Classic Guatemala    *alt*

9 days, from £2590
Last Frontiers
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volcano-shrouded colonial cities, fascinating, authentic local markets, and ancient Maya ruins This 9 day itinerary is the perfect introduction to Guatemala, with stunning volcanic scenery and jungle-shrouded Maya ruins.
Standard - ?2,590


Colonial Antigua Days 1-3
Driven directly to Antigua (just 45 minutes from Guatemala City airport), for three nights. This is a beautiful colonial city whose cobbled streets and pretty squares can easily be explored on foot. A walk to the top of nearby Pacaya volcano is very worthwhile, as long as you are reasonably fit. You could visit a local coffee plantation, we highly recommend tours run through the NGO De la Gente.

Lake Atitlan: volcanos and markets Days 4-6
A couple of hours' drive north of Antigua is magical Lake Atitlan, a volcanic crater formed when an ancient volcano collapsed, leaving a lake 17 kilometres in diameter, now surrounded by a ring of three smaller volcanoes. With three nights you will have time to visit some of the lakeside villages, each named after a different apostle and with distinct traditions and dress. You will also visit the famous market at Chichicastenango, with its exotic fabrics, rituals, and smells.

Tikal and Yaxha: Maya temples Days 7-9
Return to Guatemala City for an evening flight to Flores and two nights in the Peten, Guatemala's northern jungle. Home to numerous Maya ruins, the most famous of which is Tikal, most of whose buildings are enfolded in tropical forest and today only inhabited by wildlife (including howler monkeys, parrots and macaws). The entire site covers over 200 square miles, a green carpet stretching as far as the eye can see, interrupted only by a handful of temples rising majestically from the rainforest floor. You will also have time to visit the lesser-known site of Yaxha, for wonderful sunset views across the forest canopy, before flying back to Guatemala City for onward connections.

Go further It is easy to cross by land from Flores to Mexico or Belize. From the south, a border crossing into Honduras to see the impressive Maya site of Copan is a worthwhile trip. This can also be combined with a visit to the Guatemalan site of Quirigua and a boat trip on the Rio Dulce.