Central America Encompassed

Central America Encompassed

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31 Days From

$3780

$3676

Central America Encompassed

31 Days Starting in Mexico City and ending in Antigua

Visiting: Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, Oaxaca , Oaxaca / Overnight Bus, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque, Palenque Ruins / Merida, Merida, Chichen Itza / Playa del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, Chetumal, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, Tikal National Park, Rio Dulce, Antigua, Panajachel, San Juan La Laguna

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

QVRYC

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 16

Physical rating:

Low, Low

Age range:

15-99 years

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:

English

Trip Styles:

Small Group

Activities:

Snorkeling, Walking

From: $3780 $3676 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$104

NB: Prices correct on 16-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

From traditional villages to an island paradise surrounded by coral reefs, this 31-day journey is an all-encompassing adventure of Central American highlights. Start your epic discovery in thriving Mexico City, where you’ll taste the city’s best tacos. Visit Nahuatl descendants and learn about how they keep their culture alive, discover the arts scene in Oaxaca, walk the pine-covered floor of Iglesia de San Juan and visit vibrant markets before discovering one of the New Wonders of the World at Chichen Itza. Kick back, surf, swim and recharge on the paradise-like shores of Playa del Carmen and Caye Caulker. When you’ve had your fill of beach days, hit the highlands of Belize and discover local Maya culture and delicious local meals. After, dive into Guatemala and discover the ancient remains of Tikal, the bustling Chichi market and stay with the locals near Lake Atitlan.

Highlights

  • Eat your way through arty Oaxaca at its many market vendors and authentic restaurants – mole poblano and mezcal for dinner? Delicioso!

  • Chichen Itza is one the New Seven Wonders of the World. It's not hard to see why – strolling around the ancient Maya ruins feels pretty wondrous.

  • Caribbean Caye Caulker is a dreamy place to spend two days with no plans. Munch barbecue lobster? Snorkel in coral reef? Nap under a palm tree? It’s up to you.

  • Get to know contemporary Maya life during a homestay in San Jorge La Laguna, a lakeside village where you can share meals and conversation with a local family.

  • Wander between stalls of rainbow-coloured handicrafts, fruits and flowers and get some haggling tips from your leader in Chichicastenango Market.

  • Explore the stunning Mayan temples of Palenque dating back to AD600 and stroll through Chichen Itza – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

  • Visit the community of San Pedro Tlahuac – home to Nahuatl descendants who practice traditions like chinampa farming, fiestas and ancient ceremonies.

  • Spend two days exploring the island paradise of Caye Caulker – munch on barbecued lobster, snorkel around a coral reef, nap under palm trees, go kayaking or just kick back with a couple of worry-free beach days.

  • Get to know contemporary Maya life during a homestay in San Juan La Laguna – a lakeside village where you can share meals and conversation with a local family and see how they harvest their local medicinal plants.

  • Cruise up the Rio Dulce to your waterfront jungle lodge, then maybe grab a beer and relax while the sounds of nature fill the air.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Mexico City

Location: Mexico City

Accommodation: Hotel

Bienvenidos a Mexico City! This is one of the world's largest urban centres, a bustling metropolis with so many influences, offering a huge variety of museums, galleries and architectural delights, along with pumping nightlife and unparalleled street food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you arrive early, perhaps head to the Zocalo – the massive central square – and check out the Aztec ruins and colonial architecture nearby. There are also plenty of parks, plazas and gardens to relax in and adjust to the Mexican way of life.

Optional Activities:
-Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) (entrance fee) (Closed Mondays)
-Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology (entrance fee) (Closed Mondays)

Day 2: Mexico City

Location: Mexico City

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: lunch

Wake up in Mexico City, ready for a leader-led walk to orientate yourself to the city. Pass by the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace, Bellas Artes, Paseo de la reforma and more. After exploring the main sights of Mexico’s capital, you sure would have worked up an appetite. For lunch, join your local leader on a ‘taco crawl’ around town to taste Mexico City’s delicious street-food staple, tacos al pastor, among plenty other delicious treats. After eating your way around the city, the rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish. Tonight you could visit the famous Plaza Garibaldi or sip cocktails with your fellow travellers in one of the many trendy bars in the city, whatever takes your fancy.

