Planning a trip to Guatemala can be an exciting adventure, filled with incredible landscapes, rich history, and so much fun. But before going, you’ll want to plan the perfect 7 day Guatemala itinerary.

And this is exactly what we’ll cover in this guide.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history lover, or someone looking to experience unique cultural traditions, Guatemala has something for you, and I’m sure you’ll love this travel plan.

Let’s get right into it – We’ll cover the itinerary for Guatemala day by day, the essentials you should know, and some travel tips you can’t do without!

Plan the Perfect 7 Day Guatemala Itinerary

Overview of This 7 Day Guatemala Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Guatemala City
  • Day 2: Flight to Flores and discover Tikal
  • Day 3: Tikal National Park & Back to the Capital City
  • Day 4: Explore Antigua City
  • Day 5: Coffee Plantation and Volcano Hike
  • Day 6: Lake Atitlán and Surrounding Villages
  • Day 7: Chichicastenango Market

Where is Guatemala?

Guatemala is located in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize to the northeast, Honduras to the east, and El Salvador to the southeast.

The country also has coastlines on the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the northeast. Guatemala is known for its rich Mayan heritage, stunning scenery, and strong culture, and you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time.

How to Get to Guatemala?

Getting to Guatemala is relatively straightforward, with La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City serving as the main entry point.

Major airlines run regular flights to Guatemala City from North America, Central America, and Europe, and direct flights are available from cities like Miami, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Madrid.


How to Get Around in Guatemala?

The best way to get around Guatemala is to hire a car and drive from one place to another, giving you more flexibility and you’ll be able to stop at different points to take photos.

Alternatively, you can get from city to city, for instance from Guatemala City to Antigua by bus or shuttle and then join guided tours from the bigger city.

In this 7-day Guatemala itinerary, I’ll cover both options so you have a better idea. However, if you value convenience and don’t mind spending just a little more, then guided tours are the way to go.


Best Time to Visit Guatemala

The best time to visit Guatemala is during the dry season, from November to April. This period offers pleasant weather with minimal rainfall, and that’s perfect to enjoy the outdoors.

The dry season also coincides with several local festivals, and that’s your chance to experience Guatemala’s culture and traditions.

While the rainy season from May to October can be more unpredictable, it often features lush, green landscapes and fewer tourists, which is a nice option too.


Ultimate 7 Day Guatemala Itinerary

Now that you have some basic information about the country as a whole, let’s proceed with this complete Guatemala itinerary for 7 days.

Day 1: Arrival in Guatemala City

The first day of this Guatemala itinerary is in Guatemala City, the country’s capital, and you’ll probably start the trip at La Aurora International Airport.

After passing immigration and getting your luggage, a pre-arranged transfer will take you to your hotel. This is a great time to relax after your flight and get settled in your room.

In the afternoon, you can take a brief city tour to get an initial feel for Guatemala City. Visit notable landmarks such as the Plaza Mayor, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the National Palace of Culture.

Plaza Mayor is the heart of the city, surrounded by important landmarks such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace of Culture. The Metropolitan Cathedral, built in the 18th century, is an impressive example of neoclassical architecture and holds significant historical and cultural value.

The National Palace of Culture, once the seat of government, now serves as a museum and cultural venue, showcasing the country’s history and art.

You have only 7 days in Guatemala, and I recommend joining a walking tour of Guatemala City to make the most of it and see the best spots in town with an expert guide. Check out this ultimate tour below – It starts at 9.00 AM and 2.00 PM, so you have plenty of time to join!


Where to Stay in Guatemala City?

For the first day, you’ll want to stay in Guatemala City before heading to Tikal on the second day. Here are the best hotels I recommend staying in town, for all budgets.

Luxury: Barceló Guatemala City


Mid-Range: L’Aurora Inn


Budget: Tequila Sunrise Hostel


Day 2: Flight to Flores and Explore Tikal

While you have limited time in Guatemala, you simply can’t miss Tikal, and I suggest taking an early flight from Guatemala City to Flores.

