- Go bird-watching in the Biotopo del Quetzal
- Enjoy a day of tubing in the Candelaria Caves
- Tour the Río Dulce by boat
- Explore the Maya ruins at Yaxhá and Tikal National Parks
|Day 1||Arrive in Antigua, Transfer to Lanquín, Explore the Biotopo del Quetzal||Lanquín|
|Day 2||Day Trip to Semuc Champey, Transfer to Candelaria||Candelaria|
|Day 3||Tubing & Candelaria Caves Visit, Transfer to Río Dulce||Río Dulce|
|Day 4||Boat Tour of Río Dulce||Río Dulce|
|Day 5||Transfer to Flores & Free Day in the Town||Flores|
|Day 6||Tour Yaxhá Maya Ruins, Transfer to Tikal National Park||Tikal National Park|
|Day 7||Explore Tikal National Park, Depart Guatemala|
Day 1: Arrive in Antigua, Transfer to Lanquín, Explore the Biotopo del Quetzal
Welcome to Guatemala! After arriving in Antigua, transfer to Lanquín, located in Guatemala's central highlands. Once you've settled into your accommodation, head out to visit the Biotopo del Quetzal, a 2,580-acre (1,044 ha) nature reserve.
You'll embark on a one-hour nature hike to a 45-foot (13 m) waterfall plunging into a lagoon. Besides the scenery, this cloud forest reserve is most famous for being home to the resplendent quetzal. This bird is Guatemala's national symbol and has been revered since the time of the ancient Maya. During the hike, keep an eye out for this rare specimen, which is most commonly spotted from January to June.
Day 2: Day Trip to Semuc Champey, Transfer to Candelaria
Hop into a 4WD vehicle and head to Semuc Champey. This otherworldly natural landmark is located about 30 minutes south of Lanquín and is famous for its terraced turquoise pools. Just before entering the area, stop to tour the Kam'ba Caves. Your guide will lead you by candlelight into underground caverns filled with rivers, waterfalls, and unique rock formations. Afterward, you can take an innertube ride down the Río Cahabón before entering Semuc Champey.Once here, embark on a 45-minute uphill hike to El Mirador. This stunning viewpoint overlooks the terraced pools 2,300 feet (700 m) below. Then you can spend some time swimming at the falls. The best place to snap photos near the terraces is atop a natural limestone bridge that rises 100 feet (30 m) above the water. At about 4 pm, transfer back to your hotel in Lanquín, then travel to Candelaria Caves Protected Area, where you'll spend the night.
Day 3: Tubing & Candelaria Caves Visit, Transfer to Río Dulce
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Today, visit Candelaria Caves National Park. The park has more than eight caves, each with uniquely different characteristics. You'll have the opportunity to see incredible cave formations and learn about their origins and how they've formed through time. Another main attraction is the 1-mile (2 km) stretch of the underground Candelaria River; you'll go tubing down it for an unforgettable experience.
As you travel along this route, the absolute darkness of the cave will be broken up by two naturally-illuminated swimming pools, where you can stop to swim or relax in the water. Once you've gone through the caves, dry off and return to your accommodation. Then, catch a private transfer to Río Dulce in the north of Guatemala.
Day 4: Boat Tour of Río Dulce
After a leisurely breakfast overlooking the water, meet your guide for a boat tour on the Río Dulce. As you travel north along the tranquil jade waters, keep your camera ready, as the banks are lined with stunning rainforest scenery and quaint villages. Waterbirds, like herons, are constantly flitting overhead or resting on the lily pads here, 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 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. Or learn to dance punta, a traditional Garifuna dance. Afterward, return to your accommodation.
Day 5: Transfer to Flores & Free Day in the TownMeet your driver and transfer from Río Dulce to Flores. Once you arrive, settle into your accommodation, then spend the rest of the day getting to know the town. Flores is a colorful colonial island town on Lake Petén Itzá, with narrow streets, cute cafés, and plenty of views. Explore it at your leisure, stopping along the way for some souvenir shopping, a relaxing coffee, or a sunset meal.
Day 6: Tour Yaxhá Maya Ruins, Transfer to Tikal National Park
Transfer 47 miles (75 km) to the Yaxhá Maya Temples. After settling into your hotel, meet your guide in the lobby and head on a four-hour tour of Yaxhá National Park.
This archaeological site comprises the ruins of an ancient Maya city and ceremonial center that reached its height of power during the Classic Period (200-900 CE), the third-largest city in the region. There are over 500 structures here, and your guide will lead you to various pyramids, altars, plazas, ball courts, and a network of sacbeob (ancient roads). One major highlight is a hike up Temple 216, the site's tallest temple at 98 feet (30 m).
Day 7: Explore Tikal National Park, Depart Guatemala
Today, you'll visit the famous Tikal National Park, known worldwide for its impressive Maya pyramids and sprawling ruins. This UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya civilization. It features the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas: Temple IV (The Great Jaguar), which stands 270 feet (70 m) tall.
Spend the day with an expert guide exploring this vast complex of temples and pyramids. See all the major sites of interest, 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 wildlife along the way while enjoying the sights and sounds of the jungle. When you're done exploring, prepare to say goodbye to Guatemala as you transfer to Flores Airport for your connecting flight to Guatemala City. Have a safe journey home or to your next destination!
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