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The Lakes and Lost Civilisations of Guatemala

Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala City

Designed by Evie

This example itinerary from

$7,700pp

11 days

DESTINATIONS > LATIN AMERICAGUATEMALA > The Lakes and Lost Civilisations of Guatemala

Designed by Evie

This example itinerary from

$7,700pp

11 days

Highlights

  • Visit the Colonial City of Antigua 
  • Stay on the shores of Lake Atitlan 
  • Explore Tikal, one of the largest Mayan sites in Central America 
  • Hike through the forests of Pacaya Volcano
  • Discover some of the less-visited Mayan sites in Guatemala

What’s Included

  • Three nights with breakfast included at Posada del Angel 
  • Three nights with breakfast included at Casa Palopo 
  • Three nights with breakfast at La Lancha 
  • One night at La Inmaculada Hotel in Guatemala City 
  • All domestic transfers 
  • All domestic flights in Economy Class 
  • Guiding as mentioned in the itinerary

Example Itinerary

Days 1 – 3

Antigua

  • Marvel at the Spanish colonial architecture and the volcanic backdrop of this beautiful city 
  • Explore the art and gastronomy of Antigua with a local resident

La Antigua is one of the most idyllic towns in The Americas. Marvel at the backdrop of volcanic peaks and perfectly preserved Spanish architecture.

Your private guide and driver will meet you at the airport in Guatemala City and drive you to Posada del Angel, one of our favourite boutique hotels in town. There are seven cosy rooms, stylishly decorated with colourful textiles and antique furniture – some rooms feature ornate fireplaces. The Rose Suite has a jacuzzi and private terrace – perfect for the start of a luxury honeymoon in Guatemala. 

As always, how you spend your time in Antigua will be carefully designed by our team at True Travel to ensure it fits perfectly with your interests. You may wish to feast for your senses by exploring the flavours of Antigua’s street food and small comedores (eateries). Learn about the cultural background of these traditional delicacies as your guide leads you through Antigua’s bustling community market to see, smell, touch, and taste the fresh ingredients on display.

On the outskirts of town, the grumbling, smoke-belching Pacaya Volcano is a must-see if you love walking. We have included a day with our guide and driver to escort you to Pacaya’s foothills for a trek through a lush pine forest. The landscape unfolds as you ascend, offering views on clear days of northern volcanoes, the Pacific lowlands and El Salvador. At the base of the peak itself, a barren moonscape of loose rock and steam rises from numerous vents. You’ll reach a maximum of 2,289 meters (7,510 feet) above sea level with an elevation gain of 430 meters (1,411 feet) during the climb itself. In all, the total distance hiked is 6.8 kilometres (4.25 miles). It’s not for everyone, but the effort is always worth the reward with unforgettable views.

Days 4 – 5

Lake Atitlan

  • Coffee tasting at a working plantation. 
  • Visit the weaving town of San Juan.
  • Explore the sparkling waters of Lake Atitlan ringed by three dormant volcanoes and timeless Mayan villages. 

On your way to Lake Atitlan from Antigua, stop at San Miguel Escobar, a little town on the outskirts of Antigua. Here a local farmer campaigning for environmentally coffee production will take you for a tour of his small plantation. Help to pick, pulp, wash and sort the coffee beans before grinding them by hand and sampling this delicious coffee.

Our favourite property on lake Atitlan is Casa Palopo. This charming retreat has unbroken views of the lake and an unmistakable connection to Guatemalan culture. It can be hard to tear yourself away from this peaceful haven, but there is much to see beyond the terraces and gardens of Casa Palopo. We will include one full day with a guide to show you the highlights of the region. 

You may wish to travel by boat to the village of San Juan La Laguna, a charming Tz’utujil Maya town on the edge of the lake. Meander through this peaceful town to find impressive murals depicting the history of San Juan, and relax in a local café with some of the most delicious coffee you’ve ever tasted. San Juan is also home to beautiful naïf paintings created by self-taught artists. Many depict local customs, history, and legends or the beauty of the countryside. We can even arrange for you to stop at an artist’s studio to learn more about this art form. After lunch, you can try your hand at weaving in a weaving workshop to learn about traditional techniques practised in Guatemala.

Days 6 – 9

Lake Peten Itza

  • Visit the Mayan sites of Yaxha and Topoxte at sunset.
  • Explore the famous Tikal ruins.
  • Fly to the lakeside town of Flores, the last Mayan stronghold to fall to the Spanish invasion. 

From Lake Atitlan, you will drive back to Guatemala City in time for a domestic flight to Flores in the north of Guatemala. This brings you to another of the country’s lakes, Lake Peten Itza. Here you will stay at La Lancha overlooking Lake Peten Itza. Retreat to this jungle haven where tropical birds glide overhead, and the lake reflects the clouds and mountains. The ten rooms feature large covered decks and views of the lake or the rainforest and its famous howler monkeys. La Lancha’s open-air restaurant, beneath a beautiful thatched roof, allows guests to enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle Take a scenic ride down to the lake in the lodge’s new funicular (“jungle elevator”), which descends the mountainside and provides breathtaking views. The resort’s charming, remote location makes it an ideal destination for a relaxing escape with easy access to the Mayan sites that pepper this land. 

A visit to the Tikal ruins is likely to be one of the highlights of this adventure to Guatemala. This vast citadel was once home to an estimated 50,000 inhabitants. Your guide will bring the ruins to life as you follow in the footsteps of Maya royalty and everyday people. The Tikal National Park is also home to hundreds of bird species, tropical flora, and monkeys chattering in the canopies above.  

Tikal may be the primary reason for coming to this region, but we always suggest visiting the lesser-known sites of Yaxha and Topoxte while you are here. Arriving in the late afternoon, a climb to the top of Yaxha temple gives breathtaking views of the jungle canopy and lakes shimmering in the distance. Then board a boat and sail to the island ruins of Topoxte, taking in this densely shrouded site as the sun sets. 

Day 10 – 11

Guatemala City

  • Fly from Flores back to Guatemala City 
  • Stay in a central location before your international flight the next day

Hotel La Inmaculada is a short distance from Zona Viva in Guatemala City, the capital’s hub of business, shopping and entertainment. The property has 13 rooms named after different varieties of coffee beans. Although there are restaurants and bars within easy walking distance, La Inmaculada has a good restaurant and bar if you prefer the ease of staying at your hotel on your last night in Guatemala.

Michele

Great creative South Africa itinerary and fabulous guides. Client blown away, True Travel was wonderful to work with.

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INDULGENT:

These accommodations are the best of the best, showcasing top hospitality, exceptional design and world-class food, in the most exclusive locations around the world.

EXCEPTIONAL:

A very high standard of five-star properties, with top-notch service and a wide range of amenities and experiences ensuring an unforgettable stay.

EXCELLENT:

These four to five-star accommodations offer the high level of service that our team look always look for, with a range of facilities on offer.

CLASSIC:

Four-star properties which offer enough amenities for a comfortable stay. We may offer these for a more price-competitive option, or in more remote areas which don't offer the most luxe hotels.

EXPERIENTIAL:

These properties won't necessarily offer all of the typical luxurious facilities, but will always provide memorable experiences, from camping out in the bush to climbing up to a treehouse.

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