Tour through Guatemala and Mexico via beautiful Belize

Travel from the cobblestone streets of Antigua, through Belize and along the Yucatan Peninsula to the beachside delights of Playa del Carmen on this Guatemala to Mexico adventure. Discover ancient Mayan ruins, explore the pristine shores of the Caribbean coast, be enchanted by Guatemala's highlands and find colourful marine life in laidback Belize. From volcano studded Antigua to the chilled out charm of Mexico's coast - this tour delivers a slice of action, a dose of history and culture, and some well-deserved relaxation.


Start
Antigua, Guatemala
Finish
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Destinations
Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
Style
Original
Code
QVSB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover the vibrant and diverse scenery of Central America

  • Visit Antigua and be immersed in old-world charm

  • Gaze over the jungle from the magnificent ruins of Tikal

  • Unwind on Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize

  • Sip a cool margarita on Playa del Carmen

Is this trip right for you?

  • The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be really hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours.

  • Try to learn as many Spanish words as you can. Locals are very friendly, but also shy, so you'll need to make plenty of effort to break the ice. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Guatemala! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and travel group. 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.

As there's a great deal to do in Antigua we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. If you would like to experience a salsa lesson, you can try one of the below schools for a class:

New Sensation Salsa
7a Avenida Norte #78, Antigua
+502 5033-0921
Open daily from 9 am to 9 pm

Salsa Con Gloria
6calle Poniente #9 LA Sala Bar y Rest, Antigua
+502 4374-1391
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Antigua - Chocolate-making workshop - USD25
  • Antigua - Coffee/Macadamia nut plantation tour - USD45
  • Antigua - Salsa lesson (per hour) - USD7
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 10 days ago in El Tunco on Explore Central America (QVSPC) or Central America - Coast to Coast (QVSOC). Or perhaps may be continuing on longer itineraries from Playa del Carmen to start the second part of their trip – Guatemala & Costa Rica (QVSAC) or Mayan Adventure (QVSKC). Please contact our sales team if you wish to book or know more information on these longer combination trips.
As the seat of the Spanish colonial government, Antigua was once the most important city in Central America. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, but many of the colonial-era buildings have been carefully restored and the architecture from its glory days can still be admired. Walk through the quiet cobblestone streets past heavy, carved-wood entrances. There are many fascinating markets and museums to explore, or if your tastes run to more active adventures, hire a mountain bike and ride through the countryside – the views of mountain peaks and deep valleys, covered in lush vegetation are simply beautiful. Another option is to check out the CHOCOMUSEO (located on two blocks away from central park) to learn all about chocolate, its history and nutritional values, and perhaps receive a bag of sample chocolates. Otherwise, just grab a coffee from one of the many cafes in central park, sit back and enjoy the beauty of this incredible city. If you want to learn more about Guatemala's famous coffee, there are plenty of coffee tours and plantation visit on offer. Foodies won't want to miss trying tamales, a local dish usually prepared on the weekend and served in a corn leaf. Pepian – a meal consisting of a rich dark sauce and three meats (chicken, beef and pork) – is also worth a try. Local tip: you'll find the best value food next to the artisan market close to the bus station.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Antigua - Leader-led walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sadly, more than half the population of this beautiful country lives below the poverty line, which may explain why Guatemala has the lowest literacy rate in Central America. This is why The Intrepid Foundation is a proud supporter of CasaSito, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping youth to reach their academic, personal and professional potential.

