Guatemala

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Our most recommended things to do in Guatemala

From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Trek

1. From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Trek

Walk for 2 hours to the summit of Pacaya Volcano and enjoy stunning views. Leave from Antigua for a 1-hour bus journey to the volcano's base before immediately starting your 2-hour trek with your local guide. Hike through wonderful pine forests up to the trickier volcanic ash section and finally to the sulfur smoking cone. On occasions you can even see small eruptions and lava flowing, depending on the activity of the volcano. From the summit you can enjoy great views of the nearby volcanoes, Agua, Fuego and Acatenango, the pacific lowlands and all the way to El Salvador. To ensure your safety you won’t be able to visit the crater, but you will get an amazing view of red-hot lava flowing and steam baths created by the heat of Pacaya. Take a break and relax here as you take in more scenic views before hiking back to the base of the volcano, from where you will transfer back to your accommodation. 

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Guatemala Pacaya Volcano Day Tour

2. Guatemala Pacaya Volcano Day Tour

Come and see the Pacaya Volcano: the most active volcano in Guatemala at 2,500 meters (more than 8,000 feet). Witness spectacular views of the lagoon of Calderas and three other volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. The surrounding area is an experience unto itself, composed in large part of humid forest and rocks. After a walk through volcanic sand paths, with great views of the volcanoes and unique vegetation, you´ll arrive at the plateau where you can see the main crater of the volcano. Today, you can't visit the crater of the volcano for security reasons, but you will see the lava (if active) and some steam baths created by the heat of the Pacaya Volcano. At the volcano, you'll have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the volcano. After a thrilling day of exploration and dramatic views, you will arrive back at your hotel.

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Lake Atitlán Boat Tour

3. Lake Atitlán Boat Tour

Start the day with a trip from Antigua or Guatemala City to the Maya town of Panajachel. During the drive there will be a brief stop in Katok, a very famous restaurant where you can indulge in a hot drink. Once at Panajachel, it's time for a boat trip to cross Lake Atitlán and visit the Tzutuhil Village of Santiago de Atitlán. In this village you will visit the confraternity of the local saint named Maximon or Ri Laj Mam, visited by people all over the world who come to ask for health and prosperity in their lives. The lake itself owes its grandeur to its enormous size and spectacular volcanic setting. Three large volcanoes, Atitlán Tolimán and San Pedro, rise gracefully from its southern shore, creating breathtaking views around the area. You will experience these views and the traditional practices still carried out by the Maya-Tzutujil and Cakchiquel women who live around the lake. After a short transfer, we will have lunch at one of the most exquisite restaurants of Panajachel. While in town, guestes will also Santander Street and experience its vast, bustling handicraft market.

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Lake Atitlan: Mayan Ceremony at the Sacred Caves

4. Lake Atitlan: Mayan Ceremony at the Sacred Caves

Experience an important ceremony of the Maya people of Guatemala at the most sacred and holy location on Lake Atitlan. Transfer to the trailhead from Panajachel. Then, walk to the 1st cave (a maximum 20-minute hike). Named “Nimajay,” “San Simon,” “Singing” and “Colorado,” the 4 caves have been used by the Mayans for centuries for their Fire Cleansing and Protection Ceremony. The highland tribes travel for hours to visit the holy caves, and you will feel the energy and power as soon as you approach the cave entrance. Watch the shamans perform the ceremony (not guaranteed, but available on most days), and experience an authentic part of the living Mayan culture of the Guatemala highlands. Your guide will explain why the ceremonies are performed, and teach you about the ritual and unique meanings of the Mayan calendar. Located 1,200 feet above Lake Atitlan, the caves offer panoramic views of the lake and caldera. Stand on top of Eagle Rock, and marvel at how the earth drops hundreds of feet around you. Feel your spirit soar like a bird as you stand with nothing but air on all sides. You can also visit the shrine of San Simon/Maximon, the colonial church, and a 200-foot waterfall.

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From Flores: 2-Day Tikal & Yaxhá Tour

5. From Flores: 2-Day Tikal & Yaxhá Tour

This tour can begin from Flores or El Remate. The tour is designed to visit Tikal, one of the most amazing places you will ever visit. Then on the second day, you will visit the archaeological site of Yaxhá, considered both a cultural and natural monument. Day 1 Tikal - 07:30: Pick-up from your hotel in Flores to start the tour. You will make a stop at the airport in order to pick-up travelers coming from Guatemala City - 07:55: Transfer to one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mayan World- Tikal. Its name means 'Place of Voices,' built during the Maya Classic Period - 09:00: Upon arrival at Tikal archaeological site, your guide will show you the layout of the complex of temples and acropolis. Visit Complex Q and R, then to the central acropolis, Temples I of the Grand Jaguar and the Temple II Los Mascarones, regarded as one of the most important within the complex. You will also make a visit to the Lost World - 14:00: Return to the visitor center for lunch - 15:30: Transfer from the park to your hotel Day 2 Yaxhá - 07:55: Departure to the archaeological site of Yaxhá - 09:00: Arrive at Yaxha, a former ceremonial center and city of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. The facilities have evidence of Teotihuacan influence in their architecture and stelae. You can find the only twin pyramid complex outside of Tikal, also known as the Stelae Plaza - 13:00: Time for lunch - 15:30: Transportation back to your hotel or airport

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From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Hike

