Guatemala: Tikal and Lake Atitlan

Guatemala: Tikal National Park and Lake Atitlan


Fly in/out: Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)

Recommended ages: 8 and up

Ball Park Price: $1080/person with 5 travelers (airfare not included)

Pace: Moderate

Currency: The Quetzal but US Dollars also accepted

Language: Spanish

Time Zone: Central Standard

Best Season: November through April dry season


DAY ONE: Fly to Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA) via American Airlines and take a short flight to Tikal. Check into Jungle Lodge.

DAY TWO: Depart early to see the Tikal Mayan Ruins in Tikal National Park with guide provided by hotel.

DAY THREE: Breakfast at the Jungle Lodge with guided tours to Tikal museum and Temple of Inscription. Fly to Guatemala City in the afternoon and hired driver to Lake Atitlan. Check in to VRBO rental home.

DAY FOUR: Explore the markets of Santa Catarina Palopo and San Antonio Palopo. Went with staff provided by VRBO.

DAY FIVE & SIX: Take a boat tour on Lake Atitlan with stops at more villages and relaxed by the lake. Watched an Easter Celebration Parade in San Antonio.

DAY SEVEN: Stayed one night at Hotel Atitlan for pampering.

DAY EIGHT: Departed for Guatemala City and home.

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Vacation Highlights

  • Tikal is in the middle of a beautiful rainforest and is one of the largest archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization and felt like it should be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
  • Our very reasonably priced VRBO home at Lake Atitlan had some of the most breathtaking views. Located in the village of San Antonio Palopo, we were directly on Lake Atitlan. Our kids were able to jump directly into the fresh water lake from the rocks in the back yard.
  • A staff was provided through the VRBO who were incredible guiding us through the a variety of village markets that feature customs and products from their tribe. The villages were colorful and robust with women marketing their goods, unique blue dresses and brick chocolates. We also enjoyed a ride on the Tuk-tuks through the villages.
  • We were there during Holy Week and were able to observe the steeped Catholic religious ceremony of the Guatemalan Easter Parade. It was fabulous.

Great Excursions

  • Our trip through the Tikal ruins was such a wonderful educational experience for the kids. The archeological site consists of 222 square miles in the middle of a jungle so to really explore and enjoy it, take 2 half day tours.
  • Tikal Ruins
  • Exploring the San Antonio Palopo and Santa Catarina Palopo Markets gave us an opportunity to enjoy the local culture and people.
  • The walk through the village markets was such a wonderful extension of understanding the Mayan culture. The Lake Atitlan area is home to many indigenous Mayan tribes.
  • Guatemalan village markets

Places to stay

VRBO Rental
VRBO Rental
Jungle Lodge
Jungle Lodge
Hotel Atitlan
Hotel Atitlan
  • Some would say you’re “roughing it” in Jungle Lodge in Tikal, but the location was ideal.
  • We loved the VRBO home and the terrific staff that was provided with the rental.


    Isla Verde Hotel and Restaurant
    Isla Verde Hotel and Restaurant

  • All food was provided by Jungle Lodge for our stay in Tikal.
  • The staff provided our meals in the VRBO which was a real luxury for us and included in the price.
  • We recommend the one restaurant in the resort of Isla Verde in Lake Atitlan and it was lovely. Isla Verde restaurant in the Hotel Isla Verde, Lake Atitlan


  • Try to time your arrival flight into Guatemala City with your flight to Tikal. There are two flights per day going to Tikal. Long travel day, but well worth it.
  • Hire a driver/guide for the entire trip and book in advance through the hotels. It’s so much easier to navigate through the difficult roads.
  • Strategize the trip so you go from most rustic to most luxurious for kids to have a relaxing and recuperating end to trip.
  • Leave early in the a.m. for your Tikal tours this way you can not only beat some crowds, but hear some wonderful sounds of the rainforest.
  • We did see some intense security in some areas. Prepare your children that the heightened security is prevalent in Guatemala.
  • Make payments and tips in advance when possible to avoid cash payments in public.

Before You Go

  • guatemalan-woman-imageThe culture of the Mayan people is prevalent all over Guatemala. Exploring Guatemala is like taking a step back in time. Educate your kids about the Mayan people so they can fully appreciate the land and people of Guatemala.
  • Also great for research.
  • Don’t forget a current passport. No Visa required.

Photo Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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