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20 Day itinerary in Mexico, North America

Mayan Explorer (From Cancun to Antigua)

During your journey from Cancun to Antigua, you'll get to see Guatemala, Belize, and the Mexican Caribbean coast. Discover the culture of the locals, ancient ruins, and the rich marine life.

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IsaacLeslieSandraEli

By Isaac, Leslie, Sandra and Eli

Overview

Physical Difficulty

Average
help_outline

Recommended Age

Everyone

Operated in

English, Spanish

GUIDANCE

On Some Day Trips

starting point

Cancún

trip type

Private

trip attributes

Cycling

Hiking

Meet local people

Rural home stays

Indigenous culture

Snorkeling/Diving

Outdoors & Nature

Travel with Purpose

Start

Night

End

Highlights

1

Hike through the mysterious caves of Kanba

2

Discover the ruins Chichen Itza and Tikal

3

Stay with Mayan locals in Guatemala

4

Snorkel alongside majestic rays

Itinerary

Standard ($) expand_more

Day 1

place Airport Transfer and Welcome to Cancun

You will be picked up at your accommodation/meeting point for your shuttle transfer to Cancun, where you’ll be dropped off at your next accommodation/meeting point.

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Casa 🏠 ❤️
Day 2

place Chichen Itza Day Trip (roundtrip from Cancun)

Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation this morning before being picked up by your driver and travel to the Mayan heritage of Chichen Itza,. A specialized guide will give you a detailed tour of the site, enjoying the quiet of the morning visit before the crowds. Throughout the tour, your guide will provide archaeological essential background to better understand the history of Chichen Itza. Discover how this large pre-Columbian city played an important role in the Mayan civilization around 600 AD to 1200, and remained a center of worship and pilgrimage until the arrival of the Spaniards. Even today, it is still considered sacred by the Maya people of the Yucatán Peninsula site. Like many of the cities of ancient Mexico, the site was abandoned, and its ruins were hidden by jungle. Hear how the site was discovered and excavated by archaeologists, earning the protection of UNESCO and today considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. They will explain the philosophy, cosmology and mythology behind this ancient place, such as the meaning of the stone carvings, pyramids, platforms, ball games. Visit the Temple of the Jaguars, the Temple of the Warriors and of course the famous pyramid, also known as the Temple of Kukulkan. Hear how a serpent of light seems going up the stairs of this temple in the spring and fall equinoxes (around March 21st; September 21st). Enjoy a lunch box on your way back to Cancun, where you will have the rest of the day at leisure.

Guide: Included for the day

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Casa 🏠 ❤️
Day 3

place Cancun to Tulum

Today, you will be picked up at your accommodation to be transferred to the vibrant village of Tulum, where you’ll be dropped off at your next accommodation. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Hotel Tiki Tiki Tulum
Day 4

place Local Community & Cenotes by Bike

Today you will embark on an exciting adventure in the jungle in which we will ride the bicycles to go from one cenote to another! After breakfast at your accommodation, you will be transferred to Chemuyil, a beautiful town with incredible tranquility, and visit three exclusive cenotes of the local community. Each cenote is unique and special: one of them is a cave-type cenote, another is an open cenote like a natural pool, and the third one is an incredible cenote for underwater photos. From the meeting point to the first cenote is only 5 minutes and from the first cenote to the second is 5 minutes, so all the cenotes are very close to each other! After this amazing experience, you will be transferred back to your accommodation to take in some beach time and finish the day chilling under Tulum starry skies.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Hotel Tiki Tiki Tulum
Day 5

place Tulum to Chetumal to Caye Caulker: Welcome to Belize

Enjoy your last breakfast in Tulum before being transferred to Chetumal, where you will jump on a ferry to the beautiful Caye Caulker. On arrival, you will be transferred to your accommodation and have the rest of the day to get used to being in a new country.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Colinda Cabanas
Day 6

place Snorkel with Sharks & Rays

Today we discover what's under the sea! Discover the unparalleled natural beauty of Belize's marine life with a snorkeling experience that you will never forget. On this half-day tour in Caye Caulker Marine Reserve, you will get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snorkel along the reef in complete serenity. Navigate through mazes of pristine coral reef among schools of tropical fish, and even get the chance to swim with nurse sharks and stingrays. See all this and more at three different snorkeling stops along the magnificent local reef of Caye Caulker.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Colinda Cabanas
Day 7

