Guatemala & Belize
Despite being bordered by two oceans, Guatemala isn’t a beach destination, but rather a glorious mix of stunning colonial cities, peaceful lakes, indigenous villages, ancient ruins and pristine rainforests.
Antigua Guatemala is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Latin America and the country’s stand out must-see destination. Cobbled streets with picture perfect pastel coloured houses sit beneath the imposing Pacaya volcano, and as a tourist hotspot, the town is home to fantastic boutique hotels and excellent restaurants.
For something a little more relaxing, the crystal clear waters of Lake Atitlan are another A2A favourite. The lake is surrounded by indigenous villages which are among the most authentic you will see anywhere in the region, and it is a great spot for some light adventure as you can kayak on the lake, horseback ride and hike through the surrounding countryside. Nearby, the fantastic (and fantastically named) Chichicastenango market, which is one of the country’s largest, still serves nearby local villages who walk for hours to pedal their wares. It is also a shoppers dream for visitors, filled with colourful Guatemalan textiles, jewellery and pottery.
The north of the country, Tikal is one of the largest Mayan archaeological sites, with thousands of structures, many of which are yet to be excavated, located deep in the jungle. It is a fascinating place to explore for a day, and it is possible to climb some of the towers, from where you will see the tops of temples poking through the canopy. While Tikal only receives a fraction of the number of visitors that some more well-known Mayan and Incan sites have to deal with, there are much more remote Mayan sites still to be visited. For the ultimate adventure, ‘glamping’ at the remote ruins of Uaxactun and enjoying a candle-lit dinner at the base of the temple is a truly magical experience.
Just across the border into Belize, Cayo district is all about adventure. Hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding, caving and kayaking are just some of the activities on offer, thanks to a dense jungle dotted with caves, rivers and waterfalls. As part of the Maya world, there are also some superb ancient ruins in the region, namely Caracol, which are among the least visited of any Mayan sites. There are several excellent jungle lodges to stay at too, so there is no need to miss out on your creature comforts to enjoy one of Central America’s most adventurous spots.
The Belizean coast is not only stunning and great for a post-jungle retreat with a handful of luxury beachside lodges to choose from, but it is also superb for diving. The reef system here is the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the incredible Blue Hole is surely on any divers bucket list.
Sample Itinerary for Guatemala & Belize
Landing between the towing volcanoes surrounding Guatemala City, your private guide will be waiting to whisk you away from the metropolis and within an hour, you will arrive at the perfectly preserved colonial capital of Antigua.
This is truly one of the most stunning cities in the Americas, and there is no better place to experience Antigua's colonial majesty than at a luxurious and historic boutique hotel.
Discover the many charms of Antigua and its surrounding areas. Explore the hidden cobblestone streets of old Antigua, full of century old churches, convents and cathedrals. Embark on a culinary journey through the city tasting the local delights before being treated to a full Guatemalan banquet, traditionally cooked in a 300 year old kitchen.
Leave the city limits and head to the nearby Pacaya volcano, climbing through lush forests before reaching the summit to be awarded with breathtaking, panoramic views all the way to El Salvador.
Leaving Antigua, visit the highland town of Chichicastenango for the largest and most colourful market in Central America. Continue on to one of Guatemala's most spectacular sights, Lake Atitlan. The lake is in a massive volcano crater and is surrounded by many villages in which Maya culture is still prevalent and traditional dress is still worn.
Visit the local villages, learn the traditional art of weaving and hike the surrounding hills to fully appreciate the beauty of this area. At the end of each day, return to your luxurious lodging at the most famous luxury address in Guatemala.
From the shores of Lake Atitlan, a short flight will transport you to the ancient centre of Mayan Culture. Set in the lush rainforest of Tikal National Park is one of the Mayan world's greatest architectural achievements, the sprawling city and temple complex of Tikal. Explore these incredible ruins built close to 3000 years ago, some of which are almost perfectly preserved. Your private expert guide will really bring this impressive archeological complex alive.
After exploring this Mayan city, you will always be happy to return to your home away from home, a luxury eco lodge built right in the rainforest, overlooking a beautiful lagoon.
Driving north from Tikal, you will cross the border to Belize. This scenic drive will pass through Mayan ruins and lush rainforests before arriving at the glamorous Blancaneaux Lodge.
Located in Western Belize, its remote mountain setting allows you to explore the ancient civilization of the Maya then return to your own private thatched roof cabana, rich with Guatemalan décor and nestled in the foliage of the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. It really is a stunning location and close to some incredible sights such as the colourful Belize butterfly farm and the incredible ancient Mayan underworld cave network which can only be discovered by canoe.
Leaving the rainforest behind, it is time to head to the coast to discover the world's second largest Barrier Reef. Staying at a luxurious resort in a seafront cottage, experience the popular seaside town of Placencia in southern Belize.
Enjoy a snorkelling trip to discover the incredible colours of the coral reef and its abundant marine life, including stingrays, nurse sharks and sea turtles. Ending your central American adventure, you will be transferred to Belize City airport for your flight home.
Just a short flight from either Guatemala or Belize and you are in Mexico City. After the rural villages of Guatemala, and the Caribbean waters of Belize, you will love the energy and sophistication of the Mexican Capital. With incredible food, world class museums, ancient temples, historic architecture and a dynamic street life, few cities can compete with this amazing city. Venture outside the capital to visit the Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan or the cultural city of Puebla. Explore further afield to the culinary capital of Oaxaca, or travel to the Chiapas region with its Mayan ruins and colourful textiles that will remind you of neighbouring Guatemala.
Ready for your trip?
Let us help you plan everything.
We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.