Maya Encounter

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: ZCG2/212961
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Antigua, Guatemala
  • Finishes: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Antigua
  • Chichicastenango
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Panajachel
  • San Andres Itzapa
  • Rio Dulce
  • Poptún
  • Tikal
  • San Ignacio
  • Caye Caulker
  • Tulum
  • Chichen Itza
  • Playa del Carmen



Day 1: Antigua

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

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.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings, and to take part in some optional activities. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Antigua before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Antigua.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.


Day 2-3: Chichicastenango

Today we will head off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

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 4: 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 - 3-4 hours.


Day 5: Rio Dulce

Today we will drive north to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

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


Day 6-7: Poptún

Today we have a free morning to enjoy some optional activities in Rio Dulce, before heading on a short drive to 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 8: Tikal

Today we have a short drive to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. We will likely stop briefly in the colonial town of Flores en route.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.


Day 9-10: San Ignacio

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

Today we have a short drive across the border into Belize and on to the village of San Ignacio, home to the country's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

We will have a full day to take part in some optional activities such as trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.

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


Day 11-12: Caye Caulker

Today we will travel north to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We will have a full day to explore and enjoy some optional activities 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 13: Tulum

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

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the bus in Belize City, 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 - 7-8 hours.


Day 14: Chichen Itza

Today we will 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 Playa Del Carmen.

In Playa Del Carmen we stay in a hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.


Day 15: Playa del Carmen

Today is the final day of our journey and there is no accommodation provided tonight. Please speak to your Sales representative if you would like to book additional nights of accommodation to enjoy the area.

You will most likely depart Mexico from the International airport at Cancun (IATA code: CUN) which is around 45minutes from our Hotel.

    • Enjoy a guided tour of the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest ancient sites in the world
    • 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
    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