Maya Encounter

17 Days | Bliss out in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize and encounter ancient Maya history

4.8 out of 5 based on 153 reviews submitted.
Explorer
From
CAD $2,025
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Dive into a 17-day adventure through Central America, from the calming sea breezes of Playa del Carmen's beaches to the bustling chaos of Chichi market. On this journey to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, enjoy a hearty, homecooked dinner in a lakeside Maya village, amble down the coast to the island paradise of Caye Caulker, cut inland to the lush jungle around Tikal National Park, cruise to the vast Rio Dulce, watch a pottery demonstration using ancient Maya techniques and finish among the clouds in Panajachel and under the volcano in Antigua. On this trip, you’ll get the right balance of local-led experiences and independent exploration in a whole load of incredible places ready to be discovered.

Trip overview

Map of Maya Encounter including Belize, Guatemala and Mexico
Start
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Finish
Antigua, Guatemala
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
Guatemala, Belize, Mexico
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Basix
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
QVRA
This trip generates 23 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Spend two days exploring the island paradise of Caye Caulker – munch on barbecued lobster, snorkel around a coral reef, nap under palm trees, go kayaking or just kick back with a couple of worry-free beach days.
  • Hit the streets of Antigua with your local leader and climb to a vintage cross lookout for views of the city and the incredible volcano that towers over it. Then, enjoy heaps of free time to take photos, wander and people-watch.
  • Get to know contemporary Maya life during a homestay in San Juan La Laguna – a lakeside village where you can share meals and conversation with a local family and see how they harvest their local medicinal plants.
  • Wander between stalls of rainbow handicrafts, fruits and flowers and get some haggling tips from your leader in the popular and colourful Chichicastenango Market.
  • Cruise up the Rio Dulce to your waterfront jungle lodge, then maybe grab a beer and relax while the sounds of nature fill the air.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about our Intrepid Foundation partner, Gastromotiva. Donations help them provide nutritious, balanced meals for vulnerable people in Mexico. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip is made for travellers who value their independence but also want the benefit of a local leader and a group of like-minded travellers. The itinerary includes basic accommodation and has free time for activities when your leader will offer suggestions. Please budget spending money for optional activities you want to partake in.
  • Public transport is better for the environment, and you’ll get an authentic look at daily life, but keep in mind that local transport between specific locations on this trip can be pretty basic. Crossing the borders between various countries is usually straightforward, but you may need patience. Books, podcasts and car games will be your best friend.
  • The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be really hot and humid. It makes the beers even more refreshing but consider what time of the year you wish to travel in if you’re easily affected by the weather.
  • The homestay is a wonderful opportunity to witness everyday local life. In San Juan La Laguna, you will stay with a local family in small groups. Conditions are simple but comfortable. A hearty homecooked dinner will be served during your stay, which can be a lot more basic than what you're used to.

Itinerary

Map of Maya Encounter including Belize, Guatemala and Mexico

Inclusions

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Shared Boat, Ferry

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nights), Multishare Hotel (1 night), Hotel with shared facilities (2 nights), Homestay (1 night)

Activities
  • Caye Caulker - Leader-led orientation walk
  • San Ignacio - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Tikal National Park - Tikal archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Chichicastenango - Market Visit
  • Chichicastenango - Shaman Visit
  • Panajachel - Leader-led orientation walk
  • San Juan La Laguna - Traditional Maya Homestay
  • Antigua - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Santa Apolonia - Traditional Pottery Demonstration
Add on activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Bicycle Rental (per day) - MXN260
  • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip Ticket) - MXN500
  • Caye Caulker - Stand-up paddleboard hire (per hour) - BZD42
  • Caye Caulker - Manatee boat tour (Incl. transport & guide) - BZD242
  • Caye Caulker - Full day Catamaran tour-(gear, guide and transport included) - BZD230
  • Caye Caulker - Full day speed boat-(gear, guide and transport included) - BZD230
  • Caye Caulker - Bicycle Rental (per day) - USD8
  • Caye Caulker - Sunset Sailing - BZD120
  • San Ignacio - Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves (Incl. entry, guide, transport & lunch) - BZD250
  • San Ignacio - Butterfly Farm (incl. transport) - BZD150
  • San Ignacio - Cave tubing (incl. entrance, guide & transport) - BZD190
  • San Ignacio - Iguana Conservation Project (entrance fee) - BZD23
  • San Ignacio - Xunantunich Ruins entry - BZD10
  • Tikal National Park - Guide for Ruins (per person, min 5 participants) - GTQ100
  • Rio Dulce - Boat trip to Livingston (Price dependent on boat available & passengers) - GTQ250
  • Rio Dulce - Natural Hot Springs (entrance fee and transport) - GTQ200
  • Rio Dulce - Quirigua Ruins (entrance fee) - GTQ90
  • Rio Dulce - San Felipe Fort (entrance fee) - GTQ85
  • San Juan La Laguna - Water taxi to Santiago (Return) - GTQ60
  • Antigua - Salsa-dance Lesson (per hour) - GTQ100
  • Antigua - Chocolate-making workshop at ChocoMuseo - GTQ225

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 9 (Tikal) & Day 14 (San Juan La Laguna homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This tour includes accommodation in multi-share rooms (triple and quad). This means travelers on the same booking may be split between rooms due to single gender allocation.
3. Please be careful when booking flights from Antigua; make sure you fly out of Guatemala City Airport [GUA]. Guatemala City Airport is the closest airport to Antigua. Please do not book flights from Antigua & Barbuda Airport [ANU] as this is an island in the Caribbean.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 based on 153 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Loretta · Traveled June 2024
Our Maya Encounter of 17 days was excellent. Fidelio, our guide was the best leader in our many many trips- well organised, fun, and inclusive. Highlights were snorkelling at Caye Caulker, ruins at Tikal NP and arts at San Juan. Our group of 16 was of mixed ages and connected well. We are keen to book more with Intrepid.
Review submitted 17 Jun 2024

Olivia · Traveled June 2024
Incredible trip. Fidelio was the best guide I could have asked for and I can’t wait to continue to Costa Rica! Memories to last a lifetime
Review submitted 17 Jun 2024

Maxwell · Traveled June 2024
Our trip leader was great, our group was great, the transport and the ease of moving around visiting some great places that I might not have visited alone I always recommend travelling solo, but this group trip was an amazing way to break up some backpacking
Review submitted 18 Jun 2024

Leonie · Traveled May 2024
What a fabulous trip this was. Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and knew the areas so well as well as being organised and easy going. Loved the colour and the friendliness of the Guatemalan people. The home stay was a definite highlight.
Review submitted 10 Jun 2024

David · Traveled May 2024
Great trip with an excellent guide. Good mix on ancient and extant Maya history and culture, food and colour but also the colonial history and the effect on the current society. Highly recommended this trip.
Review submitted 10 Jun 2024
Maya Encounter
From
CAD $2,025