Encounter rich Maya culture, the UNESCO colonial city of Antigua, and one of the most culturally historic lakes in the world on this 7 day / 6 night Classic Guatemala Tour. On this experience of a lifetime, you will exercise senses you didn’t even know you had as you unearth the mysteries of the Maya, explore the colorful streets of Antigua, taste the “world’s best” coffee, and dive head-first into what could be one of the best vacations of your days. Your professional guide will accompany you the entire way, with four nights in astounding Antigua and two nights at the breathtaking Lake Atitlán. On this tour, it’s guaranteed that you will experience Guatemala at its finest and gain a true understanding and appreciation, from experience, why Guatemala is such a colorful and top-notch destination.
What to Expect
On this Classic Guatemala Tour, you will begin and end at the La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City. You can expect your complete itinerary from transportation, accommodations, private tours/experiences, and meals to be previously arranged and paid for by your guide. You will be accompanied the entire tour by a Gardner Tours professional guide, educated on Guatemala’s colorful culture and history, it’s coffee, etc, and all we require of you is to simply enjoy yourself! In the event that something changes or doesn’t go exactly as planned, please be patient and courteous, as it is our guarantee that our guides will handle any challenges with timely grace to ensure that you are taken care of and that you get the authentic Guatemalan experience you desire.
*Your accommodations will be at authorized Guatemalan BnB or hotels that are equipped with air-conditioners (unless accommodated in certain hotels like the Jungle Lodge in Tikal where power is limited and adequate fans are provided) as well as private bathrooms. Each of our accommodation partners provide private rooms and can occupy up to two persons per room with the occasional exception. If you desire to share a room with your travel companion, or desire three or more persons per room, please specify in the details of your booking.
**The Hill of the Cross provides arguably the best view of Colonial Antigua possible, but we can’t guarantee you that there won’t be thick clouds. Throughout most of the year, the mornings are when the sky is clear, showing you the entirety of the city and Volcán Agua in the distance. Don’t worry, your guide will keep their eyes on the weather to ensure that you get the best view at the right time.
***Coffee harvest in Guatemala is during the dry season, from October to March. If you book in these months, you might even get to help in harvest! However, if you happen to book from April to September, know that you might see barren coffee plants, but it is our guarantee that you will experience the same education and coffee experience as if you were visiting in-season. You might not get to witness the acts of harvest, but you will definitely encounter the world’s greatest coffee culture at work.
****One morning on your tour, you will get the chance to take a leisurely hike along the waters of Lake Atitlán. The hike will be about 1.25 miles / 2 kilometers of different terrain from rocks to bamboo bridges and wooden sidewalks all the way to grassy knolls by the water. The elevation change will be approximately 250 feet / 76 meters, but not all at once. Remember, this is a leisure hike with a difficulty of easy to moderate and you are free to take it at your own pace. More than anything, we want you to enjoy the breathtaking views as you get out and about.
*****Chichicastenango is truly an unforgettable place to visit, as it houses Central America’s largest market and one of the only places left in the world where tribal rituals are still mixed and ceremonially celebrated today. The Chichicastenango Market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays, so if you happen to book your tour that does not begin on a Saturday, your tour will have to skip Chichicastenango. However, if that is the case, we will ensure that you spend more time enjoying Lake Atitlán or are returned to Antigua with ample amount of time to thoroughly explore that which caught your eye at the beginning of your tour. No matter what, your experience is our top priority.
Each of our guides are well versed in their culture and able to answer almost any question you may have for them! You will have complete freedom to take your tour at the pace you please, deciding to sit and enjoy the view as long as you desire, asking the coffee farmer as many questions as you want, or simply enjoying your dinner just a little longer than you normal. Your guide will give you time and space to enjoy your lunch each day as you like (with or without them). They meet you at the arranged time each morning to begin your day and will drop you off at your accommodations each night. They will serve you along the way and ensure that you are well taken care of during your entire stay.
Gardner Tours is committed to delivering you the most professional, comprehensive, entertaining and hospitable tours offered in Guatemala! If you have questions or would like to adjust this tour in any way, feel free to contact us and we will gladly accommodate your desires.
Based upon the time your flight arrives at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, your professional guide will be waiting for you at your final customs exit. Following a quick meet and greet, you will ride to Antigua, get settled into your private accommodations. After a time of acclimation and rest from a long travel day, you will be taken to one of our favorite restaurants in the city to experience their mouth-watering cuisine and the incredible ambience that they offer! If you choose, your guide will drop you off at your accommodations after dinner. If you desire to explore the nightlife of Antigua, you will be free to do so.
At the pre-arranged time that you choose, your professional guide will take you to the best viewpoint, overlooking the city of Antigua. After a short walk down, you will begin your day with an Antigua Walking Tour where you will receive a completely comprehensive education on Guatemalan culture, history, folklore, and much more on this two hour tour. You will be walked through Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, led by a professional guide, to learn of and visit some of the city’s colonial architecture, churches, ruins, cuisine, rich textiles, local people groups, personalities and so much more. Each step will take you deeper into the secrets of this ancient city, helping you to discover and understand the complexities of Guatemalan society via its history, customs, culture, and a number of other things that may leave you scratching your head.
After lunch at the restaurant of your choice, you will be transported just outside of town to meet one of the most experienced jade artisans in Guatemala. You will be welcomed into the home of he and his family to learn all about his trade, jade, its history in Guatemalan culture, and then you will spend time choosing, shaping, and polishing a stone that is yours to keep. What you may find most amazing about this experience is the time with their family, learning each other’s stories and connecting with one another as you work.
