Guatemala, Tikal & Rio Dulce

Dear Traveler, Welcome to a great vacation at an affordable price. Your Guatemala, Tikal tour is fully guided and includes all meals, all hotels, and all activities. Happy Travels! Caravan
Rio Dulce
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Exploring the Ancient Wonders: Tikal Tours From Antigua

Tikal, the ancient Mayan city located in the rainforests of Guatemala, is a must-visit destination for history and culture enthusiasts. The ruins of this once-great city provide a fascinating glimpse into the innovative prowess and power of the Mayan civilization. 

From towering pyramids and palaces to the vast expanse of the Great Plaza, Tikal’s ruins showcase the architectural achievements of this ancient culture. With so much to explore and discover, Tikal is an excellent destination for those seeking adventure and knowledge alike. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking shoes, and get ready to delve into the rich history of Tikal.

Delve into the Rich History of Tikal

While the crumbling ruins of Tikal are a far cry from the massive cities we know today, this city was once the greatest of all Mayan cities. The structures that remain standing today are a testament to the power and size of this ancient city, once home to thousands of people. 

Using evidence archaeologists have uncovered, historians estimate people resided in Tikal as far back as 1000 B.C. Several ceramics recovered from the ruins indicate time frames as early as 700 B.C. While pinpointing the origins of Tikal is tricky, many historians agree on this general timeframe. 

Like many Mayan cities, Tikal had highs and lows. Originally named Yax Mutal in honor of the Mayan ruler Yax Ehb Xook, Tikal was home to impressive structures that belied the lack of heavy machinery. Multiple massive pyramid-style temples, several of which remain standing today, were erected during the fruitful years this city enjoyed. 

At its peak, Tikal flourished, growing exponentially and even overtaking the nearby northern city of El Mirador. However, the highs eventually slipped away, giving way to Tikal’s collapse. Around 900 A.D., this great city began to implode, much like the rest of the Mayan empire. 

Incessant warfare over many years began to take its toll on the city and its inhabitants, turning the tides and kickstarting the collapse. Historians believe a combination of factors, including severe droughts and epidemic diseases, further aggravated an already weakened city and its inhabitants, becoming a significant contributing factor to the decline. 

Today, we know this period as the collapse of Classic Maya. On top of other contributing factors, historians believe crop failure due to overpopulation and deforestation caused people to flee the city in droves for more prosperous areas and survival. The remaining city was left standing, a shell of its former self and largely vacant save for a handful of migrant farmers. 

For years, the city sat empty, the prominent structures casting looming shadows on empty streets. In the 1500s, the Spanish colonists arrived in the area, but Tikal sat unnoticed until the mid-19th century. Europeans exploring the area stumbled upon the ruins of Tikal, spurring interest in its mysteries with rumors of hidden treasure. 

After its discovery, the Tikal ruins became a captivating topic for historians and archaeologists, drawing many to its soil to uncover its mysteries. Eventually, the ruins garnished the attention of worldwide tourists and earned a place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of Tikal National Park.

Modern-Day Tikal

While the ruins of Tikal are a mere shell of the original booming city, they remain a fascinating place that entices countless visitors every year. Some of the original structures have long since collapsed on themselves, leaving them in shambles. However, several buildings still stand tall, showcasing the power and innovative prowess this city once possessed. 

When visiting the modern-day ruins, you’ll wander the streets of the city, shaded by the flanking jungle that once concealed this city. Visit the Great Plaza, which was the main square of the city and served as a bustling hub in its heyday. 

View the Central and North Acropolis, massive palaces that have withstood the whittling forces of time. Soak in the fascinating views of the “lost world” temple, known as Mundo Perdido, a massive Mayan pyramid standing guard over Tikal’s remnants.

As you meander the grounds of this great city, remember to abide by posted signage. Some structures are open to the public, allowing you to get close and absorb their imposing size, while others are closed and require you to keep your distance. Feel free to explore areas marked open for access, but remember to be respectful of the ruins and ensure you leave everything exactly as you found it. 

Choosing the Right Tour

When planning your next Guatemalan adventure, selecting the perfect tour option is essential. The best tour option for your needs will vary based on your preferences, as everyone may have different opinions. 

