Mexico, Belize and Guatemala – meet these three amigos on this Central American adventure.

Mexico, Belize and Guatemala – three very tight amigos. Play like a player in Playa del Carmen and take it nice and easy in Tulum. Delve into island life and the pristine underwater worlds in Belize. Check out the temples of Tikal, the markets of Chichicastenango and the lake vistas of Santa Cruza La Laguna.

You’ll need some essential Spanish to get you by:
- It is hot, isn’t it? – Hace calor, verdad?
- A beer, please – Una cerveza, por favor
- I love you Miguel – Te quiero Miguel

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Finish
Antigua, Guatemala
Destinations
Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
QBYA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • This overland adventure allows you to see some of the best of Central America in one trip, covering parts of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

  • Extended time in Caye Caulker and Antigua offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy laidback island vibes as well as buzzing colonial city life.

  • There's nothing quite like eating with a local family to really experience a place. At dinner you'll be experiencing traditional Guatemalan hospitality while improving your Spanish with the locals.

  • There are many sides to Central America, and you’ll get a taste of a few: slumbering poolside by Playa del Carmen, gazing at the pyramids of Tikal or haggling in the markets of Chichicastenango.

  • Oh Maya, travelling in the Guatemalan Highlands is a humbling experience.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Who doesn’t love a challenge? We definitely do here at Intrepid, and while travelling between some locations on local transport on this trip can be hard, it’s super rewarding and a great way to meet the locals.

  • You’ll be crossing the borders between three countries on this trip and, while it is usually straightforward, you may need to be patient. Make sure you’ve got your best car game ready if there are any delays!

  • Is it hot in here? Well you’re in tropical Central America so it can get really hot and humid. Carry plenty of water because hydration is key, especially when you’re walking a lot.