Following your Jade Workshop, you will be returned to your accommodations to rest and freshen up before dinner at a restaurant that offers an artistic and tasty interpretation on international cuisine from a prized chef. Oh, and their desserts may leave you drooling with a curiosity that beckons you to the kitchen to give it a try yourself. After dinner, your guide will drop you off at your accommodations if you so choose. If you desire to further explore the nightlife of Antigua, you will be free to do so.
Day three will be the grand finale of your relaxing time in Antigua with a Guatemala Coffee Farm Tour, time to explore the best local artisan markets, and dinner at our favorite restaurant in Antigua!
Following your breakfast, you will be transported to a local Guatemalan coffee farm to experience a day in the life of a local Guatemalan coffee farmer. After a short hike up Volcán Agua to explore and learn about the coffee fields, you will be invited into the farmer’s house to experience and utilize the machinery used to process coffee. The best part comes at the end when you get to roast coffee in the traditional Guatemalan way, over the fire, and share a fresh cup of coffee with the farmer and their family.
After lunch at the restaurant of your choice, you will be guided to the most famous artisan markets in Antigua to satisfy your appetite for souvenirs and gifts. And believe us when we tell you, Antigua has a great variety of high quality souvenirs for everyone alike!
Just before dinner, you will take time to freshen up to experience our favorite culinary establishment in the city, one that offers dishes that might leave you drooling for more. The chef is a self-made genius in the kitchen who has published a number of books. Just wait, you won’t leave disappointed. Following dinner, you may want to explore Antigua’s nightlife, but if not, your guide will escort you to your accommodations.
After breakfast, you will take off for Iximché, a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site that was once the capital of the late Maya Kaqchikel kingdom. There, you will explore the over 500 year old pyramid-temples, palaces, and ball-courts to uncover some of the mysteries of the Maya empire that may leave you scratching your head.
Following your departure from Iximché, you will be transported about an hour and a half to Lake Atitlán to get settled into your accommodations. Depending on the location of your accommodations, you may eat lunch at a restaurant of your choice either before or after arriving.
You will then have the opportunity to either rest a bit and get acclimated to the relaxing pace of Lake Atitlán or you may want to walk down and dip your toes in the crystal clear blue waters of Central America’s deepest lake. Lake Atitlán is also renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world that is surrounded by a number of different cultures of Maya.
After your amazing afternoon, you will then take time to clean up before being transported to the highest rated restaurant in Panajachel that offers top-notch service and a delightful selection of authentic cuisine. After dinner, your guide will ensure that you are transported safely back to your accommodations. If you desire to explore the nightlife, you will be free to do so.
At the arranged time you choose, your professional guide will meet you to begin your day with an easy and relaxing hike that offers some of the best views of Lake Atitlán. You will first be transported to your beginning location in a boat taxi, then you will be free to take your leisurely hike at your own pace, stopping for as many photos or awe-struck moments as you please. It’s guaranteed that you will love it!
You will then have the opportunity to enjoy lunch at a special place overlooking the water following your hike. This is the perfect time to kick your feet back and soak it all in, as you will be on top of the world.
After your relaxing lunch, you will take a short boat taxi to a nearby town to experience the entire craft process of tribal weaving and will learn about its significance in the local Maya cultures. You might even get to help dye the threads in their natural ways or finish a scarf with the local Maya. One thing we guarantee is that you will see tribal weaving at its most pure and pride-filled form.
To finish your evening in the most immaculate style, after cleaning up, you will be taken just off the water, high into a mountain town to a place that has been claimed by many as the restaurant with “the best view and the most creative and tasty food in Guatemala.” What’s better is that this restaurant employs students from an acclaimed culinary university and all its proceeds go to support the local community. You will dine at what we claim is the best tasting cause in Guatemala, and one thing we know is that you will leave with a full stomach and a happy heart.
At the arranged time, your professional guide will ensure that you are checked out of your accommodations and transported from at the proper time to your taxi where you will journey through the highlands of western Guatemala to the small indigenous Maya town of Chichicastenango. It is there that you will spend time at the largest and most well-known artisan market in Central America. The Chichicastenango Market can be best explained as an “explosion of color and creativity.” You might even get the chance to see a ceremony at the Saint Thomas Church, a Catholic church where both Mayan rituals and Catholic traditions are mixed and practiced daily by the locals.
From Chichicastenango, you will be transported back to Antigua for your final night in Guatemala. Since you are already familiar with Antigua, depending on your time of arrival and check-in status at your accommodations, you might have time to explore the city and visit that place that caught your eye at the beginning of your tour.
No matter what, you will finish your tour with a bang at a historical restaurant that provides a romantic atmosphere and a wonderful selection of award-winning international cuisine. You might even want to stay a little longer, just to cherish the sheer beauty of your final night to soak it all in and reflect on your time in Guatemala. After dinner, your guide will ensure that you are transported safely back to your accommodations, but if you desire to explore the nightlife, you will be free to do so.
Depending on the departure time of your flight, you might have the opportunity to relax and enjoy your last few hours in Antigua. If so, you will have time to purchase any last-minute souvenirs from local artisans and/or take those photos that you may have missed. At the appointed time, you will be picked up by your private taxi, escorted directly to the La Aurora International Airport, and dropped off three to four hours prior to your departure for an ample amount of time to purchase any last-minute souvenirs, check your bags, go through security and customs, and arrive at your gate for a safe flight home.
Gardner Tours is committed to delivering you the most professional, comprehensive, entertaining, and hospitable tours offered in Guatemala! If you have questions or would like to adjust this tour in any way, feel free to contact us and we will gladly accommodate your desires.
If you have questions or would like to adjust this tour in any way, please contact us using the form below.