Heart of Guatemala

6 Days | Take a trip to the cultural heart of Guatemala

4.8 out of 5 based on 5 reviews submitted.
ZAR  18,017
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From gorgeous Antigua, take a trip to the Guatemalan Highlands, away from the tourist crowds of Central America and experience authentic modern Mayan culture. With a mix of colonial influences, Catholicism and traditional Mayan practices, this place is a feast for the senses. Experience small, regional markets then hit the likes of Almolonga – famed for its giant vegetables – and Chichicastenango – the country's most popular and colourful market full of homemade wares and medicinal plants. Depart the highlands and head for Lake Atitlan, surrounded by mountainous volcanoes. Take a scenic boat road to the shamans that guard the shrine of Maximon and share in some spirits while they tell you stories of local life and why this culture holds the chain-smoking deity in such high regard.

Trip overview

Map of Heart Of Guatemala including Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
We’re in the process of figuring out how much CO2-e this trip generates. In the meantime, find out more about our climate commitments and carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Visit San Andres Itzapa and see the shamanic ceremonies devoted to San Simon, a popular chain-smoking saint that has stolen the hearts of the Mayan people.
  • Soak the day away in the volcanic hot springs in Xela, surrounded by lush, green ferns, volcanic landscape and rainforest trails.
  • Take an elaborately decorated chicken bus to a local market and witness the larger-than-life vegetables this region’s known for – decide for yourself whether it’s the result of the fertilizer or the blessings from God.
  • Visit Chichicastenango market – known as Chichi for short – and pick up your very own huipils (a traditional Mayan garment worn by women and girls) or some handmade jade jewellery.
  • Take a scenic boat ride on Lake Atitlan to Santiago Atitlan, with 95% of the population of Mayan descent, and meet the shamanic keepers of Maximon and share a bottle of local spirits with them as they tell you stories of local life.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.

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.
  • While your leaders on this trip will bridge any language gaps you have along the way, you'll find meeting locals easier the more Spanish words you know. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.


Map of Heart Of Guatemala including Guatemala



5 breakfasts, 1 lunch


Private vehicle, Shared boat


Hotel (5 nights)

  • Xela - Las Fuentes Georginas Hotsprings
  • San Andres Itzapa - San Simon shamanic ceremonies
  • Western Highlands - Almolonga vegetable market
  • Quetzaltenango - Chicken Bus Experience
  • Chichicastenango market visit
  • Santiago Atitlan - Shamanic Keepers of the Shrine of Maximon
  • Lake Atitlan - Boat to Santiago Atitlan
Add on activities
  • Quetzaltenango - Chocolate Museum - USD5
  • Quetzaltenango - Mayan Cooking Class - USD55

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1 in Antigua. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Please be careful when booking flights to and from Antigua; make sure you fly into Guatemala City Airport [GUA]. Guatemala City Airport is the closest airport to Antigua. Please do not book flights to Antigua & Barbuda Airport [ANU] as this is an island in the Caribbean.

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.

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4.8 out of 5 based on 5 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Justine · Traveled May 2024
Exploring Guatemala is a one of a kind experience! If you want to be off the beaten track and fully immersed in Mayan traditions, culture, and food, this tour is a must! Absolutely sign up for the Mayan cooking class!! Spending a the first and last day of the trip exploring Antigua is a wonderful way to start and end the Guatemalan journey :)
Review submitted 29 May 2024

Cindy · Traveled April 2024
I have wanted to travel through Gautemala. I am an artist and have been fascinated with the textiles, colours and with Mayan culture. It is one of the few countries left where Americanization of the culture hasn't taken over. However, when I would mention travelling to Gautemala people would comment that it is not safe. To my delight I felt very safe. The roads were in good condition a d the food excellent. With the tour I learned much about Mayan culture.
Review submitted 02 May 2024

Holly · Traveled March 2024
A fabulously unique experience from start to finish. I learned so much, expanded my own perspectives, and got tons of incredible photos.
Review submitted 13 Mar 2024

Heather · Traveled February 2024
The enthusiasm of our guide Isaias made all the visits so interesting. He was excellent. There wasn’t too much bus travel and we stopped frequently to talk about something interesting. I learned so much about Guatemala.
Review submitted 02 Mar 2024

VINCENZO · Traveled February 2024
Wonderful trip, Isaias was a great tour guide. Very friendly and knowledgable.
Review submitted 06 Mar 2024
Heart of Guatemala
ZAR  18,017