Best of Guatemala

Our Best of Guatemala itinerary includes the country’s ‘must-see’ highlights such as colonial Antigua, Lake Atitlan, and the magnificent Mayan ruins at Tikal. You’ll also go off-piste and explore the Chichicastenango market (the largest in Central America), relax as you sail along the wildlife-rich Rio Dulce, and experience the natural wonder of Semuc Champey.


  Pacaya Volcano’s dramatic lava flows
  Walking tour of colonial Antigua
  Kayaking on Lake Atitlan
  Semuc Champey natural water swim
  Rio Dulce cruise to the Atlantic
  Tikal Mayan ruins
  Pacific Coast beach & surfing

16 days from £3,250 pp


Plus international flights from £850


A two-week holiday in Guatemala for a family of four usually costs from £13,000 based on mid-range hotels, excluding flights

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Best of Guatemala day-by-day itinerary

Day 1, Guatemala City – Antigua
On arrival, you will be met and transferred to Antigua, one of the world’s best preserved colonial cities. You will feel as if you have been transported back in time.

Day 2, Antigua
Take a guided walking tour around Antigua, with its pretty cobbled streets flanked by colourful houses. From a stunning viewpoint, you will see the churches and plazas spread before you with the impressive backdrop of smoking volcanoes. Kids will love haggling for souvenirs in the lively markets.

This afternoon you are free to relax – perhaps find a rooftop cafe and soak up the views of Agua Volcano, visible from pretty much everywhere in the city!

Day 3, Antigua
This morning take an exciting excursion to Pacaya National Park to climb the slopes of the live Pacaya Volcano. You will follow a picturesque trail that winds up through woodland and cinder scree to the impressive crater and lava flows. The views over the smoking black cone are stunning. Toast marshmallows over the molten lava for Smores a la Guatemala before returning to Antigua for a relaxing afternoon.

Please note that for older and more adventurous families, it is possible to tackle climbing Acatenango Volcano where you can (weather permitting) witness the explosive eruptions of Fuego Volcano opposite your overnight camp.

Day 4, Lake Atitlan
Head into the countryside to Lake Atitlan. Set against a backdrop of two picture-perfect volcanoes and dotted with traditional villages, this really is Central America at its finest. There will be time to browse the markets in the pretty lake-side town of Panajachel before continuing to your hotel. The views over the lake and surrounding volcanic hills is completely breathtaking and it is one of our favourite spots in Central America.

Day 5, Lake Atitlan
Make the most of the beautiful surroundings, starting with a kayak trip around the lake to the indigenous village of San Marcos. This also involves some exciting cliff-jumping! From here, a gentle 2-hour hike will take you along the lakeshore back to your hotel, hiking along ancient paths that have been used by the Kaqchikel Maya for centuries. You will view villagers going about their daily lives and see some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. The afternoon is free for you to relax.

Day 6, Lake Atitlan
Head out by boat over Lake Atitlan to visit some of the villages that dot the shores. Each has its own distinctive character; one has a main street strung with colourful umbrellas to create shade; another has a lively market and churches that blend Catholic and Mayan traditions. You will have plenty of time to explore and can visit local craft cooperatives to learn about local handicraft traditions. More souvenir shopping!

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Day 7, Chichicastenango – Lanquin
If you are travelling on a Thursday or a Sunday, this morning we can arrange a stop at Chichicastenango market, one of the largest in Central America. Wander through the narrow alleyways between the stalls and marvel at the sheer quantity of things for sale. You’ll find wooden masks, exquisite embroidery, pottery, woodcarvings, ethnic bags, piles of fruit, traditional incense and more.

You will then continue overland through rural Guatemala to the small traditional village of Lanquin where you will stay in a glamping resort in the heart of the jungle (approx. 6hrs).

If time permits you may like to hike to the Lanquin caves this evening, a giant complex considered sacred by the Q’eqchi people. They shelter thousands of bats that emerge at sunset to create a spectacular nocturnal show.

Day 8, Semuc Champey
One of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, Semuc Champey is formed by a natural backbone of a series of descending pools and small waterfalls. Surrounded by humid, sub-tropical forest, this is the perfect natural water park that children (and those young at heart) will love to have a splash in. Swim in the pools, hike to the viewpoint and take a picnic surrounded by the wide variety of vegetation and jungle fauna.

Later this afternoon you will enjoy a fun-filled tubing trip, gliding along the Lanquin River. Float away and enjoy the tropical views….

Day 9, Rio Dulce – Livingston
Transfer to Rio Dulce (approx 6hrs) for a magical cruise from Lake Izabel all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Following the ancient commercial route of the Mayas, you will navigate Rio Dulce (Sweet River) through dramatic canyons with limestone cliffs over 100m high, covered with tropical vegetation. You will also cross through “EL Golfete”, the wider area of the river in which the Chocon Machaca Park and the floating gardens are located. Along the way, you will also stop at Ak’Tenamit, a local cooperative for an insight into local river life. The journey ends at Livingston on the Atlantic.

Laid-back and relaxed, Livingston has a unique ambience that you won’t find anywhere else in the country. It will remind you more of a Caribbean island than of Latin America.

Day 10, Siete Altares and Punta de Manabique
After breakfast, you will take a boat transfer to the stunning Siete Altares (Seven Shrines). This is a beautiful site where seven freshwater pools flow from the rainforest into the Caribbean Sea. Here you can hike, bathe, relax or jump off the rocks into crystalline water – the perfect refreshing antidote to the humidity.

Afterwards, you will cross the gulf to Punta de Manabique, one of the most beautiful beaches in Livingston. In this area, you will find an incredible array of biodiversity – tapirs, manatees and sea turtles and also enjoy snorkelling just 10m from the shore. Enjoy the catch of the day for lunch before returning by boat to your hotel.

Day 11, Livingston – Tikal
Take the boat transfer to the mainland and then travel by road to Peten, gateway to the world-famous ruins of Tikal (approx 4hrs). If time this afternoon you may like to tackle the nearby zip-wire course.

Day 12, Tikal
Rise early for a dawn visit to Tikal, ahead of the daytrippers from Flores and Belize. Tikal is Central America’s most impressive Mayan ruin. It lies deep in the jungle, the surrounding trees alive with the cackle of howler monkeys and cries from brightly coloured macaws. Your guide will explain the layout of the temples as well as some theories about why the Mayans disappeared. Climb the steps to the top of a pyramid for superb views and a sense of the enormity of the site. Children will be entranced by gruesome tales of human sacrifice and will love walking through the jungle to spot toucans and spider monkeys.

Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the middle of the jungle. In the afternoon you are free to relax.

Day 13, Tikal – Flores – Pacific Coast
Transfer to Flores (1hr) for your short flight to Guatemala City. Here you will be met and transferred to the charming fishing village of El Paredon on the wild Pacific Coast (2.5hrs).

Days 14-15, Pacific Coast
Days to relax and enjoy the surf from the black sand beaches this area is renowned for. This part of the coast is very laid back and a world away from the busier resort areas to the south. Along with the world-renowned surf scene, there are mangrove boat tours, village community visits, cooking classes and turtle hatcheries to enjoy. Or just chill by the pool.

Day 16, Pacific Coast
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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01728 752751

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