Mexico

Best of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula & Belize

Combine two of Central America’s most exhilarating locations for that perfect family holiday. The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico offers incredible Mayan ruins, gorgeous colonial cities and masses of family friendly activities including zip-lines and swimming in cenotes (natural swimming holes).

A short hop across the border into Belize and you find yourself on an idyllic Caribbean Island. Grab a hammock and relax, soaking up the Caribbean vibe, or head out snorkelling on Belize’s world class barrier reef. The trip ends with a few days spent deep in the rainforest. Here you can watch the canopy come alive on a dawn walk, take a night cruise hoping to spot the elusive jaguar and enjoy exciting activities such as river floats, cave-tubing and waterfall abseils. A fitting end to an exciting family holiday!

Highlights

  Explore Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza
  Cool off in underground cenotes
  Stay in a rural plantation hacienda
  Relax on an idyllic Caribbean island
  Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
  River tubing near San Ignacio

15 days from £1,500 pp

Plus international flights from £645

A two-week self-drive Yucatan and Belize holiday for a family of four costs from £6,000, depending on type of accommodation plus international flights. A similar guided holiday for a family of four would cost from £7,500 plus flights, with entrance fees payable locally.

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Best of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula & Belize day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Cancun
Bienvenido a Mexico! Alight from your flight straight into the colour, buzz and sun of Mexico’s most famous beach resort. This afternoon, take a dip in the Caribbean Sea – the perfect start to your holiday (and the perfect antidote to jetlag).


Day 2 Punta Laguna – Valladolid
After breakfast, leave the coast behind you and head inland to the lush landscape of the Punta Laguna nature reserve. Accompanied by a guide, you will hike into the jungle in search of spider monkeys, before crossing a beautiful turquoise lake by zip-line and kayak.  The visit ends with an exciting abseil into a cenote, an underground cavern filled with crystal clear water, before climbing out on a 30m rope ladder!

In the afternoon, continue on to the picturesque colonial city of Valladolid. If you are interested you can stop en route to take a bike ride around the Mayan ruins of Coba.


Day 3 Chichen Itza
Rise early this morning to beat the crowds to Chichen Itza, the most famous site on the Yucatan. The vast ruins here will stun even the most reluctant of young sightseers. Dominating the centre of the ancient city is the vast Temple of Kukulkan, the most renowned of the many picture postcard structures. Children will love being regaled by stories of human sacrifice and gore at the Skull Wall.

After a morning of sightseeing, enjoy a local lunch and cool off with a refreshing swim in the aquamarine waters of the nearby Yokdzonot cenote. Alternatively you can spend the afternoon exploring Valladolid. The town centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with attractive streets lined with one storey houses painted in pastel hues, and a pretty square overlooked by an imposing church.

You will spend a second night in Valladolid.


Day 4 Rural Hacienda
After a leisurely breakfast, drive into the countryside for two nights at a picturesque rural hacienda. The rich ‘sisal barons’ of colonial times lived in exquisite mansions in Merida, but also built grand country estates (haciendas) in the middle of their plantations. Although many of the haciendas are now dilapidated and overgrown, some have been converted into gorgeous boutique hotels. We will suggest a property according to your budget; some are more modest whilst others are extravagantly luxurious, but all offer beautiful grounds and a glimpse of plantation life.


Day 5 Rural Hacienda
Today you may choose to just relax at your hacienda, or alternatively you can travel back in time on a tour of the sisal plantation at Sotuta de Peón. This is still a working plantation, but all of the immaculately preserved machinery dates back to the colonial period and the kids will be fascinated to see how it all works. You can also take a ride on the traditional plantation transport, a simple wooden carriage on rails, pulled by a mule. This will take you to an underground cenote where you can swim.

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Day 6 Loltun – Bacalar
Today you have a relatively long drive (around 4.5 hours) to Bacalar, on the east coast. En route, we suggest you stop off to explore the huge cave system of Loltun, one of the most extensive in Mexico. The caves are dramatically impressive and are home to pre-hispanic rock paintings as well as huge stalagmites and stalactites.

Bacalar itself is on the edge of the spectacular Lagoon of Seven Colours with picture perfect views.


Day 7 Bacalar
You have a full day to enjoy the lake at Bacalar. The depth of the water varies widely as you move across the lake; where it is shallow the colour of the lake is a beautiful pure turquoise whereas elsewhere the depth drops hundreds of metres and the water turns black. You can take a boat ride out onto the lake, stopping to swim in some of the most picturesque spots, or alternatively explore the lake by kayak or SUP (stand-up paddle board).


Day 8 Bacalar – Caye Caulker
After breakfast, drive to Chetumal to take the ferry to Caye Caulker. Just eight kilometres from end to end, this is an idyllic island 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.


Days 9-10 Caye Caulker
Two days to find a hammock and relax, enjoying the gorgeous Caribbean views.

On one day we can arrange an excursion to the Belize Barrier Reef which offers world-class snorkelling. The visibility is usually superb and it is very common to see turtles, rays, nurse sharks and a multitude of brightly coloured fish.


Day 11 Caye Caulker – San Ignacio
This morning return to the mainland and continue to San Ignacio in the Cayo district where you will stay in a fabulous lodge set in lush rainforest. This afternoon perhaps follow a short hiking trail through the jungle or enjoy a canoe trip down the Macal river.


Days 12 – 13 San Ignacio
You have two days to explore the area.

Families with older children will love the thrilling trip to the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. This starts with a 45-minute jungle hike into the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, crossing streams and then swimming across a short section of river to enter the cave itself. You then hike across a maze of rocks and wade through a tunnel with waist high water as you head deeper into the cave system. Here you will find the remains of a Maya Princess laid to rest centuries ago. Not suitable for under 8s – or those of a nervous disposition.

If this does not appeal you can take an adventurous canoe trip on the slow moving Macal River, passing by Mayan villages and tropical rainforest. Watch out for giant iguanas sunbathing high above in the branches and take a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the jungle river.

Alternatively you can visit the fabulous ruins of Xunantunich, pop over the border to Guatemala to visit Tikal ruins, go tubing on the Macal River or enjoy a horse ride through the rainforest.


Day 14  San Ignacio – Belize City
After a leisurely breakfast, drive back towards Belize City, stopping to visit Belize Zoo en route. This is home to more than 48 species all native to the country and is a wonderful place for children to visit. Considerable effort has been made to leave Belize’s natural environment intact here, and the animals are dispersed amongst the dense, natural vegetation, separated only by gravel trails.

End the day at a hotel near the airport, ready for your flight home tomorrow.


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

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Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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