Tailor-Made Holiday

Guatemala and Belize Highlights

13 days

from £3,625pp (excluding flights)

Guatemala and Belize are a perfect pairing for a holiday to Central America. The rich culture of Guatemala compliments the jungles and beaches of Belize. This holiday idea covers the highlights of both countries encompassing ancient archaeology, indigenous communities, wildlife, scenery and beach.

  • Discover the UNESCO town of Antigua
  • Visit a coffee co-operative
  • Stay in beautiful boutique hotels
  • Explore local markets
  • Relax on the white sand beaches of the Caribbean

This holiday begins in the old colonial capital of Guatemala, Antigua. Cradled by three volcanoes this spectacular setting boasts pastel coloured houses lining cobbled streets with colourful markets and some excellent boutiques, restaurants and bars. Antigua is a wonderful place to soak up the surroundings, people watch and potter.

Leaving Antigua behind head for the highlands and the renowned Lake Atitlan. This spectacular lake with a striking back drop of volcanoes, has many villages home to the indigenous Mayan people.  The towns are extremely traditional and traditional dress is usually worn by everyone. Take a boat trip across the lake to visit a textile co-operative, local market or the Mayan deity Maximon for a truly authentic experience.

Continue north to the Guatemala lowlands and by small plane reach the town of Flores, the base from which to visit Tikal.  Tikal is one of the most majestic sites in all the Americas.  Rising from the jungle vast pyramid structures tower above the canopy. The wildlife opportunities in the region are very good too.  Keen birders might be surprised by how much can be seen whilst walking around the site of Tikal and it is likely you will hear the ominous call of the howler monkey.

From Tikal cross the border into Belize.  Within a few hours of the hot and humid lowlands of Guatemala, discover the fresh mountain pine air and waterfalls of the Cayo District. Stay at the delightful Blancaneaux Lodge on the banks of the Privassion River. There are many activities to try in this region whether it is river tubing, hiking, bird watching or visiting Mayan ruins such as Caracol.  Finally make your way to the coast for a relaxing stay at Turtle Inn on the shores of the Caribbean. 

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 3625 £ 850

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Atlanta

Fly Atlanta to Guatemala City

You will be staying at El Convento, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Walking tour of Antigua
You will be met at your hotel reception by your private guide to begin a half day walking tour of Antigua. The tour will cover the architectural and historical highlights of this colonial city with a behind-the-scenes look at some of the many ruined churches, convents, and cathedrals.
Entrances are included to the Iglesia San Francisco, Antigua Cathedral, Central Park and La Merced Monastery. This tour is flexible and if you have specific sites that you wish to see please notify your guide.
If you wish to visit other monuments you will need to pay the entrances directly.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the grand colonial city of Antigua was once one of the regional capitals of the vast Spanish Empire. Peaceful and well-organised, the city is awash with elegant colonial architecture enlivened with pastel facades and clumps of colourful bougainvillea.

Squeezed between three towering volcanic peaks, Antigua's picturesque location comes at a price. Steam and gas are often visible rising from the so-called 'Volcano of Fire', whilst a series of earthquakes devastated the city in the 18th century.

You will be staying at El Convento, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Half Day Visit to DLG Coffee Cooperative
Your guide will meet you for a short transfer to the small town of San Miguel Escobar, just outside of Antigua. In town you will be met by a local guide from De La Gente (DLG), which is a charity working to support small independent coffee producers and promotes environmentally responsible agriculture in Guatemala.

This tour takes you to visit some of the families supported by this organisation where you can work side-by-side with small coffee farmers in their daily coffee processing. Pick, pulp, ferment, wash, dry, trilla, sort and grade the coffee (depending on the season), roast it over an open fire and grind by hand on a grindstone before sampling their handiwork. Coffee season is November to March. This tour includes lunch and a donation to DLG.

You will be staying at El Convento, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Antigua / Solola Market / Lake Atitlan

Transfer this morning to Lake Atitlan stopping at Solola Market en route.

Solola Market
This very traditional market draws traders and shoppers from a region that encompasses 19 municipalities around Lake Atitlan. Men and women routinely wear their traditional Maya dress and the market day is consequently an explosion of colour. The meat sections are not for the faint-hearted but this is a great opportunity to immerse oneself in a traditional and very busy marketplace and to marvel at a sea of beautiful weaves and vivid colours.

