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Yucatan, Guatemala and Belize Adventure Itinerary

Starting in
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Physical Difficulty
2 / 5
Breakfasts included
11
Lunches included
5
Ending in
Caye Caulker, Belize
Accommodation
Hotel (14 nights), Lodge (2 nights)
Transport
Private vehicle , Plane , Public bus , local bus , Taxi , Ferry , Shared boat
Explore Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala and Belize on this amazing 17-day adventure in Central America. Learn some Spanish phrases to help you on your way, and then head to Chichen Itza – one of the new Wonders of the World! Visit natural pools, try traditional local cuisine, and enjoy loads of free time to explore at your own pace, too. Learn more about the lives of mysterious civilisations at the cliffside Maya ruins of Tulum and at Tikal National Park in Guatemala. Finish in Belize’s Caye Caulker, with white sands and glittering waters perfect for kicking back and relaxing with a cocktail or taking on more fun outdoor activities.

17 days

Playa del Carmen
Merida
Campeche
Bacalar
Tulum
Antigua
Rio Dulce
Flores
San Ignacio
Caye Caulker

Day 1: Playa del Carmen

Hola! Welcome to Playa del Carmen – a popular resort town famed for its coral reef and sparkling warm waters. You’ll meet your leader and fellow travellers at the welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, why not spend the day lounging on the beach with a good book? When the introductions are out of the way, experience your first Mexican meal of the trip at an optional dinner with the group.

Day 2: Merida

Depart early, travelling by private vehicle towards Merida, learning some Spanish phrases from your leader on the way. You’ll stop at Chichen Itza – one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, for a guided tour. This is perhaps the most famous Maya site in Mexico, dominated by the Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo), a Mesoamerican step-pyramid. Then take a cooling dip in one of the region’s lesser-known cenotes: Yokdzonot. By visiting this sparkling natural pool you’ll be supporting the local Mayan community. After your swim, visit the local Piste community. You’ll spend time with the locals – perhaps trying out some of your Spanish – while sampling traditional Yucatecan cuisine. When you arrive in Merida – the charming capital of the Yucatan region – get your bearings on an orientation walk with your leader. Wander the centuries-old streets and take in the grand buildings, learn about the town’s Maya heritage and swing by Mercado 60 – a buzzing food market with great margaritas and live music.

Day 3: Merida

Your day is free for you to explore the many sights of Merida. You could visit the Regional Museum of Yucatan, located within the pretty Palacio Canton, chill out in the shady Plaza Grande, admiring the 16th-century cathedral or seek out slow-roasted, citrus-marinated pork dish and Yucatan speciality, cochinita pibil. Alternatively, take a trip to one of Mexico's best-preserved Maya sites in Uxmal. Spend two hours exploring the ruins and see the impressive so-called Pyramid of the Magician, marvel at the decorative details of the Governor’s Palace and take the opportunity to climb one of the pyramids for astounding views of the surrounding area. Merida is a people-pleaser when it comes to nightlife and has something for all tastes, whether you’re after a low-key bar, cultural show or some live music and dancing.

Day 4: Campeche

Leave the city of Merida behind and drive to the coast to spend the night in Campeche – a seaside town with photogenic streets lined with multi-coloured low-rise buildings. On the way, visit the town of Becal, known as ‘the Hat Town’, where your group will meet with an artisan who works in a cave to weave the traditional jipi hats. Learn about the process and why they work in caves, then enjoy an included lunch. When you arrive in Campeche, head out on a leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore on your own. For dinner tonight, you’ll find good seafood almost anywhere, and other tempting restaurants at Portales de San Martin.

Day 5: Bacalar

Rise and shine for the long cross-peninsular drive to Bacalar today. Bacalar is said to be the first settlement of the Itza tribe, who would go on to create Chichen Itza. Today it’s a quiet spot to sit back, relax and take in the surrounding nature. When you're there, take a short leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings, followed by a free afternoon and evening to relax after a long travel day. Cerveza, anyone?

Day 6: Bacalar

Today, take some time to chill out in relaxed lakeside Bacalar. You’ll have a free day to do as you please. Maybe a relax on the banks of the lake or a swim are in order? Bacalar is known for its Lake of Seven Colours – thanks to the various stunning shades of blue it adopts throughout the day. There’s also the option to visit Cenote Azul today – a beautiful fresh water rockpool, perfect for swimming. The sparkling blue water and stalactites and stalagmites in the cave are a sight to behold.

