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MAYAN ENCOUNTER
 
12 DAYS FROM $1,199 CAD  
Details below or click here for more information INQUIRY FORM

Mayan Encounter Trek though jungles to Mayan ruins and relax on white-sand beaches. Get an authentic taste of Belize and Guatemala with an adventure that combines the mystery of the ancient ruins with the crystalline waters of the Caribbean. Shop for treasures along colonial Antigua's cobblestoned streets and get to know the locals from communities where life sometimes moves at a reggae pace. Explore the lost ruins of Tikal, snorkel with stingrays and finish up lounging in gorgeous Caye Caulker. With accommodation and transport arranged by a CEO, this trip offers the perfect way to discover this region’s unique vibe.

Day 1 Antigua
Arrive at any time. We recommend booking pre-accommodation to fully experience this charming city.

There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting 18:00 Tonight, the adventure begins. Feel free to explore — but make sure you're back in time to meet your group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your trip.


Day 2 Antigua
Spend a full day enjoying all Antigua has to offer. Opt for a city tour, take salsa dancing classes or relax with a massage.

This colonial town has much to offer— opt to visit the museums or cafés, attend a chocolate workshop, visit a local coffee plantation or macadamia nut farm or explore the nearby towns by bike.

Free Time

Antigua Full Day

With tons to see and do in this charming colonial city, head out and explore. Map


Optional Activities

ChocoMuseo Tour and Workshop
Antigua 1 h 30 m – 2 h

20-25 USD per person

Enjoy a chocolate workshop and museum tour to learn about the process "from bean to bar" and the history of this tasty crop. In this hour and a half hands-on workshop, make your own milk or dark chocolate bar to take home and enjoy a tasting of the varieties of chocolate drinks made on site. Who knew history could be so sweet?


Finca Valhalla Visit
Antigua 1 h 30 m – 3 h

5-10 None per person

Take a tour of the macadamia nut plantation at Finca Valhalla led by the workers. Learn about this sustainable crop for the experts and discover the health benefits of the nut. Pamper yourself with a free facial and purchase some of the treats made from the macadamia nut like oils, nuts, and chocolate. This tour is offered for free in the hopes that you’ll show your gratitude by stopping by and picking up some tasty treats from the gift shop or café.


Massage
Antigua 30 m – 2 h

30-60 USD per person

Relax and enjoy a Mayan massage. You’re on vacation!


Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day)
Antigua 5 h - 6 h

15-70 None per person

Drive one hour to the base of Pacaya Volcano to begin your ascent. This volcano is still active, so hiking to the crater is off limits. Near the summit, grab a stick and toast marshmallows over a smoking fumarole using earth's natural "ovens" to heat your snack.


Salsa Lesson
Antigua

5-10 USD per person

Kick up your heels and learn this typical Latin dance. Dancers of all skill levels are welcome. Get lost in the rhythm of the music and let your body take you to a new place -- one-two-three, one-two three, hip roll, arm up, partner under, shimmy, shake, salsa! Vamos a bailar! (Let's dance!)


Day 3 Antigua/Rio Dulce
Travel to Rio Dulce and plan the next day's activities. Take a dip in the pool.

In the morning travel to Rio Dulce, a charming town named after the river on which it's located. Arrive in the late afternoon and start exploring.

Take a stroll through the market located in the city centre or enjoy a swim in the hotel pool. Private Vehicle

Antigua – Rio Dulce 6 h – 7 h 30 m 315 km

Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride. Free Time

Rio Dulce Evening

Enjoy free time to get familiar with the town.


Day 4 Rio Dulce
Enjoy a free day to explore. Opt to go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall, take a sunrise kayak trip to check out the local monkeys, hike to the Shaman Tower for some yoga, or visit the coastal town of Livingston.

Take a stroll in the market located in the city centre or visit Castillo de San Felipe which was a fort used to defend the town from pirates. You also have the option to rent a canoe and peacefully navigate the river. Visit the natural hot waterfall that makes this town famous.

Free Time

Rio Dulce

Make the most of this area with a full day to explore.


