- Tour the otherworldly Actún Tunichil Muknal caves
- Visit Guatemalan villages, markets, and take a local cooking class
- Explore ancient Maya ruins at Xunantunich and Tikal National Park
- Relax on the white sands of Caye Caulker and Caye Ambergris
- Snorkel and dive on the Belize Barrier Reef
|Day 1||Arrive in San Ignacio (Belize), Visit Butterfly Farm||San Ignacio|
|Day 2||Actún Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves Tour||San Ignacio|
|Day 3||Horse Riding Tour to Xunantunich Ruins, Transfer to Tikal (Guatemala)||Tikal National Park|
|Day 4||Explore Tikal National Park, Fly to Antigua||Antigua|
|Day 5||Antigua Walking Tour & Traditional Guatemalan Cooking Class||Antigua|
|Day 6||Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Lake Atitlán Village Tour||Lake Atitlán|
|Day 7||Transfer to Guatemala City, Visit Chichicastenango Market||Guatemala City|
|Day 8||Fly to Caye Caulker (Belize) & Explore||Caye Caulker|
|Day 9||Snorkeling Tour on the Belize Barrier Reef||Caye Caulker|
|Day 10||Free Day in Caye Caulker||Caye Caulker|
|Day 11||Fly to San Pedro Town & Explore||San Pedro Town|
|Day 12||Free Day in Ambergris Caye & Kayak Rental||San Pedro Town|
|Day 13||Free Day in Ambergris Caye||San Pedro Town|
|Day 14||Transfer to Belize City, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in San Ignacio (Belize), Visit Butterfly Farm
Welcome to Belize! Upon arrival, a driver will be waiting to take you west to San Ignacio. On the way, take an optional trip to the Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm. Meet the Belizean blues, one of the world's largest butterfly species with wings spanning up to eight inches. The butterflies have microscopic scales on their wings that reflect light, creating their signature blue color, and are native to the forests of Mexico, South America, and Central America. Observe the butterflies and learn about their life cycle, from egg to caterpillar, pupa, and butterfly.
The Maya Chocolate Tour makes for another exciting stop-off. On this unique local tour, learn how the Mayans used chocolate to make a bitter, spicy drink. You'll see the entire chocolate-making process, from harvesting the beans to grinding them into a paste using a stone. The thick paste is then mixed into a drink laden with fragrant spices, which you'll get to taste.
Day 2: Actún Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves Tour
Today you'll take a journey into the Maya underworld at Actún Tunichil Muknal (ATM), which translates to the "Cave of the Stone Sepulchre." Venture into the heart of the cave with a licensed guide to explore its crystalline stalactites and stalagmites. During the three-hour tour, you'll learn how the cave was once a sacred Maya burial place. Ranked by National Geographic as a top cave destination, the ATM is the final resting place for Maya ceremonial victims, including the famous Crystal Maiden.
The tour begins at the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve with a 45-minute hike. Using ropes as guides, you'll swim across a small spring-fed pool and wade into knee-high water into the dark underworld of the cave. Explore the extensive underground maze of tunnels, passageways, and chambers. The highlight is the ceremonial chamber, which houses stoneware, ceramics, and the mummified skeleton of the Crystal Maiden. After the tour, hike back to the car for a picnic lunch before returning to San Ignacio.
Day 3: Horse Riding Tour to Xunantunich Ruins, Transfer to Tikal (Guatemala)
Day 4: Explore Tikal National Park, Fly to Antigua
Today you'll visit the famous Tikal National Park, which is known worldwide for its impressive Maya pyramids and sprawling ruins. The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya civilization and features the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas: Temple IV (the Great Jaguar), which stands 270 feet (70 m) tall.
Spend the day with an expert guide exploring this vast complex of temples and pyramids. Take the opportunity to see all the major sites of interest, including Temples I, II, III, IV, and V, The Lost World, Complex Q, The Great Plaza, and The Window Palace. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle. After the tour, you'll fly to Antigua, Guatemala, for the next leg of your trip.
Day 5: Antigua Walking Tour & Traditional Guatemalan Cooking Class
Start the day with a walking tour of Antigua. You'll be guided by an expert local historian, who'll take you to the city's top landmarks, such as the Palace of the Captain's General and San José Cathedral, which has been rebuilt several times following devastating earthquakes. You'll also learn about life before the Spanish conquest and the city's rich history on the Paseo de Los Museos (Museum Path).
