Taylor-Antigua4

A woman exploring Antigua, Guatemala

If you’re looking to visit Guatemala, but don’t have enough time to stay for a few weeks, discover this epic Guatemala itinerary for 7 days!

Guatemala is in Central America. Spanish is the official language of the country and the predominate religion is Catholicism. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala and one of them is Antigua, which is included in this itinerary. The other two ancient Mayan archaeological sites are Quirigua and Tikal National Park. Other fun facts about Guatemala are that it is known for its chocolate and coffee and its cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Spanish culture.

A woman hiking Acatenango Volcano during a 7 day Guatemala itinerary

During March 2022, I did a wonderful Central and South America trip. I started my trip solo in Guatemala where I explored the city of Antigua, hiked Volcan Acatenango and enjoyed time along Lake Atitlan. I then flew to Colombia where I met Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We spent time relaxing at the beach on Isla Barú, which is an island off the famous city of Cartagena and concluded our trip in the city.

In this travel blog, discover the best 1-week Guatemala itinerary for Antigua, Acatenango Volcano and Lake Atitlan.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

7-day Guatemala Itinerary

1 Week Guatemala Itinerary – Safety in Central America:

A woman exploring the streets of Guatemala

One thing I would like to address before I dive into this Guatemala travel itinerary is that the country is safe and makes for a great solo trip. Guatemala boasts a major digital nomad community and people, of all ages, travel there from around the world.

A lot of loved ones were concerned about me traveling to Guatemala on my own and tried to talk me out of it. (I’m glad I didn’t listen to them.) I understand that the media covers a lot of bad things that happen around the world, but I didn’t find Guatemala to be unsafe at all during my solo travels, so PLEASE don’t let that determine if you should travel to Guatemala or not.

Of course, bad things happen everywhere! (Even in your hometown.)

A woman on the Acatenango hike

Some great safety tips for visiting Guatemala, and anywhere in the world, is to always be aware of your surroundings; do not put yourself in sketchy situations; watch your alcohol intake (mezcals are delicious, but too many could be dangerous); DON’T DO DRUGS EVER; do your research and book a hotel/Airbnb/hostel in a safe area (I like to stay in accommodations close to the heart of the city and popular attractions); negotiate the price of a cab before you hop in (Guatemala has Uber, so I recommend using that to get around); learn how to say NO; don’t walk around by yourself late at night; don’t show off your valuables and don’t be afraid to ask a staff member from your hotel to assist you somewhere.

Guatemala is a great destination for all to enjoy! Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, with a friend or two, with your family or even with your older parents or grandparents, there is something fun for all to enjoy and everyone in the country is warm and welcoming! Discover the top things to know before visiting Guatemala with kids.

Traveling for One Week in Guatemala:

The beautiful architecture of Antigua, Guatemala

It is easy to visit Guatemala. For your Guatemala itinerary for 7 days, it is best to fly to and from Guatemala City, which is the capital of the country. I personally took a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, with a layover in Miami. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

Other great ways to get around the county, at a more affordable cost, are by buses. Guatemala is known for its camionetas, which are also known as chicken buses. Recognized as the most affordable and authentic mode of transportation in Guatemala, chicken buses are old North American school buses that are used to transport everything from luggage to live animals (like chickens)!

If you plan to use the chicken buses during your Guatemala one week itinerary, make sure to have cash on you and be aware of getting scammed as a foreigner. You can hail a bus at public terminals, near a lot of markets. They are hard to miss!

The chicken buses in Guatemala

The Pullman is usually considered a first-class bus in Guatemala and they are also a great way to get around the country. With a 25 percent higher cost than the chicken buses, the Pullman bus tickets can be bought in advance. Most Pullman buses leave out of private offices.

Another way to get around Guatemala is by renting your own vehicle or organizing private transportation through your accommodations. During my time in Guatemala, I organized all my transportation to and from each destination through my hotels.

As I mention above, one of the best ways to get around the country during your 1- or 2-week Guatemala itinerary is by using Uber. I did use Uber a few times and I also got to ride the chicken bus when I was at Lake Atitlan.

If you’re trying to figure out what to do to get around both Antigua and the villages along Lake Atitlan, in an authentic way and at an affordable cost, I recommend taking a tuk-tuk.

A tuk-tuk in Central America

Even though they are more common in Southeast Asian and African countries, tuk-tuks are a motorized rickshaw that has three wheels. As a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride like you would with a regular city taxi.

During my trip to Guatemala, I organized private transfers through the hotels I stayed at in both Antigua and Lake Atitlan. If you aren’t looking to break the bank on private transfers, I recommend taking the shuttle that goes to and from Guatemala City Airport, Antigua and Lake Atitlan.

When you do the Acatenango hike, the company that you end up going through will organize all the transportation from Antigua to the start of the trek and vice versa.

Where to Stay in Antigua, Guatemala:

Staying at Good Hotel Antigua during a one-week Guatemala itinerary

There are a lot of beautiful hotels ranging from all budgets in Antigua. During my Antigua, Guatemala itinerary, I stayed at Good Hotel, which is a boutique hotel that “does good”. 100% of Good Hotel’s profits goes towards helping people in need.

Good Hotel in Antigua supports the local community by helping disadvantaged children go to school. Each room at Good Hotel Antigua is named after a student.

A hotel that does good - Good Hotel in Antigua, Guatemala

Whenever I solo travel, I always like to stay at hotels that either have a bar, lounge, restaurant or a social area. What I liked about staying at Good Hotel was that it was located right next to L’Osteria Saúl, which is a Mediterranean restaurant, lounge and bar that uses local ingredients to put together delicious meals. This restaurant only partners with companies that offer healthy work environments and pay fair salaries.

