We took a 5 days tour to Guatemala from Gray Line on May 24-May 28 and it was one of the best tours we've been on. During the booking process, Victor took his time to answer all our questions, concerns and help us customize our tour to include Pacaya Volcano and Hot springs which wasn't part of the original itinerary. He also help us maximize our day in Antigua by upgrading the walking tour into a full day tour so we can also visit all the towns around Antigua.
We arrived early in the morning and the driver and Victor was there to greet us, it was unexpected and made us really happy. We were joined by another couple and another person and began our trip to Lake Atitlan. Upon arrival of Panajachel shore, we went on a boat to go across to Santiago island, a beautiful and vibrant Mayan town. We had a walking tour to the main square and visited a church. The tour guide Pablo speaks perfect English and was very attentive and informative. The whole lake tour was wonderful and we had a nice lunch at Regis restaurant. The first day was wonderful and our tour guide recommended dinner at Casa Blanca which was very nice also. It's a short walk from our hotel Porta Del Lago. The hotel offers amazing view. From our room, we can see the lake and the volcano in the distance, you can watch magical sunrise and sunset from your bed or balcony. Amazing.
The next day, our hotel offers wonderful breakfast with variety of choices. We left Panajachel to go to Chichicastenango for a Sunday visit. The ride there was wonderful with a stop at a waterfall and we were able to look down and see the town Panajachel below. Along the way, you can see many green and beautiful mountain towns.Upon arrival at Chichicastenango, we visited a beautiful hotel with a very nice garden and was able to see many birds. After that, we walked through the market at Chichicastenango, spent some time shopping and watching the vibrant market. We had lunch at a nice restaurant overlooking the market. After that, we left for Antigua. We checked into our hotel Soleil Antigua. It's a nice hotel with beautiful gardens all around. It's a few blocks from the central but you can easily walk or take a tuk tuk for $2.
The next day we visited many towns around Antigua, visited many churches and town squares and had amazing view of Antigua from Cerry de la Cruz. We had lunch and started a 3 hours walking tour of Antigua. It was a nice experience, our tour guide Eliseo was very nice, knowledgeable patient and helped us take many beautiful photos. Antigua has many great restaurants, we recommend Casa Escobar, they have the best steak that was cooked just perfect. It's across from the Spain Embassy.
The next day, we are headed to Pacaya Volcano, we decided to ride horses up to the crater and it was a wonderful experience. On the way to the top, along the way we can find trees lining the path, it's like walking inside a rainforest, the air was fresh and we had a great time. Upon arriving at the top, we can look down at the crater and the path for people who want to continue climbing closer to the volcano. The horses cost $20 -$30 for round trip up and down the mountain, it's totally worth it because it's at least a 1.5 hours ride each way. Our tour guide Eliseo actually climbed the mountain with us and translated for us as the local guide was telling us more about Pacaya. Pacaya Volcano was definitely an unforgettable destination and should be included in your itinerary if possible. After we got down from the volcano, we said goodbye to our tour guide and the driver took us to Kawilal Hot Springs for lunch and then we went into the thermal pools to experience the hot springs that came from Pacaya Volcano.
After that, we checked into our hotel Tikal Futura in Guatemala City. It's a nice hotel and connects to a mall so we were able to go inside an elevator, go up 2 floors and enter the mall. This is the last part of our trip and it's a sweet surprise. We wandered the mall and they had a food court that has every American fast foods restaurant you can think of like McDonald's, Taco Bells, Pizza Hut but we decided to try the famous local Pollo Campero.
Overall, we had an amazing time in Guatemala, much more than we expected. It's surprising but the food in Guatemala is delicious, the best we've had even though we traveled to many Central & South American countries before. Gray Line will give you the best driver and tour guides. We highly recommend Gray Line. We recommend the tour company to all our friends because Gray Line really took good care of us during our trip. Thank you Gray Line Guatemala. You're the best.