Immersion in Nature
Immerse yourself in the lush nature of Guatemala on this discovery tour!
Discover the colors and nature of Guatemala and it’s people! This 14-day tour is focused on discovery Guatemala’s natural wonders. Enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Atitlan from a small village rarely visited by tourists. Explore the colonial city of Antigua and it’s volcanoes, then head to the Verapaces region for a swim Semuc Champey surrounded by lush jungle. Discover Tikal differently with a night in a lodge in the middle of the jungle, then visit the site at sunrise. End the trip soaking up the Caribbean sun in the Garifuna village of Livingston.
Length of stay: 14 days
Kind: Must-See Guatemala
Fix: For all public
Countries visited: Guatemala
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Day 1 : Guatemala City
Bienvenidos a Guatemala !
Arrive at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel. Overnight stay at the Hotel Stofella.
Day 2 : Guatemala City
Market day in Chichicastenango:
Today, travel to Chichicastenango to explore its famous market (Thursday and Sunday). The Kaqchikel Indians descend from surrounding villages twice a week to sell their wares here. The city is transformed into a real kaleidoscope of colors and smells. The women wear the traditional huipil representing the seasons of the Mayan calendar and in the center of the village, shamans purify the stairs of the church with incense and indulge in Mayan rituals.
Emblematic Lake Atitlan:
Today, depart for Lake Atitlan, a true symbol of Guatemala. This beautiful lake is nestled between 3 volcanoes at 1600 meters above sea level – the panoramas are magnificent. There are many small villages that sit on shores of the lake, often only accessible by boat. Here they celebrate local festivals and host markets rooted in tradition.
Arrive in Panajachel at the end of the day. Landing on a private lancha. We follow the shores of Lake Atitlan to reach the small village of Tzununa. Tuk tuk trip (included) to the Lomas Hotel in Tzununa.
The small hotel (10 rooms) is away from the tourist roads. Each room offers a breathtaking view of Lake Atitlan. The hotel lends itself to relaxation with a spa, a swimming pool with panoramic views, a typical restaurant, yoga workshops. Possibility to rent kayaks to explore the surroundings and swim in the lake.
Overnight stay at the hotel Lomas de Tzununa.
Day 3 : Tzununa
Free day in Lomas de Tzununa.
The small hotel (10 rooms) is away from the tourist roads. Each room offers a breathtaking view of Lake Atitlan. Take advantage of the amenities offered by the hotel: a spa, a swimming pool with panoramic views, a local restaurant, and yoga workshops. Possibility to rent kayaks to explore the surroundings or take a swim in the lake.
Suggestions for activities in the area:
– Discovery of the Panajachel Atitlan Reserve (zip line routes, suspension bridges, a butterfly greenhouse, interpretive trails, monkey and bird watching)
– Visit the colorful village of Santa Catarina Palopo (15 minutes by taxi from Panajachel)
– Kayak or paddle board on Lake Atitlan to visit one of the Mayan villages along the lake accessible by taxi boat: San Juan, San Marcos, Santa Catarina, Santiago Atitlan…
– Guided hikes
Note: Day without transport service.
Overnight stay at the hotel Lomas de Tzununa.
Day 4 : Panajachel
Boat Trip to Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan
This morning, hop on a boat and discover the Tzutuhil villages of Lake Atitlan. The Tzutuhil are one of the 21 Mayan peoples of Guatemala. They are present in only a handful of villages located southwest of Lake Atitlan.
Visit Santiago Atitlan where you’ll discover a curious syncretic cult: Maximón, the cigarette smoking God of Guatemala is feared as much as he is idolized. Somewhere between good and bad, the villagers offer Maximón gifts in the form of cigarettes, alcohol or money.
After, discover the small Mayan village of San Juan La Laguna. Here the weavers’ cooperative will open its doors to teach you about the techniques of natural coloring and traditional weaving. Appreciate the naive paintings that represent scenes of daily life in the region.
Return to Panajachel and spend the rest of your afternoon free to explore the small town.
Option included : English speaking local guide for the day. Overnight stay at the hotel Lomas de Tzununa.
Day 5 : Panajachel
Depart for the Mayan site of Iximché, capital city of the Mayas Kaqchikel who allied themselves with the Spanish settlers against the Maya Quiché. The conquistadors established the first Spanish city of the country, but the Kaqchikels revolted and burned the city in 1562. The site is the place of Mayan rituals practiced by shamans and locals alike.
Continuation to Antigua. End of the day to explore Antigua.
Overnight stay at the hotel Meson María.
Day 6 : Antigua
Surrounded by 3 majestic volcanoes, this ancient capital of Central America has suffered many natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions… Yet, Antigua remains one of the most beautiful cities in Guatemala.
The city is home to more than thirty monasteries, convents and a grand cathedral in the central square. The cobblestone streets adjoin the colorful patios of the colonial houses. Stroll along the arcades of Parque Central, admiring the volcanoes Fuego, Agua and Acatenango in the distance.
Note : Walking visit of the city (no vehicle required). Overnight stay at the hotel Meson María.
