- Explore the awe-inspiring Maya ruins at ancient Tikal
- Take a dip in Semuc Champey's stunning turquoise pools
- Visit the Candelaría Cenotes in the western highlands
- Enjoy a boat tour of stunning Lake Atitlán and its local villages
- Admire the colonial architecture and historic ruins in Antigua
|Arrive in Antigua, Optional Activities
|Fly to Flores, Explore Tikal
|Tikal National Park
|B'omb'il Pek Excursion, Transfer to Cobán
|Day Trip to Semuc Champey
|Transfer to Huehuetenango
|Day Trip to Cenotes de Candelaría & Hoyo el Cimarrón
|Transfer to Panajachel
|Boat Tour of Lake Atitlán, Return to Antigua
|Cycle Antigua's Local Villages
Day 1: Arrive in Antigua, Optional Activities
Welcome to Guatemala! You'll meet your driver at the airport in Guatemala City for a transfer to your hotel in Antigua, roughly an hour away. The one-time capital of Spanish colonial Guatemala, this city was abandoned in the 1700s after a devastating earthquake. Three volcanoes dominate the landscape of this remarkable city, where you'll discover ornate Baroque architecture, a thriving street-food scene, and fascinating church ruins.
Depending on your arrival time, you might like to get out and explore your surroundings. Visit 18th-century landmarks like the Church of San Francisco, Santo Domingo ruins, La Merced church and ruins, and the famous Santa Catalina Arch. Then stroll the Main Square and the surrounding municipality, palace, and cathedral before finding a restaurant to enjoy your first meal in Guatemala.
Day 2: Fly to Flores, Explore Tikal
You'll get an early start this morning for a transfer to the airport in Guatemala City, where you'll catch a short flight north to Flores. Upon arrival, you'll meet your driver/guide and transfer another hour or so north to the UNESCO-listed Tikal National Park. The site is known for its impressive pyramids and sprawling ruins. It was the capital of one of the ancient Mayas' most powerful kingdoms and is currently home to the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas, Temple IV (147 ft/45 m).
Follow your expert guide through the temples and pyramids, stopping at all the significant points of interest, including Temples I, II, III, IV, and V, Lost World, Complex Q, the Great Plaza, and the Window Palace. After a break for lunch, you'll have additional time to explore the site on your own—keep an eye out for resident wildlife like monkeys and toucans. When it's time, you'll return to your hotel for an afternoon of leisure.
Day 3: B'omb'il Pek Excursion, Transfer to Cobán
Following an early breakfast, you'll make your way south toward the highland city of Cobán, in the Alta Verapaz department, for an exciting afternoon of inner-tubing the B'omb'il Pek caves. Meaning "painted stone" in English, this is one of the largest cave systems in Central America. During the guided excursion, you'll grab a flashlight, hop in an inner tube, and navigate amid underground rivers carved into the limestone mountains here. When you've made your way through, you'll transfer to your hotel in Cobán.
Day 4: Day Trip to Semuc Champey
This morning, you'll transfer from your hotel for a full-day excursion to one of the crown jewels of the Alta Verapaz department: the breathtaking waterfalls and terraced turquoise pools of Semuc Champey. En route, you'll switch vehicles and climb into a 4WD at the Q'eqchi' Maya town of Lanquín before continuing on to Semuc Champey. Kick things up with a hike up to a viewpoint overring panoramic views of the Río Cahabón and the surrounding rainforest landscapes before taking a refreshing dip in the natural pools. Afterward, return to Cobán, where you'll have the evening free.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Transfer to Huehuetenango
Set off bright and early on a drive to the city of Huehuetenango. Located in Guatemala's western highlands, this area is well off the tourist trail, so expect an authentic experience. In fact, you'll stop periodically on the way there at little pueblos (small towns) where you can meet locals and experience the culture. Upon arrival in Huehuetenango, you'll check into your hotel.
Day 6: Day Trip to Cenotes de Candelaría & Hoyo el Cimarrón
This morning you'll embark on another exciting day of discovery. Begin with a transfer to the strikingly beautiful and ancient Cenotes de Candelaría. Close to 100 feet (30 m) deep, the first of the glassy cenotes (sinkholes) has a diameter of over 250 feet (80 m) and is a great spot to snap photos and enjoy a swim.
In the early afternoon, you'll continue to Hoyo el Cimarrón, a massive limestone sinkhole that descends about 650 feet (200 m) at the bottom of which is a woodland ecosystem filled with wildlife. It is believed the forest at the bottom of Cimarrón is fed by a stream thought to be connected to Lake Monte Bello a couple of miles away. Marvel at this natural wonder (and take plenty of pictures) before returning to your accommodation in Huehuetenango.
Day 7: Transfer to Lake Atitlán & Panajachel
Start the day with a transfer south to shimmering 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. You'll arrive on the eastern shore, in the town of Panajachel. Here you'll check into your hotel and can spend the rest of the day relaxing on the lakeshore.
Day 8: Boat Tour of Lake Atitlán, Return to Antigua
After breakfast, you'll get to explore Lake Atitlán on a day tour. Start with a boat trip to the lake's Indigenous villages, where you'll glean insight into the life of the locals. First up is San Juan La Laguna, located on the western shore. This town is home to weaving co-ops where groups of women make traditional textiles and artwork by hand. Next, visit Santiago Atitlán, home to a shrine dedicated to the "Maximon," a Maya saint famous for his depraved behavior. Later In the afternoon, you'll transfer from Lake Atitlán back to Antigua.
Day 9: Cycle Antigua's Local Villages
In the morning, you'll head out for a bit of fun exercise as you hop on a bicycle and ride around the villages, ruins, and countryside around Antigua. Enjoy panoramic views in between visits to a macadamia nut farm, coffee plantations, and a famous textiles and handicrafts market in San Antonio Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon, you'll pedal back to Antigua and can spend the remainder of the day relaxing.
Day 10: Depart Antigua
Unfortunately, It's time to say adiós to Guatemala! After breakfast, pack your things and meet your driver for the ride to the airport in Guatemala City for your flight home. Until next time!
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