Guatemala: A 10-Day Itinerary

by Travel Writer Bradley Fink

To be honest, Guatemala City is not much of adestination. If you’re looking for the thrill of Malta nightlife, you’re not going to find it here. Like most Central American capitals, the city is dirty, poor, difficult to navigate, and dangerous in certain neighborhoods. However, once you escape the urban chaos, you’ll find the country a breathtaking place. Guatemala is rich in culture,has passionate people and magnificent things to see. My advice upon landing would be to rent a car, and head 45 minutes west to the tranquility of Antigua. Antigua is a small, charming, colonial town with quaint restaurants and hotels.

For the first leg of your 10-day trip, stay two nights in Antigua. Here you can linger in the sun-baked lanes, and take loads of photographs. In the Parque Central, gaze from a shady bench at theCatedral Santiago, which is a classic glimpse of Central America’s old colonial style.

An excellent place to stay in Antigua is the intimate Hotel Cirilo.This 7-room boutique hotel, which surrounds an 18th century chapel, is comfortably designed in a style that makes you feel like right at home.Here the chic fengshui, leafy garden, and landscape views enchant you. Each room has a private fireplace, the property boasts a solar-heated pool, and you can dine at night on a fine selection of international cuisine.

Two and a half hours west of Antigua is Lago Atitlan. This beautiful volcanic lake is the deepest lake in Central America. Arriving to Atitlan, you will descend to Panajachel, the principal of the Mayan villages that surround the scenic lake shore. Here you will find a market with indigenous crafts and gifts, including foods, jewelry, beads and accessories, artworks, clothing, and more. At the village dock are the water taxis which navigate the lake. For around 16 Quetzales (2 U.S. Dollars) you can go by motor boat to any village on Atitlan.

For your next two nights, taxi across the water to La Casa Del Mundo.This secluded cliff side villa is a blissful place to be. On this awesome property, with unrivaled views, you’ll find hammocks, gardens, a cove to swim, and a hot tub to relax in. You’ll need to make a reservation for one of their terraced rooms.

From Atitlan you can make your way to the pools of Semuc Champey. Getting to these turquoise pools is not an easy feat, as they are set within the depths of an ancient limestone valley. Stay in Coban, and organize your guided trip from there. Spend the day hiking, swimming, exploring the caves, and crossing the limestone bridge.

Finally, take two days to make your way north toward the island-town of Flores. While the island lacks the glamour of pristine Malta beaches, from there you’ll visit the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. This is one of the most enduring archeological sites in the world. Climb the pyramids, investigate the temples, and take in the history of Guatemala.

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About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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