Day 7 : Antigua
Climb the Pacaya Volcano:
This morning, depart early for Pacaya Volcano, one of 3 active volcanoes in Guatemala. After a 1 hour and 30 minute drive, begin the ascent (3 hours hiking, 400 meters of altitude difference). The hike is accessible to all and offers beautiful views of the valley and the volcanoes Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. At the base of the cone, observe the crater and fumaroles escaping. Lava flows can be seen when the volcano is active. Descend the giant and return to Antigua around 1PM. Free afternoon to explore Antigua.
Note: Good physical condition is recommended! There is also the possible to do this activity on horseback. Option included : Entrance fees to volcan Pacaya. Option included: English speaking local community guide (mandatory for your climb).
After lunch, head for the department of Alta Verapaz whose mountainous landscapes are covered with mist, waterfalls and lush forests. Arrival in Cobá , capital of the department located at 1,300 meters above sea level. The name of the city comes from the Indian Quek’chi, meaning “between the clouds”.
Option included: Entry fees to Volcan Pacaya.
Option included : English speaking local guide in
Overnight stay at the hotel Casa Gaia.
Day 8 : Coban
Early departure from Cobán to the Cahabón River (07:00). The village of Lanquín and the valley are particularly famous for their caves, waterfalls and natural pools.
Excursion to Semuc Champey
Semuc Champey’s natural swimming pools are one of the most beautiful landscapes in Guatemala. The Cahabón River flows under a limestone bridge, forming a series of turquoise water basins on its surface. Amazing and superb! Possibility to access a viewpoint by a steep path to enjoy the panorama (30 to 45 minutes walk). Swimming in these pools with calm and fresh water.
After the visit, continue to the department Alta Verapaz to reach a charming lodge near the Caves of Candelaría . End of the day in this tropical oasis. Option included: private transport by 4×4 vehicle between Lanquin and Semuc Champey (10 to 15 mn of steep road). Overnight stay at the hotel Candelaria Lodge.
Day 9 : Tikal
Tubing in the caves of Candelaria:
A 3-hour excursion through the rainforest and caves of Candelaria. The main gallery is nearly 22 kilometres long and 60 kilometres of ancillary networks are added, making up one of the largest underground networks in Latin America.
After an approach walk, we embark on the sacred river in a large buoy. We then let ourselves be carried away by the current to discover the impressive stalactites, stalagmites and other surprises that these deep caves have in store for you. A unique experience in the heart of Guatemala.
Departure for Tikal National Park in Peten.
Overnight stay at the hotel Jungle Lodge Tikal.
Day 10 : Tikal
Sunrise in Tikal
Early departure (4:30 am) for Tikal. The impressive Mayan city built in the 4th century BC reached its peak between the 3rd and 9th centuries AD.
We enter the site in the darkness to climb the highest pyramid and witness the awakening of the jungle: first the howler monkeys whose cries can be heard several kilometers away, then the birds that cross the twilight. The light rises over the tropical forest, gradually revealing the pyramids that surround us.
Return to the hotel for breakfast. Then visit the archaeological site. Some 3,000 structures emerge from the rainforest in a mystical atmosphere. The temple of the great jaguar faces that of the masks in the great square, the nerve center of the city. At 65 meters high, the Snake Temple was the highest building in the New World until the 19th century.
Nature is not to be outdone, engulfing the traveler who enters the reserve. We are watching for spider monkeys, pheasants, coatis, toucans and other multicoloured parrots. The screams of howler monkeys can be heard from several kilometers away. The traveler is surprised by the smell of vines and roots.
Transfer to Flores located on a peninsula of Lake Peten Itza.
Option included : english speaking local guide in Tikal. Option included : Entrance fees to Tikal. Overnight stay at the hotel Isla de Flores. Premium Room.
Day 11 : Livingston
Today, travel approximately 4 hours to the Rio Dulce. Here you can feel the atmosphere of the Caribbean! Visit Fort San Felipe which was built in the 17th centre to stop the continuous pirate attacks and view the many sailboats that anchor here today.
Sweet Rio Dulce
Take a private boat trip out onto the Rio Dulce. Travel past a canyon and take a dip in some hot springs. Arrive at the village of Livingston where part of the population are the ethnic group Garifuna , who are descendants of black slaves. You will notice how different the culture is here to the rest of Guatemala! Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Caribe.
Day 12 : Livingston
Coconut trees, white sands and Caribbean vibes.
Departure in the morning by boat to an isolated beach near the border with Belize. It takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the Playa Blanca site. Spend the day relaxing on the white sands and swimming in the turquoise water of the Caribbean.
Return to Livingston in the early afternoon. Afternoon free to explore.
NB: 4 USD to be paid on site for access to the private beach.
Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Caribe.
Day 13 : Livingston
Boarding for Puerto Barrios (40 minutes) and take the road to Quirigua (1 hour 30 minutes).
This morning board a boat for Puerto Barrios (40 minute sail) and then continue on to the ruins of Quirigua, an archaeological site in the valley of Motagua. Quirigua was an important and respected city during the Mayan Classic period (200 – 900 AD). The site is particularly famous for the beauty of its steles, the highest reaching 10.70 meters high and 65 tons!
Overnight stay at the hotel Stofella.