6. From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Hike

Volcano Pacaya (8370ft/2552m) may not be Guatemala’s highest peak, however its slopes and unique landscapes are certainly of some of the most impressive volcanic landscapes in all of Central America. Set in its own National Park, Pacaya is a storybook volcano with a continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit and a massive dried lava field forming the valley at the base of its caldera. The group meets in Antigua at 08:00 (for a morning hike) or 14:00 (for a sunset hike) – where drinking water, bathroom facilities, and retail outdoor equipment are available. Your drive to the trailhead is just over 1 hour in private transport from Antigua to the Park Office. As the group moves up the myriad of trails on the mountain, Guatemala’s impressive vistas open up before you. As you reach the base of the caldera, your guide will direct the group through the rugged dried lava fields, recently reformed by a massive eruption in 2010. No matter what conditions you encounter on the mountain, the group will have the opportunity to traverse unique volcanic-rock landscapes as you ascend towards the peak. Here the group will stop for a freshly prepared picnic to enjoy along with views of nearby volcanoes Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. There will be plenty of opportunity to explore geothermal hot-spots on the cooled lava formations – which are always available to help roast marshmallows! The hike down brings across the remaining dried lava fields before you begin your descent through Pacaya’s lush and lesser known forests and farmland. After your hike down to the trailhead, the group returns to Antigua by private transport to arrive in town at roughly 16:00 (day hike) or 20:30 (sunset hike).

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From San Ignacio: Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch

7. From San Ignacio: Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch

Start with pickup from San Ignacio at 7:00 AM, and take a 15-minute drive to Guatemalan border. Be assisted at the border by your guide, and continue on the 2-hour long journey to Tikal. Discover the ancient Mayan site of Tikal which is considered to be one of the most spiritual locations on earth. Once at the national park, see the abundance of wildlife surrounding the temples. Discover how the Mayan civilization built inspiring temples and cities that formed a vast complex of religious, social and political power.  Enjoy a guided tour of the main sights of the complex, which is estimated to have over 3,000 structures including palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, ball courts, terraces, plazas, causeways, and reservoirs. See several of the main temples including the tallest structure which measures 212 feet.  After visiting the main parts of Tikal, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Then, drive back to San Ignacio you can stop at the local gift shops, with arrival back in San Ignacio at approximately 4:30 PM.

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From Antigua: 3-Day Cobán & Semuc Champey Tour

8. From Antigua: 3-Day Cobán & Semuc Champey Tour

Day 1: Guatemala City/ Cobán: Depart from Guatemala City or Antigua to Coban. You may have the chance to see Quetzal. Begin your hike in the forest of El Biotopo del Quetzal. After 2-hours of hiking, a lunch will be served of traditional food (not included). Afterwards, transfer to your selected hotel in Cobán for overnight accommodations. Accommodation: Park Hotel Resort or similar. Day 2: Semuc Champey/ Lankin Caves (B): After breakfast, the adventure will begin by taking a 2-hour journey to Semuc Champey, a monument made ​​by nature. Explore the natural beauty and swim in the pools carved out of limestone. Relax, enjoy and afterwards, have time for lunch. Next, you will get to explore the Lankin Caves. In the afternoon, transfer back to your hotel in Cobán. Accommodation: Park Hotel Resort or similar. Day 3: Rey Marcos Caves (B): In the morning, visit the Rey Marcos Caves, where you can live a great adventure while connecting with nature. During the tour, you will see awesome formations of the karst caves sculpted by water with minerals in the limestone of the region of Alta Verapaz. When you finish the exploration, you can take a bath in the river outside the caves. Hotel accommodation on your own.  

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Guatemala City: Tikal Full-Day Tour by Air

9. Guatemala City: Tikal Full-Day Tour by Air

Travel from Guatemala City to Tikal on a full-day tour. Enjoy an early morning flight from Guatemala International Airport to Mundo Maya Airport in Flores, at which point you will then be transferred to Tikal archaeological site. While in Tikal National Park, you will have the opportunity to walk through the jungle and admire the many species of local flora and fauna. The park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes untamed nature, as well as many main temples, plazas, and altars. As you tour the site, your guide will share with you the history of the site and share insights about the Mayan culture. At the end of the tour a traditional lunch will be served. In the afternoon, return to the airport for your flight back to Guatemala City. Upon arrival in Guatemala City, you will then be transferred back to your hotel.

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Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Tour From Antigua

10. Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Tour From Antigua

Your 10-hour excursion begins with a drive into the western highlands of Guatemala. The region is home to quaint and colorful mountain villages, highland lakes, pine forests and the majority of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples. When you arrive at the Chichicastenango market you’ll begin your walking tour. The market is at the center of the town and is the heart of commercial life for maxeños, the natives of Chichicastenango. Every Thursday and Sunday merchants head to the central plaza to sell their products in this impressive indigenous market that has changed very little over the centuries. Explore the pathways of the market and admire the colorful handicrafts and produce offered by the local people of the region. In Chichicastenango, you’ll also visit Santo Tomás Church, built in 1540 over the base of a pre-Hispanic temple. This church is a splendid example of colonial architecture, and the Mayan and Latino influence is evident in both the interior and exterior of the building. After exploring the market you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch (not included in the tour price). Next you’ll continue to the town of Panajachel, located at the edge of Lake Atitlan. Take a walk along Santander Street and enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Atitlan, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The volcanoes Tolimán, Atitlán and San Pedro form a natural frame for the lake. Lake Atitlan has a surface of 125 square kilometers and sits 1,560 meters above sea level.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Guatemala

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