Trek though jungle backdrops to Mayan ruins and chill out on white-sand beaches under the Caribbean sun. Check out Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala and experience the region’s diversity. Wander colonial Antigua’s cobblestone streets and shop for treasures before experiencing the natural beauty of Lake Atitlán, its indigenous Mayan villages, and striking volcanoes. One of our most popular trips, this adventure offers natural wonders, excitement, and culture with enough time to socialize and do your own thing.
Orientation walk in Antigua. G Adventures-supported homestay project at Lake Atitlan with a local family. Group salsa dancing lesson. Guided tour of Tikal. Beach time in Mahahual. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Walk along cobblestones in gorgeous colonial Antigua, overnight in a local homestay, experience the vibrant colours of markets, watch the sunset in Caye Caulker, bliss out on white-sand beaches, explore ancient Mayan sites.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. As this trip crosses national borders, please be prepared to pay some border fees for certain countries ranging from $1 to $30 USD. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.
2. The Cancún airport is only 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen and frequent buses run on schedule.
3. Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 18, avg 14.
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Public bus, boat, van, taxi, walking.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Simple hotels (14 nts), local homestay (1 nt)
My Own Room Exceptions
Night 4 Lake Atitlán homestay, Nights 8,9 San Ignacio, Nights 11,12,13 Caye Caulker
Please note if you are a single traveller, you can expect to share accommodation with one or two other travelers of the same sex for the duration of your trip. Using multi-share accommodation when available helps us to keep our operating cost down, and these savings are passed onto you. If you are traveling with a friend or companion, we will attempt to keep your accommodation on a twin or double basis, however, ask you to be open to the idea of occasional multi-share rooms.
This tour also includes 2 nights (San Ignacio) at eco-friendly rustic jungle lodges, there are composting toilets and ceiling-less showers.
We embrace local culture while staying in San Juan in a Mayan Homestay. Here, you will be staying in a private room, but don’t expect luxury. Just as it is for the locals, there might only be cold water, and you may share the facilities with the family. It is an authentic glimpse into their lives.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
Please note that Antigua’s nearest airport is Guatemala City, Guatemala. Don’t get caught flying into the Caribbean island nation of Antigua; it’s nowhere near the start of this tour!
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). You must be able to carry your luggage to our accommodations and should be prepared to load it on and off of transportation, as porters are usually not on hand. A good size daypack is also essential.
- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Reading/writing material
- Cover for backpacks
- Concealable money belt – very handy!
- Fleece top
- hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat/Bandana
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport/hiking sandals
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Headlamp or flashlight
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, DEET bug repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Recommended packing list for Lake Atitlán:
- 1 pair of long trousers or jeans
- 2 shirts
- 1 fleece or warmer layer to account for cold nights
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Rain jacket
- Insect repellent
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Soap and shampoo
- Other toiletries as needed
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The currency in Mexico is the Peso (MXN), in Belize the Dollar (BZD) and in Guatemala the Quetzal (GTQ).
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.
You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques, as it is very difficult to exchange them in each country.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 50USD (20USD notes are ideal).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Guatemala exit tax: 10Q ($1.25USD)
Belize entrance tax: free
Belize exit tax: $18.75USD
Mexico entrance tax: free
Mexico airport departure tax: 632 Mexican Pesos (approximately 48USD)
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
City tour $20
Bicycle rental/tour $10 / $35
Coffee /Macadamia nut Plantation tour $20
Salsa lessons $4/hr
Santiago Zamora village tour $10
Lake Atitlan boat tour $10 per person
Bicycle rental $3/hr
Kayak rental $5/hr
Horseback riding $50 (full day)
San Pedro Volcano hike $25 (incl. transport + entrance)
Hot Springs $20
Boat trip to Livingston $20 (includes a swim in the hot springs)
El Castillo Fort $5
Horseback Riding $25
Birdwatching Boat Tour $25
Nature Walk $18
Howler monkey kayak morning tour $13-26 (depending on number of people)
Boat tour: Lake Petén Itzá $12
Guided tour of Tikal – $85 divided by number of participants
Entrance fee for Tikal ruins $20
Transport to/from Tikal $8
San Ignacio (Belize):
Barton Creek Cave $40 (4-hour return trip)
Mountain Pine Ridge $50
Full-day caving (ATM cave or Crystal Cave) $80
Horseback riding $75
Bicycle rental $5/hour
Mountain Bike tour $40
Butterfly farm $5
Snorkel trips $35 – $70 (half day/full day)
Blue Hole dive tour $200
Manatee & dolphins tour $80
Snorkel equipment rental $10 (day)
Windsurfing $25 (for board & instruction/hour)
Sea kayaking $15 (half-day)
Two-tank dive $60
Sunset Sail Rum cruise $35
Playa del Carmen (Mexico):
Snorkel rental $15
Ferry to Cozumel $25 roundtrip
Tulum transport and ruins entrance $10-40
Diving course $350
Scuba diving (for already certified divers) $50-120
Bicycle rental $25 day
Horseback riding $50
Dos Ojos Cenote Snorkeling Tour $50
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Associated Planeterra Project
The G Adventures for Good project – The Mayan Homestay Project is located in the village of San Juan. The project currently hosts G Adventures groups twice per week and another company’s group once per month. Planeterra’s initiative here is to help more families get involved in the Posadas Mayas program and current families to have more space by remodeling and constructing new rooms. The project also includes investing in solutions that reduce environmental impacts associated with tourism (i.e. waste and water management) and developing other small businesses to be linked to the Posadas Mayas.