Included Activities:
-Mexico City - Leader-led Taco Crawl
-Mexico City - Leader-led orientation walk

Optional Activities:
-Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum (entrance fee)
-Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral (entrance fee) - Free
-Mexico City - Torre Latino 360° Lookout (entrance fee)
-Mexico City - Diego Rivera Murals in the Mural Museum (Entrance Fee)
-Mexico City - Teotihuacan Pyramids Urban Adventure

Day 3: Puebla

Location: Puebla

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: lunch

Start the day with a visit to the community of San Pedro Tlahuac, home to Nahuatl descendants who keep their way of life alive. The community practices traditions from pre-Columbian times, including chinampa farming, fiestas and ancient ceremonies. After an included lunch, your group will head to Puebla, where your leader will take you out for an orientation walk and run through some handy Spanish phrases to help you make the most of the days ahead. Put your newly learnt Spanish skills to the test with an evening visit to La Pasita bar, where you’ll have the opportunity to taste pasita – a sweet liqueur made of raisins in one of Puebla’s most famous bars. Salud!

Included Activities:
-Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
-Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk
-Puebla - Visit to La Pasita Bar
-Tlahuac - Community Visit

Optional Activities:
-Puebla - Lucha Libre Show (Mondays only) from

Day 4: Puebla

Location: Puebla

Accommodation: Hotel

Puebla is a rapidly growing city featuring many well-maintained churches and buildings from the colonial period. Today is free for you to discover the city at your leisure. Though there are enough churches to visit a different one every day for a year, two of the best examples are Santa Domingo Church and the Rosary Chapel, located in town. Further afield lies the Great Pyramid of Cholula, containing over eight kilometres (five miles) of tunnels, with the enormous Popocatepetl Volcano serving as a backdrop. In town, Puebla also has plenty of markets where you can pick up some local handicrafts.

Optional Activities:
-Puebla - Santo Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel (entrance fee)
-Puebla - San Pedro Art Museum (entrance fee)

Day 5: Oaxaca

Location: Oaxaca

Accommodation: Hotel

Today we journey by local bus to Oaxaca. Oaxaca (pronounced ‘wuh-haa-ka’) is a beautiful, old colonial town full of graceful arcades and colourful markets. You'll find Zapotec and Mixtec influences around the city as ancestors have populated this region for thousands of years. Your leader will take you on a quick orientation walk to show you the ropes then the next couple of days are free for you to explore. The city is known for its arts scene, particularly its folk and fine art, but you'll also discover a grungier side to Oaxaca and some incredible examples of street art. Walk the narrow, cobblestone streets, or maybe sit back in one of the squares, sipping mezcal and watching the world go by.

Included Activities:
-Oaxaca - Leader-led orientation walk

Day 6: Oaxaca

Location: Oaxaca

Accommodation: Hotel

There's an opportunity today to visit the spectacular temples of Monte Alban just outside of Oaxaca. Monte Alban was inhabited for 1500 years by the Olmec, Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, and this World Heritage site is an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre, with terraces, dams, canals and pyramids carved out of the mountain. Alternatively, why not take a day tour out to Mitla Ruins, visit a traditional weaving arts town, and stop by a local mezcal distillery. In the evening, if you've any energy left, you could head out for dinner with your fellow travellers and enjoy the town's lively atmosphere.