  • It’s a good idea to try and brush up on as many Spanish words as you can. While locals are really friendly, they’re also shy, so knowing some local lingo is a great way to break the ice and show you care.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Kick things off in Playa del Carmen, which is a pretty cool place to begin a trip. In fact, you might want to chill on the coast for a few days beforehand – we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). The first thing planned for today is a welcome meeting with your group leader and fellow travellers at 6 pm. Other than that, you're free to arrive at any time and spend the day however you want. Maybe have your own snorkelling or cycling expedition, or simply stroll along the sandy playa (beach). In the evening, head out with your group leader for an included dinner at a local taquisa (taco restaurant) for a selection of tacos – make sure you order one with freshly caught fish. To improve your lingo, your group leader will conduct an informal Spanish lesson between bites, so that you can understand your burritos from your banos.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Playa del Carmen - Taco dinner at a local Taquisa
Optional Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Bicycle rental (per day) - MXN250
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Please note that this trip can be partnered with other adventures into a ‘combo’, which means that some of your fellow travellers may have begun their journey before today, and some may carry on to further destinations at the end of this tour. If you’d like to spend more time in Central America, have a look at the combos that include this trip’s itinerary: Epic Central America (QBYZC), Epic Mexico, Belize & Guatemala (QBYYC) and Epic Mexico to Costa Rica (QBYXC).
Today, hop on a local bus along the Caribbean coast to Tulum (approximately 1.5 hours), where it's all about laidback life and the white sands of the Yucatan Peninsula. Once you're settled and got your bearings with a leader-led orientation walk around Tulum, there's the chance to visit one of the best-looking and located Maya sites around. Discover the impressive Temple of the Frescoes and see how this pre-Columbian walled ruin city clings to a cliff-top area overlooking the ocean. You can even go for a swim within the archaeological zone. In the evening, perhaps kick back and watch the waves roll in at a beachside bar with a margarita, of course.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tulum - Leader-led orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Tulum - Archaeological Site (Entrance fee) - MXN75
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee & Transport) - MXN1335
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
With a free day to relax in Tulum, consider the optional activities on offer, and most importantly, relax into the laidback Mexican vibe. Two wheels are a good way to tackle the day, so rent a bike, cruise around the area and cover a lot of ground in a short time, as Tulum is relatively flat. The town is heaving with hip cafes and restaurants and many vegetarian and vegan options, as well as places to relax the mind and body with yoga and meditation. There's also the option of exploring Dos Ojos (two eyes): one of the most famous cenotes (freshwater rock pools) in the area – an underwater world full of stalagmites and stalactites.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh water rock pool (Entrance fee with snorkelling gear included) - MXN350
  • Tulum - Snorkel rental (per day) - MXN205
  • Tulum - Bicycle rental (per 24 hours) - MXN150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
New day, new country. Adios Mexico, hello Belize. Much of today will be taken up with travel, driving by local bus to the border, then on to Belize City (approximately 8 hours in total). Let the wind and sea spray wash the travel away with a 1-hour speedboat ride to the palm-fringed island of Caye Caulker. If your idea of paradise is white sand, blue waters and palm trees then you’re going to dig this place, and with a few days to explore, relax and get active, you’re set for an idyllic stay.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Caye Caulker - Leader-led orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your time in Caye Caulker is all about taking it easy. The pace of life is so incredibly slow it's almost backwards. If being underwater is your thing then head out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, home to Shark Ray Alley and the world's second longest barrier reef. Snorkel among the colourful corals and see tropical fish, sharks and manta rays. You can also take day trips to other Cayes nearby - each island has its own particular character, but all of them have that unmistakable Caribbean pace and charm. Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America, which will make chatting with locals much easier.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Caye Caulker - Sunset sail - BZD100
  • Caye Caulker - Guided snorkelling trip (half day) - BZD70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is another free day to take up any other optional activities or to simply pull up a towel and relax along the beach with a book. If you’ve already been snorkelling, then maybe continue the marine exploration with a manatee tour. These huge, peaceful creatures are beautiful in their own way, and are quite curious to meet their visitors. Get more active with sea kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, or go the other way completely and just chill out. The island's also great for food, famed for its lobster and super tasty meals cooked on the side of the road. How about some grilled shrimp and a rum and coke made with the local fire water?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Caye Caulker - Sea kayaking (half day) - BZD70
