Belize & Guatemala Highlights

Although right next to each other, Belize and Guatemala are two remarkably contrasting countries. Guatemala offers picture-perfect colonial towns surrounded by lofty volcanoes. It also has lively indigenous markets, mysterious Mayan ruins and the exquisite sparkling waters of Lake Atitlan. Belize has jungle that teems with wildlife and superb adventure activities. It is also home to some of the best snorkelling in the world and blissful white beaches. This tour combines the highlights of both countries in an exciting two weeks.


  Toast marshmallows over lava
  Wander around colonial Antigua
  Colourful Chichicastenango market
  Kayak on Lake Atitlan
  Explore an ancient Mayan cave
  Snorkel in Shark Ray Alley

15 days from £3,250 pp

Plus international flights from £850

A 2-week holiday in Belize & Guatemala usually costs a minimum of £13,000 based on mid-range hotels, excluding international flights

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Belize & Guatemala Highlights day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Guatemala City – Antigua
When you arrive in Guatemala City your guide will meet you and whisk you away to the beautiful old Spanish colonial city of Antigua, about an hour away.

Day 2 Antigua
Take a guided walking tour around the impossibly pretty town of Antigua. The cobbled streets are lined with brightly coloured houses, set against a backdrop of three towering volcanos. Weave through the narrow alleys to imposing plazas lined with exquisitely carved colonial facades. Stop in the indigenous market to peruse stalls crammed with vibrant tapestries and haggle for souvenirs with colourfully dressed women in traditional dress.

Day 3 Antigua
This morning take an excursion to Pacaya Volcano. You will follow a picturesque trail that winds up through woodland and cinder scree to the impressive crater and lava flows. Toast marshmallows over the molten lava before returning to Antigua for a relaxing afternoon.

Day 4 Chichicastenango – Lake Atitlan
An early start this morning to get to the world famous market at Chichicastenango whilst it is in full swing (Thursdays and Sundays only). This is truly one of Central America’s great experiences. It is a small town of adobe houses and cobblestone streets that attracts thousands of vendors from throughout Guatemala on market day. Wander through the narrow alleyways between the stalls and marvel at the sheer quantity of things for sale. You’ll find wooden masks, exquisite embroidery, pottery, machetes, woodcarvings, ethnic bags, piles of fruit, traditional incense, candles, medicinal plants and so very much more.

Later continue to Panajachel on the shores of Lake Atitlan. There will be time to browse the textile stalls before continuing by boat to your lake-front hotel. The view from the hotel over the lake and surrounding volcanic hills is completely breath-taking and one of our favourite spots in Central America.

Day 5 Lake Atitlan
Make the most of the beautiful surroundings, starting with a kayak trip around the lake to the indigenous village of San Marcos. From here, a gentle 2hr hike will take you along the lakeshore back to your hotel. The afternoon is free for you to relax in a hammock and enjoy the beautiful gardens. However, if you have the energy there is a lovely short hike along an ancient Mayan trail to a neighbouring village.

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Day 6 Lake Atitlan – Antigua
A morning to relax by the lake before returning to Antigua for the night.

Day 7 Flores – Tikal
This morning transfer to Guatemala City airport to catch a short flight up to Flores. From here it is just a short drive to Tikal.

Enjoy an afternoon’s guided tour of Tikal, Central America’s most impressive Mayan ruins. The children will love scrambling up the side of some of the more precipitous temples and listening to the racket from the howler monkeys in the surrounding jungle. They will be entranced by gruesome tales of human sacrifice during Mayan times and will enjoy a short walk through the jungle to spot toucan and spider monkeys.

Day 8 Yaxha – San Ignacio
First stop today are the atmospheric lakeside ruins at Yaxha. Although smaller and perhaps less impressive than Tikal, these are also considerably less visited and all the more lovely as a result. There are some very steep sided temples that older children will enjoy scaling for superb views over the site and the lake beyond.

From here you will leave Guatemala behind and head to Belize. Spend three nights in a lodge nestled deep in the rainforest above the Macal River.

Day 9 San Ignacio
A free day at your lodge. Perhaps take a tubing or canoeing excursion on the meandering Macal River, passing by Mayan villages and tropical rainforest. Take a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the jungle river and watch out for giant iguanas sunbathing high above in the branches.

Day 10 San Ignacio
Today families with older children will love a visit to Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM).

The adventure starts with a 45 minute jungle hike into the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. You will cross streams and then swim a short section of river to enter the cave itself. From here hike across a maze of rocks and then follow a tunnel with waist-deep water as you head deeper into the cave system. After half an hour or so you will reach the main chamber of the cave, home to a Mayan burial chamber and the remains of a Maya Princess laid to rest centuries ago.

Day 11 Caye Caulker
Set off for Belize City then continue by boat to Caye Caulker.

Just eight kilometers from end to end, Caye Caulker is an idyllic place with weathered clapboard houses, makeshift souvenir stands, small art galleries, and a ‘shoes optional’ policy. Streets are sandy and car-free (the locals get around by bike, golf cart, or on foot), and simple local eateries offer home-cooked lunches of spiny lobster, conch, and red snapper.

Finish the day in one of the many fabulous seafood shacks on the beach.

Days 12-14 Caye Caulker
You have three days to relax.

One morning, take a boat trip to the world famous Hol-Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. This is one of the world’s best snorkelling and diving sites and the marine wildlife is truly incredible. You will be snorkelling with docile rays and nurse sharks up to 4-6 feet in length and will also hope to see sea turtles, dolphins and an array of brightly coloured fish.

Day 15 Belize City
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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