Other great hotels to stay at in Antigua are listed below:

Best Places to Stay on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala:

A woman staying at an eco lodge during a one week Guatemala itinerary

During my time on Lake Atitlan, I stayed at Laguna Lodge, which is the best luxury, eco-resort that is situated right on the lake.

Located near the town of Santa Cruz, Laguna Lodge has its own boating dock, an eco-cuisine restaurant, a spa, pool and hot tub. The suites at Laguna Lodge are spacious and feature large windows that overlook the lake. All around the hotel is beautiful Mayan décor!

One of the main reasons why I chose to add Laguna Lodge as a place to stay in Lake Atitlan during my Guatemala itinerary is because the resort is doing everything they can to conserve assets of nature and culture through sustainable tourism.

Breakfast at Lake Atitlan

Laguna Lodge is considered a green hotel because it practices energy and water conservation, waste management, chemical reduction, low carbon cuisine and more. The resort also uses locally produced cotton towels, handwoven local wool blankets and hypoallergenic bedding and pillows. That is huge for me since I suffer from a skin allergy.

Here are other great hotels to choose from for your trip to Lake Atitlan:

There is also a plethora of Vrbo options to choose from in both Antigua and at Lake Atitlan for your vacation in Guatemala.

Guatemala Itinerary for 7 Days:

A woman exploring Antigua during a Guatemala itinerary

Below is the Guatemala travel route that I did during my Central America trip. This travel guide can also be used during a Guatemala backpacking itinerary!

Day 1-3: Antigua, Guatemala
A beautiful view of Cafe Sky in Antigua, Guatemala

Discover in detail what to do in Antigua, Guatemala.

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City and Settle into Antigua

After arriving in Guatemala City, it will take you a little over an hour to get from the airport to Antigua. (There is a lot of traffic.) Once you arrive in Antigua, check into your accommodation and settle in.

If you arrive in the city at a decent time, I recommend doing a local walking tour of Antigua or starting your Guatemala itinerary with a fun Bean to Bar Workshop.

The ancient ruins in Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua is a stunning and historical city filled with colorful Spanish-Colonial buildings, flowers, vintage cars, Baroque ruins, historical landmarks, beautiful churches and thriving plazas. Guatemala has been home to the Mayans since 300 BC. In the 16th Century, the Spanish came and converted indigenous people to Christianity. Guatemala then gained independence from Spain in September 1821.

During a walking tour, you will learn, in-depth, about the city of Antigua and Guatemala’s history. You will also get to visit iconic landmarks in the city such as the Arco de Santa Catalina, Catedral de San Jose, Parque Central, Tanque La Unión and the ancient ruins.

Catedral de San Jose in Antigua

One of the best things to add to your Antigua, Guatemala itinerary is a visit to the Chocomuseo and participate in their Bean to Bar Workshop. This unique and interactive experience will teach you how to make delicious chocolate straight from the cacao bean.

Chocomuseo is open every day from 11am to 3pm, except for Tuesdays. The workshop is available in both English and Spanish and the cost is $20 USD for children under 12 years old and $25 USD for anyone 12 and older.

La Cuevita de Urquizu - an authentic Guatemalan restaurant in Antigua

For dinner, I recommend eating at La Cuevita de Urquizú. It’s a great spot to get a taste of authentic Guatemalan food! How this restaurant works is that all of the food is served in clay pots and you have the opportunity to choose between two or three stews with rice and veggies, guacamole and it also comes with a bean-paste tamale and fresh corn tortillas.

If you’re looking for something fun to do at night, I recommend heading to Café Sky for live music or enjoying some drinks at L’Osteria Saúl.

Day 2: Enjoy all the Best Things to do in Antigua

Beautiful views of Antigua, Guatemala

One of the most popular spots to enjoy good food, drinks and views is at Café Sky. The best time to visit this spot is for breakfast. Café Sky has a rooftop where you can enjoy breathtaking views of Antigua and Guatemala’s beautiful Volcan de Agua. On certain days, you can also see Volcan Fuego erupting.

After breakfast, I suggest hiking to Cerro de la Cruz. It is one of the top free things to do during your Antigua, Guatemala itinerary.

Overall, Cerro de la Cruz is an easy to moderate hike that consists of a 1.10-mile, loop trail. Once you get to the top, there are beautiful views overlooking the city of Antigua and Volcan de Agua.

A woman at Cerro de la Cruz - a hike to add to your Guatemala itinerary for 7 days

The start of the Cerro de la Cruz hike is located right off 1A Avenida. From the city center, just take that road all the way north. There will eventually be a sign that says “Bienvenidos Cerro de la Cruz.” The trail is open from 7am to 6pm every day. I recommend doing this hike sometime in the morning because that is when visibility is the clearest. I went in early afternoon when the clouds started to come in.

In general, the Cerro de la Cruz hike is safe since there is police patrol all around, I suggest avoiding this hike near sundown, when the police leave, because it is unfortunately notorious for theft.

Between walking around the cobblestone streets of Antigua to hiking Cerro de la Cruz, I recommend wearing comfortable shoes!

Mercado de Artesanias in Antigua

A great thing to do in Antigua, after hiking Cerro de la Cruz, is to walk through the Mercado de Artesanías. At this awesome market, you can find everything from jewelry to handmade rugs and artisan souvenirs to clothing items. It is a great way to find beautiful gems and bargain with local vendors.

