Highlights of Mexico & Guatemala - 12 days
From the beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen and the legendary Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Palenque, to the picturesque Guatemalan Highlands and enchanting Lake Atitlan. Take a memorable 12 day journey through Mexico and Guatemala, culminating in Antigua – one of Central America’s most enchanting cities.
Saturday. Cancun - Playa del Carmen. Welcome to Mexico! Arrive into Cancun International Airport where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Playa del Carmen. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this popular coastal resort town with its beautiful palm fringed beaches.
Overnight: Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen - Valladolid - Chichen Itza - Merida. This morning we begin our adventure, travelling to the vibrant city of Valladolid for a guided walking tour, where we'll see beautiful colonial buildings as well as the cathedral Iglesia de San Servacio. Afterwards we travel on to explore the famous Chichen Itza archaeological site - one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Chichen Itza was constructed between the 7th and the 10th Century AD and these incredible ruins are the best examples of Mayan architecture ever excavated. The highlight of our guided tour is the iconic El Castillo pyramid (aka the Pyramid of Kukulcan). Our final port of call today is Merida, capital of the Yucatan state.
Overnight: Merida | Breakfast
Free time in Merida
Today is free to independently explore Merida or enjoy one of the optional activities which are offered. You can go diving in the mysterious and beautiful cenotes of Cuzama, or take a day tour to Celestun National Park, home to many spectacular tropical birds. There is so much to discover!
Overnight: Merida | Breakfast
Merida - Campeche. Today we leave Merida and travel onto the colonial city of Campeche. As you walk through the narrow streets of the old town, you will discover the fascinating stories and legends of pirates, conquistadors and the indigenous Maya. The city has conserved its huge bastions and ramparts which were formerly the city’s major defence from pirate attacks!
Overnight: Campeche | Breakfast
Campeche - Palenque. This morning we drive to Palenque and enjoy an informative guided tour of the Palenque Ruins in the afternoon. Surrounded by lush Chiapas jungle, Palenque represents tremendous achievements in Mayan art and urban design, and the ruins include a series of hilltop temples, towers, tombs and pyramids including the fascinating Temple of Inscriptions.
Overnight: Palenque | Breakfast
Palenque - Agua Azul - San Cristobal. From Palenque we travel to the waterfalls Agua Azul and Misol Ha, two of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Mexico. After a refreshing swim in a natural pool we continue to the highland town of San Cristobal de las Casas, surrounded by traditional villages. San Cristobal is at the heart of one of the most indigenous areas in Mexico and this is reflected in the art and culture throughout this fascinating town.
The following day we visit the village of San Juan Chamula which is one of several Tzotzil communities in the area. Here we learn more about ancient Mayan traditions and observe cultural rituals.
Overnight: San Cristobal | Breakfast x 2
San Cristobal - Panjachel (Guatemala). On day 8 we travel into neighbouring Guatemala, through the beautiful highlands towards the Pan American Highway and down to Panajachel on the northern shore of enchanting Lake Atitlan, enjoying breathtaking views of the lake and its three volcanoes, San Pedro, Atitlan and Toliman.
The following day we take a boat across Lake Atitlan to San Juan La Laguna. This town is much quieter than many of the other ones around the lake so it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery or wander through the streets and shop for local handicrafts. In the evening we return to Panajachel.
Overnight: Panajachel | Breakfast x 2
Panajachel - Antigua. On day 10 we travel on to Antigua in the central highlands. The afternoon and day 11 are free to explore this picturesque colonial city, which cannot fail to enchant, with its cobbled streets, parks and plazas, ornate churches and colourful street markets, all set against a spectacular backdrop of awe inspiring volcanoes. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city is famous for its well-preserved Spanish influenced Baroque architecture. Here, the local indigenous people dressed in their colourful costumes can be found selling their crafts and textiles and as the cultural centre of Guatemala, Antigua is an ideal place to experience the traditional music, architecture and art of the country.
Overnight: Antigua | Breakfast x 2
Wednesday. Our tour comes to an end today and it’s time to return home. Arrangements end after breakfast and hotel check out. We can arrange a transfer to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City upon request.
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Hotel Playa del Carmen by H&A, Playa del Carmen
Just minutes from the beach is Hotel Playa del Carmen. Combining modern comforts with a typical Mexican atmosphere, the hotel features several balconies overlooking a large inner courtyard and swimming pool. Each air-conditioned guestroom provides a private bathroom and kitchenette, with a microwave and coffee maker. You can dine on traditional Mexican or tasty international cuisine in the hotel restaurant, or enjoy a refreshing cocktail at the poolside bar. And there’s no shortage of evening activities, with Spanish lessons, salsa classes, movie nights and more to keep you entertained.
Hotel Dolores Alba Merida, Merida
Set in a colonial mansion in the historical district of Merida, is the charming Hotel Dolores Alba. Its guestrooms overlook a central courtyard and swimming pool, whilst its delightful corridors are filled with masterpieces by Frida Kahlo. Once inside, each comfortable guestroom offers air conditioning, a private bathroom and a TV. A buffet breakfast is served al fresco, with traditional Mexican cuisine on offer for lunch and dinner. And the friendly staff are always on hand to help you during your stay.
Hotel Tulija Express, Palenque
Set next to Chulavista Square, the Tulija Express offers an excellent location in Palenque close to the Mayan ruins. Its guestrooms are comfortable and air-conditioned, with a private bathroom and coffee maker. To keep you entertained there’s a games room and an outside pool with a sundeck, where you can lounge and spend an afternoon soaking up the rays. The on-site restaurant also serves a mix of traditional Mexican and American dishes, so you can look forward to a delightful meal after a day's exploring.
Hotel Santo Tomas, San Cristobal
Set in Cuxtitali district of San Cristobal, Hotel Santo Tomas offers rustic guestrooms set around a pretty green lawn. Each room is comfortable and spacious, featuring a work desk, fireplace, private bathroom and views out to the garden. The hotel’s location just out of the centre ensures a peaceful stay, whilst attractions such as the Central Plaza and San Cristobal Cathedral are still within walking distance. And if you need any assistance during your visit, you can rely on the hotel's friendly staff to help you out.