Colonial architecture in ancient Antigua Guatemala city, Central America, Guatemala

Discover Mexico, Guatemala and Belize in one trip

Take the opportunity to visit three countries in one trip with this fascinating tour. Immerse yourself in the history of pre-Columbian civilizations by visiting the must-see places in countries that have preserved their authenticity and traditions. After exploring the Mayan lands of Mexico, change your horizon for a getaway in Guatemala and Belize to discover even more cultural and natural wonders.

 

Length of stay: 18 days

Kind: Multi-country

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Countries visited: Mexico

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Day 1 : Cancún

Arrive in Sunny Cancun

Arrive at Cancun airport and meet your transfer to your hotel. Spend the afternoon/evening settling into your surroundings. Option included : English speaking guide. Overnight stay at the Margaritas hotel.

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Day 2 : Cancún

The Pyramids of the “Black Jaguar” Ek Balam

After breakfast, travel to Ek Balam . This recently excavated site remains a major discovery in Mayan archeology of the end of the twentieth century. It’s possible to climb the steps of the Pyramids and enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding jungle.

Note: entrance not included unless otherwise stated.

Cenote X’canche: Swim in the Forest

After, take a bike tour (1.5 km, 20 minutes) from Ek Balam’s site entrance to the cenote X’canche . If luck is on your side, you might see the famous Mayan bird ‘Toh’ and its iridescent colours. At the cenote, go for a swim in this sacred place, or be adventurous and go on a zip-line or do some rappelling.

Note: entrance not included unless otherwise stated.

The Capital of the Maya East – Valladolid

In the afternoon, travel to Valladolid, a small and authentic Mexican town that is delightful to wander around. This peaceful town, built in the sixteenth century by Francisco de Montejo, is dominated by the imposing sobriety of the Franciscan convent San Bernardino de Siena. Appreciate the pretty pastel colored houses, while having some local food (we recommend the longaniza which is smoked pork sausage) and eating an ice cream.

At the end of the day, arrive at Chichen Itza where you will spend the night. Entrance fees Ek Balam. Option included : entrance Xcanche. Overnight stay at hotel Oka´an.

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Day 3 : Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza, Mayan Wonder: Exclusive visit before normal opening hours 6am-8am

Set off before sunrise this morning to Chichen Itza , one the seven wonders of the modern world. Built by the Maya, and then reorganized by the Toltecs, Chichen Itza symbolizes the unification of both religious cultures. The site, which at its height was the most important religious center of the peninsula, is the largest archaeological site in Yucatan. Explore the site in peace and quiet before the tourist buses arrive and the sellers are not yet permitted into the grounds. This a really special opportunity!

The Yellow Town of Izamal

Then, journey to the gorgeous colonial town of Izamal , entirely painted in bright yellow. The Franciscan convent San Antonio de Padua was built on top of a Mayan ceremonial center, and is the continent’s largest cloister.

The White City of Merida

In the afternoon, arrive in Merida , the capital city of Yucatan. Merida has maintained its captivating colonial charm and strong personality while enjoying great economical growth in recent years. You will find many historical monuments, churches and restaurants with both local and international food. The city is dotted with pleasant little squares which are perfect to relax in, have a drink and listen to a marimba-playing band.

Spend the evening exploring the handicrafts market which offers numerous souvenirs like the renowned huipils (very colorful embroidered woman tunics), the authentic Panama hats, the true Yucatecan all-cotton hammocks and many more. Option included : Entrance fees to Chichen Itza. Option included : english speaking local guide in Chichen Itza. Overnight stay at hotel Maison del Embajador.

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Day 4 : Mérida

Cenote Tour Off-the-Beaten-Tracks

Cenotes are natural pools of fresh and crystalline water, where the sun’s rays create spectacular lighting effects. On the way to the first cenote, stop at a typical Mayan market where the colors of fruits and vegetables are matched only by those of the women’s traditional clothing. Then, take some time to explore 2 cenotes, and take a refreshing swim in the forest. One thing is certain, you will leave completely transformed.

Conquer the City of Uxmal

The archaeological site is peaceful and not widely visited by tourists… You will love it! Uxmal , in Mayan language, means “Thrice Built”, but in reality the city was constructed five times. One of the best preserved sites on the peninsula, this massive complex includes The Great Pyramid, House of the Turtles, a vast ballgame court and the Governor’s Palace. The water is really scarce in the region which explains the omnipresence of representations of the rain god Chac-Mool.