What is nice about a lot of Antigua’s restaurants are that many of them are hidden in a charming courtyard in the city. If you’re wondering what to do during your 7 days in Guatemala itinerary, I recommend visiting one of these lovely spots.

Vegan tacos from La Bruja in Antigua

On my second day, I went to La Bruja for lunch and savored delicious vegan tacos! What I enjoyed about this spot is that not only was the courtyard beautiful, but it also boasted a lot of other great restaurants, cafés, chocolate shops and souvenir stores.

Another fun thing to do during an afternoon in Antigua during your Guatemala itinerary is to visit the brewery! Antigua Brewing Co. is a brewpub that sources and combines local ingredients to present the best craft beers in the country. It also has both an indoor area along with a rooftop that overlooks the entire city and volcanoes.

Craft beer from Antigua Brewing Company

I suggest taking a break and relaxing at your hotel or in a local park after beer tasting. For dinner, a great French restaurant that has beautiful views of Antigua’s ruins is Tartines. At this spot, you can enjoy sweet and savory crepes as well as decadent pastries while watching the sunset over the ruins.

Day 3: Do a Day Trip from Antigua

Doing a coffee tour during your Guatemala itinerary

On the third day of your one week in Guatemala itinerary, I recommend doing a day trip or a half day trip to either a coffee plantation or Hobbitenango!

Since Guatemala is known for its gourmet coffee, a tour will take you to a local plantation and village where you’ll learn the history of coffee in the country and experience the roasting process. You will also do a tasting on this tour.

Visiting Hobbitenango as a day trip from Antigua, Guatemala

Situated 20 minutes from Antigua, Hobbitenango is a fun eco-park that was founded for people to escape busy life and have fun in nature. Hobbitenango has a hobbit-style hotel and restaurants and there are also fun adventures and games for both adults and children to enjoy!

Day 4-5: Acatenango and Lake Atitlan
Volcan de Fuego eruption in Guatemala
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

Read all about the Acatenango Volcano hike in detail.

Day 4: Hike Acatenango Volcano

A woman on the Acatenango hike during her week in Guatemala

If you’re wondering what to do in Guatemala for a week that will be exciting, unique and challenging, then you must take part in hiking Volcan Acatenango. For those who plan to do the Acatenango Volcano hike, I recommend doing it with Wicho & Charlie’s. They are based in Antigua and are a reputable company that takes a group of hikers up Acatenango daily.

The Acatenango hike is two days and one night and it costs Q500 (around $75 USD) for a shared cabin and Q1200 (around $199) for a private, two-person cabin.

Energy shots from Wicho & Charlie's in Antigua

The start of the Acatenango trek is located a little less than an hour from Antigua and Wicho & Charlie’s will provide hikers with a shuttle there. It is your responsibility for getting to Wicho & Charlie’s office at 7am, the day of your trek, for your briefing.

You can rent hiking gear from Wicho & Charlie’s for free and store your belongings in their storage room. In addition, the company provides all hikers with two breakfasts, a lunch and one dinner on the trek. All the food served on the hike is vegan and delicious!

Hiking Volcan Acatenango during a Guatemala itinerary for 7 days

Hiking Volcan de Acatanengo is difficult, but the entire trek is rewarding! It takes over four hours to hike to Base Camp with some stops along the way, including an hour lunch break.

Base Camp had the best views of the active stratovolcano – Volcan de Fuego! (You can also hike Fuego Volcano as well with Wicho & Charlie’s at an additional cost. The hike there is at night.) Seeing the lava from the volcano erupting at night was magical and the views while hiking to the summit early the next morning were breathtaking!

Sunrise at Acatenango Volcano

Acatenango is one of the top experiences during a Guatemala itinerary for 1 week. It’s a great adventure to do in Guatemala and, if you’re solo, a wonderful way to meet new friends.

Day 5: Traveling from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

A building in Antigua, Guatemala

After completing the Acatenango hike, you will arrive back in Antigua anytime between 11am and 1pm. On this day, I recommend taking it easy whether that be spending one extra night in Antigua or heading over to Lake Atitlan. I personally went to Lake Atitlan after the hike because I was looking forward to some peaceful time on the lake.

When you arrive back at Wicho & Charlie’s office in Antigua, I recommend savoring a fueling lunch at the vegan café located there called Once Once. They have everything from vegan pad Thai to tacos and sushi to burgers.

A vegan meal from Once Once in Antigua

Our tour arrived back to Antigua at around 11:45am and the private car service picked me up from Wicho & Charlie’s at 1pm, so I had ample time to relax and eat. It took a little over two hours to get from Antigua to the main port in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. The longer drive was a perfect time for me to take a well-needed nap.

Since I stayed at Laguna Lodge, which is located right on Lake Atitlan in Santa Cruz, I needed to take a boat to get to the hotel. In fact, if you’re staying in other lakeside villages, besides Panajachel, you will need to take a boat to get to your accommodation. Laguna Lodge organized my transportation, so their private boat took me straight to the resort.

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

The public boat that goes around Lake Atitlan will cost anywhere from Q10 to Q25. It can take anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour to get around the lake.

Once I arrived at Laguna Lodge, I settled in and relaxed. What is great about staying at Laguna Lodge during your Guatemala itinerary is that the resort has a spa. There is nothing like a well-needed massage after a big hike like Acatenango! Laguna Lodge also has a pool that overlooks the lake along with a hot tub.

