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Backpacking trip in Guatemala: A 3-Week Adventure


An Epic 3 Week Trip

A well planned Backpacking trip in Guatemala is a must do for every keen traveller.  Guatemala is a vibrant and diverse country that offers something for every backpacker.  It’s a country with a super rich and diverse history, stunning landscapes, and unique culture.   It’s an ideal destination for a 3-week adventure.   The country is small and easy to travel around by shuttle.   There’s a lot to see and some of the gems of the country can be seen in a short time.   In this blog post, we’ll guide you through an unforgettable journey that includes the best hostels, must-see destinations, and unforgettable experiences.

Check out this 3 week action packed backpacking trip in Guatemala:

Day 1 – Arrival in Guatemala City & Transfer to Antigua

  • Arrive at La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City.
  • Transfer to Antigua via a shared shuttle (1-hour drive).  This is the cheapest option, but you may have to wait 45mins or so until the shuttle fills up.  If you don’t want to wait you can book a private transfer.  It’s also cheap and easy.
  • Check-in at Tropicana Hostel in Antigua.

Days 2-5 – Antigua

This colonial town is a jewel of Central America.

  • Day 2: Explore Antigua’s cobblestone streets, visit the Cathedral and other ruins.  If you want to learn a little history you can take a walking tour, and visit Cerro de la cruz for stunning views of the city.
  • Day 3: Participate in a chocolate-making workshop at Coco Museo and visit the local market.  This is a 2 hour tour and is a LOT of fun.   If you’re a chocaholic like us, you’ll love it.
  • Day 4: Day trip to Pacaya Volcano, followed by a relaxing evening at Santa Teresita Hot Springs.
  • Day 5: Overnight Acatenango Volcano tour.  Trek up the volcano and camp overnight for a stunning sunrise.
Antigua Guatemala from Cerro de La Cruz

Cerro de La Cruz

Days 6-8 – Lake Atitlan

One of the highlights of any backpacking trip to Guatemala is Lake Atitlan and it’s colourful towns.

  • Day 6: Transfer to Lake Atitlán via shared shuttle (3-hour drive).
  • Check-in at La Iguana Perdida in Santa Cruz La Laguna.
  • Day 7: There are some beautiful hikes around the lake but you may be hiked out already after the volcanoes in Antigua so you may want to take it easy and explore the lake’s villages by boat.
  • Day 8: Relax and enjoy the day at your leisure. Try yoga, meditation, or kayaking around the lake.
La iguana Lake Atitlan

Chilling with a view at Lake Atitlan

Days 9-11 – Quetzaltenango (Xela)

  • Day 9: Transfer to Quetzaltenango via shared shuttle (3-hour drive).
  • Check-in at Casa Kiwi and explore the town.   If you’re a fan of Indian food, swing by Sabor de la India.  It’s Fantastic.
  • Day 10: Take a guided hike to Laguna Chicabal or visit Fuentes Georginas hot springs.
  • Day 11: Join a day tour to explore the indigenous villages of Momostenango and San Francisco El Alto.

Days 12-14 – Semuc Champey

It’s a DRIVE to get to Semuc.  It’s remote but unbelievably beautiful.  No Backpacking trip in Guatemala is complete without visiting Semuc.

  • Day 12: Transfer to Lanquín (8-hour drive) and check-in at Zephyr Lodge.   This is probably one of our favourite hostels in the world.   You’ll know why when you get there, or you can check them out on Instagram here.
  • Day 13: Visit the natural pools of Semuc Champey, explore Kamba Caves, and go tubing down the Cahabón River.
  • Day 14: Enjoy a free day to relax by the pool at Zephyr or hike to El Mirador for panoramic views of the area.
Zephyr Lodge Guatemala

Remote and Beautiful

Days 15-18 – Flores and Tikal

  • Day 15: Transfer to Flores via shuttle (8-hour drive) and check-in at Los Amigos Hostel.
  • Day 16: Visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal on a guided tour and enjoy sunset views from Temple IV.
  • Day 17: Explore the island town of Flores, kayak on Lake Petén Itzá, or visit the nearby Actun Can caves.
  • Day 18: Take a day trip to Yaxhá and Topoxté, two lesser-known but impressive Mayan sites.

Days 19-20 – Rio Dulce

  • Day 19: Transfer to Rio Dulce (4-hour drive) and check-in at Boatique Hotel and Marina.  They have dorms from around $20/night.
  • Day 20: Take a boat tour through the Rio Dulce gorge, visit Livingston, and experience the Garifuna culture.

Days 21-22 – El Paredon

  • Day 21: Transfer to El Paredon (5-hour drive) and check-in at The Driftwood Surfer.  You’re coming to the end of your trip now so there’s no better place to wind down than Driftwood.  Play sunset volleyball and rock their swim up bar all evening long.
  • Day 22: Wake up with a small hangover no doubt but you’ll forget all about it when you release some freshly hatched baby turtles into the ocean.  Enjoy the beach, watch the sunset, and take surf lessons or participate in a mangrove tour.

Day 23 – Return to Antigua

  • Check into Tropicana again to say goodbye to your old friends.  Take part in whatever activity is on that night from beer pong to Salsa dancing.   Enjoy one last night in Antigua before you go.

Day 24 – Departure

  • Transfer to La Aurora International Airport (GUA) for your departure flight.

If you’re reading this, that means you’re probably planning your trip.   Let us assure you tell – this 3-week backpacking extravaganza through Guatemala is the adventure of a lifetime!  You’ll be swept off your feet by the breathtaking blend of culture, excitement, and tranquility.  We’ve hand-picked the absolute best hostels in the country for you to create memories you’ll treasure forever. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a whirlwind journey that will leave you spellbound by the stunning landscapes and rich experiences that Guatemala has to offer. Don’t miss out on this life-changing adventure!







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