Trip Type : Group Tour
Guatemala Highlands Explorer tour

Guatemala Highlands Explorer

5.0 . Excellent
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
10 days
From: $ 1,495 $ 150 / day
Checking price



  • Explore central Guatemala
  • Explore ancient ruins and modern sacred sites
  • Explore the caves and crystal-clear pools at Semuc Champey

Short Description

Explore central Guatemala's culturally diverse and naturally abundant highlands on this in-depth 10-day adventure. Actively explore ancient ruins and modern sacred sites with an expert local guide. At colonial Antigua step back into the past and experience Guatemala's natural beauty at Lake Atitlan. Visit the famed Chichicastenango market and explore the caves and crystal-clear pools at Semuc Champey. Each day enjoy hikes with your guide who weaves a tapestry of history covering over 1000 years and illustrate the region's natural diversity. Explore beyond the main streets and trails to witness modern ritual and cultural tradition.

Many guests complement the Guatemala Highlands Explorer with a visit to the ancient Kingdom of Tikal National Park or Copan. Contact the experts at Adventure Smith to learn more about this trip and other Guatemala adventure travel.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City Guatemala
End City Guatemala

Trip Includes

  • Each itinerary includes all lodging as listed on the itinerary or similar
  • Meals as indicated
  • All airport/hotel transfers when arriving and departing the stated arrival and departure dates of the trip
  • All land, air and water transportation within destination
  • Entrance fees to national parks and reserves as specified
  • And guide services as specified

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Day 1: Arrive Guatemala City

Accommodation: Panamerican Hotel

Upon arrival at the international airport in Guatemala City you are met by our local representative and transferred to a charming hotel from the 1920s in downtown Guatemala City.

Day 2: Guatemala City & Coban

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Casa Duranta Hotel

In the morning, visit Guatemala City’s outstanding National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology to gain a better understanding of what is coming during your trip. In the afternoon take a scenic drive to Coban. The road goes through contrasting landscapes, from the Motagua River Valley's cacti to lush tropical cloud forest in Coban, a city where there are still some buildings from Spanish Colonial days. Your hotel will be one such building, located right in downtown.

Day 3: Semuch Champey

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Casa Duranta Hotel

This is the region of the Maya-Kekchi People, and Coban is its larger city. At 4,000 feet above sea level, weather is a little bit warmer than in the “higher” Highlands. Today’s highlight is Semuch Champey Natural Monument. Getting there is half the fun. The road there travels through coffee and cardamom plantations in “karstic” landscapes. Semuc Champey is where the Cahabon River sinks into a cave of about 1 mile long, leaving on top a series of crystal clear pools to swim in - deep enough to even dive! All if this is surrounded by a tropical lush forest. Those with energy may climb up to a lookout for a breathtaking view. The day ends back to Coban.

Day 4: Coban to Nebaj

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hacienda San Antonio

Today is a day of landscapes in scenic routes. Still in the outskirts of Coban, visit a traditional coffee plantation and mill as well as an orchid nursery. The road then runs through mountains and valleys, and Maya villages like Uspantan and Cunen. At the Chixoy River Valley, before its name changes to Usumacinta and becomes the border between Guatemala and Mexico, a portion of the road is not paved and the ride gets a bit bumpier. Arrive at the end of the day to the area of another Maya people, the Ixil. Overnight in Nebaj's village of Acul at a dairy farm.

Day 5: Nebaj

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hacienda San Antonio

Wake up in rural Acul, listening to the roosters and the village's church bell. After breakfast, take a scenic 2-hour mountain hike to Nebaj where the town’s “Culture House” organizes a full day of sharing their way of life. The Maya Ixil People lives in Nebaj, Chajul and Cotzal. These 3 towns were called the “Ixil Triangle” during Guatemala’s Civil War (1961-1996) and they were deeply hurt. Isolated by history and nature, they heartedly welcome visitors. Lunch will be in a local home. If in the afternoon you're up for another hike to a waterfall, it will be included.

Day 6: Chichicastenango

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Uxlabil Hotel

Located 2 hours from Nebaj and enroute to Lake Atitlan, a visit Chichicastenango for one of its market days (Thursdays and Sundays) is a must. It is the largest and most colorful handicrafts market in the Americas, and even though it is an area inhabited by the Maya Kiche, here you will see people and products from all over the country. The Saint Tomas Roman-Catholic Church is a very good example of Guatemala's religious syncretism. It was built on top of a pre-Columbian temple and it is still considered sacred for the Maya that come to the stairway in front to burn incense and pray to their ancient Gods. In the afternoon transfer to Lake Atitlan, arriving by boat to today's final destination: San Juan La Laguna town.

Day 7: Lake Atitlan & San Juan La Laguna

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Uxlabil Hotel

Today is a day dedicated to Lake Atitlan, which is a caldera lake formed by an explosion of a volcano that geologists estimate happened 80,000 years ago. It is almost circular, with a 10-mile diameter, 1,000 feet deep and surrounded by 3 imposing volcanoes. A scenic boat ride to San Juan (its full name is San Juan La Laguna, or San Juan-by-the-lake) will bring you to visit the Maya Tzutuhil People. Your day here actively involves the local “Community Tourism Committee,” whose organization we respect and support. Spend a very active day visiting a natural dyes workshop and learning about the town's organic coffee and handwoven textiles; the Tzutuhil women embroider their tops with colorful birds and flowers. Hike to a nearby lookout with stunning views of the lake.

