A Long Weekend in Guatemala: [Antigua + Lake Atitlan Itinerary]
My friend and I decided to make the most of our Memorial Day Weekend and booked a last minute getaway to Guatemala. In our short time in the country, we were able to experience the beautiful cities of Antigua and San Marcos La Laguna in Lake Atitlan. There is so much more to see in Guatemala, but below is my itinerary for a 4-day getaway that you can easily make on a holiday weekend!
GUATEMALA 4-DAY ITINERARY
Day 1 / Flight to Guatemala City + Antigua
Mid-day - Flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala (5-hour direct flight from NYC)
Early evening - Arrival in Guatemala City Airport. Drive to Antigua. Pre-arrange transportation with hotel/Airbnb or grab a taxi at the airport (QT270 or $35 USD) or take a shared shuttle ($10 USD pp). The drive to Antigua can take anywhere from a little over an hour to three hours, depending on traffic conditions. We arrived on a Friday around 8pm, which unfortunately was in prime rush hour traffic
Late evening - Dinner, drinks & dancing at Las Vibras de la Casbah
Day 2 / Antigua + Lake Atitlan
Breakfast - Casa de Stela. The combo with the fried eggs, pancakes, and fruit was absolutely delicious!
Morning - Explore Antigua. Be sure to visit the famous Arco de Santa Catalina, Iglesia de la Merced, and Parque Central
Buy yourself a fruit baggie, filled with cucumber and mango with lime and chili powder, from the local street vendors
Take in the colorful sights from the market vendors at El Mercado. I regret not purchasing my souvenirs here because the prices were the same or better than vendors in Lake Atitlan (be sure to negotiate on anything you purchase since the first price you are told is usually double the market price)
12PM - Drive to Panajachel, Lake Atitlan with Atitrans Tours. The shared shuttle will pick you up at your hotel/Airbnb. Enjoy the scenic 4-hour drive through the country!
4PM - Arrive in Panajachel. Take the public ferry boat to San Marcos La Laguna. Do not pay anyone to take you to the boat, the boat dock is right down the hill, mere steps away from your drop-off location. The ride should take about 45 minutes. Soak up the stunning sights!
The boat driver will yell the name of the town at each stop. San Marcos La Laguna is about 5 stops in
4:45PM - Arrival in San Marcos. Check-in at Lush Atitlan. From the boat dock, walk up the path and take the first left on the narrow dirt road. Follow the path for about 5-7 minutes and be on the lookout for the Lush sign on your right and a large wooden entrance
Evening - Catch the sunset from your room or head down to the boat dock
Dinner - Our first night we ate at Happy Tacos. In all honesty, the food was a bit mediocre in San Marcos
Night - Walk through the town. Grab drinks and listen to the live music at Hostal Del Lago
Accomodation - Lush Atitlan. Lush has stunning room options with views of the lush greenery or volcano/lake views. We stayed in the Mirador suite and I highly (!!) recommend
Day 3 / Lake Atitlan
Breakfast - Lush Atitlan. This was one of the best breakfasts of my life (included in the hotel price)!
7AM - Public ferry to Panajachel
8AM - Pick-up in Panajachel for Chichicastenango (Chichi) Market with Atitrans. Chichi Market days are Thursdays and Sundays
11AM - Arrive at Chichi Market and shop away! Remember to negotiate the prices
2PM - Return to Panajachel; public ferry back to San Marcos
Morning - Enjoy Lake Atitlan’s outdoor activities: kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, or ziplining
Afternoon - Take the public ferry to explore neighboring towns around the lake, like Panajachel (Pana) or San Pedro La Laguna
Afternoon - Explore San Marcos. Enjoy time by the lake
Evening - Enjoy the sunset views from your balcony with a good book and some wine (Lush offers bottles for sale at reception)
Dinner - Restaurante Fé
Accommodation - Lush Atitlan
Day 4 / Lake Atitlan + Return Flight
Breakfast - Lush Atitlan. If you are departing before 8am, kindly ask the hotel if they can pack some breakfast to go
Morning - Airport pick-up in Panajachel (shared shuttle) or in San Marcos (private car). Leave with plenty of time, as drive takes around 4 hours from San Marcos due to the harsh road conditions around the lake
Early afternoon - Return flight from Guatemala City
I hope you enjoy your time in Guatemala! If you've already been, I'd love to hear more about where you went and what additional things you recommend!
Til next time!