Best of Guatemala

Best time to visit
January, February, March, April, May, October, November, December

Guatemala is home to so many travel moments that cannot be found anywhere else. Culture meets with abundant nature and even the country’s most famous attractions remain mostly off the beaten path. International flights to Guatemala restarted on 18th September and you need a negative PCR test to explore the country.

Allow Guatemala to seduce you with its mystic legacy during nine days of temples, volcanoes, lakes and Mayan culture. This experience provides both an introduction and immersion in this upcoming destination. It is an example of what is possible. A local travel designer will tailor your actual itinerary, based on your preferences and wishes.

Day 1 - Arrival in Antigua

Grand Master Suite, El Convent Antigua

El Convento Antigua

Guatemala

Make an intimate connection with the rich history of a 400-year-old city. El Convento is a boutique hotel that infuses modern comfort and luxury with Antigua’s expansive and colorful history.Marvel at the intricate carvings on the door as you enter your unique suite. Enjoy a cup of tea on your private colonial patio complete with a tumbling fountain. Step outside and walk cobblestone streets surrounded by misty volcanos. Take your experience to the next level by staying in the Grand Master Suite, complete with decadent furniture, ample private space, spiral staircase, and a splendid interior garden.

Day 2 - Discovering Antigua

5th Avenue, Antigua

Sights of Antigua Tour

Guatemala

Antigua has seen a lot since its founding in 1543. This charming little city was once the country’s capital, before a series of earthquakes chased the government to Guatemala City. Today, Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with cobblestone streets and brightly colored facades, surrounded by three towering volcanoes.Meet your private guide and start the exploration at the fountain in the Main Plaza. A local with deep knowledge of the city, your guide will explain Antigua’s rich history and reveal its vibrant culture.You’ll see all the key highlights in a day. Like the Cathedral with its beautifully haunting ruins, City Hall Palace, colonial-era sites, and museums at Paseo de los Museos.

Arco de Santa Catelina, Antigua

Ride a Vespa Around Antigua

Guatemala

Antigua’s character is composed of centuries worth of history. There’s a blending of colonial and local culture, and the resilience of a town shattered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It’s too much to simply see through the windows of a tour bus.Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of this UNESCO World Heritage Site by touring its cobblestone streets on a Vespa, quad bike, or golf cart.Feel the wind as your private guide leads you throughout the city—past pastel facades, lively plazas, ruined cathedrals, colonial buildings, bustling markets, and more. And ascend into the volcanic hills surrounding the old town.

Day 3 - Antigua

Aerial View, Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey Helicopter Tour and Day Trip

Guatemala

Semuc Champey is like something out of a fairytale. Unbelievably clear turquoise water fills a number of stepped limestone pools, cascading through lush jungle.Travel to this almost mystical site by helicopter from Antigua. Soar over farmland and countryside, then vast swaths of pristine jungle before setting down next to the Cahabón River.Follow a trail to the pools and explore the area. This is a place of natural wonder, of absolute bliss. Listen to the sounds of the jungle as you slide down slippery stone to cool off in one of the pools.

Street Food, Antigua

Antigua Street Food Tour

Guatemala

Antigua is a picturesque town of cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and pastel-painted facades. It’s also a melting pot of refined tastes from all over the world. Intrepid gourmands can discover Antigua’s true character on this sensuous tour focused on food and drink. Reveal your tastes to a private guide who will customize a tour to your preferences. Antigua’s highest quality restaurants and watering holes are fairly concentrated in the center of town, so you can walk to make room between stops.Sit outside of the Convento La Merced for proper Guatemalan street food—think rellenitos, enchiladas, and atol blanco—then dip into a dive bar for a mezcal cocktail Then the main course, which could be anything you want, from Guatemalan to Mexican to fusion.

Day 4 - Lake Atitlan

Old Merchant, Chichicastenango Market

Chichicastenango Market Visit

Guatemala

Chichicastenango is a remote town boasting cobblestone streets, an aura of shamanism, and the country’s best indigenous market. Begin with a tour of the Cathedral of Santo Tomas, where ancient Mayan beliefs blend with Catholicism in a fascinating combination. Then head to the market.Peruse stalls around the perimeter to find carved masks, embroideries, and other great souvenirs. Or delve into the center of the action and join locals negotiating for produce and life’s other necessities.Round out your visit with a stop at the brilliant cemetery—identified by National Geographic as one of the most colorful cemeteries on earth.

San Marcos Deluxe Suite, Casa Palopo

Casa Palopó

Guatemala

Casa Palopó is neatly camouflaged amid the pockets of brightly painted structures dotted around Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Surrounded by volcanoes, this vast lake is an escape into nature and a place to reconnect with yourself. Casa Palopó is the perfect base to achieve this. Take shelter in the hotel’s inspired interior, featuring flamboyant paint tones, decadent woodwork, and exuberant local art. Dine on locally-inspired delicacies beneath glowing candelabras on the restaurant’s open terrace. Sip creative cocktails at the edge of an infinity pool that melts into the landscape.Take advantage of the incredible outdoor activities for which Lago de Atitlán is famous, such as hiking up a volcano or kayaking the lakeshore.

