Guatemala Itineraries

Interested in visiting Guatemala? Keep reading to discover inspiring Guatemala itineraries that will guide you through this vibrant country in an authentic and exciting way, whether it's the lively atmosphere of Guatemala City, the tranquil beauty of Lake Atitlan or the ancient appeal of Tikal.

Itinerary tips from Marcia: your Guatemala Travel Expert

"Planning an itinerary for Guatemala is an exciting journey in itself," says Marcia, our Guatemala travel expert. The importance of developing a carefully crafted itinerary cannot be overestimated.

Guatemala is a tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and experiences, and each place - from the vibrant streets of Guatemala City to the serene waters of Lake Atitlan - has its unique appeal and attractions. Thus, a customized itinerary ensures that you make the most of your time, allowing you to discover the hidden treasures and cultural attractions that make Guatemala truly remarkable.

With years of experience and in-depth local knowledge, I'll help you understand the ins and outs of planning. Whether you want to explore ancient Mayan ruins, immerse yourself in the vibrant local markets, or take a scenic hike in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, a well-crafted itinerary ensures a smooth and insightful travel experience.

So let's work together to create a trip that suits your interests, rhythm, and style, and make your Guatemalan adventure absolutely unforgettable.

If you're planning your own trip to Guatemala, use these expert-craft itineraries as a starting point. Read our breakdown of how many days are best to spend in Guatemala and dive into our itineraries for different durations: 5 days - 7 days - 10 days

5 day Guatemala itinerary

Experience an unforgettable 5-day journey through the heart of Guatemala, a land of ancient ruins, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture. 

Begin your exploration with Day 1 in the charming city of Antigua, where you'll wander the cobblestone streets, and learn about colonial history and culinary delights. 

On Day 2, you'll be mesmerized by the natural beauty of Lake Atitlan, surrounded by majestic volcanoes and colorful indigenous communities. 

Day 3 offers an immersive cultural experience in the vibrant Chichicastenango market and the historic ruins of Iximche. 

Day 4 offers adventure with a thrilling hike to the active Pacaya volcano and relaxation in serene thermal springs. 

End your journey on Day 5 with a visit to a traditional coffee plantation in Antigua, where you'll learn the art of coffee making and savor the rich flavor of Guatemalan coffee before departing this magical country.


City Antigua, Guatemala

7 day Guatemala itinerary

Travel on a unique 7-day adventure through Guatemala's diverse landscapes and cultures, different from the usual itineraries. 

Begin your journey on Day 1 in vibrant Guatemala City, exploring its museums and modern culture. 

On Day 2, you'll travel to the market town of Sololá to experience authentic Guatemalan daily life before visiting tranquil Lake Atitlan for an evening of relaxation.

On Day 3, you'll have an adventure at the natural limestone bridges of Semuc Champey, where you can swim in turquoise pools

On Day 4, you'll travel to the Coban region, known for its coffee plantations and majestic Candelaria Caves. 

Day 5 will introduce you to the unique Biotopo del Quetzal biotope, where you can hike and birdwatch in the cloud forest, perhaps spotting the elusive national bird, the Quetzal.

Day 6 will introduce you to the coastal atmosphere of Livingstone, a lively Garifuna town with a unique Afro-Caribbean culture, accessible only by boat. 

Conclude your journey on Day 7 by exploring the Rio Dulce area, a paradise with rivers, hot springs and lush jungle, before returning to Guatemala City for departure.


Semuc Champey, Guatemala @ Shutterstock

10 day Guatemala itinerary

Take an exciting 10-day journey through Guatemala, a country where ancient traditions and breathtaking landscapes intertwine. 

Day 1 will begin in Guatemala City, where historical and cultural sights await. 

On Day 2, you'll travel to Cobán, where you'll explore its coffee heritage and lush surroundings, and on Day 3, you'll explore the mesmerizing pools of Semuc Champey.

Quetzaltenango (Xela) will drop by on Days 4 and 5, offering insight into Guatemala's rich culture, bustling markets, and the soothing hot springs of Fuentes Georginas. 

On Day 6, your journey will take you to the bustling San Francisco El Alto market and the artisan community of Totonicapán.

On Day 7, you'll travel to Huehuetenango to explore its historic sites, and on Day 8, you'll spend the day in tranquil Laguna Brava. 

