Embark on a 12-day tour from Guatemala to Belize, taking in the beautiful contrasting cultures and landscapes of both countries. Start with the rich blend of Mayan and Spanish traditions to the laid-back Caribbean vibe. Visiting Antiqua, lake Atitlan, Tikal and discover the vast Mayan city of Tikal amidst the rainforest. Then, cross into Belize, take in remarkable architecture, and its diverse flora and fauna.
Welcome to Antigua
Welcome to Antigua! Upon arrival you'll be met and transferred to our charming city hotel. Antigua is a beautiful city known for its art galleries, restaurants, bars and more.
Guided city tour
Antigua will be our home for the next two days- Located in the highlands of Guatemala, Antigua is a captivating colonial city known for its rich history, architectural beauty, and vibrant atmosphere. With its cobbled streets, overhanding tiled roofs, charming central plaza and a dramatic backdrop of smoldering volcanoes. There will be a guided walking tour of this historic center and plenty of time to explore this captivating city at leisure.
Overnight: Antigua (2) | Breakfast x 2
Antigua - Lake Atitlan. This morning our journey takes us to Lake Atitlan through a gradually ascending road via the highlands of west Antigua dominated by majestic volcanoes and bustling farming villages. Our first stop along the way is the town of Chichicastenango, a chilly mountain town with a mystical atmosphere. The town is a unique blend of overt Catholicism and esoteric Mayan religious ceremonies, centered around its simple, whitewashed church. Here, we will find vibrant and bustling market with array of textiles, clothes, tapestries, hand-carved masks, leather goods, and an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables brought in by local farmers from surrounding villages.
Afterward, we continue our journey to Lake Atitlan, known for its captivating beauty. The cobalt waters mirror the forested volcanic cones, while traditional villages and indigenous settlements grace its shores. This will be our home for the night.
Overnight: Lake Atitlán | Breakfast
Lake Atitlan - Santa Catarina De Polopo. Today, we make our way to the tranquil village of Santa Catarina de Polopo, located near the vibrant tourist center of Panajachel. Cruising over the calm and silent morning waters of Lake Atitlan to Santiago de Atitlan, we are treated to breath-taking views of hamlets, cultivated fields, and picturesque volcanoes encircling the lake. We arrive in Santiago, as the enthusiastic children greet us, and the town offers a fantastic opportunity to purchase brilliantly colored textiles. We may even encounter Maximón, the local idol, known for his mischievous behavior but said to assist with problems in exchange for financial donations.
Santa Catarina de Polopo
Today is free to explore the lake and its surrounding shores, dotted with charming agricultural and fishing communities. Each village boasts its own unique traditional dress and speaks its own Mayan dialect. Take this opportunity to relax and enjoy the serenity of the area or engage in one of the optional activities available today like canoeing, biking, or visiting butterfly and animal parks nearby.
Flight to Flores
This morning we drive back to the capital for an hour-long flight to Flores, located within the dense jungles of northern Guatemala. Our journey continues from Flores to our lodge nestled on the tranquil shores of Lake Peten. The rest of today is free at leisure, unwind by the hotel's pool or take on of the well-marked trails to explore and encounter diverse wildlife.
Overnight: Villa Maya (2) | Breakfast
Tour at Tikal
Our day starts with a guided tour of the remarkable archaeological site at Tikal, just an hour's drive away. The site features steep, stepped temples that penetrate the forest canopy, providing unforgettable views of the timeless rainforest. Wander through the palace complexes and marvel at the well-preserved pyramids and temples that once formed one of the largest and most important Mayan city-states. The lively presence of howler monkeys, spider monkeys, toucans, and parrots adds to the magical ambiance of the site.
Across to Belize
Flores - Belize. This morning we set off for the lesser-known Mayan ceremonial site of Yaxha, situated along the shores of a lagoon. Then, we take a beautiful drive across the border and into Belize, passing through the town of San Ignacio before reaching the low-lying Cayo district. We spend the next few days in Belize's lush, unspoiled, and sparsely populated hilly interior, nestled on the rain-forested banks of the Macal River.
Overnight: Chaa Creek (3) | Breakfast, Dinner
We are based at Chaa Creek for the next two days, one of Belize's first eco-lodges, here we immerse in the tranquillity of the jungle. There are many activities available include a stroll along some of the many orchid-lined trails, a canoe ride through the mustard-colored waters of River Macal watching waterside creatures and birdlife emerge from its shoreline habitat.
For the more adventurous, horseback riding and biking are available, or simply indulge in relaxation and pampering at the hotel's spa. (Note: some of these excursions may incur an extra charge.) The Mountain Pine Ridge, with its waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and caves surrounded by savannah and pine forest, is another option for exploration. Additionally, you can visit Mayan archaeological sites at Xunantunich and Caracol, adding to the richness of your experience in this enchanting region.
Overnight: San Ignacio | Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2
Today mark the end of our beautiful highlight tour of Guatemala and Belize. After breakfast, there is a transfer to the airport.
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.
Meson De Maria , Antigua
Antigua boasts numerous charming Spanish colonial-style hotels, and this stands as one of the most captivating. Set within a refurbished colonial-era residence, it offers snug, exquisitely adorned guest rooms of diverse sizes, encircling petite patios adorned with terraces and balconies adorned in lush tropical greenery. Throughout the property, antiques are thoughtfully placed, complementing exposed brickwork, wicker furnishings, and crackling open fires, creating an upscale rustic chic ambiance. A rooftop terrace invites relaxation under the sun, affording views of the city from comfortable loungers.
Villa Santa Catarina , Panajachel
Villa Santa Catarina, tucked away in serenity, lies 4km from the tourist hub of Panajachel in the quaint village of Santa Catarina Polopo, offering a vista of the lake. The hotel centres around a well-maintained small landscaped garden, featuring a medium-sized swimming pool surrounded by loungers and a manicured lawn. Unpretentious yet spacious rooms are spread across two levels, each equipped with a terrace or balcony, with most boasting lake and volcano views. Built in an appealing colonial style, it radiates tranquillity and serves as an ideal choice for those yearning for an unspoiled escape with minimal crowds.
Villa Maya , Flores
Situated on the serene shores of Lake Petén, Villa Maya Lodge offers a secluded haven. It's a 45-minute drive from the magnificent Tikal Mayan site and just 10 minutes' drive from the nearby Flores town. The contemporary and well-lit rooms are located within octagonal structures or cabins, each featuring a ceiling fan, private bathroom, and a petite balcony showcasing lake views. Reflecting the tranquil ambiance, there are no phones or TVs in the rooms. Amenities encompass an appealing swimming pool with an adjoining plunge pool, a thatched restaurant, and a lakeside bar.
The Lodge at ChaaCreek, San Ignacio
Located within a lush rainforest-covered valley near the serene Macal River, The Lodge at Chaa Creek presents a charming jungle retreat. All en-suite rooms have WiFi, Air condition offering space and privacy. The infinity pool amidst flower-filled gardens and the serene spa offer relaxation, while the adventurous can partake in organized activities led by naturalist guides. A stay at Chaa Creek contributes to Chaa Creek Cares, an initiative supporting various social and environmental projects such as local kids' summer camps, scholarships, clean-up drives, and conservation efforts.