Staying at Laguna Lodge Eco Resort in Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan

In the evening, I recommend enjoying a relaxing, candlelit dinner at Zotz restaurant, which is located right in Laguna Lodge. Zotz features eco cuisine and combines natural foods with flavor and quality. The award-winning chefs use fresh organic vegetables, herbs and eggs that are either harvested from the garden that is located on the property or procured from local farmers. They also have organic and carbon neutral wines!

Day 5-7: Lake Atitlan
A woman enjoying her time at Lake Atitlan during her 7 day Guatemala itinerary

Here are the top 12 eco things to do at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Day 6: Immerse Yourself in Mayan Culture during Your Guatemala Itinerary:

After fueling up to breakfast at your hotel, take the public boat over to Panajachel for a Mayan Ceremony experience.

During this incredible experience, you will be transported into an ancient fire cleansing and protection ceremony. You’ll be led with a guide that will take you to the Sacred Caves above Lake Atitlan. Each Mayan Ceremony is different as there are some for business/finance, romance/love, friendship/socialization, family/conceiving and more.

A Mayan Shaman performing a ceremony at a Sacred Cave on Lake Atitlan

A Mayan Shaman is a person chosen as the healer and usually performs these ceremonies. Mayans don’t always need a Shaman to perform the ceremonies if they already know what they’re doing, but most people like to schedule him ahead of time to ensure he is there.

Mayan civilization is one of the oldest in the world (2000 BC). Most Mayans are from Central and South America. To this day, it is a thriving culture with a lot of beauty and history. Attending a ceremony is a great way to get a first-hand experience with the Mayan locals.

Participating in a Mayan Ceremony during a one week Guatemala itinerary

The Mayan Ceremony will also have you visiting the Shaman’s altar, which is connected to his home. Anyone can come here if they let the Shaman know ahead of time.

While you’re in Panajachel, I suggest visiting La Galeria. It is an art exhibit that opened in 1973. It showcases the work of the Guatemalan painter Nan Cruz, but it now houses an extensive collection of folk art.

An authentic Guatemalan dinner

Another awesome thing to add to your Guatemala itinerary for 7 days is a cooking class! Guatemalan food is delicious and one of the best things to do during your time at Lake Atitlan is to take an authentic Mayan cooking class at Mayan Kitchen in San Pedro.

This experience allows you to learn all about traditional Mayan cuisine and it is a great cooking class for vegetarians!

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

In the afternoon, I recommend spending some time on the lake. A week in Guatemala is not complete without some adventure. There are a lot of fun things to do on Lake Atitlan such as paragliding, horseback riding through coffee fields, ziplining, hiking, high altitude scuba diving and mountain biking.

Day 7: Experience the Best Things to do on Lake Atitlan

One of the top things to do at Lake Atitlan during your one-week Guatemala itinerary, is to hike Indian Nose for sunrise.  

The Indian Nose Hike in Guatemala

For safety reasons, it is best to do the Indian Nose hike with a local guide. Even though Lake Atitlan is safe, unfortunately, some people have gotten lost and have also experienced robberies when doing this hike by themselves. Your accommodation can help you organize your hike to Indian Nose or you can find a tour company in San Pedro or San Marcos.

Overall, Indian Nose is a short, but moderate to difficult hike that is a little under two miles. There is also a 951-foot elevation gain. I recommend downloading the AllTrails app to learn more about this specific hike at Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan.

There are three viewpoints on the Indian Nose hike and all of them are beautiful! When you get to the top, you will be able to see the three volcanoes – Toliman, San Pedro and Atitlan as the sun rises.

San Marcos on Lake Atitlan

Visiting Lake Atitlan, Guatemala is not complete without visiting the hippie village of San Marcos during your 7-day itinerary.

The town of San Marcos is filled with yoga studios, vegan restaurants, eco accommodations, artisan shops and more. I recommend strolling around and supporting the locally owned and women-owned businesses in San Marcos.

Wine tasting in San Marcos on Lake Atitlan during a 1 week Guatemala itinerary

Another awesome thing to do in San Marcos on Lake Atitlan is to go wine tasting at La Casa Zapote. To get to this spot, you will need to walk through the woods and it can be a little confusing to get there, but once you arrive, you’ll be greeted to a rustic mountain setting. (I recommend walking there with someone else and not alone.)

Day 8: Head Home from Guatemala
A woman enjoying her trip to Guatemala

On your last day, head back to Guatemala City to fly home or onto your next destination. I flew to Cartagena, Colombia from Guatemala City, with a layover in Panama and it was around a five-hour journey with the stopover.

Your accommodation can help you organize transportation from Lake Atitlan to Guatemala City Airport.


The ancient ruins in Antigua, Central America

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best Guatemala itinerary for 7 days. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal, Capital: Guatemala City, Time Zone: Guatemala does not follow Daylight Savings. During the summer months, Guatemala is on Mountain Standard Time and then it is on Central Standard Time during the winter months.

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on April 8, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    This looks like an amazing fun 7 day trip to Guatemala ~ It seems that there are so many great activities to do. Love all the breathtaking hikes you did ~ I would love to visit Guatemala because I love coffee, hiking, chocolate, lakes, spas, horse back riding and all thr other activities that Guatemala offers. Definitely on my bucket list ~ thank you for sharing your guide with us! Your blog brought Guatemala and all its beautiful colors to life ~ stunning photography too! Loved reading about fabulous Guatemala. Love you, mom 👩🏻 xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on April 13, 2022 at 1:32 pm

      It really was such a great trip! Guatemala is truly such a gem! 🙂

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Antigua4

A woman exploring Antigua, Guatemala

If you’re looking to visit Guatemala, but don’t have enough time to stay for a few weeks, discover this epic Guatemala itinerary for 7 days!

