Want to see the best of Guatemala in 1 week? You got it. I arrived in Guatemala planning on staying for just under 3 months… I ended up there for 9! It’s an amazing country and I would recommend spending more than a week in Guatemala if you have the time. But If you are on a tight timeline, and only have a week I’ve put together this guide to help you see as much of the good stuff as I can to help you see Guatemala in 1 week.
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Travel in Guatemala
Because you only have a week you are going to want to spend as little time on a bus as possible and as much time exploring Guatemala. For all of your transport needs in Guatemala, the only website that you can book shuttles, buses, tours and Spanish classes is GuateGo. I also wrote a survival guide to bus travel in Central America you can read here.
The best of Guatemala in 1 week where to begin
Depending on where you are coming from you can either start in Flores or Guatemala City. If coming from Belize or East Mexico you will start in Flores anywhere else start in Guatemala City and head straight to Lake Atitlan.
Day 1 Tikal
Spend your first day exploring Tikal. I have written a whole post on it here where you can find out everything you need to know.
Day 2 Flores
I didn’t have much time in Flores, but there is plenty to do!
Book yourself on the night bus to Antigua. It will first take you into the city and then you will get a shuttle to Antigua. I would advise you to pay a little extra if you can for a nicer seat. There isn’t much in it and it’s worth the extra. Also, make sure you take warm clothes to wear if you have AC as it will be like a fridge in there! Take a read of my guide on how to survive long bus rides here.
Day 3 and 4 Antigua
I love Antigua and I’m sure you will too! I’ve written a guide to see Antigua in 2 days which you can read here. There is plenty to do it will just depend on if you want to relax and enjoy some downtime or go on a volcano hiking adventure!
Accommodation in Antigua
There are 3 places I recommend Selina or Yellow House Hostel if you are looking for a hostel. Alternatively, if you want an Airbnb I can’t recommend this house enough. The owner Chelsea is a very good friend and I stayed in the larger one last time I was in Antigua. For hotels, I recommend Hotel Mesón de María, Barbara’s Boutique Hostel, or Hotel Paseo de la Merced.
Would you like up to $29 off Airbnb? Just use this link.
Day 5-7 Lake Atitlan
Book yourself on the first shuttle to Panajachel for the morning of day 5. From Pana, you have a few choices. You could spend the day exploring Pana, they have a great market so if you want to buy any gifts do it here. But it isn’t the nicest place on the lake so my advice would be to take a walk down the main street, have brunch and then take a launch (boat taxi) to San Pedro and use there as your base for the next few days.
I have written a lot on Lake Atitlan which you can read to decide what you want to do while you are there.
Need accommodation in Lake Atitlan? Stay here with my friends Julia and Joel in there amazing AirBnB!
Day 7 Take a Shuttle to your next country
Word of caution – don’t be tempted to get a shuttle direct to or from San Pedro or any of the other villages around the lake. Always go to Pana and then take the launch. The roads aren’t great and it will put hours on your journey. The road down to San Pedro is pretty crazy, I’ve taken it twice and that’s enough for me!
Looking for things to do in Guatemala? I have a who loads of ideas for you here.
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.