Optional Activities

Hike and Yoga in Shaman Tower
Rio Dulce 2 h 30 m – 3 h

Go for a hike through some of the many hectares that Hacienda Tijax Reserve has to offer. Stop for a swim and walk amidst the rubber plantations. Arrive at the Shaman Tower where you will do some basic yoga and take in the 360-degree view.


Livingston Visit
Rio Dulce – Lívingston 5 h – 6 h 30 m

Take a boat down the Rio Dulce toward the Caribbean Sea passing through El Golfete and El Canyon before arriving for a Tapado lunch in Livingston. Float past mangroves and lily pads, Lake El Golfete, and the Boquerón Canyon, where a sheer limestone cliff rises 122m (400 ft) out of the river, covered in vines, trees and moss. Arrive at the small fishing village of Livingston known for its unique Afro-Caribbean Garifuna population, with their unique art, music and delicious coconut seafood soup, “tapado”.


Natural Hot Waterfall Visit
Rio Dulce 3 h – 5 h

Finca el Paraiso contains a unique volcanic vein that heats spring water and dumps it into a colder river below. Refresh and relax as you bathe in these therapeutic thermal waters and swim in the river below. Arrive by boat or overland.


Sunrise Monkey Kayak
Rio Dulce 2 h – 3 h

12-23 None per person

Set your alarm very early and set off on a sweet soulful paddle along the Rio Dulce. Kayak to the base of the Boquerón Canyon with its sheer cliff face, covered in a green mass of moss, vines, and trees. Enjoy a striking sunrise, sit back, and listen to the jungle as it wakes up – howler monkeys, birds and the slap of the paddle on the water provide the soundtrack to this memorable morning.


Day 5 Rio Dulce/Flores
Travel to Flores, located on Lake Petén Itzá, an excellent home base for exploring nearby Tikal.

With flexibility on start time today, the group may enjoy some extra time in Rio Dulce or extra time upon arrival in Flores. There may be options for stops along the route.

Private Vehicle


Rio Dulce – Flores
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride.

Day 6 Flores
Enjoy a guided tour of the nearby Mayan ruins of Tikal. In the afternoon, opt to relax on the lake or hang out at the cafés in town.

Private Vehicle

Flores – Tikal 1 h – 1 h 30 m 64 km

Enjoy the ride out to Tikal and return the same way in the afternoon (1-1.5 hrs one way).


Tikal Ruins Guided Tour
Tikal 7-15 km

Put on your walking shoes and prepare for a tiring but memorable day walking through history at the impressive site of Tikal. The Mayan site is set in the heart of the jungle, in Tikal National Park, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with our bilingual guide, see some of the temples, plazas, carved stone monuments and public squares, more than 3,000 buildings in all, dating from 600 BC to 900 AD. Climb to the top of Temple IV, catch your breath, take photos and then sit and contemplate the magnificence of the site and the tropical rainforest beyond. Look for monkeys, anteaters, armadillos and deer, as well as macaws and eagles, snakes and spiders. Poke a stick in one of the holes you see in the grass and watch a tarantula grab hold. Cool!

Free Time


Flores
Explore the area anyway you like.

Optional Activities

Lake Petén Itzá Boat Tour
Lago Petén Itzá 1 h 30 m-2 h 30 m

12 USD per person 40 USD per group

Enjoy a calm boat ride around Lake Petén Itzá. Stop for a swim and climb to the lookout that sits above the small archaeological site of Tayasal.


Swimming
Grab your bathing suit and go for a refreshing swim.

Day 7 Flores/San Ignacio
Cross the border to Belize. Opt to visit the sacred Mayan cave Actun Tunichil Muknal, explore the Mountain Pine Ridge area or see the lesser-known Mayan ruins of Xunantunich.

Cross the border into Belize. The relaxed atmosphere of San Ignacio allows for options including horseback riding, canoeing, caving, or exploring the Mountain Pine Ridge area.

Private Vehicle


Flores – Melchor de Mencos 2 h – 3 h 95 km
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride.

Border Crossing (Guatemala - Belize)


Melchor de Mencos – Benque Viejo del Carmen 30 m – 1 h 30 m
Ready for a little more ink in your passport? Grab your bags and get ready to check another country off your bucket list.

Private Vehicle


Benque Viejo del Carmen – San Ignacio 30 m-45 m 13 km
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride.