Arrive in Campeche at the end of the day. Option included : Lunch at Doña Ana home. Option included : Entrance fees to Uxmal. Option included : English speaking local guide in cenotes and Uxmal (meeting at 09:00 am in the hotel’s lobby). Overnight stay at hotel Socaire. Standard room.

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Day 5 : Campeche

Swim in the Sea at Sabancuy

Today, take a trip down to Sabancuy , a beautiful fishing town. Tourists don’t come here very often and its peaceful atmosphere make it a perfect spot to chill at the seaside for an hour or two.

Then, continue your journey south through the colourful state of Chiapas. Arrive in the late afternoon in Palenque , where the coolness of the tropical forest can be felt. Overnight stay at hotel La Aldea. Standard room.

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Day 6 : Palenque

Explore the Maya City of Palenque

In the morning, visit the archaeological site of Palenque . It might well be the most magical site of Mexico. The majesty and mystery of its ceremonial centers still echoes from the past. At the heart of the Inscriptions Temple stands the crypt of King Pakal, discovered in 1952. It still contains the remains of the powerful monarch, covered with jewels and a mortuary mask made of jade mosaic. The surrounding jungle and the buried ruins create an awe-inspiring scenery and it’s easy to imagine the magnificence of the place, back when the temples and the palace stood in their full glory, adorned with richly animated esplanades, columns and ceilings.

Agua Azul and Misol-Ha

All year long, water comes down from the mountains and eventually creates magnificent waterfalls like Misol Ha or Agua Azul . This is the perfect place to try some grilled fish for lunch. You can sit near the water while enjoying a beautiful view. You will also have plenty of time to go swimming in one of the many pools shaped by the waterfalls

In the afternoon, return to Palenque . Option included : Entrance fees to Misol ha. Option included : Entrance fees to Agua Azul. Option included : Entrance fees to Palenque. Option included : English speaking local guide in Palenque. Meeting at 08:30 at the entrance of the site. Overnight stay at hotel La Aldea. Standard room.

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Day 7 : Palenque

Explore the majestic Yaxchilan In the morning we visit the archeological site of Yaxchilan (‘Green Stones’ in Mayan language), which is probably the most beautiful Mayan archeological site of all of Mexico. It was an important center during the Classic Era and a dominating power in the area. Yaxchilan was for a long time allied to Tikal and rival to Palenque. We reach the site paddling down the Usumacinta River on a pirogue (45 minutes). Discovery of the site in a “first exploration” atmosphere, among many howler monkeys and toucans. We go for a 2-hour walk between Mayan temples and stelae. Then, transfer to Frontera Corozal . Option included : Entrance fees to Yaxchilan. Option included : Boat to Yaxchilan. Option included : lancha to Bethel for the continuation of your trip to Guatemala. Overnight in Escudo Jaguar Cabañas. Standard

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Day 8 : Bethel

Passage to Guatemala :

Support by our local team in Guatemala at Frontera Corozal border crossing.

Transfer to Flores in the heart of the Petén. End of the day free to enjoy the sunset on Lake Petén Itza.

Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Maya.

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Day 9 : Flores

Tikal: Jewel of the Mayan World

Today is dedicated to the exploration of the impressive city of Tikal, built in the 4th century BC. The city reached its peak between the 3rd and 9th century AD.

Some 3,000 structures emerge from the rainforest in a mystical atmosphere. The Temple of the Great Jaguar faces that of the masks on the main square, in the center of the city. At a height of 65 meters, the Serpent Temple was the tallest building in the New World until the 19th century.

Nature very much still present at Tikal, engulfing every traveler who enters the reserve. Spider monkeys, pheasants, coatis, toucans and other multicolored parrots are on display. The screams of the howler monkeys can be heard for miles around. Odors of lianas and roots surprise you as you explore the site.

In 2017, new research techniques have uncovered temples still buried in the jungle. Tikal has not finished revealing all its mysteries…

Transfer to Flores on a peninsula of Lake Peten Itza. Option included : english speaking local guide in Tikal. Option included : Entrance fees to Tikal. Overnight stay at the hotel Villa Maya.

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Day 10 : Flores

This morning, depart for Melchor de Mencos on the border with Belize.

Pick up from the Belize side of the border. After about twenty minutes, you enter via a track into the forest of Mountain Pine Ridge, one of the green lungs of the country. The reserve covers 430 km² and is home to nearly 400 species of birds, numerous waterfalls and natural pools in a green setting. The setting is ideal for hikers and ornithologists.