Day 7: Tulum

Enjoy a free morning relaxing around Bacalar’s lake before heading in a private vehicle towards Tulum. Along the way, you’ll visit the Tulum archaeological ruins that sit on the cliffs of the Yucatan Peninsula. With a local guide, explore the pre-Columbian Mayan walled city which served as a major port for Coba. Carry on to the town of Tulum and when you arrive, take an orientation walk with your leader. There may be time to fit in a visit to another cenote or find a bar to keep working on that Spanish with the locals. Later, you might like to share an optional final meal with the group to say farewell and ‘salud’ to Mexico.

Day 8: Antigua

Today you will be transferred from your hotel in Tulum to Cancun to catch a flight to Guatemala City. You will be collected on your arrival at Guatemala City International Airport and transferred to your hotel in Antigua. Located approximately one hour from Guatemala City and surrounded by three volcanoes that dominate the skyline,  Antigua was the capital of Guatemala in the 16th century and was designated as a World Heritage site in 1979. Today, it’s a cosmopolitan hub filled with cool coffee shops and international restaurants that are often buzzing with live music. A meeting will take place here at 6pm to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next part of your adventure. If you arrive with time to spare, why not get a taste of local tradition with a chocolate-making workshop in the ChocoMuseo, or strut your stuff with a salsa dance lesson?

Day 9: Antigua

As the seat of the Spanish colonial government, Antigua was once one of the most important cities in Central America. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, but many of the colonial-era buildings have been carefully restored. This morning, wander the quiet cobblestone streets with your leader, who will point out many fascinating markets and museums. The afternoon is yours to spend exploring the city and its surrounds. Prefer to take it easy? Grab a coffee on the main plaza and settle in for some people watching. Don't miss the chance to taste a tamale, a local dish served in a corn leaf. Or try pepian, a meaty dish of chicken, beef, pork, or all three at once, in a rich sauce. You’ll find the best value food next to the markets near the bus station.

Day 10: Rio Dulce

It’s a long day of travel today as you make your way to Rio Dulce by private vehicle. During the journey, learn a few handy phrases with an informal Spanish lesson from your leader, before arriving mid-afternoon. Rio Dulce, which means 'Sweet River' in Spanish, refers to both the Guatemalan river that flows from Lago de Izabal (Lake Izabal) to the Caribbean Sea and the town of Fronteras, which sits at the east end of the lake. Upon arrival, the rest of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure. Maybe stretch your legs on a jungle walk, rent a kayak and get out on the water or just laze in a hammock and enjoy the tropical surrounds.

Day 11: Rio Dulce

Join your group on a boat ride down the river to Livingston, a laidback Afro-Caribbean town that offers a unique taste of Garifuna culture in a far-flung corner of Guatemala. It’s located 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Rio Dulce and the boat ride is spectacular, taking you through waters laden with water lilies, past tropical forests and through a deep canyon replete with river birds. The Garifuna population in Livingston are descendants of a community forcibly removed from the Caribbean by the British in the late 18th century. Livingston was one of the towns the displaced Garifuna settled in, and its relative isolation means the culture has remained undiluted by Guatemalan norms. Spend a little time here and enjoy an included lunch of local specialties like tapou, a creamy soup made with fish.

Day 12: Flores

Travel to the township of Flores on Lago Peten Itza. On the way, pay a visit to Nuevo Horizonte, a ranch where 130 demobilised families settled after the signing of the Guatemalan Peace Accords in 1998. Beginning with no infrastructure and poor living conditions, the community cooperated to establish fish-farming, agriculture, reforestation and eco-tourism projects. Tour their nature reserve, have lunch on the ranch and speak to the locals about the origins of the community. Continue to Flores, where you’ll take an orientation walk with your group leader. Flores had a long history before it was colonised by the Spanish in 1697, most significantly as the capital of the Itza people after the fall of Chichen Itza. Spend your free afternoon wandering the island’s quaint streets or shopping for local handicrafts. Around 4 pm, the lakefront starts to hum with street food vendors, making it a good place to grab a bite.

Day 13: San Ignacio

Get up early for a guided exploration of Tikal National Park. Among the thick, evergreen jungle are some of the most significant remnants of the ancient Maya civilisation – plus an array of local wildlife, including coatis and howler monkeys. Wonder at the towering limestone temples and other monuments while pondering the mystery of the ancient city's demise. Spend a few hours playing archaeologist, and afterwards, say goodbye to Guatemala and head across the border to Belize. As the only English-speaking country in Central America, Belize is a great place to get chatting with locals. On your way to San Ignacio, take a break to learn the art of tortilla making!

