Copan Ruins 03

The Mayan World in Guatemala, Honduras & Belize

Copan Ruinas

Antigua  – Copan, Honduras  – Rio Dulce  – Tikal  – Cayo District  – Placencia

A multi-country journey visiting the Mayan World highlights

Journey through Central America's cultural and natural wonders encompassing the highlights of Guatemala, Honduras & Belize.

Begin in Antigua, Guatemala, where cobblestone streets lead to colonial treasures and vibrant markets. Travel into Honduras and the ancient ruins of Copan, revealing insights into the Maya civilisation's history and artistry.

Navigate the Rio Dulce's enchanting waters, passing through lush landscapes and local cooperatives before reaching the awe-inspiring castle walls near Livingston. Travel to the interior and immerse yourself in Tikal's grandeur, where towering pyramids and temples whisper tales of ancient glory amid the dense jungle.

Discover San Ignacio's charm in Belize, where adventure awaits amidst lush rainforest and Maya ruins. Conclude your journey in Placencia, where pristine beaches and turquoise waters invite relaxation and exploration.

Throughout the tour, expert guides illuminate each destination's rich heritage and natural beauty, offering insights into local cultures and traditions. From archaeological marvels to breathtaking landscapes, this tour promises an immersive experience filled with discovery and wonder.

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The itinerary…

Day 1: Guatemala City – Antigua

Antigua Takeoff008

The road to Antigua

On arrival in Guatemala City, you will be welcomed and transferred to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Antigua for a 3-night stay at the charming El Meson de Maria.

Antigua, the ancient capital of Guatemala was established in the early 16th century and sits at 1500 m altitude in a seismic zone. Devastated by an earthquake in 1773, its main landmarks endure as ruins. The town has developed over less than three centuries on a Renaissance-inspired grid, with numerous splendid monuments.

Day 2: Antigua

Calle Del Arco Antigua2

Calle del Arco at dusk

Explore Antigua on an immersive guided walking tour. Discover magnificent colonial monuments, uncovering why this city thrived as the heart of the Spanish presence in the region. Begin at the central plaza, where your guide illuminates the colonisation era, Guatemala’s history, and modern challenges. Admire exterior facades of key structures like Palacio de Capitanes, City Hall, and El Portal. Visit the Cathedral and its ruins, then explore the San Francisco church

Day 3: Antigua

Colorful Market Colonial Ruins

Market in Antigua

Enjoy a leisurely day exploring the cobblestone streets of Antigua. As you meander through the town, take in the vibrant streets and the colourful colonial architecture. Visit the local markets, where you can shop for unique souvenirs and indulge in delicious street food. Admore the Santa Catalina Arch or the fascinating La Merced Church and relax with a Guatemalan coffee at a local cafe.

Day 4: Antigua – Copan, Honduras

Marina Copan rooftops

Rooftops of Copan

Private transfer to Copan in Honduras which takes approximately 6 hours with stops. The charming Hotel Marina Copan is situated in the heart of the town which captivates with its cobblestone streets, adorned with white adobe structures topped by red-tiled roofs. Renowned for its Mayan ruins, this village exudes an air of tranquillity and history, inhabited by the Maya for over 2000 years. Despite its popularity as a tourist hotspot, Copan maintains its authentic charm and integrity.

Day 5: Copan Ruins

Copan Ruins 01

Copan Ruins

At the Copan archaeological site, your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the layout and key temples. Renowned as one of the most extensively restored and intriguing Mayan cities, Copan thrived between 400 and 800 AD, spanning over 50 acres of temples, altars, steles, ball courts, and plazas, including the remarkable Hieroglyphic Stairway. Nestled in a lush, mountainous valley, Copan showcases the Maya's remarkable achievements in architecture, astronomy, and art, boasting treasures like the impeccably preserved Rosalila Temple and the tombs of its rulers.

Day 6: Copan – Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce Docks

Rio Dulce docks

En-route to Rio Dulce, stop to explore the Quirigua archaeological site. Quirigua's ruins feature a striking collection of stelae and sculpted calendars, offering invaluable insights into the social, political, and economic events of the Mayan civilisation. Its captivating zoomorphic and anthropomorphic sculptures rank among the finest pre-Columbian artworks. As one of Guatemala's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, alongside Tikal and the Colonial city of Antigua, Quirigua stands as a testament to the country's rich cultural legacy. In Rio Dulce, settle into Nanajuana for 2 night stay on Guatemala’s small Caribbean coast.

Day 7: Rio Dulce boat tour

Livingston1

Livingston

As you navigate the Rio Dulce (Sweet River), you'll traverse "El Golfete," its widest stretch, home to Chocon Machaca Park and the floating gardens. Alongside, visit Ak'Tenamit, a local cooperative fostering education and medical services sustainably. Continuing between "El Golfete" and Livingston, encounter a breathtaking canyon with lush jungle and limestone walls. The journey concludes at Livingston, Guatemala's sole town settled by the Garifunas in the 1800s. Its unique Caribbean ambiance offers a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of an island getaway.

Day 8: Copan – Tikal area

Villa Maya setting

Villa Maya's idyllic setting

After breakfast, transfer to Peten, a journey of approximately 3.5 hours where you will stay at Villa Maya overlooking Laguna Petenchel. The department of Petén covers a third of the country but houses only three percent of its population. Renowned for its production of wood, chewing gum, oil, pepper, and other agricultural goods, Petén's primary revenue stems from its status as the globally recognised birthplace of the Mayan civilization.

