Day trips from Antigua, Guatemala, are the perfect addition to an already fantastic holiday in this country. Most visitors set their vacation base camp in this small colonial town for several reasons.
If it’s not the place you are staying at, going to Antigua is something you have to do when you visit Guatemala. It has so many great things and places to offer. There are tons of great restaurants, lots of fun bars, and hotels.
I love its buildings and streets because they are filled with history. If you take the time to meet some of the grandpas and grandmas of the place, they will tell you all kinds of interesting facts about the city.
But its biggest draw is the amount of day trips you can do from there, and today, I’m going to list several options for you to try.
Planning a Trip?
Check Out These Helpful Services:
Best Day Trips from Antigua, Guatemala
Now let’s take a look at some of the most unique destinations that you can explore from Antigua:
Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order:
Volcan Pacaya is one of the most popular and “accessible” volcanoes in Guatemala. It is an active volcano that has erupted almost continuously since 1965, creating a spectacular show of (sometimes) lava, smoke, and ash. It’s located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Antigua and is part of the Pacaya National Park, which covers an area of 2,000 hectares.
Hiking the volcano is an unforgettable experience that will allow you to see the power and beauty of nature up close. The hike is moderately challenging, involving uphill walks for almost 2 hours on a crumbling terrain. The trail is mostly rocky and sandy, with steep and slippery sections.
Upon reaching the summit, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the volcanic landscape and the surrounding valleys. Despite being active, don’t expect to see the lava flow, but you will feel the heat and roast marshmallows over the hot rocks.
The hike back takes about two hours and a half or less, and you can enjoy the sunset over the horizon.
Hobbitenango is a unique and fun destination that will make you feel like you are in the Lord of the Rings. It is an eco-friendly and sustainable project comprising a complex of hobbit-style houses, gardens, and facilities. It’s located about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) north of Antigua, on the slopes of the El Hato.
Visiting Hobbitenango is a great way to enjoy the nature and scenery of the area, as well as to have some fun and entertainment. You can explore the hobbit houses, which are cozy and colorful, and have different themes and decorations.
You can also enjoy the gardens, which are full of flowers, plants, and animals. Not only that, but you can also relax and have a drink or a meal at the restaurant and bar, which serve organic and local food and beverages.
Lake Atitlan is one of the world’s most beautiful and scenic lakes. It is a volcanic lake surrounded by three majestic volcanoes: Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro. The lake is also home to many indigenous villages with unique features.
A day trip to Lake Atitlan is a beautiful way to enjoy the nature and culture of Guatemala. You can admire the stunning views of the lake and the volcanoes, as well as the colorful and diverse flora and fauna. Also, explore the different villages around the lake, which offer a glimpse into the Maya heritage and lifestyle.
You can visit the markets, churches, museums, and workshops and interact with the friendly and hospitable locals in Panajachel.
It’s a good place to participate in some of the activities and adventures the lake offers, such as kayaking, hiking, biking, and more.
Valhalla Macadamia Farm
Valhalla Macadamia Farm is a lovely and relaxing destination that will let you learn a lot about macadamia nuts. It is an organic and sustainable farm that grows and produces these nuts, as well as other products such as oil, butter, skincare, and cosmetics. The farm is situated in the village of San Miguel Duenas, about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) south of Antigua.
Booking a tour here is a great way to learn about the history and benefits of macadamia nuts, as well as to support a local and social project. It’s also a family-friendly location, my kids loved this place.
The tour will show you the different stages of macadamia production, from planting to harvesting to processing. You can also taste some of the delicious and healthy products that the farm offers.
Enjoying the beautiful and peaceful setting of the farm, surrounded by trees, flowers, and birds, is one of the biggest attractions here. You can pamper yourself with a massage or a facial treatment at the spa, which uses natural and organic ingredients.
Make sure to buy some of the products to take home or as gifts!
San Pedro Las Huertas and Ciudad Vieja
San Pedro Las Huertas and Ciudad Vieja are charming and historic towns close to Antigua. They are both part of the Sacatepequez department, the original site of the Spanish colonial capital of Guatemala. Both towns are known for their colonial architecture, cultural heritage, and artistic traditions.