Optional Activities:
-Oaxaca - Monte Alban archaeological site (entrance fee)
-Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre (entrance fee)
-Oaxaca – Mitla, Teotitlan weaving town & mezcal distillery

Day 7: Oaxaca / Overnight Bus

Location: Oaxaca / Overnight Bus

Accommodation: Overnight bus

Use today to take part in any optional activities you couldn't fit in yesterday, you could have a go at plating up some delicious local fare during a cooking class or enjoy a relaxed day in town at your leisure. This evening the group will take an overnight bus to the highland town of San Cristobal de las Casas. Reclining seats and toilet are available on the bus. The bus is air conditioned, so be sure to bring a jacket on board. Please keep in mind that though the bus is comfortable, the road from Oaxaca to San Cristobal has some very winding sections, so if you suffer from motion sickness this is the time to have your medication handy.

Optional Activities:
-Oaxaca - Cooking class

Day 8: San Cristobal De Las Casas

Location: San Cristobal de las Casas

Accommodation: Hotel

The bus will arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas early this morning. Leave your luggage at the hotel and begin exploring this highland town, hidden in green Chiapas valley surrounded by pine trees. Your leader will take you on a tour around town and point out all the important places. Then you'll visit the village of San Juan Chamula, home to the fascinating Iglesia de San Juan. This church, with its pine-covered floor and air thick with incense, is often frequented by shamans who come to carry out cleansings using firewater and ancient prayer. Please note that there is a strict ban on cameras inside the church. Outside, the village is alive with colourful markets that sell local handicrafts. We’ll also stop by the town of Zinacantan to explore another local church. Your visit to Zinacatan church will reveal a fascinating mixture of Christian and Mayan religion, which helps you understand some of the local culture in this region. The rest of the day is free for your own adventure. Stroll through the market, chat with the locals and maybe buy some of the colourful weavings they are known for, before grabbing a drink and some food with your fellow travellers.

Included Activities:
-San Cristobal de Las Casas - Leader-led Orientation Walk
-Zinacatan Church - Visit
-San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)

Optional Activities:
-San Cristobal de Las Casas - Amber Museum (entrance fee)

Day 9: San Cristobal De Las Casas

Location: San Cristobal de las Casas

Accommodation: Hotel

There’s no alarm clock needed this morning as today is yours to explore San Cristobal de las Casas at your own leisure. Perhaps, take in the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, and soak up the old-world feel mixed with strong, pre-Hispanic roots. Or try something more active and ask your leader to help organise an optional boating trip in the Sumidero Canyon, which is as old and impressive as the Grand Canyon (at your own expense).

Optional Activities:
-Sumidero Canyon - Boat Excursion (entrance and transport)

Day 10: Palenque

Location: Palenque

Accommodation: Hotel

Travel along a windy road by private vehicle to Palenque, stopping en route at the beautiful Agua Azul cascades for a refreshing swim. Once you've arrived in Palenque, the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. Situated in a steamy jungle, Palenque is a central town close to the nearby Maya ruins of the same name, which you'll have a chance to check out tomorrow.

Included Activities:
-Agua Azul - Waterfall Visit

Day 11: Palenque Ruins / Merida

Location: Palenque Ruins / Merida

Accommodation: Hotel

Today you visit the Palenque archaeological zone. The stunning Mayan temples of Palenque are quite rightly considered a must-see during any trip to Chiapas, or indeed Mexico. Situated on a hilltop, the ruins date back to AD600 and are some of the most impressive Maya relics in Mexico. As you walk among the temples (closed-toe shoes recommended), listen out for the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle. There are many ruins which are still un-excavated and remain hidden in the forest, and you can opt to take a guided tour of the ruins or through the surrounding jungle on your own Indiana Jones-style adventure. This afternoon, travel by private vehicle to the historic town of Merida, the capital of the Yucatan region.

Included Activities:
-Palenque - Palenque Ruins (entrance fee)

Day 12: Merida

Location: Merida

Accommodation: Hotel

Founded in 1542 on the site of Tho (an ancient Maya city), the colonial city of Merida retains much of its old-world charm thanks primarily to its people and architecture. Take an orientation walk with your leader, then enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Maybe take an optional trip to the Merida Contemporary Art Museum for an interesting perspective on contemporary life in the city. Or perhaps just spend some time wandering the Plaza Grande: a green, shady square enclosed by a 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, the State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo. Or head to the outdoor markets where you can find local specialities like the seriously spicy El Yucateco hot sauce.