If you want a completely self-guided experience, you might choose to plan the entire trip yourself, from your flight into Guatemala to the delectable cuisine you savor along the way.

Or, you might want to plan most of the details but save the specifics of your excursions for professional tour guides. If that sounds like you, guided day or overnight tours might be the ideal fit, as they’ll give you the flexibility you want without the stress of planning your adventures. 

However, planning these details can be overwhelming, especially if you’re hoping to relax and enjoy your vacation without the stress of the intricate details. In this case, a guided, fully-planned tour might be the best option. 

With a fully guided tour, you won’t need to sweat the small stuff. Instead, you simply need to book your flights to and from the starting city. Once you arrive at the hotel, your adventure begins! Your tour will take you through the wonders of Guatemala, hitting the must-see points to maximize your vacation. The best part of it all? You’re along for the ride, so you can enjoy the perks of having your vacation planned for you! Talk about convenience!

Guided Tours to Tikal From Antigua

Dozens of tours are available for visitors wishing to explore the ruins of Tikal. Some are more immersive than others, taking you through the rich history of the area in a fully guided tour. Others are simple day trips, allowing you to soak up the sights for a few hours before returning to your starting point. 

There are plenty of organized tours to Tikal from Antigua, Guatemala, and surrounding cities. You can even find Tikal overnight tours from Antigua. These are ideal if Tikal is the focus of your trip. If you prefer to explore the full range of Guatemala’s offerings alongside Tikal, a guided tour might be perfect. 

Immerse Yourself in a Guatemalan Adventure

Guatemala has much to offer, from the captivating historic Mayan ruins of Tikal to the sweeping views of Lake Petén Itzá. Whether you’re a history buff yearning to immerse yourself in remarkably well-preserved history or an avid adventurer in search of your next trip, a Guatemalan tour to Tikal might be the perfect fit. 

At Caravan, we offer two Guatemalan adventures to accommodate varying preferences. One visits Aititlán and Antigua, while the other explores Tikal and Rio Dulce. Take your pick based on the sites you want to explore, or take advantage of both!

With Caravan’s guided tours, you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation. We cover the fine details, from transportation and lodgings to food and activities, so you can make the most of your vacation without stressing about the details. Ready to book a trip? Call us at 1-800-CARAVAN or 1-312-321-9800 to get started!

Tzute Head Wrap
San Felipe Castle

Caret DownCaret Up Red2024 Hotels

2024 Hotels

Accommodations in the hotels and lodges are rooms with two beds and private bath or shower. A limited number of single rooms are available. Triple rooms are usually two beds.

Barcelo Guatemala City

Days 1, 2 • Guatemala City

Barcelo Guatemala City

Barcelo Guatemala City

The Barcelo Guatemala City hotel is located in the heart of Guatemala City. This full service hotel features shops, a sports center, sauna, jacuzzi, large outdoor swimming pool, beauty shop and other facilities. Free WiFi.

Hotel Camino Real Tikal

Days 3, 4 • Lake Petén Itzá

Hotel Camino Real Tikal

Hotel Camino Real Tikal

Hotel Camino Real Tikal is located in the Petén jungle and on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá. All rooms have air conditioning and feature a private balcony with lake views. The hotel has a pool, jacuzzi and a traditional Mayan sauna Bath, known as “Temazcal.” Free WiFi.

Hotel Catamaran

Days 5, 6 • Rio Dulce

Hotel Catamaran

Hotel Catamaran

Hotel Catamaran is located on a private island and is just a 5 minute boat ride from Rio Dulce bridge. All accommodations consist of individual rustic wood bungalows equipped with air conditioning. This riverside retreat has a pool, main restaurant and two inviting bars offering picturesque views of the Rio Dulce river. Free WiFi.

Barcelo Guatemala City

Day 7 • Guatemala City

Barcelo Guatemala City

Barcelo Guatemala City

The Barcelo Guatemala City hotel is located in the heart of Guatemala City. This full service hotel features shops, a sports center, sauna, jacuzzi, large outdoor swimming pool, beauty shop and other facilities. Free WiFi.

