A day trip from Antigua is the perfect way to explore the Central and Western Highlands of Guatemala.
Even though there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in the city, there’s much more to discover beyond Antigua’s historic and colorful streets.
Antigua is ideally located an hour from Guatemala City and 2.5 hours from Lake Atitlán.
The UNESCO World Heritage city is flanked by three volcanoes and myriad quaint towns with coffee plantations, farms, nature trails, and more—all of which can be discovered on an easy day trip.
Whether you are looking to adventure to one of the surrounding volcanoes or are keen to explore some of Guatemala’s Mayan ruins, here are the top day trips and tours to include in your Antigua Guatemala itinerary.
10 Day Trips From Antigua Guatemala
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Top Guided Tours From Antigua:
🌋 Pacaya Volcano Trek — hike on an active volcano!
🇬🇹 Lake Atitlán Day Tour From Antigua — visit 3 Mayan villages & the most beautiful lake in the world.
🏍️ Antigua ATV Villages Tour — explore the villages and viewpoints around Antigua.
1. Pacaya Volcano
- Distance: 22 miles (36 km) southeast, 1 hr 15m driving (directions)
- Cost: $20–25+ including transport and national park entrance fees
Have you ever wanted to hike on an active volcano and roast marshmallows over hot rock and lava? Well, now’s your chance! Without a doubt, Pacaya Volcano is one of the best places to visit on a day trip from Antigua.
I think if you only have one opportunity to do a day trip while visiting Antigua, it should be to Pacaya.
Located over by the town of San Vicente Pacaya inside the Pacaya Volcano National Park, the Volcán Pacaya is one of Central America’s most stunning and active volcanoes. Day trips typically last around six hours, including the hiking time required to go up and down (about 45m one way).
Note that you can only hike Pacaya with a guide. Most tours from Antigua will start at 6 am or 2 pm, but you can also go on one at 2 am (yes, you read that right!) to hike Pacaya at sunrise.
If you have time to do an overnight volcano hike, then I recommend trekking Acatenango for an epic experience and view of the Fuego volcano erupting.
2. El Hato & Hobbitenango
- Distance: 5 miles (8 km) northwest, 20 minutes driving (directions)
- Cost: entry Hobbitenango 50Q + food + activities
El Hato is a small community in the hills just north of Antigua. In this area, there are several touristic attractions and things to do on a fun day trip to this area, including:
- Hobbitenango — LOTR Theme Park with games, restaurant, hobbit holes, and troll hand
- Earth Lodge — avocado farm, lodge, restaurant, and yoga studio
- Altamira — camping, bar, and restaurant (famous for the wooden hand viewpoint)
Since El Hato is so close, it’s easily visitable on a day trip from Antigua. To get there on your own, you can take a shuttle bus or an Uber.
3. Jocotenango (La Azotea)
- Distance: 2 miles (5 km) northwest (directions)
- Cost: 50Q and up, $46 with an ATV coffee tour from Antigua
Jocotenango is Antigua’s close neighbor to the north. The town itself is quaint, with beautiful art murals scattered around the village led by a young and active youth community. Apart from strolling the plaza and cute church, and visiting the street art, there’s not much in the way of activities. But there is a hidden gem here to discover.
I’m talking about the 150-yr-old coffee farm and plantation, which is still a working farm but that now also features three museums. Together, they are housed under the Centro Cultural La Azotea which endeavors to educate and preserve the history of coffee cultivation and the influence of traditional Maya art and crafts of the Antiga valley.
La Azotea offers more than just the plantation; there’s also a beer garden, chocolate workshop, breakdance classes, horse riding, equestrian lessons, mini-golf, bike rentals/trails, and more. The center is pet-friendly, too!
While you can visit on your own (10-minute Uber ride), there are all-included ATV tours to take up the level of fun a notch.
4. Antigua’s Fincas
- Distance: Within a 20-minute radius of Antigua
- Cost: Varies
The “fincas” in Antigua vary from one to another; you may encounter hiking trails, farms or plantations, viewpoints, nature reserves, birding opportunities, and even protected cloud forests. Either way, they make for fun half-day trips from Antigua that will take you out of the city center and into nature.
- Caoba Organic Farm
- Finca El Pilar
- Finca Filadelfia
- La Azotea (see previous)
Caoba Farms is one of the best fincas to visit in Antigua with an organic restaurant, artisanal market, organic store, on-site butterfly reserve, garden, and outdoor yoga/circus arts studio.
El Pilar is a cloud forest just outside of Antigua that’s home to several species of endemic birds. Here, you can go hiking, camping, and birding. Finally, Finca Filadelfia offers coffee plantation tours and on-site dining.
Alternative Advanced Hike: When waltzing around Antigua, you can’t help but notice the towering Agua Volcano as its backdrop. While this ancient volcano is no longer active like Fuego or Pacaya, it still offers a challenge for experienced hikers and adventurers. Hiking Volcán Agua is doable with a guide, but there have been reports of robberies on the ascent. If interested, you can read this Alltrails review for recent updates.
5. Ciudad Vieja
Distance: 3 miles (5 km) southeast, 12 mins driving (directions)
Cost: Transport + activities
La Ciudad Vieja — do you know about this place? Located southwest of Antigua in the Almolonga Valley, Ciudad Vieja was the former location for Guatemala’s first colonial capital, originally called Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala (1527).
However, the city, being at the foot of the Agua Volcano, was destroyed after a flood and landslide from the collapse of the volcano crater (once filled with water). The former site is now dubbed Ciudad Vieja, or simply, the Old City. After the destruction, the capital of Santiago de los Caballeros was moved to the Panchoy Valley, which is what we know today as Antigua Guatemala. Cool, huh?
