Panorama of Guatemala

Idea of a travel itinerary in Guatemala in 16 days.

Discover the wonders of Guatemala and meet its people through a concentrate of colours and nature. This 16-day tour will give you an excellent overview of the country. The unmissable of course with Antigua, Lake Atitlan and the Petén region with its archaeological sites. But also the highlands of Guatemala with Quetzaltenango and its small villages, or Livingston on the Caribbean coast, capital of the black Garifuna culture in Guatemala. The visit of Copan in Honduras completes this complete panorama of Guatemala.

Length of stay: 16 days

Kind: Our must-see tours in Guatemala

Fix: For all public

Countries visited: Guatemala, Honduras

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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 Antigua. Overnight stay at the hotel Meson María.

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Day 2 : Antigua

Explore Antigua

Surrounded by 3 majestic volcanoes, the ancient capital of Central America has suffered throughout its history many natural hazards: earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions… But Antigua is now one of the most beautiful cities in Guatemala.

We invite you to discover the city which is host to more than thirty monasteries and 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 in the distance the volcanoes Fuego, Agua and Acatenango.

NB : walking visit of the city (no vehicle). Overnight stay at the hotel Meson María.

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Day 3 : Antigua

Option included : english speaking local community guide (mandatory). Ascension of Pacaya Volcano:

This morning, depart early for Pacaya Volcano with an english speaking guide , one of 3 active volcanoes in Guatemala. After 1h30 of transport, begin the ascent (3 hours of walk, 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. Descent of the giant and return to Antigua around 13h. Spend you afternoon at leisure in Antigua.

Note : Good physical condition is recommended. There is the possible to do this activity on horseback. Overnight stay at the hotel Meson María.

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Day 4 : Antigua

Departure for the Mayan site of Iximché , capital of the Mayas Kaqchikel who allied themselves with the Spanish settlers facing 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 sometimes the place of Mayan rituals practiced by shamans and locals.

Emblematic Lake Atitlan:

We continue 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. Overnight stay at the hotel Dos Mundos Panajachel.

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Day 5 : 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 natives 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 and discover a curious syncretic cult. Somewhere between good and bad, Maximón , the smoking God of Guatemala is feared as much as he is idolized. The villagers offer him 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 at leisure in the small town. Option included : english speaking local guide for the day. Overnight stay at the hotel Dos Mundos Panajachel.

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Day 6 : Panajachel

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.

Transfer to Quetzaltenango , the main city of the Guatemalan Altiplana. Spend the afternoon at leisure in this enchanting city. Overnight stay at the hotel Modelo.

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Day 7 : Quetzaltenango

Market Delights in San Francisco el Alto

The city of San Francisco el Alto is transformed on Fridays when hosting one fo the biggest markets in all Guatemala. This is a traditional market perfect for visitors looking for a souvenir or two, with its livestock fair, its fruit and vegetable stands and clothes and various utensils that extend as far as the eye can see.

Then we stop at the village of San Andres Xecul known for its colorful church. Here you will see Catholic symbols which mingle with native symbols in an explosive mix.

Meet Don Andres, who has been a weaver since the age of 15 , and visit his workshop to learn the art of using a loom machine.

Travel back to Quetzaltenango , nicknamed Xela by the Guatemalans. Overnight stay at the hotel Modelo.

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Day 8 : Quetzaltenango

Located at an altitude of 2300 meters, the are of Quetzaltenango is inhabited largely by native Indians of Maya origin.

Visit Almolonga , its church and vegetable market. Take a relaxing break at Fuentes Georginas . Cross the fields cultivated on the flanks of the Zunil volcano, whose activity heats the springs. Swim in this beautiful setting.

Transfer to Guatemala in the afternoon (journey time of approximately 5 hours). Overnight stay at the hotel Stofella.

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Day 9 : Guatemala City

Highlands in the Verapaces

Today, depart for the region of Alta Verapaz whose mountainous landscapes are covered with mist, waterfalls and lush forests.

Visit a coffee cooperative made up of small producers of the Q’eqchi ethnic group in the highlands of Cobán. A community member accompanies visitors to the plantation, explaining the history of coffee in Guatemala, the processes of production and roasting.

Continue to Cobán , capital of Alta Verapaz located at 1300 meters altitude. The name of the city comes from the Indian Quek’chi between the clouds . Option included : Entrance fees to Coffee tour. Overnight stay at the hotel Casa Duranta.

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Day 10 : Coban

Mayan Underworld in the Candelaria Caves

Today, head north of Alta Verapaz to explore the Caves of Candelaria . The main gallery is nearly 22 kilometers long, plus 60 kilometers of additional networks, making up one of the largest underground networks in Latin America. Take a excursion of approximately 1.5 hours to discover a part of the network that the Mayas regarded as an entrance to the underworld of Xibalba.

In the afternoon, continue to Flores in the heart of Petén. Option included : Entrance fees and excursion to Candelaria Caves. Overnight stay at the hotel Maya Internacional.

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Day 11 : Flores

Tikal: Jewel of the Mayan World

Today is dedicated to the exploration of the impressive city of Tikal, built in the 4th century BC. The city reached its peak between the 3rd and 9th century AD.

Some 3,000 structures emerge from the rainforest in a mystical atmosphere. The Temple of the Great Jaguar faces that of the masks on the main square, in the center of the city. At a height of 65 meters, the Serpent Temple was the tallest building in the New World until the 19th century.

Nature very much still present at Tikal, engulfing every traveler who enters the reserve. Spider monkeys, pheasants, coatis, toucans and other multicolored parrots are on display. The screams of the howler monkeys can be heard for miles around. Odors of lianas and roots surprise you as you explore the site.

In 2017, new research techniques have uncovered temples still buried in the jungle. Tikal has not finished revealing all its mysteries…

Transfer to Flores on a peninsula of Lake Peten Itza. Option included : english speaking local guide in Tikal. Overnight stay at the hotel Maya Internacional.

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Day 12 : Flores

Departure for Yaxha , that means green water in Mayan language. The site is located on the shores of Lake Yaxha which was used to supply the Maya population with fresh water. We walk on the trails of this large and uncrowded site. Don’t miss the view of the lake from the Temple of las Manos Rojas !

Then, travel approximately 4 hours to Rio Dulce . Here you can feel the atmosphere of the Caribbean! Overnight stay at the hotel Banana Palms.

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Day 13 : Livingston

Nice boat trip on the Río Dulce (private boat). Crossing a canyon and swimming in hot springs. The village of Livingston is reached by water. Part of the population is of Garifuna ethnicity, descendants of black slaves. The contrast with the rest of the country is striking. Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Caribe.

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Day 14 : Livingston

Mayan Stories at Quirigua

This morning board a boat for Puerto Barrios (40mn sailing) and then continue on to the ruins of Quirigua . Visit the 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 for 65 tons.

After, travel to Copán in Honduras (approximate journey of 3 hours) where you will spend the night. Option included: private boat from Livingston to Puerto Barrios. Overnight stay at the hotel Terramaya boutique.

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Day 15 : Copan

Copán mayan wonders in Honduras

In the morning, discover the archaeological site of Copán in Honduras, close to the border with Guatemala. The city enjoyed an important cultural and scientific influence at its peak in the 7th century. Its baroque style, its sculptures and its finely ornamented stelae make it one of the most spectacular Mayan cities. You will also enjoy a bird watching on the site.

Transfer to Guatemala City (4h30). Option included : english speaking local guide in Copan. Overnight stay at the hotel Stofella.

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Day 16 : Guatemala City

Today, meet your driver and transfer to Guatemala City Airport.

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