Discover the ancient Mayan ruins of Central America visiting Mexico, Belize and Guatemala

Experience adventure in Mexico, ancient Guatemalan attractions and the historic sites of Belize on a trip that combines the volcanic beauty of the highlands, the mystery of the ancient Mayan ruins and the perfect beaches of the Caribbean in a truly unique travel experience. From Cancun to Playa del Carmen, this three-week journey offers the chance to get out and get active - or enjoy a more relaxing pace while exploring the colour, culture and adventure of Central America.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
388kg pp per trip


  • Maybe swim with sharks around Caye Caulker
  • Explore the forested hills of San Ignacio
  • Become a part of local life at a lakeside homestay
  • Experience grassroots travel in Guatemala
  • Gawk at jungle creatures from the temples at Tikal
  • Relax on the white sand coast of Belize
  • Explore the colonial streets of Antigua


Welcome to this beachside playground. Join your group for a welcome meeting and perhaps then explore the famed nightlife or laze in a cafe with a cocktail.
Visit the Maya pyramids at Chichen Itza. A fascinating fusion of religion, architecture and science, these ancient ruins are one of the most impressive of all the Maya sites. After learning about the site's history on a guided tour, travel on to the Yucatan capital of Merida for a beguiling dose of old-world charm.
Travel by comfortable bus to the southern state of Chiapas. Discover the imposing pyramid of Palenque, another impressive feat of Maya engineering. Nestled in a region of verdant, tropical rainforest, this is ancient civilisation at its most picturesque. Don't forget to pack some bathers for the chance to cool off in the Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls.
Continue southward to San Cristobal de las Casas and venture out to the local indigenous villages. Witness the traditional customs which are still very much a part of everyday life.
Cross into neighbouring Guatemala. Arrive in Panajachel for a spot of rest and relaxation by the picturesque Lake Atitlan. A veritable hub of adventure, choose between kayaking, mountain biking, zip-lining and paragliding to explore this pristine natural wilderness.
Get an insight into local life on an overnight family homestay in San Jorge La Laguna. A basic command of Spanish will get you far, though hand gestures and sign language can be a highly amusing way to break the ice!
Arriving in Antigua, there's time to take in the city sights, book in for a salsa class or relax in one of the many cafe with a cup of locally grown coffee.
Leave Antigua behind and head north into the heart of the country for a little known gem. Semuc Champey is a 300-metre limestone bridge topped with terraced pools and is arguably the most beautiful spot in the whole of Guatemala.
Explore the narrow lanes, pastel-coloured buildings and rustic shops of Flores, a tiny island town near Tikal.
Wake early and take a sunrise tour of the Tikal ruins. Soaring high above the jungle canopy, these enormous limestone temples are some of the most impressive remnants of the Mayan empire. Later, cross the border into easygoing Belize - a country so relaxed at times it barely seems awake. Travel to the sleepy town of San Ignacio where a full range of optional activities are on offer; from tubing down the river to exploring the eerie Mayan relics of Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, there's adventure around every corner.
Arrive at the little island of Caye Caulker to a decidedly relaxed Caribbean vibe. Laze in the sun, swim in the warm waters or take an optional jaunt to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve for the opportunity to dive with sharks. Treat yourself and feast on some legendary Belizean seafood at one of the island's many beach-side restaurants.
Cross the border into Mexico and travel up the coast to the tranquil beach haven of Tulum. Laze on the powdery shoreline, or get adventurous and explore the famous cliff-top ruins overlooking the beach.
The vibrant beach town of Playa del Carmen is the perfect place for some more fun in the sun. Dive into crystal blue waters and snorkel among the pristine coral and colourful marine life, stroll along the sand or enjoy a final fiesta to bid farewell to Central America. After all, what trip to Mexico is complete without a few margaritas?
View trip notes to read full itinerary


1 breakfast1 dinner
Boat, Bus, Minibus
Homestay (1 night), Hotel (23 nights)
Included activities
  • Guided tour of Chichen Itza ruins
  • Guided tour of Palenque ruins
  • Guided tour of Tikal ruins
  • San Jorge homestay


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Important notes

There will be changes to the itinerary of this trip for all departures in 2016.

1) Your starting point hotel will be in Playa del Carmen, rather than Cancun. This is a minor change - Playa del Carmen can easily be accessed from Cancun International Airport.

Hotel Casa Tucan
Calle 4 entre Avenidas 10 y 15
77710 Playa del Carmen Centro,
Quintana Roo
Phone: +52 984 8730283

2) Rio Dulce has been replaced by two nights in Semuc Champey - one of Guatemala's best travel destinations. It will also spend one less night in San Ignacio, as follows:

Days 12-14 Antigua
Days 15-16 Semuc Champey
Day 17 Flores
Day 18 Tikal/San Ignacio
Days 19-21 Caye Caulker
Days 22-23 Tulum
Days 24-25 Playa del Carmen

A single supplement is available on this trip.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes


Our Mayan Highlights trips score an average of 4.53 out of 5 based on 17 reviews in the last year.

Mayan Highlights , December 2015

Mayan Highlights , December 2015