Traveling to Guatemala with us means our friends are yours. See a side of this humble, yet magnificent country that most tourists miss. We’ll meet farmers, laugh with local guides, and visit a non-profit excited to tell us their perspective of their country.
It is home to encapsulating beauty with steep volcanoes, lush rainforests, vibrant religious festivals, and sandy Pacific beaches. But, the most intriguing are the spectacular Mayan archaeological sites, as well as more recent colonial-era architecture and heritage.
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UNESCO Site: 500-Year-Old Colonial Town of Antigua
Hike Pacaya Volcano with marshmallows roasted between the rocks
Wander Chichicastenango (the largest Central American Market)
Iximche Mayan Ruins with an expert historian guide
Experience the hot steam of a traditional Temescal
Spend the day with a Guatemalan ancestral culture and fair-trade NGO
Guatemala City Airport Pickup to Antigua
You’ll be welcomed with a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar once everyone arrives in Antigua. Get to know your fellow travelers with your first Guatemalan sunset as a backdrop. Our guide will lead us to a fantastic restaurant for traditional Guatemalan food before our adventure truly begins in the morning. Meals: dinner
Walking Tour & Market Tour
We will learn all about the fascinating history, landmarks, landscape, people and the economy of the country. Prepare to be fully immersed in the 16th century.
Next, we wander through the market and see what shopping is like for a local. We will explore the labyrinth of stalls and vendors, discuss the exotic fruits and vegetables, try our hand at tortilla-making and sample some traditional Guatemalan sweets. Save room for lunch though, because we are going to one of our favorite restaurants.
After the tour, you will have the evening free to explore the brightly colored cobblestone streets and the hidden craft shops. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa or try some of their delicious locally made ice cream.
Tour includes a local guide, entrance to the ruins of the main cathedral, freshly made tortillas and local fruit from the market. Then we sit down for an authentic local lunch. Meals: breakfast, lunch
Pacaya Volcano Half Day Tour
The Pacaya Volcano rises to an elevation of 2,552 meters and is the most frequently climbed volcano in Guatemala. Not only is it one of the easier ones to climb, but it is also an active volcano and you will have the opportunity to see a small lava flow and burst of gases, steam, and rocks!
On clear days you will also be able to enjoy a phenomenal panoramic view of the neighboring volcanoes –Agua, Fuego and Acatenango as well as the lagoons of Calderas and Amatitlán. We will also scramble over old lava flows, where you will be rewarded with a sweet treat –roasted marshmallows, that you can prepare in a heat vent between the petrified lava rocks!
Level of difficulty: medium
Drive time: approx. 1.5 hours
We return to Antigua in the early afternoon, and the rest of the day is free to explore Antigua’s cobblestoned streets, chocolate workshops, coffee plantations or even try to learn Spanish.
Iximche Ruins Tour
A local guide will explain to you the pre-Colombian building style of Iximche, which is the stereotype of post classic Mayan architecture sites. There will also be an explanation of the museum exhibits too.
You will have some free time in this beautiful, park-like setting, where you can explore on your own the plazas used for human sacrifices during rituals, temples, palaces and also two Mesoamerican ball game courts.
Be prepared for an amazing cultural encounter with Mayan indigenous people that still visit the Iximche Ruins, many of who still worship their ancient gods. If you’re lucky, you can witness a live Mayan fire ceremony that sometimes still takes place in the sacred altar found at the end of the platform.
After lunch, we’ll spend a couple of hours blasting the tunes on our 2 hour drive to Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, where we will hop on our boat to get to our hotel!
We’ll check-in in the late afternoon, leaving us plenty of time to explore Lake Atitlan and maybe even catch the sunset before our group dinner. Meals: breakfast, dinner
From there, we will go to the home of a local artisan as they explain to us the founding of the village and the local cooperative. We continue the conversation over a cooked lunch, and then try our hand at the ancient technique of basket weaving. Our tour will end with a relaxing hot steam in a traditional Temescal (Mayan sauna) while you breathe in the medicinal herbs to cleanse body, mind, and spirit (bathing suits required).
This tour is run and established by a local NGO that works to rescue, preserve and promote Guatemalan ancestral culture and provide fair-trade employment.
After this rare sneak peek into village life, we will have the afternoon to explore solo or with new friends before hopping back on the boat to our hotel. Meals: breakfast, lunch
Solo Day in Lake Atitlan
– Hike from Jaibalito to San Marcos (4hrs) or Santa Cruz (1hr)
– Cooking class with meal included in Santa Cruz
– Lake villages tour
– Paddle boarding class on Lake Atitlan
We’ll meet back up for a group dinner at the hotel to share our favorite memories of today. Meals: breakfast, dinner
The market’s primary purpose is to service the locals who come far and wide to buy and sell products. There are vendors who sell handicrafts and souvenirs targeted to tourists, but for the most part, the vendors sell their agricultural products and household goods to the locals!
