Want to know how to spend 1 week in Guatemala? 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 plan your 1 week in Guatemala.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If you are planning a trip right now then you NEED to thing seriously about insurance. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!
Travel insurance has always been high on the list of things to get before you travel but now more than ever it should be at the top of your list! I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So you need to find an insurer that covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, World Nomads and Safety Wing are the ones to go for. World Nomads is great for incidents that happen prior to your trip, so if you get sick or are unable to travel due to travel restrictions some of their policies will cover that as cancellation cover. Safety Wing goes the extra mile and covers quarantine outside your home for up to 10 days, they also have a really handy map on their website showing requirements and restrictions for each country.
If you are doing shorter trips or a onger backpacking trip then WorldNomads is the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for SafetyWing. Alternativly Travel Insurance Master is a great site to do a more general serch for vacation insurance. Just make sure whichever insurance plan you go with will cover you for COVID.
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.
1 Week In Guatemala 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
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.
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!