  • Caye Caulker - Stand up paddle board rental (per hour) - BZD35
  • Caye Caulker - Manatee tour - BZD240
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave the island paradise behind and return to Belize City by boat (approximately 1 hour), before taking a local bus to San Ignacio via Belize’s capital, Belmopan (approximately 3 hours). The local buses here are a little more basic than in Mexico but this is a great opportunity to mix with Belizeans and get a feel for local life. Get ready for stop and go on the journey, as there are very few official bus stops in Belize and the bus will keep stopping to pick up passengers. San Ignacio is a lively town surrounded by fast-flowing rivers, waterfalls and Maya ruins, making it the best base for exploring the region. After you arrive, the rest of the day is free, so perhaps choose to visit the Chaa Creek butterfly garden, and at night, try one of the barbeque street stalls for a char-grilled chicken leg.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 – and 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.
There is a heap of optional activities to choose between in San Ignacio. The cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal is a living museum of Maya relics, and you can wade through its waters until you reach a whole bunch of 1400-year-old crystallised skeletons. You could take a day tour to the Mountain Pine Ridge area to visit waterfalls and swimming holes, or go down the Macal river in canoes or tubes. If you prefer a slower pace, take a trip out to Xunantunich, an impressive Maya ceremonial centre with panoramic views. Getting to the site is half the fun, as you'll need to take a hand-cranked boat down the river. Belizeans are super friendly, so in the evening, walk down Burns Avenue and join the locals for a chat in one of the many restaurants, or at a street side stall.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Ignacio - (ATM Caves) Actun Tunichil Muknal (Entrance fee, Guide, Transport & Lunch) - BZD190
  • San Ignacio - Cave tubing - BZD170
  • San Ignacio - Butterfly Farm - BZD55
  • San Ignacio - Cahal Pech Ruins (Entrance fee) - BZD10
  • San Ignacio - Caracol Ruins (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport) - BZD135
  • San Ignacio - Iguana Conservation Project (Entrance fee) - BZD20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Time to go jungle – Guatemala-style. Leave San Ignacio, cross the border, and get dropped at Tikal National Park by private vehicle (approximately 4 hours). You'll set up camp on the grounds of a hotel near the national park entrance before exploring the super-huge and crazy-cool Maya ruins of Tikal – it’s a bit like the set of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto movie, minus all the violence. Pass through the lush jungle vegetation, and if you've got the energy, climb Temple IV to take in the epic canopy views. While here, there's also the option to check out more of the area with a guided tour, or to fly through the canopies like a toucan with a memorable zipline experience.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee & Transport)
Optional Activities
  • Tikal National Park - Guide for Ruins (per group) - GTQ500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
All camping equipment is provided tonight. There is a basic shared bathroom block with toilet and shower facilities (2 toilets and 2 showers for both male and female)
From the jungle to the lake this morning, as you’ll head to the lakeside town of Flores (approximately 1 hour). Here there's time to grab some lunch and have a quick explore around the town. Then it's back on the private vehicle to Rio Dulce (approximately 5 hours). On arrival in Rio Dulce, transfer to the hotel by boat. The easiest way to get back into town is also by boat, which can be organised through the hotel, or you can take a short walk through the jungle. Take some time to absorb the atmosphere of this laidback Caribbean town, which feels quite different from the inland communities. A highlight for many guests is the 'Casa Natural' - an open-air accommodation with screened-in rooms, shared bathrooms and a lounge looking out to the surrounding jungle.
Accommodation
  • Multishare lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Multi-share accommodation typically includes triple and quad rooms. Depending on numbers, you might be required to share with group members of the opposite sex and with couples, and on the rare occasion, people travelling together may be separated due to rooming configurations. Each room has private toilet and shower facilities.
There is a load of kick-ass activities to choose between today. Take a scenic boat trip down the river to Livingston, a laidback town on the Caribbean coast that offers a unique experience of local Garifuna culture. Go boating on the lake, relax in the thermal hot springs or explore the nearby San Felipe fort in Livingstone. You could hike through the dense forest of the surrounding Chocon-Machacas Natural reserve and go out to spot the protected manatees of the area. Remember, the best thing is that you’re in laidback Guatemala, and with the flexibility of today’s itinerary, you decide what’s on the agenda.
Accommodation
  • Multishare lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Rio Dulce - Boat trip to Livingston (Price dependent on boat available & passengers) - GTQ160
  • Rio Dulce - Natural Hot Springs (Entrance fee & Transport) - GTQ150
  • Rio Dulce - San Felipe Fort (Entrance fee) - GTQ20
  • Rio Dulce - Quirigua Ruins (Entrance fee) - GTQ80