To learn more about the inspiring work CasaSito does, check out this short video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3KBiGdEcV4w

If you want to help CasaSito support Guatemalan’s youth, you can donate through The Intrepid Foundation.  No amount is too small, and donations are matched dollar-for-dollar by Intrepid. Visit our website to help: theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/casasito
It’s a long day of travel as you make your way to Rio Dulce by private minibus. Depart early for the eight-hour journey, arriving in the mid-afternoon. Meaning ‘Sweet River’ in Spanish, Rio Dulce refers to both the Guatemalan river that flows from Lago de Izabal (Lake Izabal) to the Caribbean Sea and the town of Fronteras, which sits at the east end of the lake. Upon arrival, the rest of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure. Maybe stretch your legs on a jungle walk, rent a kayak for a bit of exploration or simply curl up in a hammock and enjoy the tropical surrounds.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Use a free day in Rio Dulce to take advantage of the optional activities on offer. Perhaps take a boat ride down the river to Livingston, a laid-back, Afro-Caribbean town that offers a unique taste of local Garifuna culture. Located 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Fronteras, the boat ride is quite scenic, taking you past gorges tropical forests and a spectacular canyon before arriving in Livingston. Another option is to follow the local trend and go boating on the lake. You could take a tour to nearby lagoons to spot protected manatees, or perhaps check out San Felipe Fort, a strategic hilltop fortress and castle built by the Spanish in 1652 to protect nearby villages from pirates. Your tour leader can help you book these activities and offer advice on how to make the most of your free day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Livingston - River boat trip to Garifuna town
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel about four hours to Flores – your base for exploring the Mayan ruins of Tikal tomorrow. Upon arrival, enjoy a free afternoon to explore Flores. This tranquil island had a long history before it was colonised by the Spanish in 1700. Its isolation meant locals relied on subsistence farming of corn and beans and their own ingenuity. For instance, they would gather chicle from trees to produce chewing gum. Perhaps use your free afternoon to wander the town's cobblestone streets, taking in its pastel-coloured buildings, shop local handicrafts or grab a bite in the main plaza. Otherwise, simply relax near Lake Peten Itza.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise early for a guided exploration of Tikal National Park. Located deep in the jungle, this national park protects some of the most significant ruins from the ancient Maya civilisation. Ruins are scattered across Latin America, but none are as large as Tikal, which was the ceremonial centre of the Maya kingdom. See its five granite temples, three large complexes (believed to once be temples and palaces) and other various monuments while pondering they mystery of Tikal’s demise – no one knows why it was abandoned by 950 AD and lost to the jungle. Following your visit, say goodbye to Guatemala and head across the border to San Ignacio (about 3 hours). Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America, which will make chatting with locals much easier. The Belizeans are known for their relaxed and easy going way of live. You will be amazed how many different cultures coexist harmoniously here.
You have limited time here in San Ignacio but you can choose to join one of the optional activities en route to Belize City tomorrow. One of these is a visit to the cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM cave) – a living museum of Mayan relics. Wade through water until you reach the Mayan ceremonial site. Here you will find ceramic pots and crystallised skeletons, preserved by the natural processes of the cave for over 1400 years. Your tour leader can provide more information if you’re interested in this optional activity.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Optional Activities
  • San Ignacio - Cahal Pech Ruins - USD10
  • San Ignacio - Xunantunich Ruins Entrance only - USD10
  • San Ignacio - Iguana Conservation Project - USD9
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
All guests at our hotel in San Ignacio are required to pay an additional charge of USD 20 per night if they choose to use the air conditioner in their room. Electricity in Belize is incredibly expensive so most hotels charge an extra rate to use the air conditioning – USD 20 per night is pretty standard. We could include this extra charge in the trip price but then all of our travellers would have to pay whether they want to use it or not. We believe giving our travellers the option is a fairer way to manage this situation.
Leave San Ignacio in the early morning and head north to Belize City on a local bus (about 3 hours). Get ready for a lot of stop and go, as there are very few official bus stops in Belize and the bus will simply stop whenever there are passengers to pick up. Use this time to make conversation with the person next to you on the bus; Belizeans love to talk about their country! After arriving in Belize City, take a one-hour water taxi ride to Caye Caulker. From here, it is possible to arrange day trips to other nearby cayes (islands). Each island has its own unique character, but all of them have an unmistakable Caribbean pace and charm.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Ignacio - Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave - inc. transport, guide and lunch) - USD105
