• Guatemala: Nature & Culture Explorer

Experience the highlights of this fascinating and culturally rich country

Days: 9 | From: $5,150/per person

  • Includes accommodations at first class boutique hotels that reflect the best of local culture
  • Includes excursions and tours with superb private guides

Step back in time, discovering the history of the small city of Antigua before heading to Lake Atitlán, ringed by three volcanoes. Finish at Tikal and Lake Petén Itzá to explore the cultural richness of the Mayan civilization.

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We tailor itineraries to your dates and interests, adjusting hotels, excursions and length as desired.

We consistently receive 5 star reviews from our discerning clients.

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At a glance

  • Antigua
    3 nights: discover the history and beauty of Antigua and its surroundings
  • Lake Atitlan
    2 nights: explore the Mayan civilization in this beautiful volcano region
  • Lake Petén Itzá
    3 nights: see this beautiful lake and experience a deeper understanding of Mayan culture visiting the famous Tikal archeological site

  • All itineraries are fully customizable. We will send you a personalized variation that reflects your interests and travel dates at no extra cost. Call to discuss your travel plans with one of our Specialists who know this region firsthand.

Customize this trip
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Sample itinerary

Day 1:

Welcome to Guatemala!

Guatemala - Antigua

Arrive to Guatemala City, where your local guide will meet you and transfer you to Antigua. Antigua is a remarkable small city, renowned for its Spanish colonial architecture and surrounded by towering volcanoes.

Accommodations: Las Cruces, 3 nights

Las Cruces Boutique Hotel is located in Antigua, a cultural jewel of Guatemala where you can go back in time walking down its cobblestone streets. You will surely enjoy its 11 luxurious rooms with original silver pieces from XVII century, beautiful interior patio, relaxing sitting room, and a charming veranda with an amazing view of the city and the volcanoes.

Day 2:

Explore Colonial Antigua

Guatemala - Antigua Colors

Step back in time as you explore historic Antigua with your private guide. For over 200 years, Antigua was the capital of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, a region that encompassed almost all of present-day Central America and the southernmost part of Mexico. The city was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times after a series of devastating earthquakes in 1717, 1751, and 1773, after which the capital was moved to Guatemala City. Antigua houses a fascinating mix of ruins and restored colonial architecture, which you will explore with your guide as you wander the cobblestoned streets.

Accommodations: Las Cruces, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3:

Pacaya Volcano Hike and Picnic

Guatemala - Antigua City with Volcano

Journey into the foothills of Pacaya Volcano for a trek up through lush pine forest. A widening panorama unfolds on the way up, offering views on clear days of northern volcanoes, the Pacific lowlands, and all the way to El Salvador. At the base of the peak itself, a barren moonscape of loose rock and pebbles greets you. Steam rises from numerous vents, which sometimes yield a view of the bright orange magma deep inside. Enjoy a picnic with sweeping vistas before your walk back down to the base, where you will be transferred back to Antigua.

Accommodations: Las Cruces, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4:

Travel to Lake Atitlan

Guatemala - Lake Atitlan at Dusk

Travel to Lake Atitlan, set in a massive volcanic crater in Guatemala’s southwestern highlands. Surrounded by verdant hills, the area is known for its Mayan villages and striking volcanoes. En route, stop to explore the world-famous Chichi Market. Here you’ll visit the fruit and vegetable markets where locals buy produce and household goods, and spend time in the artisan craft area where stalls overflow with a variety of handmade textiles, carved wood, and ceramic crafts. Upon arrival at your hotel on Lake Atitlan, you will have the balance of the day to relax around the lake and enjoy the spectacular surroundings.

Accommodations: Casa Palopó, 2 nights

Casa Palopó sits on the steep hills surrounding Santa Catarina Palopó, a Mayan village on the shores of Lake Atitlan. With only seven guestrooms and one villa, this boutique hotel offers personalized service and incredible views of Lake Atitlan and the surrounding volcanoes.

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5:

Lake Atitlan / Santiago

Guatemala - Lake Atitlan

Discover the nearby town of Solola, where the traditional dress of the local Maya is probably the most colorful in all of Guatemala. In the afternoon, enjoy a boat tour to Santiago, a traditional town on the opposite side of Lake Atitlan. The Maya language of Tz’utujil is still spoken in Santiago, and the town is steeped in traditional beliefs and rituals. This village is also famous for its beautiful woven “huipiles” (women’s blouses or tunics).

Accommodations: Casa Palopó, 2 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6:

Travel to Lake Petén Itzá

Guatemala - Flores

Fly north to Flores, where you will be transferred to your boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá. The second largest lake in Guatemala, Petén Itzá is surrounded by fascinating archaeological sites.

Accommodations: Las Lagunas, 3 nights

Located in the Heart of the Maya World, very close to the magnificent Tikal, Uaxactún, and Yaxhá ruins, you can experience the richness of the jungle at its best in Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel.

*Includes: Breakfast

Alternative lodging options: La Lancha
Day 7:

Lake Petén Itzá / Yaxha / Topoxte

Las Lagunas Boutique - Yaxha

Explore less-visited Mayan sites: Yaxha, located on a hillside above the Yaxha lagoon, and Topoxte, a smaller site, located on a series of forested islands in Lake Petén Itzá. These sites offer a glimpse into Maya history, and the surrounding forest is home to a variety of wildlife.

Accommodations: Las Lagunas, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8:


Guatemala - Tikal

Journey to the ruins of Tikal. One of the most impressive Mayan sites in Central America, Tikal is a sprawling complex of temples and residential structures, with several temples that rise above the jungle canopy, providing sweeping views of the surrounding rainforest environment. The site is also home to a wide variety of jungle wildlife, including monkeys, toucans and many other species.

Accommodations: Las Lagunas, 3 nights

*Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9:

Depart for home

Today you say goodbye to your local guide and head to the airport in Flores for a short flight to Guatemala City, where you can connect with your international flight home.

*Includes: Breakfast

More Photos From This Trip

Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary

  • Cross the border and spend 3 nights at Chaa Creek, which provides a unique and comfortable base for a variety of adventures and ecotourism in the rainforests of Belize.

  • Include some downtime for rest and relaxation! Some free time to unwind or have a massage will allow you to feel refreshed and ready for the remainder of your trip. Many of our properties include excellent spas or wellness centers. We can help arrange these services or include properties that offer health & wellness amenities.

  • Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip.

Reviews From This Trip

5 stars

  • Perfect vacation. We learned a lot about Guatemala (Antigua, Atitlan, and Peten) by visiting several villages and Mayan sites.
    Gale Waldron
  • The trip was really fantastic. It was really a great experience and everything was planned perfectly.
    Gary Kaplan
  • Fantastic!! Exceeded expectations. Guatemala was "The Best"!
    Charlie Stevens

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Why Travel with Vaya?

We're TRUE specialists

We’ve not only traveled there, we’ve lived there. Our smart and engaging specialists are all current or former expatriates with years of experience in the region.

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From the first phone call to after you get back, we're here for you every step of the way. We listen, create, customize and advocate for you, and design experiences that go beyond the expected.

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Our discerning sensibility and good taste go beyond just choices in hotels and top guides; we have a walk the walk commitment to the environment and are genuine leaders in conservation efforts.