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Maya Encounter
SAVE UP TO $215 on this tour

This 15 day overland tour journeys from Antigua to Playa del Carmen through Belize, Guatemala, Mexico

This trip visits Manos Amigas, an organisation in the Chimaltenango region of Guatemala that works with women and children who have been victims of violence or abandoned.

  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline, Boating, Caving, Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites, Equestrian, Parks & Nature Reserves
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Supplier Tour ID: ZCG1/235648
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Finishes: Antigua, Guatemala
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Tulum
  • Chichen Itza
  • Caye Caulker
  • San Ignacio
  • Tikal
  • Poptún
  • Rio Dulce
  • San Andres Itzapa
  • Chichicastenango
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Panajachel
  • Antigua



Day 1: Playa del Carmen

Border information: if joining in Playa Del Carmen, you will most likely enter Mexico at Cancun International Airport (IATA code CUN).

There will be an important group meeting at 18:00 at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

In Playa del Carmen we will stay in a comfortable hotel.


Day 2: Tulum

Today we will have an early start to drive to the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - we have an included guided tour around this spectacular site before continuing our drive to the stunning coastal village of Tulum.

In Tulum we will camp in a basic campsite near to the Mayan ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.


Day 3-4: Caye Caulker

Border information: Exit Mexico at Subteniente L pez, enter Belize at Santa Elena.

Today we will have an early start to travel south across the border to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have a full day of free time to explore and enjoy some optional activities available here, such as snorkelling, diving or taking a scenic flight over the phenomenal Great Blue Hole.

In Caye Caulker we will stay in a local hotel.


Day 5-6: San Ignacio

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the bus in Belize City. We then have a short drive to the village of San Ignacio, home to Belize's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Tomorrow we have time to take part in some optional activities available in San Ignacio, including trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.

In San Ignacio we will stay in a forest eco-lodge.


Day 7: Tikal

Border information: Exit Belize at Benque Viejo del Carmen, enter Guatemala at Melchor de Mencos.

Today we will have a short drive across the Guatemalan border to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour.

In Tikal we will camp at a basic campsite close to the ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.


Day 8-9: Poptún

Today we have a short drive to the small town of Popt n, stopping in the colonial town of Flores en route. We will arrive at our fantastic eco-lodge near Popt n and have a free afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at our eco lodge.

In Popt n we will camp at an eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan ranch.


Day 10: Rio Dulce

Today we will have a short drive to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to take part in some optional activities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

In Rio Dulce we will stay in an eco-lodge.


Day 11: San Andres Itzapa

Today we will drive day to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. We will spend one night at the community centre of Manos Amigas, run by the Italian NGO 'Mani Amiche' in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who are staying in the centre with their children.

In San Andres Itzapa we will stay in dormitories at the community centre (please note that there is no option to upgrade to private accommodation here).

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.


Day 12-13: Chichicastenango

Today we will spend the morning at the Manos Amigas project before heading off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some optional activities such as a boat trip on the lake, to some of the small villages along the shoreline. If possible, we will include a visit to the famous Chichicastenango Market during these days, depending on the weekday. Please note that the market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays so you may not be able to visit during your trip.

In Panajachel we will stay in a nice local hotel.


Day 14: Antigua

Today we will have a short drive to the magnificent city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 60 kms from Guatemala City.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.


Day 15: Antigua

Border information: if leaving in Antigua, you will most likely exit Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport (IATA code: GUA).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Antigua. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below or to stay on for the next leg of the journey to San Jose.

    • Visit the spectacular Chichen Itza Mayan ruins on a guided tour, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World centred around the world-famous pyramid of El Castillo
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest ancient sites in the world
    • Spend a night at the Manos Amigas community project, a centre which has been set up to support local women and their children
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
    • 30% Camping - 70% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • Boating
  • Caving
  • History & Culture
  • Horse Riding
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Overland Journey
  • R & R
  • Snorkelling & Diving