Explore Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras & Belize and discover monuments, ancient cultures, colonial towns and beautiful scenery like volcanoes, lowland jungles, mangrove forests and picturesque beaches!
Travel Mexico and Guatemala, Honduras and Belize, and visit the most important monuments of ancient civilizations. Travel Mexico and Guatemala and you will encounter different peoples: from Latinos in elegant old colonial towns to colorfully dressed indigenous locals in crowded markets and Creoles in relaxed coastal settlements. Spectacular volcanic scenery, primeval forests, mangrove forests and picturesque beaches turn travel from Mexico to Guatemala into a very memorable experience!
Caye Caulker is a small limestone coral island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea measuring about 5 miles by less than 1 mile. The town on the island is known by the name Caye Caulker Village.
San Cristóbal de las Casas, also known by its native Tzotzil name, Jovel, is a town and municipality located in the Central Highlands region of the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Cancún is a city in southeastern Mexico, located on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a major world-renowned tourist destination, as well as being the seat of the municipality of Benito Juárez.
Today we will visit the Mayan land and the well-preserved Mayan city of Chichen Itza. It was founded in the 6th Century AD and conquered by the Toltecs in the 11th Century. The Toltec had a big impact on the architecture of the building. The central pyramid ‘El Castillo’ particularly testifies to this. Later we will continue to Mérida, one of the oldest colonial cities in Latin America. Here you can explore the city’s markets, streets and parks as well as real Mexican life.
We continue our journey on a luxurious bus to the ruins of the city of Palenque, which are surrounded by rainforest. The drive will take approximately 8 to 9 hours. This magnificent site is located in the jungle at the foot of the mountains of the Sierra Madre and it exudes a magical atmosphere. As one of the most important archaeological finds of the New World it is still in excellent condition. Only a fraction of the village was excavated and restored. Countless ancient buildings, which are completely overgrown by the jungle, can be found in the nearby forest. The Pyramid of Inscriptions is the largest and most famous building. You will also have the chance to take a trip to the 35m high Misol-Ha waterfalls and rapids and the small waterfalls of Agua Azul. Here you can swim and just enjoy the sunshine.
On Day 5 we make our way through the mountains to the pretty colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas. This usually takes between 5 and 6 hours excluding stops.
This town is surrounded by fascinating villages of the Tzotzil, Tzeltzal and Tzojolabal Indians, who sell their colourful, woven handicrafts. If you are interested in the indigenous population of the Lacandón peoples, you should not miss the visit Na Bolom. It was once the home of the Danish archaeologist Frans Blom and his wife, Gertrude Duby Blom, a Swiss natural scientist. You will have also the opportunity to visit a number of surrounding villages, such as San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. San Juan Chamula is a small settlement and has a white church with a richly decorated entrance.
We will travel in our own bus or use public transport to get to the Guatemalan border. You will notice the change of scenery, people and houses. Guatemala, with its spectacular volcanoes, dense jungle and wonderful people is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. We will continue to Lake Atitlan, where you will see three volcanoes on the opposite shore of the lake. Panajachel is the starting point for visiting the lakeside villages.
Drive right through the centre of the Smokies, along the spectacular Newfound Gap Road peaking at 5,046 feet, then into North Carolina. Stop at the 7,500 acre grounds of Biltmore Estate, built by George Vanderbilt, grandson of the famous railroad magnate, Cornelius Vanderbilt. Then onto the dramatic Chimney Rock. Take an elevator carved through solid rock up to the granite monolith for views over Hickory Nut Gorge. Overnight in the Asheville area, hometown of American author Thomas Wolfe.
Day 10 marks the start of our journey to Antigua. On the way we will stop in Chichicastenango and visit Guatemala’s most colourful indigenous market where you can buy plenty of souvenirs. The locals are wonderfully dressed with their bright hand-embroidered clothing. In the Santo Tomás church an interesting mix of Christian and Mayan rituals are performed every day. Just outside the church is a flower market. On public holidays, the tribal elders are adorned with feathers and there is a procession to church.
The day begins with a visit to Natural Bridge, a 215 foot high arch in a wooded setting, once owned by Thomas Jefferson. George Washington’s initials are still visible on the cliffside, from his work here as a young surveyor. This afternoon’s highlight is the graceful home of the third President, Thomas Jefferson. The estate, named Monticello, reflects Jefferson’s skills as an artist, architect, and designer. It is the only house in the US that is on the United Nations’ World Heritage List of international treasures. We follow with a short sightseeing tour of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy in the Civil War. The day ends in Williamsburg, between the James and York Rivers, where the very earliest European settlers established their first colonies.
We will cross the border to Honduras to visit Copán. Copán is located in a spectacular valley. You will see a lot of tobacco plantations while passing through this valley. This extensive Maya complex is famous for its decorated stellae which are stone pillars. The ‘Hieroglyphic Stairway’ is regarded the most impressive monument from the Mayan era. Hieroglyphic inscriptions decorate each of the 63 steps – the longest Mayan text that has ever been discovered.
We return to Guatemala and continue our journey to the tropical region of Río Dulce, located on a warm and fertile coast. In the morning you can join an optional sailing excursion from Río Dulce that heads straight through Rio Dulce down to the Caribbean coast. The journey will take you through cliffs as well as huge evergreen trees in the tropical forest. On the banks of the river you can see huts on stilts made by the Kekchi Indians who live off fish and birds.
We continue to Flores, situated in the biggest jungle in Central America. We will remain here for two nights. On the morning of Day 15 we will go by bus to Tikal, a town which is located 60km inside the jungle. This is the last and perhaps the finest of the ancient Mayan cities (admission fee not included). The most important parts of the city were taken from the jungle to be renovated. There are temples, palaces, sacrificial sites and five great pyramids to see.
On Day 17 we cross the Belizean border. After a speedboat ride across the sea we will arrive at Caye Caulker (estimated travel time: 5 hours without stops, including a 40 minute boat ride). The coral island of Caye Caulker is part of a 200km long barrier reef along the coast. The island is a typically laid-back Caribbean place where mangrove forests grow along its coast. Alternatively, you can book onto a trip and look out for manatees, sharks, rays and turtles. In the evening you can indulge yourself with a piña colada on a beach.
In the early morning we will return by speedboat back to Mexico then drive by bus to Playa del Carmen, which has lots of cosy bars and restaurants and a breathtaking beach. We will stay in a modest hotel, situated only five minutes from the beach and centre. Here you can enjoy the last days of the trip and shop for some last minute souvenirs.
The last day of our journey together has arrived. Check Out time from the hotel is at 12pm. Cancún International airport is only an hour drive from the hotel. We hope you have had an unforgettable holiday in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.