Real Central America

Trip Code: QBYA

Why we love it

Enjoy traditional Guatemalan hospitality with a homecooked lunch in a local home in San Juan La Laguna, after visiting a local midwife, walking through medicinal gardens and experiencing a weaving and dying workshop., Head to Tikal National Park within the dense Maya forest to explore ancient Maya ruins at the archaeological site – you might like to opt to swing through the canopy on the optional zipline experience!, Extended time in the paradise of Caye Caulker and unique Antigua offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy laidback island vibes and buzzing colonial city life. Swim among tropical fish, sharks and manta rays and then hit the salsa lessons!, Visit the colourful markets of Chichicastenango, nicknamed Chichi, where you can explore the local handmade wares like jade jewellery, pottery and traditional huipils – the traditional dress worn by Maya women., See some of the best of Central America in one trip travelling through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Enjoy loads of free time where you can rent bikes and explore on wheels, go snorkelling and kayaking or rent a paddleboard and explore the landscape from the water., By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, the Adelante Foundation. Donations help them empower female entrepreneurs from low-income parts of Honduras to grow their businesses and build a livelihood with microfinance.

Is this trip right for me?

You’ll be crossing the borders between three countries on this trip and while it is usually straightforward, you may need to be patient.

Is it hot in here? Well, you’re in tropical Central America, so it can get really hot and humid. Carry plenty of water as hydration is key, especially when walking a lot.

It’s a good idea to try and brush up on as many Spanish words as possible. While locals are friendly, they’re also shy, so knowing some local lingo is a great way to break the ice and show you care.

This trip involves some long days of travel by private and local transport. While this can be tiring, it's also a fantastic way to rub shoulders with the locals.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2 & 3 (Tulum), Days 10 & 11 (Rio Dulce) and Days 13 & 14 (Lake Atitlan) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This tour includes accommodation in multi-share rooms (triple and quad). This means travelers on the same booking may be split between rooms due to single gender allocation.
3. Please be careful when booking flights from Antigua; make sure you fly out of Guatemala City Airport [GUA]. Guatemala City Airport is the closest airport to Antigua. Please do not book flights from Antigua & Barbuda Airport [ANU] as this is an island in the Caribbean.

What to bring/pack

Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips. In terms of weight, airlines generally allow a maximum of 15-20kg for check in luggage and a maximum of 5kg for carry on.

Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:

ESSENTIAL:
- Warm as well as light clothing. Central America is often assumed to have hot weather, but it can get cold in the countryside, mountains and at night in the winter so we suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings
- Sun protection - hat, sunglasses, sunscreen (reef-safe sunscreen for swimming)

RECOMMENDED:
- Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, travel insurance etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
- Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and Band-Aids.
- Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
- Swimwear
- Travel beach towel
- Tissues &/or toilet paper &/or wet wipes
- Insect repellent
- Camera with a spare memory card, charger &/or batteries

OPTIONAL:
- Earplugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate
- Phrasebook

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your safe if available. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

LAUNDRY:
Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo).

Physical rating

 
2

None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. Cobblestones and uneven roads are common and you may be required to walk in hot and humid conditions. If you are in any doubt, please share these concerns or issues with your sales consultant so that your leader is aware prior and can pre-empt your needs.

Joining your group

Hotel Colonial Playa del Carmen, 20 Avenida Nte. s/n, Centro, 77710. Playa del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, MEXICO

Hotel Colonial Playa del Carmen is located 500 meters from Fifth Avenue, where you will find a wide variety of restaurants, craft stores and places of interest to visit.