A visit to those towns is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of the country, as well as to admire the beauty and craftsmanship of the local people.
Visit some of the landmarks and monuments of the towns, such as the churches, convents, fountains, and plazas. Also, visit some of the museums and galleries that showcase the art and history of the region, such as the Museo del Jade in San Pedro or Museo del volcán de Agua in Ciudad Vieja.
You can also visit some workshops and markets that display and sell the handicrafts and products of the towns, such as textiles, pottery, woodwork, and chocolate.
Jocotenango and Finca La Azotea
Finca La Azotea is an exciting and educational destination, it’s situated in the Jocotenango municipality, which is one of the oldest and most traditional towns in the department. Finca La Azotea is known for its coffee, horses, and culture, as well as their museums and gardens.
It’s a 100-acre farm packed with history and fun activities; visiting the farm is a great way to learn about Guatemala’s coffee and culture and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the area.
Make sure to visit the Museo del Cafe, which is located within the farm, and do a tour of the farm. There are several places to hang out and a couple of restaurants.
Jocotenango, the town, is also worth visiting. Make sure to check out some of the landmarks and attractions of the town, like Casa K’ojom, an exciting museum.
Semuc Champey is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the country, a series of turquoise pools and waterfalls formed by the Cahabon River, which runs underground. It is about 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of Antigua, the Alta Verapaz department.
One of the most magical and adventurous experiences that will allow you to enjoy the beauty and diverse nature of the country. It’s a complete trip where you can swim, relax in the crystal-clear pools, hike, and explore the surrounding jungle full of wildlife and plants.
You can see the impressive views of the pools and the river from the Mirador, which is a lookout point that is located at the top of the hill.
There are also some nearby caves that you can visit, which are dark and mysterious and have exciting rock formations and bats.
📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Guatemala Waterfalls: 9 Most Amazing Waterfalls to Visit.
Essential Travel Resources
❗Don’t forget travel insurance
This company is the one I trust, it’s one of the most essential things for any trip. It has your back in case you get sick abroad, or have an accident.
🎒Pack smarter, not bulky
Check out this vacation packing list, including all the essentials you need to pack when traveling, from travel clothing to backpacks and more.
🏡Where to Stay – Here are Suggestions
This is my favorite place to look for accommodations, it offers different types, a ton of locations, and good price options.
🗺️Get Around Hassle-Free
This one is the perfect option to look for different transportation options between cities, from flights, buses, and taxis to minivans and more.
🛫Find Cheap Flights
Whenever I need to fly, I head to this website for low-cost flights.
Another great way to enjoy the country’s coffee culture is Finca Filadelfia, a luxury hotel with a restaurant offering a unique, family-friendly canopy tour and mule tours around the forest located only 5 minutes away from Antigua. It also has a beautiful landscape.
Since it is outside Antigua, they also have a fun car to drive people to and from the hotel.
You can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of a historic coffee plantation, stay in one of the cozy rooms and explore the patios, taste the delicious coffee and cuisine, explore nature and wildlife, or join one of the many tours and activities offered by the Finca.
Tikal is one of the world’s most impressive and vital Maya sites. It is an ancient city that dates back to the Preclassic period (600 BC – 250 AD) and peaked during the Classic period (250 – 900 AD).
It is located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Antigua in the Peten department, a bit far away from the town, and you will probably need to stay over in Flores or El Remate, but it’s worth it.
Visiting Tikal Mayan Ruins is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will let you witness the greatness and mystery of the Maya civilization. Explore the ruins of the city, which cover an area of 16 square kilometers and include many structures, such as temples, palaces, pyramids, plazas, and ball courts.
You can even climb some of the tallest and most iconic buildings and enjoy the panoramic view of the jungle and the wildlife. The park has a museum, a visitor center, and several restaurants.
Volcan Acatenango is among the highest and most challenging in the country but also the most rewarding. It is a dormant volcano located about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) west of Antigua, and it is part of the Acatenango Volcano Complex, which also includes the active Volcan Fuego.