Included Activities:
-Merida - Leader-led orientation walk

Optional Activities:
-Merida - Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay Contemporary Art Museum (entrance fee) - Free

Day 13: Merida

Location: Merida

Accommodation: Hotel

Today you can choose to visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal, a 1-hour drive from Merida, on an optional tour which includes transport and a local guide. It's thought that the city was constructed around AD700, was home to around 25,000 people and once dominated the region along with Chichen Itza. Much of the site is decorated with masks of Chac, the rain god, and important buildings include the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor's Palace, the House of the Tortoises and the Ball Court. Alternatively, you could choose to take an optional guided tour to Las Coloradas – the incredible pink lagoon that’s home to flocks of flamingos.

Optional Activities:
-Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. shared transport and guide)
-Merida - Las Coloradas Flamingo Tour (inc. shared transport and guide)

Day 14: Chichen Itza / Playa Del Carmen

Location: Chichen Itza / Playa del Carmen

Accommodation: Hotel

Travel to Playa del Carmen by private vehicle, stopping en route for an included visit to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza. Named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza contains both Toltec and Mayan ruins lying alongside each other. The famous El Castillo pyramid dominates the site and there is also a large ball court where games used to be held. Nearby, excavations of the Well of Sacrifice revealed treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones. The group will spend a few hours at Chichen Itza before continuing on to Playa del Carmen. After a quick orientation walk around Playa del Carmen with your local guide, pick a place to kick back with a margarita and watch the sun go down.

Included Activities:
-Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)
-Playa del Carmen - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Day 15: Playa Del Carmen

Location: Playa del Carmen

Accommodation: Hotel

Today you’ll have a free day to take on one of the beachside activities or just kick back and relax until another group meeting at 6 pm tonight. Beforehand, maybe try your hand (and feet and lungs) at snorkelling in the freshwater rock pools (called cenotes) or reef diving on Cozumel. After the meeting, maybe head out for a cocktail and a few tacos with your new travel buddies.



Optional Activities:
-Playa del Carmen - Bicycle Rental (per day)
-Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip Ticket)

Day 16: Playa Del Carmen

Location: Playa del Carmen

Accommodation: Hotel

Wake up without an alarm – today is yours to explore this beachside paradise at your leisure. Known for its coral-clad reefs, Playa Del Carmen might be the perfect spot to don your snorkel mask and flippers and explore beneath the surface. Keep your eyes peeled for rays, moray eels and turtles. If you’d rather leave the flippers behind and adventure on land, catch a local bus and travel south to Tulum, where white-sand beaches and Maya ruins are just an hour and a half away. In the evening, you could grab a few of your fellow travellers and find a good spot to watch the sunset – muy bien!

Day 17: Chetumal

Location: Chetumal

Accommodation: Hotel

After breakfast, enjoy your final morning in Playa del Carmen. Maybe take an early morning stroll to the beach and dip your toes in the sand or simply let the world pass you by with a coffee at a local cafe. Head to your next stop in Chetumal mid-morning and arrive after lunch – a quiet city close to the border of Belize, this place makes for the perfect stop before tomorrow’s adventure to Caye Caulker. You have a free afternoon in Chetumal so you might like to round up your group and head to a local restaurant for the evening.

Day 18: Caye Caulker

Location: Caye Caulker

Accommodation: Hotel

Bid adios to Mexico early this morning as you head south to Belize. After border formalities, arrive in Belize City then hop in a water taxi to the island of Caye Caulker. When you arrive, get acquainted with the island on a guided walk with your leader. Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America, which will make chatting with locals much easier. Be aware that there may be crocodiles in the split area that separates the north and south of the island, so it’s best to take caution while swimming and exploring the beaches.

