Guatemala and Belize: Our Signature Journey
A trip to Guatemala and Belize provides a great introduction to Central America, combining Spanish-colonial charm, beautiful scenery, vibrant traditional markets and Mayan history with Belizean rainforest adventure and tropical relaxation on one of the islands off the Caribbean coast, offering crystal clear waters, fantastic snorkelling and world-class diving.
Central America is still exceptionally good value too although travellers should note that there are no direct flights to/from Guatemala and Belize and you will usually have to transit via the United States. Please contact us is you would like a stopover in Miami, Dallas, Houston or New York.
Highlights: Antigua – Lake Atitlan – Tikal – Cayo District – Ambergris Caye
Number of Days: 15 Days
Accommodation: Choose upper, mid-range or value hotels.
Indicative costs: From £2,249 pp excluding transatlantic flights.
Days 1-4: Antigua
Day 1: Arrival transfer to your hotel; 3 nights’ accommodation.
Day 2: Half day City Tour of Antigua.
Day 3: Free day to explore Antigua.
Day 4: Departure transfer to Lake Atitlan
Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with cobblestone streets and Spanish-colonial appeal which makes an ideal base for the start of your itinerary. There is plenty to see and do: explore the colourful local market, visit the jade and artisan workshops, learn how to make chocolate, get some cowboy boots made for you in Pastores. If you are feeling active go riding or mountain-biking or hike up a volcano.
Days 4-6: Lake Atitlan
Day 4: Stop at one of the colourful markets before travelling to Panajachel, Lake Antigua, 2 nights.
Day 5: Excursion by boat across Lake Atitlan to Santiago Atitlan.
Day 6: Departure transfer via Iximche ruins to Guatemala City in time to fly to Flores.
Lake Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America and is ringed by three volcanoes. The villages that dot the shoreline are full of colour and charm. On the way, stop at one of Guatemala’s vibrant traditional markets: Chichicastenango on Thursdays and Sundays or Sololá on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Santiago Atitlan is an attractive town on the far shore of the Lake but was the site of an uprising in December 1990 during Guatemala’s long civil war (1960-1996) which was brutally suppressed.
Iximche was the capital of the Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until it was abandoned by them in 1524 following the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
Days 5-7: Tikal, El Petén
Day 5: Arrival transfer from Flores airport to your hotel in the Petén rainforest. Stay for 2 nights.
Day 6: Full day tour to Tikal.
Day 7: Departure transfer to the border with Belize
Tikal is one of the largest and most important Maya sites. The city stretches over 575 square kilometres in total, with the centre of the city alone containing more than 3,000 buildings and covering 16 sq kms. Though dating back to 400 BC, the city reached its height during the Classic Mayan Period, from 200 to 900 AD.
Days 7-10: Cayo District, Belize Rainforest
Day 7: Arrival transfer from the Guatemalan/Belize border to your hotel, 3 nights’ accommodation.
Day 8: Excursions in the Cayo District.
Day 9: Optional excursions in the Cayo District
Day 10: Departure transfer to Ambergris Caye.
Jungle rainforest, mountain pines, waterfalls, wildlife, birds, butterflies and tropical scenery are all part of the stunning natural beauty of the Cayo District. Excursions can be adapted according to your own needs but we recommend visiting the ATM Cave, exploring the bustling market town of San Ignacio or an adventure activity such as zip-lining or cave-tubing. There is an iguana project to visit or additional Mayan ruins in the area.
Days 10-14: Ambergris Caye, Belize Coast
Day 10: Arrival transfer to your hotel.
Day 11: Free Day.
Day 12: Half day snorkelling adventure to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and swimming in Shark Ray Alley.
Day 13: Free Day.
Day 14: Departure transfer to Belize airport in time for your flight home.
Home to the biggest Barrier Reef in the Northern & Western Hemispheres, the multiple cayes and islands off Belize’s Caribbean coast are great for diving, snorkelling, sailing and ocean fishing – luxury hotels offer fantastic tropical beach R&R. Ambergris Caye is the biggest island, but options vary with the more laid-back Caye Caulker and many smaller private islands.
Indicative Costs (excluding transatlantic flights):
We book the full range of accommodation from boutique hideaways and haciendas through to three-star mid-range hotels. Our team of travel specialists will be able to advise you on other hotels according to your budget and preferences.
Upper: From £3,699 pp
Mid-range: From £2,650 pp
Value: From £2,249 pp
Indicative Costs are per person based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room for travel before July 2020.
If you would like us to book your transatlantic flights we would be happy to do so in economy, premium economy, business or first class according to your preference.
Supplements may apply for travel over Christmas/New Year and Easter.
Please contact us for costs for families and for parties of 3 or more passengers and also for travel in 2020/2021.
What’s included in the price:
All accommodation and meals as detailed; Local taxes & service charges associated with included accommodation – All transfers & sightseeing as detailed; various activities; ATOL protection; Research, sourcing, design and preparation of your tailor-made holiday itinerary and quote; booking admin and processing; The services of our local ground agent who will coordinate your stay and ensure that everything runs smoothly including access to a local English language 24/7 telephone help line.
What’s not included with the price:
Transatlantic flights; any national park entry fees which have to be paid locally; drinks, gratuities and items of a personal nature; meals and optional excursions not listed as included; personal travel insurance; passport and visa costs (e.g. costs associated with obtaining an American ESTA visa waiver, if flying via USA).
Seasons and Climate
The best time to visit Central America is in the dry season from December to May.
British nationals travelling on a full, valid British passport do not require a visa for entry to Belize or Guatemala. You should ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of arrival.
It is advisable to check your immunizations for Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. If you have been to Africa within 3 months of arriving in Central America you may need to provide proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever.
Costs in Latin America are subject to $/£ exchange rates. At present we are working on current exchange rates of 1.21 (as at 29 August 2019) although this may be subject to change, particularly in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
Other Signature Journeys
These signature journeys are our most popular tailor-made itineraries. You can choose the level of hotels from premium or upper range hotels to mid-range comfort and good value budget accommodation.
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Rio de Janeiro-Iguassu Falls-Buenos Aires: 9 days from £1,270 pp
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South America: Rio to Lima: 18 days from £3,658 pp
Colombia Signature Journey: 14 days from £2749 pp