Explore the highlights of Guatemala and Belize on this action-packed 13-day tour. Start in Guatemala, where you'll explore Spanish-colonial Antigua and lively Guatemala City, hike to the blazing peak of Pacaya volcano, and sail across Lake Atitlán to waterfront villages. Wander the ancient Maya ruins of Tikal National Park before crossing the border to Belize, where white-sand islands and diving adventures on thriving barrier reefs await.


  • Explore ancient Maya ruins at Xunantunich and Tikal National Park
  • Sail across sparkling Lake Atitlán and visit its villages
  • Hike to the fiery peak of Pacaya volcano
  • Stay on the tropical, white-sand island of stunning Ambergris Caye
  • Dive and snorkel the marine-rich Belize Barrier Reef

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua Antigua
Day 2 Antigua Walking & Street Food Tours Antigua
Day 3 Pacaya Volcano Hike Antigua
Day 4 Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Iximche Trek & Local Bread Workshop Lake Atitlán
Day 5 Visit Lake Atitlán Villages by Boat Lake Atitlán
Day 6 Return to Guatemala City & Explore, Fly to Flores Tikal National Park
Day 7 Guided Tikal National Park & Sunset Tour Tikal National Park
Day 8 Transfer to San Ignacio (Belize), Discover Xunantunich San Ignacio
Day 9 Transfer to Placencia, Explore Barton Creek Placencia
Day 10 Free Day in Placencia Placencia
Day 11 Transfer to San Pedro, Explore & Optional Belize Barrier Reef Snorkel San Pedro Town
Day 12 Free Day in San Pedro San Pedro Town
Day 13 Transfer to Belize City, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua

Take some time to get to know Antigua's cobbled streets

Welcome to Guatemala! Your driver will be waiting to take you from Guatemala City straight to Antigua. Settle into your hotel, then head out for your first glimpse of Guatemala's former capital. Wander the streets of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has a historic old town surrounded by smoldering volcanoes.

Day 2: Antigua Walking & Street Food Tours

Visit Antigua's top landmarks on today's tour

Today you'll discover Antigua on a guided tour. Visit top landmarks such as the City Hall Palace, the Palace of the Captain's General, and the San Francisco Church. You'll learn about life before the Spanish conquest and the city's rich history on the Paseo de Los Museos (Museum Path), where you can delve into the roots of Maya archaeology and culture. Stop at the famous Santa Catalina Arch and spend time in the lively main square.

Complete your sightseeing with a street food tour of the city, getting to know Guatemalan culture through its cuisine. You'll stop at eight restaurants and vendors, each serving up a variety of savory and sweet local treats, many with influences that date back thousands of years. At the end, you'll receive a list of some of the best restaurants and bars to visit during your trip.

Day 3: Pacaya Volcano Hike

Start early for your hike up Pacaya volcano

This morning you'll embark on a guided climb to the 8,370-foot (2,551 m) peak of Pacaya volcano, whose slopes are home to some of Central America's most impressive volcanic landscapes. Set in its own national park, Pacaya cuts an imposing figure with a continuous plume of smoke that drifts from its summit and a lava field at the base of its caldera.

After roughly two hours of trekking, you'll reach the summit and relish a picnic while admiring views of three nearby volcanoes: Fuego, Agua, and Acatenango. You'll have plenty of opportunities to explore geothermal hotspots on the cooled lava formations—and even use them to toast marshmallows! Later, hike back down across the dried lava fields through tranquil forests and farmland.

Day 4: Transfer to Lake Atitlán, Iximche Trek & Local Bread Workshop

Visit the Maya ruins of Iximche on a trek today

This morning you'll head toward Lake Atitlán, one of Guatemala's most popular attractions. The lake sits in a volcanic crater in the southwestern highlands and is surrounded by jagged peaks. Stop en route at Tecpan, where you'll have breakfast before beginning your downhill trek to Ixmiche, passing through forests, fields of crops, and volcanic scenery.

Later, you'll continue the journey by 4WD to visit a local village. Here, you'll take an artisanal bread workshop and learn how to make traditional palm mats. Meet the village's herbalist to learn how Maya people use native ingredients for healing and cooking. You'll get a fascinating insight into Maya life and history. At the end of the tour, check into your hotel on the shores of Lake Atitlán.

Day 5: Visit Lake Atitlán Villages by Boat

Sail across Lake Atitlán on a boat tour
Plan your trip to Guatemala
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Visit mighty Lake Atitlán's Maya villages on a private boat tour today. Sail across the lake, stopping to meet villagers and learn about daily lake life. In San Juan La Laguna, you'll join a traditional apiary and painting workshop and hike to Mirador San Juan, which local artists decorate with paintings.

You'll also stop at Santiago Atitlán, home to a shrine dedicated to the "Maximon" Maya saint. Take a tour of the Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum, founded by the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers. Their museum showcases the history and process of backstrap-loom weaving and the evolution of typical Tz'utujil clothing. Afterward, return to your hotel by boat for a restful evening.

