Ruins & Transfer to Rio Dulce
This morning, you'll visit Yaxhá National Park. The Yaxhá ruins date from the classic Mayan period, and are located between Sacnab and Yaxhá Lakes.
The site has more than 500 structures, including 40 stelae, 13 altars, nine pyramids, two ball courts, and a network of sacbeob (roads). The only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal is in Plaza C, commemorating a Katun, or 20-year period. Your expert guide will take you through the ruins, explaining their significance.
In the afternoon, you will transfer south to Rio Dulce and check into your hotel for the evening.
Day 12: Rio Dulce Boat Tour
After a relaxing waterfront breakfast, you'll do a scenic boat tour through Rio Dulce.
The adventure begins at the hotel and takes you all the way to Livingston, on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Stops along the way include the famous Castle of San Felipe, an island of birds, hot springs, and deep ravine canyons.
In Livingston, you'll have the chance to 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 distinct traditions, cuisine, and even music. As you can only get here by boat, this is a part of Guatemala that many tourists often miss! Enjoy the warm waters of the Caribbean, do some bird-watching, and try tapado, the community's most popular dish.
In the afternoon, you'll hop aboard the boat once again and head back to Rio Dulce.
Day 13: Finca Paraiso Hot Springs
For your last full day in Guatemala, you'll visit a hot spring waterfall, Finca Paraiso.
This hidden gem is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit to the Caribbean side of Guatemala. Imagine a short, scenic hike to reach a secluded waterfall flowing with hot water! You can swim in the cool river and then stand under the hot spring waterfall to get the health benefits of contrasting temperatures.
Return to the hotel to freshen up and have lunch. Then, you'll transfer to Puerto Barrios Airport to catch a flight back to Guatemala City. Enjoy a free evening in the capital.
Day 14: Depart Guatemala City
Your time in Guatemala is—sadly!—over. At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. A representative will help you with check-in procedures.
We hope you enjoyed Guatemala, ¡Buen viaje!