On this weeklong journey through Guatemala, explore the sites and landmarks of the Highlands. The trip begins in Antigua for a sightseeing tour that includes a roster of hands-on workshops. Then, experience the 4,000-year-old Chichicastenango Market in Panajachel. Next, tour the iconic Lake Atitlán and visit native museums, before discovering the ancient Iximché ruins and Tikal National Park, which are steeped in Mayan culture.

Highlights

  • Go sightseeing in Antigua and visit several cultural workshops
  • Stroll the bustling and traditional Chichicastenango Market in Panajachel
  • Take in the views of stunning Lake Atitlán and visit the nearby villages
  • Discover Mayan heritage at Tikal National Park and the Iximché ruins

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Antigua Antigua
Day 2 Antigua City Tour Antigua
Day 3 Mayan Market Tour Panajachel
Day 4 Explore Lake Atitlán Lake Atitlan
Day 5 Tour Iximché and Travel to Tikal National Park Tikal National Park
Day 6 Tour Tikal National Park Guatemala City
Day 7 Depart From Guatemala City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Antigua

Welcome to Guatemala!
Welcome to Guatemala!

Welcome to Guatemala City! A travel representative will meet you outside the airport. Upon arrival, you will be presented with a welcome packet with general information about your stay and the destinations slated for your itinerary. Transfer from the Guatemala City Airport to Antigua, and check into your hotel. Then, enjoy the day at your leisure. 

Day 2: Antigua city tour

Antigua’s famous Santa Catalina Arch
Antigua’s famous Santa Catalina Arch

Today, do some exploration of Antigua and its nearby villages. Immerse yourself in the diversity of local Antigua culture. The nearly 500-year-old city is cradled by three volcanoes and accented with colorful facades of 16th-century mansions, churches, and convents. Enjoy hands-on experiences with a series of workshops designed to integrate you into the Mayan culture.

Visit sites like the San Francisco church and ruins, the Santo Domingo ruins, the La Merced church and ruins, and the iconic Arch of Santa Catalina. In addition, stroll the Main Square, along with the surrounding municipal building, palace, and cathedral.

Tour villages and their workshops, which include the below:

  • Pastores: A leather workshop
  • San Juan del Obispo: A chocolate workshop
  • San Pedro las Huertas: A jade workshop
  • Ciudad Vieja: A coffee workshop
  • San Antonio Aguas Calientes: A textiles workshop
  • Santa María de Jesús: Events vary, and are only held on Sundays

The evening is at your leisure to explore Antigua at night.

Day 3: Mayan market tour

Chichicastenango Market
Chichicastenango Market

In the morning, transfer from Antigua to Panajachel. Around 10 am, plan to visit Chichicastenango Market, a vibrant staple that dates back more than 4,000 years. Chichicastenango is one of the biggest markets in Guatemala. It is full of textiles, vegetables, fruits, and handcrafts.

Next, stop by the mask factory to discover the cultural dresses manufactured for parades and traditional performances at cultural fairs. Then, stop by Santo Thomas church, where you can experience Guatemalan spiritualism.

Enjoy lunch at Moreria Sto, before continuing on your journey to Panajachel, where you will stay for the evening, and enjoy the area on your own.

NOTE: Depending on the day, markets could be located in Antigua, Comalapa, or Chupol

Day 4: Explore Lake Atitlán

Santa Cruz la Laguna, Lake Atitlán
 Lake Atitlán

In the morning, embark on a village tour around Lake Atitlán. Get exclusive access to hidden treasures known only to local guides, and immerse yourself in the diversity of the local cultures. 

In addition, plan to visit San Juan La Laguna. This small town is home to cooperatives that sell traditional textiles, paintings, textiles, and Guatemalan sweets that serve as great souvenirs. One the least-visited cities around the lake, San Juan offers a more authentic, Guatemalan experience—it houses a unique cotton museum, which offers an internal view of the processing, from the creation of yarn and dyeing different garments, according to the Mayans.

Next, explore Santiago Atitlán, which is famous for the neighboring house where the deity Maximón resides and is a fitting example of Guatemalan syncretism. Santiago Atitlán is the home of the Weaving Center and Museum of Cojolya, which was founded by the Mayan Women Weavers Association of Cojolya.

Day 5: Tour Iximché and travel to Tikal National Park

The Iximché ruins
The Iximché ruins

At 7:30 am, transfer to Guatemala City Airport, and head to Iximché, an archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. Embark on a guided morning tour through the ruins to discover their incredible history. 

The architecture of the site includes a number of pyramid temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. The ruins of Iximché were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. 

Later in the day, depart from Guatemala City Airport to Santa Elena Airport. Then, catch a flight to Flores Airport to travel to your next destination: Tikal National Park. Upon arrival, check into your accommodations and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 6: Tour Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park, Petén.
Tikal National Park

Join a 9 am tour of Tikal today. The protected area sits on the edge of the large Reserva de la Biósfera Maya. Keep an eye out for local species, like howler and spider monkeys and toucans and parakeets. Exploring Tikal will help you discover the Mayan vision and spirit.

Following the tour of Tikal, enjoy lunch at the hotel. Then, transfer to Flores Airport to fly to Guatemala City. Upon arrival, check into your hotel, and enjoy your final evening in Guatemala on your own.   

Day 7: Depart from Guatemala City

Adiós, Guatemala!
 Adiós, Guatemala!

Today, it is time to say goodbye to Guatemala. A private transfer will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to Guatemala City Airport. It is recommended to arrive at the airport 2 hours before your international flight home. Adiós!

Map

Map of Guatemalan Highlands: Antigua, Panajachel, Lake Atitlán, & Tikal National Park - 7 Days
Map of Guatemalan Highlands: Antigua, Panajachel, Lake Atitlán, & Tikal National Park - 7 Days