Included Activities:
-Caye Caulker - Leader-led orientation walk

Optional Activities:
-Caye Caulker - Stand-up paddleboard hire (per hour)

Day 19: Caye Caulker

Location: Caye Caulker

Accommodation: Hotel

Good morning and welcome to heaven! Today is free for you to explore the island that surrounds you, or just to simply relax. If you feel like snorkelling, ask your leader about organising a trip to the colourful coral reef nearby, or maybe head further afield to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, home to the world’s second-longest coral reef. Manatee spotting is perfect for nature lovers, or you could take a stroll and find a swaying palm tree with your name on it – they make the perfect place to nap, read a book and soak up the island vibes on a beach day.

Optional Activities:
-Caye Caulker - Manatee boat tour (Incl. transport & guide)
-Caye Caulker - Stand-up paddleboard hire (per hour)
-Caye Caulker - Full day Catamaran tour-(gear, guide and transport included)
-Caye Caulker - Full day speed boat-(gear, guide and transport included)

Day 20: Caye Caulker

Location: Caye Caulker

Accommodation: Hotel

What’s better than one day in paradise? Two, of course! Wake up whenever you like, because you’ve got another free day. Like any good seaside paradise, Caye Caulker is home to super fresh seafood, which you can dig into with your feet planted in the sand at one of the many ‘floor free’ outdoor restaurants. The island's famous lobsters are available between 15 June and 15 February, and you can expect to pay far less than at home (though more than your average island meal). You could even grab some grilled shrimp and a rum and coke made with firewater from a roadside stall to really get into the island spirit.

Optional Activities:
-Caye Caulker - Bicycle Rental (per day)
-Caye Caulker - Stand-up paddleboard hire (per hour)
-Caye Caulker - Sunset Sailing

Day 21: San Ignacio

Location: San Ignacio

Accommodation: Hotel

From the islands to the highlands, you’ll bid farewell to Caye Caulker today and catch a ferry to Belize City, then a bus to San Ignacio. When you arrive, your leader will take you on a walking tour of San Ignacio and its twin sister Santa Elena, giving you a sense of how vibrant the local Garifuna and Maya communities are. Tonight, maybe head out in search of a classic Maya dish like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus).

Included Activities:
-San Ignacio - Leader-led orientation walk

Day 22: San Ignacio

Location: San Ignacio

Accommodation: Hotel

Today is free for you to discover San Ignacio at your own pace. This beautiful town is surrounded by fast-flowing rivers, waterfalls and Maya ruins, making it the ideal base. If you’re a bit of a history buff, maybe take a day trip to Xunantunich – an impressive Maya ceremonial site on a hill overlooking the countryside. Getting to the site is half the fun, as you'll need to take a hand-cranked ferry to cross the river. Also nearby is the cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal – a living museum of Maya relics. Wade through cool waters to find ceramic pots and crystallised skeletons preserved by the calcium-rich environment of the cave for over 1400 years. Easily spooked? Maybe you'd prefer a cave with fewer (as far as we know) skeletons, like the one in Mountain Pine Ridge. In the late afternoon, the barbecue stalls of Santa Elena start to set up for the dinner rush. It's only a 15-minute walk, so consider wandering over to enjoy a juicy chicken leg and a chat with the locals.

Optional Activities:
-San Ignacio - Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves (Incl. entry, guide, transport & lunch)
-San Ignacio - Butterfly Farm (incl. transport)
-San Ignacio - Cave tubing (incl. entrance, guide & transport)
-San Ignacio - Iguana Conservation Project (entrance fee)
-San Ignacio - Xunantunich Ruins entry

Day 23: Tikal National Park

Location: Tikal National Park

Accommodation: Hotel (Multishare)

Rise and shine for an 8 am taxi ride to the Belize-Guatemala border. Once you've crossed over, board a bus to Tikal National Park. Here, there will be time to buy lunch before visiting the impressive archaeological site. Towering above the jungle, the five granite temples of Tikal are an imposing sight and one of the most magnificent Maya ruins. Hidden in the evergreen forest is a maze of smaller structures waiting to be explored. The energetic can climb to the top of the ruins for spectacular views over the canopy and the chance to spot toucans, macaws and other colourful birds. Choose to explore on your own or pay a little more for a guided tour (or maybe see the site from above on an optional zip-line ride).