Free Time


San Ignacio Afternoon
Head out to start exploring this fun town. There's a full free day tomorrow for anything you can't get to this afternoon.

Optional Activities

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Visit
Actun Tunichil Muknal 6 h- 8 h

The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave has only been open to the public since 1998. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see up to 1400 artifacts, including pottery, tools and vessels used by the Maya from 1-1000 AD. Hike 45 min to the cave entrance, wade/swim through deep pools, past calcite formations, to explore this damp, dark place of ritual and sacrifice. With a helmet and headlamp, see the skeleton of the “Crystal Maiden”, a young girl whose bones have calcified over the past 1,100 years, making them appear to sparkle.


Caracol Ruins Tour
Caraco l9 h-11 h

95 USD per person

Set within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, prepare to be wowed by Caracol. It’s the largest known Maya site in Belize and was once home to an estimated 180,000 people. The site was discovered in the 1920's by a logger looking for mahogany. One of its pyramids, Canaa or “Sky Place”, built in 800 AD and standing 43m (143 ft), continues to be the tallest man-made structure in the country. Bring your walking shoes, water and a sunhat because there’s lots to see here. Tombs, temples, altars, carved stelae and other stone monuments – it’s well worth the effort and easy to be impressed.


Cave Tubing
Caves Branch 7 h-8 h

Strap on a headlamp, sit on an inner tube and get set to enter the underworld. Float on an underground river past stalactites hanging above and through shafts of filtered light. Marvel at the Maya and discover first-hand why they selected these sites to make offerings to their gods.


Day Trip to Xunantunich
Xunantunich 2 h-4 h

5U SD per person

Hike to the top of this impressive 9th century Maya centre, set high on a natural limestone ridge, and admire the view of the Mopan River, Cayo District and neighbouring Guatemalan countryside. The tallest temple, El Castillo, is partially excavated and explored and there’s a unique stucco frieze on the east side of the structure. Discover why Xunantunich is Belize’s most visited Mayan site with intricately carved stellae, 25 temples and well-preserved palaces.


Green Iguana Conservation Project
San Ignacio 1 h-1 h

Here’s a chance to take some cool photos of cold-blooded iguanas, and help support their survival. The Green Iguana Conservation project features 80 of the endangered reptiles within its centre at the San Ignacio Resort. Learn how they mate, fight and escape predators. Hold a baby or its parent and discover more about these prehistoric-looking creatures.


Day 8 San Ignacio
Enjoy a free day to explore. Opt to check out nearby caves, some more Mayan sites or a local conservation project.

Free Time


San Ignacio Full Day
Enjoy a full day to head out and explore.

Optional Activities

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Visit

Actun Tunichil Muknal 6 h- 8 h
The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave has only been open to the public since 1998. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see up to 1400 artifacts, including pottery, tools and vessels used by the Maya from 1-1000 AD. Hike 45 min to the cave entrance, wade/swim through deep pools, past calcite formations, to explore this damp, dark place of ritual and sacrifice. With a helmet and headlamp, see the skeleton of the “Crystal Maiden”, a young girl whose bones have calcified over the past 1,100 years, making them appear to sparkle.

Barton Creek Cave Canoeing
Barton Creek 6 h-8 h

50 USD per person

Strap on a headlamp, step in the canoe and paddle along an ancient Mayan waterway inside the Barton Creek Cave. Bring your camera to take memorable photos of cathedral rock chambers, stalactites and stalagmites. Upon return, opt to swim at Big Rock Falls.


Caracol Ruins Tour
Caracol 9 h-11 h

95 USD per person

Set within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, prepare to be wowed by Caracol. It’s the largest known Maya site in Belize and was once home to an estimated 180,000 people. The site was discovered in the 1920's by a logger looking for mahogany. One of its pyramids, Canaa or “Sky Place”, built in 800 AD and standing 43m (143 ft), continues to be the tallest man-made structure in the country. Bring your walking shoes, water and a sunhat because there’s lots to see here. Tombs, temples, altars, carved stelae and other stone monuments – it’s well worth the effort and easy to be impressed.


