Arrive Antigua at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and enjoy this charming city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Guatemala is a small country, yet offers a wide variety of geography, climates and people. Its mountains and volcanoes are a magnet for climbers and hikers; the northern Petén region’s dense jungle and glorious Mayan past draw archaeology and wildlife enthusiasts alike; and the colourful highland towns and villages with their smiling residents are sure to leave their mark on the memories of your travels. Antigua, Guatemala is a short 45 km from Guatemala City on a lovely winding road. The trip takes you through many small towns and villages, past red, tile-roofed huts inhabited by modern Maya in colourful traditional clothing. The natural scenery is some of the most beautiful anywhere, with high mountain peaks surrounding deep valleys and every inch of land covered with lush growth. This tour departs Antigua early on Day 2 and returns late on Day 8. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, it is recommended you book additional pre- or post-trip accommodation nights. Note: Antigua is less than an hour’s drive from the Capital, Guatemala City, and airport transfers are easily arranged locally, whether you are starting or ending your tour in Antigua.
Travel north to Lanquín, where we stay at a cozy jungle lodge deep in the country. Activities abound here, from checking out the local caves and ominous-looking bats to swimming in the river and hiking to a viewpoint with breathtaking sights. A long travel day on public transportation brings us to Lanquín and the Recreo jungle lodge. You might arrive just in time to do an optional visit to the Lanquín Bat Cave to see when these flying beasts exit their home for the evening. El Recreo is beautifully situated near the Cahabón river and is one of the most tranquil places in all of Guatemala. The lodge has an on-site restaurant and you can rent tubes and cruise down the river for a lazy afternoon float along the beautiful blue waters. Some rooms at El Recreo may be multishare or dorm style with shared bathrooms. On the full day here, take an optional trip to visit the unmissable pools of Semuc Champay. For the adventurous, first take a trip into a cave by candlelight where you have to swim in some spots (don’t let your candle go out!). Then take a walk up to Semuc, hike up to the Mirador viewing platform and then soak up the crystalline waters in these unforgettable pools. For many, the visit to Semuc Champey is the highlight of their Guatemalan experience. Estimated Travel Time: 9 hours Approximate Distance: 230 km
Continue north to the Peten region of Guatemala, covered in jungle and spotted with Mayan ruins. You will spend the night in a tented camp inside of a national park and near the ruins of Tikal. The rainy season in the Petén is generally from mid-May until early January. Be prepared to get wet. Make sure you have plastic bags to wrap around the items in your daypack while hiking, and bring a good (light) waterproof jacket. Also make sure that you have strong insect repellent. The dry season runs January until mid-May. During this time you need to make sure you have adequate sunscreen. A headlamp and/or flashlight is essential. Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours Approximate Distance: 250 km
Wake up to jungle sounds for an early half-day guided tour of the famous Mayan ruins located near your tented camp. The sheer scale of the ruins at Tikal may at first seem daunting. Even if you make it only to the main plaza, or spend an hour relaxing in deep contemplation, you certainly won’t be disappointed. The central area, with its five main temples, forms by far the most impressive section. If you start to explore beyond this you can wander endlessly into the maze of smaller structures and outlying complexes hidden in the jungle growth. If your energy levels are high enough to make it to the top of Temple lV, your senses won’t be unstimulated. Spectacular views of the surrounding jungle canopy will greet you from the top of the highest structure within the complex. Occasionally, you may spot toucans, macaws and other bright birds from this artificial perch within the greenery. Otherwise, you may simply marvel at the engineering and organizational skills needed to construct this city within the jungle. A local bilingual guide will explain the natural and artificial wonders of this site during our foray into Tikal. After exploring the ruins, head south to the small town of San José. This village is like the example of what all Guatemalan villages could be like. Clean, safe, quaint and family-oriented. Here stay in a beautiful lodge on the lake. Try your hand at kayaking or just hang out lakeside in a hammock. If you'd prefer to give back to the community you're staying in, opt to work with some of the local kids at a local non-profit organization. Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours Approximate Distance: 100 km
Traverse the dense jungle of the Petén, and stop at Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal and a port stop for boaters from around the globe. Board a motorboat and journey towards Rio Tatin and the coast on a beautiful ride past cliffs, hot springs and a few small communities. After your travels, it's time to chill out in Rio Tatin. With literally a hammock for every guest, our rustic waterside home for the evening is perfect for relaxing. While here, opt to visit "Los Siete Altares" (the seven altars), a very impressive set of waterfalls located off the Caribbean Coast. Other options include travelling to snorkel in Belizian cayes, soaking up some Garífuna culture (and delicious seafood!) in the nearby town of Livingston, or visiting a non-profit organization that provides basic health care, vocational training and community solutions for the indigenous Q’eqchi Maya in and around the rainforest in eastern Guatemala. Estimated Travel Time: 4 hours Approximate Distance: 280 km
Transfer to Antigua for a final night with the group. Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours Approximate Distance: 320 km
Depart at any times.