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The central acropolis of the Maya ruin site Tikal

Mundo Maya

Example 9 Day Tour
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Colorful markets, smoking volcanoes, mysterious traditions, and warm hospitality describe the Guatemalan highlands and the discoveries in this trip. Explore colonial Antigua's cobblestone streets, travel to the off-the-beaten-track highland town of Totonicapan, visit the workshops of local artisans and bargain over weavings at bustling indigenous markets. Immerse yourself in Maya history and culture at the ruins of Tikal. This is a unique Guatemala travel experience for the culturally adventurous!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Antigua
Day 2 : Explore Antigua
Day 3 : Maya Hospitality in Totonicapan
Day 4 : Totonicapan/ Lake Atitlan
Day 5 : Shores of Lake Atitlan
Day 6 : Chichicastenango
Day 7 : Tikal
Day 8 : Return Guatemala City
Day 9 : Return Home

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

The central acropolis of the Maya ruin site Tikal  Santigo de Atitlan- Maximon The sun sets behind the volcanoes around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala Visiting a colonial cathedral on Antigua tour in Guatemala View from above Antigua Watching a Maya woman weaving on Guatemala tour Paddling a cayuco, the traditional Lago Atitlan boat, with a load of reeds for weaving. A local plays music in Guatemala

Day 1 Arrive Antigua

Fly into Guatemala City where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Antigua.

Day 2 Explore Antigua

Volcan Fuego rises to the roof of the world above the colonial streets of Antigua below. This morning we explore Antigua's bustling markets where the local Maya gather to buy and sell everything from enormous avacados to intricate weavings to begin our Guatemala travels. The markets might look like all business, but sometimes more local gossip gets traded between far flung friends and family than produce!

Once the capital of Guatemala and all Central America, Antigua resembles a living ruin. Mammoth ruins of churches and palaces tell the story of Antigua's past glory, and restored fascades speak of a bright future for this wonderful city. The afternoon is yours to rent mountain bikes to explore the countryside, visit a coffee finca, or macadamia nut plantation, or just people watch in the main plaza.

Day 3 Maya Hospitality in Totonicapan

Scholars tell us that the Ancient Maya disappeared mysteriously a thousand years ago, but anyone who has intimately explored this fascinating region knows that the Maya continue to thrive in the highlands of Guatemala. This morning we move towards the highland town of Totonicapan. On our way we stop at the fascinating archaeological site at La Democracia to see an amazing collection of Olmec stone carvings. Before continuing on we’ll visit a small private museum to see some of the unique Maya artifacts from the area’s sites. We then leave the Maya past and venture forth into the present, traveling through the farming valley of Zunil, where we can see the most colorful church in Guatemala, San Andres Xecul, before arriving at the highland village of Totonicapan in the late afternoon. Here a community of over twenty K`iche families reaches out to visitors with the vision of bringing people into their homes to share their culture with the outside world. In return, your host family is eager to learn about your life back home. We’ll arrive in time to share a communal evening and overnight with families.

Day 4 Totonicapan/ Lake Atitlan

This morning is market day in Toto, but don't expect a guided group tour of this bustling local market. This is part of your host family's weekly tradition, and you'll be accompanying them around this early morning market as they do their shopping. After the market we'll have a chance to visit the workshops of ceramic artists, weavers, mask makers, and wood workers. After lunch we're off to Lago Atitlan, often referred to as the most beautiful lake in the world. Our home for the next few days is a charming lodge in the village of Santiago de Atitlan.

Day 5 Shores of Lake Atitlan

Today you are free to explore as you wish. Go canoeing on the lake, horseback riding to a nearby cloudforest, or rent a mountain bike. It's also worthwhile to visit Maximòn and leave an offering to this curious deity. Meet up with our local guide and learn about the mystical undercurrents of the area, or visit Maya Saints in the brotherhood houses and watch some of the day's Maya rituals.

Day 6 Chichicastenango

Today we rise early to visit the famous market of Chichicastenango. This beautiful town, surrounded by valleys and shadowed by mountains, has many shamanistic and ceremonial overtones. Its large market brings villagers from throughout the region, who often arrive the night before and sleep on blankets in the market square. Rising early, they set out their colorful fruits, vegetables and handicrafts. The market disperses in the early afternoon and we travel back to Antigua to spend the night.

Day 7 Tikal

This morning we fly east to the tropical lowlands of the Peten and the home of the ancient Maya. After meeting up with your guide, you'll continue on to the ruins of Tikal for a private tour. Here you'll encounter towering pyramids rising above the thick jungle canopy, and learn how the city thrived as an important religious, scientific, and political center for 1500 years. Today, the pristine forest engulfing the ruined city is home to howler and spider monkeys, white lipped peccary, brocket deer, coati-mundis, toucans, scarlet macaws, parrots, ocelots and the seldom seen jaguar. After lunch, the day is yours to explore the ruins. In the evening, we'll return to the shores of Lake Peten Itza to settle in to your hotel.

Day 8 Return Guatemala City

This morning is free to explore the lakeside town of Flores. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Guatemala City, where we spend the night close to the airport for your flight tomorrow to complete your Guatemala travels.

Day 9 Return Home

Antigua - Hotels

Flores - Hotels

Guatemala City - Hotels


Santiago de Atitlan - Hotels

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  • 1 Breakfast, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
    • 7 Nights Hotel
    • 1 Night Community Stay
  • 6 Days Private Guide Service
  • International Arrival Transfers are included.


  • Internal Flights
    • $300 Guatemala City-Flores-Guatemala City
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • International Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $125 Meals not Included
  • $45 Airport Departure Tax
  • $75 Optional Excursions
  • $15 Airport Arrival Tax
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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