Flores is a charming town situated on an island in Lake Petén Itzá, and once you get there, you’ll travel from Flores to Tikal, which takes about an hour.

As you approach Tikal, the dense jungle opens up to reveal the incredible ruins of the ancient Mayan city.

Spend the afternoon exploring Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its towering pyramids and temples. Start your visit at the Grand Plaza, flanked by the Temple of the Great Jaguar and the Temple of the Masks.

Also, make sure to climb Temple IV for panoramic views of the surrounding jungle canopy. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Listen to the sounds of howler monkeys and tropical birds as you discover the ancient city. Discover the Central Acropolis, the Lost World Pyramid, and other fascinating structures that provide a glimpse into the Mayan civilisation.

The best way to visit Tikal National Park, especially given the short time available, is to join a guided tour, and you have two excellent options:

Here below are the tours, and I recommend booking as soon as possible because they always sell out, especially the one including flights from and to Guatemala City.

Where to Stay in Flores?

In case you decide to spend the night in Flores and take your time to visit Tikal National Park on day 2, then these below are the best hotels you can stay at:

Luxury: Bolontiku Boutique Hotel & Spa

Bolontiku Boutique Hotel & Spa

Mid-Range: Hotel Casona del Lago

Hotel Casona del Lago

Budget: Zapote Tree Inn

Zapote Tree Inn

Day 3: Tikal National Park

While I recommended the tour from Guatemala City to maximise your time in Flores and Tikal, you can also stay a second day, which we’ll discuss below.

The itinerary I recommend is based on this guided trip, which is perfect to join in the morning before heading back to Guatemala City in the afternoon.

Start with Temple IV, the tallest structure in Tikal, standing at about 70 metres. Climb to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the jungle canopy and other temples peeking through the trees.

After that, visit the North Acropolis, a significant ceremonial complex featuring numerous temples and altars. This area was used for burials and religious rituals, offering a glimpse into the spiritual life of the ancient Mayans.

Move on to the Great Plaza, the heart of Tikal. This vast open area is flanked by some of the most iconic structures, including Temples I and II. It’s an ideal spot to appreciate the Mayan architecture and the impressive scale of the site.

Continue to the Central Acropolis, a complex of interconnected courtyards and rooms that served as administrative and residential spaces for the elite.

Next, explore Temple II, also known as the Temple of the Masks. This temple offers a fantastic view of the Great Plaza and is slightly easier to climb than Temple IV. It’s a perfect spot to capture some memorable photos.

Visit Temple I, also known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar. This iconic structure stands at 47 metres and was the tomb of a significant Mayan ruler. Its steep stairway and impressive height make it a highlight of any visit to Tikal.

Take a break for a hot meal and a cold drink at the Jaguar Inn Restaurant, a great spot to relax and before finishing your tour. Enjoy some local cuisine and refresh yourself in the gorgeous jungle setting.

After lunch, head back to Flores Airport (FRS) to catch your TAG 5U131 flight to Guatemala City, departing at 14:15. Arrive in Guatemala City and settle into your accommodation – Day 4 is all about exploring Antigua!

Day 4: Exploring Antigua

Start your day with a scenic drive from Guatemala City to Antigua, a journey of about an hour. Antigua is a beautiful, authentic colonial city, nestled between volcanoes, which is a nice contrast to the urban capital.

The best way to get there is renting a car, which could be convenient for your Guatemala itinerary, but alternatively, this private shuttle is really cheap and comfortable, so that’s a great way to get to Antigua.

Once you get there, leave your luggage at the hotel and go exploring!

Antigua has plenty of attractions and activities. For instance, you can take a quick hike to Cerro de la Cruz, which only takes about 10 minutes and you’ll have incredible views over Antigua Town.

If you’re into history, the Casa Santo Domingo Museum provides a fascinating look into Antigua’s past, housed in a former monastery – It’s now a hotel, and that’s a nice place to spend the night!