Lake Atitlan is a stunning lake set against a backdrop of three volcanoes. Aldous Huxley once called it 'the most beautiful lake in the world' and it is difficult to disagree. Not only is it beautiful, the area is also interesting for the traditional communities that live on its shores, each with distinct languages, costumes and cultures.

You will be staying at Casa Palopo, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Half Day Tour of San Juan
Visit the lakeside village of San Juan La Laguna where it is possible to visit a local textile cooperative to see the back strap loom in use and to see how they still dye with natural dyes. Guests can also visit the home and workshop of local naïf painters.

You will be staying at Casa Palopo, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Chichicastenango Market
Transfer approximatley one hour to the highland town of Chichicastenango. Pass through the central highlands home to the indigenous communities of the Maya people. You will see the Maya wearing their traditional dress, working in the fields, collecting firewood and in the markets selling their wares. Explore Chichicastenango with your guide and discover the this famous market and the fruit, veg, textiles and crafts on sale. Visit the famous St Tomas Church where Mayan rituals are peformed within the Catholic Church, demonstrating the way the two faiths have combined in recent times.

Fly Guatemala City to Flores

You will be staying at La Lancha, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Full Day Tour of Tikal
Explore with your guide the awe-inspiring Maya metropolis of Tikal where some 3,000 structures rise from the rainforest floor inhabited by a myriad of wildlife. Follow in the footsteps of both royalty and commoner as your guide leads you to the site of the majestic Great Plaza and its Temple of the Jaguar, while experiencing the sights and sounds of the tropical animals and birds that make Tikal home.
The city of Tikal flourished from 800 BC to 900 AD and the site today gives visitors a real reminder of what the Maya empire achieved at its peak.
Lunch is included.

Sitting in the far north of Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá is the second largest lake in the country. Surrounded by dense tropical rainforest, the encompassing area is rich in wildlife and vegetation. More than 100 species are indigenous to the lake, whilst cacoa, sugarcane, grains and tropical fruits are all cultivated nearby.

Lake Péten Itzá is also rich in archaeological remains, and the ruined city of Tikal lies close by. One of the greatest ancient cities of the powerful Maya dynasty, Tikal is a stunning ensemble of monumental pyramids, stone plazas and carved stelae.

You will be staying at La Lancha, Bed & Breakfast

Day 8

Drive from Lake Peten Itza to Mountain Pine Ridge (Road Journey)

You will be staying at Blancaneaux Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 9

Blancaneaux excursions and activities
Time to yourself to relax and enjoy the peace and solitude of Blancaneaux Lodge. During your stay visit the Mayan ruins of Caracol, Cahal Pech or Xunatunich set deep among ancient forest. Hike through the steep ravines of Elijio Panti National Park to learn about the medicinal plants that thrive there and about Belize’s Jaguar Research Project at Howler Hill. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the amazing stalactites and stalagmites at Barton Creek Caves and the Maya burial site at Rio Frio Caves.

You will be staying at Blancaneaux Lodge, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Drive from Mountain Pine Ridge to Placencia (Road Journey)

You will be staying at Turtle Inn, Bed & Breakfast

Day 11

Turtle Inn excursions and activities
Time to yourself to relax and enjoy Turtle Inn’s many activities from snorkelling to bird watching, from scuba diving to rainforest hiking, from sport fishing to kayaking in the Placencia Lagoon.

You will be staying at Turtle Inn, Bed & Breakfast

Day 12

Fly Placencia to Belize City

Fly Belize City to Atlanta

Fly Atlanta to London overnight


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

El Convento

El Convento

El Convento offers a collection of 26 suites arranged over three elegantly columned levels....

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Casa Palopo

Casa Palopo

Casa Palopó is stunning....

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La Lancha

La Lancha

La Lancha is a small and secluded jungle lodge immersed in the rainforest on the shores of Lake Peten Itza not far from the site of Tikal....

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Blancaneaux Lodge

Blancaneaux Lodge

Tucked into a remote region of the Maya Mountains and overlooking the gentle rapids of the Privassion River, Blancaneaux Lodge has 20 sophisticated cabanas and villas....

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Turtle Inn

Turtle Inn

Turtle Inn is a rustic, Indonesian-style beach resort on a narrow stretch of fine pearly white sands....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

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James Armitage, Travel Expert

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"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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