The adventure comes to an end in the lush Rio Dulce region on Day 9, where you'll experience its natural beauty, and then immerse yourself in the Garifuna culture in Livingstone on Day 10, concluding a journey of discovery and awe.

Mayan Pyramid in the forests of Peten, Guatemala © Shutterstock

Mayan Pyramid in the forests of Peten, Guatemala © Shutterstock

Guatemala Itinerary: Grand tour of Guatemala

Take this week-long grand tour of Guatemala. Start in the charming former capital, Antigua, where cobblestone streets, colonial architecture and lively restaurants await. 

Continue to the highland town of Chichicastenango, known for its unique blend of Mayan and Catholic traditions and lively marketplace. Experience the serene beauty of Lago de Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes and Mayan villages, where activities range from snorkeling to Spanish lessons. 

Discover the colonial charm of Flores, a picturesque town set against the backdrop of Lago de Petén Itzá. Explore the ancient wonders of Tikal, the premier archaeological site of the Mayan world. Travel to the natural paradise of Semuc Champay with its stunning limestone pools, nearby caves and forested river. 

Be awed by the majestic Rio Dulce Gorge, a highlight of Guatemala's Caribbean region. End your journey in vibrant Guatemala City, where, despite its gritty reputation, you'll find the country's best museums and a lively cultural scene, making this tour a comprehensive exploration of Guatemala's rich heritage and natural beauty.

Going to Guatemala? Start preparing by familiarising yourself with things to know before you go.


Lake Atitlan, Guatemala @ Shutterstock

Guatemala Itinerary: A true Mayan expedition

Explore Mayan heritage on an unforgettable Guatemala trip, starting in the charming city of Antigua, where two days are spent exploring its colonial architecture and bustling markets. 

Head to the bustling indigenous market of Chichicastenango before relaxing by tranquil Lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanic landscapes and rich Mayan culture. On a short trip to Honduras, you can admire the ancient ruins of Copan, providing a glimpse into the Mayan civilization. 

Return to Guatemala to explore the lush Caribbean coast of Rio Dulce, enjoying its natural beauty and historical sites. 

End your adventure among the majestic ruins of Tikal, immersing yourself in the heart of Mayan history. This ten-day itinerary combines spectacular scenery and cultural heritage to offer a comprehensive introduction to the hidden gems of Central America.

 Jonas Andreae/Shutterstock

Tikal, Guatemala @ Jonas Andreae/Shutterstock

Guatemala Itinerary: Guatemala family adventure tour

Don't miss out on the perfect Guatemala family vacation that combines adventure, nature, and culture. Start your trip with a visit to the active Pacaya volcano, where you can see the mesmerizing lava flows up close during an easy hike. 

On your next adventure, experience the thrill of canopy flight as you fly through the rainforest canopy and observe the lush surroundings from a bird's eye view. 

End your unforgettable journey with a tranquil kayaking excursion on the serene waters of Lake Atitlan, surrounded by stunning volcanoes and picturesque villages. This itinerary offers a balanced blend of excitement and relaxation, making it ideal for families looking to explore the beauty and diversity of Guatemala.

Want to ensure your family has a carefree vacation? Also, check out our important safety tips for Guatemala.

The best time for a Guatemala holiday

The ideal time to vacation in Guatemala is the dry season, which lasts from November to April. During this period, there are sunny days and cool evenings, creating ideal conditions for exploring the country's diverse landscapes and cultural attractions without rain. 

Antigua's Semana Santa celebrations in April are a vibrant event, featuring elaborate processions and colorful alfombras (sawdust carpets). For outdoor adventurers such as hiking to the active Pacaya volcano, kayaking on Lake Atitlan or trekking through the rainforest, the dry season guarantees accessible trails and clearer skies for breathtaking views. 

This season is also ideal for wildlife enthusiasts who want to see different species of animals in their natural habitat. While the highlands remain pleasantly cool, the Pacific coast is warmer, attracting beach lovers. By choosing to travel during this period, you not only get pleasant weather, but also a richer experience of Guatemala's natural beauty and cultural richness.

Want to learn even more useful information for your upcoming trip to Guatemala? Read our travel tips for travelling to Guatemala.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 21.05.2024

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