This is for those travelers that want to take a vacation but don’t have month to explore Guatemala. There are places you can visit to have a great vacation, and to be able to see the best this country has to offer.
Here is a 1 week itinerary:
Day 1 – This is when you get to the country. You will arrive to la Aurora Airport. Skip the city and have your transportation ready to take you to Antigua. It is only 45 minutes way. When you get there you will find a small 8 square block city. The reason why it is so great is because it is the last 'True' Colonial city of Latin America. It literally looks like time has not gone by. It is also packed with boutique hotels, resorts, restaurants, museums and artisans markets.
When you get there, get settled in your hotel, unpack, get some food and rest.
Day 2 – Next day wake up really early, put on some comfy shoes and get a traditional Chapin Breakfast. It is time to explore the place! It is not a good idea to drive in Antigua, plus it is really small. Instead walk around the cobblestoned streets, enjoy the volcano views, do some shopping, go on a carriage tour and visit a couple of its restaurants.
Day 3 – Now it’s time for more walking, so be prepared. Visit the churches (they are filled with artwork), explore the ruins and make sure you spend some time at one of the central park.
Day 4 – It is time to say goodbye to the relaxed Antigua and move on to Atitlan. It is a two hour drive and you will be so grad you did it. This is where you will find the famous Atitlan Lake. It is known as one of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Many hotels are right next to the lake, so when you get there dedicate yourself to enjoy the views of the lake.
Day 5 – Next day explore the Mayan villages around the lake, do some more shopping, go to the local naturally heated hot springs, go on a boat tour, adventurers can even go on a snorkeling adventure in the cold waters of the lake. Also try to make some time to visit Maximon, a mixture between a Mayan and a catholic god. For some money you get to see the chaotic and extremely weird ritual.
Day 6 – It is time to explore crib of the ancient Mayan civilization. Because of how limited time is, head back to Guatemala City and take a flight to Petén; you will arrive at Flores in the evening. Flores is a town located on an island, in the middle of the Petén Itza Lake, just minutes away from Tikal.
Day 7 – Spend the day walking in the middle of the jungle looking at the beautiful Mayan pyramids at Tikal National Park. This is an amazing experience! Aside from the beautiful structures you get to see beautiful birds, monkeys and other species of exotic animals hiding among the trees.
Day 8 - Sadly your Guatemala vacation has come to an end. Since the airport in Petén is international you can catch a flight home from here. You can also go back to Guatemala City, to start your way back home from La Aurora Airport.
As you can see you can get a taste of the beauties of Guatemala, even with only a few days available and truly being able to enjoy it, without rushing. This itinerary is great for all kinds of travelers, including families with small kids.
Ken Ripoll is the founder of AllstarPassports.com, a Los Angeles Passport expediter specializing in passport renewals and visas to China.