Caret DownCaret Up RedAirport Transfers

Airport Transfers

arrival Transfers

Transfer on your own from La Aurora International Airport (GUA) to your hotel, the Barcelo Guatemala City (7a Avenida 15 45 zona 9) in Guatemala City. Once you have exited customs and collected your baggage at the airport, proceed to the sidewalk outside of the main entrance. There, you will see white cars with the words "AirporTaxi Guatemala" on the rear passenger side door. This is the signage for the official taxi service of La Aurora International Airport. You can request your taxi here. The driving time from the airport to the hotel is approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on traffic. The cost will range from $10-$15 US Dollars plus tip. Payment is accepted in US dollars or Guatemala Quetzales, credit cards are not accepted. A currency exchange and ATMs are located inside the airport. When you arrive at your hotel, please identify yourself as a Caravan tour member to the front desk personnel.

departure Transfers

Caravan provides departure transfers from the Barcelo Hotel in Guatemala City to La Aurora Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Transfers are provided throughout the day on the day the tour ends.

Airfare is not included or sold by Caravan.

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Passports & Visas

Guatemala requires a current U.S. passport valid for six months after your date of entry. Non U.S. citizens, please check passport and visa requirements. It is recommended that children under 18 years old traveling internationally without both parents or legal guardians, carry a notarized letter of authorization signed by the missing parent(s) or guardian(s). A notarized birth certificate showing only one parent, a parent’s death certificate, or a court order of child custody may also be permissible. Failure to have proper documentation could result in denial of boarding by the airline, due to international child protection laws.

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Weather & Clothing

Temperature °F (high/low) Rainfall (inches)

Guatemala CityTikal

Temperature °F (high/low) Rainfall (inches)

Guatemala City

Clothing Tips

This is a casual tour. Casual wear is suggested for sightseeing and daytime travelling. Dress code for most evenings is smart casual. See Travel Tips for more details.

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Travel Tips & FAQs

These are only the first 19 Travel Tips. Read all 62 Travel Tips

Tour Elevations

The elevation in Guatemala City is 4,900 feet above sea level. The elevation at Lake Petén Itzá in Petén is 600 feet above sea level. The elevation at Catamaran Island in Rio Dulce is 9 feet above sea level.

Food in Guatemala

Food is a combination of traditional mild Guatemalan cuisine and European-style cusines. Meals are offered on a set menu and we regret no special diets can be accommodated. Dining on your own can increase health risks.

Fishing and Golf

You would have to arrange some independent extra days of travel, we do not visit areas where this can be undertaken easily. There is world class fishing off the Pacific coast of Guatemala and golf is available through private clubs only.

Car Rentals

Driving conditions can be erratic and difficult for those not used to the region. We do not recommend self-drive visits.

Rainy Season in Guatemala

May though September, although it does not rain all day, neither does it rain every day.

National Holidays in Guatemala

New Year's Day (January 1st), Easter (March/April Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday), Labor Day (May 1st), Army Day (June 30th), Virgin de La Asuncion (August 15th), Independence Day (September 15th), Revolution of 1944 (October 20th), All Saint's Day (November 1st), Christmas Day (December 25th) New Year's Eve (afternoon of December 31st).

My Tour Price Includes

Virtually everything! Hotels, most meals, all of the activities described in the itinerary, airport departure transfers, gratuities to hotel porters and restaurant staff. Caravan’s professional Tour Directors and local guides will be with you every step of the way, ensuring a worry free vacation. They are fluent in English, experienced and fun, ensuring a worry-free vacation.

Preparing for the Tropics

It is recommended to bring at least one pair of quick-dry pants and one quick-dry shirt. The quick-dry pants that zip at the knee to convert into shorts are particularly popular. Be sure to also bring a sweater or jacket for the cooler night temperatures. Caravan does not make product endorsements, but many feel that Avon Skin So Soft oil (not cream), or Avon's Expedition anti-mosquito spray is effective protection against mosquito bites in the jungle. Caravan does not endorse any vitamin, but please note that Central American pharmacies sell 500 milligram Vitamin B-1 tablets, a non-prescription vitamin, as "anti-mosquito" pills. Many people take Vitamin B-1 pills and eat garlic for about two weeks prior to and during their visits to the jungle because they believe that the smell of Vitamin B-1 and garlic repels mosquitoes. If you believe this may be of value, consult your doctor for further information on Vitamin B-1 and garlic. Many also avoid eating bananas in the rainforest, as it is believed that this smell attracts mosquitoes. Also, it is wise to wear light-weight quick-dry long-sleeved pants and shirts in these tropical areas.