place Caye Caulker to Belize City to San Ignacio

Today we jump back on the ferry to reach Belize City, where we will catch a transfer to the laid-back town of San Ignacio. This town is easy access to Belize's top attractions, and it offers a very fun food and nightlife scene… it is time to mingle with the locals.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Yellow Belly Backpackers
Day 8

place Free Day in San Ignacio

San Ignacio is well-liked by both locals and visitors looking for cultural and jungle excursions, as well as natural beauty. Staying in San Ignacio not only gives you much to see and do in the city's center, but it also gives you easy access to other Cayo sites, making it a popular starting point for day trips. Visits to historic Maya temples and caves, hiking in national parks, cave tubing, zip-lining, and jungle horseback riding are just a few of the popular things to do in San Ignacio and around Cayo. While it's true that San Ignacio draws travelers seeking hard adventures, there are just as many pleasant ones to be had in this charming town. Walking tours of San Ignacio's downtown, paddling on the Macal River, bird watching, the Farmers' market, and a visit to the San Ignacio Resort Hotel's Green Iguana Hatchery are all examples of low-impact activities.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Yellow Belly Backpackers
Day 9

place San Ignacio to Flores: Welcome to Guatemala

Today we are leaving Belize behind as we enter Guatemala and reach the colonial town of Flores. On arrival, you will be transferred to your accommodation and have the day to scroll through this picturesque town.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Hotel Casazul
Day 10

place Tikal Early Morning Day Tour

Depart Flores at 4:30 a.m. today for your early morning excursion to the Tikal ancient site. At dawn, walk amidst gigantic pyramids towering over 200 feet to experience Tikal's enchanting energy and ancient magnificence. Listen to the sounds of exotic birds, monkeys, and tiny mammals in the forest and feel the humid jungle air on your skin like the Maya residents of this place did 2000 years ago. Immerse yourself in the forest at dawn for an early morning trip of the archaeological site to witness the jungle come to life as it awakens at daybreak, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with nature and wonder at the majestic pyramids hidden away in the jungle. This enchanted historic city is teaming with indigenous plants and creatures. If you're lucky, you might see a jaguar strolling through the park, but due to the high volume of people, the wildlife has moved deeper into the forest, away from the commotion. Howler monkeys are well-known for their loud growling sounds, which can be heard from a treetop above. Keep a look-out for beautiful birds like as toucans, parrots, eagles, and quetzals around the park. The remains of Mesoamerica's most stunning archaeological site and key Maya fortress are tucked away in the enormous Peten Region, which occupies 222 square miles of thick jungle in the northwest corner of Guatemala. Tikal National Park, designated a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1979, is the biggest excavated archaeological site on the American continents and one of Central America's most important natural reserves. Tikal, which means "Place of Voices" in Maya, was known to be one of the most powerful cities of their time, covering more than 16 square kilometers and dominating other tribes in the surrounding region as well as interacting with neighboring cultures as far away as Teotihuacan in the Valle de Mexico. Before being abruptly abandoned over 1000 years ago, the site was estimated to accommodate between 10,000 and 90,000 people.

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Hotel Casazul
Day 11

place Flores to Rio Dulce

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, you will be picked up at your accommodation for your transfer to Rio Dulce, where you’ll be dropped off at your next accommodation and enjoy some time on your own to get to know the town.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Hotel Kangaroo & Restaurante Las Mexicanas
Day 12

place Discover Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce is one of the lesser-known natural treasures strewn across this culturally diverse and historically vilified country. One of Guatemala's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites is right down the road from Rio Dulce. The pleasant river is also home to harmful banana, rubber, and palm oil plants. Nonetheless, it features unfathomably rich areas of woods and waterways. They are manatees in the oceans and monkeys in the trees. There's a colonial fort nearby. There are restaurants along the river. In short, there is much to do in Rio Dulce. Enjoy a day at leisure discovering this natural hub,

