Baby Got Balance

A lifestyle blog focused on a healthy balance of travel, food and love

Central America, Guatemala, Travel

Planning a Quick Trip to Guatemala

Want to plan a trip to Guatemala but you’re short on time?  Or are you already going to be in Belize and want to hop over for a few days?  You’re in luck!  A quick trip to Guatemala is a must and you’ll be able to maximize your time (and still chill, if you want to) with my tips.  All you need is three nights on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá and you’ll be all set.

Day 1:  Arriving

Arrive at La Lancha and relax.  Grab lunch, hang out, take a nap.  Whatever, it’s been a long day.  I usually consider the arrival afternoon/evening a wash but if you’re up for it you can certainly get a bit more active.

La Lancha review dining area view

dining room views (image: Baby Got Balance)

Tour the property at check-in and, if you’re up for it, take a swim in the pool or the lake.  Want to get the travel toxins out?  Ask for a temazcal session and you’ll sweat out just about everything.

Day 2

It’s your first full day!  Are you ready?  After breakfast head down to the dock and hop onto your hired boat for the day.  Take in Lake Petén Itzá before stopping at a small town or two and then heading onto Flores for the afternoon.  Grab lunch and souvenirs in Flores and stroll around – it’s quite walkable and very pretty.  Want some more day on the lake inspo?  Check out my post here.  If you’re looking for a full day of adventure you can always add onto your lake adventure by booking a trip to Ixpanpajul Skyway, a series of suspension bridges with some zip line options, too!  You can be picked up from Flores and dropped back off (to explore) before taking your boat back to La Lancha.

Once you’re back at La Lancha grab some drinks and chill out by the pool.  Before dinner strike a few yoga poses at the mirador (or nap in a hammock on your deck, whatever works for you).  Don’t drink too much as you’ll be getting up super early tomorrow!

Day 3

Wake up at 2:15am.  Not joking in any way.  Leave La Lancha at 2:30 and head on to Tikal where you’ll start your hike into the park under cover of darkness.  Explore the ruins and park for several hours before heading back to La Lancha for breakfast where you can do some canoeing, swimming and/or napping by the lake before lunch.  Lazy afternoon anyone?

Want to know more about Tikal at dawn?  You can read my full recap here as I highly recommend it!  While you can certainly do a later tour (you know, one that starts after the sun has come up) I was blown away by the pre-dawn hike in the park.  I mean, how often do you get the chance?

If Mayan ruins aren’t your thing you can take a Spanish class in San Andres or go for a horseback ride in the surrounding areas.  Want to check out some amazing wildlife rehab work?  Schedule a visit to ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center and check out the important work they do.

Enjoy your last dinner by having it setup at the mirador (weather permitting) or on the dock.


Day 4:  Leaving

Before you leave you can schedule some birding and greet dawn with the local wildlife.  Prefer to sleep in?  Schedule a temazcal prior to breakfast or enjoy one last dip in the lake before you leave.  It always goes by too fast but you’ve gotten some pretty memorable experiences and scenery logged in a short amount of time!

Hopefully this quick trip itinerary is helpful for you if you’re planning a trip to the Petén area in Guatemala!  I’d highly recommend adding on a few nights in Belize at Blancaneaux Lodge, too!  Have you been?  I’d love to hear about it!


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  1. Dris wallace

    February 21, 2020 at 1:11 am

    Cannot wait to go here, it looks so colorful and beautiful! I hear the people are amazing as well! What a treat.

    1. Morgan

      March 23, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      The people that we met in Guatemala were so welcoming and wonderful!

  2. Amalia

    February 21, 2020 at 8:51 am

    I loved how you put together a relaxed one day itinerary! Will save this for a future trip 🙂

  3. Sarah Forest

    February 22, 2020 at 3:13 am

    These are such beautiful photos, Morgan! Guatemala looks like such a fun place to visit. I love how you shared so many different spots in your post! 🙂

  4. Yemi King

    February 22, 2020 at 8:37 am

    It looks like you had a fab time in Guatemala. I hope to explore that area one day!

  5. Komal

    February 22, 2020 at 8:58 am

    How was the food there? Is there diet mainly meat, rice and beans, tropical fruits type of thing?

    1. Morgan

      March 23, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      The food is incredible! There’s a lot of protein/rice/beans but there’s also a lot of Mayan influence (I had a soup made with a ton of spices, produce & pulverized corn tortillas) in addition to local sourcing (like where I stayed in Peten there’s a lot of fish offered from the lake.

  6. Lori Bosworth

    February 22, 2020 at 10:39 am

    La Lancha looks amazing and has incredible sunsets. I like the idea of staying on a lake instead of the ocean!

  7. LuciWest

    February 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Thank you for this great overview. I have been dreaming of a quick trip to Guatemala – and now I’m thinking: wait, I could go to Belize and just “hop on over” to Guatemala? Sold! Will revisit this when I get closer to make a real plan.

  8. Natasha

    February 22, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    I would love to travel to Guatemala one day. I need to step outside my comfort zone

  9. Kristine Nicole Alessandra

    February 23, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Thank you for the planning tips. There are so many places I have yet to explore. Guatemala is beautiful. Those ruins are a must-see for me. Hopefully one day, we will get to experience Guatemala too.

  10. Maddie Deer

    February 23, 2020 at 10:42 am

    I would love to visit Guatemala! It looks so beautiful and it sounds like it was a blast! Thanks for sharing your trip, so I can vicariously live through you 🙂

  11. Lucy

    February 28, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Wow seems like you were able to get a lot done in such a short amount of time! I can’t wait to visit one day!

  12. Cookie

    February 28, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Amazing! Thanks for the tips!

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