The one-time colonial capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Antigua has plenty to keep travelers entertained, but the transport hub also makes a great base for discovering Guatemala’s top sights. Here are your options for day tours from Antigua.
Pacaya Volcano — 22 miles (36 km) southeast
Just south of Antigua, Pacaya Volcano is Guatemala’s most active volcano. Hikers can challenge themselves to climb its almost 8,000-foot (2,500-meter) summit, from where views span the neighboring Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango volcanoes, and the Calderas lagoon. Many tours combine a volcano hike with a post-hike bathe in the nearby Kawilal Hot Springs.
Iximché — 35 miles (55 km) northwest
The closest Maya site to Antigua is Iximché, and a walking tour of the archaeological complex unveils an array of striking temples and palaces. Half-day Iximché tours are often coupled with an Antigua city tour or a visit to the nearby market town of San Juan Comalapa.
Mixco Viejo — 44 miles (70 km) west
The Maya ruins of Mixco Viejo make an interesting day trip from Antigua. The one-time capital of the Poqomam Maya kingdom still contains more than 120 impressively preserved structures, including ancient temples, pyramids, and palaces.
Lake Atitlan — 60 miles (95 km) west
In the shadows of the looming Atitlan Volcano, the glittering waters of Lake Atitlan (Lago de Atitlán) are one of the highlights of the Guatemalan highlands. Full-day tours to the lake often include a visit to the region’s picturesque villages along the way. Stop in the lively market towns of Chichicastenango or Santiago, shop for traditional handicrafts at Solola Market, or admire the natural wonders of the Panajachel cloud forest.
Copán — 196 miles (315 km) east
The ancient Maya city of Copán is one of Central America’s most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s possible to cross the border into Honduras on a day trip—albeit a 14-hour one—from Antigua. The seventh-century ruins offer a fascinating insight into the Maya Empire’s Yax Kuk Mo dynasty, including temples, underground tunnels, ball courts, stone sculptures, and altars.
Tikal — 373 miles (600 km) northeast
In northern Guatemala, Tikal National Park is home to one of the largest archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian civilization, in a stunning setting at the heart of the jungle. Day tours from Antigua are by plane, flying from Guatemala City to Flores, and include a guided tour of the magnificent UNESCO-listed Maya site.