Guatemala is in Central America. Spanish is the official language of the country and the predominate religion is Catholicism. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala and one of them is Antigua, which is included in this itinerary. The other two ancient Mayan archaeological sites are Quirigua and Tikal National Park. Other fun facts about Guatemala are that it is known for its chocolate and coffee and its cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Spanish culture.

A woman hiking Acatenango Volcano during a 7 day Guatemala itinerary

During March 2022, I did a wonderful Central and South America trip. I started my trip solo in Guatemala where I explored the city of Antigua, hiked Volcan Acatenango and enjoyed time along Lake Atitlan. I then flew to Colombia where I met Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We spent time relaxing at the beach on Isla Barú, which is an island off the famous city of Cartagena and concluded our trip in the city.

In this travel blog, discover the best 1-week Guatemala itinerary for Antigua, Acatenango Volcano and Lake Atitlan.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

7-day Guatemala Itinerary

1 Week Guatemala Itinerary – Safety in Central America:

A woman exploring the streets of Guatemala

One thing I would like to address before I dive into this Guatemala travel itinerary is that the country is safe and makes for a great solo trip. Guatemala boasts a major digital nomad community and people, of all ages, travel there from around the world.

A lot of loved ones were concerned about me traveling to Guatemala on my own and tried to talk me out of it. (I’m glad I didn’t listen to them.) I understand that the media covers a lot of bad things that happen around the world, but I didn’t find Guatemala to be unsafe at all during my solo travels, so PLEASE don’t let that determine if you should travel to Guatemala or not.

Of course, bad things happen everywhere! (Even in your hometown.)

A woman on the Acatenango hike

Some great safety tips for visiting Guatemala, and anywhere in the world, is to always be aware of your surroundings; do not put yourself in sketchy situations; watch your alcohol intake (mezcals are delicious, but too many could be dangerous); DON’T DO DRUGS EVER; do your research and book a hotel/Airbnb/hostel in a safe area (I like to stay in accommodations close to the heart of the city and popular attractions); negotiate the price of a cab before you hop in (Guatemala has Uber, so I recommend using that to get around); learn how to say NO; don’t walk around by yourself late at night; don’t show off your valuables and don’t be afraid to ask a staff member from your hotel to assist you somewhere.

Guatemala is a great destination for all to enjoy! Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, with a friend or two, with your family or even with your older parents or grandparents, there is something fun for all to enjoy and everyone in the country is warm and welcoming! Discover the top things to know before visiting Guatemala with kids.

Traveling for One Week in Guatemala:

The beautiful architecture of Antigua, Guatemala

It is easy to visit Guatemala. For your Guatemala itinerary for 7 days, it is best to fly to and from Guatemala City, which is the capital of the country. I personally took a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, with a layover in Miami. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

Other great ways to get around the county, at a more affordable cost, are by buses. Guatemala is known for its camionetas, which are also known as chicken buses. Recognized as the most affordable and authentic mode of transportation in Guatemala, chicken buses are old North American school buses that are used to transport everything from luggage to live animals (like chickens)!

If you plan to use the chicken buses during your Guatemala one week itinerary, make sure to have cash on you and be aware of getting scammed as a foreigner. You can hail a bus at public terminals, near a lot of markets. They are hard to miss!

The chicken buses in Guatemala

The Pullman is usually considered a first-class bus in Guatemala and they are also a great way to get around the country. With a 25 percent higher cost than the chicken buses, the Pullman bus tickets can be bought in advance. Most Pullman buses leave out of private offices.

Another way to get around Guatemala is by renting your own vehicle or organizing private transportation through your accommodations. During my time in Guatemala, I organized all my transportation to and from each destination through my hotels.

As I mention above, one of the best ways to get around the country during your 1- or 2-week Guatemala itinerary is by using Uber. I did use Uber a few times and I also got to ride the chicken bus when I was at Lake Atitlan.

If you’re trying to figure out what to do to get around both Antigua and the villages along Lake Atitlan, in an authentic way and at an affordable cost, I recommend taking a tuk-tuk.

A tuk-tuk in Central America

Even though they are more common in Southeast Asian and African countries, tuk-tuks are a motorized rickshaw that has three wheels. As a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride like you would with a regular city taxi.

During my trip to Guatemala, I organized private transfers through the hotels I stayed at in both Antigua and Lake Atitlan. If you aren’t looking to break the bank on private transfers, I recommend taking the shuttle that goes to and from Guatemala City Airport, Antigua and Lake Atitlan.

When you do the Acatenango hike, the company that you end up going through will organize all the transportation from Antigua to the start of the trek and vice versa.

Where to Stay in Antigua, Guatemala:

Staying at Good Hotel Antigua during a one-week Guatemala itinerary

There are a lot of beautiful hotels ranging from all budgets in Antigua. During my Antigua, Guatemala itinerary, I stayed at Good Hotel, which is a boutique hotel that “does good”. 100% of Good Hotel’s profits goes towards helping people in need.

Good Hotel in Antigua supports the local community by helping disadvantaged children go to school. Each room at Good Hotel Antigua is named after a student.

A hotel that does good - Good Hotel in Antigua, Guatemala

Whenever I solo travel, I always like to stay at hotels that either have a bar, lounge, restaurant or a social area. What I liked about staying at Good Hotel was that it was located right next to L’Osteria Saúl, which is a Mediterranean restaurant, lounge and bar that uses local ingredients to put together delicious meals. This restaurant only partners with companies that offer healthy work environments and pay fair salaries.

