Guatemala / Itineraries

Guatemala Highlights

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This classic 10 night itinerary packs in the key highlights of Guatemala including Antigua, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan, Flores and Tikal. In addition, it includes visits to two of Guatemala's lesser known Mayan sites at Iximche and Yaxha.

  • Day 1 — Airport to Antigua

    On arrival in Guatemala City you will be transferred directly from the airport to the nearby town of Antigua. As flights arrive in the evening, after a long journey most clients will want to relax, perhaps have a bite to eat and then get a good night’s sleep.

    Suggested Accommodation: Villa Colonial
    • — Antigua
  • Day 2 — Antigua to Lake Atitlan via Chichiastenango

    After an early breakfast, you leave Antigua behind and head to Chichicastenango.

    For most of the week, Chichicastenango is a small, provincial, largely unremarkable town. However, every Thursday & Sunday it is home to one of the largest and most colourful market days anywhere in Central America as local Mayans from the surrounding villages flood into town to sell their wares.

    After taking time to explore the market, lunch will be taken in town. This can be either at the Hotel Santo Tomas or with a local family.

    After lunch, you will make the short journey to your hotel on the shores of Lake Atitlan where you are at leisure for the remainder of the day.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Atitlan Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Chichicastenango
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    • — Chichicastenango
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    • — Chichicastenango
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  • Day 3 — Lake Atitlan

    Throughout the ages, visitors to Lake Atitlan have been mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the lake, its surrounding countryside and the numerous indigenous Mayan villages dotted around its shores.

    Boat trips on the lake are the principal activity here but there are also opportunities for watersports and hiking. If all that sounds too active, Lake Atitlan is the ideal location to take a book and simply take in the wonderful views.

    This morning, after breakfast, you will be collected from your hotel for a private boat trip on Lake Atitlan, enjoying the beautiful views, exploring the local Mayan villages that are dotted around the lake and simply experiencing a slice of traditional life in Guatemala.

    Returning to your hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax at your hotel or perhaps take in a spot of shopping in Panajachel.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Atitlan Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Lake Atitlan
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    • — Lake Atitlan
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    • — Lake Atitlan
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  • Day 4 — Lake Atitlan to Antigua via Iximche

    Today you will return to Antigua, stopping off en-route at Iximche.

    Iximche was the capital of Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 till 1524 when it was destroyed by the Spanish. Located on top of a high plateau with steep-sided ridges, the ruins of Iximche are still held to be sacred by local Mayan villagers and it is not uncommon to witness traditional ceremonies taking place.

    The entire site can normally be explored in little over an hour.

    Leaving Iximche, it is an hour or so’s drive to Antigua where you will be dropped off at your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Casa Encantada Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Iximche
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    • — Iximche
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    • — Iximche
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  • Day 5 — Antigua

    Originally Guatemala’s capital, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Antigua is one of the most beautiful towns in all of the America’s and is a must on any holiday to Guatemala. Having been almost destroyed by a series of devastating earthquakes, Antigua is home to a large number of hugely atmospheric ruins, the vast majority of which can be visited on foot.

    Appropriately therefore, your day begins with a relaxed, morning walking tour of Antigua, taking in the main, historic sites including the large central square.

    Having got your bearings, the rest of the day is at leisure for you to either relax or further explore Antigua’s many cobbled streets, squares, churches and ruins at your leisure. Pretty much the entire town can be covered on foot and there are numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants to break up your exploration.

    If you’re feeling fit, and don’t mind quite a few steps, walking up to the iconic Cerro de la Cruz will reward you with magnificent views over Antigua.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Casa Encantada Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Antigua, San Jose El Viejo
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    • — Antigua
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    • — Antigua, Cerro de la Cruz
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  • Day 6 — Antigua (day trips out)

    Today will be spent exploring some of the attractions to be found on the outskirts of Antigua.

    The day begins with you heading to the nearby village of San Antonio Agua Calientes, famous for its textiles and handicrafts, before continuing to the indigenous village of Santiago Zamora. Here you will learn about the MayaKaqchiquel culture and have the opportunity to interact with a group of women artisans called Ixoki’ aj Quiema’, who make beautiful and elaborate textile products, using techniques passed down from generation to generation.

    After a traditional lunch, your day continues with to the Azotea Coffee estate which has been in operation since the end of the 19th century.

    Tours begin at the Coffee Museum which details the history of coffee before heading outside and walking amongst the coffee trees where guides will explain how coffee is cultivated, harvested and processed. Of course, no tour is complete without a visit to the toaster where you can see, smell and taste the coffee for yourself.