Another popular activity is a coffee tour at a local plantation, where you can learn about the coffee-making process and sample some of the finest Guatemalan coffee.

There’s more – Spend the afternoon visiting local markets and shops. The Mercado de Artesanías is a must-visit for its handcrafted goods, textiles, and souvenirs. Don’t miss the chocolate museum to indulge in some sweet treats and learn about Guatemala’s rich chocolate-making history.

After spending the day around Antigua, you can have dinner in town, and I suggest 2 options – Ta’Cool Taco Shop and Casa Escobar Antigua. These 2 places have delicious food, you won’t spend a fortune, and the tacos at both restaurants are to die for!


Where to Stay in Antigua Guatemala?

For the fourth night of your trip to Guatemala, you’ll want to stay in Antigua, a gorgeous town with plenty of accommodation options. Here are the best choices.

Luxury: Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo
Mid-Range: Ojala Antigua
Budget: Posada de San Carlos La Quinta

Day 5: Coffee Plantation and Volcano Hike

Day 5 is all about the coffee plantations near Antigua, as well as hiking the Pacaya Volcano, one of the best trips you can take in the whole country.

I recommend joining this tour to Pacaya Volcano, which lasts 8 hours and includes everything you need.

You’ll start the tour at 8.00 AM in Antigua Old Town where you’ll meet your guide and buy any equipment you might need for the hike and the rest of your Guatemala itinerary.

The drive to the trailhead takes just over an hour in private transport from Antigua to the park office, and you’ll stop by a coffee plantation where you can get a fresh coffee before the hike. I can guarantee it will wake you up!

Once you get to the caldera’s base, the guide will lead you through the rugged dried lava fields.

Here, you will enjoy a freshly prepared picnic with stunning views of nearby volcanoes Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango. Needless to say, this will easily become the highlight of your 7-day trip to Guatemala!

The hike down takes you across more dried lava fields and then through Pacaya’s lesser-known lush forests and farmland.

After completing the descent, you will return to Antigua with your group, arriving back in town around 4.00 PM, and you’ll have a few hours to relax before dinner. You’ll want to stay a second night in Antigua to travel to Lake Atitlán on day 6 – More on that below.


Day 6: Lake Atitlán and Surrounding Villages

A Guatemala itinerary wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Lake Atitlán, and this is the highlight today – Spoiler alert: This is one of the best spots you’ll see in the country!

You can either rent a car and drive to the lake on your own, which gives you more flexibility, or go on a guided tour from Antigua, and that is a more structured, organised way to visit.

Some people choose to get there by chicken bus, which is the cheapest way to travel, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it takes longer (3 to 4 hours, instead of 2), you’re almost guaranteed a bumpy ride, and it’s nowhere near comfortable.

Here below, I’ll go through the itinerary you’ll have on a guided tour, which is the best way to visit by far.

Your day starts early, with a 6:00 AM pickup from your hotel. The drive to the lake takes you through the highlands, where you’ll enjoy stunning views and make a few stops along the way.

At around 7:15 AM, you’ll stop at Chichoy Restaurant to stretch your legs, grab some coffee, have breakfast, and maybe do a little shopping for local crafts. You’ll also stop at a viewpoint around 8:45 AM for some great photo opportunities of the lake.

You’ll arrive in Panajachel around 9:00 AM, where you’ll have some free time to look around the town, known for its market and lakeside views. At 9:15 AM, you’ll hop on a group boat tour to visit three charming Mayan villages: San Juan, San Pedro, and Santiago:

San Juan La Laguna: This village is famous for its art galleries, local weavers, and traditional medicinal gardens. It’s a great place to see how the locals make beautiful hand-woven textiles.

San Pedro La Laguna: Known for its relaxed vibe, San Pedro offers great hikes, coffee plantations to visit, and friendly locals to chat with.

Santiago Atitlán: The largest and most traditional village, Santiago is home to the church of St. James the Apostle and the folk saint Maximón. The local markets here are perfect for finding unique crafts and souvenirs – they’ll be somewhat similar to the market in Panajachel, but just a little more original and unique.

