Experience the magic of Guatemala on an adventure from highlands to coastline and back again.

Explore Guatemala by boat, by van, by any way you can. From the cultural capital in the highlands to an isolated town on the Caribbean coast, this nine-day adventure takes you through palatial jungle ruins and down remote rivers, across highland lakes and into traditional villages. Whether it’s walking the cobblestone streets of Antigua or kayaking on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala’s magic can be in every experience and every person.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Antigua, Guatemala
Finish
Antigua, Guatemala
Destination
Guatemala
Style
Comfort
Code
QBKG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Gaze over the jungle from the magnificent ruins of Tikal

  • Be immersed in Antigua's old-world charm

  • Take a boat to vibrant Santiago, a traditional village on Lake Atitlan

Is this trip right for you?

  • The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be really hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours.

  • Try to learn as many Spanish words as you can. Locals are very friendly, but also shy, so you'll need to make plenty of effort to break the ice. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.

Itinerary

Welcome to Antigua! As the seat of the Spanish colonial government, Antigua was once the most important city in Central America. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, but many of the colonial buildings have been restored and the architecture from its glory days can still be admired under the watchful gaze of the ever-present Pacaya Volcano. You’ll be transferred from the airport in Guatemala City; please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. Things will kick off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, after which you can join an optional group dinner or explore Antigua by night. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you’ll travel in a private vehicle to Rio Dulce. The Rio Dulce (Sweet River) runs out of Lake Izabal to the Caribbean Sea through Guatemala’s small stretch of eastern coastline sandwiched between Honduras and Belize. It’s home to the Guatemalan manatee, which you may be lucky enough to see tomorrow. It’s a long journey, approximately 6.5-7 hours, and on the drive your leader will teach you some useful Spanish phrases other than ‘una cerveza, por favor’. The van will stop for an optional lunch on the way.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a scenic boat trip downstream to Livingston, a fascinating, laidback town at the mouth of the Rio Dulce that offers a unique experience of the local Garifuna culture. Afterwards explore Siete Altares (Seven Altars), the hidden cascading waterfalls. A fair level of fitness and good walking shoes is required for the path, and water shoes for the falls themselves are recommended for this activity. Later, there are several optional activities to choose from, such as exploring the nearby San Felipe fort, checking out the heritage-listed Quirigua Ruins or submerging yourself in the natural hot springs. Free evening in Rio Dulce.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Livingston - Community visit by boat
  • Siete Altares - Livingston's 7 Waterfalls Walk
Optional Activities
  • Rio Dulce - San Felipe Fort - USD4
  • Rio Dulce - Quirigua Ruins - USD41
  • Rio Dulce - Natural hot springs (including transportation) - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Rio Dulce at 9 am for Flores, a 3.5-4 hour drive by private vehicle. You’ll arrive in time for an optional lunch by the water and can choose to spend the afternoon either relaxing or taking part in an optional activity, like a boat tour on Lake Peten Itza or exploring the El Castillo Fort. Your leader will also take you on an orientation walk around town and the evening is free for you to find a restaurant or grab some street food and eat by the lake.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Flores - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Flores - Lake Peten Itza boat tour - USD6
  • Flores - El Castillo Fort - USD5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise and shine, the group is up (very) early today to catch the sunrise at the Tikal ruins. Towering above the jungle of the Tikal National Park, the five granite temples of Tikal are an awesome sight and one of the most magnificent Maya ruins. Hidden in the jungle growth is a maze of smaller structures just waiting to be explored. The energetic can climb to the top of the ruins for spectacular views over the canopy and you may even spot toucans, macaws and other colourful birds. You’ll have an hour-long guided tour then time to explore the site on your own before returning to Flores.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Another early start today with a 5.45 am departure to Flores airport for a 7 am flight to Guatemala City (1 hour). You’ll jump in a private vehicle to Panajachel, a town in the Guatemalan highlands on the shore of Lake Atitlan, and your leader will take you on an orientation walk before checking in to the hotel. There’s an optional lunch and the afternoon is free for you to explore the town’s thriving market, take a walk around the lake or perhaps you’d rather hire a kayak for a different view.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Panajachel - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Panajachel - Kayak rental (per hour) - USD8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are numerous villages scattered around Lake Atitlan and today you’ll jump in a shared boat and visit Santiago, the largest of them. Santiago remains very traditional with many villagers continuing to live a Tz’utujil lifestyle, and your leader will take you on a walking tour of the community. Lunch is included at Casa del Mundo, a spectacular hotel overlooking the lake, after which there’s free time walk around the village and markets on foot or rent a bike to explore further.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Atitlan - Santiago Village tour
Optional Activities
  • Panajachel - Bicycle rental (per day) - USD10
  • Panajachel - Water taxi to Santiago, San Pedro or San Juan - USD8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Antigua is calling and we’re listening. Take a private vehicle (3 hours) back to where it all started and take a city tour (2 hours) with a local guide. Antigua remains the cultural centre of Guatemala with its cobbled streets, markets and colonial buildings, not to mention the indigenous marimba music drifting from the many bars and restaurants. The afternoon is yours to enjoy – perhaps you’ll take a chocolate-making workshop, or visit a coffee and macadamia plantation, or even hike the mighty Pacaya Volcano outside town. Don’t forget to organise a farewell dinner tonight with your group!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Antigua - Guided City Tour
Optional Activities
  • Antigua - Chocolate-making workshop - USD25
  • Antigua - Pacaya Volcano hike - USD16
  • Antigua - Coffee/Macadamia nut plantation tour - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is your final day and there are no activities planned. You’re free to depart after breakfast, but there’s plenty to do in Antigua if you’d like to stay on, and a whole lot more to see in Central America if you’re interested in jumping on another trip.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private vehicle, Plane, Shared boat

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Livingston - Community visit by boat
  • Siete Altares - Livingston's 7 Waterfalls Walk
  • Flores - Orientation walk
  • Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
  • Panajachel - Orientation walk
  • Lake Atitlan - Santiago Village tour
  • Antigua - Guided City Tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
3. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
4. Please be careful when booking flights to/from Antigua; make sure you fly into/out of Guatemala City Airport [GUA]. Guatemala City Airport is the closest airport to Antigua. Please do NOT book flights to/from Antigua & Barbuda Airport [ANU] as this is an island in the Caribbean.
5. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.