Day 14: San Ignacio

This morning, you can choose whether you would like to relax in San Ignacio or take part in some of the other optional activities on offer, like a visit to the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM caves). A living museum of Maya relics, the ATM cave system is home to ceramic pots and crystallised skeletons, preserved by the natural processes of the cave for over 1400 years. If you choose to explore the cave system (and it is highly recommended), you’ll spend most of the day there. If not, there are always more local ruins to explore above ground, including Cahal Pech, which was once the residence of a wealthy Maya family. Nature lovers may be interested in a trip to the Green Iguana Conservation Project, where a number of the scaly – and surprisingly large – beasts are protected.

Day 15: Caye Caulker

If your idea of paradise is white sand, clear blue waters and palm trees, then you’re going to dig Caye Caulker. The island even has a motto: ‘go slow’. Arrive following a scenic boat ride and join your leader for an orientation walk, to help you get your bearings on the petite island. While the island is entirely walkable, you might like to hire a bike and cycle between beach bars and along quiet palm-lined streets. Can’t keep your eyes off those Caribbean waters? Get out there for a spot of standup paddleboarding, or if the mood strikes, join a sunset catamaran cruise for an unforgettable end to your first day.

Day 16: Caye Caulker

Your time in Caye Caulker is all about taking it easy, so do as much (or as little) as you want with another day here. If you’re keen to find the best snorkelling spots, opt to take a full-day boat tour (just remember to slather on sunscreen). After a day of swimming and lounging in the sunshine, you’re sure to get hungry. Belize is famous for its barbequed food, with some of the best meals cooked on the roadside. Caye Caulker is famous for its lobster – not the cheapest meal you'll ever buy, but so (so) good. Always make sure that you respect the season: lobsters can only be caught here between June and February. If you’re out of season, how about some grilled shrimp and a lovely rum and coke made with the local firewater?

Day 17: Caye Caulker

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time following check out. If you would like to spend more time in Caye Caulker, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).

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Included Activities

Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)

Piste - Traditional Maya Family Lunch

Merida - Leader-led orientation walk

Merida - Visit to Cenote Yokdnozot Piste

Campeche - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Becal - Visit to Jipi hat artisan cave studio

Bacalar - Leader-led orientation walk

Tulum - Leader-led orientation walk

Tulum - Archaeological site visit

Antigua - Informal Spanish Lesson

Antigua - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Livingston - River boat trip to Garifuna town

Flores - Leader-led orientation walk

Santa Ana Vieja - Cooperativa Nuevo Horizonte visit

Flores - Tortilla Making Workshop

Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)

Tour Operator

Club Adventures partners with a variety of operators worldwide to bring adventure to AAA Members. Your departure will be operated by Intrepid Travel.

Highlights

Experience Chichen Itza – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Your tour of the ancient ruins includes a visit to the nearby Piste community, where you’ll sit down for a traditional lunch.

Kick back and relax in the lakeside town of Bacalar, known for its deep blue cenote and aquamarine lagoon.

Travel to Tulum and explore the archaeological site of Mayan ruins at your own pace. Then, enjoy some free time to find the best snorkelling spots or local bars.

Gaze in wonder at the jungle-shrouded limestone temples of Tikal National Park, one of the most impressive Mayan sites in the whole of Central America, as howler monkeys call from the canopy.

Relax and recharge on the white sands of Caye Caulker – a tiny Belizean island made for beach BBQs, snorkel trips and lazy afternoons spent swinging in a hammock.

Explore Livingston – a one-of-a-kind riverside town where the local culture is heavily influenced by the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna population.

Essential Trip Information

Joining point

Hotel Hacienda Maria Bonita, Av.10 Norte No.215 entre calle 10y 12, Centro. Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, México. C.P. 77710 , Playa del Carmen, MEXICO

Finish point

Caye Caulker Plaza Hotel, Avenida Langosta / Calle Al Sol , Caye Caulker, BELIZE, Phone: 501 226 0780

Important information

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1 in Playa del Carmen. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. On your final day, you’ve got the power to choose where your adventure takes you. If you like, you can stay in Caye Caulker for another couple of nights relaxing beachside – we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). Otherwise, jump on an included water taxi transfer from the Caye Caulker ferry port back to Belize City where you can also book additional nights’ accommodation, or where your leader can assist you to catch a taxi from the port to the airport for an onward connection. You will need to make your own way from your hotel in Caye Caulker to the ferry port. To allow for transfer times, please book a flight after 12 pm (midday).
4. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight to15kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option. Luggage more than 15 kg may incur fees on the flight from Cancun to Guatemala City. Any overage fees are to be paid by the passenger, these are determined by the airline and payable at time of check in. Some airlines will allow up to 20kg free of charge, but this is not guaranteed for this trip. Anything more than 20kg in weight will be charged extra for luggage.