In the afternoon, enjoy a traditional local cooking class. Guatemalan cuisine is a wonderful mix of colonial Spanish and Indigenous Maya gastronomy. Native Guatemalan chefs, who belong to the Sacatepequez community, will teach you how to cook a typical meal that includes homemade tortillas and a delicious dessert. Sit down with your hosts afterward to feast on your creations.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Lake Atitlán Village Tour
Set off this morning for the three-hour transfer to Lake Atitlán, Guatemala's most famous attraction. The lake sits in a volcanic crater in the southwestern highlands and is surrounded by jagged peaks. Explore the tiny Maya villages that fringe mighty Lake Atitlán's shoreline on a private boat tour. You'll sail across the lake, stopping at various villages where you'll meet the residents and learn about daily life on the lake. Highlights include touring a women's weaving co-op and a shrine to the rum-drinking, cigar-smoking Maya saint Maximon, who represents light and dark in Guatemalan culture.
Day 7: Transfer to Guatemala City, Visit Chichicastenango Market
This morning you'll transfer three hours east from Lake Atitlán to Guatemala City, stopping en route in the traditional Maya town of Chichicastenango to visit its renowned market. On the way, you'll traverse the Pan-American Highway, which stretches from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. As you get closer to Atitlán, you'll enjoy sweeping views over this expansive shimmering lake.
Chichicastenango is one of the largest and most famous markets in all of Central America, located in the western highlands of Guatemala. The market is held every Thursday and Sunday and draws locals from surrounding villages who come to sell handicrafts, textiles, regional clothing, and produce. Take a guided walk through this vibrant, historic market, then get back on the road and continue to Guatemala City.
Day 8: Fly to Caye Caulker (Belize) & Explore
The day starts with a flight to Belize City, where you'll take a short boat trip over to the exotic island of Caye Caulker. Settle in and spend the rest of the day exploring; you can rent a golf cart to traverse the tiny, car-free Caribbean island, which is just 4 miles (6 km) long.
Divided by a narrow channel, the laid-back island draws snorkelers and divers from all over the world for its pristine marine reserve, which is part of the Belize Barrier Reef. Take some time to relax at your hotel, go to the beach, or browse the souvenir shops in Caye Caulker Village.
Day 9: Snorkeling Tour on the Belize Barrier Reef
Take a snorkeling trip to the Belize Barrier Reef, one of the largest reef systems in the world. The day starts with a one-hour boat trip across the turquoise Caribbean waters to a top snorkeling area. Put on your gear and jump into the sea to discover a biodiverse underwater world filled with colorful coral and creatures. Spot everything from darting reef fish to manta rays, octopi, jellyfish, and even sharks.
Day 10: Free Day in Caye Caulker
Spend today relaxing on Caye Caulker. Sip a cocktail while reclining in a hammock, wander along soft powdery sands, or take a dip in the Caribbean Sea. You can rent a bike to cycle around the island, heading north to walk through mangrove forests filled with exotic birds. Feast on fresh seafood at a local restaurant or take a snorkeling or kayaking trip in the marine reserve.
If you're a keen diver, don't miss a trip to The Blue Hole, a giant marine sinkhole located off the Belize coast in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The journey takes 2.5 hours by boat. When you arrive, dive down into the former limestone cave system, which folded and collapsed when sea levels rose during the last ice age. You'll swim through striking coral gardens and deep caves full of stalactites.
Day 11: Fly to San Pedro Town & Explore
Day 12: Free Day in Ambergris Caye & Kayak Rental
Today is yours to relax and enjoy the wonders of Ambergris Caye. Head to the island's white-sand beaches to lounge on the sand, cooling off in the mirror-clear waters. The wonders of the Belize Barrier Reef lie just half a mile from shore, perfect for snorkeling adventures. There are plenty of boat cruises on offer that allow you to explore the treasures of the Caribbean Sea. Rent your own kayak to paddle across the topaz waters, looking out for marine life along the way.
Day 13: Free Day in Ambergris Caye
Spend a final day on idyllic Ambergris Caye, beach hopping, feasting on seafood, or snorkeling in the calm waters. For some final relaxation, enjoy the facilities at your hotel Ramon's Village Resort. Established by San Pedro native the late Mr. Ramon Nunez in 1987, the resort lies right on the beachfront.
Secluded, thatched cottages are styled after the Tahitian cabanas on Bora Bora and built from local materials by skilled local craftsmen. You'll be surrounded by tropical gardens dripping with flowers and shaded by palms dotted with Maya sculptures. Soak up the sun and enjoy a final evening feast at Pineapples on the Beach restaurant.
Day 14: Transfer to Belize City, Depart
Your Belize and Guatemala adventure ends today. Take a water taxi to the airport in Belize City for your homebound flight. Safe travels!
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