Best of Guatemala

16 days |


This tour hits all the best highlights and is as close as one can get to having the “complete” Guatemalan experience in under 3 weeks. The first half of the trip is more relaxed and focused on soaking up the beauty and history of this fascinating country, while the more adventurous second half will get you off the beaten path and test the explorer in you. This package includes everything featured in our other Guatemala tours combined. Cobblestone streets, lakeside villages, volcano trekking, jungle pools, Mayan ruins, and so much more…

trip summary

  • Day 1-2:
    • Beautiful Colonial Antigua
  • Day 3-5:
    • Scenic Lake Atitlan
  • Day 6:
    • Chichicastenango’s Indigenous Market
  • Day 7:
    • Comalapa
    • Long Way Home
  • Day 8-10:
    • Charming Flores
    • Tikal’s Mayan Ruins
  • Day 11-12:
    • Lanquin
    • Stunning Semuc Champey
  • Day 13-15:
    • Antigua
    • Acatenango Volcano Trek

trip detail

Day 1

Fly to Guatemala
Transport to Antigua

Upon your afternoon arrival at the Guatemala City Airport, you’ll be shuttled, with a guide, directly to beautiful Antigua. The drive is approximately 1 ½ hours so you’ll finally arrive in Antigua late afternoon/early evening. We’ll start with a fun group dinner, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet your guides and fellow travelers. After dinner, we’ll take a short walk to one of the beautiful, bustling nearby plazas to get you orientated with the city.

Day 2

Colonial Antigua

Antigua is an old Spanish colonial town with a rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and beautiful natural surroundings. After breakfast, we’ll head out on a walking tour of the city, taking in the magnificent churches, convents, plazas, cobblestone streets, food, and overall charm this special little city has to offer. Mid afternoon, after the walking tour, you’ll have time to relax and shower before we drive up to the surrounding countryside for a sunset dinner and music.

Day 3

Antigua to Lake Atitlan

After breakfast, we’ll head to magical Lake Atitlan, a stunning crater lake surrounded by volcanoes and dotted with scenic shoreline villages. We’ll drive 2 ½ hours from Antigua to the lakeside city of Panajachel for lunch and a quick walk down the touristy strip. From “Pana” we’ll catch a small boat to the tranquil village of San Marcos, the ideal base for two days/nights of swimming, hiking, shopping, massages, yoga, village hopping, or just relaxing by the water.

Day 4

Lake Atitlan

The morning is free for you to explore the many fun options nearby; swimming, cliff jumping, hiking a volcano, getting a massage, or just wandering the village. This is time for you to do your own thing and get away from the group. In the afternoon, we’ll take a small boat to the charming village of San Juan for cute shops and spectacular views from atop Mirador Kaqasiiwaan. Next, we’ll head to the more lively town of San Pedro for a beautiful sunset dinner to wrap up the perfect day.

Day 5

Lake Atitlan to Chichicastenango

After another free morning we’ll take a boat back to Panajachel, where we’ll hop on a series of colorful local “chicken buses” to get to the small highland town of Chichicastenango, famous for its huge, open-air indigenous market and traditional Maya culture. The trip to Chichi will take approximately 2 ½ hours on multiple potentially crowded buses. This is an opportunity to test your inner adventurer and travel like the locals do. Don’t chicken out, take the Chicken Bus!

Day 6

Chichi Market

We’ll wake early to watch the colorful market come alive before the droves of tourists arrive by the busload. By then, we’ll have had the full, authentic ChiChi market experience. Even though we’ll have hit all the highlights before lunch, you’ll have the whole day to soak up the glory of Indigenous Market Day. Take your time shopping, try the delicious street foods, take a thousand photos, and watch the beautiful chaos unfold all around you.

Day 7


Today, we’ll make the long trip back to Guatemala City, stopping in quaint, off-the-beaten-path Comalapa along the way. Comalapa is the artistic heart of Guatemala, boasting a staggering number of artists and is a great place to see what Guatemala is like without tourists. We’ll start with a cooking class, where you’ll learn to make a traditional meal. After eating, we’ll take a walking tour of the town, focusing on its famous murals and art galleries and ending in the town square to soak up life as the locals live it. We’ll end the day at our hotel in the big city.

Day 8

Fly to Flores

You’ll have the morning free to relax after getting in late the night before. In the afternoon, we’ll head to the airport for a short 1 hour flight to charming Flores, a colorful little town on a small lake island in northern Guatemala. Flores is great for hanging out, kayaking, watching sunsets, and is the base for exploring the fantastic Mayan ruins at Tikal. Once in Flores, we’ll have a group dinner followed by an hour on a small party boat to wrap up a fun Saturday night.

Day 9

Flores & ARCAS Animal Rescue

We’ll start with a boat ride to ARCAS Animal Rescue to learn about their work and see many of the beautiful rescued animals. Hop Skip Jump can also make a monetary donation to ARCAS on behalf of each group member if you wish! After our visit, it’s time to play! We’ll head to a fun water spot with decks and awesome rope swings for lunch and swimming. Once we’ve had our fill of both, the rest of the day is free for you to explore Flores, kayak, or just relax.