Cave Tubing
Caves Branch 7 h-8 h

Strap on a headlamp, sit on an inner tube and get set to enter the underworld. Float on an underground river past stalactites hanging above and through shafts of filtered light. Marvel at the Maya and discover first-hand why they selected these sites to make offerings to their gods.


Crystal Cave Visit
Blue Hole National Park 9 h-11 h

90 USD per person

Drive to Blue Hole National Park and hike for one hour through lush rainforest and down steep, slippery slopes, then descend 4.5m (15 ft) by ropes to start exploring Crystal Cave (also known as Mountain Cow Cave) amazing. Crab walk and crawl through the cave and head into the Mayan Xibabla or underworld. Slide down mud ramps, along rock faces, and be awed by the stalactites and stalagmites, ancient fire pits, wall carvings, pottery and the haunting skeletal remains of humans sacrificed by the Maya to appease their gods. Afterwards, take a short drive to the Blue Hole River, relax and refresh in the cool water.


Day Trip to Xunantunich
Xunantunich 2 h-4 h

5U SD per person

Hike to the top of this impressive 9th century Maya centre, set high on a natural limestone ridge, and admire the view of the Mopan River, Cayo District and neighbouring Guatemalan countryside. The tallest temple, El Castillo, is partially excavated and explored and there’s a unique stucco frieze on the east side of the structure. Discover why Xunantunich is Belize’s most visited Mayan site with intricately carved stellae, 25 temples and well-preserved palaces.


Green Iguana Conservation Project
San Ignacio 1 h-1 h

Here’s a chance to take some cool photos of cold-blooded iguanas, and help support their survival. The Green Iguana Conservation project features 80 of the endangered reptiles within its centre at the San Ignacio Resort. Learn how they mate, fight and escape predators. Hold a baby or its parent and discover more about these prehistoric-looking creatures.


Horseback Riding
San Ignacio 2 h-5 h

40-60 USD per person

Choose from one of the 45 horses at Hannah's Stables and ride over farm trails and forested paths, all the way along the river to the Mayan site of Xunantunich. Enjoy a short guided tour of the site before taking a different trail back to the stables. Watch for native birds, including toucans and parrots, listen for howler monkeys, admire orchids and fruit trees and breathe in the fresh air of the Belize countryside.


Day 9 San Ignacio/Caye Caulker
Travel to Belize City to catch a ferry to Caye Caulker. Spend a few days enjoying this island paradise.

Caye Caulker is a relaxed and easy going island with friendly and welcoming local residents. There are dozens of activities around the island and surrounding coral reefs. Try your hand at fishing and barbecue your catch on the beach.


Local bus
San Ignacio – Belize City 3 h- 4 h 123 km

Climb aboard, grab a seat, and enjoy the ride.


Water taxi
Belize City – Caye Caulker45m-1h39km

Jump in and cross the water to the next stop.

Free Time

Caye Caulker

Enjoy your first free afternoon on this laid back island.


Optional Activities Bike Rental
Caye Caulker 1 h-72 h

7-30 None per person

Rent a bike from any one of the many grocery stores on Caye Caulker and cycle around the island out to the split and back. It's a great way to get some exercise and see the sights on this laid-back island. Don't forget to bring water and wear lots of sunscreen.


Day 10 Caye Caulker
Spend time enjoying this island paradise. Opt to go on a sailing trip to snorkel with stingrays, nurse sharks and green turtles at Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

Choose to visit the famous Blue Hole on a diving trip or a fly-over.

If the boats aren't your thing, rent a bike and cruise around the island or just relax, Belizean-style. Free Time


Caye Caulker Full Day
Spend two full days exploring this area any way you like.

Optional Activities

Bike Rental
Caye Caulker 1 h- 72 h

7-30 None per person

Rent a bike from any one of the many grocery stores on Caye Caulker and cycle around the island out to the split and back. It's a great way to get some exercise and see the sights on this laid-back island. Don't forget to bring water and wear lots of sunscreen.

Blue Hole National Monument Dive

Caye Caulker 11 h-12 h

210 USD per person

Channel your inner Jacques Cousteau and dive the Great Blue Hole, ranked by the Discovery Channel as their top choice for “most amazing place on earth”. This giant limestone sinkhole, 300m (1000 ft) in diameter and 124m (407 ft) deep, was formed more than a million years ago and is now part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Geared to open water and advanced divers, see Midnight Parrotfish and Caribbean reef sharks and interesting rock formations, including stalactites which formed before the area was submerged by the sea.


