Best of Rio Dulce

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Río Dulce
In eastern Guatemala, you'll find a world far removed from the lofty cloud forests and Maya villages in other parts of the country. Amid steamy tropical lowlands, the Río Dulce is both the name of a tranquil meandering river, and the picturesque town lying on the edge of the country's largest lake. The surrounding region boasts astonishing biodiversity, including some 300 bird species, butterflies, crocodiles and even manatees. 

There are many facets to the Rio Dulce experience. You can sign up for multi-day kayaking trips, stopping along the way for explorations of river caves and refreshing soaks in hot springs, with time to unwind on the seaside at the trip's end. Excursions to the vibrant Afro-Caribbean village of Livingston offer a diverse perspective of Guatemala's cultural melting pot, and it's also near picturesque scenery — like the jungle-fringed waterfalls and pools of Siete Altares.
Plan your trip to Guatemala
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Semuc Champey is hidden in the lush mountainous jungle
Map of Guatemala's Maya Ruins, Hot Springs & Waterfalls - 6 Days
Guatemala's Maya Ruins, Hot Springs & Waterfalls - 6 Days

The natural beauty and Maya history of Guatemala make it the ideal destination for culture seekers and nature lovers alike. This six-day itinerary starts in the city of Antigua, where you'll visit colonial landmarks before swimming in waterfalls deep within the Guatemalan jungle. Explore national parks and discover the ruins of ancient civilizations before soaking in naturally-formed turqoise pools of Semuc Champey and traversing through vast cave systems by flashlight.

The Río Dulce - Guatemala's Caribbean Gem
Guatemala's Caribbean Coast - 6 Days

Escape to Guatemala's Caribbean coast on this action-packed 6-day itinerary. Starting from the capital of Guatemala City, set out towards the east coast to discover a whole new side of the country's culture and scenery. Visit magical hot spring waterfalls, kayak the waterways of the Río Dulce, and experience Caribbean Garifuna culture in Livingston.

Active kids will love the rivers and beaches of Caribbean Guatemala
Map of Caribbean Guatemala for Families: Rivers, Beaches & Ruins - 10 Days
Caribbean Guatemala for Families: Rivers, Beaches & Ruins - 10 Days

Tour Guatemala's lesser-visited Caribbean side on this exhilarating 10-day family adventure. Start in Guatemala City, where you'll see the historical sights of Parque Central and turn cacao into sweet treats at a chocolate workshop. Then, it's off to Río Dulce for a boat tour of the river and kayaking or paddleboarding along the beaches of Livingston. End in the island town of Flores, taking a zipline along the canopies of Ixpanpajul Natural Reserve and hiking through the Maya ruins of Tikal National Park.

Explore Guatemala's Tikal National Park to admire the ancient works of the Maya
Map of Nature & Culture in Guatemala: Lanquín to Tikal National Park - 7 Days
Nature & Culture in Guatemala: Lanquín to Tikal National Park - 7 Days

On this seven-day journey, you'll immerse yourself in Guatemala's cultural and natural wonders. Start in Lanquín, where you'll keep an eye out for colorful birds at the Biotopo del Quetzal. Explore Semuc Champey and go tubing on the Río Cahabón, then head to Candelaria Caves and tour the stunning scenery around the Río Dulce. Visit Livingston, known for its distinctive Garifuna culture, and explore the colonial town of Flores. Finish your trip at the Maya ruins in Yaxhá and Tikal National Parks.

A pier on Petén Itzá near Flores
Map of Caribbean Guatemala & Maya Ruins - 11 Days
Caribbean Guatemala & Maya Ruins - 11 Days

See a different side of Guatemala on this bespoke 11-day itinerary. Starting and ending in the capital of Guatemala City, you'll be driven to the Caribbean-influenced north of the country to discover the waterways and jungles of the Río Dulce and Las Conchas regions. Take tours of ancient Maya sites, swim in crater lakes and warm waterfalls, embark on boat tours into wildlife-rich forests, and explore the hidden world of Guatemala's sacred caves.

Tikal National Park
Map of Maya Journey in Guatemala: Tikal, Río Dulce, & Quirigua Ruins - 5 Days
Maya Journey in Guatemala: Tikal, Río Dulce, & Quirigua Ruins - 5 Days

Embark on a five-day, Mayan-themed expedition through Guatemala. Begin in the northern jungles where you'll spend time with monkeys and tropical birds before visiting the ruins at Tikal National Park. Then take boat tour down the Río Dulce and enjoy more birding. Cap the adventure with an exploration of the Quirigua Ruins and its famous sandstone monuments before traveling back to Guatemala City.

