Guatemala Itinerary: 1, 2 or 3 Weeks in Guatemala (With Map)

Author Carina Klein
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Efficient Guatemala backpacking itinerary for 7 days in Guatemala, 2 weeks in Guatemala or 3 weeks in Guatemala with map!

We visited Guatemala to compile an efficient Guatemala trip itinerary for every time window:

  • Guatemala 1 week itinerary
  • Guatemala 2 week itinerary
  • Guatemala 3 week itinerary

We showcase what to do in Guatemala for a week as well as all the highlights and hidden gems if you have more time.

Additionally, we explain transfer options as well as the best tours we took.

Disclosure: We did not take chicken buses in Guatemala, only shuttles. Be aware that distances are long and transfers can take a long time even taking shuttle buses.

Guatemala Travel Itinerary Overview


How long?

1 Week Itinerary

2 Week Itinerary

3 Week Itinerary


Lake Peten, Tikal

1-2 days




El Mirador

Trek and pyramid

5 days

Option A

Rio Dulce

Swimming, hot spring waterfall, Caribbean Coast

2 days




Semuc Champey waterfall, caving, and tubing

2 days



(Xela) Quetzaltenango


3 days

Option B

Lake Atitlan

Party in San Pedro, Yoga in San Marcos, scuba diving in Santa Cruz, San Juan for arts and crafts,….

2-4 days





Acatenango volcano, colonial architecture, food and drinks

3-4 days




El Paredon

Beaches and surfing

2-4 days


Travel Itinerary Guatemala Map

Backpacking Guatemala Itinerary

7 Day Guatemala Itinerary

If you have one week in Guatemala, we recommend to visit

  • Flores & Tikal ( 2 days).
  • Antigua & Acatenango (3 days).
  • Lake Atitlan (2 days).
Picture of Guatemala itinerary 7 days
Guatemala itinerary 7 days

1 Week Guatemala Itinerary Day 1 – Flores

Flores is the ideal hub to explore the Tikal Mayan ruins.

After your travel day, take your time to leisurely explore Flores. For example, you can swim in Lake Peten, stroll the cobblestone streets, or feast in one of the amazing restaurants.

How to Get to Flores

Flores is very well-connected and you have several options:

  1. A tourist shuttle from the airport in Guatemala City to Flores.
  2. A tourist shuttle from the neighbouring countries e.g.
    • San Ignacio, Belize.
    • Palenque, Mexico.
Picture of Yo ❤️ Peten sign
Yo ❤️ Peten sign

1 Week Guatemala Itinerary Day 2 – Tikal

Tikal is not only the most famous Mayan ruin in Guatemala but also one of our favourites in all of Central America.

The interplay of the Mayan structures and the jungle is just breathtaking. Of course, you need to climb the Star Wars Pyramid in case you’re a nerd like us.

How to Get to Tikal

We took a tour because we think it’s the most convenient option.

1 Week Guatemala Itinerary Day 3 – Antigua

Antigua is a cute colonial city. We thoroughly enjoyed our free walking tour here.

Additionally, we enjoyed the food scene a lot. There is amazing coffee, craft beer as well as local and international food.

How to Get to Antigua

If you’re a crazy person like us and you avoid flying, a shuttle will take you around 12 hours. There are day and night options for you to consider.

Picture of Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala

1 Week Guatemala Itinerary Day 4 & 5 – Acatenango Volcano

This was the highlight of our 6 month Central America trip! Yes, the hike is hard but where else in the world can you see a volcano erupt up close?

How to Get to Acatenango Volcano

If you don’t carry camping equipment yourself, a tour is your best option.

1 Week Guatemala Itinerary Day 6 & 7 – Lake Attilan

Yes, you will be tired as f*** but you don’t want to miss Lake Atitlan.

There are a ton of options around Lake Atitlan. We have personally explored several towns and can recommend:

  • San Pedro for a backpacker scene, parties, and language schools.
  • San Marcos for spirituality, yoga and vegan food.
  • Santa Cruz for great views and nice hostels.