Included Activities:
-Tikal National Park - Tikal archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)

Optional Activities:
-Tikal National Park - Guide for Ruins (per person, min 5 participants)

Day 24: Rio Dulce

Location: Rio Dulce

Accommodation: Hotel (Private rooms with shared facilities)

This morning you’ll depart for Flores, where your leader will take you on an orientation walk on the island. Then, continue by private minivan to Rio Dulce before transferring to your hotel by boat. The easiest way to get back into town is also on the water – a journey that can be organised through the hotel. Alternatively, a 40-minute jungle walk will get you there. The hotel is a great place to relax and look over the water, with reasonably priced meals and drinks served in the hotel restaurant. Now that you are back in a Spanish-speaking nation, why not join an informal Spanish lesson led by your leader?

Included Activities:
-Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson

Day 25: Rio Dulce

Location: Rio Dulce

Accommodation: Hotel (Private rooms with shared facilities)

With plenty of free time today, consider taking advantage of some optional activities. Maybe take a scenic boat trip down the river to the coastal enclave of Livingston for a taste of Creole-Caribbean culture. This laidback town on the Caribbean coast feels very different from the rest of Guatemala thanks to its Garifuna population. Or maybe go boating on the lake, take a tour to spot local manatees or explore nearby San Felipe Fort.

Optional Activities:
-Rio Dulce - Boat trip to Livingston (Price dependent on boat available & passengers)
-Rio Dulce - Natural Hot Springs (entrance fee and transport)
-Rio Dulce - Quirigua Ruins (entrance fee)
-Rio Dulce - San Felipe Fort (entrance fee)

Day 26: Antigua

Location: Antigua

Accommodation: Hotel

Leave the 'Sweet River' behind and travel by private minibus to the city of Antigua. The road between Rio Dulce and Guatemala City is one of the busiest in the country. Traffic is slow, there are frequent road works and many, many slow trucks – be armed with patience, music and a good book and the journey will be easier to handle. Though there's not much time in Antigua today, you owe it to yourself to reward your patience with a tamale (meat and dough steamed in a corn leaf). You could also give pepian a try (rich dark sauce served with vegetables and meat, usually chicken).

Day 27: Panajachel

Location: Panajachel

Accommodation: Hotel

Today, travel on the winding roads to Chichicastenango – home to perhaps the most colourful market in the country! Nicknamed Chichi market, locals come from surrounding villages on Thursdays and Sundays to sell their wares and the streets are lined with stalls offering multi-coloured textiles and fresh produce. Visit a local Mayan Shaman and do a little shopping at the market, then continue to Panajachel. Located on Lake Atitlan with distant volcanoes looming in the background, Panajachel has a thriving market, great eateries and many water-based activities. Your leader will take you on a brief orientation walk of the town and then the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore. Why not go for a swim, wander the streets or kayak on the lake?

Included Activities:
-Chichicastenango - Market Visit
-Chichicastenango - Shaman Visit
-Panajachel - Leader-led orientation walk

Day 28: San Juan La Laguna

Location: San Juan La Laguna

Accommodation: Homestay

Meals Included: dinner

This morning after breakfast, take a boat to San Juan La Laguna – a small Maya village overlooking Lake Atitlan and the first community to ban single-use plastic. Here, you’ll witness a textile weaving demonstration, seeing how they use local materials and traditional dyeing techniques. Try out some of your newly learnt Spanish to chat with the locals and take a tour of their medicinal garden, watching how they use ancient techniques to transform plants into medicine - knowledge passed from mothers to daughters for hundreds of years. Tonight, you’ll be staying with multiple families within the community in small groups. Enjoy a homecooked dinner with your host family and spend the night here – a perfect opportunity to get to know them a little better and immerse yourself in local life.