Among the top things to do in Ciudad Vieja is the Cervecería 14. This craft brewery and tasting room is located on a 7-acre coffee farm, rivaling even the top spots to grab a beer in downtown Antigua, thanks to its incredible location with a view of the volcanoes surrounding the valley.
Also Read: 17+ Best Restaurants in Antigua Guatemala
6. Iximché Mayan Ruins
- Distance: 35 miles (55 km) northwest, 1 hr 15 min driving (directions)
- Cost: entry 50Q ($5) + transport if you go on your own, or $85 with a tour
Iximché is considered Guatemala’s first capital, founded by the Spanish conquistadors. Today, it’s a well-preserved archaeological site of the Kaqchikel Mayas who reigned here from the 12th–15th centuries.
Iximché is located northwest of Antigua in the town of Tecpán. Tours will pick you up early in Antigua for an arrival around 9 am in Iximché. Here, you’ll visit the local museum and then wander the Ceremonial Plazas, learning about how the Mayas lived and thrived here during the height of their civilization.
You can either visit Iximché on your own with a rental car (cheapest option) or visit on a guided day tour from Antigua. Just note that some guided tours of Iximché will include a pitstop to visit San Juan Comalapa and/or a city walking tour of Antigua, which is why the price is what it is.
7. Mixco Viejo Ruins
- Distance: 40 miles (62 km) northwest, 2 hours driving (directions)
- Cost: 5Q for nationals, 50Q for internationals (open 8 am – 4 pm), $95 with a tour
If you want to add even more ruins to fill up your day trips, then check out the wildly underrated Mixco Viejo ruins in Chimaltenango just two hours northeast of Antigua.
Mixco Viejo (often called Jilotepeque Viejo) is an incredibly well-preserved Maya city. Originally built by the Chajoma, it fell to the Kaqchikel Maya who reigned for centuries until it was abandoned in 1521 due to the Spanish conquest. Interestingly, Jilotepeque was incorrectly labeled and assumed to belong to the kingdom of the Poqomam Maya.
Today, visitors can climb on the thin-stone pyramids, once only used by royalty, and explore the fortress grounds high up on a hill. Few tourists will make it to see Mixco Viejo, but those who do will be rewarded with magnificent views and a serene experience. Click here to go on a day tour.
8. Lake Amatitlán
- Distance: 19 miles (30 km) southeast, 1 hour driving (directions)
- Cost: Transport + activities
Lake Amatitlán—not to be confused with Lake Atitlán (see number 10)—is an off-the-beaten-path destination that would make a great day trip from Antigua.
Amatitlán is nearby San Vicente Pacaya. As such, there are a couple of hotels in Amatitlán with thermal hot springs heated from the volcano, like the Kawilal Spa & Hotel.
In addition to hot springs, Amatitlán has a lake you can paddle on and explore. While it’s not as big or majestic as Lake Atitlán (it’s the fourth largest in Guatemala), it’s still beautiful and worth the drive!
You can finish up your day trip with a winery/vineyard tour at Chateau DeFay or take a stroll through the beautiful Naciones Unidas National Park.
Distance: 66 miles (106 km) northeast, 2.5 hours driving (directions)
Cost: Transport + activities
Chichicastenango is a sprawling city in the Western Highlands. Famous for its open-air craft market (said to be the largest in Latin America), it receives quite a number of tourists visiting on a day trip from Antigua or Guatemala City.
Market days are colorful, crowded, and can get a bit crazy. Tours from either Antigua or Guatemala City tend to last all day (up to 10 hours), seeing as Chichi is quite far to get to (2.5 hours each way).
That said, many day tours (like this one) will offer a 2-in-1 visit to both Chichicastenango and the lakeside town of Panajachel (since a lot of folks want to see Lake Atitlán).
Either way, while Chichicastenango feels like a “must-visit” it takes a lot of effort to reach for such a short time. You may want to consider just shopping the many craft markets in Antigua instead.
10. Lake Atitlán & Mayan Towns
- Distance: 55 miles (87 km) east, 2 hrs 45 mins driving (directions)
- Cost: Transport + activities, guided day tours range from $115 – $125
Lake Atitlán is actually probably the number one day trip taken from Antigua. Having lived in Lake Atitlán as a digital nomad, I wouldn’t recommend visiting for only one day, though!
Instead, you should consider extending your trip to fit in at least a few of these awesome things to do in Lake Atitlán. (Psst. I wrote a Lake Atitlán itinerary for you if you’re not sure what’s doable!)
Boasted as the prettiest lake in the world, there’s a reason why so many people are clamoring to visit. A jam-packed day trip will suffice if you want to at least go and see it and take a boat to one of the dozen lakeside Maya towns.
Most guided day trips and tours will only have time for Panajachel, but I’ve seen others that also include visits to San Juan La Laguna (one of my favorite towns), San Pedro La Laguna (where we lived!), and Santiago Atitlán.
Which Trip or Tour From Antigua to Choose?
All of the above destinations make for fun and affordable day trips from Antigua. However, to make the most of your time, maybe stick to the villages and activities that are closer to the city. From El Hato to the hiking trails to the nearby fincas, that’s still plenty to occupy a half or full-day adventure!
On the other hand, if you are excited to explore outside of the Antigua Valley, then consider Mixjo Viejo or Iximché ruins. If you’re not full of energy, I would discourage the 10-hour Chichicastenango or Lake Atitlán day trips. If time and energy and money are limitless for you, did you know you can even go on a day trip to go to Tikal by air (like, that’s insanely far?!)
Whatever day trip destination or activity you choose, I hope you love it! My personal favorite was waking up for sunrise to hike Pacaya when it was erupting!
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