After a full day of exploring and soaking up the local culture, you’ll head back to Antigua around 4:00 PM, arriving at about 7:00 PM.

This tour is all about enjoying the sights and sounds of Lake Atitlán and its villages, with an expert guide to help you make the most of your day, and I’m confident this will be a day you’ll remember forever!


Day 7: Chichicastenango Market and Back to Guatemala City

Start your day early to make the most of your visit to Chichicastenango Market, one of Guatemala’s most famous markets. Depart from Antigua early for the approximately 2.5-hour drive.

You have 2 options to get there – taking a chicken bus or booking a private shuttle. I highly recommend the latter, as chicken buses are pretty uncomfortable, but if you’re in for a unique, original way of travelling at least once in Guatemala, then give it a try.

I recommend leaving early, around 6.00 or 7:00 AM so you’ll get there early and make the most of the day.

On the way to Guatemala City, make sure to stop by the Chichicastenango Market, which is the largest market in Central America, and you’re sure to have a great time wandering around the stalls and enjoy countless snacks!

This market is a fantastic place to experience local culture, interact with vendors, and find unique souvenirs. Expect to spend at least 2 hours here!

You’ll arrive in Guatemala City by early afternoon and check into your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city’s historic centre, visiting the remaining landmarks that you didn’t have the chance to check out on your first day.


FAQ About Guatemala

Lastly for this Guatemala itinerary, let’s go through some questions that first-timers in the country always have and that I’m sure will be beneficial to you too.

Is Guatemala Safe?

Yes, Guatemala is generally safe for tourists, but it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and stay informed about current conditions. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, can happen in crowded areas, so you’ll want to stay vigilant, especially in urban areas.

Avoid travelling alone at night and stick to well-known tourist routes, whenever possible.

Do Locals Speak English in Guatemala?

Spanish is the official language of Guatemala, and it is widely spoken throughout the country.

While English is not commonly spoken by the general population, you will find that many people working in the tourism industry, such as hotel staff, tour guides, and restaurant employees, have a basic understanding of English.

When travelling to Guatemala, I recommend learning a few basic Spanish phrases to interact with locals and make the trip a little bit more enjoyable too.


Visa for Guatemala

Most travellers can enter Guatemala without a visa for stays up to 90 days, including citizens of the United States, Canada, the European Union, and many other countries. However, it’s important to check the specific visa requirements based on your nationality before you go.

Visa for Guatemala

Currency in Guatemala

The official currency of Guatemala is the Quetzal (GTQ), named after the country’s national bird. I recommend carrying some notes for small purchases, especially in rural areas where credit cards may not be accepted.

Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops in urban areas, which is convenient.


Travel Tips for Guatemala

There are a few tips I recommend keeping in mind when travelling to Guatemala, which are:

  1. Packing Essentials
  2. Understanding Local Customs and Etiquette
  3. Health and Safety Tips
  4. Transportation Options and Tips
  5. Budgeting for Your Trip to Guatemala

Carry a copy of your passport, use reputable transport, and learn basic Spanish. Drink bottled water (don’t drink tap water) and respect local customs.

For packing, bring light clothing, comfortable shoes, a rain jacket, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit. When greeting, shake hands or nod; dress modestly at religious sites.

It’s fine to negotiate the price at markets and local stalls, however, make sure to bargain politely in markets.

Apart from that, you’ll want to exclusively use registered taxis and, while not being the most comfortable, chicken buses. The best way to get around is to join guided tours, and you’ll want to check those I listed.

Last but not least, budget around $30-$50/day for budget travel, $50-$100 for mid-range, and over $100 for luxury.


With its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Guatemala offers an unforgettable travel experience.

With this 7-day itinerary, you’ll see the highlights, from ancient markets and relaxing in hot springs to hiking active volcanoes and discovering charming colonial towns.

Thanks for sticking until the end and let me know here below if you have any questions about Guatemala!

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