This 2 week holiday combines some of the top things to do in Guatemala with a good 5 days of beach time on Belize’s Caribbean coast. Begin by wandering the cobbled streets of Antigua’s atmospheric old town, then head to one of Latin America’s most important indigenous markets at Chichicastenango. On to Lake Atitlan, where you will meet the expert weavers of a women’s textile cooperative and the Tz'utujil Maya people who are keeping their ancient traditions alive. Soak up Atitlan’s stunning scenery hiking up an active volcano and kayaking around the placid lake, before flying north to the heart of the Mayan world at the ruins of Tikal. At the end, relaxing on warm sands and snorkelling the world’s second largest barrier reef await you.
Day 1: You will be met on arrival into La Aurora Airport by your guide, who will drive with you into Antigua city to check in at your hotel.
Day 2: After breakfast explore the ruins and museums of the colonial city that, together with its atmospheric cobbled streets and monasteries, will immerse you straight away in the stories and legends of those times. In the afternoon, head to La Azotea farm where you can see the famously delicious Guatemalan coffee plants in their different stages of growth. Here you will also find a coffee museum and museum of Mayan music that includes a fascinating collection of Mayan musical instruments, artifacts, costumes and naif paintings. (B)
Day 3: Chichicastenango is home to one of the most important indigenous markets in Latin America - a real feast for the senses, full of colour, sounds and smells, where every Thursday and Sunday the Kʼicheʼ Maya people celebrate their ancient culture. The market has a significance beyond mere commerce as a meeting place for Mayan peoples, while Christian and Mayan devotees at Santo Tomas church fill the air with a mixture of flower scents and incense that turns the experience into a magical moment. Afterwards continue to the iconic and beautiful Lake Atitlan. (B)
Day 4: An incredibly scenic boat ride takes you to the village of San Juan La Laguna, where you will experience the different ways this community keep their traditions alive. Visit a women’s textile cooperative to see hand-weaving and natural dyeing processes, the studio homes of celebrated naïf painters and the shrine of the Mayan God Maximon, where you will learn about the beliefs of the Tz'utujil Maya. The day finishes with a boat trip back across the lake and time to relax. (B)
Day 5: San Pedro Volcano has, hands down, the best view of Lake Atitlan and its neighbouring volcanoes. The hike to the top involves a challenging 4500ft of elevation gain (approximately 1400m) and takes about 5 hours round trip. The trail is steep, but has rest stations and the reward at the top is fully worth the effort. As well as epic vistas over Lake Atitlan you will be able to look down onto volcanoes Toliman and Atitlan and on a clear day, Acatenango and Fuego as well. (B)
Day 6: Having enjoyed the lake from the top of a volcano it's time to experience it at water level, as you take a kayak out onto the calm waters with a specialist guide. In the afternoon you will head into the forest reserves that cover the shores of the lake to try a zipline adventure against the backdrop of this stunning place. (B)
Day 8: Experience the wonders of Tikal, a magical archaeological site inside the Mayan biosphere which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Destination in 1979. Here you will find a place where nature and archaeology live side by side, with abundant wildlife and forest surrounding every corner of Tikal and its temples, silent witnesses of the birth, splendor and collapse of one of the most important civilisations on the planet. (B)
Day 9: From the dense green jungle to the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean... Today you leave the Ancient Mayan world on an early flight to the second largest barrier reef in the world. Belize’s reef islands are an incredible place, where warm waters teeming with underwater life meet white sands and a culture so laid back it's almost horizontal. (B)
Days 10-13: Free for you to relax and reflect on your journey and the people you’ve met along the way. We suggest mixing some serious chill out time with snorkel, diving or boat trips to encounter the vast numbers of tropical fish, harmless rays and nurse sharks that call the reef home. (B)
Day 14: Sadly it’s time to say goodbye to this amazing part of the world as you are transferred to the international airport for your flight home. (B)
Prices from: £2400 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, internal flight, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: international flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!
Best Time To Travel
Best time to visit: November - April
The Highlands: Nov - Apr sunny and dry with cooler nights. May - Oct can rain but only some showers each day.
The Lowlands: The lowlands around Tikal are usually hot all year round, with humidity increasing from May -Nov