Browse local markets in Antigua
Map of Guatemala Highlights Tour: Antigua, Atitlán, Río Dulce, Flores & Guatemala City - 14 Days
Guatemala Highlights Tour: Antigua, Atitlán, Río Dulce, Flores & Guatemala City - 14 Days

Travel the length and breadth of Guatemala over 14 action-packed days. Your adventure kicks off on the historic streets of colonial Antigua followed by activities in the stunning Lake Atitlán region. After visiting Indigenous markets, you'll travel north to natural hot springs and enjoy a boat ride down the Río Dulce before capping the trip with a tour of the ancient Maya ruins at Tikal.

Travel from lakes to jungles to Maya ruins on this two-week family adventure
Map of Family Fun in Guatemala: Nature, Ruins & Culture - 14 Days
Family Fun in Guatemala: Nature, Ruins & Culture - 14 Days

Immerse yourselves in Guatemala's vibrant culture on this two-week family adventure that whisks you from colonial Antigua to the shores of Lake Atitlán and the temples and pyramids at Tikal. Along the way, you'll sharpen your tastebuds with a traditional cookery class, bask in the Caribbean vibe of Río Dulce, and admire local folk art and handicrafts as you kayak, hike, and sail across the country's natural wonders.

Discover the Maya ruins of Belize's Cahal Pech
Map of Maya History in Caribbean Guatemala & Belize - 14 Days
Maya History in Caribbean Guatemala & Belize - 14 Days

Spend 14 days exploring Maya history in Guatemala and Belize, beginning the adventure in Antigua, a former colonial capital surrounded by mighty volcanoes. Then, head to the Caribbean to learn about Afro-Guatemalan culture before visiting Tikal, an important Maya city. Move onto neighboring Belize, where you'll spend days snorkeling around the Belize Barrier Reef and enjoying the Caribbean Sea.

Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Map of Nature & Culture in Guatemala: Antigua to Río Dulce - 10 Days
Nature & Culture in Guatemala: Antigua to Río Dulce - 10 Days

If you want to soak in Guatemala's spectacular scenery while exploring its Maya heritage, you'll love this 10-day itinerary. Hike up Pacaya Volcano, then explore the historic city of Antigua. Transfer to Lake Atitlán for kayaking and hiking, then fly to the island town of Flores, where you'll explore the Maya ruins of Yaxhá and Tikal National Park. Afterward, head to Río Dulce for a boating excursion followed by a dip in the Finca Paraíso Hot Springs.

Sunrise over Tikal National Park
Map of Best of Guatemala - 11 Days
Best of Guatemala - 11 Days

Discover the best of Guatemala over 11 action-packed days during which you'll climb volcanoes, visit Maya villages, and soak in natural hot springs. Hike, bike, and kayak around the country as you explore the colonial city of Antigua, enjoy the serene beauty of Lake Atitlán, and tour the ancient pyramids at Tikal. For an added treat, take a ride up the Río Dulce for an afternoon on the Caribbean coast.

The pyramids of Tikal peeking out of the rainforest
Map of Guatemala Winter Escape: Rainforests, Rivers & Ruins - 6 Days
Guatemala Winter Escape: Rainforests, Rivers & Ruins - 6 Days

With warm days and cool nights, winter is the perfect time to delve into Guatemala's natural and ancient wonders. This six-day adventure kicks off with sightseeing in Guatemala City before flying north to explore the country's most famous archaeological site—the UNESCO-listed temple complex at Tikal. After hiking ancient Maya pyramids, head south to Lago Izabal and take a ride down the jade waters of the Río Dulce.

Head to the Río Dulce for a boating excursion and swim beneath waterfalls
Map of Essential Guatemala: Volcanoes, Ruins & Waterfalls - 11 Days
Essential Guatemala: Volcanoes, Ruins & Waterfalls - 11 Days

This unforgettable adventure introduces you to the wonders of Guatemala in 11 days. Start with a whirlwind tour of the southern highlands as you walk the cobbled streets of Spanish colonial Antigua, hike Pacaya volcano, and kayak on Lake Atitlán. Then you'll head north for a visit to the legendary Maya ruins at Tikal before winding down with day trips to hot spring waterfalls and a leisurely ride down the Río Dulce.

Lake Atitlán is surrounded by three volcanoes
Map of Guatemala Honeymoon Adventure - 16 Days
Guatemala Honeymoon Adventure - 16 Days

Deemed one of the hidden wonders of the travel world, explore Guatemala on this 16-day adventure through cultural, culinary, and outdoor experiences with your partner. Stroll through the amazingly well-preserved colonial town of Antigua, with its charming cobblestone streets, historic ruins and churches, and bustling market. Climb the active Pacaya Volcano, enjoy lighter outdoor activities like kayaking around Lake Atitlan, and visit the famous Tikal Ruins.