Day 5 - Lake Atitlan

Boat Pier at Santiago Atitlan, Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan Boat Tour

Guatemala

Lago de Atitlan is one of Central America’s most iconic landscapes. A sprawling lake surrounded by towering volcanoes and tiny towns named after saints, Atitlan offers a sampling of everything that makes the country so memorable.Explore the lake by boat, stopping at two towns to get a feel for the local culture. Share a smoke with Maximon, a multi-faceted rum-and-cigarette-loving deity who receives offerings at his shrine in Santiago. Enjoy lunch before immersing yourself in the splendid colors and styles of San Juan la Laguna, a town known for its plentiful murals and local art galleries.With a private boat you can cruise beneath the volcanos and find serenity on the water. There are plenty of places where you can jump off and swim in solitude.

Village Steets, Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan Villages Exploration

Guatemala

Feel the pulse of Lago de Atitlán on this comprehensive and varied tour of the lake and a few of its villages.Cross the green-blue volcanic waters by boat to reach Tzununa village, where you’ll mount a mountain bike to travel onward.Pedal through rows of corn, tomatoes, and coffee in a sprawling plantation before making your way around the bases of volcanoes to San Marcos, San Pablo la Laguna, and San Juan la Laguna. Take another boat to Santiago Atitlán and experience the town on foot, learning about local history, browsing textiles and other works by local artisans, and visiting the altar of Maximon, a local deity.

Day 6 - Sleeping Next to an Active Volcano

View from Acatenango volcano ,Guatemala

One-Day Acatenango Volcano Expedition

Guatemala

At nearly 4000m tall, Acatenango is Guatemala’s third-highest volcano. From its upper reaches, you are awarded with splendid views of its cantankerous neighbor: Volcan de Fuego, one of the most consistently erupting volcanoes in the world.A trip to the top of Acatenango is typically done over two days, camping near the summit. However, if you’re pressed for time, it’s possible to travel up the majority of the volcano in a four-wheel drive vehicle.Complete the remainder of the hike with a private guide who will lead the way through a number of fascinating ecoregions. At the top, sit down and enjoy lunch while watching the spectacle of Fuego’s continuous eruptions.

Day 7 - Flores / Tikal

Helicopter Flight, Lake Atitlan

El Mirador Tour by Helicopter

Guatemala

Huge ruins lurk in the jungle, shrouded in vines and awash with the songs of birds and the occasional cry of a howler monkey. The best part? No crowds.El Mirador is a large, remote Maya site that was a thriving metropolis two and a half millennia ago. Among many archeological treasures, the site’s crown jewel is El Tigre, the largest pyramid ever constructed in the Maya world.El Mirador’s isolation deep in the jungle means that the only way to access it is by trekking 60km on rough trails—or by a short helicopter ride.Fly from the town of Flores, or your hotel, and tour this rarely seen ruin with a private guide.

The Dock, La Lancha Lodge

La Lancha Lodge

Guatemala

La Lancha Lodge is a boutique hotel built at the edge of the jungle overlooking Guatemala’s second-largest lake. Built from authentic Guatemalan materials and adorned with local artwork curated by the family of legendary filmmakers Francis and Eleanor Coppola, La Lancha is a genuine expression of the region’s natural and cultural heritage.  Greet the morning with howling howler monkeys. Take a canoe out onto the cool waters of the lake. Read or nap in a hammock beneath the thatched roof of the spacious deck. Enjoy the breeze off of Lago Petén Itzá. While you’re here, take advantage of excellent private tours to nearby Mayan sites, including Tikal. This is a place to unwind, before or after wider Guatemala exploration.

Day 8 - Tikal

Sunrise over Temple Valley, Tikal

Tikal Sunrise Tour (Before the Park Opens)

Guatemala

Tikal’s commanding temples are particularly impressive at dawn, as the sun rises and paints their pale flanks with pink and orange light.Enter the park before anyone else and navigate the dark jungle with your private guide. See the bright eyes of deer and tapir sneaking between the trees. Listen as your guide explains the history of the ancient city, which was at its prime nearly 2,000 years ago.Climb the many steps of Temple IV as the sky brightens and the songs of tody motmots and orioles wake the rainforest. See the Mayan city’s other temples catch the dawn, before descending and exploring in daylight.

Best of Guatemala

Guatemala is home to so many travel moments that cannot be found anywhere else. Culture meets with abundant nature and even the country's most famous attractions remain mostly off the beaten path. International flights to Guatemala restarted on 18th September and you need a negative PCR test to explore the country.Allow Guatemala to seduce you with its mystic legacy during nine days of temples, volcanoes, lakes and Mayan culture. This experience provides both an introduction and immersion in this upcoming destination. It is an example of what is possible. A local travel designer will tailor your actual itinerary, based on your preferences and wishes.

Day 9 - Departure

This experience was created by
Stephen John
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