Day 10

Tikal Ruins

The ancient Mayan ruins at Tikal are one of the premiere highlights of any visit to Guatemala! We’ll set out at 3 am, drive 1 ½ hours to Tikal, walk in the dark with a professional guide to one of the tallest temples, ascend, and watch the sunrise from the top. You’ll hear the jungle come alive and the monkeys howl, as the sun rises over the spectacular ruins. After a thorough tour of the ruins, we’ll head back to Flores. You’ll have a few hours to relax and then we’ll regroup for a fun cave tour, exploring the fascinating Actun Kan cave system by headlamp.

Day 11

Flores to Lanquin

After an early breakfast, we’ll head out on the long 7 ½ hour journey to Lanquin, a hard to reach Mayan village surrounded by rainforest. Lanquin is the base for visiting the beautiful natural pools of Semuc Champey and is a quiet place except for the sounds of the rainforest at night. It’s visited by backpackers and more adventurous tourists but mostly still intact as an authentic village. We’ll arrive late afternoon and the rest of the day is free for you to check out Lanquin.

Day 12

Semuc Champey

We’ll pack ourselves into 4×4 trucks to make the bumpy 1 hour journey from Lanquin down to Semuc Champey. It’s a rough but very fun ride down to the river, maneuvering through the rainforest while standing in the back, just like the locals do it! We’ll spend the day swimming and exploring Semuc Champey’s stunning blue pools followed by a thrilling guided tour through a pitch black cave by candle light…in waist deep water! It’s a true adventure and not for the faint of heart!

Day 13

Lanquin to Antigua

It’s time to head back to Antigua, the epitome of old Spanish colonial charm. After an early breakfast, we’ll load up for an 8 hour trip with stops for lunch, potty breaks, and snacks along the way. This is your opportunity to reflect on the adventures of the past few days while watching the beautiful landscapes of Guatemala roll by. We’ll arrive late afternoon with the rest of the day free for you to explore the plazas and cobblestone streets of Antigua at your own pace.

Day 14

Acatenango Volcano

This is the day we hike up Acatenango, a massive volcano with trails and spectacular views of the super active Volcan de Fuego. After breakfast, we’ll head to the base of Acatenango, where we’ll gear up with sleeping mats and tents to begin our ascent. The hike up to camp is roughly 5-6 hours, including a good stop for lunch. We’ll reach camp late in the afternoon and, after getting settled in, we’ll have dinner around the campfire and spend the evening enjoying the stunning views of Volcan de Fuego erupting in the distance.

Day 15

Return to Antigua

For those adventurous souls whose legs still have some pep, you’ll have the option to wake at 3am and climb 1 ½ km higher to watch the sunrise from a superior viewpoint. This is optional, as the Fuego lava is viewable from camp. After breakfast, we’ll descend down Acatenango and head back to Antigua, arriving early afternoon. You’ll have the afternoon free to relax or explore suggested sights in Antigua. In the evening we’ll wrap up the tour with a group dinner followed by “farewell” music and drinks on a rooftop bar.

Day 16

Travel Home

Today we officially say goodbye as it’s time for you to fly home. Early morning, we’ll begin transporting everyone, in groups, to the Guatemala City Airport based on flight times. Our lead guide will be there to make sure everyone departs without issue. Next, you land at home and tell all your friends what an amazing time you had and we anxiously wait for the day you join us for another tour. Remember, with Hop Skip Jump, the world is smaller than you think!

want even more day-to-day detail?

price & inclusions


(Prices are in $USD & exclude the cost of any flights.)

price includes

  • Accommodation
  • Most meals (32 meals included)
  • All group transport during the trip
  • Group activities, excursions, and sightseeing
  • Guide and Assistant Guide fees

price excludes

  • Tips & personal expenses
  • Travel, health and cancellation insurance
  • All airfare
  • Shopping
  • Alcohol
  • Individual free time activities

Our Non-Profit Partners

(These are the organizations you’ll visit and how you can help them)

ARCAS Animal Rescue

ARCAS is a non-profit Civil Association who became concerned as they saw their wildlife rapidly disappearing. They built a rescue center to rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market and now receive 300-600 animals of more than 40 species per year. ARCAS is located in a fascinating spot on the forested shoreline of Lake Peten Itza. You’ll get to visit the Animal Rescue, donate supplies, volunteer for a couple of hours, and Hop Skip Jump will donate $100 on your behalf, and for each member of our tour group.

long way home

Long Way Home is a fantastic organization that promotes unique green building methods and supports the community through various projects, notably its Hero School, an incredible school providing high-quality education to kids who may otherwise not have the opportunity. The best part is this beautiful school is built from garbage and old tires. Yep, old tires! You won’t believe your eyes! You’ll get to visit the school, donate supplies, and hang with volunteers, and Hop Skip Jump will donate $130 on your behalf and for each member of our tour group.

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