Included Activities:
-San Juan La Laguna - Traditional Maya Homestay

Optional Activities:
-San Juan La Laguna - Water taxi to Santiago (Return)

Day 29: Antigua

Location: Antigua

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Hit the road again this morning and make the journey back to Antigua – in 1773, the city was destroyed by an earthquake, but many of the colonial buildings have been carefully restored, and the architecture from its glory days can still be seen. On the way, stop at Santa Apolonia – one of the last communities in Guatemala to make pottery with traditional Maya techniques. The ancient Maya people could produce perfectly rounded pottery without a potter’s wheel! Here, the local women use their hands, as they move in a circular motion to produce amazing pieces. Watch a demonstration and then try it for yourself. Continue to Antigua, where your leader will take you on an orientation walk. Tonight, maybe take part in a dancing lesson – many dancing schools offer hourly lessons, so you'll be able to perfect your moves.

Included Activities:
-Antigua - Leader-led orientation walk
-Santa Apolonia - Traditional Pottery Demonstration

Optional Activities:
-Antigua - Salsa-dance Lesson (per hour)

Day 30: Antigua

Location: Antigua

Accommodation: Hotel

Enjoy a free day exploring photogenic Antigua today. Maybe check out the ChocoMuseo, two blocks away from central park. Learn all about chocolate, which was first documented by the Guatemalan Maya, as well as its historical importance. Or maybe grab a coffee from one of the myriad shops in central park, sit back, relax and enjoy Antigua's chilled-out vibes.

Optional Activities:
-Antigua - Chocolate-making workshop at ChocoMuseo

Day 31: Antigua

Location: Antigua

Your adventure comes to an end this morning and there are no activities planned. As there's a great deal to do in Antigua, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this traveller favourite. If you’d like to spend more time here, just speak to your booking agent.

What's Included

  • Antigua - Leader-led walking tour

  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson

  • Mexico City - Leader-led Taco Crawl

  • Mexico City - Leader-led City Tour of Historic Center

  • Puebla - Visit to La Pasita Bar

  • Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk

  • Oaxaca - Leader-led Orientation Walk

  • Zinacantan - Maya Church (entrance fee)

  • San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)

  • San Cristobal de Las Casas - Leader-led City Tour

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What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • International Travel

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

Accommodation

  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.
  • Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.
  • This itinerary includes basic accommodation, meaning access to elevators can be limited. Often rooms will be located on higher levels and luggage will need to be carried up and down stairs. We recommend packing light for this reason. For more information, refer to the "Packing" section of the Essential Trip Information.

Transport

  • Private vehicle , Local bus , Overnight public bus , Taxi , Shared Boat , Ferry

Included Activities

  • Mexico City - Leader-led Taco Crawl
  • Mexico City - Leader-led City Tour of Historic Center
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Puebla - Visit to La Pasita Bar
  • Oaxaca - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • San Cristobal de Las Casas - Leader-led City Tour
  • San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)
  • Zinacantan - Maya Church (entrance fee)
  • Agua Azul - Waterfall Visit (entrance fee)
  • Palenque - Palenque Ruins (entrance fee)
  • Merida - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)
  • Playa del Carmen - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Tulum - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Caye Caulker - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Tikal National Park - Tikal archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Chichicastenango Market
  • San Jorge La Laguna - Traditional Maya Homestay
  • Panajachel - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Antigua - Leader-led walking tour

Important Information

  • 1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 7 (Overnight bus), Day 23 (Tikal) & Day 28 (San Juan La Laguna homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
  • 2. This tour includes accommodation in multi-share rooms (triple and quad). This means travelers on the same booking may be split between rooms due to single gender allocation.
  • 3. Please be careful when booking flights from Antigua; make sure you fly out of Guatemala City Airport [GUA]. Guatemala City Airport is the closest airport to Antigua. Please do not book flights from Antigua & Barbuda Airport [ANU] as this is an island in the Caribbean.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes if aged 15+ and accompanied by an adult

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    No

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes, except optional activities

  • Is this trip right for you

    This trip is made for travellers who value their independence but also want the benefit of a local leader and a group of like-minded travellers. The itinerary includes basic accommodation and has free time for activities when your leader will offer suggestions. Please budget spending money for optional activities you want to partake in.

