Mayan Sun–Southbound

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Relax on white-sand beaches, bask in Caye Caulker sunsets and reggae music, experience a local homestay, explore gorgeous colonial Antigua and its colourful markets.

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Find your paradise somewhere between the blazing Mexican sun and the cool Guatemalan highlands on this 16-day odyssey. Wander Antigua’s cobblestone streets and its local markets before experiencing the diverse beauty of Lake Atitlán and its indigenous villages. Geared to the adventurer wanting to capture some of Central America's finest highlights, this trip will ensure that you really pack some punch into those postcards home.


Day 1 Playa del Carmen
Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Additional Notes: Shuttles and buses from the Cancún airport are easy to find and reasonably priced. You can also take the public ADO bus that has departures every 30 minutes from the airport to Playa Del Carmen for approximately MX 146 ($12 USD). Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Playa del Carmen
Start your holiday off with some hardcore relaxation. Enjoy a full day of free time to fill as you wish. Get your ruin on with a visit to Tulum perched atop the sea, explore the fish- and coral-filled seas around Cozumel on a scuba dive, go swimming in a cenote or at the beach, and save some energy for a night out on the town.
Day 3 Playa del Carmen/Caye Caulker
Mention Belize and you may conjure up visions of unbelievably clear blue waters, diving and snorkelling along the barrier reef and remarkable marine life. Belize also boasts huge swaths of jungle, ancient Mayan ruins, and above all, friendly, easygoing people. Belize is all this and much more! Included Activities: Border Crossing (Mexico - Belize) Transport: First-class bus (4.00 hour(s), 315km) Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours, 158km) Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km)
Days 4-5 Caye Caulker
Opt to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving or just chill out, Belizean style.
Day 6 Caye Caulker/San Ignacio
From the town of San Ignacio, opportunities abound for exploring Belize’s little known inland scenic beauty. With free time here, choose to explore the area by foot, canoe or horse, take a caving trip, or visit the Mountain Pine Ridge Area and swim in its inviting pools and rivers. It is possible to do cave tubing or visit the ATM cave on this day however it would require a group decision to do this with minimum numbers. The local operator would pick them up from the water taxi terminal and take passengers directly from Belize City to do one of these activities. Additional Notes: In San Ignacio, the accommodation is a rustic eco-lodge, totally surrounded by nature. Eat local Belizean food, swim in the river that passes by and wake up to the sounds of Belizean wildlife at your window. There are composting toilets and ceiling-less showers, making this lodge is one of the most unique stops on this adventure. Transport: Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km) Local bus (3.00 hour(s), 123km)
Day 7 San Ignacio
Opt to visit the sacred Mayan cave Actun Tunichil Muknal or check out the seldom-visited Mayan ruins of Xunantunich.
Day 8 San Ignacio/Flores
Cross the border into Guatemala and you immediately notice the difference in culture, with its heavy Mayan influence and Spanish language. Here we have entered Guatemala’s northeast jungle Petén region. The descendants of the Maya of Chichén Itzá migrated to the Petén area several centuries after the collapse of the great Mayan cities in the Yucatán. En route to Flores, stop for a guided tour of the ancient city of Tikal. Arrive in Flores, the capital of the department of Petén, a small island located on the second largest lake of Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Belize - Guatemala) Tikal Ruins Guided Tour Transport: Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours, 5km) Private Vehicle (1.50-2.50 hours, 100km) Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 65km)
Day 9 Flores/Rio Dulce
A travel day from Flores to Rio Dulce which is located in the department of Izabal, home of the largest lake in Guatemala, Lake Izabal was one of the most important water ways of the Spanish crown during colonial times. We take the road past areas of dense jungle and arrive at Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal and a port stop for boaters around the globe, on their way to/from Livingston and the Caribbean coast. Transport: Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours, 2km) Local bus (4.00-4.50 hours, 210km)
Day 10 Rio Dulce
Opt to visit the coastal town of Livingston by boat, go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall, take a sunrise kayak to visit groups of noisy howler monkeys, enjoy a hike combined with yoga at the Shaman Tower, or take a horseback ride through the rubber plantations combined with a visit to the Shaman Tower.
Day 11 Rio Dulce/Antigua
Today is a travel day from Rio Dulce to Antigua, followed by an orientation walk once you arrive. Plan your activities for the next day and enjoy some of the nightlife this beautiful colonial city has to offer. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will take you on a brief orientation walk to help you get your bearings. While you're here, opt to take a mountain bike ride out into the countryside or explore the fascinating markets, shops and museums within the city. Enjoy an included group salsa lesson and practice your moves out at night. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Salsa Lesson Transport: Private Vehicle (6.00-7.50 hours, 315km)
Day 12 Antigua
Relax with a massage, climb a volcano, soak up the culture of this colonial town’s many museums and cafes, attend a chocolate workshop, visit one of the local coffee or macadamia nut plantations, or explore the nearby hills and towns by bike.
Day 13 Antigua/Panajachel
Travel through the hills and fertile fields of the Guatemalan highlands to the shores of Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful spots in Guatemala. Twelve native villages, blue/grey mountains and three volcanoes line the shores of this lake resulting in a wonderful combination of unusual natural beauty and traditional culture. The area is also ideal for outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, wind surfing, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, and horseback riding. Additional Notes: Note: Please dress conservatively when visiting the villages and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies, or individuals who do not wish to be photographed. Transport: Local bus (4.00 hour(s), 100km)
Day 14 Panajachel/San Juan La Laguna (1D)
Embark on a boat ride across the lake before participating in a G Adventures-supported homestay with a local family. This area is known for stunning scenery and great shopping for Mayan handicrafts. Opt to bargain for colourful textiles and paintings at the lake's markets. Included Activities: Mayan Homestay Project Transport: Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)
Day 15 San Juan La Laguna/Antigua
We return to Antigua to spend more time to explore the city, shop, and check out optional activities in the area. Optional activities include visiting a macadamia nut and coffee plantations, biking around Antigua's surrounding hills and salsa lessons. Transport: Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km) Private Vehicle (2.50-3.50 hours, 80km)
Day 16 Antigua
Depart at any time. Additional Notes: Antigua is only an hour’s drive from the capital, Guatemala City, and airport transfers are easily arranged locally. Included Activities: Departure Day