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.

Start
Cancun, Mexico
Finish
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Countries
Belize,
Guatemala,
Mexico
Themes
Explorer
Code
QVSCC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12
Carbon offset
388kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • 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

Itinerary

It may just seem like another slice of America, but the party town of Cancun is one of the best party towns in the world. In a league of their own, the Mexicans sure know how to throw a soiree (after all, they did invent tequila). Laze on powder-white sands by day, and join the international party goers by night at one of the mega-clubs peppered around town.
Travel by local bus to Chichen Itza, the crowning jewel of the Maya empire. Be wowed by the main spectacle, the 24m-high El Castillo pyramid, then walk around the grounds to see Maya-style sport courts, crypts and ceremonial sights. In the afternoon, head to Merida, a city buzzing with a mix of old-world charm and cosmopolitan vibes. Walk along the mansion-lined street of Paseo de Montejo, relax in the shady Plaza Grande or head to an outdoor market to purchase some local crafts.
Cruise in a comfortable bus to the incredibly city of Palenque. Swathed in greenery, explore Maya ruins that date back to AD600. Cool off from the heat of the jungle with a swim under some waterfalls. The cascading turquoise water of Agua Azul and Misol-ha can be reached after short hikes through the rainforest, and are a perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
In San Cristobal de las Casas, sink your teeth into the traditional culinary scene of Chiapas and sample some elote (corn on the cob). Around town, wander along cobbled streets until you find a local market or perhaps take an optional day trip to San Juan Chamula. Allowing visitors to interact with the surrounding indigenous people, this is a favourite spot for those who want to learn about Mexican culture.
Arrive in Panajachel, located on the beautiful Lake Atitlan, with distant volcanoes looming in the background. Panajachel is one of Guatemala's busiest cities, with a thriving market, good eateries and many water-based activities to enjoy. Hit the water for a wind surfing or kayaking lesson, or choose to saddle up for a horse ride along the beach at sunset. Around town, watch vibrantly dressed locals sell their handicrafts at the market, dine on Guatemalan tamales and explore the nightlife in the evening.
Meet some of the residents of San Jorge and stay overnight in a local home. Meet the family, help cook dinner and brush up on your Spanish for a fun night of local interaction.
Get energetic with a hike around the misty mountain valley, a salsa dancing class or perhaps a day excursion to Pacaya Volcano.
Nestled on the shores of scenic Lake Izabal, the laidback town of Rio Dulce is an idyllic place to pop your feet up and unwind. Watch the boaters on the river heading out to, or coming from, Livingston or discover the wildlife that lives in and around the water.
Stop by Flores for a stroll around a city of pastel-coloured buildings and cobbled streets. Life is relatively old fashioned and traditional in these parts, so look out for locals who travel by dug-out canoe.
Enjoy an early morning tour of Tikal National Park, where Maya ruins are hidden among the dense greenery of the jungle. Walk through a maze of temples, palaces and public squares, and keep an eye out for the colourful local birdlife, particularly toucans and macaws. Then say 'adios' to Guatemala and 'hola' to Belize, one of Central America's most relaxed nations. Arrive in San Ignacio and take a stroll down the main street, Burns Avenue, to experience the thriving local vibe of the city. Surrounded by incredible natural delights, spend some time exploring waterfalls and jungles before checking out some Maya ruins. Take an optional day trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal, a network of ancient caves that was once a Maya ceremonial sight, or choose to get active in the jungle with a little canoeing or river tubing.
Travel to Caye Caulker, a small island with a relaxed vibe, warm Caribbean sun, pumping reggae beats and incredibly blue water. For some world-class diving and snorkelling, perhaps head to The Blue Hole, a circular sink hole that plunges to around 145 m deep. In the evening, indulge on fresh lobster and rum punch before jamming to some local music on the beach.
Travel north towards Tulum, another Caribbean paradise, with a spectacular coastline. Bliss out on the beach, kick back with a margarita or choose to get active and explore ancient Maya tombs that are perched atop a cliff face overlooking the ocean.
The final stop on the journey is Playa del Carmen, a town buzzing with excellent shopping, delicious food options and relaxed visitors. Spend some time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along the white sands. In the evenings, kick back and watch the waves tumble with a margarita in hand before heading out to experience the vibrant nightlife.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
1 breakfast1 dinner
Transport
Boat, Bus, Ferry, Minibus
Accommodation
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

Dates

Warning!

There are no departures to display at this moment.

{{departure_day.departure_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}} {{departure_day.arrival_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}}

Style: {{departure.style}}

Boat/Ship: {{departure.vehicle_name}}
On sale Hot deal Departure guaranteed On request
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.base_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.discount_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
Fully booked Bookings closed

Total price per person {{room.room_type | lowercase}}
Includes {{departure.kitty_currency_code}} {{departure.kitty | noFractionCurrency:departure.kitty_currency_symbol}} kitty
Includes {{extra.extras_code}} {{extra.extras_symbol}}{{extra.extras_value}} in local payments Single supplement available for {{product.currency_code}} {{departure.single_supp | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}

Contact us to arrange an alternative departure for you

Book {{departure.places_left}} spaces left! space left!


Important notes

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

Reviews

Our Mayan Highlights trips score an average of 4.55 out of 5 based on 11 reviews in the last year.

Mayan Highlights , May 2015

Mayan Highlights , April 2015