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A 12-day trip through Mayan ruins and lakeside villages in Guatemala, exploring caves and marine parks in Belize. This itinerary allows you to do as much or as little as you like. At Rio Dulce, you can stroll through the market and wander around the fort of Castillo de San Felipe, or you can rent a canoe to experience the flora and fauna of the river. At Tikal you can soak up the mystical atmosphere of the Maya ruins set in the jungle, or if you’re feeling energetic you can climb to the top of Temple IV and view the spectacular sight of the jungle canopy. When you reach Caye Caulker you can take a boat to go manatee spotting or snorkel the second largest reef for a close encounter with tropical fish and manta rays. (G)
- Explore the charming market town of Rio Dulce and visit the fort that used to defend the town from pirates - Castillo de San Felipe
- Spend a day at the astonishing jungle-set ruins of Tikal
- Visit the small island town of Flores with its cobblestone streets and brightly painted houses
- Experience a combination of both archaeological and natural wonders at the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves
- Take a boat to the Chan Marine Reserve and Blue Hole, and go snorkelling along the 2nd largest reef in the world
Arrive into the peaceful colonial city of Antigua, 45 minutes from Guatemala City.
Spend a full day to enjoy this charming city. Opt for a city tour to explore the colonial buildings and lovely park. Or you might want to take a salsa dancing class to get into the Latin America vibe. If you’d like to shop, then seek out the local specialities of textiles, jade and silver.
In the morning travel to Rio Dulce, where you will have free time to explore this lovely market town on the banks of the river after which it was named. You can opt to explore on foot or take a canoe along this beautiful river.
Tikal / Flores
An early start to visit the ruins of Tikal, where a local guide will explain the wonders of this jungle site. There is a central area with five main temples, and if you have the energy to go beyond you will find a maze of smaller structures and hidden complexes throughout the jungle. The view from the top of Temple IV is worth the climb, and you may be able to spot toucans and macaws.
Travel to the small island town of Flores, where you will have free time to wander the cobble streets with its friendly inhabitants and brightly painted houses. The island is attached to the mainland by causeway, but the locals tend to get around by “cayuco” (dug-out canoe) which adds to the charm of this scenic place. Flores is located on Lake Peten Itza where you can choose to go swimming, boating or fishing.
Cross the border into Belize to overnight in San Ignacio, where you will be able to arrange various option activities and trips. You may choose to visit the impressive Mayan ceremonial centre of Xumantunich. Or perhaps venture to the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave where you will be guided through the cave’s water systems with helmet and headlamp to explore its archaeological and natural wonders – the Maya used the cave for rituals and communication with their gods and there is evidence of human sacrifice.
You will now have a couple of days to enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the island of Caye Caukler, where the main street is a sandy pathway surrounded by small bakery and seafood stands. From here you can take a boat for half or full day outings to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the Blue Hole and the 2nd largest reef in the world. Go manatee spotting or snorkel with the rays and sharks. You could try fishing and if you’re lucky enjoy a barbeque of your catch on the beach.
Depart Caye Caulker whenever you choose. You may want to extend your Mayan experience with an extension to Playa del Carmen – taking a boat from Caye Caulker to Chetumal in Mexico and then public bus to Playa del Carmen. From here you can either enjoy world-class diving off the island of Cozumel or visit the Mayan ruins at Tulum or simply relax on the beautiful beach.
Depart for home today.
- International flights
- Internal travel: Public bus, private van; boat (all transportation between destinations and to/from activities)
- Antigua orientation walk, guided tour of Tikal
- Chief Experience Officer throughout, plus local guides
- Hotels (11 nights)
- No meals are included - Allow USD250-350 per person for meals
- Small group experience: Maximum 16 people, average 12