In this traditional town, we will also learn about the regional Quiche dress that are mainly worn by the locals today. We will also witness Mayan spirituality in one of only two Catholic churches in the world that allow the practice of traditional Maya religion. We will start by winding through the market to get to the church where we meet our local guide.
If we are lucky, we may see fire ceremonies in the area outside of the church. Inside, we will observe traditional Maya religious beliefs being practiced and learn about this form of spirituality and its place in daily local life. Our guide will explain how some of these Mayan beliefs in Guatemala have become uniquely interwoven with Christianity.
We will then continue on to what is considered to be the most colorful cemetery in the world and it is easy to find since is located on the top of a hill. This peculiar cemetery combines the Christian ideology with the Mayan beliefs and is where we will learn about the Guatemalan traditions around the dead.
After this, you have free time to wander around the artisan market and barter for traditional textiles, masks, jewelery and other handicrafts.
After a few hours soaking in the local culture and some shopping, we will drive to Antigua where you can go straight to your room or find one of the many delicious restaurants to grab some dinner in this really approachable, colorful, easy to navigate city.
Drive time: approx. 4 hours
Solo Day in Antigua
It’s a free day to try one of the workshops or classes below:
– Spanish classes
– Coffee Plantation Tour
– Chocolate workshop
– Jade Workshop
– Salsa dance class
– Artisan shopping
– Farm tour and vegetarian lunch
In the evening, we will meet as a group for our farewell dinner unless you are joining us for the Tikal add-on! Meals: breakfast, dinner
Farewell or Flight to Flores Island for the Tikal Add-on
We will get to our hotel at 9am and have the day to explore this magical little island. If you have a flight home, you are welcome to come with us to the airport early or sleep in. We will take you to the airport any time today, but we recommend extending your journey to gorgeous Flores and the famous Tikal!
Flores is very hot, so we recommend enjoying any of the following below to have a cool and relaxing day:
– The hotel has a great pool you can sit back and relax after a long journey
– Go to the beach on the lake. There is a small hike through the forest to where you can see monkeys, take in the view from a lookout point and swim in the clear, warm lake waters.
– Take a boat trip or kayak across Lake Peten Itza, where you can do many activities. The most popular one is the on the north shore of the lake, Jorge’s Rope Swing. It’s a fun place to hang out, jump into the lake with the rope swing and even eat at the small restaurant there; a local family runs it all!
– Sunset tour to Yaxha Mayan Ruins: from Temple 216, you can really admire some stunning lake views.
In the evening, you can join us for a free walking tour of the island of Flores and then drinks at the rooftop while watching the sunset.
For dinner, we will walk around the stretch of street food stalls and tell you all of our favorites. Meals: breakfast
Tikal National Park
We will explore Tikal National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, dating from the 7th century BC. It encompasses 575 sq km. of jungle and thousands of ruined structures. Tikal flourished between 200 and 850 AD and is the largest excavated Mayan site in the world. It’s home to the tallest pre-Colombian structure in the Americas, Temple IV, from where you can enjoy incredible views of this jungle-swathed ancient kingdom.
Drive time: approx. 3 hours
We’ll leave with everyone’s contact details and hopefully some plans to meet again at an upcoming Global Meetup Tour!
Depending on your flight home, you are welcome to stay at the hotel and enjoy the amenities until your departure time. Transfers are any time today depending on your departure time.
- All accommodation
- All entrance fees to the sites listed in the itinerary
- Airport pick up and drop off
- 1 tour guide for every 6 participants
- Transportation in modern, air-conditioned vehicles
- A domestic flight to and from Flores
- All taxes
- All meals as stated in the itinerary
You should fly in and out of Guatemala City.
Due to hotel check-in times, afternoon and early evening arrival times are best.
Please arrive in Guatemala City on Day 1 or if you come to Guatemala early, you can meet us at the first hotel in the afternoon or evening at 3pm or later.
On the last day, we will drive you to the airport any time of the day. Any other transfers are not included.
The price does not include airfare to and from Guatemala.
If you would like a single room, the extra cost is $550.
Your space will be secured when we receive a deposit of $500.
The deposit paid is nonrefundable.
The balance is due by one month before your departure.
Any sites not stated or marked as optional in the itinerary.
Tipping for the tour guides
Airport transfers on any days besides the first and last day of the itinerary.
Are you too old for this trip?
No! Our participants range from 18 to 75. Everyone comes together bonds over the travel and becomes a family. Everyone has a place, no matter what your age.
If you have any physical limitations, read over the itinerary to be sure you will be able to keep up! This trip is not physically active, but does include some longer days of sightseeing outside and semi-long car rides.
Be sure you will be comfortable.
What our travelers say
“SoFe’s itinerary was a great blend of cultural, historical, and social activities and our tour leader helped in many ways to keep us having fun, even over long days of traveling.” Jenni R. | India
“I have never experienced a tour guide that has been this wonderful. He was very detail-oriented and I noticed he handled every single situation with a very high level of efficiency.” Cynthia M. | Egypt
“I would absolutely book another trip with SoFe Travel. I enjoyed the trip organizer. She really knew her stuff.” Trudy W. | Bali