Mexico and Guatemala

20 days

Mexico and Guatemala boast the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Americas; explore some of these marvels, like the archeological cities of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Calakmul, and Tikal. Immerse yourself in these two unique destinations’ rich culture and breathtaking nature.

Discover ancient Mayan ruins, hike through verdant jungles and awe-inspiring volcanoes, and bathe in hidden Cenotes (sinkholes). Shop in local markets, savor culinary delights and watch the sunset over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. This trip is an opportunity to experience the beauty of Mexico and Guatemala and support local communities and conservation efforts.

Merida City



Mayan City

Volcano Pacaya

Active volcano in Guatemala

Lake Peten



Discover the natural beauty and vibrant cultures of Mexico and Guatemala. Explore Maya ruins, towering volcanoes, and historic cities. Immerse yourself in Mayan culture at Chichen Itza, Ek-Balam, Mayapan, and Uxmal. Experience the area’s breathtaking natural beauty on a boat expedition between Rio Dulce and Livingston. Walk through colonial Valladolid, Campeche, and Antigua Guatemala, explore stunning Lake Atitlan by boat, browse artisan markets in indigenous towns, and climb pyramids at Calakmul, Tikal, and Yaxha.


Welcome to the beautiful Mexican Caribbean! When you arrive at Cancun International Airport (CUN), a driver will wait for you. Once you check in to your hotel, you can relax after your flight, stroll on the beach, and enjoy dinner at your own pace.
Overnight in Cancun

Wake up early to explore the intriguing ruins of Ek’ Balam. The lush and well-organized archaeological site is a sight to behold, with its delicate arch, ball court, and pyramid structure near the entrance. The gargantuan Acropolis’s restored base of 160m in length and ‘gallery’ of separate chambers is genuinely awe-inspiring.

Atop the base of the Acropolis stands Ek’ Balam’s massive main pyramid, featuring a gaping jaguar mouth, stucco skulls below, and an amazingly expressive figure above and to the right. The unusual winged human figures on the right side add to the site’s wonder and beauty.

After exploring the Ekʼ Balam archeological site, you’ll visit its local village with the same name dedicated to preserving ancient Mayan traditions. The community has found a way to blend its heritage with modernity by using tourism to improve its quality of life while protecting its cultural and natural wealth. You will meet a couple of families, learn about their way of life, and participate in activities such as preparing handmade tortillas and weaving hammocks. It’s a chance to experience firsthand the inspiring resilience and adaptability of a community that values tradition and progress equally. Later, you’ll experience the refreshing sensation of swimming in the pristine waters of X’Canche Cenote.

As the day winds down, we look forward to Valladolid – a charming city famous for its peaceful streets and picturesque pastel walls. Despite its vibrant atmosphere and wealth of activities, the city retains a small-town feel that invites you to unwind and savor the moment. After dinner, at 9 p.m., we’ll witness a breathtaking sound and light show outside the San Bernardino Convent, a mesmerizing display that illuminates the building’s rich history and fills us with wonder.
Overnight in Valladolid

Chichen Itza stands out as the most renowned and well-preserved of all the Yucatan Maya sites. Visited by many tourists, it still manages to leave a lasting impression on visitors. You’ll have an early morning site tour before the crowds arrive, which is an exceptional experience. 

The Temple of Kukulcan is the most famous structure among many other pyramids and fascinating buildings the compound offers. The sheer size of Chichen Itza sets it apart from different archaeological sites. The site currently covers an area of around four square miles (10 sq km), but it was originally much larger, around 10 square miles (25 sq km). This fact suggests that the jungle hides many more structures in the jungle. The design of the time temples here sheds light on many mysteries of the Maya astronomical calendar.

Afterward, we’ll go to the serene cenote (sinkhole) of Yokdzonot, a hidden gem not as crowded as other cenotes. Picture yourself basking in the pristine freshwater, surrounded by the enchanting jungle vines and small fish darting beneath you, while a hummingbird gracefully floats by. 

Then, we’ll drive to Izamal, ‘The Yellow City,’ and immerse ourselves in its breathtaking sight of golden-yellow walls on every street. Izamal is a treasured Pueblo Magico, one of Mexico’s 132 magical towns renowned for its remarkable cultural heritage. Take a stroll through the picturesque cobbled streets and bask in the magnificence of the Convent of San Antonio de Padua.