Installation at your hotel, a charming lodge on the edge of the Makal River. Overnight stay at the hotel Black Rock Lodge.

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Day 11 : ATM Caves

The Actun Tunichil Muknal ( ATM Caves ) adventure

The interior of Belize and northern Guatemala are made up of limestone rocks that are riddled with caves and underground networks. The Actun Tunichil Muknal caves (known as ATM Caves ) are a perfect example. This is one of the most important excursions Belize can offer you.

After 1h30 drive from your lodge, departure for a 45mn walk in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. Once at the entrance of the cavity, it will be necessary to make a short swim to reach the interior (the water can reach 3 to 4 meters deep).

Three hours will be dedicated to exploring the impressive underground network. The reward is significant: several Mayan skeletons and artifacts are discovered with amazement. One of the skeletons – the result of a human sacrifice from the Late Mayan Classical period – crystallized into an amazing natural process. Overnight stay at the hotel Black Rock Lodge.

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Day 12 : Mountain Pine Ridge

Mountain Pine Ridge National Park:

The reserve attracts travelers for its exceptional flora and fauna . You can observe a multitude of birds, including some rare specimens such as the solitary eagle. The 5 big cats of Belize have taken up residence in the reserve but are more discreet: puma, jaguar, ocelot, tiger margay and jaguarondi.

Possibility to walk alone or with a guide tens of kilometers of marked trails on the private reserve. These trails lead to little corners of paradise for swimming in rivers and waterfalls.

Many activities are also offered on site to travelers: guided hikes, bird watching with specialist guides, Yoga, mountain biking, Canoeing or even Tubing (aboard a large buoy carried by the current). Overnight stay at the hotel Black Rock Lodge.

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Day 13 : San Ignacio

Crossing Belize on the way to Mexico

Transfer from your hotel in San Ignacio to the Belize – Mexico border (Santa Elena border crossing).

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Day 14 : Bacalar

Boat Tour on the Bacalar Lagoon (3 hour shared tour )

Today, take a trip on a small boat and discover the beautiful lagoon of Bacalar, as well as the canal which was used by the pirates to access to the lagoon and the town during their repeated assaults to plunder Bacalar . You can swim all morning in the multi-colored water and even a cenote.

Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight stay at hotel Rancho Encantado. Garden view casita with a/c.

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Day 15 : Bacalar

Morning of Leisure at the Laguna Bacalar

Spend your morning at leisure around the lagoon at Bacalar before heading to the white beaches of Tulum in the afternoon. Overnight stay at hotel Hip Hotel. Garden View.

Note: Resort fee 8$ USD to be paid on arrival, per room per night.

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Day 16 : Tulum

White Sand and Turquoise Sea

Spend the day in the Magic Town of Tulum , either shopping in the small boutiques, strolling up the central street, relaxing on the white sand, swimming in the crystal clear blue, Caribbean waters or sampling some local seafood. Don’t forget to visit the archeaological site to the north of the main beach. This World Heritage Site sits on a cliff edge facing the Caribbean sea and witnessed the arrival of the first colonists. In 1518, the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva set foot on the beach, under the stunned eye of Batab (Mayan governor of the time). Visit this ancient harbor (and the only one known) built in 1200 and which disappeared at the end of the sixteenth century.

Note : Transport is not included on this day. Overnight stay at hotel Hip Hotel. Garden View.

Note: Resort fee 8$ USD to be paid on arrival, per room per night.

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Day 17 : Tulum

White Sand and Turquoise Sea

Spend the day in the Magic Town of Tulum , either shopping in the small boutiques, strolling up the central street, relaxing on the white sand, swimming in the crystal clear blue, Caribbean waters or sampling some local seafood. Don’t forget to visit the archeaological site to the north of the main beach. This World Heritage Site sits on a cliff edge facing the Caribbean sea and witnessed the arrival of the first colonists. In 1518, the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva set foot on the beach, under the stunned eye of Batab (Mayan governor of the time). Visit this ancient harbor (and the only one known) built in 1200 and which disappeared at the end of the sixteenth century.

Note : Transport is not included on this day. Overnight stay at hotel Hip Hotel. Garden View.

Note: Resort fee 8$ USD to be paid on arrival, per room per night.

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Day 18 : Tulum

Hasta Luego Mexico

Depart from the hotel in private transportation to Cancun Airport and arrive at the terminal at least 3 hours before your flight is due to take-off (flight ? at ?).

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