Family trip to Guatemala
Idea of a family vacation in Guatemala in 14 days.
Length of stay: 14 days
Kind: Family vacation in 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. Overnight stay at the hotel Dos Mundos Panajachel.
Day 3 : 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. Option included : lunch in a local family in San Juan la Laguna. Overnight stay at the hotel Dos Mundos Panajachel.
Day 4 : Panajachel
Colourful market of Sololá :
Meeting with your local guide and departure by local transport ( chicken bus ) to the Sololá market. It is one of the most authentic and colourful markets in the region.
Visit the wholesale market that attracts buyers from all over the region. We appreciate the great variety of their traditional outfits that change according to their village of origin. We then continue to the lively retail market, where we will taste the local cuisine on the advice of our local guide.
A few hundred meters away, Mayan ceremonies are often performed by local shamans. After this morning, which is punctuated by local life, we leave by Chicken Bus to the Atitlán reserve.
Visit Atitlan reserve :
Walk on the interpretive trails and suspended bridges in the lush vegetation. Many birds and spider monkeys are observed. Discovery of 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. Overnight stay at the 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 colours of the local huipil : deep blue with traditional motifs. Beautiful!
After lunch, drive to Antigua . End of the day free in the pretty colonial city. Overnight stay at the 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 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. Option included : Entrance fees to volcan Pacaya. Option included : english speaking local community guide (mandatory). Overnight stay at the hotel Casa del Parque.
Day 7 : Antigua
Departure at 05h for Quirigua. Visit of 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 . You will start 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 of this excursion: relaxing on the white sand 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
Nice boat trip on the Río Dulce . Crossing a canyon and swimming in hot springs. We 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.
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 Casazul. (Breakfast at the Hotel Peten at 300mts).
Day 11 : Flores
Arrival in Sayaxché and boarding on a motorized lancha .
Refreshing swim at Crater Azul
Nice boat trip on the Río la Pasión . We can 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 ( blue crater ), a natural site little known to travellers.
With an unequalled transparency, the Crater Azul is a cenote, an underwater well about ten meters deep. We jump 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 : lunchbox for lunchtime. Overnight stay at the hotel Candelaria Lodge.
Day 12 : Candelaria
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 board 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 bowels of Guatemala.
Continuation to Cobán , capital of the department located at an altitude of 1300 meters. The name of the city comes from the Indian Quek’chi between the clouds . There is produced a very good coffee. Overnight stay at the 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 route over coffee plants.
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 .
Transfer to the centre of the country for the capital Guatemala City .
Overnight stay at the hotel Stofella.