    In addition to the Coffee Tour, the Azotea estate is also home to K’ojom House, a private, non-profit museum and research centre dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of traditional, Mayan music.

    You will then return to your hotel in Antigua.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Casa Encantada Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
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    • — La Azotea
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  • Day 7 — Antigua to Flores

    Today you are at leisure to relax at your hotel in Antigua and book one of our optional excursions.

    In the afternoon, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport in Guatemala City for the short flight to Flores. On arrival in Flores you will be transferred to your hotel.

    This tiny, attractive island can easily be explored on foot and takes no more than an hour to walk around. There are numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants as well as a night food market on the lake shore.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Isla De Flores Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Antigua
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    • — Antigua, Iglesia La Merced
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    • — Flores
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  • Day 8 — Flores (Day trip to Tikal)

    After an early breakfast, you will depart for Tikal, aiming to be there before 9am.

    Together with Lake Atitlan and the colonial town of Antigua, the ancient Mayan city of Tikal is undoubtedly one of Guatemala’s ‘Big Three’ tourist draws as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Located in an almost entirely flat and jungle covered region, Tikal was inhabited from as far as back as the 6th century BC although it only really came to prominence from around 200 to 900 AD, an era known in Mayan history as the Classic Period. At its height, Tikal is thought to have had a population not far short of 100,000 – a staggering thought when you consider how remote it feels today.

    Although the largest and most powerful of the Mayan lowland cities, Tikal was by no means alone. It was frequently at war with neighbouring Mayan cities such as Yaxha & Calakmul (the latter located across the border in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula). Quite why the city went into such speedy and total decline is still a source of mystery and disagreement.

    It takes a good 3 to 4 hours to explore Tikal although, if one wanted, you could spend a day or two there without any problem.

    After lunch at one of Tikal’s onsite restaurants, you will return to Flores. En-route, there will be a stop-over at Las Lagunas hotel where you will take a boat trip to Monkey Island.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Isla De Flores Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Tikal
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    • — Tikal
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    • — Tikal
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  • Day 9 — Flores (Day trip to Yaxha)

    Another day, another great Mayan city to visit. After another early breakfast you will be collected from your hotel and transferred by road to Yaxha.

    Another day, another great Mayan city to visit. After another early breakfast you will be collected from your hotel and transferred by road to Yaxha.

    Yaxha (pronounced Yasha) was the third largest Mayan city in the Peten region and, with its origins dating as far back as 1000 BC, was at its height during the Early Classic Period, circa 250 – 600 AD. At its peak it would have covered some 92 square miles and had a population of over 40,000.

    The name Yaxha comes from the Mayan for ‘Green-Water’, explainable by the fact that the city was built on a ridge overlooking a large lake. Very few Mayan sites are located near a lake and this is one of Yaxha’s most appealing attributes.

    For many visitors, the relative lack of restoration (compared to Tikal for example) is half the appeal of a visit to Yaxha. Numerous buildings have been cleared and restored but most of the city remains buried under dense jungle. This same jungle, untouched by large scale tour groups, also means that wildlife is more prevalent at Yaxha, including large groups of howler monkeys. Sat on the top of a pyramid, looking out over a sea of green and listening to their cacophonous howls, is one of the great experiences of a holiday to Guatemala.

    You will then return to Flores where the remainder of your day is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Isla De Flores Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Yaxha
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    • — Yaxha
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    • — Yaxha
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  • Day 10 — Flores to Guatemala City

    Your last full day in Guatemala is one for you to kick back and relax in delightful Flores.

    For those who like messing about on the water, there are numerous water taxis that can be booked for an informal but highly enjoyable pootle around Lake Peten.

    In the late afternoon you will be transferred back to Flores airport for the return flight to Guatemala City. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for a final night.

    (Alternatively, Antigua is close enough to spend your final there instead).

    Suggested Accommodation: La Inmaculda Hotel Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Flores
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    • — Flores
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    • — Flores
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  • Day 11 — Guatemala City & Home

    Depending on flight times, today is at leisure for you to relax at your hotel or, if there is time, explore something of Guatemala City.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Guatemala City
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    • — Guatemala City
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    • — Guatemala City, museums
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Please Note

This itinerary is no more than a sample idea which can be tailor made to your exact requirements.

The 'From price' is for travel in September and is based on two adults sharing the same room throughout. Supplements apply for sole occupancy / transport.

The quoted price does not include international flights.

Suggested Accommodation

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When to visit Guatemala

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  • March

    22°C
  • April

    25°C
  • May

    24°C
  • June

    23°C
  • July

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  • August

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  • September

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  • October

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  • November

    19°C
  • December

    19°C
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