You can book a tour to hike the volcano, it’s usually an overnight hike that will test your physical and mental endurance, as well as reward you with breathtaking views and unforgettable memories.
The hike is challenging and lengthy. The trail is mostly steep and rocky, with some forested and sandy sections. The walk takes about six hours to reach the summit, where you can see the sunrise and the eruption of Volcan Fuego, one of the country’s most active volcanoes.
You can still go camping in a safe environment or rent a cabin in the middle of the forest with the most amazing views of the nearby towns.
They also have amazing treehouses and cabins that you can stay at. They all have amazing views of Antigua and its surrounding volcanoes. Not only that, it also has a restaurant and a wellness center where you can enjoy great treatments.
It’s one of the best ways to experience the country’s nature, animals, and flora without sacrificing basic amenities; you can also hike or bike nearby trails and do several other activities.
The lodge is also committed to being sustainable and socially responsible, supporting local communities, and minimizing environmental impact.
La Reunion Golf Resort
La Reunion Golf Resort is a luxury and relaxing option to stay in Guatemala, near Antigua, but it also offers a good day trip for those interested in golfing. It’s located 26 kilometers from Antigua, a 40-minute drive.
Agua Volcano surrounds it on one side and the other by the active Fuego Volcano at a safe distance.
Enjoy the 18-hole golf course, the spacious and elegant suites, pools and terraces, delicious cuisine and drinks.
Even if you’re not into golf, exploring the nearby attractions walking around the area, and checking out the fantastic views is worth it.
Chateau deFay Vineyards
A hidden gem Chateau deFay is known as the ONLY vineyard in Central America. It’s situated on the outskirts of Antigua, where you can discover the secrets of wine-making in a beautiful and serene setting.
Chateau deFay is the first vineyard in Guatemala, located at the foot of the Agua Volcano and surrounded by a cloudy forest.
Go for a wine tour that takes you through the vineyards, the production plant, and the tasting room, where you can sample different varieties of wine with exquisite flavors and aromas.
You can also get a delicious meal at the restaurant, which offers a variety of dishes, such as pasta and pizzas.
Jardines de Provenza, Lavander Fields
Another hidden gem is Jardines de Provenza, a magical place where you can enjoy the sight and scent of the lavender fields. It’s located near Antigua, only 20km away or an 18-minute drive from it; you can easily spend half of your day there or more.
You can visit the garden and walk around the area while checking the lavender plants that are perfect for relaxing, taking photos, or having a picnic.
You can also stay in one of the cozy cabins or dine at the restaurant that offers delicious dishes with lavender accents.
The place is stunning, you’ll get amazing photos; the beautiful view and the volcano in the background make it even better.
How to get to Antigua
Antigua is about 40 kilometers southwest of Guatemala City, the capital and largest city of the country. The easiest and fastest way to get to Antigua is by taking a shuttle bus or a taxi from La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala’s main airport. The journey takes about an hour, and the cost depends on your options.
Another option is to take a public bus from Guatemala City, a chicken bus, which is cheaper but a lot less comfortable and safe. The journey takes about two hours and costs around 1.5 USD per person.
I don’t recommend using the public buses, they are usually crowded and have no clear schedule.
Why visit Antigua?
Antigua, Guatemala, is one of Central America’s most popular and visited destinations. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves the rich history and culture of the Spanish colonial era. It was founded in 1543 and served as the capital until 1773 when a series of earthquakes destroyed it.
Today, Antigua is a vibrant and lively colonial town that offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors.
Some of the main reasons to visit Antigua, Guatemala, are:
- To admire the beautiful architecture and monuments of the town, such as the Cathedral, the Palace of the Captains General, the Santa Catalina Arch, and the many churches and convents.
- Enjoy the town’s cultural and artistic scene, such as the museums, galleries, and markets.
- Taste the delicious cuisine and coffee of the region, which are influenced by the Maya, Spanish, and African cultures.
- Experience the friendly and hospitable atmosphere of the locals, who are always ready to share their stories and traditions.
