Things to do in
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 occasion, 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. 

Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

2. Overnight Volcano Acatenango Hiking Adventure

Volcano Acatenango is the sleeping giant, and a twin of the most active volcano in Guatemala. Acatenango is the third highest volcano in all of Central America and it is a real adventure to hike to the top. It gives you the best location to observe the sunset and the sunrise. Sleeping overnight in the base camp of the volcano will be unique experience. Its highest summit is 3,976m (13,044 ft). The itinerary of the trip is broken into two days. Day 1 will begin at 9:00 AM, with a shuttle from Antigua to La Soledad village. The tour guide will pick you up at your hotel. Your hike will begin at 11:00 AM and will continue for approximately 5 hours. You will reach base camp by 17:00 PM in time to watch the sunset. The second day will begin at 4:00 AM, as an hour's hike to the summit will provide a great view of the sunrise. Breakfast will be served back at base camp and the trek will start around 8:30 AM downwards toward the village. Reaching the village by 11:30 AM, you will have some time to look around before the transfer to Antigua. The tour finishes here by 12:30 PM, giving you the rest of your day. 

From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

3. From Antigua: 3 Mayan Villages on Lake Atitlan Day Tour

This is a real immersion in the Mayan culture and you will see the lifestyle of the Mayan people. See how ancient technology is used for textile manufacture as you visit three Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan. The departure is from Antigua, with a 2.5-hour drive to Panajachel (Lake Atitlán). Then, visit San Juan la Laguna, San Pedro, and Santiago Atitlan, returning at the end to Panajachel. This is a round trip around Lake Atitlan, and there will be a one-hour stop in every town. Admire the colorful town of San Juan. Visit its attractions down the main streets such as galleries and women's coops, and witness a chocolate and coffee production demo. Then, explore San Pedro. A small town populated by Mayan Tzutujil. Discover its interesting sights and learn about the local culture there. Lastly, make a stop in Santiago Atitlán, where you can make a visit to a deity revered by the locals and visitors. Its market day is very colorful, and you can visit Santiago Apóstol Parish Church, built in the colonial times in the Renaissance style.

Tikal Day Tour From Flores With Lunch

4. Tikal Day Tour From Flores With Lunch

Discover the impressive splendor of Tikal, which means Place of Voices. The park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, spans an area of 576 square kilometers. During this 8-hour tour you’ll have the opportunity to walk through the jungle and admire the many species of local flora and fauna. In addition to the main temples and plazas, there are several other sites not to miss. See the Major Plaza surrounded by impressive buildings such as Temples I and II, or the North and Central Acropolis. See the altars that played a role in the dynamic history of Tikal’s Mayan civilization. At the end of the tour you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch.

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

5. 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.

Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Tour From Antigua

6. 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.

Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

7. Acatenango Volcano 2-Day Hike

This 2-day/1-night hike brings you up the slopes of beautiful Volcan Acatenango to our private campsite – bench-cut into the side of this towering mountain. From here we enjoy our camp meals, incredible views, and plenty of room to stretch out. In camp there we will have ample time to appreciate the sights and sounds of nearby Volcan Fuego’s violent volcano eruptions. On the morning of the 2rd day, our group will summit Acatenango’s peak (3,975m/12,720ft - the third highest volcano in Guatemala), taking in panoramic views from atop the summit. Finally, we will descend back down through a myriad of microclimates to return to Antigua by early afternoon. Day 1: Hike To Camp Our group leaves from the Old Town Outfitters Shop at 8:00am, where you can fill up your water bottles and purchase any additional gear you might need. Hikers should eat breakfast beforehand and pack a small snack for the road. A one-hour drive takes us from Antigua to the sleepy mountain village of La Soledad, perched on the ridge of the Pacific slope of Volcan Acatenango. The trail up Volcan Acatenango has four distinct microclimates, each of which will take you about an hour to traverse. We’ll begin by walking up a steep trail through local farm fields - the same trail used by local villagers each morning to access their corn, snow pea and lily fields. Our first hour of hiking will help you acclimatize and warm up the leg muscles for the day’s hike. The second phase of our ascent passes through old-growth tropical cloud forest. In this environmental zone, we find some of Acatenango’s oldest trees, an incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna, fresh mountain air and the sounds of local birds and wildlife. This type of high-alpine cloud forest is found on the upper slopes of many of Guatemala’s tallest volcanoes and mountains, and is home to the famous Quetzal. After exiting the cloud forest, we will be rewarded with fantastic views of the other highland volcanoes (Atitlan, Toliman, San Pedro, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Tajamulco), along with glimpses of the Cuchumatanes mountain chain. A fresh picnic is prepared mid-day for our group to enjoy. Temperate coniferous forest and tropical dry forest characterize the 3rd phase of our ascent, which will lead us to the storm-beaten tree-line of the volcano. Our campsite is perched just below tree-line with sweeping views of the Antigua valley and Volcan Fuego. After setting up camp, hikers are free to rest, relax and enjoy their surroundings while our guide prepares a fresh camp dinner at ~3750m with hot tea and coffee. Day 2: Summiting Acatenango In the morning, after an early camp breakfast, our group embarks on a 45-minute ascent to the summit on a sand and gravel scree-trail dotted with dwarf pine trees and high alpine mosses. The trail up to the summit is the steepest we will have seen, and leads to the rocky summit exposed to the gusty and cold winds which constantly pass over Acatenango’s peak. At the summit, our group will rest and enjoy unparalleled 360-degree views of the entirety of the Guatemalan highlands – all the way to the border of Mexico. After 45min at the top (depending on conditions and time considerations), the group will begin the 3-hour descent back towards La Soledad. Our group has the opportunity to descend through an alternate route down Volcan Acatenango, experiencing a variety of microclimates and beautiful trail. From La Soledad, we will transport back to Antigua, arriving in the afternoon with plenty of time for you to enjoy the delights of the old Spanish colonial capital (~13:00hrs).

