One of the coolest countries that I have ever traveled to is just a 4 hour flight from both the East and West coast, yet nobody’s really talking about Guatemala! If you’re looking for a Guatemala itinerary for 7 days (read: a perfect summer vacation filled with adventure, ancient history, amazing nature, and a beautifully vibrant culture), this Guatemala Travel Guide will take you from Antigua to Lake Atitlán to Flores in one week.
Zack and I just got back from the dreamiest week-long vacation to Guatemala where we traversed around Antigua, Atitlán, and Flores. We spent 3 days in Antigua exploring the nature and the history and eco farms where we made cacao from scratch and hiked a volcano and ate pizza at the top. Then, we headed to Atitlán which has all these little waterside towns that you can town-hop by boat. My favorite two towns here were San Marcos La Laguna and San Juan La Laguna.
San Marcos La Laguna is a city in Guatemala that has this really cool seeker energy. Here, you could find plenty of yoga retreats, modern cacao circles, and astrology readings. So if you’re seeking a spiritually healing journey on your trip to Guatemala, I highly recommend a stop into San Marcos. For lovers of vibrant design and culture, you can’t miss San Juan La Laguna. This is an artisan town in Atitlán where all of the streets are beautifully decorated, there’s murals everywhere. Activities range from Mayan weaving practices to tasting honey from native bee species.
Lastly in this 7 day travel itinerary for Guatemala, we have Flores which is the perfect place for nature lovers and historians alike. If you’re looking for a romantic and picturesque place to stay in Flores, our hotel was one my favorite hotels we’ve ever stayed at it EVER. It has these dreamy over-the-lake bungalows where you’ll enjoy your own private Jacuzzi. Plus, Monkey Island is here and the food is amazing. The main attraction in Flores is Tikal National Park where, if you’re willing to brave the stairs, you can get a glimpse into an ancient Mayan civilization. We just left and I already cannot wait to go back.
3 Days in Antigua
We started our Guatemala vacation in Antigua, which I highly recommend spending at least three days in. It’s an absolutely stunning city just to wander around (ideally with a tour guide who can teach you about Antigua’s incredible history as you stroll). But you’ll also enjoy unique cultural activities, adorable, local coffee shops, hikes, and wellness sanctuaries! Here are a few of my favorite things that we ate, saw, and explored in Antigua that I think make a perfect Antigua itinerary:
- Learn how to make chocolate from scratch at Taza Chocolate! Taza is unique because of their stone ground chocolate. They grind cacao beans using hand-carved granite millstones which results in bolder flavor. We took the Intro to Stone Ground Chocolate course at their factory where you learn about their method and enjoy a chocolate tasting! It’s offered Wednesday – Sundays and the cost is $12 per person. Online reservations are required and there’s a maximum of 10 people!
- Visit Eco Farms Guatemala! We loved the tour of traditional Mayan farming practices and a farm-fresh lunch! If you’re there on a Saturday morning, pop into a yoga class. There’s also a Saturday farmer’s market, dance events, and tons of sweet animals to play with. Zack and I loved the farm-to-table brunch at their restaurant Caoba Farms.
- Eat a delicious dinner with spectacular views at Tartines. This restaurant is located at the heart of the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala, in a small part of the quaint eighteen century building that once hosted the Archbishop’s Palace. It’s got a charming terrace with incredible views of the Ruins of the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Volcanoes!
- Grab a snack at Doña Luisa Panadería! I highly recommend getting the banana bread.
- Hike the Pacaya Volcano: The hike up to Pacaya Volcano is about a half day trip, and it’s really not too hard!! And after you expell all that energy, you get to replenish your body with fresh pizza at the top of the volcano!
- Unwind at the Caricia De Mar Spa: The Hotel Casa Santa Domingo Spa was highly recommended to me, but I personally preffered the Caricia De Mar for a more transformative experience!!
- Stay at Camino Real Antigua: This is the hotel we stayed at and we LOVED it!!
then head to atitlan, where i highly recommend:
Our two favorite towns in Atitlán to wander around were San Marcos and San Juan La Laguna. The cool thing with Atitlàn is that these are all waterside towns and you can travel to and from them by boat! San Marcos definitely has a hippie, seeker vibe with tons of cacao ceremonies, astrology readings, and yoga retreats but it was still rich in local culture. San Juan La Laguna is a STUNNING artist town where all of the streets are colorful and beautifully decorated with murals everywhere. There’s so much to do in both, but here were a few of our favorite things to do in Atitlán:
- Kayak or SUP on Lake Atitlán! Lake Atitlán is one of the seven wonders of the world and is considered by many the most beautiful lake in the world! They say you can also swim in most of the lake, but some of my readers have said that it’s full of bacteria and parasites.
- In San Marcos, reach out to cacao ceremonialist and Ayurvedic and Maya medicine practicioner, the lovely Machi Holistica for a Mayan astrology reading or to lead a modern cacao circle!
- In San Juan La Laguna, check out all the gorgeous murals, taste raw honey from the Mayan bees, and watch the women weaver collective do their thing!
Flores Guatemala Travel Guide
As the final stop in our Guatemala trip, we headed to Flores! The main draw to Flores is definitely the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal. If you’re willing to brave the humidity and the stairs, you can get one of the most spectacular glimpses into ancient Mayan civilization.
- Stay at Las Lagunas Hotel. This, in our humble opinion, is the best hotel in Flores Guatemala and one of my favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed at EVER. It is INSANE!! The rooms have over-the-water bungalows that have private Jacuzzis and AMAZING restaurants with the most scenic views of the lake. The hotel has five lagoons and the largest is called Laguna Quexil. In this lagoon, they have two islands and in one of them is Monkey Island, where they raise and take care of monkeys.
- Take the boat tour to Monkey Island from the Las Lagunas Hotel! Every morning, they prepare fresh fruits and vegetables to feed the monkeys and you can watch the monkeys come down from the top of the trees to eat their food and you even feed one yourself!
- Visit Tikal National Park, the 2,000 year old Mayan Civilzation. We highly recommend getting a guide to learn all of the rich Mayan history as you explore the grounds. Make sure to stay hydrated and bring a snack! Tikal is about an hour drive north, and there a buses that run from Flores.