Going on day trips from Antigua, Guatemala is an incredible way to make the most out of your stay in one of Central America’s best hidden gems.
Even though there’s plenty to do within this lovely colonial town, Antigua is a great base to explore other regions of Guatemala. Whether you’re staying for a long time or just a few days, I’ll be sharing all kinds of excursions, tours, and destinations. After this, you’ll have a variety of options to include in your travel itinerary.
Need some help planning your trip? Then my Antigua travel guide for first-time visitors is for you!
Best Day Trips From Antigua, Guatemala
The following list includes all kinds of day trips from Antigua, Guatemala. From numerous hiking trails and active volcanoes for a thrilling adventure to coffee plantations, farms, and markets for more relaxing experiences – there’s enough to keep you busy for days!
1. El Hato
El Hato is a small town in the mountains located in the north of Antigua. This is one of the most popular places to visit from Antigua given its proximity and you can easily get there by shuttle or Uber. You’ll find several attractions and fun things to do here, including:
- Earth Lodge
My suggestion is to take an ATV Mountain Adventure Tour, so you can visit all three locations (and many others!) on the same day. You’ll get to spend a few hours in each place and you won’t have to worry about transport or trying to figure out how to get there.
Earth Lodge is a lovely location in the mountains with eco hotel rooms, a restaurant, and a yoga studio. It’s an ideal spot to go for some afternoon snacks and stay until sunset, admiring the majestic volcanoes in the glimpses of the golden hour.
You can also book one of the eco rooms online to stay for the night and enjoy all its amenities, including live music, special events, yoga classes and retreats, and an organic avocado farm you can visit.
If the aim of your day trip from Antigua is to escape from the crowds and heat of the city, then Hobbitenango is the place you’re looking for. This Hobbit-themed location in the mountains is an eco-park inspired by the original movie set in New Zealand.
The park has a number of attractions to provide you with an immersive experience:
- stay overnight at a little hobbit hole with the iconic colorful, round doors
- taste delicious themed menus from the restaurants and tavern
- play fair games at the artisan market
- explore multiple hiking trails and iconic viewpoints
You can either go to Hobbitenango by yourself with a rented car, take an Uber or shuttle, or you can go as part of a guided tour of Hobbitenango & Antigua.
Altamira is an ecological park with gigantic wooden structures overlooking the mountains and volcanoes – including the famous wooden hand.
The park also has a camping area, an on-site restaurant that serves a mix of international and local food, and mini-golf fields. It’s a great place to enjoy the scenery, take photos, and bird-watch along its forest trails.
Tip: book a full-day tour to Altamira and Hobbitenango to visit both places in one day.
2. San Juan del Obispo
San Juan del Obispo is a small village close to Antigua, located at the base of Volcan de Agua, and it’s well-known for its hard working community of artisans who produce different goods using metal, wood, ceramics, and food.
A day trip to this southern town only takes a 15-minute drive. If you don’t have a car, you can take a chicken bus for Q2 per person.
Chocolate Antigua is a chocolate factory that focuses on preserving the traditional recipes that have been used by Guatemalan ancestors for generations (the Mayans!). Moreover, it offers a tour where you’ll learn about each step of the chocolate-making process as well as the importance of cacao for Mayan culture.
Tip: If you’re planning on buying artisanal chocolate and sweets for your family and friends, I recommend buying it here – they’re cheaper than in the shops in Antigua’s city.
Vinos Lobo – Winery
If you’re a wine lover, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a winery in San Juan del Obispo! And you can easily visit this one on a day trip from Antigua, Guatemala.
Vinos Lobo is a small winery that creates artisanal products from fresh local ingredients, especially a sweet little fruit called níspero. From this fruit, they make delicious wine, tea, and marmalade. Vinos Lobo offers a tour that walks you through its production process and gives you insights into the many health benefits that níspero supplies – and of course, you get to sample a bit of everything!
3. Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan is without a doubt one of the most fascinating places to visit on day trips from Antigua, Guatemala.
Around Lake Atitlan, there are 12 Mayan towns, the most popular ones being San Pedro, San Marcos, and Panajachel, the main town. They’re all very different from each other and have lots of interesting activities tourists can enjoy. Hiking volcanoes with the sunrise, getting a boat tour, strolling through colorful artisanal markets, kayaking, and parasailing are just some of the many things to do while being there.