Pacaya Volcano Tour and Hot Springs with Lunch

8. Pacaya Volcano Tour and Hot Springs with Lunch

This day you will visit the Pacaya National Park. Visit to the most active volcano in Guatemala, its 2500 m. above the sea; the environment is formed by humid forest and rocks. Transfer to the foot of the volcano Pacaya and from there,we start hiking from the San Vicente de Pacaya village and begin ascent route is estimate at 60 minutes of walking up to a distance of approximately 50m from the craterat the top you can see down into the crater to the lava as well as experience the energy of an active volcano. Pacaya Volcano remains one of the active volcanoes of Guatemala. After the visit and explored of the Pacaya Volcano we continue to Kawilal Hot Springs to have time to take lunch   ( Included ). Kawilal is a world of relaxation, where the most important elements of nature are present in this unique place of hot springs, in our environment are mixed fire and heat from Pacaya Volcano who gives us the thermal waters and steams. Has a complex that promotes sustainable tourism in our country, and has 12 thermal pools, Thermal Circuit, 25 Steam Baths, and 3 Hydrotherapy Baths. The spa offers Relaxing Massages, Reflexology, Shiatsu Relaxing, Manicure and Pedicure among others, within our facilities are also Fonda Del Castillo, a restaurant with international with fast food service. At the end of the Tour Transfer to Antigua Guatemala.

From Antigua: Pacaya Volcano Day Hike

9. 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).

From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

10. From Antigua: 1-Day Guatemala-Pacaya Active Volcano Hike

After pick-up from your hotel in Antigua arrive at the foot of the volcano. From there your expert guide will lead you on a 1-hour hike from the San Vicente de Pacaya village up to a distance of approximately 50 meters from the crater. Look down into the crater at the lava as you experience the energy of an active volcano. Note the fumaroles, vents in the earth through which gases escape. Learn about Pacaya Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala, and observe how it has shaped the country around it. At 2500 meters above sea level wander through an unusual landscape of humid forest and rocks.  Before transfer back to your hotel in Antigua visit the Lava Store to buy souvenirs made from the volcanic ash produced by the mountain. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Guatemala

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What people are saying about Guatemala

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 398 reviews

Great experience for a great price. Guides are very professional, transport was clean and dependable for the journey. They even brought marshmallows for us to roast at the top of the volcano! Would definitely recommend this tour. Our only complaint was that transport was set to arrive at 6am but we stood outside the meeting point for 40 minutes. I understand that it takes time to pick up people from all over town but they should let customers know so they can grab coffee or sleep a few more minutes. However the contact number provided was very useful in helping to keep us updated on the status of the transport. Overall still an excellent experience and would definitely recommend to any travelers looking for a half day tour to Pacaya!

Carmen was my guide on this solo tour. She is a great story teller and gave me all kinds of historical information! Iximche was truly stunning, and we went there first before the rain started and saw a Mayan ceremony, too. Antigua was beautiful and all the locations we stopped in were very interesting! It was pouring by that time, so Carmen drove between stops and I truly appreciated that. Had a nice lunch and she gave me a couple souvenirs, which was so sweet! The magnet is on my refrigerator Carmen! Muchisimas gracias por todo!

Excellent experience for those of us who like hiking. It's not easy but you don't have to be an athlete to do it either. I recommend it!

Pretty cool to roast marshmallows on the lava fields’ vents. The hike is pretty easy and the guide was easy to understand with minimal Spanish

Couldn’t have asked for better guides. They accommodated for everything we needed and more! Couldn’t recommend more.