Day 6: Return to Guatemala City & Explore, Fly to Flores

Take a tour of Guatemala City before your flight to Flores

Today you'll drive north back to Guatemala City and take a city tour. Highlights include an archeological site and market where you can learn about Guatemala's diverse history and taste its Maya roots. The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology, the Ixchel Museum, and the Archaeology Museum also make exciting stops.

In the late afternoon, head to the airport for your flight to Flores, a tiny town on an island in Lake Petén Itzá. Transfer to your hotel to rest before your adventure at historic Tikal National Park tomorrow.

Day 7: Guided Tikal National Park & Sunset Tour

See the Temple of the Great Jaguar in the famous Tikal National Park

Today you'll explore the famous Tikal National Park. The park is known worldwide for its grand Maya pyramids and sprawling ruins. The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts the former capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the fabled Maya civilization. Spend the day with an expert guide exploring this vast complex of temples and pyramids. Highlights include Lost World, Complex Q, The Great Plaza, and The Window Palace. Along the way, your guide will also tell you about Tikal's biodiverse wildlife, pointing out toucans, spider monkeys, and the distant calls of howler monkeys.

Watch the sunset from Tikal's 270-foot-tall (70 m) Temple IV (The Great Jaguar), the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas. Take in panoramic views of the landscape from the top of the temple. As you watch the sky change color, your guide will share stories of Maya mythology. Afterward, you'll head back to your hotel for a free evening.

Day 8: Transfer to San Ignacio (Belize), Discover Xunantunich

Explore the impressive Xunantunich ruins' palaces and temples

Say goodbye to Tikal this morning and make the three-hour transfer to Melchor de Mencos on the Belize border. From here, you'll cross over and meet your driver, who'll take you to your hotel in nearby San Ignacio, Belize.

Check in and then spend the rest of the day exploring the Maya city of Xunantunich, which lies on a ridge above the shimmering Mopan River. Tour the complex of temples and palaces; along the way, you'll learn about Maya culture and architecture and hear the story of the Stone Woman, a ghostly figure thought to appear in front of El Castillo.

Day 9: Transfer to Placencia, Explore Barton Creek

Enjoy some relaxation time on Placencia's white-sand beach

Head for the tropical Caribbean coast today, with a three-hour drive to Placencia. This white-sand beach is one of Belize's most beautiful, lined with palm trees and lapped by warm, clear waters leading to a biodiverse barrier reef. Enjoy some time soaking up the sun and relaxing in this coastal paradise.

Later, you'll take a tour of Barton Creek, the largest river cave in the country. Tour the collection of huge caverns used in Maya times for everything from fertility and agricultural rituals to bloodletting and human sacrifice. Return to your hotel after the tour for a free evening; stroll along the beach at sunset and tuck into a seafood feast at a local restaurant.

Day 10: Free Day in Placencia

Take a trip to Blue Hole for some limestone cave diving

If you're a keen diver, don't miss a trip to Blue Hole today, a giant marine sinkhole off the Belize coast in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Travel to the site by boat and dive 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.

Dive highlights include Half Moon Caye Wall and Long Caye Wall, underwater wonders teeming with marine life. The trip also includes a stop on the island of Half Moon Caye, where you can rest on a peaceful beach and visit a bird sanctuary where you'll spot white-faced and red-footed boobies—species only found on this island and in the Galápagos.

Day 11: Transfer to San Pedro, Explore & Optional Belize Barrier Reef Snorkel

Spot colorful fish and coral on the Belize Barrier Reef

Today you'll travel to Ambergris Caye, the largest of Belize's roughly 200 islands, also known as San Pedro Ambergris. Spend the rest of the day getting to know Ambergris Caye, inhabited over the centuries by Maya, European pirates, and Mexicans fleeing the Caste War of Yucatán. Peruse San Pedro's museum to learn about the island's history. This town has a fishing industry, historic wooden houses, and restaurants serving local favorites like seafood, tacos, and stewed chicken.

Take an optional snorkeling trip to the Belize Barrier Reef, one of the most extensive reef systems in the world. The day starts with an 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, octopus, jellyfish, and even sharks.

Day 12: Free Day in San Pedro

Find as many ways to relax as you can around San Pedro

Today is yours to spend as you please. Relax on the beach, shop for souvenirs in town, and enjoy leisurely meals in seafront eateries. You can also take an optional snorkeling tour to Hoi Chan and Shark Ray Alley, known for their incredible coral formations and large populations of rays and sharks. Savor your final evening by the Caribbean Sea.

Day 13: Boat to Belize City, Depart

Take a boat ride to Belize City, ready for your onward flight

Today your island adventure comes to an end. Take a private boat from San Pedro and head to Belize City, where you'll be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. Safe travels!

More Great Guatemala Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Guatemala? Check out these other Guatemala itineraries, explore different ways to spend 13 days in Guatemala, or discover the best time to visit Guatemala.


Map of Highlights of Guatemala & Belize: Ruins, Reefs, Volcanoes & Lakes - 13 Days
Map of Highlights of Guatemala & Belize: Ruins, Reefs, Volcanoes & Lakes - 13 Days