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An Adventure from Guatemala to Belize

Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Lake Peten Itza, Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Placencia

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This example itinerary

from £9,240 $10,605 pp

17 days

HOME > DESTINATIONS > GUATEMALA> An Adventure from Guatemala to Belize

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Highlights

  • Visit the Colonial City of Antigua 
  • Stay on the shores of Lake Atitlan 
  • Explore Tikal, one of the largest Mayan sites in Central America 
  • Explore caves and hidden wonders in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve 
  • Snorkel or dive in Caribbean Reefs

This example itinerary

from £4,086 $5,602 pp

17 days

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+44 (0)203 137 1247

+1 (0)800 635 8124

What’s Included

  • Two nights with breakfast included at Las Cruces 
  • Three nights with breakfast included at Casa Palopo 
  • Three nights with breakfast at Las Laguna 
  • Three nights with breakfast at Blancaneaux Lodge 
  • Five nights with breakfast at Turtle Inn 
  • All domestic land and air transfers 
  • Guiding as mentioned in the itinerary

Example Itinerary

Day 1-2

Antigua

  • Marvel at the Spanish colonial architecture and the volcanic backdrop of this beautiful city. 
  • Explore the art and gastronomy of Antigua with a resident guide.

With a backdrop of volcanic peaks and perfectly preserved Spanish architecture, La Antigua is one of the most idyllic destinations in The Americas. 

Your private guide and driver will meet you at the airport in Guatemala City and drive you to Las Cruces in the centre of town. Las Cruces is an 11-bedroom property furnished with a stylish blend of colonial charm and contemporary comfort. The inner courtyard provides a welcome retreat from the bustle of town, and the veranda has spectacular views of the city and volcanoes beyond. 

During your stay in Antigua, we will arrange for a morning with our local guide to take you on a journey through the city’s art and cuisine. Explore the churches, cathedrals and tombs that explain Antigua’s early history. For lunch, our favourite Guatemalan chef will meet you in a beautiful mansion and prepare a delicious meal for you as he describes the culture behind many of the country’s traditional dishes. The house is filled with over 4000 pieces of artwork dating from the pre-Colombian era to the present day. 

Days 3-5

Lake Atitlan

  • Feast your senses in colourful lakeside markets 
  • Kayak, hike and cruise Lake Atitlan

Discover Guatemala’s highland jewel – a lake ringed by volcanos and traditional market villages. 

On your way to Lake Atitlan from Antigua, stop at San Juan Compala, a town known for its Maya Kaqchiquel murals. The murals depict events in Guatemala’s history, from its early beginnings to the signing of the 1996 peace accords. After lunch at a local restaurant in town, visit the Mayan ruins of Iximche, where temples and grand palaces once stood proud. 

Our favourite property on lake Atitlan is Casa Palopo. This charming retreat has unbroken views of the lake and a deeply rooted sense of Guatemalan culture. It can be hard to tear yourself away from this peaceful haven, but there is much to see beyond the terraces and gardens of Casa Palopo. We will include two days with a guide to show you the highlights of the region. This will include a visit to the colourful Chichicastenango Market and a kayaking and hiking adventure that takes you to a beautiful lookout point in the forest.

Days 6-8

Lake Peten Itza

  • Visit the Mayan sites of Yaxha and Topoxte at sunset
  • Explore the famous Tikal ruins

Fly to the lakeside town of Flores, the last Mayan stronghold to fall to the Spanish invasion. 

From Lake Atitlan drive back to Guatemala City in time for a domestic flight to Flores in the north of Guatemala. This brings you to another of Guatemala’s great lakes, Lake Peten Itza. Here you will stay at Las Lagunas, a 16-bedroom lodge on the shores of the lake and surrounded by pristine jungle. Las Lagunas has an excellent spa for rest and relaxation when you return from exploring the sites tucked into the rainforest. 

A visit to the Tikal ruins is likely to be one of the highlights of any adventure in Guatemala. This vast citadel was once home to an estimated 50,000 inhabitants. Your guide will bring the ruins to life as you follow in the footsteps of Maya royalty and everyday people. Tikal National Park is home to hundreds of bird species, tropical flora, and monkeys chattering in the canopies above.  

Tikal may be the primary reason for coming to this region, but we always suggest visiting the lesser-known sites of Yaxha and Topoxte while you are here. Arriving in the late afternoon, a climb to the top of Yaxha temple gives breathtaking views of the jungle canopy and lakes shimmering in the distance. Then board a boat and sail to the island ruins of Topoxte, taking in this densely shrouded site as the sun sets.

Days 7-9

Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve

  • Stop at the Maya ruins of Xunantunich as you drive from Guatemala into Belize
  • Settle into your forest hideaway on the banks of Privassion Creek

Take a scenic drive from Guatemala to the Mountain Pine Ridge region of Belize, one of the oldest parks in the country. 

It is worth breaking the journey at the ruins of Xunantunich on the banks of the Mopan River. The 130-foot El Castillo structure that presides over the main plaza ringed with temples and palaces is one of the tallest Mayan structures in the Americas, only exceeded by Caracol in Belize. 

Arriving at Blancaneaux Lodge in the early afternoon, you will have time to settle into your thatched chalet before dinner. The beautiful setting of this luxury lodge invites you to slow down to the rhythm of nature – swim in freshwater rock pools as waterfalls cascade around you. Most of the bungalows have an expansive private deck, and rooms are elegantly decorated with native art and local textiles. 

During your time in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, we will arrange for a private guide to take you to the Mayan site of Caracol and the Rio Frio Cave and pools. Caracol is the largest Mayan ruin in Belize spanning 78 square kilometres of thick jungle. The structure includes five impressive squares and a cosmic observatory. On the way back to Blancaneaux, stop at the Rio Frio Cave for a refreshing dip in the river surrounded by waterfalls.

Days 12-17

Placencia

  • Fly to the Caribbean coast and stay on the Placencia Peninsula 
  • Swim in the sapphire water of a limestone sinkhole

Flanked on the west by sparkling lagoons fringed with mangroves and on the east by the Caribbean Sea, the peninsula of Placencia offers endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Dive or snorkel in the Belize Barrier Reef, explore deserted caves by kayak and spot wildlife on Monkey River. 

Driving to the coast along the scenic Hummingbird Highway, you will stop at St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. The park features a cave where Mayan priests performed sacred rituals. Float by tube along the river and (if you wish) swim in the clear water before continuing on your journey to Placencia, where you will stay at Turtle Inn. Francis and Eleanor Coppola created this beachfront retreat in 2001. The 25 individual thatched cottages are decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings and naturally cooled by the sea breezes. 

Turtle Inn is located a short bicycle ride or walk from the charming sea-front fishing village of Placencia, where local artisan shops and seafood restaurants can be enjoyed. Beyond the shore, this is one of the best spots for snorkelling or diving on the Belize Barrier Reef. Explore exotic coral species and colourful fish, including parrot fish, angel fish and the great barracuda.

Michele

Great creative South Africa itinerary and fabulous guides. Client blown away, True Travel was wonderful to work with.

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