Emergency contact

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:





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

Is this trip right for you

The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours.

As this trip covers destinations across three countries, you'll need to make a land border crossing. While this is usually straightforward, please prepare to be patient.

While your leaders on this trip will bridge any language gaps you have along the way, you'll find meeting locals easier the more Spanish words you know. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.

This trip involves some long days of travel, some of it by local transport. This may be a little more rustic than you are used to, but it's worth it to encounter local life in a real way.

Why we love it

Experience Chichen Itza – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Your tour of the ancient ruins includes a visit to the nearby Piste community, where you’ll sit down for a traditional lunch., Kick back and relax in the lakeside town of Bacalar, known for its deep blue cenote and aquamarine lagoon., Travel to Tulum and explore the archaeological site of Mayan ruins at your own pace. Then, enjoy some free time to find the best snorkelling spots or local bars., Gaze in wonder at the jungle-shrouded limestone temples of Tikal National Park, one of the most impressive Mayan sites in the whole of Central America, as howler monkeys call from the canopy., Relax and recharge on the white sands of Caye Caulker – a tiny Belizean island made for beach BBQs, snorkel trips and lazy afternoons spent swinging in a hammock., Explore Livingston – a one-of-a-kind riverside town where the local culture is heavily influenced by the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna population.

Group leader

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leader or local representative. The aim of the group leader or local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced group leader or local representative however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your group leader or local representative is new to a particular region or training other group leader or local representative.

Your group leader or local representative will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your group leader or local representative can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Your group leader or local representative will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your group leader or local representative will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader or local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips., https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines, PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing., MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
In order to avoid fraud and theft, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only., LOCAL LODGINGS:
On this trip you will be staying in some restored houses and local lodges - these are one of the charms of this journey, but their staircases, balconies and passages etc may not always comply with western safety standards. Please do not expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state., FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms., SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts., WATER SAFETY:
Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water., LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

Visas

PASSPORT
You’ll need a valid passport to travel internationally and most countries require your passport to have a minimum of 6 months validity, so remember to check the expiry date.

We need your passport information to get everything ready for your trip so it’s important that the information on your booking matches your passport exactly. Please take care to provide the correct details. We recommend carrying a copy of the photo page of your passport while travelling and leaving a copy at home with family or friends.

VISAS & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Many countries require a visa and obtaining the correct visa for your trip and any countries you may transit through is your responsibility. We recommend you check your visa requirements as soon as you have booked your trip. This will ensure you have time to prepare your documents and for your visa application to be processed. You can check the entry requirements for your nationality on your government's foreign travel advisories, consular websites or on our page here:  www.intrepidtravel.com/visa-entry-requirements

Last modified (date)

21 May 2024

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2024 to 31 Dec 2025

Additional Information

Health

GENERAL HEALTH
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. For the safety and wellbeing of yourself and others, if you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements.

When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the assessment of our group leader or local representative a traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements in their original packaging as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. If you are carrying medication, ensure you check your government's foreign travel advice for any local restrictions or requirements. 


ZIKA VIRUS:
There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

MALARIA:
There is no commercially available vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in many less-developed tropical areas in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. Where malaria is considered prevalent in mountainous regions we prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.

YELLOW FEVER
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.







DENGUE FEVER:
Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent, and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

Food and dietary requirements

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. 

Money matters

LATIN AMERICA

The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

MEALS NOT INCLUDED:
For this trip we recommend between USD25 to USD50 per day.

Breakfast - If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay USD5 to USD10 at a local café.

Lunch - If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, lunch at a tourist restaurant can cost USD10 to USD15.

Dinner - At dinner time, your group leader or local representative will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost USD12 to USD25 for a main.

These are indicative prices only. If you are on a tight budget and happy to eat local food you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in Western countries.

CREDIT CARDS & ATMs:
ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities across Latin America. Credit cards can generally be used in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

CURRENCY INFORMATION:

MEXICO CURRENCY
The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN). You can pay with major credit and debit cards at many hotels, restaurants and stores but otherwise plan on making cash purchases with pesos. You can use major credit cards and some debit cards to withdraw pesos from ATMs and over the counter at banks. Few businesses accept US dollars however this is the easiest currency to exchange.