- Witness the stunning views of the town’s three volcanoes: Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango.
📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Ultimate Guide for Restaurants in Antigua, Guatemala.
How to choose the best day trips from Antigua
Antigua is an excellent base for exploring some of the most unique destinations in the country. However, with so many options available, it can be hard to decide which ones to choose. You must also consider how much time you spend in the country, the weather, and your budget.
If you don’t have that much time, I suggest you visit places like Semuc Champey, Lake Atitlan, or Pacaya Volcano. Iconic places that are sure to leave you with a good experience, but all fall back to what you like.
So, here are some factors to consider when choosing the day trips:
- Your interests and preferences: Depending on what you are looking for, you can select day trips focusing on adventure, culture, or maybe nature and relaxation. For example, if you are an adrenaline junkie, you might want to hike a volcano or visit a natural park. On the other hand, you might want to see a lake or a waterfall if you are a nature lover.
- Your budget and time: Depending on how much money and time you have, you can choose day trips that are more or less expensive and long. For example, If you have more money, you might want to splurge on private transportation and guided tours. You might want to choose closer and easier-to-reach destinations if you have limited time.
- Your season and weather: Depending on the season and weather, you can choose day trips that are more or less suitable and enjoyable. For example, if you are visiting during the dry season (November to April), you might want to avoid destinations that are too hot or dusty. If you visit during the rainy season (May to October), you might want to avoid wet or muddy destinations.
What is the best time to visit Antigua and its surroundings?
The best time to visit the colonial town and its surroundings is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During this time, the weather is sunny and pleasant, and the roads and trails are in good condition. However, this is also the high season, so the prices and crowds are higher.
If you want to avoid the crowds and save some money, you can also visit during the rainy season, which runs from May to October. But be aware that the weather is wet and cloudy during this time, and the roads and trails are muddy and slippery. But you can also enjoy the green and lush scenery, festivals, and celebrations during this time.
What are the best day trips for families with children?
My kids grow up in Antigua, so when it comes to day trips for families looking for fun, educational, and safe tours, I know exactly which ones are the best to choose.
Some of the best options for families with children are:
- Hobbitenango, where you can see and explore the hobbit-style houses, gardens, and facilities and participate in some of the park’s activities and games, such as archery, axe throwing, board games, and trivia. It’s also a restaurant, so if you and your kids get hungry, jackpot!
- Valhalla Macadamia Farm, since you can learn about the history and benefits of macadamia nuts and taste some of the farm’s delicious and healthy products. My kids loved this place.
- Lake Atitlan, to admire the stunning views of the lake and the volcanoes, explore the different villages around the lake, which offer a glimpse into the Maya heritage and lifestyle.
- Jocotenango and Finca La Azotea, where you can learn about the coffee and culture of Guatemala and visit some of the museums and gardens that showcase the art and history of the region, such as the Museo del Café.
What are the best day trips for adventure seekers?
As my kids grew up, we started taking more adventure trips, and there are a ton of different tours for adventure seekers that are challenging, exciting, and rewarding.
Some of the best options for adventure seekers are:
- Volcan Pacaya, if you want to hike an active volcano and see the fumes, feel the heat, and roast marshmallows over the hot rocks.
- Volcan Acatenango, where you can hike one of the highest volcanoes in Guatemala and see the sunrise and the eruption of Volcan Fuego, one of the most active volcanoes.
- Semuc Champey, to swim and relax in the crystal-clear pools and waterfalls, hike and explore the surrounding jungle and caves full of wildlife and plants.
- ATV Tours, where you can explore the area around the town and other villages as well as hit the forest and explore different muddy paths.
Looking for More Inspiration?
I have been traveling and living in Guatemala for over 25 years
Check out these Hand-Tested GUIDES
If you want to travel without the hassle and confusion – check out a complete guide for traveling to Guatemala.
For more travel ideas to add to your bucket list, check out a complete guide to all the best places to visit in Guatemala.
Guatemala has a huge variety of food, check out the guide to the top 15 Guatemalan Food and Dishes.
Enjoyed this post? Pin it!