Highlights of Guatemala
Destinations: La Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Puerto San Jose – Guatemala
Duration: 12 days
Fly into the GUA Airport where you will pass Immigrations and Customs, walk out of the airport and will be met by our driver holding a sign with your name on it. From here you’ll enjoy an air conditioned transfer to the beautiful Spanish-colonial town of Antigua just 45 minutes away. Founded by the Spanish in the 1500s, Antigua served as Guatemala’s capital for over 200 yrs. Enjoy cobblestone streets, well preserved Spanish-Baroque architecture, and a rich 500 year old history in this vibrant UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll stay at our favorite boutique hotel, the San Rafael, which was originally a family home. San Rafael today offers just 7 rooms, antique tile roofs, two courtyards, and several fountains that combines old world charm and first class service and luxury. Centrally located and easy walking distance the numerous historical sites and countless restaurants, this is the perfect place to start your Guatemala vacation.
Start your day off right with San Rafael’s famous breakfast, served outside your room in the open air courtyard. After breakfast enjoy a private guided walking tour of Antigua with our expert local guide who can tell you all about it’s colorful 500 yr old history. ‘La Antigua’ was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and is the pride & joy of Guatemala’s tourism industry. After the guided tour the afternoon will be free so you can check out the multiple museums, art galleries, and fabulous pubs, cafes, and restaurants in town.
Today is a day you can brag to your friends about as you’ll hike up an active volcano! The Pacaya Volcan’s peak is 8,373 ft so you’ll enjoy a steady 1-2 climb before reaching it’s summit. If you need a helping hand you can rent a horse or walking stick at the park entrance. Once you reach the top you’ll be able to see the peak and possibly hear the throaty gurgling of sound of steam coming out of the still active volcano. Top off your achievement by roasting marshmallows on the steam vents from past volcanic eruptions.
After breakfast we’ll pick you up and bring you out to the small mountain town of Chichicastenango, which has become famous in Guatemala for it’s sprawling artisan market. If you love getting a taste of local culture, or simply just love shopping and collecting local textiles, this will be a highlight for you as vendors sell everything from local food, wooden masks, beautiful hand-woven fabrics, medicinal plants, local food, and even pigs and chickens! After spending a few hours wandering through the maze of stalls you’ll finish your drive to Lake Atitlan where you’ll stay at the Hotel Atitlan. Enjoy modern amenities, old world charm, and first class service as you spend two nights on the shores of Guatemala’s most famous lake.
Wake up to the sun rising over Lake Atitlan and the immaculate botanical gardens that have made Hotel Atitlan famous of the years. German explorer Alexander von Humboldt called Lake Atitlan ‘the most beautiful lake in the world’ and today is your day to enjoy it however you wish. Your options include taking a boat tour to visit the local indigenous villages around the lake, doing an adventure tour like mountain biking, hiking, or zip-lining, or you can just relax and enjoy the serenity of the gardens and the lake.
We’ll let you sleep in today so, you can enjoy one last relaxing morning on Lake Atitlan, then we will bring you back to Guatemala City as you’ll be taking a short hour long flight to Flores in Northeast Guatemala in the afternoon. Upon arriving in Flores you’ll be transferred close to the ruins of Tikal where you’ll stay at the Jungle Tikal Lodge. This small, eco-luxury boutique hotel is just minutes from the entrance of the famous Tikal Mayan ruins and national park.
Your private guide will meet you at the hotel early in the morning as today you’ll enjoy a full day guided tour of the Tikal Mayan ruins. Tikal is one of the largest pre-Columbian sites in the Americas and was believed to be the capital of the Mayan world from 200-900 AD. Our local, highly trained expert guide will be able to tell you about its rich history (dating back to 4th century BC), decipher Mayan hieroglyphs, tell you more about daily life under its various rulers, and of course recount its historic rapid rise to power and mysterious abandonment in the 10th century AD. Entrance fees, lunch, and bilingual guide are included on this tour.
Wake up early and enjoy a guided nature hike with your local expert guide. In addition to the famous Mayan ruins, Tikal National Park is one of Guatemala’s biggest and most protected national parks. The 57,000 hectares are home to an incredible amount of wildlife including over 300 species of birds, 54 species of mammals including tapirs and jaguars, reptiles like frogs and snakes, and of course dense rainforest that kept it hidden for so many centuries. After the morning tour you’ll check out of your hotel and fly back to Guatemala City as the main highlight has finally arrived – time to head to your fishing lodge on the Pacific Coast! Upon arrival in Guatemala City our friends at Pacific Fins Resort will pick you up and take you down to their lodge which is located just 1.5 hours away. Enjoy a delicious dinner, refreshing cocktail, and a good night’s sleep in air conditioning as you’ll be fishing tomorrow!
After breakfast you’ll be taken in an air conditioned van to Marina Pez Vela for a full day of sport fishing. Pacific Fins Resort boats one of the finest fishing fleets in Guatemala with well maintained boats ranging from 32’ Blackfins to 40’ air conditioned yachts. Every boat is captained by a local expert who has seen thousands of sailfish year after year so you’ll be sure to get plenty of chances to bend a rod today. All conventional tackle and fly gear is provided and the crews are well trained to help you hook your own fish and improve your angling skills. All fishing days include snacks, lunch, and drinks (beer/water/soda).
Let’s go fishing! Head offshore for another day of non-stop action billfishing in Guatemala. Double digit days are the norm here, and it’s not uncommon to get more than twenty bites a day in season. After a long day of fishing come back to Pacific Fins Resort and enjoy a dip in the pool, tasty hors d’oeuvres, and a cold beer or cocktail as part of their full open bar package.
Last day of fishing! Enjoy one last day of sport fishing in Guatemala as you troll ballyhoo for sailfish, marlin, and dorado, all the while keeping an eye out for pods of dolphins that may be swimming with yellow-fin tuna. If you have ever wanted to land a sailfish on the fly this is as good a place as any to make it happen with all fly gear provided and a nearly constant sailfish bite.
Enjoy an air conditioned, 90-minute drive back to the GUA International Airport for your flight home
- Start with three nights in the Spanish-colonial town of Antigua
- Stay at the San Rafael boutique hotel with just 7 modern rooms
- Enjoy a private guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site with 500 yrs of history, culture, and art
- Hike up the active Pacaya Volcano
- Visit the famous artisan market in Chichicastenango on your way to Lake Atitlan
- Spend two nights on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan
- Fly to Northeast Guatemala to visit the incredible Tikal Mayan ruins
- Enjoy a full day guided tour of the largest Mayan site in the world
- End your trip with four nights at the Pacific Fins Resort on the Pacific Coast
- Four 2-bedroom villas and 2 suites each with AC, private baths, mini-fridges, TVs
- Fish three full days for Pacific sailfish, blue & black marlin, mahi, and yellow-fin tuna
- Pacific Fins all inclusive package includes all meals, daily appetizers, and full open bar
- An open-air restaurant serves a gourmet food from an a la carte menu
- Pacific Fins’ fleet ranges from 32’ Blackfins to 40’ yachts with air conditioning
- All boats include conventional and fly fishing tackle
- Enjoy a freshwater pool, gift shop, free wifi, and satellite TV at the lodge