Other great hotels to stay at in Antigua are listed below:

Best Places to Stay on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala:

A woman staying at an eco lodge during a one week Guatemala itinerary

During my time on Lake Atitlan, I stayed at Laguna Lodge, which is the best luxury, eco-resort that is situated right on the lake.

Located near the town of Santa Cruz, Laguna Lodge has its own boating dock, an eco-cuisine restaurant, a spa, pool and hot tub. The suites at Laguna Lodge are spacious and feature large windows that overlook the lake. All around the hotel is beautiful Mayan décor!

One of the main reasons why I chose to add Laguna Lodge as a place to stay in Lake Atitlan during my Guatemala itinerary is because the resort is doing everything they can to conserve assets of nature and culture through sustainable tourism.

Breakfast at Lake Atitlan

Laguna Lodge is considered a green hotel because it practices energy and water conservation, waste management, chemical reduction, low carbon cuisine and more. The resort also uses locally produced cotton towels, handwoven local wool blankets and hypoallergenic bedding and pillows. That is huge for me since I suffer from a skin allergy.

Here are other great hotels to choose from for your trip to Lake Atitlan:

There is also a plethora of Vrbo options to choose from in both Antigua and at Lake Atitlan for your vacation in Guatemala.

Guatemala Itinerary for 7 Days:

A woman exploring Antigua during a Guatemala itinerary

Below is the Guatemala travel route that I did during my Central America trip. This travel guide can also be used during a Guatemala backpacking itinerary!

Day 1-3: Antigua, Guatemala
A beautiful view of Cafe Sky in Antigua, Guatemala

Discover in detail what to do in Antigua, Guatemala.

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City and Settle into Antigua

After arriving in Guatemala City, it will take you a little over an hour to get from the airport to Antigua. (There is a lot of traffic.) Once you arrive in Antigua, check into your accommodation and settle in.

If you arrive in the city at a decent time, I recommend doing a local walking tour of Antigua or starting your Guatemala itinerary with a fun Bean to Bar Workshop.

The ancient ruins in Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua is a stunning and historical city filled with colorful Spanish-Colonial buildings, flowers, vintage cars, Baroque ruins, historical landmarks, beautiful churches and thriving plazas. Guatemala has been home to the Mayans since 300 BC. In the 16th Century, the Spanish came and converted indigenous people to Christianity. Guatemala then gained independence from Spain in September 1821.

During a walking tour, you will learn, in-depth, about the city of Antigua and Guatemala’s history. You will also get to visit iconic landmarks in the city such as the Arco de Santa Catalina, Catedral de San Jose, Parque Central, Tanque La Unión and the ancient ruins.

Catedral de San Jose in Antigua

One of the best things to add to your Antigua, Guatemala itinerary is a visit to the Chocomuseo and participate in their Bean to Bar Workshop. This unique and interactive experience will teach you how to make delicious chocolate straight from the cacao bean.

Chocomuseo is open every day from 11am to 3pm, except for Tuesdays. The workshop is available in both English and Spanish and the cost is $20 USD for children under 12 years old and $25 USD for anyone 12 and older.

La Cuevita de Urquizu - an authentic Guatemalan restaurant in Antigua

For dinner, I recommend eating at La Cuevita de Urquizú. It’s a great spot to get a taste of authentic Guatemalan food! How this restaurant works is that all of the food is served in clay pots and you have the opportunity to choose between two or three stews with rice and veggies, guacamole and it also comes with a bean-paste tamale and fresh corn tortillas.

If you’re looking for something fun to do at night, I recommend heading to Café Sky for live music or enjoying some drinks at L’Osteria Saúl.

Day 2: Enjoy all the Best Things to do in Antigua

Beautiful views of Antigua, Guatemala

One of the most popular spots to enjoy good food, drinks and views is at Café Sky. The best time to visit this spot is for breakfast. Café Sky has a rooftop where you can enjoy breathtaking views of Antigua and Guatemala’s beautiful Volcan de Agua. On certain days, you can also see Volcan Fuego erupting.

After breakfast, I suggest hiking to Cerro de la Cruz. It is one of the top free things to do during your Antigua, Guatemala itinerary.

Overall, Cerro de la Cruz is an easy to moderate hike that consists of a 1.10-mile, loop trail. Once you get to the top, there are beautiful views overlooking the city of Antigua and Volcan de Agua.

A woman at Cerro de la Cruz - a hike to add to your Guatemala itinerary for 7 days

The start of the Cerro de la Cruz hike is located right off 1A Avenida. From the city center, just take that road all the way north. There will eventually be a sign that says “Bienvenidos Cerro de la Cruz.” The trail is open from 7am to 6pm every day. I recommend doing this hike sometime in the morning because that is when visibility is the clearest. I went in early afternoon when the clouds started to come in.

In general, the Cerro de la Cruz hike is safe since there is police patrol all around, I suggest avoiding this hike near sundown, when the police leave, because it is unfortunately notorious for theft.

Between walking around the cobblestone streets of Antigua to hiking Cerro de la Cruz, I recommend wearing comfortable shoes!

Mercado de Artesanias in Antigua

A great thing to do in Antigua, after hiking Cerro de la Cruz, is to walk through the Mercado de Artesanías. At this awesome market, you can find everything from jewelry to handmade rugs and artisan souvenirs to clothing items. It is a great way to find beautiful gems and bargain with local vendors.