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.
Allow USD420-550 for meals not included.
0 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 1 dinner
PRODUCT_LINE: CGAC, ID: 23711
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Antigua
Check into the hotel and enjoy this colonial city.
Antigua is only an hour’s drive from the capital, Guatemala City, and the airport. Transfers are easily arranged when you arrive at the airport, either by shuttle or taxi. Please try to arrive before 18:00 for an important group meeting where you will meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.
Please note that Antigua’s nearest airport is Guatemala City, Guatemala. Don’t get caught flying into the Caribbean island nation of Antigua; it’s nowhere near the start of this tour!
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Antigua
Explore this colonial city during an orientation walk, then get the feet moving to the beat with an included salsa lesson. Relax with a massage, and soak up the culture in one of many cafés.
Day 3 Antigua/San Juan La Laguna (1D)
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.
We will overnight at a G Adventures-supported homestay with a local family. Tonight, the group will be spread out among a number of homes, where dinner will also be provided. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will help you to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day life of the locals in this region.
Please dress conservatively when visiting the villages, and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies or individuals who do not wish to be photographed.
Mayan Homestay Project
Local bus (4.00 hour(s), 100km)
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours)
Day 4 San Juan La Laguna/Panajachel
Opt to tour the lake by boat, and enjoy free time to explore Panajachel. Bargain for colourful textiles, paintings, and jewelry.
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours)
Day 5 Panajachel/Rio Dulce
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.
Private Vehicle (9.00 hour(s), 400km)
Day 6 Rio Dulce
There are plenty of opportunities for R & R. Aside from boating on Lake Izabal, there are optional tours in the area to view protected manatees. You may opt to horseback ride through a rubber plantation, explore San Felipe fort, take the morning monkey kayak tour, relax in the thermal springs, or hike through the jungle-strewn trails in the Chocón-Machacas Natural Reserve area.
Day 7 Rio Dulce/Flores
Our final stop in Guatemala is Flores, a picturesque town surrounded by Lake Petén Itzá. Flores is well-known for its proximity to Tikal—the largest excavated Mayan site.
Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours, 210km)
Day 8 Flores/San Ignacio
Head north to the ancient city of Tikal before venturing into Belize. The spiritual centre of Tikal boasts the Mayan’s highest pyramids and abundant flora and fauna in the surrounding jungle.
Tikal Ruins Guided Tour
Border Crossing (Guatemala – Belize)
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)
Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours)
Day 9 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.
Day 10 San Ignacio/Caye Caulker
Hop aboard a local bus, then board a water taxi to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.
Local bus (2.00 hour(s), 110km)
Boat (1.00 hour(s))
Days 11-12 Caye Caulker
Enjoy free time to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving, or just chill out, Belizean style.
Day 13 Caye Caulker/Mahahual
Leaving Belize and its Caribbean reggae-tinged vibe, head north to the Costa Maya, Mexico, to the beachside town of Mahahual.
Border Crossing (Belize – Mexico)
Boat (1.00 hour(s))
Local bus (3.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 145km)
Day 14 Mahahual
Enjoy a free day for beach lounging and sipping seaside margaritas.
Day 15 Mahahual/Playa del Carmen
Head north to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the de facto centre of the Mayan Riviera. This once sleepy village is quickly becoming a popular destination among sun worshippers and partiers worldwide.
First-class bus (5.00 hour(s))
Day 16 Playa del Carmen
Depart at any time.
Playa del Carmen is located just south of Cancún airport (45 min drive) so you can easily head directly there without returning to Cancún.