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave San Ignacio in the early morning and head north to Belize City on a local bus (about 3 hours). Get ready for a lot of stop and go, as there are very few official bus stops in Belize and the bus will simply stop whenever there are passengers to pick up. Use this time to make conversation with the person next to you on the bus; Belizeans love to talk about their country! After arriving in Belize City, take a one-hour water taxi ride to Caye Caulker. From here, it is possible to arrange day trips to other nearby cayes (islands). Each island has its own unique character, but all of them have an unmistakable Caribbean charm.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Caye Caulker - Snorkelling trip (half day) - USD35
  • Caye Caulker - Sunset sail - USD38
  • Caye Caulker - Manatee tour - USD85
  • Caye Caulker - Sea kayaking (half day) - USD25
  • Caye Caulker - Stand up paddle board rental (per hour) - USD25
  • Caye Caulker - Bicycle rental (per day) - USD15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is another free day in beautiful Caye Caulker. Perhaps hire a local boat and head to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley for a chance to snorkel among colourful corals, tropical fish, sharks and manta rays. You could also choose to go manatee-spotting – these huge peaceful creatures are often quite curious to meet their visitors. If you're interested in sampling local cuisine, Caye Caulker is famous for its lobster. Not the cheapest meal you'll ever buy, but so good! If lobster isn’t available (regulations stipulate lobster can only be caught between June 15 and February 15), some of the best meals on the island are cooked on the road side. How about some grilled shrimp and a lovely rum and coke made with the local fire water?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Very early this morning (about 6.30am) we head back to Belize City by water taxi, and travel by bus to the border with Mexico (approx. 4 hrs). After crossing the border we head to the Mexican town of Chetumal where we swap buses and head to our final destination: Tulum (approx. 3 hrs).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tulum - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Tulum - Archaeological Site (Entrance fee) - MXN65
  • Tulum - Bicycle rental (per day) - MXN185
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Welcome to Mexico’s version of paradise on the Caribbean coast. Spend your time relaxing on the beach, strolling along the white sands and pondering which country does paradise better. For another taste of Mayan architecture, there’s an optional visit to the ruins of Tulum. Unlike Tikal, which is hidden in the forest, these Mayan ruins sit atop a cliff amid palm-fringed beaches. You can even go for a swim within its ancient walls!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chichen Itza Ruins - Entrance Fee - MXN242
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The last leg of your journey is a short one – hop on a local Mexican bus and travel about 1.5 hours to Playa del Carmen. With azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city similar to Cancun, but without the party atmosphere. Spend your time snorkelling among mangroves, diving to underground caverns or simply relaxing by the beach with a cool margarita in hand. For adventures further afield, take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh water rock pool (Entrance fee with snorkelling gear included) - MXN350
  • Playa del Carmen - Bicycle rental (per day) - MXN250
  • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip) - MXN326
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This tropical adventure ends today after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day. In order to make the most of all Playa has to offer, we strongly recommend that you extend your stay by a couple of extra days. Please contact us if you need assistance booking additional accommodation.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

12 breakfasts

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Local bus, Taxi, Ferry, shared boat

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nights)

Included activities

  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Antigua - Leader-led walking tour
  • Livingston - River boat trip to Garifuna town
  • Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
  • Tulum - Orientation walk
  • Playa del Carmen - Orientation walk

Dates & availability

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
3. Please be careful when booking flights to/from Antigua; make sure you fly into/out of Guatemala City Airport [GUA]. Guatemala City Airport is the closest airport to Antigua. Please do NOT book flights to/from Antigua & Barbuda Airport [ANU] as this is an island in the Caribbean.
4. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

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.

Reviews

Our Guatemala to Mexico trips score an average of 4.63 out of 5 based on 304 reviews in the last year.

Guatemala to Mexico, July 2018

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Guatemala to Mexico, July 2018

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