A Family Vacation in Guatemala
Discover Guatemala as a Family: Our Suggested 14-Day Itinerary
Length of stay: 14 days
Kind: Family Vacation in Guatemala
Fix: For All Publics
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 it’s famous market (Thursday and Sunday). The Kaqchikel Indians descend from surrounding villages twice a week to sell their handicrafts 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. In the center of the village, shamans purify the stairs of the church with incense and partake in Mayan rituals.
The Emblematic Lake Atitlan:
Today, depart for Lake Atitlan, a true symbol of Guatemala. This beautiful lake is nestled between 3 volcanoes at 1,600 meters above sea level. Take in the panoramic views! There are many small villages that sit on the 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.
Day 3 : Panajachel
Boat Trip to Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan
In the 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. Option included: Lunch in a local family in San Juan la Laguna. Overnight at Hotel Dos Mundos Panajachel.
Day 4 : Panajachel
Colourful market of Sololá :
Meet with your local guide and departure by local transport (chicken bus) to the Sololá market. This is one of the most authentic and colorful markets in the region~
Visit the wholesale market that attracts buyers from all over the region. Take time to appreciate the great variety of traditional outfits, whose colors correspond to their village of origin. Then continue on to the lively retail market, where you’ll sample the local cuisine on the advice of your local guide.
A few hundred meters away, Mayan ceremonies are often performed by local shamans. After a morning experiencing local life, depart by Chicken Bus to the Atitlán reserve.
Visit Atitlan reserve :
Walk on the windy trails and suspended bridges through the lush vegetation. Many birds and spider monkeys are observed. Discover a butterfly greenhouse.
Return to Panajachel by tuk-tuk and free afternoon at the end of the day on Lake Atitlán.
Option included: English speaking local guide for the day. Option included: Entrance fees to Atitlan reserve + zipline adventure. Overnight at Hotel Dos Mundos Panajachel.
Day 5 : Panajachel
Drive to the small village of Santa Catarina Palopo The inhabitants of this pretty little village live mainly from agriculture, fishing and weaving. Since 2016, a community project has been gradually repainting the village houses with the color of the local huipil: a deep blue with traditional motifs. Beautiful!
After lunch, drive to Antigua. End of the day free to explore the colonial city. Overnight stay at Hotel Casa del Parque.
Day 6 : Antigua
Ascension of 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 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). Overnight stay at the hotel Casa del Parque.
Day 7 : Antigua
Departure at 5AM for Quirigua. Visit the archaeological site in the Motagua Valley. Quirigua was an important and respected city during the Mayan classical period (200 – 900 AD). The site is particularly renowned for the beauty of its stelae, the highest reaching 10. 70 metres high and weighing 65 tonnes.
Continuation to Puerto Barrios, where you’ll begin to feel the Caribbean atmosphere. Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Caribe.
Day 8 : Puerto Barrios
Coconut trees, white sand & Caribbean
Departure in the morning by boat to an isolated beach near the border with Belize. It takes 45 minutes to 1 hour of navigation to reach the Playa Blanca site. On the program for today’s excursion: relaxing on the white sand beaches and swimming in the turquoise water of the Caribbean!
Return to Livingston in the early afternoon. Afternoon free.
NB: 4 USD to be paid on site for access to the private beach.
Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Caribe.
Day 9 : Livingston
Relaxing boat trip down the Río Dulce. Cross a canyon and stop for a swim in the hot springs. Finally, reach the village of Río Dulce where many sailboats come to drop anchor. Visit of Fort San Felipe built in the 17th century to stop recurrent pirate attacks.
After the visit you will continue to Tikal , where you will spend the night in the jungle.
Option included: private boat from Livingston to Río Dulce. Overnight stay at the hotel Jaguar Inn 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.
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 rain forest in a mystical atmosphere. The temple of the great jaguar faces that of the masks in the great square, the heart 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. Watch 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 Hotel Casazul. (Breakfast at the Hotel Peten at 300mts).
Day 11 : Flores
Arrival in Sayaxché and board a motorized lancha .
Refreshing swim at Crater Azul
Relaxing boat trip on the Río la Pasión. Observe many birds that have made their home in the Petexbatún lagoon: herons, kingfishers, cormorants. Turtles and crocodiles hide on the banks of the river. After about 1 hour of navigation, we arrived at the Crater Azul (the blue crater), a natural site little known to travelers.
With it’s unparalleled transparency, the Crater Azul is a cenote, an underwater well about ten meters deep. Dive into the water for a refreshing swim in this fresh and crystal clear water, home to an amazing water garden.
Return by boat to Sayaxché. After the visit, continue to the department Alta Verapaz to reach a charming lodge near the Caves of Candelaría. Excursion Included option: Picnic lunch for lunchtime. Overnight stay at the hotel Candelaria Lodge.
Day 12 : Candelaria
Tubing in the caves of Candelaria
A 3-hour excursion through the rain forest and caves of Candelaria. The main gallery is nearly 22 kilometers long and 60 kilometers of additional networks have been added, making up one of the largest underground cave networks in Latin America.
After a short walk, board a large buoy which will take you down the sacred river. Let the current carry you away 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.
Continue to Cobán, capital of the department located 1,300 meters above sea level. The name of the city comes from the Indian Quek’chi, meaning “between the clouds.” Here, excellent coffee is produced! Overnight stay at Hotel Casa Gaia.
Day 13 : Coban
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. The tour continues with a zipline adventure over the coffee fields.
Continue to Cobán, capital of Alta Verapaz located 1,300 meters above sea lovel. The name of the city comes from the Indian Quek’chi, meaning “between the clouds”.
Transfer to the center of the country and the capital of Guatemala City .
Overnight stay at the hotel Stofella.