Over 12 event-filled days, you'll experience the best of Guatemala and Belize on foot, by car, bicycle, boat, and even horseback. Your adventure begins in Guatemala with hikes up volcanoes, tours of Spanish colonial cities, and excursions on Lake Atitlán. After exploring ancient Maya ruins on horseback, you'll transfer to the islands of Belize, where Caribbean excursions like snorkeling the Barrier Reef await.


  • Walk the cobbled streets of historic Antigua
  • Go hiking and cycling in Guatemala's southern highlands
  • See ancient Maya ruins on foot and horseback
  • Visit Belize's islands and snorkel the Barrier Reef

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua Antigua
Day 2 Cycle Antigua's Villages, Farms & Ruins Antigua
Day 3 Pacaya Volcano Hike, Transfer to Lake Atitlán Lake Atitlán
Day 4 Lake Atitlán Village Tour Lake Atitlán
Day 5 Fly to Flores, Transfer to Tikal National Park Tikal National Park
Day 6 Guided Tour of Tikal, Transfer to San Ignacio San Ignacio
Day 7 Xunantunich Ruins Horseback Tour San Ignacio
Day 8 Rainforest Zipline Tour San Ignacio
Day 9 Cave Tubing, Transfer to Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
Day 10 Caye Caulker Free Day Caye Caulker
Day 11 Snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef Caye Caulker
Day 12 Transfer to Belize City & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Guatemala City, Transfer to Antigua

Historic buildings around Antigua's main plaza
Welcome to Guatemala! This small Central American country is bursting with deep culture, fascinating history, and stunning natural beauty. You'll experience all of these qualities, beginning with the aforementioned history. Upon arrival at the airport in Guatemala City, a driver will pick you up for the one-hour ride west to Antigua. The original capital of Guatemala back in the 16th century is today one of the most well-preserved Spanish colonial cities in the Americas.
Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and can then head out and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk the cobbled streets to the historic Old Town area around the main plaza. Nearby you can visit 18th-century landmarks like the Palacio del Ayuntamiento ("City Hall Palace"); Casa Santo Domingo, a former convent that is now a hotel and museum; the Palace of the Captain's General; and La Merced Church, whose canary-yellow Baroque facade is an icon of the city. Be sure to stop on your walk to try local street food like tostadas and empanadas (called dobladas in Guatemala). 

Day 2: Cycle Antigua's Villages, Farms & Ruins

See how hand-woven textiles are made on today's cycling tour
This morning you'll leave the city on a bike trip around the beautiful highlands and the Almolonga Valley. During this four-hour excursion, you'll cycle around country farms, local villages, and the ruins of old churches. One highlight is Ciudad Vieja. This historic city was once the capital of Guatemala but was abandoned after a devastating earthquake in 1541. Today it's a quiet place with a nice plaza, a restored colonial church, and a plaque commemorating the site of the first Catholic mass in the country.
Continuing south to the base of the Agua volcano. Here, you'll tour a macadamia farm and explore San Antonio Aguas Calientes, a mountain town famous as a center for weaving. Over 50% of the population here are women, most of whom have been practicing traditional weaving methods just as their Maya ancestors have done for thousands of years. They offer workshops where you can learn traditional weaving methods to turn cotton textiles into beautiful handmade garments. 
Return to Antigua at around midday for lunch. You can then spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel or take the shuttle up to Cerro Santo Domingo., a hilltop viewpoint with its own cultural park. Here, you can walk around the impressive sculpture garden while enjoying stunning views over Antigua. Incidentally, it's also an excellent spot to watch the sunset over some happy-hour cocktails.

Day 3: Pacaya Volcano Hike, Transfer to Lake Atitlán

Hike through lava fields to reach the summit of Pacaya  

Today, you'll trade the mountain bike for hiking boots. This morning's excursion is a guided climb up the 8,370-foot (2,552 m) Pacaya volcano, whose slopes are home to some of the most impressive volcanic landscapes in Central America. Set in its own national park, Pacaya cuts an imposing figure with a continuous plume of smoke drifting from its summit and the massive lava field at the base of its caldera.

The trip up and back takes about six hours, but horses are an option for those who'd prefer a more relaxed ascent. Upon arrival at the summit, you'll enjoy a picnic lunch amid panoramic views (you can even roast marshmallows over volcanic vents). The hike down traverses more dried lava fields before descending through tropical forests and farmland on your way back to Antigua. Once there, you'll hop in a vehicle for the three-hour drive west to Lake Atitlán, the most famous lake in the country. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel.

Day 4: Lake Atitlán Village Tour

See the highlights around Lake Atitlán on today's village tour
Plan your trip to Guatemala
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Board a boat this morning for a tour around the villages dotting the lakeshore. Along with a local guide, you'll stop at towns that are far off the tourist trail and which offer a truly authentic cultural experience. For example, you'll get to visit a local women's weaving co-op and see how they turn cotton into beautiful textiles by hand. You'll also visit a shrine to the infamous Maya saint of Maximon, known for his depraved behavior. When the tour is over, you'll return to the hotel and will have the rest of the day free.