Day 9: Tikal

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Tikal

With your local guide, enjoy an unforgettable journey to Tikal, the heart of ancient Maya civilisation. At the site towering pyramids and majestic temples await. Explore the vast archaeological complex, unravelling the mysteries of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Stand in awe as you witness the grandeur of the Great Plaza, Temple of the Jaguar, and Temple of the Masks. Tikal promises an adventure steeped in history and wonder.

Day 10: Tikal area – Cayo District, Belize

San Ignacio Resort pool

Relax at San Ignacio resort

Private transfer to the Belize Border where you will cross by foot and switch to a different vehicle for the last part of the journey. On arrival in the Cayo District, settle into the San Ignacio Resort. The town of San Ignacio is situated along the banks of the Macal River surrounded by lush tropical forests and rolling hills and is a charming and vibrant hub for adventure and culture. Explore the colourful streets lined with shops, restaurants, and lively markets.

Day 11: ATM Cave

Cave Exploration San Ignacio 02

Cave exploration

The cave entrance is reached by a 30-minute forest hike where on arrival you will enjoy a refreshing swim into the enchanting underworld realm. An adventurous trek through the main water passage unveils breathtaking geological formations including sparkling stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones. This hidden chamber holds ancient secrets and showcases geological processes that shaped the Maya underworld, known as Xibalba—a mysterious realm where kings and shamans communed with gods and ancestors through sacred rituals and ceremonies.

Day 12: Cayo District – Placencia via Inland Blue Hole

Itzana beach

Beach in Plancencia

On the way to Palencia, make a stop to explore the Inland Blue Hole. This natural wonder offers a refreshing opportunity for an afternoon swim. Created by the collapse of an underground limestone cave, the Blue Hole features a stunning sapphire-coloured pool formed by a river that flows through the cave system. The depression spans approximately 100 feet deep and 300 feet in diameter, with the Blue Hole itself reaching a depth of around 25 feet at the base of the depression. The next 3 nights, kick back and relax at Itz’ana Belize Resort.

Days 13 & 14: Free days in Placencia

Snorkeling Belize 01

Snorkelling in the Caribbean

Free days to relax at Itz'ana Belize Resort. Wake up to the gentle sounds of the Caribbean Sea and start your day with a sumptuous breakfast overlooking the pristine coastline. Lounge by the infinity pool, sip on tropical cocktails, or unwind with a rejuvenating spa treatment. For the adventurous, explore nearby coral reefs with a snorkelling trip, take a cooking class, a drumming lesson, kayaking or paddle boarding.

Day 15: Placencia - Belize City

Belize

Transfer to Placencia airstrip for the short domestic flight to Belize City for onward connections.


Duration: 14 nights

Location: Guatemala Holidays, South and Central America Holidays

Price: £3680pp

From £3,680 per person, excluding international flights.

The trip includes all accommodations and activities specified above. Rooms and meals are as below:

  • 3 nights at El Meson de Maria - deluxe room, breakfast included
  • 2 nights at Hotel Marina Copan - colonial room, breakfast included
  • 2 nights at Nanajuana - standard jungle room, breakfast included
  • 2 nights at San Ignacio Resort - deluxe room, breakfast included
  • 3 nights at Itz'ana - deluxe room, breakfast included

Also includes

  • All transfers.
  • Private guides and entrance fees for tours.
  • Domestic flight, Placencia - Belize City

This trip excludes:

  • Single Supplements.
  • International flights to Guatemala City / from Belize City
  • Meals not mentioned as included.
  • Entrance fees and activities not mentioned as included
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When to go to Belize

A month-by-month guide of when to go to Belize

  • Best
  • Good
  • Mixed
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

January

January is dry season with prolonged periods of sunshine, particularly in the north and central regions. A great time to travel which means the country will be busy, so we recommend planning in advance.

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February

Similar to February with great weather and very little rain its one of the best months to travel throughout the region.

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March

The dry season continues, with low humidity so another great month to explore all regions of Belize and relax on beautiful Caribbean beaches.

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April

In April the weather in the Cayo District and on the Cayes remains predominantly dry, although the heat and humidity gradually increases. Easter is a busy time, so booking in advance is essential.

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May

Very similar to April, although there are less visitors and there may be the occassional shower with the start of the wet season approaching.

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June

The rains start however most days are usually short sharp showers in the afternoon and early evening. Perrsistent rainfall is rare. Mid-June is the start of lobster season and a great time to sample the dish along the country's coast in destinations like Ambergris Caye and Placencia.

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July

Very similar to July, with a similar amount of rain combined with sunshine. Most destinations will be warm with a high level of humidity.

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August

The height of the rainy season with high humidity, heavy rain and the risk of tropical storms and even hurricanes. These are particularly prevalent in the coastal regions.

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September

Another wet month and not very enjoyable for travel with some remote roads flooded. Due to a low number of visitors at this time, some lodges and hotels will close for annual maintenance.

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October

Rainy conditions continue with wet days, high humidity and generally not the ideal time to visit and enjoy Belize.

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November

The wet season and humidity are easing off with drier days on the horizon. This is a good time to visit the interior and coast before tourist numbers increase in December.

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December

A great time to travel to Belize with sunny, dry days although hotels over the Christmas & New Year break will often be booked for months in advance.

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  • Amanda

    Amanda

    Latin America Specialist

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