Best of Guatemala & Mexico (IQVSB)

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : IQVSB
  • Trip length : 13 Days
  • Trip starts in : Antigua City
  • Trip ends in : Playa del Carmen
  • Maximum group size : 12
  • Ages : Min 15
  • Accommodation : Hotel (12 nts)
  • Transport : Boat, Bus, Ferry, Minibus

daily-itinerary1

 

Day
1-2

Antigua

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Guatemala!

Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.

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 the seat of the Spanish colonial government, Antigua was once the most important city in Central America. In 1773 the city was destroyed by an earthquake but many of the colonial 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.

Go out for a stroll and try tamales, a local dish usually prepared traditionally on weekends and served in a corn leaf. You could also give the pepian a try, a meal that consists of a rich dark sauce and three meats (chicken, beef and pork). The best value food you find is next to the artesian market close to the bus station.

From Antigua it is usually possible to arrange an excursion to the Pacaya Volcano. This can be an exhilarating experience as it is often active.

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 are extending your time, perhaps check out the CHOCOMUSEO located on 4th street west, 2 blocks away from central park. Here you will learn all about chocolate, its history and nutritional values and you may be lucky enough to get a sample bag of chocolates at the end of the tour. Otherwise just grab a coffee from one of the many coffee shops in central park and just sit back relax and enjoy the beauty of this incredible city and the amazing people you will find. If you want to learn more about the famous Guatemalan coffee you can go on a coffee tour, visit the plantations, do some coffee tasting and even buy some to take back home.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

 
Day
3

Rio Dulce

Located on an island in Lake Peten Itza, Flores is a wonderful place to explore with its red roofs, historical buildings and cobblestone streets.

Once a powerful Mayan city, Tikal was abandoned in the 10th century and sank into the surrounding jungle. It's now alive with jungle wildlife and awe-inspired visitors.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

 

Day
4

Flores

We continue on to Flores today (approx 4 hours), our jumping off point for exploring the ruins at Tikal. The afternoon is free to explore Flores.

Flores was officially founded by the Spanish in 1700, but had existed in various forms well before. It has long remained isolated with locals relying on subsistence farming of corn and beans and the gathering of chicle from nearby trees to produce gum. Many of the locals still get about in the traditional way, by dug out canoe. Take time stroll through the cobblestone streets past pastel-coloured buildings, buy local handicrafts or take a dip in Lake Peten Itza.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

 

 
Day
5-6

Tikal/San Ignacio

This morning we rise early and take a guided tour of the ruins of Tikal National Park.

Towering above the jungle of the Tikal National Park, the five granite temples of Tikal are an awesome sight and one of the most magnificent Maya ruins. Hidden in the jungle growth is a maze of smaller structures just waiting to be explored. The energetic can climb to the top of the ruins for spectacular views over the canopy. You may even spot toucans, macaws and other colourful birds.
Following our visit it is time to say good bye to Guatemala and head towards the border of Belize. The journey to the border is on a dirt road, so you really feel like an explorer crossing from one country to another. Its about a three hour drive from Tikal to San Ignacio.

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.

We have a full day at your leisure to discover San Ignacio. This beautiful town is surrounded by fast flowing rivers, waterfalls and Mayan ruins, and is an ideal base to explore the region.

One of the optional activities here is a day trip to Xunantunich, an impressive Mayan ceremonial centre located with panoramic views over the countryside. The east side of one of the temples has a unique stucco frieze and the central plaza has three carved stelae. Getting to the site is half the fun as you'll need to take a hand cranked ferry to cross the river.

The cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal is 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 1,400 years.

Other options to fill in your time in San Ignacio include a day trip to the Mountain Pine ridge area to visit waterfalls and warm swimming holes, as well as a huge cave system, the butterfly garden, canoeing or river tubing.

In the late afternoon and at night, many little street barbecue stalls open, and serve huge portions. Give it a try, sit down next to the road, chat with the locals and enjoy a juicy chicken leg.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

 

 
Day
7-9

Caye Caulker

Today we leave San Ignacio in the early morning and head north to Belize City on a local bus (approx 3 hours). Get ready for stop and go as there are very few official bus stops in Belize and the bus will keep stopping to pick up passengers. Use this to make conversation with the person next to you on the bus; Belizeans love to talk about their country!

Once in Belize City we take a 40 minute boat ride to Caye Caulker.

The Belize Cayes are a group of islands a short boat ride away from the coast. There are a number of these islands to choose from, but we base ourselves on Caye Caulker as this is one of the more popular islands with travellers. From here it is possible to arrange day trips to other Cayes, to the best reefs for diving, or simply to take a local boat out to the reef of Caulker itself. Each island has its own particular character, but all of them have the unmistakeable Caribbean pace and charm.