What is nice about a lot of Antigua’s restaurants are that many of them are hidden in a charming courtyard in the city. If you’re wondering what to do during your 7 days in Guatemala itinerary, I recommend visiting one of these lovely spots.

Vegan tacos from La Bruja in Antigua

On my second day, I went to La Bruja for lunch and savored delicious vegan tacos! What I enjoyed about this spot is that not only was the courtyard beautiful, but it also boasted a lot of other great restaurants, cafés, chocolate shops and souvenir stores.

Another fun thing to do during an afternoon in Antigua during your Guatemala itinerary is to visit the brewery! Antigua Brewing Co. is a brewpub that sources and combines local ingredients to present the best craft beers in the country. It also has both an indoor area along with a rooftop that overlooks the entire city and volcanoes.

Craft beer from Antigua Brewing Company

I suggest taking a break and relaxing at your hotel or in a local park after beer tasting. For dinner, a great French restaurant that has beautiful views of Antigua’s ruins is Tartines. At this spot, you can enjoy sweet and savory crepes as well as decadent pastries while watching the sunset over the ruins.

Day 3: Do a Day Trip from Antigua

Doing a coffee tour during your Guatemala itinerary

On the third day of your one week in Guatemala itinerary, I recommend doing a day trip or a half day trip to either a coffee plantation or Hobbitenango!

Since Guatemala is known for its gourmet coffee, a tour will take you to a local plantation and village where you’ll learn the history of coffee in the country and experience the roasting process. You will also do a tasting on this tour.

Visiting Hobbitenango as a day trip from Antigua, Guatemala

Situated 20 minutes from Antigua, Hobbitenango is a fun eco-park that was founded for people to escape busy life and have fun in nature. Hobbitenango has a hobbit-style hotel and restaurants and there are also fun adventures and games for both adults and children to enjoy!

Day 4-5: Acatenango and Lake Atitlan
Volcan de Fuego eruption in Guatemala
This photo was provided to me by Wicho & Charlie’s. I am crediting Fabian Wiktor for this photography work. You can check out his work on his website and Instagram.

Read all about the Acatenango Volcano hike in detail.

Day 4: Hike Acatenango Volcano

A woman on the Acatenango hike during her week in Guatemala

If you’re wondering what to do in Guatemala for a week that will be exciting, unique and challenging, then you must take part in hiking Volcan Acatenango. For those who plan to do the Acatenango Volcano hike, I recommend doing it with Wicho & Charlie’s. They are based in Antigua and are a reputable company that takes a group of hikers up Acatenango daily.

The Acatenango hike is two days and one night and it costs Q500 (around $75 USD) for a shared cabin and Q1200 (around $199) for a private, two-person cabin.

Energy shots from Wicho & Charlie's in Antigua

The start of the Acatenango trek is located a little less than an hour from Antigua and Wicho & Charlie’s will provide hikers with a shuttle there. It is your responsibility for getting to Wicho & Charlie’s office at 7am, the day of your trek, for your briefing.

You can rent hiking gear from Wicho & Charlie’s for free and store your belongings in their storage room. In addition, the company provides all hikers with two breakfasts, a lunch and one dinner on the trek. All the food served on the hike is vegan and delicious!

Hiking Volcan Acatenango during a Guatemala itinerary for 7 days

Hiking Volcan de Acatanengo is difficult, but the entire trek is rewarding! It takes over four hours to hike to Base Camp with some stops along the way, including an hour lunch break.

Base Camp had the best views of the active stratovolcano – Volcan de Fuego! (You can also hike Fuego Volcano as well with Wicho & Charlie’s at an additional cost. The hike there is at night.) Seeing the lava from the volcano erupting at night was magical and the views while hiking to the summit early the next morning were breathtaking!

Sunrise at Acatenango Volcano

Acatenango is one of the top experiences during a Guatemala itinerary for 1 week. It’s a great adventure to do in Guatemala and, if you’re solo, a wonderful way to meet new friends.

Day 5: Traveling from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

A building in Antigua, Guatemala

After completing the Acatenango hike, you will arrive back in Antigua anytime between 11am and 1pm. On this day, I recommend taking it easy whether that be spending one extra night in Antigua or heading over to Lake Atitlan. I personally went to Lake Atitlan after the hike because I was looking forward to some peaceful time on the lake.

When you arrive back at Wicho & Charlie’s office in Antigua, I recommend savoring a fueling lunch at the vegan café located there called Once Once. They have everything from vegan pad Thai to tacos and sushi to burgers.

A vegan meal from Once Once in Antigua

Our tour arrived back to Antigua at around 11:45am and the private car service picked me up from Wicho & Charlie’s at 1pm, so I had ample time to relax and eat. It took a little over two hours to get from Antigua to the main port in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. The longer drive was a perfect time for me to take a well-needed nap.

Since I stayed at Laguna Lodge, which is located right on Lake Atitlan in Santa Cruz, I needed to take a boat to get to the hotel. In fact, if you’re staying in other lakeside villages, besides Panajachel, you will need to take a boat to get to your accommodation. Laguna Lodge organized my transportation, so their private boat took me straight to the resort.

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

The public boat that goes around Lake Atitlan will cost anywhere from Q10 to Q25. It can take anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour to get around the lake.

Once I arrived at Laguna Lodge, I settled in and relaxed. What is great about staying at Laguna Lodge during your Guatemala itinerary is that the resort has a spa. There is nothing like a well-needed massage after a big hike like Acatenango! Laguna Lodge also has a pool that overlooks the lake along with a hot tub.