Delve into the rich history of Izamal, where the Spaniards built one of the first monasteries in the western hemisphere using stones from the Maya temple they destroyed. Admire the intricate maze-like design on the building stones under the monastery’s arcades, a testament to the incredible craftsmanship of the Maya people.
We’ll drive to your hotel in Merida. 
Two nights in Merida

We’ll visit the Mayan site of Mayapan; although it is smaller than some other Maya sites, it still has significant historical importance. The site’s compact core contains breathtaking structures, including the climbable pyramid Castle of Kukulcan, adorned with fresco fragments and friezes depicting decapitated warriors. The reddish color is still faintly visible, giving visitors a glimpse into the past. The Templo Redondo (Round Temple) is reminiscent of El Caracol at Chichen Itza. 

After exploring the ruins, our next destination will be the Anillo de Los Cenotes nature reserve (the Cenote’s Ring). The Homun Cenotes, located near the traditional town of Homun, are waiting for us. These natural wonders are scattered around this traditional dusty town, and tourists often overlook them. We will take our time to enjoy the beauty of these hidden gems and refresh our spirits with a swim.

As we conclude our journey, we will head back to Merida and immerse ourselves in the wonders of this vibrant city. Merida is a melting pot of culture and history, where the past and present harmoniously coexist. With its charming narrow streets, grand central plazas, and exceptional museums, it’s a city that inspires exploration. The local cuisine, lively markets, and frequent events will leave us with unforgettable memories.

Today, we’ll visit Hacienda Yaxcopoil (a hacienda is a grand estate consisting of a plantation with a dwelling house). In this vast estate, they grew and processed henequen (an agave plant fiber for making rope). Many French Renaissance-style buildings on the estate have undergone picturesque restorations. 

Only a few Haciendas of the magnitude of Yaxcopoil are preserved, as most of the haciendas on the Yucatan peninsula have been semi-destroyed by the effects of time. The monumental double Moorish arch from the colonial period, perhaps the most beautiful in Yucatán, instantly catches one’s attention and opens the hacienda doors to visitors, making anyone feel incredibly welcome.

Afterward, we’ll continue to the awe-inspiring Mayan City of Uxmal, where size meets uniqueness in a way that fascinates all who visit. You’ll marvel at the oddly shaped Magician’s House, the delicate Pigeon House with its standing roof comb, and the vast Governor’s Palace – top draws that will leave you in wonder. 

Uxmal stands as a beacon of human achievement, an ancient site that has stood the test of time and captivated the hearts and minds of all who have borne witness to its majesty. The rolling hills surrounding the site offer a breathtaking contrast to the flatness of the region, while the intricate architectural sculptures within the pyramids and temples of the site serve as a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the ancient Maya people. 

Later, we’ll hike north of Uxmal, where the Maya community of Muna awaits. Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature and Maya culture as you walk through the lush forest, part of a community conservation project. Admire the breathtaking views from the Mirador de Muna, a lookout point, and let the experience leave you feeling rejuvenated. As we return from the hike, we’ll drive south towards Campeche.
Two nights in Campeche

Campeche is a magical city steeped in history and surrounded by a protective wall that has stood the test of time. Join a walking tour and discover the many wonders of this historic city, including its restored pastel buildings, fortified ramparts, narrow cobblestone streets, and well-preserved mansions. As you journey through the city, you’ll return to when Campeche was a thriving hub of commerce and culture. Explore the fascinating sites, including La Puerta de Tierra, the reconstructed Puerta de Mar, the bastions, batteries, and forts. 

With every step, you’ll be captivated by this enchanting city’s rich history and vibrant culture. And if you venture outside the protective walls, you’ll discover a bustling market, a peaceful boardwalk called the Malecon, and old fishing docks. Campeche is a city that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.

In the morning, we’ll drive to the archeological zone of Edzna; its massive complexes, built by a highly stratified society that thrived around 600 BC, showcase innovative architectural styles and ingenious water-collection and irrigation systems. Visitors to Edzna can follow a path through the vegetation, cross a stone-lined grass walkway, and arrive at the magnificent Plaza Principal. Surrounded by temples, the plaza is a testament to the creativity and vision of the people of Edzna. 