Relax on the beach or head out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, home to the magnificent Blue Hole and the world's second longest barrier reef. Snorkel, swim or dive among the colorful corals and see tropical fish, sharks and manta rays. You could also choose to go manatee spotting. These huge peaceful creatures are often called sea cows and are quite curious to meet their visitors. If you would like to take up wind surfing, this is a great spot for it. And if you already know how to wind surf you can rent a board.

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. Always make sure that you respect the season: the lobsters can only be caught between June 15th and February 15th. 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? In the evenings you should look out for the world famous 'Jolly Roger' - an Icon on the island, he has some of the best street food out here...enjoy your meal. There is also 'cake lady' who comes out every afternoon with a trolley-full of freshly baked cakes for sale.

Accommodation: Hotel (3 nts)

 

 
Day
10-11

Tulum

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 hours). 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).

Tulum is a beach paradise on the Caribbean coast. Spend your time relaxing on the beach or strolling along the white sands. In the evenings kick back and watch the waves with a margarita. For a taste of Mayan architecture take an optional visit of the ruins of Tulum. These ruins sit atop a cliff amid palm fringed beaches and white sand beaches. You can even go for a swim within its ancient walls.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
12-13

Playa del Carmen

The last leg of our journey is a short one after all this travelling. We hop on a local Mexican bus that will take us to Playa del Carmen (approx. 1.5 hours), our departure destination.

With azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but without the party atmosphere. Spend your time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along the white sands. In the evenings kick back and watch the waves with a margarita. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.

In order to make the most of what Playa has to offer, we strongly recommend that you extend your stay in Playa del Carmen for one or two extra days. Please contact us if you need us to assist you with additional accommodation. If you can afford a few extra days in Playa, you may want to spend time snorkelling among the mangroves or strolling along the white sands. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.

Perhaps take the short trip to Cancun, a haven for sun worshippers, retirees and American spring-breakers. Cancun is full of resorts, bars and shops, and there is always something going on. Head down to the beach for a frolic in the surf before playing 'spot the MTV camera' in town.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)


included1

  • Tikal - Tour of ruins and national park

optional-extras

 

  • Antigua - Bicycle tour - USD30
  • Antigua - Santiago Zamora Village tour - USD10
  • Antigua - Coffee/Macadamia nut plantation tour - USD20
  • Antigua - Volcanoes climb - USD16
  • Antigua - Salsa lessons (per hour) - USD7
  • Antigua - Chocolate Museum - USD24
  • San Ignacio - Bicycle rental (per hour) - USD3
  • San Ignacio - River tubing - USD95
  • San Ignacio - Mountain Pine Ridge day trip - USD75
  • San Ignacio - Butterfly farm - USD6
  • San Ignacio - Xunantunich - USD8
  • San Ignacio - Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave) - USD105
  • San Ignacio - Caracol Ruins - USD80
  • San Ignacio - Cahal Pech Ruins - USD8
  • San Ignacio - Barton Creek Canoeing - USD80
  • San Ignacio - Iguana Conservation Project - USD6
  • Caye Caulker - Sea kayaking (half day) - USD25
  • Caye Caulker - Snorkel trip (half day) - USD35
  • Caye Caulker - Stand up paddle board rental - USD15
  • Caye Caulker - Sunset sail - USD25
  • Caye Caulker - Bicycle Rental - USD5
  • Caye Caulker - Snorkel trip (full day) - USD70
  • Caye Caulker - Manatee & dolphin tour - USD35
  • Tulum - Ruins - USD8
  • Tulum - Bike rental (per day) - USD8
  • Tulum - Snorkel rental (per day) - USD10
  • Playa del Carmen - Bicycle rental (per day) - USD8
  • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel - USD25
  • Playa del Carmen - Dos Ojos Cenote snorkelling tour - USD35
not-included1

 

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

tripgrade1

Standard

For those of you who dream of experiencing a location in depth and comfort but are mindful of budget. Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for an fun, informative experience.

Style Facts

  • Comfortable tourist class hotels
  • Family Homestays
  • Private and local transport
  • More inclusions than Basic tours
  • Fully trained and experienced leaders

Discovery

Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.

visa1

A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information

health-and-fitness

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Money1

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping.

travel-insurance

You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information

responsible-travel1

Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.

search

299 holidays


need help & expert advice?
01728 862230


Sign-up for our newsletter

tailor-made adventure trips

Our tailor made adventure holidays will truly inspire and delight the senses and will live in your memory for ever.

more info

Last Minute Specials -  Up to 20% Off

Join us on one of our worldwide adventures coming up over the next few months – all guaranteed to depart, all at up to 20% off.

more info