BELIZE
The local currency is the Belize dollar (BZD). USD are also widely accepted, with change often given in BZD. You can use major credit or debit cards to pay at many locations, as well as withdraw from ATMs.


Guatemala currency information - The official currencies of Guatemala are the Quetzal (GTQ) and the US dollar (USD). ATMs are not always reliable although you can pay with major credit and debit cards at many hotels, restaurants and stores. Banks offer currency exchange but casas de cambio (currency exchange offices) are usually quicker and may offer better rates. The US dollar is the only currency freely exchanged in Guatemala.

ENTRY AND EXIT FEES:
The below country specific information was correct at time of writing, however please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information.

Mexico - If you enter Mexico by air, the MX$500 immigration fee is included in your airfare. If you enter Mexico overland, the immigration office will arrange for you to pay this fee at a nearby bank. You will receive an FMM card upon entry which you need to retain and present upon exiting the country. If you exit Mexico overland, there is a Mexican Tourist Fee (DNI - Derecho de No Inmigrante) of MX$717 (US$45).

State of Quintana Roo/Cancun Tourist Tax:
Visitors ages 15 and over entering the state of Quintana Roo are required to pay a tourist tax in the amount of MXN$224 (12USD). You can pay it online with a credit card at the Visitax website https://www.visitax.gob.mx/sitio/ . Or you can pay in cash at the Cancun [CUN] airport prior to your departure from Mexico. As soon as the payment is completed, you will be provided with a QR Code that will need to be presented to airport security before boarding your departure flight.


BELIZE:
If you exit Belize by land, there is a fee of BZ$40 charge plus BZ$7.5 Protected Areas Contribution Trust. These can be paid in US$ or BZ$. If you exit Belize by air departure tax is included in the cost of your ticket.

Guatemala – If you enter Guatemala by air, there is no entry fee. If you exit by air, an airport and security tax of US$3 must be paid in cash at the airport but the USD$30 immigration fee should have been included in your airfare. If you enter or exit Guatemala overland, officially there are no entry or exit fees, however you may be faced with an unofficial fee of GTQ10 or GTQ20 each way (each time).

TIPPING
If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

The recommended tipping amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers. We do however recommend that you tip in the local currency - Hold on to your smaller notes and coins to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

RESTAURANTS
Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$5. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% of your bill.

LOCAL GUIDES
Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide. We suggest US$3-5 per passenger per day.

DRIVERS
You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest US$3-6 per day for drivers.


YOUR GROUP LEADER OR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE 
You may consider tipping your group leader or local representative for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference however as a guideline 4-7 USD or EUR per person (in a currency relevant to your destination), per day can be used. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length and involvement of your group leader or local representative on your trip.

What to take

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).

Climate and seasonal

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.

A couple of rules

Intrepid won't tolerate any kind of violence, harassment (whether physical, verbal or sexual), or disrespect toward fellow travellers, our teams or local communities.

To ensure the wellbeing of everyone on the trip, decisions made by your group leader are final.

Romantic relationships between travellers and group leader or local representative are not permitted while on trip.

Any behaviour that prevents your leader from continuing the itinerary as planned, breaks local laws or opposes any of these guidelines may result in Intrepid denying your booking or removing you from the trip.

If something concerns you during your travels, please speak to your group leader immediately. Alternatively, you can contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact Information section of this Essential Trip Information.

Accommodation notes

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.

Transport notes

Information not available.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your group leader or local representative.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader or local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

For travellers who reside within the European Union, Switzerland or USA the requirement to purchase travel insurance cannot be compulsory. However the purchase of travel insurance is still highly recommended, and travellers from these regions who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting, recognizing personal responsibility for emergency medical and repatriation costs should they arise.

For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below:


https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

SOLO TRAVELLERS
The beauty of our style of travel is that it caters to travellers who are travelling solo and who want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people.

On our trips rooming is organised on a twin-share basis. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports.

As a responsible tour operator, we strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. In the case that your gender identity differs from what is indicated on your passport, please contact us so that we can discuss rooming options with you.

We also have an optional single supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will be on a single room basis.

On a small selection of itineraries some accommodations are booked on an open gender, multi-share basis (for example on a felucca in Egypt or an overnight train in Vietnam). In those instances it will clearly be stated in our Essential Trip Information prior to booking and travelling.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.