Day 8: Iximche & Xetonox

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Posada Don Rodrigo Hotel

Today's drive from Lake Atitlan to Antigua goes through the beautiful landscapes of Maya villages and their plantations of vegetables. Leaving Atitlan behind, the first Maya People is the Cackchiquel. More than half a million Guatemalans are Maya-Cackchiquel, and the first stop is to visit Iximche Archaeological Site, which was the capital of the Cackchiquel Kingdom, built in 1470 and destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores in 1524. It was never lost or forgotten like happened with many sites in the rainforest, and it is still a sacred place for the Cackchiquels. The second stop is at Xetonox, a small village where a local family gladly shows you their way of life, their crops and their weavings. Lunch is served at their home. Visiting the village’s Grade School is a good way to learn more about the local life.

Day 9: Antigua

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Posada Don Rodrigo Hotel

Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the best examples of how was life during the Spanish Colonial days. Built in 1542 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, Antigua's name was once Guatemala City and was for over two centuries the capital of Central America, including what is today the State of Chiapas in Mexico and the countries of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. During that time, it was the third largest city in the Americas, after Lima, Peru, and Mexico City. A guided tour takes you through the city's best palaces, churches, convents, monasteries and plazas, in a picturesque walk down cobbled stones and with sights of the nearby volcanoes. Antigua's perfect spring-like weather all year round, has made this an attractive city of residence for artists and writers, among them Antoine Saint-Exupery, who wrote “The Little Prince,” and Gore Vidal. The afternoon is free to enjoy the city at your own pace, and your guide will advise on how to make good use of it.

Day 10: Depart Guatemala City

This morning a transfer to the Guatemala City International Airport is included. Depart for home or continue your explorations with AdventureSmith.


Checking price
Price From $ 1,495
Price Per Day: $ 150 per day
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 400

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Optional Activities

During your stay in Guatemala Highlands Explorer, Tours offers you a variety of optional tours some of tours that you would like to extend are available while in-

  • Guatemala Adventure From: $1650; 9 days
  • Belize Island Adventure From: $1540; 5 days
  • Cuba People to People Cruise From: $4899; 8 days

Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group


Posada Don Rodrigo, Antigua

41 Rooms Private bathrooms Cable TV Wireless internet Telephone access Room service

Relax in the colonial setting of Antigua, one of the most beautiful cities in the Americas. Hotel Posada De Don Rodrigo is an authentic 315 year old property, renovated to offer you all the facilities expected of a first class hostelry, providing excellent quality, food and services for the discerning traveler. Posada De Don Rodrigo is not only colonial style inn but also has the most typical atmosphere in Antigua. Unique and distinct rooms, nothing which exists in one, will you find in another only the same air and the same peace. Awakening in this hotel in la Antigua has it's magic, very early the burnished bell of it's manifold churches begin to ring and the flow of the crystalline waters in it's fountains, will wet your appetite for a succulent breakfast. Authentic printings baroque carvings furniture’s carved by genuine craftsmen of Antigua, ashes fireplaces, silent ceilings, are some of the surprises which await you in the rooms.

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Guatemala City Hotel's "The Place to Meet" Wake up to brilliant, golden sunrises peeking over volcanic hills each morning you stay at our hotel's property in Guatemala City. The Crowne Plaza Guatemala hotel, located in beautiful Zona 13 and just two miles from La Aurora International Airport (GUA), offers both comfort and convenience.While in Guatemala City, guests find plenty of exciting attractions nearby, including the Central Market, Civic Center and Oakland Mall. Find out more about our culture by visiting the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, or take a day-trip to the charming city of Antigua. We're just minutes from "Zona Viva," too, where all the excitement happens!When you choose to stay with us in Guatemala City, our hotel provides perks like free high-speed, wireless Internet access, so you can keep in touch with the office. To help you relax, we also offer a wonderful spa with services like steambaths, saunas and massages, as well as the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage® Program amenity kit. Make your reservations today!  Come and enjoy the comfort of our rooms and feel at home

Cancellation Policy:

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $500 is required at the time of booking. A Reservation Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following fees, based on number of days prior to departure:

Up to 91 days - 50% of deposit

90 to 31 days - 50% of total trip cost

30 to 0 days - 100% of total trip cost

Age Notes

Families & Children

Child rate posted is for children 11 years old and under sharing a room with two parents.

Min. Age: 11

Additional Information:

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 21 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions.


All persons wishing to make a reservation, and all persons who will be traveling, must complete and sign the Traveller Information Form. All reservations are made with Adventure Smith Travel Services Inc., d/b/a Adventure Smith Explorations. No person has any authority on Adventure Smith Explorations’ behalf to vary these terms and conditions.

Unused services & personal expenses

Regardless of any other term in this agreement, partial refunds are not available for unused services including but not limited to hotel rooms, meals, air or land transportation, activity days or other sightseeing excursions. You will not be reimbursed for any personal expenses such as airfare, hotel or other travel expenses due to changes in itineraries or cancellations. If a portion of the services of your tour are cancelled by us or our third party supplier because of an event within our control or the control of our third party supplier, and you are not offered a replacement or alternative, we will refund the cost of that portion of the services.

Travel Documents

The client must obtain and have possession of a valid passport, all visas, permits and certificates, and vaccination certificates, required for the entire tour. The client accepts responsibility for obtaining these documents and any other necessary documents. It is the client’s responsibility to assure that the name on your airline ticket, cruise tickets, or any other travel documents matches your name as printed in your passport (or domestic identification, where applicable) by providing the exact name as it appears on your passport (or domestic identification, where applicable) to AdventureSmith Explorations before tickets are issued.

Trip ID#:


Trip Excludes

  • International airfare to/from the destination
  • Excess baggage fees; the cost of obtaining passports
  • Visas or tourist cards
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses such as room service
  • Beverages and laundry
  • Personal communication charges
  • And gratuities to tour escort, guides or drivers

Meals Included:

8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and  4 Dinners

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