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Hotel Kangaroo & Restaurante Las Mexicanas
Day 13

place Rio Dulce to Lanquin

It is time to leave Rio Dulce behind and jump on a transfer to Lanquin, a small mountain town in the Alta Verapaz province. And getting there is difficult no matter where you come from (read: a long, bad and bumby road, that can take hours). A visit to Lanquin, on the other hand, is a must. It is your gateway to one of the most beautiful surroundings, including Semuc Champey, vistas overlooking a lush jungle, thrilling caves with millions of bats, and tubing and rafting chances. On arrival, you will be transferred at your accommodation and have the rest of the day to get acquainted with this little town.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Chi Bocol Community Hostel
Day 14

place Semuc Champey & Kanba Caves Tour

Today we hike through the mysterious Kanba caves (at your own risk), which are filled with extraordinary limestone formations distributed among an endless stretch of different chambers (the end of the cave system has yet to be discovered) housing a sharp pointed rock altar where ancient Maya once performed sacred rituals. The Maya people of Guatemala continue to undertake spiritual rites here, believing that the cave is the "heart of heaven" where millennia' worth of secrets are kept. Swim and go river tubing in the crystalline waters of Semuc Champey, where natural pools filled with fresh mountain spring water are located atop a 300-meter-long limestone bridge. The Cahabón River flows beneath the bridge, where you can swim in the calm waters in a lovely natural setting surrounded by native flora and species. At the bridge's terminus, you'll see waterfalls over 40 feet high as the water from the pools rejoins the Cahabon River. The color of the water changes frequently based on elements such as season, sun, and rainfall, which is a feature of the national park that makes it an idyllic and awe-inspiring location to experience and photograph.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Chi Bocol Community Hostel
Day 15

place Lanquin to Panajachel & Lake Atitlan

Today we depart for Lake Atitlan, home to the small village of Panajachel. Panajachel, popularly known as Pana, is a picturesque city in the Sololá department of Guatemala. The beauty of the surroundings, as well as the friendliness of the people, make for an unforgettable experience. Because of its climate and tranquility, it is an ideal place to unwind. It has natural reserves, a diverse restaurant scene, a nightlife, a craft market, and Spanish schools. After checking-in your new accommodation, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Dreamboat Hostel
Day 16

place Maya Homestay Experience

Today we depart for San Jorge La Laguna to start a 2-day local home-stay adventure. You will arrive and meet the family that will accommodate you for the night. The home stay will give you a genuine insight into the everyday lives of a local family during your trip by staying one or more nights with a family from the Kakchiquel Indigenous group in San Jorge La Laguna. Maya Experience Home Stays has started this home stay program in the village to give something back to the communities around Lake Atitlan, and also to give you a very genuine experience of living with a Maya local family to experience their culture and customs. This experience is very new to the village and families who welcome foreigners into their homes. As a responsible traveler, we as guests must be aware of and sensitive to the culture by behaving respectfully during our time with the family and in the village. Although shy at first, the villagers are very friendly and welcoming people. Make sure you ask permission to take photos of the people in the village, since the Mayan community commonly believes a photograph will steal their soul. You will most likely find the housing situation in San Jorge La Laguna rather basic, but the reason for participating in this home stay is to enjoy a real insight into Guatemala, so you can experience the culture firsthand and interact with the local community on a personal basis. We hope that you enjoy this very unique experience. A small gift for the family would be a nice gesture of appreciation for the family welcoming you into their home. Cooking or kitchen materials such as pasta, rice, sugar, fruit, vegetables or kitchen utensils are very much appreciated ($3 USD per person approx). Other materials from your home country or children's books (coloring, basic English, workbooks, almanacs) would be a great addition to the family library.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Home-stay
Day 17