Although it is about 2.5-3 hours from Antigua, seeing this beautiful lake with smoking volcanoes and mountains in the background is absolutely worth it. If you’re short on time, you might want to take a guided tour that shows you all the highlights and main attractions.
These are some Lake Atitlan tours I would recommend:
Otherwise, I highly suggest staying at least 3 days to see everything and get a sense of the culture – I promise it’s a completely different experience from visiting for just a few hours.
How To Stay In Lake Atitlan
If you want to stay for longer in Lake Atitlan instead of stopping by on a day trip from Antigua, you definitely can! You’ll find enough hostels, restaurants, and amenities in the surrounding villages to plan your whole vacation trip around them.
In my recent post, I go deeper into the best villages around Lake Atitlan to stay in and what to do in each of them. Check it out here!
Chichicastenango is a very popular town in the Western Highlands of Guatemala known for being a huge market destination full of life and color.
Its colorful open-air market has countless vendors selling all kinds of local products, including Mayan handicrafts, pottery, colorful textiles, carved wooden masks, flowers, and so much more.
Prepare to venture into a true labyrinth of paths among hundreds and hundreds of stalls.
What is more, the area tends to get pretty busy so it might be a good idea to get there very early in the morning since you can easily spend most of the day here. The market is open Tuesdays and Sundays from 6 am to 6 pm.
Considering that Chichicastenango is 2.5 hours away from Antigua, it might not be everyone’s first option for a day trip from Antigua. However, many tours offer a full-day guided visit to both Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan since this is another popular destination in the region.
5. Jocotenango & Coffee Farm La Azotea
Jocotenango is a small town in the northwest of Antigua. It’s a great option for days when you don’t feel like going too far. Although there’s not much to see besides its little plaza and Baroque-style church, the main draw to Jocotenango is Finca La Azotea.
La Azotea is a 150-year-old coffee farm that has grown into a cultural center with three museums, a restaurant/beer garden, a gift shop, and various activities to enjoy in the morning or afternoon. Besides the plantation, the complex offers chocolate workshops, horseback riding, bike rentals, mini-golf, occasional live music, and spacious green areas to bring your pets.
You can take a tour of the coffee farm and chocolate museum and enjoy an educational experience about the history and influence of Mayan culture and art on these delicious treats.
Jocotenango is 10 minutes away from Antigua and you can get there by Uber, Tuk-tuk, or as part of a combined tour to visit other farms too:
6. Volcanoes In Antigua, Guatemala
Guatemala’s mesmerizing nature features over 30 volcanoes of which 3 are still active today. And even though admiring them from a distance is a blessing for any tourist’s eyes, nothing compares to the thrilling experience of hiking one!
Hiking the nearby Acatenango and Pacaya volcanoes is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and an easily accessible activity to try on a day trip.
The Pacaya Volcano is considered the easiest volcano hike in Antigua, but this doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. Hiking tours in Pacaya commonly last around 6 hours and include the time it takes to go up and down, which is about 45 minutes each way. However, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sunrise or sunset and even roast some marshmallows over lava fields!
Keep in mind that a moderate level of fitness is needed to keep up with long hours of walking. I recommend booking a tour that picks you up from your hotel and takes you back afterward. This way, you won’t have to worry about driving after such a tiring day trip from Antigua.
I suggest the following tours:
- Hike to Pacaya Volcano from Antigua
- Pacaya Volcano Tour and Hot Springs from Antigua
- Pacaya Volcano Day Trip from Antigua
For hiking lovers who are looking for their next challenge, hiking Acatenango Volcano will provide a next-level experience. Tours to Acatenango typically last 2 days and given its altitude (4,000m) and difficulty, this hike requires more advanced skills. It’s also recommended that you’re already somewhat acclimated to Antigua’s altitude before venturing into this kind of trip.
That said, the Acatenango hike is a must for all adventure-seekers and you’ll be able to take epic photos during your trip.
Tips for Acatenango Hike
Is this your first overnight hike? I can give you a few tips!
Try not to overpack since this can make the hike more difficult. Tours usually provide you with a sleeping bag, tent, mattress, and food. Make sure to bring enough water for 2 days and warm clothes for the night. There are some shops on the way up as well if you were to need anything.