Are meals included?

Included meals for each tour are listed at the end of each day. Meals are shown by B (breakfast), L (lunch) and D (dinner). Full, buffet, or deluxe continental breakfasts are included everywhere. Free bottled water is provided on the motorcoach. Alcoholic beverages are not included unless specified.

Children on Tour

Children age five (5) and older are welcome on tour when accompanied by an adult. Usually, children travel during the school vacation months of June, July and August, and also during spring and winter school breaks.

Family Trips

Families are always welcome on any of our tours, but we do not have any programs specifically for or limited to families. Families can make specific requests for connecting, adjacent, triple or quad rooms, when available. Children must be at least 5 years old.

My Tour Price Does Not Include

Prices do not include air travel, country entry or departure fees, airport porters, visas, phone calls, valet, laundry, all items of a personal nature, extra food and beverages not on the regular menu, and tips to the Caravan Tour Director, driver, and local guides. General fees and taxes are additional and listed separately beneath each tour’s price.

Age of Travelers on a Caravan Tour

Usually, you find a mix of different age adult travelers on a Caravan Tour. Children age five (5) and older are welcome, and children usually join tours offered during Christmas holidays, summer vacation and spring break vacation.

Forms of Payment

Caravan accepts payment (in U.S. funds only) via MasterCard, Visa, or Discover.

Many Tours Sell Out Each Year

The farther in advance that you book, the more likely it is that your preferred tour will be open. Late bookings are welcome if the space is still available.

Fully Guided Tours Since 1952

Caravan has been offering fully guided tours worldwide under the same family ownership and management since 1952. Caravan understands and truly cares about your great expectations.

Size of Tour Group

Group sizes will vary depending on the reserved rooms at the hotels and the capacity of the boats and motorcoaches used. Usually, group sizes range from 30 to 44 passengers.

A Well-Paced Itinerary

A well-paced and unhurried itinerary is our goal, after all, you are on vacation! Touring days begin and end at reasonable hours and include frequent stops. While the occasional early morning departure is necessary, we do our best to ensure a leisurely vacation.

Caravan’s $129 Travel Protection

Caravan Travel Protection offers peace of mind if you cancel for any reason whatsoever prior to the departure of the tour. The travel protection plan also includes air, baggage, evacuation, medical, and quarantine coverage. The cost is $129.

Read All 62 Travel TipsClick Here for All 62 Travel Tips

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Customer Reviews

These are only the first 7 Customer Reviews. Read all 152 Customer Reviews

"This was our 8th Caravan tour, so that should speak to how we feel about Caravan Tours. We recommend it to all our friends. Without a doubt the sightseeing was absolutely beautiful. Mountains, volcanoes, and lakes made for wonderful pictures. Highly enjoyed visiting museums and Mayan ruins. Memory of a lifetime. Outstanding meals, everything was a treat and we could not be more pleased. Thank you so much for every safe and enjoyable voyage."

Mr. & Mrs. C.E., Clarksville, Georgia

"The ruins, sights and tours were wonderful, but it is the Guatemalan people I remember best. I think I left a little piece of my heart in Guatemala."

Ms. P.F., Oceanside, California

"This was a trip of a lifetime. The overwhelming beauty of Lake Atitlan. Everywhere we went, we were amazed. I give our tour director six stars or even seven. Her knowledge and passion about her country, her energy, her care for us, her sense of humor and storytelling ability was all outstanding. She really made the trip for us. The driver and the local guides were also excellent. We had a good-sized group with a wide range of age and experience. The food was wonderful, the hotels were nice. Caravan is a class act and this is a wonderful tour."

Mr. H.E., Arlington, Virginia

"I travel a great deal and have lived overseas. This was my first organized group tour and it exceeded ALL expectations."