Blue Hole National Park Flight
Caye Caulker 1 h- 1 h 30 m

180-575 USD per person 575-870 USD per group

Charge up your camera batteries and take flight over the crystal clear waters off Belize. Take off from Caye Caulker airstrip in a small plane and observe the incredible Blue Hole national monument from above. Made famous by underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, this limestone sinkhole is 300m (1000 ft) in diameter and was formed more than a million years ago.


Fishing
Caye Caulke r4 h-8 h

200-600 USD per group

Cast a line and see what you can reel in. Fish for snapper, barracuda, horse-eye jack and more. Bring your catch to any local restaurant and have them gut and grill it just for you. Buy the rest of dinner and some drinks and enjoy! It doesn’t get any fresher than this.


Guided Kayak Trip
Caye Caulker 2 h 30 m – 3 h

25 USD per person

Follow a guide on a sea kayak tour around the southern portion of Caye Caulker. Paddle around the mangroves and try to spot some of the unique wildlife in the area.


Hol Chan Snorkel Tour
Caye Caulker 5 h-6 h

70 USD per person

Slather on the sunscreen and set out on a snorkel adventure of a lifetime. Stop at the coral gardens, shark and ray alley, and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Snorkel three different spots along the Belize reef in this protected channel. See hundreds of varieties of tropical fish in this natural aquarium including angelfish, nurse sharks, stingrays and green moray eels. Be sure to check out the Coral Gardens to see a rainbow of colours – red, purple, pink and green – and depending on the season, float past manatees while you marvel at nature’s underwater artistry.


Sunset Sailing Boat Tour
Caye Caulker

35 USD per person

Set sail just before sunset. Relax with reggae music and rum punch, snack on shrimp ceviche and snap a few photos as you sail around the island as the sun sets to the west of Caye Caulker.


Day 11 Caye Caulker
Spend time enjoying this island paradise. Opt to go on a sailing trip to snorkel with stingrays, nurse sharks and green turtles at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Choose to visit the famous Blue Hole on a diving trip or a fly-over.

If the boats aren't your thing, rent a bike and cruise around the island or just relax, Belizean-style.


Day 12 Caye Caulker
Depart at any time.

Want to head north to Mexico? Add on the 'Playa del Carmen Express' and travel to Playa del Carmen by fast boat on Day 12 with a CEO (hotel night in Playa included).


What's Included
Antigua orientation walk
Rio Dulce stay
Tikal guided tour
Caye Caulker stay
All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
(Allow USD250-350 for meals not included.)
Public bus, private van, boat.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Small group experience; Max 16, avg 12
Hotels (11 nts).

Trek though jungles to Mayan ruins and relax on white-sand beaches. Get an authentic taste of Belize and Guatemala with an adventure that combines the mystery of the ancient ruins with the crystalline waters of the Caribbean. Shop for treasures along colonial Antigua's cobblestoned streets and get to know the locals from communities where life sometimes moves at a reggae pace. Explore the lost ruins of Tikal, snorkel with stingrays and finish up lounging in gorgeous Caye Caulker. With accommodation and transport arranged by a CEO, this trip offers the perfect way to discover this region’s unique vibe.

Listen to the howler monkeys from the top of Temple IV at Tikal
Revel in Caye Caulker sunsets
Sway to reggae beats wafting through the Belizean air
Wander the colonial streets of Antigua.

Duration: 12 days
Start/Finish City: Antigua to Caye Caulker
Service Level: Standard

Great value, reasonable prices, quality experiences
Comfortable and varied tourist-class accommodations chosen for location and character
Mix of public and private transport for the best overall experience
All the top highlights included, plus plenty of time to explore on your own


Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.

Travel Style: Classic
The trips we've built our reputation on.

Designed for maximum variety, these trips are geared towards travellers searching for a healthy mix of active exploration, uncommon landscapes, amazing wildlife and local cultures.


Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.


DATES
  Year Round

PRICES
From approx $1,199 Cad per person, based on double occupancy


To book or for more information please complete the 
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