History, Tradition & Charming Lakeside Villages

  • Trip Type
  • Cultural
  • Length
  • 8 Days / 7 Nights
  • When to Go
  • Year-Round

  • Where culture and connections run deep

    A land of magic and mystery, Guatemala’s rich history and fascinating cultural traditions are trumped only by its astonishing landscapes and the warmth of its people. Take in the highlights of the south, from lakeside vistas to endless miles of scenic rural roads. Explore colonial Antigua, explore ancient ruins, peruse the artisan galleries, workshops and market stalls of vibrant San Juan La Laguna, and witness a traditional shamanic ritual on a whirlwind journey that offers up just a taste of what Guatemala has to offer. You’ll be planning your next visit before you’ve even left.

    Trip Highlights

    charming colonial cities & serene lake views • rich tradition & cultural heritage • historical tour of Antigua • Iximche ruins • Mayan fire ceremony • artisan & weaving cooperatives

    Full Package per person from:

    $1,425.00 low season (May - Oct)
    $1,350.00 high season (Nov - Apr)
    Prices vary based on departure season.

    Click a day for more details.

    • Day 1: Guatemala City to Antigua - Arrival

      Upon arrival to Guatemala City, you’ll be met by your driver who will take you on a 30-minute journey out of the bustling city to Antigua, an iconic colonial town nestled in a valley surrounded by volcanoes. A destination unmissable to the culturally curious, Antigua is the perfect jumping off point from which to begin your exploration of Guatemala. Check in to the luxurious El Convento Hotel, and settle in for a relaxing evening to wrap up a long travel day.

    • Day 2: Antigua - Get a taste of Guatemala with a street food tour

      Get your bearings today on a walking tour of the city’s vibrant market and culinary scene. Taste five different traditional Guatemalan dishes and snacks, and experience the best street foot Antigua has to offer – from street carts to a famous sweet shop to secret, family-run eateries rarely visited by tourists. Make sure to come hungry!

    • Day 3: Antigua - Wander Antigua's cobblestone streets, explore its ruins of convents and churches, and learn about the city's rich colonial past

      In a city where the old stands side by side with the new, nowhere offers a better introduction to Guatemala than Antigua. Step back in time on a private walking tour of the city. Meander your way through labyrinth cobblestone streets, passing through fascinating and majestic ruins of convents and churches, and catching an authentic glimpse of modern Guatemalan culture as you uncover secrets of Antigua’s ancient past.

    • Day 4: Antigua to Lake Atitlán - Walk in the footsteps of the ancient Maya at Iximché and take part in a traditional shamanic fire ceremony before continuing on to serene Lake Atitlán

      After a hearty breakfast, your cultural adventure in the Mayan highlands begins with a ride through rolling hills to the post-classic Mayan city of Iximché, the first city invaded and conquered by the Spanish. Today, indigenous Maya people from all over the highlands arrive to the site to perform sacred Mayan fire ceremonies, which often take place in a ceremonial area behind the ruins. Learn about the Mayan calendar, and the history and importance of Iximché from an experienced local guide as you explore the ruins on foot.

      Delve deeper into the culture with a personalized Mayan fire ceremony guided by a traditional healer who will lead you through a healing and protection ceremony. Then, continue on to the shores of Lake Atitlán, and check in to the luxurious digs at Casa Palopó, where you’ll call home for the next three nights.

    • Day 5: Lake Atitlán - Relax in lakeside bliss

      Today, revel in lakeside paradise and serene volcanic views from Casa Palopó. Gone are the tuk-tuks whizzing by and the market vendors hawking their wares; instead, a gentle breeze and quiet lapping of waves. Catch some rays poolside, sip a tasty cocktail at the martini bar, or gear down into vacation mode with a delectable massage to melt all your stresses away.

    • Day 6: Lake Atitlán - Discover the beautiful Mayan towns of Lake Atitlán; visit artisans and indigenous weavers in their workshops, peruse galleries, and taste fair-trade chocolate and honey

      Get a tantalizing taste of Maya culture on an exploration of Lake Atitlán today. Explore the colors of the villages of San Juan La Laguna and Santiago Atitlán on a private boat tour, starting with the cobblestone streets of San Pedro, and the region’s oldest church, followed by sweeping lake views at a hilltop vista. Next, visit San Juan La Laguna, a colorful artisan village with walls decorated with murals. Your guide will take you to a women’s cooperative to learn about the unique traditional textiles created here, and see hand weaving and the natural dying process up close, before leading you to a cacao cooperative to taste delicious local chocolate in its many forms.

