From Playa Del Carmen to Antigua, explore the wonders of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and picture your idea of paradise... If white sandy beaches, aqua blue waters, steamy tropical temperatures and margaritas on ice sound like your idea of heaven, we have just the medicine for your holiday fever. From the gloriously sun-blessed beachside of Playa Del Carmen, through the ancient Mayan ruins dotted throughout Belize and onward to Antigua's colourful streets, it's little wonder why so many think Central America is a little slice of Eden.

Start
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Finish
Antigua, Guatemala
Countries
Belize,
Guatemala,
Mexico
Themes
Explorer
Code
QVKE
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
156kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Snorkelling in Caye Caulker
  • Tikal
  • Antigua

Itinerary

An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
With azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but without the party atmosphere. Spend your time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along the white sands. In the evenings kick back and watch the waves with a margarita. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.
In order to make the most of what Playa has to offer, we strongly recommend that you extend your stay in Playa del Carmen for one or two extra days. Please contact us if you need us to assist you with additional accommodation. If you can afford a few extra days in Playa, you may want to spend time snorkelling among the mangroves or strolling along the white sands. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.
This morning we travel by minibus to the town of Tulum, and visit its cliff-top ruins.
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.
We then continue by minibus across the border to Belize City, where we transfer to a water taxi, which takes us to Caye Caulker.

The Belize Cayes are a group of islands a short boat ride away from the coast. There are a number of these islands to choose from, but we base ourselves on Caye Caulker as this is one of the more popular islands with travellers. From here it is possible to arrange day trips to other Cayes, to the best reefs for diving, or simply to take a local boat out to the reef of Caulker itself. Each island has its own particular character, but all of them have the unmistakeable Caribbean pace and charm.
Today we take an included half-day snorkelling trip to the reef, where you will most likely see sharks, rays, fish and coral. There is also the option to upgrade to a full-day snorkelling package if you wish, with additional chances to see animals such as turtles and manatees. Otherwise spend your afternoon shopping for souvenirs, sipping cocktails overlooking the water, or swimming off the Split.
Travel by private minibus to San Ignacio in the forested hills of the highlands (approx. 3 hours).
This afternoon we visit Xunantunich, an impressive Mayan ceremonial centre with panoramic views over the countryside. The east side of one of the temples has a unique stucco frieze and the central plaza has three carved stelae. Getting to the site is half the fun: you'll need to take a hand-cranked ferry to cross the river.
Today we travel by minibus to Tikal.
Towering above the jungle of the Tikal National Park, the five granite temples of Tikal are an awesome sight and one of the most magnificent Maya ruins. Hidden in the jungle growth is a maze of smaller structures just waiting to be explored. The energetic can climb to the top of the ruins for spectacular views over the canopy. You may even spot toucans, macaws and other colourful birds.
Following an early morning visit of the Tikal ruins, we drive to Flores, where we spend the afternoon.
Flores was officially founded by the Spanish in 1700, but had existed in various forms well before. It has long remained isolated with locals relying on subsistence farming of corn and beans and the gathering of chicle from nearby trees to produce gum. Many of the locals still get about in the traditional way, by dug out canoe. Take time to stroll through the cobblestone streets past pastel-coloured buildings, buy local handicrafts or take a dip in Lake Peten Itza.
This morning, we drive to the nearby airport and fly to Guatemala City, from where we transfer to Antigua.

The old colonial capital of Guatemala, Antigua remains the cultural centre of the country. Its cobbled streets, local markets, colonial buildings, and indigenous marimba music emanating from the many bars and restaurants create a fantastic atmosphere.
While in Antigua, we visit a women's cooperative. The cooperative was founded in 1992 as an independent grassroots organisation whose goal is to assist community development, health, education, clean water and income generation. The women demonstrate their skills in traditional crafts such as weaving, textiles and cooking.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
8 breakfasts
Transport
Plane, Private minibus, Plane
Accommodation
Hotel (8 nights)
Included activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Tulum - Entrance to ruins
  • Caye Caulker - Guided snorkelling trip (half day)
  • San Ignacio - Xunantunich Ruins
  • Guided tour of Tikal ruins
  • Antigua - Women's cooperative visit

Dates

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
3. This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures.

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 Yucatan Explorer trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 9 reviews in the last year.

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