place Maya Communities Lake Tour

You will be given directions from the Homestay to the meeting point. Then you'll board a boat for a tour of Lake Atitlan's vibrant indigenous villages. Why has this magical lake captivated so many people for centuries? The Maya word “Atitlan” means “place where the rainbow gets its colors.” Panajachel, one of the country's oldest towns, is home to mostly Cachikel Maya and an increasing number of foreigners seeking the tranquility and uniqueness it offers. You will visit: - The indigenous people of San Pedro La Laguna, like Panajachel, still live traditionally, dress conservatively, and farm as their ancestors did. Farmers grow coffee on the mountainside just outside town, daily hiking up and down to tend to their crops. This popular lakeside village is revealed as you walk uphill away from the docks. - Santiago Atitlán has over 32,000 Tz'utujil residents. It is a cayucos fishing and farming town (wooden canoes). Street hawkers target "gringos" looking for unique locally made souvenirs in the main square, which is accessible from the dock. Maya/Catholic sacred statue Maximon is in Santiago (also known as San Simon by the Spanish and Rilaj Maam by the Maya). Guatemalans make offerings to this deity. During Holy Week (March/April), the statue is worshiped. Observe this fascinating local tradition if you can. - San Antonio Palopo, on the shores of Lake Atitlan, is a fascinating village. Villagers wear intricately woven "huipiles" and women weave wool and cotton fabric. Imagining the villagers' peaceful life, farming and selling souvenirs to survive. Best place to buy a "huipil" handwoven tunic and support the villagers. Return to Panajachel after the tour.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: Dreamboat Hostel
Day 18

place Panajachel to Antigua

You will be picked up from your Panajachel accommodation for your transfer to Antigua, where you will be dropped off at your next accommodation and have the remainder of the day at your leisure. It doesn't take long to be seduced by Antigua's seductive beauty. There are three volcanoes to look out for as you stroll through Guatemala's former capital city's pastel-colored streets. Colonial houses have been expertly restored, and they sit adjacent to gorgeous ruins in a park-like setting. There are no fast-food restaurants in the city because it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: El Meson de Maria
Day 19

place Pacaya Volcano Trek

Get up close and personal with an active volcano and brag about it to your friends. Hike for two hours up the Pacaya Volcano slope, then trek onto dry lava that resembles a lunar landscape. If you're lucky, you might catch an eruption from the active volcano (depending on the activity of the volcano, you may or may not see eruptions or lava). Take unforgettable photos in a surreal landscape that will make you feel like you're walking on the moon. Take in the breathtaking scenery and views of neighboring volcanoes peeking through the clouds. Take your time returning to the mountain's base as you make your way down the slick, muddy slopes. (It should be noted that horses can be rented for the trip up and back.) We recommend that you wear comfortable trekking shoes and bring a flashlight and a walking stick with you (or rent one for a few dollars from local kids before you start your hike). If you go up the mountain in the afternoon, it gets dark and steep. Bring a raincoat or poncho if you are traveling during the rainy season, … you will definitely need it! Bring bottled water and some extra cash for snacks after the hike, or pack a few power bars in your day pack to take with you.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation:

  • Budget Accommodation: El Meson de Maria
Day 20

place It is time to say goodbye

After enjoying another delicious breakfast at your accommodation, it is time to say goodbye as your trip comes to an end. Depending on your outbound flight, you will be transferred to Guatemala International Airport, where this amazing adventure will come to an end.

Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included

Accommodation expand_less

  • Dreamboat Hostel
  • Casa 🏠 ❤️
  • Hotel Tiki Tiki Tulum
  • Colinda Cabanas
  • Yellow Belly Backpackers
  • Hotel Casazul
  • Hotel Kangaroo & Restaurante Las Mexicanas
  • Chi Bocol Community Hostel
  • Home-stay
  • El Meson de Maria

Meals expand_less

  • Breakfast (18)
  • Lunch (1)
  • Dinner (1)

Transport expand_less

  • Airport Transfer in Cancun (Mexico) and Antigua (Guatemala)
  • All Land and Water Transfers as per Itienrary

Activities expand_less

  • Tikal Early Morning Day Tour (Flores)
  • Chichen Itza Day Trip (from Cancun)
  • Local Community & Cenotes by Bike (Tulum)
  • Snorkel with Sharks & Rays (Caye Caulker)
  • Semuc Champey & Kanba Caves Tour (Lanquin)
  • Maya Home-stay Experience
  • Maya Communities Lake Tour
  • Pacaya Volcano Trek

Extras expand_less

  • English-speaking guide specialised in archaeology
  • Entrance fees to Chichen Itza Archaeological Site

Not Included expand_less

  • Governmental Entrance Fee (USD 23)
  • Meals & Drinks not specified in the Itinerary
  • Tips for guides & drivers
  • Travel Insurance

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FROM PRICE PER TRAVELER

$600.00 USD