Central America Encompassed

There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Central America Encompassed.

Trip Map

Trip Validity

  • 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31

Explore Central America on a trip through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

Prepare for a unique Central American adventure from Mexico to Guatemala that's packed full of cosmopolitan cities, breathtaking Mayan ruins, idyllic beaches and incredible natural beauty. Journey from the madness of Mexico City, through the Yucatan Peninsula and to the colour of colonial Antigua. Discover the spicy flavours of Oaxaca, admire the stunning Palenque ruins, swim in the turquoise waters off the coast of Belize in Caye Caulker and arrive at volcano-rimmed Antigua. Join us as we discover places of astounding beauty, visit vibrant and colourful cities, explore ancient ruins and uncover the hidden gems of Central America along the way.

  • Live it up in Mexico City
  • Try chocolate-coated grasshoppers in Oaxaca
  • Soak up the bohemian atmosphere of San Cristobal
  • Come face-to-face with a rain god at Uxmal
  • Drink margaritas by the Caribbean
  • Swim in the turquoise waters off Caye Caulker
  • Experience city life in colonial Antigua
  • Shop for bargains in the Chichicastenango Market

Central America Encompassed Summary

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Days 1-2 Mexico City

Modern meets ancient in Mexico City. This former Aztec capital is full of incredible sights, rich in culture and home to a famed food scene which is definitely worth discovering.

Days 3-4 Puebla

With a compelling history still reflected in its wealth of colonial buildings and churches, Puebla is a delight - especially its cuisine, which gave the world mole poblano.

Days 5-7 Oaxaca/Overnight Bus

Oaxaca is a culturally diverse city with beautifully preserved colonial buildings, impressive archaeological sites, amazing markets and one of the most respected art scenes in Mexico.

Days 8-9 San Cristobal de las Casas

With winding cobblestone streets and colonial Spanish architecture, San Cristobal de las Casas maintains a lovely old-world feel mixed with strong indigenous roots.

Days 10-11 Palenque/Overnight Bus

Built around 100BC, the incredible ruins of Palenque were virtually swallowed by the jungle until their excavation, where some of the finest examples of Maya architecture were discovered.

Days 12-13 Merida

Founded in 1542, Merida still retains much of its old-world charm with a well-preserved Old Town, wonderful museums and city streets alive with art and culture.

Days 14-15 Chichen Itza/Playa del Carmen

Chichen Itza was once a city of the pre-Columbian Maya civilisation; its ruins are wonderfully preserved and this captivating site provides a wealth of things to see. With azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but without the party atmosphere.

Days 16-17 Tulum

Sitting on a cliff with views of an azure ocean, Tulum not only has spectacular Maya ruins to discover but some of Mexico's finest beaches to frolic on.

Days 18-19 Caye Caulker

A small island with no cars, white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, Caye Caulker is an idyllic place to while away some time and soak up the very relaxed vibe.

Days 20-21 San Ignacio

A friendly place with a multicultural feel, San Ignacio is a wonderful base to explore the gorgeous countryside that surrounds the town.

Days 22-23 Flores / Tikal

Located on an island in Lake Peten Itza, Flores is a wonderful place to explore with its red roofs, historical buildings and cobblestone streets. Once a powerful Mayan city, Tikal was abandoned in the 10th century and sank into the surrounding jungle. It's now alive with jungle wildlife and awe-inspired visitors.

Days 24-25 Rio Dulce

Meaning 'sweet river' in Spanish, Rio Dulce is a town (also known as Fronteras) and a river with clean waters, a unique lifestyle and wonderful wildlife.

Day 26 Antigua

Declared a World Heritage site due to its well-preserved buildings, Antigua is a bewitching city sheltered between three volcanoes with wonderful food and atmospheric streets.

Day 27 Chichicastenango/San Jorge La Laguna

Affectionately known as 'Chichi', Chichicastenango is a vibrant and colourful town famous for its wonderful market held on Thursdays and Sundays. San Jorge La Laguna is a small, picturesque village situated in a valley near Lake Atitlan, where welcoming locals live traditional lives.

Day 28 Panajachel/Chichicastenango

Panajachel, located on beautiful Lake Atitlan with distant volcanoes looming in the background, has a thriving market, good eateries and many water-based activities to enjoy. Go for a swim, wind surf, hike, kayak, go horse riding, or for the really adventurous, paragliding. The surrounding area is dotted with villages which can be reached on foot or by boat. Watch women weaving at Santa Catarina Palopo or explore the colourful markets of Santiago Atitlan, In each village the local Indian life has changed little over the last few hundred years. Each village has its own typical dress and make all the textiles themselves in designs passed down through generations.

Days 29-31 Antigua

Feel as if time has stood still among the narrow, cobbled streets, grand churches, Spanish colonial architecture and fascinating ruins of captivating Antigua.