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The Best of Guatemala in 7 Days

See Guatemala’s greatest hits in one week

Guatemala can be challenging – even intrepid travelers may want to hire a guide, especially to bypass crowds in Tikal.
An emerging vacation destination, Guatemala launched an aggressive 10-year tourism development initiative in 2012. With a week to spare in this culturally and historically rich nation you can see some of the best Guatemala has to offer.

Day 1
Fly into Guatemala City and spend a day and evening in the upscale Zona Viva neighborhood. It has the country’s best nightlife, plus fantastic restaurants, such as the elegant, authentically Guatemalan Kacao. Stay at one of the country’s top hotels, like the Westin Camino Real.

Days 2 & 3
Take a flight 2,000 years back in time to the Mayan civilization of Tikal. Dozens of restored temple ruins peek up through the jungle canopy. Climb Temple IV for a miles-long view on all sides. Overnight at the Villa Maya eco-lodge.

Days 4 & 5
Return to Guatemala City and connect via bus to Lake Atitlán, a glasslike stunner ringed by volcanoes and mountains. Stay at the lakeside Hotel Atitlán, whose gardens bloom with roses, bougainvillea, and azaleas, attracting some 250 species of birds. Tour the lakeside markets and villages, including Santiago Atitlán, with its shrine to Mayan saint Maximon.

Days 6 & 7
The colonial capital of Antigua, 30 miles east, is the stuff that postcards are made of. Cobblestone streets are lined with restored, pastel-painted buildings housing historic sites and excellent restaurants, shops, and bars. Book one of the jaw-droppingly gorgeous rooms at Casa Santo Domingo, a boutique hotel and spa in a converted 16th-century convent.

Antigua is just an hour from the international airport, where you’ll catch your flight home.

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