The towering Edificio de los Cinco Pisos stands at the Gran Acropolis, an architectural marvel that inspires awe. South of the Plaza Principal is the Temple of the Masks, a stunning example of Maya aristocracy. A visit to Edzna is a journey through time and an opportunity to marvel at the ingenuity and perseverance of the Maya civilization.
After the tour, we’ll drive to your hotel close to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. 
Overnight in Calkmul

We embark on an adventure to the Mayan City of Calakmul, situated in the heart of the expansive Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul. These awe-inspiring ruins are surrounded by a vast rainforest, as far as the eye can see. While exploring the ruins, you may glimpse several species of birds and other animals that call the region their home or pass through it. The biosphere is home to several species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, making it an extraordinary place to witness nature’s wonders. 

Calakmul, located deep in the jungle, is comparable in size and historical significance to Tikal, its chief rival in Guatemala during the Classic Maya era. The tallest and most prominent pyramid in Mexico’s Yucatan is here, and over 50,000 people once called it home. Although most of the city’s approximately 6,000 structures remain hidden beneath the jungle’s cover, they have restored a significant portion of the 72 square kilometers expanse. 

After we leave the site, we’ll continue to the shores of Bacalar, ‘The Seven Colors lagoon.’
Two nights in Bacalar

Experience a paradise at the Bacalar Lagoon, the peninsula’s largest lagoon. This natural wonder features sparkling white sands and crystal-clear waters. It showcases a breathtaking color palette of greens, blues, and bright whites. 

Take an eco-friendly traditional sailboat tour of the lagoon for four hours and discover the hidden wonders. Pirates’ Channel, a waterway known for its clear waters, invites you to take a refreshing swim amidst virgin vegetation. Dive into the water at Cenote de la Bruja, also known as Cenote Negro, and feel rejuvenated. Take advantage of the opportunity to visit Isla de Los Pajaros, a bird sanctuary. After the boat tour, you’ll be free to rest and relax. 

Embark on a journey to Tulum, one of Mexico’s most prized archaeological zones. Its sublime beauty will leave you in awe as you witness the ruins perched atop seaside cliffs, overlooking the crystal-clear turquoise waters that seem to go on forever. Although the structures may be humble compared to other grand Maya cities, Tulum holds a special place in the hearts of many. It captures the imagination, evoking visions of pre-Columbian merchants arriving in canoes, loaded with goods, greeted by the Maya workers as they take in the same breathtaking views. Tulum stands alone as the only Mayan City in front of the Caribbean in Mexico, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the white sand beaches and soak up the area’s rich cultural history.

Get ready to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Playa del Carmen, the most cosmopolitan city in Yucatan. You’ll have the chance to explore the fantastic restaurants, bars, stores, and craft stalls that line the 2km stretch of Quinta Avenida, a pedestrian thoroughfare.
Overnight in Playa del Carmen

Today, a driver will take you to the Cancun International Airport (CUN) for your flight to Guatemala City. Upon arrival, a driver will take you to Lake Atitlan. 

Lake Atitlan has a mesmerizing effect on all who visit it. The sight of fishermen conducting their business on the aquamarine lake is breathtaking. The fertile mountains that dot the landscape and the looming volcanoes over them add to the lake’s unique and striking beauty. With its ever-changing appearance, it is no wonder that countless people have fallen in love with this place and decided to call it home. From the ancient Maya to Aldous Huxley to modern-day travelers, Lake Atitlan has captivated the hearts and minds of all who have seen it.
Two nights in Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan and its surrounding villages are a true marvel of nature. It’s a place that inspires awe and wonder and reminds us of Guatemala’s innate beauty found all around. As soon as you set foot in this magical place, you’ll feel your worries melt away and your spirit lifted. It truly is a must-see destination for anyone seeking inspiration and renewal.

Discover the magic of the shoreline with its small towns and villages, each with its unique personality and vibe that attracts its type of traveler. The distinctness of these villages is genuinely awe-inspiring, and our boat excursion over the lake promises to provide you with the best views of the surroundings while also being an exciting adventure. It feels like island hopping, except now you are hopping between towns. 

Santa Catarina Palopo, a lakeside community, has embarked on an audacious project to transform itself into a magnificent piece of art. The project, ‘Pintando El Cambio’ – painting for change- aims to create a new source of local tourism income. With the help of Guatemalan designers, the community has painted all 850 houses with beautiful colors and designs. Through this project, Santa Catarina Palopo is on its way to becoming a thriving cultural and tourist destination.