Recommended tours to Acatenango Volcano:
7. Ciudad Vieja
Ciudad Vieja was Guatemala’s former capital before being destroyed by a catastrophic flood from the collapse of Volcano Agua. Today, this small town is a beautiful place to visit on a day trip from Antigua for its history, colonial architecture, museums, and activities.
Stunning churches to see in Ciudad Vieja include Iglesia de San Francisco, Iglesia de Santo Domingo, and Iglesia de la Merced, one of the most iconic buildings in the country.
Also make sure to visit museums like the Museo de Arte Colonial, where you’ll find a large collection of colonial art, and Museo de Historia Natural, with displays and information about Guatemala’s natural history.
Apart from its few cafes and restaurants, a can’t-miss attraction in Ciudad Vieja is Cerveceria 14, this craft brewery and tasting room is an excellent spot with outdoor seating and panoramic views of the valley – go on the weekend to enjoy live music!
8. Iximché Mayan Ruins
Iximché is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site located in the western highlands of Guatemala. Although they tend to be overlooked, a day trip from Antigua to these ancient ruins is a unique experience and you will learn a lot about the history and life of Guatemala’s Mayan ancestors walking among pyramid temples, palaces, and ballcourts.
The Iximché Ruins are open daily from 8 am to 4 pm and the place counts with free parking, bathrooms, a small archaeological museum, and picnic areas. They’re approximately a 1-hour drive from Antigua and you can either visit by yourself in a rental car or take a guided tour with a hotel pick up and drop off.
Other tours to check out:
- Iximche Ruins and Antigua City Tour – first you visit the ruins and then head to Antigua for a tour of the city’s highlights and landmarks.
- Iximche Mayan Ruin from Panajachel – this one departs from Panajachel, so it’s best if you’re already staying somewhere in Lake Atitlan.
9. Valhalla Macadamia Farm
Outside of Antigua, there’s Valhalla Macadamia Farm And Restaurant. The farm was started in 1989 by a passionate couple who had the mission of supporting local indigenous communities and promoting sustainable agriculture practices. Over the years, this family-run organization has donated and helped plant almost half a million macadamia trees throughout the country, improving the lives and education of local Guatemalans.
Tours of Valhalla Farm with an English-speaking guide are FREE. Here you’ll learn about the history of macadamia nuts and how they are cultivated and harvested. They’ll show you each stage of the process and the equipment they use to produce the finest quality macadamia nuts which you can sample at the end of the tour.
In addition, you can get a complimentary mini facial with their natural macadamia skin care products and enjoy some amazing pancakes at their open-air restaurant.
Valhalla Farm is a relaxing and easy 20-minute day trip from Antigua. If you don’t have a rental car, you can get there by Uber and then wait for a chicken bus at the front of the property to get back.
Find more information about how to get there on their website.
10. Guatemala City
Since Guatemala City has a reputation for being unsafe and difficult, most travelers only arrive at the airport and take a ride directly to Antigua. However, Guatemala’s capital can be an enjoyable day trip destination if you go on a guided tour.
There are tours departing from Antigua that take tourists to see the top cultural landmarks of the city. A local guide will show you the secure areas and safely take you back to your hotel in Antigua.
Guided tours from Antigua to Guatemala City:
Need a transfer from Guatemala City Airport to Antigua? Book a tourist shuttle here!
How To Choose Day Trips From Antigua, Guatemala?
With so many possible day trips from Antigua, Guatemala, how can you choose the best ones for your itinerary?
If you’re staying for a short time, you might want to visit places that are closer to Antigua, such as El Hato, San Juan del Obispo, and the Valhalla Farm, where you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy!
Otherwise, if you have the time to explore some hidden gems beyond the valley, hike up Pacaya or Acatenango volcanoes, visit the Iximche Ruins, or spend a few days in Lake Atitlan’s best villages.
As you may have noticed, Antigua is such a great base to stay during your visit to Guatemala. Not only is it a beautiful city with many things to do, but it is also surrounded by lovely neighboring towns, stunning nature, and activities to fill up your whole travel itinerary.
Some destinations are a bit further from Antigua than others, but all of them are so exciting that I’m sure you’ll find something you love.