Other places that have been recommended to us are:

  • Tzununa for a more low-key version of San Marcos.
  • San Juan for a local feel with loads of arts and crafts (outdoors and in shops).

If you’re not seriously into shopping, Panajachel is not the place for you.

How to Get to Lake Attilan

There are direct shuttles from Antigua to many places around Lake Atitlan. You can reach all other places around the lake by shared boats which are inexpensive and run very frequently.

Picture of Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan

2 Week Guatemala Itinerary

For our Guatemala 2 weeks itinerary, we’ll extend some of the stops from our Guatemala one week itinerary and add some more:

  • Flores & Tikal (3 days).
  • Rio Dulce (2 days)
  • Lanquin & Semuc Champey (2 days).
  • Lake Atitlan (3 days).
  • Antigua & Acatenango (4 days).
Picture of 2 weeks Guatemala
2 weeks Guatemala

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 1 & 2 – Flores & Tikal

Days 1 and 2 are the same as in the Guatemala 7 day itinerary above but we will add an extra day in Flores.

Picture of Tikal

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 3 – Flores & Lake Peten

Many tourists only stay in Flores for one night. We think that’s a shame because there’s so much more to do and see here than Tikal.

It’s not only fun to stroll the cobblestone streets and the Malecon of Flores. You can also take a lancha out on the lake. The most popular stops for these small boats are

  • Jorge’s Rope Swing.
  • The Mirador.
  • Playa Chechenal.

Other fun things to see in the area are Crater Azul or more Mayan ruins like Yaxha.

There are also countless amazing food options in Flores. We recommend hitting a rooftop bar for sunset!

Picture of Sunset from a rooftop bar in Flores
Sunset from a rooftop bar in Flores

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 4 – Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce is a green oasis. There are countless riverfront accommodations where you can relax, swim, or take a kayak out. We stayed at Tortugal Boutique River Lodge and loved it.

How to Get to Rio Dulce

There are several shuttles from Flores to Rio Dulce. If you take the early morning shuttle, you still have time to relax in Rio Dulce.

Picture of Tortugal Boutique River Lodge Rio Dulce
Tortugal Boutique River Lodge Rio Dulce

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 5 – Rio Dulce & Livingston

The main thing to do in Rio Dulce – especially if your time is limited – is a boat tour. The highlights of this tour are:

  • Ak Tenamit Mayan association.
  • Agua Caliente to take a thermal water bath.
  • Lagoon Gardens with the opportunity to take pictures of marine turtles, birds, and aquatic plants.
  • Isla de Pájaros or Bird Island.
  • Castle San Felipe.
  • Livingston.

Livingston is the main city on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala and a hub for Garifuna culture.

Picture of Rio Dulce
Rio Dulce

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 6 – Transfer to Lanquin

Lanquin is the gate to the picturesque Semuc Champey waterfall.

How to Get to Lanquin

There’s a direct shuttle from Rio Dulce to Lanquin. The transfer from Rio Dulce to Lanquin will take you one full day.

Picture of Our shuttle from Rio Dulce to Lanquin
Our shuttle from Rio Dulce to Lanquin

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 7 – Semuc Champey

The reason to embark on the strenuous journey to Lanquin is to visit the picturesque Semuc Champey waterfall.

How to Get to Semuc Champey

You guessed it, we took a tour.

Normally, a tour should include

  • The offroad ride to Semuc Champey.
  • Swimming in the waterfall.
  • Hiking to the viewpoint.
  • Tubing on the Kahabon River (you can bring some small money for beers, local boys will throw them to you and you can pay later).
  • Go caving in a wet cave with only a candle as light. This was much more adventurous than we anticipated. There is quite some swimming and climbing involved – all with a candle in hand.
Bucketlist2life tip: If you bring a phone in a waterproof case, you cannot not only try to take pictures but also have an emergency light in case your candle goes out 😉
Picture of Semuc Champey
Semuc Champey

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 8 – Transfer to Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is a must on your Guatemala itinerary. That’s why we extend the time spent there by one day compared to our 1 week in Guatemala itinerary.

