Tailor-Made Holiday

The Highlights of Guatemala

9 days exploring Antigua, Lake Atitlan and Tikal

9 days

from £2,825pp (excluding flights)

Without doubt Guatemala, in our opinion, is one of the most vivid countries of Central America and awash with culture and history. If you only visit once, and you only visit Guatemala once, this itinerary is the one to do.

  • Discover Antigua and its cobbled streets, colourful markets and fascinating monuments
  • Explore the local villages visiting workshops and learn about the lives of the local people
  • Experience the photographer’s paradise of Comalapa open-air market
  • Visit the dramatic landscape surrounding the picturesque Lake Atitlan
  • Wander the famous Maya ruins of Tikal with its soaring temples from the jungle canopy

Start your holiday to Guatemala in Antigua, this UNESCO site bursting with monuments, churches, boutique hotels and lively markets with local produce that would put our supermarkets to shame. Continue to the highlands and to Lake Atitlan with its blue waters and dramatic volcanic backdrop. Here you can discover a rich cultural heritage, wonderful paintings and incredible textile weavers. Take a guided tour of Guatemala's beautiful and lesser visited market of Comalapa before flying up to Guatemala's lowlands to discover the impressive Maya ruins of Tikal that rise from the jungle canopy.  

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2825 £ 850
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Madrid

Fly Madrid to Guatemala City

Drive from Guatemala City to Antigua

Depart Guatemala City and drive to the former colonial capital of Antigua, which is approximately an hour away.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the grand colonial city of Antigua was once one of the regional capitals of the vast Spanish Empire. Peaceful and well-organised, the city is awash with elegant colonial architecture enlivened with pastel facades and clumps of colourful bougainvillea.

Squeezed between three towering volcanic peaks, Antigua's picturesque location comes at a price. Steam and gas are often visible rising from the so-called 'Volcano of Fire', whilst a series of earthquakes devastated the city in the 18th century.

You will be staying at Posada del Angel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Half Day Visit to DLG Coffee Cooperative
Your guide will meet you for a short transfer to the small town of San Miguel Escobar, just outside of Antigua. In town you will be met by a local guide from De La Gente (DLG), which is a charity working to support small independent coffee producers and promotes environmentally responsible agriculture in Guatemala.

This tour takes you to visit some of the families supported by this organisation where you can work side-by-side with small coffee farmers in their daily coffee processing. Pick, pulp, ferment, wash, dry, trilla, sort and grade the coffee (depending on the season), roast it over an open fire and grind by hand on a grindstone before sampling their handiwork. Coffee season is November to March. This tour includes lunch and a donation to DLG.

Half Day Visit to Ciudad Vieja
Visit the small village of Ciudad Vieja, just outside Antigua. Begin by taking a tour of the 'Chicken Bus' workshop, where old North American school buses are transformed. They end up as vibrant, multi-coloured 'chicken buses', which are used for public transportation.

Afterwards, head to some of the more deprived areas of town, where carpentry is a key industry, before finishing at the Niños de Guatemala (NDG). This Guatemalan/Dutch charity was founded in 2006 and aims to defeat poverty through education, as well as to support sustainable development in local communities.

You will be staying at Posada del Angel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Antigua - Lake Atitlan via Iximche

The drive to the Mayan town of Iximche will take around 90mins.

In 1524 when the Spanish invaded Guatemala, they found the Pre-Colombian populations were divided into Lordships. Each Lordship (indigenous group) had its own Capital City and the Cakchiqueles had Ixmiche. Today it is possible to see the ball courts, main plazas and the altar where human sacrifices took place. You will have a guided tour of the archaeological site and then attend a Shaman ceremony, held in a particularly auspicious corner of the city ruins.

It's a further 90min drive to on to Lake Atitlan.

Lake Atitlan is a stunning lake set against a backdrop of three volcanoes. Aldous Huxley once called it 'the most beautiful lake in the world' and it is difficult to disagree. Not only is it beautiful, the area is also interesting for the traditional communities that live on its shores, each with distinct languages, costumes and cultures.

You will be staying at Casa Palopo, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Half Day Trip to Local Textile Cooperative
Head to San Juan La Laguna village. Visit a local textile cooperative to see local people still using back-strap looms and natural dyes. Also meet local naïf painters, who specialise in a style of colourful and ingenious, yet simplistic, indigenous art.

Half Day Visit to the House of the God Maximon
Continue to Santiago village and visit the house of the Maya God Maximon. Each year a different 'brotherhood' has the privilege of taking care of this God, so his location changes. Watch a local shaman performing rituals for local people and have the chance to hire his services for a personal ceremony.

Afterwards, visit the local church and market to learn about the history, textiles and art of this very traditional town.

You will be staying at Casa Palopo, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Comalapa Market and surrounding area
Visit the famous mural that the school children of the town painted depicting major events in Guatemala’s history up to the signing of the peace accords in 1996. Visit some local painters who continue the tradition of naïve paintings that the town is famous for and a local bakery to see how they make the small, rock hard biscuits known as roscas that sell by the thousands each day in Guatemala. Wander around the wonderful market and also the small museum dedicated to the composer who wrote Guatemala’s national anthem who came from Comalapa.

Fly Lake Atitlan to Flores

You will be staying at La Lancha, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Sitting in the far north of Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá is the second largest lake in the country. Surrounded by dense tropical rainforest, the encompassing area is rich in wildlife and vegetation. More than 100 species are indigenous to the lake, whilst cacoa, sugarcane, grains and tropical fruits are all cultivated nearby.

Lake Péten Itzá is also rich in archaeological remains, and the ruined city of Tikal lies close by. One of the greatest ancient cities of the powerful Maya dynasty, Tikal is a stunning ensemble of monumental pyramids, stone plazas and carved stelae.

You will be staying at La Lancha, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Full Day Tour of Tikal
Explore with your guide the awe-inspiring Maya metropolis of Tikal where some 3,000 structures rise from the rainforest floor inhabited by a myriad of wildlife. Follow in the footsteps of both royalty and commoner as your guide leads you to the site of the majestic Great Plaza and its Temple of the Jaguar, while experiencing the sights and sounds of the tropical animals and birds that make Tikal home.
The city of Tikal flourished from 800 BC to 900 AD and the site today gives visitors a real reminder of what the Maya empire achieved at its peak.
Lunch is included.

You will be staying at La Lancha, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Fly Lake Peten Itza to Guatemala City

Fly Guatemala City to Madrid overnight

Day 9

Fly Madrid to London


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Posada del Angel

Posada del Angel

In the heart of this legendary town is the beautiful colonial inn Posada del Angel with its seven elegant rooms and suites, each with a large private bath and a wood-burning fireplace....

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Casa Palopo

Casa Palopo

Casa Palopó is stunning....

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La Lancha

La Lancha

La Lancha is a small and secluded jungle lodge immersed in the rainforest on the shores of Lake Peten Itza not far from the site of Tikal....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Guatemala

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

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"The expertise that John has really gave us faith in where we were going, the regions, the hotels, the trips. John knew about it all, he described them in detail, and when we asked for different regions he was straight in there with suggestions and ideas. The way the whole trip was planned and presented to us, never any pressure to book or any problem to change plans /ideas."

"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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