Day 5: Fly to Flores, Transfer to Tikal National Park

The ancient ruins at Tikal National Park
In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the ride back to Guatemala City. At the airport, you'll take a one-hour flight to the lake town of Flores, the gateway to the legendary Tikal National Park. Upon arrival in Flores, another driver will be waiting to transfer you 1.5 hours north into the national park, where your hotel is located.

Day 6: Guided Tour of Tikal, Transfer to San Ignacio

The Great Jaguar Temple in Tikal
Temple I (the Great Jaguar Temple), in Tikal
Today you'll visit the famous Tikal National Park, 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 Classic Maya period (250-900 CE). It features the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas: Temple IV, which stands 270 feet (70 m) tall.

Along with an expert guide, you'll explore this vast complex of temples and pyramids on a half-day tour. 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 like toucans and howler monkeys. Afterward, you'll leave Tikal National Park and transfer east to the border with Belize. After crossing the border you'll arrive in the nearby town of San Ignacio, where you'll check in to your hotel for the night.

Day 7: Xunantunich Ruins Horseback Tour

Ride around the Xunantunich ruins on horseback
In the morning, you'll leave San Ignacio for a half-day tour of the nearby archeological site of Xunantunich. Rather than taking a car to the ruins of this ancient Maya city, you'll be riding there on horseback. The tour begins at a local stable where you'll meet your riding guide, mount your horse, and depart. The ride to Xunantunich takes you along a well-maintained trail through a large private farm, along the banks of the Mopan River, and past the village of San José Succotz. Here you will cross the river on an old (but safe) hand-operated ferry and then ride up to Xunantunich.
When you arrive, you'll dismount and spend and begin the tour of Xunantunich on foot. This archeological site was once a city that reached its height of power during the 7th century CE but was abandoned around 750 CE. It covers 1 square mile (2.6 sq km) and you'll explore the main area's six plazas and 26 temples and palaces. Afterward, you'll ride to a nearby restaurant for a delicious lunch of traditional Belizean food. Later, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 8: Rainforest Zipline Tour

Zip lining in Belize
See Belize from the air as you soar through the rainforest by zipline
Head over to a local jungle resort to enjoy one of the most exhilarating activities in the rainforest: a zipline adventure. During this half-day experience, you'll soar over the jungle canopy as you feel the rush of adrenaline and the wind in your hair. The ziplines here are comprised of nine runs and 15 platforms that will carry you over and through the forest. The tour also includes a hike through the jungle and a stroll across hanging bridges. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel and will have the rest of the day to relax.

Day 9: Cave Tubing, Transfer to Caye Caulker

Explore river caves near San Ignacio by inner tube
Hop in a car this morning for the 2.5-hour transfer from San Ignacio to the coast. On the way, you'll make a detour to the Caves Branch River where you'll embark on a tubing adventure through limestone caverns.
After a 45-minute hike through the jungle, you'll arrive at the river and the caverns. Following a safety briefing, you'll gear up, hop in your tube, and let the current carry you into the first of two cave passages. As you float downstream through the caverns, you'll see hanging stalactites, towering stalagmites, and even some ancient Maya artifacts like pottery. During the ride, there will be opportunities to stop for snacks and swim in natural swimming holes. Once you've passed through the last cavern, you'll stop on the riverbank for a picnic lunch before returning to the vehicle.
Then continue to Belize City and board a water taxi for the 45-minute ride north to Caye Caulker. This tiny coral island (it measures just 5 mi/8 km long) draws snorkellers and divers from all over to its unspoiled marine reserve, which is part of the Belize Barrier Reef (the second-largest barrier reef system in the world). After checking in to your hotel, you can spend the remainder of the afternoon lazing in a hammock, sunbathing on the beach, or browsing the souvenir shops in Caye Caulker Village.

Day 10: Caye Caulker Free Day

Settle into a slower pace of life on Caye Caulker
Today is yours to enjoy Caye Caulker however you wish. Relax at your hotel, stroll the alleys of the town center, try a refreshing gelato, or hop around the different bars and restaurants to mingle with locals and immerse yourself in the culture. Another option is to head out and explore the island. Since cars are prohibited on Caulker, the most enjoyable way to do this is in a golf cart, which you can rent for the day. You can also hop on a bicycle for a ride around the island, or stroll around it on foot.

Day 11: Snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef

Snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef
Go snorkeling in Caye Caulker's clear Caribbean waters
After breakfast, you'll hit the water for a full day of snorkeling around the 61-square-mile (157 sq km) Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. The tour starts right at the dock, where you'll spot nurse sharks swimming along the shore. Then you'll hop on a boat for a one-hour trip to a secluded beach surrounded by coral reefs. In the water, you'll snorkel among exotic fish including rays, parrotfish, turtles, eels, and more harmless nurse sharks. Also included on this full-day tour are snacks and drinks on the beach. At the end of the day, you'll return to Caye Caulker.

Day 12: Transfer to Belize City & Depart

Sunset over Caye Caulker
Wake up early for one last stroll on the beach and a leisurely breakfast overlooking the water. Then you'll head over to the dock and catch a water taxi 45 minutes to Belize City and the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Journey Through Guatemala & Belize - 12 Days
Map of Journey Through Guatemala & Belize - 12 Days