Ms. P.D., Chicago, Illinois

"Overall a very positive and priceless experience with lingering pleasant memories. The hotels can best be described as exceptional. Each presented with a different theme of splendor. The investment in their guests was outstanding with special attention to guests of all ages. All hotel employees were guest-oriented with untiring attention. The meals were a gourmet delight of local cuisines intertwined with conventional recipes. Our activities were well-organized with the traveler’s interest of paramount importance. Our driver can best be remembered as a remarkable individual who developed great admiration and respect from every traveler. He was energetic, industrious, and dedicated to ensuring the safety and comfort of his passengers. And what a magnificent tour director we had. His broad range of knowledge and interest, as related to the Mayan history and country of Guatemala, was presented with intellectual enthusiasm. A gifted guide with a wide range of stellar interests. This writer remains a Caravan supporter for life."

Mr. K.R., Washington, D.C.

"As a first timer with Caravan, I won’t hesitate to recommend that others experience what you offer. Enjoyed everything we saw and experienced. Hotels were excellent, locations were great. I have done quite a lot of travel and tours. Ours was the best director I’ve experienced. An extraordinary communicator, her passion for her country and knowledge is exceptional. She is also very relatable. I will look forward to future travel with you."

Mrs. E.D., Federal, Washington

"Premier first class hotels. We saw so many wonderful things, dances, museums, boat cruises, ceramics, weavings, festivities. Very knowledgeable director, excellent in current affairs, history, the culture - and appropriately shared it with us. Very good at figuring the logistics and keeping us moving without a hitch. Thank you Caravan, excellent value for money and very fun."

Mr. & Mrs. H.H., Colorado Springs, Colorado

Read All 152 ReviewsClick Here to Read All 152 Customer Reviews

Caret DownCaret Up RedWhy Travel with Caravan?

Why Travel with Caravan?

Excellence Since 1952

You can trust our years of experience with tours of superb quality and excellent value. Caravan has enjoyed the same family management and ownership since 1952.

PanAm Jet
In 1959, Pan Am invited Caravan to be the very first tour company to fly their clients on its new line of Clipper Jets.
Vintage Motorcoach
In 1964, Caravan introduced the very first fleet of air conditioned motorcoaches in all of Europe.
Leather Back Turtle Park
Caravan is a proud supporter of the Leatherback Turtle National Park and Costa Rica's efforts to protect this endangered giant.
Federal Reserve Bank Of Chicago

Caravan Care

For your safety, Caravan cancelled most 2020 and all 2021 tour departures and refunded 100% of all payments received. See Caravan’s Covid-19 Terms of Travel.

Caravan's Proud History

In 1965, Roger Mudd hosted a two-hour CBS TV special on Caravan Tours. This TV production took about one month to make and was so successful it inspired the 1968 romantic comedy movie “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium.” In the early 50’s the Mayor of Dublin presented Caravan with the Key to Dublin for bringing the first American tour to the city after WWII. Since then, Caravan has been recognized as a pioneer in travel. You can trust in our stability, experience and dedication to quality.

Great Hotels

Stay at park lodges, scenic resorts, and excellent hotels in great locations. See hotel descriptions on each tour page.


Most meals included within Latin America. For USA and Canada tours, included meals are listed on each itinerary page. Bottled water is provided on motorcoaches in Latin America.

Complete Sightseeing

Enjoy complete sightseeing with more visits, extra features, and local guides.

Fully Guided by Tour Directors

All tours conducted from start to finish by professional tour directors, who are fluent in English, experienced, and fun.


Caravan includes all activities listed in the tour itinerary page. Caravan does not sell any optional activities which can add hundreds of dollars to your tour price. Your free time is scheduled in great settings where there is no need to buy additional expensive activities.

Shopping Freedom

Caravan will not bring you to overpriced shops in exchange for payments. Caravan gives you ample opportunity and time for great shopping, and the freedom to choose where and when to shop.

Great Value, Book Early

Caravan’s strong buying power gives you great vacations at prices much lower than you can find anywhere. In a typical year, most of our tours sell out quickly. Book early for the date you prefer and the best air fare.

How does Caravan Tours sell these tours for such a low cost?

Caravan delivers volume to our suppliers, who in turn reward us with their very best prices. We in turn pass these savings on to you, and you reward us by buying our tours. As volume continues to rise, we then receive even better prices from our suppliers, and we pass even greater savings on to you. This year our tours are better than ever.

Trade Association Memberships

Caravan is a member of NTA (National Tour Association), ABA (American Bus Association), CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), and ACMA (American Commerce Marketing Association).