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by private vehicle to the city of Antigua (approximately 8 hours). You'll spend the night here, before heading to Lake Atitlan tomorrow. You won't spend too much time in Antigua, but you'll be coming back here in a few days’ time, so not to worry! Still, take some time for a stroll and tuck into some tasty tamales (a local dish served in a corn leaf) or a dish called Pepian: a spicy meaty stew of chicken, beef and pork in a dark sauce. You'll find the best value food in the square next to the La Merced Church.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you'll get a seriously special Guatemalan experience. Start the day by travelling by private vehicle to the famous market in Chichicastenango (approximately 2.5 hours). This is the most colourful market in the country, where on Thursdays and Sundays locals come from the surrounding villages to sell their wares, and the streets are lined with stalls where you can stock up on cool trinkets. After visiting Chichi, head towards San Jorge La Laguna: a small Maya village overlooking Lake Atitlan (approximately 1.5 hours). Here you'll meet a Guatemalan family, and it'll be time to bust out your best Spanish to break the ice with these super friendly but shy locals. The group may be split in twos or threes, depending on the group size. The mother of the family will cook you basic but filling dinner early in the evening and provide you with an insight into Guatemalan family and culture. Bid the family adios before spending the night multishare glamping on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
Accommodation
  • Glamping (Multishare) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chichicastenango Market
  • San Jorge La Laguna - Dinner at Traditional Maya Family Home
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Lake Atitlan is all yours to explore today when you wake up on the banks of its shimmering blue waters. There will be time to enjoy the other sections of the lake, so hire a kayak, or book in for a volcano hike or a mountain bike tour for a different scenic experience. After a day of exploring, you deserve a relaxing family-style dinner, which is all included on your return. By now, you may have realised that the Spanish name of your glamping experience, ‘Free Cerveza’, means free beer. Enjoy 2 hours of unlimited cervezas with your set menu, including soup, a main dish and dessert. You definitely won’t go hungry (or thirsty, for that matter). To sweat off the day’s activities (and food), be sure to enjoy the free sauna.
Accommodation
  • Glamping (Multishare) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Cruz La Laguna - Guatemalan Family style dinner with unlimited beer
Optional Activities
  • Panajachel - San Pedro Volcano hike - GTQ400
  • Panajachel - Guided lake and villages tour - GTQ190
  • Panajachel - Mountain bike tour - GTQ400
  • Panajachel - Kayak rental (per hour) - GTQ45
  • Panajachel - Bicycle rental (per day) - GTQ55
  • Panajachel - Zipline - GTQ280
  • Panajachel - Water taxi to Santiago, San Pedro or San Juan (Return) - GTQ40
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After an included breakfast, hit the road back to Antigua (approximately 3 hours). With three nearby volcanoes dominating the horizon, you won't have been to many places quite like Antigua. Experience a leader-led walking tour to orientate yourself around the World Heritage-listed city full of cobblestones, leafy town squares and ornate churches. There are hushed museums and lively indigenous markets to explore, or countryside to be cycled with amazing views of mountain peaks and deep valleys. If you're into salsa dancing, or if you'd just like to learn some moves, Antigua is the place to be. Many dancing schools offer hourly lessons, so you'll be able to move your hips. This is also a city that knows how to party, so bring your best dance moves, shout a round of mojitos and get down with the locals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Antigua - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Antigua - Chocolate-making workshop - GTQ130
  • Antigua - Coffee/Macadamia nut plantation tour - GTQ240
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
While there are no activities planned for today, Antigua has so much to offer, from its vibrant colonial-style buildings and curved archways, all the way out to the puffing volcanoes of Pacaya, Agua and Jumaytepeque. The number one stop for any chocoholic should be the ChocoMuseo, where you’ll get a history lesson and, more excitingly, participate in a chocolate-making workshop. For those more interested in the other famous Central American bean, you can go on a coffee tour, visit the plantations, do some tasting and even buy some to take home. If you wish to spend more time in Antigua, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

2 breakfasts, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, local bus, Public bus, Taxi, Shared boat, Ferry

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Camping with shared facilities (1 night), Multishare lodge (2 nights), Multishare permanent furnished camp (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Playa del Carmen - Taco dinner at a local Taquisa
  • Tulum - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Caye Caulker - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee & Transport)
  • Chichicastenango Market
  • San Jorge La Laguna - Dinner at Traditional Maya Family Home
  • Santa Cruz La Laguna - Guatemalan Family style dinner with unlimited beer
  • Antigua - Leader-led walking tour

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Important notes

1. This trip is for ages 18-29s.
2. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2 & 3 (Tulum), Days 10 & 11 (Rio Dulce) and Days 13 & 14 (Lake Atitlan) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
4. Multishare typically includes triple and quad rooms. You may be required to share with group members of the opposite sex and couples, and people travelling together may occasionally be separated due to rooming configurations.
5. 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

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