San Juan La Laguna is an exceptional destination with a breathtaking bay and peaceful surroundings that offer an authentic experience of local life. The Tz’utujil community’s commitment to preserving their cultural heritage through traditional crafts such as painting and weaving is admirable. Their efforts to showcase their culture to visitors have made San Juan remarkable. Additionally, the town provides a unique opportunity to learn about the renowned Guatemalan coffee culture, with several roasteries and a nearby coffee museum.

San Marcos La Laguna is a village of dualities. The Maya community and visitors from all over the world live here in harmony. They differ in their lifestyles, yet they come together under the shade of a spreading strangler fig tree in the central plaza. The beauty of this place lies not only in the landscape but also in the diversity of its people. The resilient Maya community occupies the high ground. At the same time, expats and visitors are immersed in the lush jungle area near the shoreline, surrounded by the bountiful growth of banana, coffee, and avocado trees.

Experience the vibrant Maya culture in all its glory today. Today’s journey is to the bustling market town of Chichicastenango, renowned for its largest open-air crafts market and the proud Indigenous community. Immerse yourself in colorful textiles, masks, pottery, and more before indulging in a delightful lunch break.

The vibrant Chichicastenango market takes place only on Thursdays and Sundays. If your travel dates don’t match, we will take you to the ancient archaeological site of Iximche. The ruins of this significant capital of the Kaqchikel Maya kingdom in the 15th century are in the western highlands of Guatemala, and they are sure to leave you in awe. You’ll witness the grandeur of pyramid temples, palaces, and two Mesoamerican ballcourts as you go on a guided tour through the site. After that, we will go to the charming city of Antigua Guatemala, and you will have time to explore.
Two nights in Antigua Guatemala

Imagine hiking up the slopes of an active volcano, surrounded by the remnants of its past eruptions. Volcano Pacaya, with its hot spots of lava and cooled chambers, offers a unique opportunity to experience the raw power of nature. As you climb higher, you’ll have stunning views of the volcanic landscape around you, and who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of lava running down the mountain. 

The trek to Pacaya Volcano is medium-difficulty, but the stunning summit views make it worthwhile. The first 30 minutes may be the most challenging, with a steep gradient taking you through forests and farmland. However, once you get past this, the hike becomes easier. You’ll walk on lava fields that are cool enough but still hot enough to roast marshmallows. Along the way, there are plenty of resting points where you can buy local snacks and drinks.

As you hike, take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty around you. The trek provides an opportunity to connect with nature and challenge yourself. When you reach the summit, the views of the neighboring Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango volcanoes are breathtaking. 

After visiting the volcano, we’ll indulge in the Kawilal Hot Springs. The springs are formed through the amalgamation of water and fire from the Pacaya Volcano, resulting in a one-of-a-kind natural SPA experience. The thermal pools, whose temperatures range from warm to cold, offer a therapeutic session that involves brief periods of immersion, thereby promoting relaxation and rejuvenation. Finally, visitors can conclude their day’s activities by returning to Antigua Guatemala.

We will drive to Guatemala City airport in the morning and take a one-hour domestic flight to Flores Island. Upon arrival, we will explore the Mayan City of Yaxha during our excursion. 

Nestled between Lagoon Yaxha and Lagoon Sacnab, the Yaxha Nakum and El Naranjo sites of Classic Maya form a magnificent triangle that is the foundation of a vast national park. The sprawling site boasts over 400 structures, each a testament to the ingenuity of the Maya civilization. The site is a true marvel, from the five acropolises to the two astronomical observatories and three ball courts. Immerse yourself in the lush jungle flora and fauna as you explore the restored buildings. You can climb to the top of the East Acropolis and marvel at the breathtaking views from atop Structure 216. Yaxha is a hidden gem that travelers should not overlook.
Two nights on Flores Island

Deep within the jungles of Guatemala lies the magnificent Tikal ruins, shrouded by lush greenery and teeming with exotic wildlife such as the screaming howler monkeys and the colorful toucans. This exceptional site, once the most important city in the Maya world, boasts over 200 structures, some of which are still partially or entirely enshrouded by the verdant jungle.

Templo IV, a towering pyramid that rises 65m (213ft) above the grassy courtyard, provides an unparalleled view of the jungle canopy and temples. A day exploring the ruins is an experience like no other, not only for the archaeological wonders but also for the exceptional biodiversity. The surrounding jungle is home to hundreds of tropical birds, coatis, crocodiles, and even the occasional jaguar.

