Wedged between the conical volcanoes surrounding Lake Atítlan, Laguna Lodge has waterside suites crafted from volcanic stone, adobe and palm leaves. It’s home to the tranquil Hummingbird spa (hot stone massage and Maya foot scrubs available) and serves well-crafted, gourmet vegetarian food. Spend your days admiring the beauty that surrounds the lodge or relishing the warm waters in the stone-lined garden jacuzzi. Speak to hotel staff to arrange an adventure in the surrounds: volcano hikes and cliff jumping into the lake are a good chance to let out your wild side.
Four luxury villas (B’Alam Ya, Mirador, Bambu, and Soluna) sit beside a hammock-laden gazebo on the shores of Lake Atítlan. Each comes with a kitchen and an outdoor grilling area for those with a culinary bent, or you may prefer to let a private chef work their magic. You can swim in nearby natural hot springs or laze in the on-site jacuzzi, while a dreamy evening can be spent by the living room fireplace. There’s also a private dock over the azure lake, get intimate with the waters by taking out one of the hotel kayaks.
Indulge your inner yogi at this low-key wellness retreat where you can meditate at the Blue Tiger Temple, enjoy healthy cuisine at Café Sumaya, or take a family stroll through tropical gardens. There’s plenty of opportunity to improve your spiritual health, not least in the range of traditional Mayan ceremonies on offer: shamanic sound healing, a chichimeca sweat lodge or a cacao celebration will do the trick. And sitting on the shores of Lake Atitlan, accessible only by boat, it certainly feels far from the daily grind.
The 10 jungle casitas of La Lancha overlook Lake Petén Itzá, close to the Mayan ruins of Tikal. Bask in a two-tiered pool and languid waterfall, sunbathe on a terrace overlooking the waters, wade out to the thatched palapa on the lake, or sip your drink of choice at the rooftop bar. When it’s time to eat, an open-sided restaurant has a Guatemalan menu with wines from the owners’ collection. There’s a slew of tours available (you’re covered for visits to the Mayan ruins at Tikal, Yaxhá and Topoxte) or the complimentary canoes and horseback riding through the adjacent farm offer fun closer to home.
El Convento has a decidedly Spanish colonial vibe, taking inspiration from the Unesco-protected city of Antigua in which it resides. It sits across from the ruins of the 18th-century Convento de Capuchinas, and is an ideal base for exploring the historic sites, parks, plazas and markets of the city. Many rooms have terraces overlooking the colonial rooftops and Agua Volcano, while others have private gardens. The restaurant, meanwhile, showcases a fusion of international cuisine and local spices. Be sure to visit the rooftop terrace with a cup of Guatemalan coffee.
Advertized as a space for explorers of nature and culture, Ni’tun Private Reserve lays on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá. It’s the work of coffee plantation owner turned ecopioneer, Bernie Mittelstaedt, and his partner Lorena Castillo who had previously launched Monkey Eco-Tours. They’ve kept to their ecofriendly ethos, only building four huts on this 14ha (35 acres) piece of protected land. Each has hardwood floors, comfortable beds, thatched roofs, hummingbird feeders and local textiles.
Once a private lodge for a wealthy conservationist, this 16-suite hotel lies in the Petén jungle, overlooking the jade waters of Quexil lagoon. It’s both a cultural hotspot, close to the Maya ruins of Tikal, Uaxactún, Yaxhá, and a natural marvel, home to more than 250 bird species and endangered wildlife. In the middle of the lagoon itself sits Monkey Island, a uniquely exotic land dedicated to the care of howler monkeys. And the food almost rivals the surrounds: Shultun restaurant serves local flavors with ingredients from the local market. Lake views included, of course.
Initially a premier restaurant, Mesón Panza Verde was transformed into a whimsical hotel with 12 imaginative suites and rooms. Find hand-crafted furnishings, a fountain-fed pool, domed ceilings, and private patios. Here colonial elegance meets contemporary vibe, with Cuban antiques, bougainvillea-draped verandas, fancy spiral staircases and turn-of the century chandeliers. Live music performances run six days a week in the vivacious music salon and the art gallery hosts regular yoga classes.
Designed by art collector, Matilda Geddings Gray, Mil Flores encompasses a block of colonial Spanish renaissance homes. Behind the regal colonial façade, a contrasting interior utilizes color and quirky furnishings to infuse contemporary design and international artwork. Individually styled suites include sink-in-to-me beds, original artwork, homey fireplaces and private covered patios. Dine at the Mediterranean-themed Las Margaritas restaurant, enjoy a romantic evening in the atmospheric den, stroll through the candle-lit gardens or visit the luxurious Blue Spa.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.