Mayan Explorer: For centuries the Mayan civilization thrived, expanded, and eventually collapsed throughout much of the region we know today as Central America. A civilization ahead of their time in many ways, the Maya left future generations with contributions towards politics, mathematics, astronomy, agriculture, and of course their magnificent stone temples, ballcourts, and buildings they left behind. The Mayan Explorer is a cross-country package will put you on the trail of the Mayas from their magnificent capital of Tikal in Guatemala to the various sites in Belize, all the while taking in incredible flora and fauna, first class hotels, and enchanting local culture.
Destinations: San Ignacio/Belize, Flores/Guatemala, Punta Gorda/Belize
Duration: 10 days
*Price Range: $$$
*Rates inclusive of full vacation experience – hotels, tours, domestic transfers, and tax (excluding international airfare). Actual price based on length of travel, number of travelers/rooms, seasonal rates (high, low, peak), number of tour activities, and mode of domestic transportation.
$$$: At or under $1,200 per person.
$$$: $1,200 – $1,800 per person.
$$$: $1,800+ per person
Fly into the BZE International Airport where we will meet you and take you out to your waiting private transfer. You’ll head west into the jungles of Belize and the foothills of the Mayan Mountains until you reach the town of San Ignacio. Here you’ll stay at one of Belize’s most popular hotels, the much heralded Chaa Creek. Combining luxury with eco-friendly practices, a boutique hotel atmosphere with loads of amenities and activities, and a long list of awards (Conde Nast & National Geographic, to name a few) Chaa Creek is and remains one of the top hotels in Belize.
Sleep in, relax, and wake up to the sights and sounds of the Belizean jungle. After a day of travel you deserve to go about things at your own pace, so after breakfast you can enjoy any number of on-site activities on Chaa Creek’s 365-acre property like hiking, bird watching, canoeing or tubing in the Macal River, and of course their impressive butterfly exhibit and natural history museum. After lunch we’ll take you to your first Maya ruin, Cahal Pech. Settled in 1200 B.C., Cahal Pech is one of the oldest and smallest Mayan sites in Belize. It features 34 structures, two ballcourts, eight stelae, and several courtyards.
After breakfast you’ll leave the resort for a full day adventure deep into the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. You’ll spend today exploring Caracol, the largest Mayan site in Belize. First discovered in 1937 by a logger, Caracol was home to 180,000 inhabitants in it’s prime, a rival to Tikal, and still has the tallest man-made structure in Belize – the 140 ft temple Caana, meaning ‘Sky Place.’ After climbing the temples and reading the various stelae and hieroglyphics you will stop for lunch and then end your day with a refreshing dip in the picturesque Big Rock Falls.
Travel to Guatemala! We will pick you up after breakfast and take you to the Belizean/Guatemalan border. After the quick immigration process you’ll say goodbye to your Belizean driver and ‘hola’ to your Guatemalan driver as they’ll take you the rest of the way to the beautiful city of Flores. Set high on the hillside overlooking Lake Peten Itza you’ll find your sanctuary, the Francis Ford Coppola hotel named La Lancha. This exclusive, 10-room retreat features a charming mix of local Guatemalan furniture, fabrics, and carvings along with 5-star service and dining. Enjoy dinner in their open air restaurant overlooking the lake.
The big day has arrived – Tikal. The crowning jewel of all Mayan sites, Tikal was the former capital of the Mayan kingdom, the region’s economic and military powerhouse, and the epicenter for their spiritual beliefs. At it’s height from 200 AD to 900 AD, Tikal was home to over 90,000 people and covered over 23 square miles. Today it’s 3,000 structures still fascinate and inspire visitors from around the world, with the highlight being the climb to the top of the 154 ft tall Tikal Temple. Enjoy a private, guided tour to learn about both the Mayan history and amazing wildlife at this UNESCO World Heritage site and national park.
Enjoy another full day of exploring Guatemala as you sleep in, enjoy the views at breakfast, and then you can spend the day doing whatever peaks your interest. You can canoe and swim in Lago Peten Itza, the second largest lake in Guatemala, or enjoy a dip in their freshwater pool. If you want more local culture try a guided tour of Flores or Spanish classes. If you want to explore more you can cross the lake to enjoy six suspension bridges at Ixpanpajul and a canopy zip-line.
Today you’ll travel from northern Guatemala to southern Belize in just a few short hours. Enjoy a quick flight from Flores, Guatemala to Belize City, Belize, then one more short domestic flight to Punta Gorda in southern Belize. Here you’ll stay at the 5-star Belcampo Belize. Set on a 12,000 private property, this astounding hotel is as welcoming as the views are breathtaking. With 16 luxurious, private suites you’ll be treated to personalized service, fine dining, and an unbelievable amount of natural beauty.
Today you’ll explore your fourth and final Mayan site of this package, Lubaantun. Discovered in 1903 by Thomas Gann, Lubaantun gains its fame for allegedly being the place that F.A Mitchell Hedges and his adopted daughter, Anna, found one of the infamous crystal skulls. Legends and myth aside, what makes Lubaantun unique is it’s use of large, rounded slate stones without mortar as opposed to the limestone construction of most other Mayan sites as well as the large collection of miniature charm stones found here. After walking the ruins you’ll stop at an authentic Mayan village near Blue Creek for a traditional lunch and tortilla making. End your day with a refreshing dip at the Hokeb Ha Cave.
Enjoy your last day in Belize! With 12,000 acres of jungle Belcampo has no shortage of activities to fill your last day like hiking, birdwatching, coffee & chocolate tours, canoeing or kayaking in the grand river, snorkeling, and even fly fishing (it also happens to be an Orvis endorsed fly fishing lodge). Or if you’ve had enough adventuring for one vacation simply relax with a book by the pool or treat yourself to a spa treatment.
Enjoy a quick 50-minute domestic flight from Punta Gorda to the BZE International Airport for your flight home.
- Itinerary Highlights:
- Visit the oldest (1200 B.C.) and smallest Mayan site in Belize, Cahal Pech, with 34 structures and two ballcourts
- Climb the highest Mayan site in Belize, Caana, located at Caracol and then enjoy a swim in Big Rock Falls
- Cross over to Guatemala to explore the crown jewel of Mayan sites, Tikal, with 3,000 structures covering 23 acres
- Learn about the story of the infamous crystal skull supposedly founded at Lubaantun in Southern Belize and then swim through Underworld passages at Hokeb Ha Cave
- Enjoy lunch at an authentic Maya village, Blue Creek, where a traditional Maya family will host you for lunch
Best for: Family, Couple, Group, Adventure
Bucket list experiences: Mayan ruins, rainforest, Cahal Pech, Caracol, Tikal, Lubaantun, Guatemala, Lake Peten Itza, waterfalls, birding, caves, fishing
Accommodations & Location:
- Chaa Creek, San Ignacio/Belize
- La Lancha, Flores/Guatemala
- Belcampo Belize, Punta Gorda/Belize
Every Central America Vacation itinerary includes 24/7 in-country support. We’re here with you every step of the way to insure the best experience possible, from the initial planning stages to the moment you’re on your flight home!