Important Please Note
For departures after 31 December 2014 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.
Caribbean There, Done That
|Belize, Guatemala, Mexico
|Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Mexico, Belize and Guatemala – three very tight Amigos. Play like a player in Playa del Carmen and take it easy in Tulum. Delve into island life and underwater worlds alike in Belize. Check out thetemples of Tikal, the markets of Chichicastenango and the lake vistas of Panajachel.
Some essential Spanish to get you by:
- Where can we surf? – Donde se puede hacer surf?
- It is hot, isn’t it? – Hace calor, verdad?
- A glass of red wine – un vino tinto
- I love you Miguel – Te quiero Miguel
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Playa del Carmen
- Playa del Carmen's a pretty awesome place to begin a trip. In fact, it's so awesome that the rest of the trip runs the risk of being a disappointment. Luckily, our guys at Geckos HQ strive to make every single trip equally awesome from start to finish. Kind of like a burrito.
- Arrive at any time on Day 1, there are no activities planned until the evening
- Tour orientation at 6pm with your guide
- If you arrive early, check out our list of optional activities for suggestions of things to do
Day 2-3: Tulum
These are some impressive ruins. They're all crumbly and clinging to a cliff-top over a lovely beach. It's an optional visit, but it's a good visit.
- Take a bus along the Caribbean coast to Tulum
- Visit the pre-Columbian walled city ruins (optional)
- Gain spectacular views over the tropical shores below
- Discover the Temple of the Frescoes
- Spend time relaxing on the beach or strolling along the white sandy shore
- Kick back and watch the waves with a margarita at night
Day 4-5: Caye Caulker
Head into Belize and catch a boat to Caye Caulker. Free time to dive/snorkel in the second largest barrier reef in the world or swing in a hammock under a palm tree.
- Travel by local bus to Belize (you may have to change bus a few times, approximately 8 hours travel)
- Take a speedboat to the palm-fringed island of Caye Caulker
- Enjoy this idyllic island and the nearby reefs during free time
- Perhaps explore the coral reefs and their abundance of underwater life, or just relax on the beach
Day 6-7: San Ignacio
- Travel by local bus to San Ignacio, passing through the capital, Belmopan, en route. Here, you can head to Xunantunich, a Mayan ceremonial centre, or wade through the waters of Actun Tunichil Muknal until you reach a whole bunch of 1,400-year-old crystallised skeletons. Creepy and amazing. Cremazing.
- Travel by local bus to San Ignacio
- Perhaps take a hand-cranked boat to Xunantunich, an impressive Mayan ceremonial centre with panoramic views
- Go on an optional day trip to the Mountain Pine Ridge area to visit waterfalls, warm swimming holes and a huge cave system including the Mayan relic in Tunichil Muknal
- You can also go tubing or canoeing through the region
- Choose to visit San Ignacio's butterfly garden
- Try one of the barbecue street stalls for dinner, sit on the street gnawing on a chicken leg
Day 8-9: Flores - Tikal
Arrive in Guatemala and stay in Flores, an island town on Lake Peten Itza. There's an option to visit the Tikal ruins, which is a bit like the set of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto movie, minus the violence.
- Visit the ancient city of Tikal - deserted Mayan ruins in the heart of the Guatemala jungle
- Journey to the temples in Tikal National Park
- Pass through dense jungle vegetation
- Perhaps climb to the peak of Temple IV and take in the spectacular views
Day 10-11: Rio Dulce
- Kick-ass activities on offer: Boating on the lake, manatee-spotting, thermal hot springs, hiking jungle trails, exploring San Felipe fort, relaxing. Rubbish activities on offer: Absolutely nothing.
- Head to Rio Dulce, the sweet river, by local bus
- Go out and absorb the atmosphere of this laid back Caribbean town, quite different from the inland communities
- Partake in optional activities, maybe boat on the lake, tour to spot the protected manatees or travel to the thermal hot springs
- Perhaps hike through the Chocon-Machacas Natural Reserve, or travel to Livingston to explore the San Felipe fort
Day 12: Antigua
- Travel through Antigua. You won't have much time to do anything as this is just a nightstop, but you'll be coming back here at the end of the trip, so don't stress.
- Travel to Antigua by local bus (approx. 7 hours), spend the night before continuing to Panajachel
- Maybe go for a walk and taste Tamales, a local dish served in a corn leaf, or try Pepian, three meats (chicken, beef and pork) in a dark sauce
Day 13: Chichicastenango/San Jorge La Laguna
Meals included: 1 dinner
- Chichicastenango's market is really famous, so you should go there before you stay with a family at San Pedro La Laguna. They'll cook you dinner and breakfast, and you will never forget your experience with them. At least, that's how it's supposed to work.
- Take a local bus to famous market in Chichicastenango
- Head to San Pedro La Laguna (approx. 1.5 hours)
- Meet your host family for tonight's homestay, the mother of the family will cook dinner and breakfast for you, meals are basic but filling
Day 14: Panajachel
Meals included: 1 breakfast
- Panajachel is surrounded by volcanoes and villages. Here, you can go swimming, wind surfing, hiking, kayaking, horse riding or paragliding. You can visit a local community cooperative or take a boat out to some of the nearby villages. Whatever you do, you'll have a ball.
- Travel to the neighbor town of Panajachel
- Go for a swim, wind surf, hike or kayak
- Perhaps visit a small neighbouring village by boat
- Go on an optional trip to visit a community cooperative, proceeds from these will return directly to the community
Day 15-17: Antigua
With three nearby volcanoes puffing out white smoke, you won't have been to many places quite like Antigua.
- Wind up in Antigua, a World Heritage-listed town
Perhaps journey to the summit of one of the nearby volcanoes
- Opportunity to explore the city’s cobblestone streets at your leisure
- The trip finishes after breakfast on the last day.
Nuts and Bolts
• Gecko's expert English-speaking regional leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
• Orientation walking tour in Caye Caulker, Flores and Antigua.
• Return speedboat ride from Belize City to the palm-fringed island of Caye Caulker.
• Free time to relax on the beaches of Playa del Carmen and Caye Caulker.
Summary of accommodation, transport & meals
- 15 nights Hotel
- 1 night Homestay
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, entrance fees, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
- Antigua - Coffee/Macadamia nut plantation tour
- Antigua - Salsa class (per hour)
- Caye Caulker - Kitesurfing (equipment and instructor)
- Caye Caulker - Manatee watching & snorkelling tour
- Caye Caulker - Snorkelling half day
- Playa del Carmen - Snorkel hire
Important - A Word on Central America
Central America is different and that’s what makes it such an fascinating destination. You will find that things don’t always go according to plan or work the way they do back home. Buses and planes often run late and sometimes the water in your bathroom can run cold and the electricity fail. The locals live with these issues everyday. In order to get the most out of your holiday, a degree of patience, good humour and understanding is a definite advantage. If you approach your holiday with an open and enquiring mind, the warm welcome you receive from Central Americans will ensure you a rich and rewarding holiday experience.
Public Holiday Inconveniences
Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, most museums also tend to be closed on Mondays.
Please note that this tour ends in Antigua, Guatemala. The airport is known as Guatemala City (GUA).
Emergency Contact: Viaventure
24 Hour Emergency:+502 5778 4052 or + 502 5207 4914
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
16 October 2014
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Geckos