Staying at Laguna Lodge Eco Resort in Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan

In the evening, I recommend enjoying a relaxing, candlelit dinner at Zotz restaurant, which is located right in Laguna Lodge. Zotz features eco cuisine and combines natural foods with flavor and quality. The award-winning chefs use fresh organic vegetables, herbs and eggs that are either harvested from the garden that is located on the property or procured from local farmers. They also have organic and carbon neutral wines!

Day 5-7: Lake Atitlan
A woman enjoying her time at Lake Atitlan during her 7 day Guatemala itinerary

Here are the top 12 eco things to do at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Day 6: Immerse Yourself in Mayan Culture during Your Guatemala Itinerary:

After fueling up to breakfast at your hotel, take the public boat over to Panajachel for a Mayan Ceremony experience.

During this incredible experience, you will be transported into an ancient fire cleansing and protection ceremony. You’ll be led with a guide that will take you to the Sacred Caves above Lake Atitlan. Each Mayan Ceremony is different as there are some for business/finance, romance/love, friendship/socialization, family/conceiving and more.

A Mayan Shaman performing a ceremony at a Sacred Cave on Lake Atitlan

A Mayan Shaman is a person chosen as the healer and usually performs these ceremonies. Mayans don’t always need a Shaman to perform the ceremonies if they already know what they’re doing, but most people like to schedule him ahead of time to ensure he is there.

Mayan civilization is one of the oldest in the world (2000 BC). Most Mayans are from Central and South America. To this day, it is a thriving culture with a lot of beauty and history. Attending a ceremony is a great way to get a first-hand experience with the Mayan locals.

Participating in a Mayan Ceremony during a one week Guatemala itinerary

The Mayan Ceremony will also have you visiting the Shaman’s altar, which is connected to his home. Anyone can come here if they let the Shaman know ahead of time.

While you’re in Panajachel, I suggest visiting La Galeria. It is an art exhibit that opened in 1973. It showcases the work of the Guatemalan painter Nan Cruz, but it now houses an extensive collection of folk art.

An authentic Guatemalan dinner

Another awesome thing to add to your Guatemala itinerary for 7 days is a cooking class! Guatemalan food is delicious and one of the best things to do during your time at Lake Atitlan is to take an authentic Mayan cooking class at Mayan Kitchen in San Pedro.

This experience allows you to learn all about traditional Mayan cuisine and it is a great cooking class for vegetarians!

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala

In the afternoon, I recommend spending some time on the lake. A week in Guatemala is not complete without some adventure. There are a lot of fun things to do on Lake Atitlan such as paragliding, horseback riding through coffee fields, ziplining, hiking, high altitude scuba diving and mountain biking.

Day 7: Experience the Best Things to do on Lake Atitlan

One of the top things to do at Lake Atitlan during your one-week Guatemala itinerary, is to hike Indian Nose for sunrise.  

The Indian Nose Hike in Guatemala

For safety reasons, it is best to do the Indian Nose hike with a local guide. Even though Lake Atitlan is safe, unfortunately, some people have gotten lost and have also experienced robberies when doing this hike by themselves. Your accommodation can help you organize your hike to Indian Nose or you can find a tour company in San Pedro or San Marcos.

Overall, Indian Nose is a short, but moderate to difficult hike that is a little under two miles. There is also a 951-foot elevation gain. I recommend downloading the AllTrails app to learn more about this specific hike at Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan.

There are three viewpoints on the Indian Nose hike and all of them are beautiful! When you get to the top, you will be able to see the three volcanoes – Toliman, San Pedro and Atitlan as the sun rises.

San Marcos on Lake Atitlan

Visiting Lake Atitlan, Guatemala is not complete without visiting the hippie village of San Marcos during your 7-day itinerary.

The town of San Marcos is filled with yoga studios, vegan restaurants, eco accommodations, artisan shops and more. I recommend strolling around and supporting the locally owned and women-owned businesses in San Marcos.

Wine tasting in San Marcos on Lake Atitlan during a 1 week Guatemala itinerary

Another awesome thing to do in San Marcos on Lake Atitlan is to go wine tasting at La Casa Zapote. To get to this spot, you will need to walk through the woods and it can be a little confusing to get there, but once you arrive, you’ll be greeted to a rustic mountain setting. (I recommend walking there with someone else and not alone.)

Day 8: Head Home from Guatemala
A woman enjoying her trip to Guatemala

On your last day, head back to Guatemala City to fly home or onto your next destination. I flew to Cartagena, Colombia from Guatemala City, with a layover in Panama and it was around a five-hour journey with the stopover.

Your accommodation can help you organize transportation from Lake Atitlan to Guatemala City Airport.


The ancient ruins in Antigua, Central America

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best Guatemala itinerary for 7 days. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal, Capital: Guatemala City, Time Zone: Guatemala does not follow Daylight Savings. During the summer months, Guatemala is on Mountain Standard Time and then it is on Central Standard Time during the winter months.

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on April 8, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    This looks like an amazing fun 7 day trip to Guatemala ~ It seems that there are so many great activities to do. Love all the breathtaking hikes you did ~ I would love to visit Guatemala because I love coffee, hiking, chocolate, lakes, spas, horse back riding and all thr other activities that Guatemala offers. Definitely on my bucket list ~ thank you for sharing your guide with us! Your blog brought Guatemala and all its beautiful colors to life ~ stunning photography too! Loved reading about fabulous Guatemala. Love you, mom 👩🏻 xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on April 13, 2022 at 1:32 pm

      It really was such a great trip! Guatemala is truly such a gem! 🙂

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