See the volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlán, like Tolimán and San Pedro
Map of Highlights of Guatemala: Natural Wonders & Maya Ruins - 11 Days
Highlights of Guatemala: Natural Wonders & Maya Ruins - 11 Days

The highlights of Guatemala are many, and you'll experience most of them over 11 unforgettable days with this active itinerary. Start on the cobbled streets of Antigua, where you'll visit colonial landmarks, ride bikes around the southern highlands, and hike the active Volcán Pacaya. Then you'll fly north to explore ancient Maya ruins, including the legendary Tikal, before finishing the trip with a ride down the jade waters of the Río Dulce.

Views across Lake Atitlán
Map of Guatemalan Adventure: Antigua, Atitlán, Tikal & Río Dulce - 11 Days
Guatemalan Adventure: Antigua, Atitlán, Tikal & Río Dulce - 11 Days

Travel to the far corners of Guatemala in search of fun, culture, history, and beauty. Set off from the cobbled streets of colonial Antigua to embark on countryside bike tours and volcano hikes. After enjoying activities at the stunning Lake Atitlán, you'll travel north to visit Tikal and other ancient Maya ruins before finishing the trip cruising the emerald waters of the Río Dulce and soaking in natural hot springs.

Relax on Lake Atitlán and relish the surrounding views of three impressive volcanoes
Map of Guatemala's Volcanoes, Lakes & Jungles - 12 Days
Guatemala's Volcanoes, Lakes & Jungles - 12 Days

Experience the best of Guatemala with this 12-day adventure from the southern volcanoes to the northern jungles. Start on the colorful streets of Spanish colonial Antigua, followed by a hike up Pacaya volcano, excursions on Lake Atitlán, and visits to Indigenous markets. Then fly north to tour the Maya ruins at Tikal before finishing the trip with riverboat rides and soaks in natural hot springs.

Volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlán
Map of Nature, Culture & History in Guatemala - 14 Days
Nature, Culture & History in Guatemala - 14 Days

This two-week Guatemalan adventure kicks off with walking tours of colonial Antigua followed by a vertical excursion up the slopes of the Pacaya volcano. After a kayak ride around Lake Atitlán, you'll head north to explore the ancient Maya ruins at Tikal, then travel down the jade waters of the Río Dulce. More culture awaits as you visit open-air markets and Indigenous villages, and even take a traditional Guatemalan cooking class.

Enjoy a guided tour of the impressive Maya ruins of Tikal National Park
Map of Best of Guatemala: Volcanoes, Maya Ruins, Hot Springs & Waterfalls - 13 Days
Best of Guatemala: Volcanoes, Maya Ruins, Hot Springs & Waterfalls - 13 Days

Guatemala is Central America's most diverse country, with rainforests, volcanoes, mountains, coffee fields, and beaches. This 13-day guided tour lays out some of its most captivating natural and cultural highlights, with plenty of time to absorb the big-hitter destinations before you move on. Take a boat ride and kayak on Lake Atitlán, relax at waterfalls and hot springs around the Río Dulce, and venture among Maya ruins in Tikal National Park.

Spend three nights (and three sunsets) at a waterfront hotel in Lake Atitlán
Map of Honeymoon in Guatemala: Antigua, Atitlán, Tikal & Río Dulce - 14 Days
Honeymoon in Guatemala: Antigua, Atitlán, Tikal & Río Dulce - 14 Days

Combine romance and adventure on a 14-day Guatemalan honeymoon you'll never forget. Stroll the fairy-tale streets of colonial Antigua, climb the fiery Pacaya volcano, embark on boat tours around magical Lake Atitlán, and visit ancient pyramid temples at Tikal. For an added spark of intimacy, travel down the Río Dulce and swim at a hidden waterfall to finish the trip.

A volcano sunrise in Guatemala
Map of Essential Guatemala: Volcanoes, Ruins & Waterfalls - 15 Days
Essential Guatemala: Volcanoes, Ruins & Waterfalls - 15 Days

This 15-day adventure will take you from Guatemala's southern and central highlands to the northern rainforests and the Caribbean coast. In the south, you'll walk the cobbled streets of Antigua, camp out on volcanoes, and take a boat tour of Lake Atitlán. After touring ancient Maya ruins at Tikal and Yaxhá, you'll ride the famous Río Dulce to the coast before finishing the trip in historic Guatemala City.

Spend three nights at Lake Atitlán, surrounded by three volcanoes
Map of Guatemala Honeymoon Adventure - 15 Days
Guatemala Honeymoon Adventure - 15 Days

This 15-day Guatemala itinerary is perfect for newlyweds looking for a blend of relaxed romance and scenic adventures in Central America. Begin with a few days of exploration in colonial Antigua before heading to see active volcanoes, pristine lakes, and ancient Maya ruins. Along the way, you'll partake in fun guided excursions like cooking, chocolate-making, and cliff-jumping—with plenty of free time to enjoy sunsets and waterfalls on your own.