How to Get to Lake Atitlan

There’s a direct shuttle from Lanquin to Lake Atiilan. It will again take you a full day.

Picture of San Pedro, Lake Atitlan
San Pedro, Lake Atitlan

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 9 & 10 – Lake Atitlan

Although you cannot really swim the lake, there are a ton of other things to do including:

  • Hop around the different towns by lancha (check out San Marcos for nice cafes, San Juan for arts, and Panajachel for shopping).
  • Hiking Indian's Nose and other viewpoints.
  • Spiritual activities like Yoga with a view at Eagle's Nest in San Marcos (❤️) or a cacao ceremony.
  • Rent a kayak or a SUP.
  • Action-packed activities like paragliding, rock climbing, and scuba diving.
  • Enjoy nice restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 11 – Antigua

Antigua was one of our favourite towns in Central America. It’s also the base for the famous Acatenango hike.

Bucketlist2life tip: If you want to go on a free walking tour (which we recommend), do it before the Acatenango hike. You can thank us later.

How to Get to Antigua

There are loads of shuttles going from Lake Atitlan to Antigua. They take around 3 hours so you can decide whether you want to spend more time at Lake Atitlan or Antigua.

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 12 & 13 – Acatenango Volcano

The next two days are dedicated to your overnight Acatenango hike.

Picture of Acatenango Volcano
Acatenango Volcano

Guatemala Itinerary 2 Week Day 14 – Antigua

Use your last day in Guatemala to relax after the hike and indulge in the food scene in Antigua. Here are our favourite food spots:

  • Best coffee: Fat Cat.
  • Best local food: The market.
  • Best bar: Antigua Brewing Company.

Another way to relax that we love is a Temazcal or traditional Mayan sauna.

Picture of Craft beer with a view in Antigua
Craft beer with a view in Antigua

3 Week Guatemala Itinerary

If you have three weeks in Guatemala, we recommend adding a multi-day hike as well as some beach time on the Pacific coast.

  • Flores & Tikal (3 days).
  • Rio Dulce (2 days)
  • Lanquin & Semuc Champey (2 days).
  • Lake Atitlan (3 days).
  • Antigua & Acatenango (4 days).

  • Option A: El Mirador hike (5 days) & El Paredon (2 days)

  • Option B: Xela to Lake Atitlan hike (3 days) & El Paredon (4 days)

Picture of Guatemala itinerary 3 weeks
Guatemala itinerary 3 weeks

3 Weeks Guatemala Itinerary Option A: El Mirador

This is the option we chose. Personally, we enjoyed being deep in the jungle for 5 days and exploring Mayan ruins without any other people around.

How to Get to El Mirador

Tours start from Flores. We have written a whole blogpost about our El Mirador tour:

3 Weeks Guatemala Itinerary Option B: Xela

Another popular option for a multi-day hike in Guatemala is the trek from Xela (or Quetzaltenango) to Lake Atitlan.

Whereas the El Mirador hike takes you through the Mayan jungle, this trek brings you to remote villages where you spend the night in traditional homestays.

Bucketlist2life tip: Xela is also famous for its local market. There are also loads of day hikes you can you from Xela.

How to Get to Xela

To reach the starting point of the hike in Xela (or Quetzaltenango), you can take a direct shuttle from Languin.

Picture of Local market, Guatemala
Local market, Guatemala

3 Weeks Guatemala Itinerary – El Paredon

End your Guatemala trip with a relaxing stay on the Pacific coast. El Paredon is a paradise for beach lovers and surfers. It is currently still flying under the tourist radar but it’s gaining popularity fast. Tourist infrastructure is constantly improved including a direct shuttle from Antigua.

How to Get to El Paredon

A direct shuttle from Antigua to El Paredon takes around 4.5 hours.

Picture of Pacific beach, Guatemala
Pacific beach, Guatemala

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