      Uncover your next stop at Santiago Atitlán for a delicious local lunch overlooking the lake, and end your day at a traditional market, where you’ll pay your respects to Maximón (also called San Simón), a Mayan deity and folk saint who wears colorful garlands and scarves before boarding a boat to take you back to the lodge.

    • Day 7: Lake Atitlán to Guatemala City - Bid serene lake views adios

      Spend your last morning at Casa Palopó relaxing, before setting off on your final boat ride to Panajachel. Take a two and a half hour transfer through the lush, green hills back to Guatemala City, and check into Real Intercontinental Guatemala City for a restful final night in Guatemala.

    • Day 8: Guatemala City - Departure

      Transfer to the international airport three hours before your flight home. Adios!

    Click hotel image for details.

    What's Included?

    We'll give you everything you need, everything you want, and a few little surprises to make your trip extra special. We've got you covered, from start to finish. Unique, unforgettable destinations; private tours with local experts; authentic local cuisine; lessons, demonstrations and new cultural insights; more adventure than you can handle; perfect romantic touches; blissful relaxation; and a feeling of total freedom. We take care of everything so that you can enjoy an unparalleled, hassle-free journey without worrying about a thing.

    • Airport pickup

    • All hotel accommodation

    • Meals as indicated

    • Detailed maps and trip preparation guide

    • All special events and tours

    • All vehicle and regional air transportation from rendezvous to drop-off

    • All baggage transportation

    • All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service

    Stay Longer

    If our off-the-shelf itinerary is almost a perfect fit, but just doesn’t feel long enough, extend your stay to make it the best vacation possible. Spend a few days in the region before or after – we can customize any trip, and no ask is too big!

    Let us know what you have in mind using the contact form below, and we’ll get in touch to create your perfect travel experience.

    Know Before You Go

    • Itinerary prices are dependent on season of departure. Christmas, New Years and Easter (Semana Santa) are peak season, and prices during these periods are significantlky higher than other times of year. High season runs from November through April, and green season from May through September.

    • Arrival: hotel check-in times are at 3:00pm, but you may arrive at any time during the day. If you arrive prior to the scheduled check-in time, we will arrange for early check-in wherever possible.

    • Departure: hotel check-out times are at 9:00am. International flights on your departure day should be arranged to depart after 1:30pm.

    • All prices in USD.

    • For vaccination recommendations, please visit the CDC website.

    • For American, Canadian, and British citizens, a valid passport with 6+ months remaining is required for entry to Guatemala.

    • Debit cards may not work in Central America, but most establishments accept major credit cards.

    • Please ensure you have immediate access to a minimum of USD $250 as an emergency fund to be used if circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster) require changes to your planned route.

    • If departing Guatemala by air, most major airlines include exit taxes in the price of your airfare; if not, the airline agent will let you know payment is required upon check in (USD $30, payable in quetzales or dollars).

    • It is customary to tip service providers (waiters) around 10% depending on service. Tipping taxi drivers is not required.

    • Gratuities for guides and drivers are deeply appreciated, and provide an important supplement to their income. If you are pleased with the tour services you've received, a guideline for tipping in Central America is USD $8-10 per person per day for multiple-day tours, or USD $5-10 per person for day tours.

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    Getting There

    From North America: several airlines offer direct and connecting flights to Guatemala’s main international airport: La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City (airport code: GUA). There is a secondary international airport that services Flores and Santa Elena in Guatemala's northern region, but unless you are connecting with Belize, it is unlikely you will arrive or depart from this airport. Including connection time, flights from the USA typically range from 2.5-9 hours in duration, while most flights from Canada range from 9-15 hours in duration.

    From the UK: there are currently no direct flights to Guatemala from the UK, but there are several flight options connecting in the United States and/or Canada. Including connection time, flights from the UK typically range from 12-18 hours in duration.

    When you arrive in GUA, there will be an airport transfer waiting to take you to your first destination. If you have questions about flights, or require assistance booking, please contact us here. We're here to help!

    Ready to book, or just want to get more information? Let's get started! Fill out the form below, and we will send you a no-obligation quote.

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