Alternate Joining Point

For trips departing on the following dates
use this joining point.
07 Jan 2025 (QBYA250107)
14 Jan 2025 (QBYA250114)
04 Feb 2025 (QBYA250204)
18 Feb 2025 (QBYA250218)
04 Mar 2025 (QBYA250304)
18 Mar 2025 (QBYA250318)
01 Apr 2025 (QBYA250401)
22 Apr 2025 (QBYA250422)
06 May 2025 (QBYA250506)
27 May 2025 (QBYA250527)
10 Jun 2025 (QBYA250610)
24 Jun 2025 (QBYA250624)
15 Jul 2025 (QBYA250715)
29 Jul 2025 (QBYA250729)
12 Aug 2025 (QBYA250812)
26 Aug 2025 (QBYA250826)
23 Sep 2025 (QBYA250923)
21 Oct 2025 (QBYA251021)
04 Nov 2025 (QBYA251104)
18 Nov 2025 (QBYA251118)
25 Nov 2025 (QBYA251125)
02 Dec 2025 (QBYA251202)
16 Dec 2025 (QBYA251216)
30 Dec 2025 (QBYA251230)
Winday Hotel Playa Del Carmen
AV. 25 NTE
Av. CTM Esquina Zazil-ha Playa del Carmen Q.R
Playa del Carmen
MEXICO

Joining instructions

Intrepid offers a pre-arranged arrival transfer service from Cancun International Airport [CUN] at an additional fee. If you have pre-booked this service, please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised.

If you have pre-booked this service; you will be met after exiting the terminal building to the outside. As you exit please look for the Intrepid sign with your name on it. There is no designated area for transfer drivers to wait inside the building so please take your time to look around once outside.
If you have any problems and cannot locate your driver on arrival, please call our Intrepid Emergency number listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document. If you don’t have a device or mobile coverage, Cancun Airport has a free Wi-Fi connection so you can call that same number via an online application such as Skype. There are also several information desks and tourist information desks around if you require further assistance.

Otherwise, you can travel from the Cancun Airport to the hotel by taxi. We recommend you use the authorised taxi services organised from inside the terminal. They will charge you approximately MX$1100-1250 (USD$60-70) for a trip to Playa del Carmen. Alternatively, from inside the terminal building you can organise to take a shuttle bus for approximately MX$500 (USD$30). The drive to Playa del Carmen where the hotel is located is approximately 50-60 minutes depending on traffic.

Finishing your trip

Posada Los Bucaros Anexo, #94, 7a. North Avenue, Antigua, 03001, GUATEMALA, Phone: +502 78322346

This hotel is perfectly located just meters from the city centre and the famous Arch of Antigua. True to its colonial style, rooms can be on the darker side with small window facing outside. The hotel features 24hr reception, cable tv, safety box, free Wi-Fi, access to free water dispensers and coffee and tea facilities.

Alternate Finish Point


Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure transfer service to Guatemala City International Airport [GUA] at an additional fee. If you require this service, please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure.

If you have pre-booked this service, your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 4 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel reception to call our Intrepid Emergency number, listed under ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of your Essential Trip Information document.

Alternatively, you can travel from the hotel to the airport by taxi. The hotel reception will be able to assist you with a taxi. The drive to the Guatemala City Airport will take approximately 1.5 hours depending on traffic and will cost approximately GTQ250-285 (USD$35-40).

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 2

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 2

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule, our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.
Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stalls, markets, etc.

More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, coeliac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.

For those on strict Kosher or Halal diets, we understand your dietary requirements are important, however, sometimes due to cultural and language differences these are not always easy to convey when you are travelling. Your guide will do their best to assist you in translating your needs when eating out, but please be aware that these diets are almost unheard of in much of the continent and the best they may be able to accommodate is no pork and shellfish. If this will be a concern for you you may need to consider opting for vegetarian or vegan meals for the included meals in your itinerary. We recommend researching kosher or halal options in your destination country prior to travel to see if you are able to buy snacks once there, otherwise consider bringing some from home. 

Climate & seasonal information

Please note that Hurricane season is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors these situations as they may arise, so that itineraries or activities can be amended as necessary.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +30 697 800 6335 

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please contact our local office:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +506 4113 9300

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation