HomeToursNorth America Tours 〉Mexico

Yucatan, Guatemala and Belize Adventure


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, from

$4,325

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: QBSYC
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer
Print itinerary

Details

Countries Visited:  Belize Guatemala Mexico
Accommodation: Hotel (14 nights), Lodge (2 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Plane , Public bus , local bus , Taxi , Ferry , Shared boat
Included Meals:

  • 11 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • 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.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

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. 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 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).

17 days, from $4,325

to book call 1-844-205-6226