This 11 day itinerary is a celebration of all the things that make Guatemala such an exciting country to visit; ancient and modern Mayan culture, colonial architecture, stunning scenery, beautiful textiles, indigenous markets and wonderfully hospitable people, amongst many others.
This is a true Guatemala highlights holiday, where we’ll take you from the old cobbled streets of Antigua, sailing across the achingly beautiful Lake Atitlan to visit traditional artisans, to discover the wildlife, nature and waterfalls of Coban and Semuc Champey – finally, you'll see the world-famous ruins at Yaxha and Tikal. There’s absolutely no doubt the diversity of Guatemala will blow you away!
Day 1: You will be met on arrival into La Aurora Airport by your guide, who will drive with you into Antigua city to check in at your hotel.
Day 2: A walking tour of Antigua with your knowledgeable local guide will take you on a journey through history. It's a picturesque and atmospheric New World city, dominated by the Volcan de Agua on the skyline, where reminders of colonial times are etched along cobbled streets and every church, market and museum has its own story to tell. (B)
Day 3: After a relaxed breakfast your guide will drive you through the highlands to the iconic Lake Atitlan. Your home for the next couple of days is a small ecohotel perched on a peninsula with fantastic views of the lake and surrounded by more volcanoes. (B)
Day 4: An incredibly scenic boat ride takes you to the village of San Juan La Laguna, where you will experience the different ways this community keep their traditions alive. Visit a women’s textile cooperative to see hand-weaving and natural dyeing processes, the studio homes of celebrated naïf painters and the shrine of the Mayan God Maximon, where you will learn about the beliefs of the Tz'utujil Maya. The day finishes with a boat trip back across the lake and time to relax. (B)
Day 5: Chichicastenango is home to one of the most important indigenous markets in Latin America - a real feast for the senses, full of colour, sounds and smells, where every Thursday and Sunday the Kʼicheʼ Maya people celebrate their ancient culture. The market has a significance beyond mere commerce as a meeting place for Mayan peoples, while Christian and Mayan devotees at Santo Tomas church fill the air with a mixture of flower scents and incense that turns the experience into a magical moment. (B)
Day 7: Semuc Champey is an unforgettable place, with its cascade of natural swimming pools surrounded by the rainforest and filled with crystal-clear mountain spring water. If you are feeling energetic you can hike up through the jungle for some great views, or simply relax immersed in the beautiful turquoise waters.
Afterwards, head to Lanquin caves where you can explore inside on foot, or just wait at the entrance for the main event as thousands of bats fly out at dusk to feed. (B)
Day 8: Journey north into the Ancient Mayan world, heading to the island town of Flores on the edge of Peten Itza Lake. En route, stop off at Candelaria Caves, a huge 80km underground system that K'iche' Mayans considered an entrance to the underworld and is still used for some ceremonies today. It's also a great place to enjoy a cave tubing tour (optional). (B)
Day 9: Today is your introduction to the amazing ancient Mayan sites that cover this area. Head off to Yaxha National Park, where you will walk along ancient Maya causeways (Sac be, in Maya Language) under a dense rainforest canopy that is home to fantastic flora and fauna including lots of monkeys. You will have the chance to climb temples that offer wonderful views of the surrounding jungle, ending the day at the top of temple 216, the highest structure in Yaxha, where you will enjoy a truly unforgettable sunset. (B)
Day 10: Experience the wonders of Tikal, a magical archaeological site inside the Mayan biosphere which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Destination in 1979. Here you will find a place where nature and archaeology live side by side, with abundant wildlife and forest surrounding every corner of Tikal and its temples, silent witnesses of the birth, splendor and collapse of one of the most important civilisations on the planet. After the tour you will drive back to Flores' Mundo Maya Airport, to catch a flight to Guatemala City.
Day 11: Sadly today it's time to say goodbye to this magical country as you are transferred to the airport in time for your flight home. (B)
Prices from: £1500 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, internal flight, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: international flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!