After visiting Tikal, we will drive to El Remate, a peaceful village on the beautiful shores of Lake Peten Itza, perfect for swimming and relaxing in its deep green waters. 

We’ll go to Rio Dulce, a paradise in Guatemala filled with lush greenery and palm trees. This stunning destination attracts international sailors and is home to the Garifuna community, a unique ethnic group with a rich and colorful culture.

Our first stop is El Boqueron Canyon, a verdant and captivating canyon adjacent to a quaint Maya settlement of the same name. The stunning views of the canyon are sure to take your breath away. With the help of the friendly local villagers, you can take a 15-minute paddle up the Sauce River, immersing yourself in the canyon’s natural beauty. Once you reach the small beach, you can dive into the river and marvel at the awe-inspiring rock formations. The local villagers will be there to welcome you back or pick you up at an agreed time, ensuring a truly unforgettable experience that most tourists don’t get.

You’ll enjoy the natural splendor of Finca Paraiso (Paradise Farm). Here, you’ll discover one of the most beautiful natural jacuzzis in the world, which is unlike any other as it’s a waterfall. This unique waterfall is not just a visual treat but also doubles as a spa, offering a range of treatments, including hot-cold therapy, mud masks, and a lap-pool-style river. Experience the breathtaking steam rising from the waterfall before it plunges into the refreshing waters of a small river.

Afterward, you journey into the past in the fortress and castle of San Felipe de Lara, a monument that once shielded the village and commercial caravans from the dreaded pirates. Though it was eventually abandoned and fell into ruin, it was reconstructed in 1956, and its legacy now lives on as a protected park and one of the most captivating tourist attractions of Lake Izabal.

Immerse yourself in a thrilling history filled with brave warriors and daring pirates. Experience the breathtaking beauty of the grounds, explore the ancient cemetery, and admire the intricate details of the bronze cannons. Venture through narrow trapdoors into the defensive towers and feel the excitement of history come alive.
Two nights in Rio Dulce.

Explore the hidden gems of Central America with a boat trip to Livingston on the Rio Dulce (Sweet River). The journey takes you through a natural reserve with diverse flora and fauna. It culminates in a unique experience in Livingston, located on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Here, you will witness a fusion of cultures, colorful houses, and vibrant street art.

During the boat trip, you’ll encounter various wildlife, including pelicans, herons, and, if you’re lucky, manatees. The journey takes you past the Castle of San Felipe Lara and small communities to Livingston. The town’s charm lies in its secluded location and narrow streets, perfect for exploration. We’ll walk through the main street, and you’ll find a selection of restaurants and shops that offer a taste of local life.

You can savor Livingston’s specialty Tapado, a delicious soup made with coconut milk and fish, including lobster, shrimp, and river fish. This unique culinary experience will tantalize your taste buds and leave you with a lasting memory of your trip.

Today, we will be traveling to Guatemala City. On our way, we plan to visit the Mayan ruins of Quirigua. This less-visited archaeological site houses some of the most beautiful Mayan stelae and ruins. As we journey through a green tropical valley surrounded by banana plantations, we will come across magnificent monuments adorned with exquisite sculptures and hieroglyphics.

Nestled in the heart of Guatemala lies Quirigua, a hidden gem that boasts 15 extraordinary monuments, each telling a story of a bygone era. From the remains of the Acropolis to the ball court and buildings belonging to the elite class, Quirigua is a testament to the rich history of the Mayan civilization. The tallest stele at the site stands proud at a towering height of 10 meters. Quirigua may not be well-known, but it offers a unique opportunity to experience the enigmatic atmosphere of its mysterious sculptures and profoundly connect with the ancient past.
Overnight in Guatemala City

Today marks the end of your trip through Mexico and Guatemala. A driver will take you to Guatemala City International Airport (GUA) for your return flight home.

map, expenses & price

Mexico and Guatemala

Expenses included:
-Private transportation.
-Nineteen nights of hotel accommodations.
-Domestic flights.
-Professional local guides.
-All park entrance fees.
-Tours and excursions as listed.
-Breakfasts and two traditional lunches.

Similar trips
Hanging bridge in the rainforest of Belize
Guatemala & Belize

10 days & 9 nights

Exquisite natural pools in Semuc Champey.
Ecotour Guatemala

6 days & 5 nights

Waterfalls of Agua Azul in Chiapas, Mexico.
Enchanted Chiapas

9 days & 8 nights