Discover iconic Lake Atitlán as you ride horseback along its shores
Map of Guatemala Nature & Culture Tour - 15 Days
Guatemala Nature & Culture Tour - 15 Days

Experience Guatemala's natural and cultural treasures on this 15-day tour. As you traverse the country, you'll soak up history in the colorful streets of colonial Antigua, visit ancient Maya ruins, and relax in jungle spas. Adventures include a challenging overnight trek to the top of Acatenango volcano, a boat trip down the tranquil Río Dulce, and horseback riding on the shores of sparkling Lake Atitlán.

See the turquoise, terraced pools of Semuc Champey in northeastern Guatemala
Map of Guatemalan Culture & Outdoors: Tikal, Antigua & More - 10 Days
Guatemalan Culture & Outdoors: Tikal, Antigua & More - 10 Days

Experience Guatemala's rich culture and great outdoors on this 10-day tour. Touch down in the north, where you'll visit turquoise pools and eerie caves, explore Tikal's ancient Maya ruins, and sail the jade waters of the Rió Dulce. Next, continue to sparkling Lake Atitlán, where you'll visit its traditional villages and browse the nearby highland market of Chichicastenango. Your adventure ends in UNESCO-listed Antigua for a walking tour of its colorful colonial landmarks.

Explore the Maya ruins of Copán and check out the skull of Temple 22
Map of Best of Guatemala & Copán - 12 Days
Best of Guatemala & Copán - 12 Days

Twelve days is the perfect amount of time to experience Guatemala's ruins, nature, Indigenous culture, and delectable cuisine. It begins in the historic city of Antigua with walking and food tours before continuing to Lake Atitlán and the jade waters of the Río Dulce. As if that's not enough, you'll hop the border to Honduras to visit the Maya archeological site at Copán, one of the most impressive in Central America.

View of the volcano from Antigua, Guatemala
Map of Best of Guatemala & Copán - 13 Days
Best of Guatemala & Copán - 13 Days

Delve into the endless natural beauty and rich cultures of Guatemala and Honduras on this two-week getaway. Discover Maya ruins, towering volcanoes, and historic cities on outdoor adventures and cultural tours. You'll stroll the cobbled streets of colonial Antigua, kayak on stunning Lake Atitlán, browse the artisan markets in Indigenous towns, and hike up the ancient pyramids at Tikal and Copán.

Enjoy an overnight after a day of exploring Copán's Maya ruins
Map of Guatemala Panorama: Culture, Adventure & Cuisine - 13 Days
Guatemala Panorama: Culture, Adventure & Cuisine - 13 Days

Uncover Guatemala's highlights with a side trip to the Copán Ruins in Honduras on this 13-day tour. Travel in a loop from Guatemala City, traversing the country's vibrant cities, highlands, and temple-filled jungles. Along the way, you'll hike to the top of Pacaya volcano, kayak on Lake Atitlán, and zipline in Tikal National Park. Cultural experiences abound, from Guatemalan cooking classes and carpet-making workshops to traditional Maya saunas and sacred shaman rituals.

Pick up an authentic souvenir at colorful Chichicastenango market
Map of Guatemala Culture & Cuisine Tour - 12 Days
Guatemala Culture & Cuisine Tour - 12 Days

Learn about Guatemala's history and culture during 12 days of visits to the most incredible places in the country. Walk the historic streets of Guatemala City and Antigua, visit Indigenous markets, and take boat rides on famous lakes and rivers. Beyond that, you'll tour ancient ruins at Tikal and Iximché, hike up volcanoes, and more.

Belize
Map of Guatemala & Belize: Ruins, Reefs & Historic Streets - 14 Days
Guatemala & Belize: Ruins, Reefs & Historic Streets - 14 Days

This unforgettable two-week itinerary is the perfect mix of active adventures and cultural excursions around Belize and Guatemala. Spend time in colonial Antigua, hike an active volcano, rub elbows with the K'iche' Maya people, and visit Indigenous communities around stunning Lake Atitlán. Then go north to the ancient Maya archeological site at Tikal before heading to the Caribbean to camp on coral islands and snorkel around Belize's 180-mile (290 km) Barrier Reef.

Sunset over the Río Dulce
Map of Guatemala & Beyond: Ruins to Reefs & Cobblestone Streets - 15 Days
Guatemala & Beyond: Ruins to Reefs & Cobblestone Streets - 15 Days

This 15-day adventure through Guatemala will take you to its most heralded wonders, both man-made and natural. It begins deep within coffee country as you visit nature reserves, waterfalls, and Maya ruins, then continues to the colonial towns and volcanoes around sacred Lake Atitlán. As an added bonus, you'll hop the border into Belize to visit coral islands and snorkel along one of the world's largest barrier reefs.

Other popular travel destinations in Guatemala
Antigua · Lake Atitlán · Guatemala City · Tikal National Park · Flores · Acatenango Volcano