    This trip involves some long days of travel by private and local transport, including one overnight bus. While this can be tiring, it's also a fantastic way to rub shoulders with the locals and get under the skin of a place. Crossing the borders between the various countries visited on this trip is usually straightforward, but you may need to be patient. Books, podcasts and car games will be your best friend.

    Central America's climate is sultry and tropical, so can get really hot and humid. Wear loose clothing and make sure stay hydrated, especially while out on walking tours.

    The homestay is a wonderful opportunity to witness everyday local life. Conditions are simple and multi-share but comfortable. A homecooked dinner will be served during your stay, which can be a lot more basic than what you're used to.

    Try to learn as many Spanish words as you can before the trip. In many of the destinations we visit, local people are reserved and/or do not speak English. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.

  • Are international flights included in this tour?

    No

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

Reviews of this operator

Maroochy Dazza (Google Reviewer)  

Just leaving a review to...

24-Aug-2023

Just leaving a review to share how much I enjoyed my Central America trip. I thought the guide, Aura was so knowledgeable and organised and clearly a great ambassador for Intrepid. She gave us lots of information on each region, helped us organise anything we needed and dealt with queries from passengers very well and diplomatically. She made the trip run smoothly. She was also keen to explain the Intrepid vision and how the company values making a difference to locals and is a credit to your company. I did Guatemala and beyond and thoroughly enjoyed it - very fast paced, lots to see and do and a great overview of the region. I would definitely recommend 👍

V Open (Google Reviewer)  

I have just come back...

26-Oct-2022

I have just come back home after doing Intrepid's 10-day Vietnam Express Northbound tour. What a SUPERB tour. We saw lots and did lots, it was jam-packed full of sights and activities. Our tour leader, Tam, was the best ever. Very knowledgeable, organised and lots of fun too. The other 10 people on the group were all lovely. The places we visited were very interesting. We even visited local homes and ate just like the local people do. I highly recommend Intrepid to anyone considering touring a new country. This was my 5th tour with them and they have consistently been fantastic.

Jack Edwards (Google Reviewer)  

I have travelled with Intrepid...

03-Jun-2024

I have travelled with Intrepid a number of times now and can't recommend them enough. The trips are always exciting, full of history and immersive in the culture and environment. The office staff are great too and always happy to help with any questions you might have. Everywhere I have gone with the company has been different but the guides and itinerary have always been excellent and full of knowledge and passion for their country. Add in the social responsibility angle the company has and it top quality ethical practice and you can't go wrong

Jo Clayton (Google Reviewer)  

I recently went on an...

15-Mar-2024

I recently went on an 11 day tour of India with Intrepid and was impressed with every aspect of the tour, the tour leader and the organisation behind the scenes. I always travel alone so it was a big deal to join a tour, I didn't want to feel less independent or ferried about. I loved being part of a group and the things we saw and did on the tour, I would never have known about or seen if I had been by myself. I loved it from start to finish. Yes the overnight trains were not easy to sleep on, but I managed. Meeting locals on board was a high light for me. English is widely spoken in India and its amazing who you strike up a chat with. I had two problems on the tour - one my own fault and one hotel related. The support from Intrepid was amazing. I cannot thank them enough for going the extra mile to support me. I recommend Intrepid 100% and have gone from thinking an organised tour is for people who don't know about Lonely Planet and can't do solo stuff, to realising its a faster, better, more fun way to get to know a country truly and deeply whilst on a bit of a budget. I will book again and again with Intrepid. I loved it that much! Big thanks to tour leader Daddy H. Devender for his help on day one, and Nick in the Oz office for his fab customer care skills. Also the person who staffed the emergency whatsapp in India - you saved my sanity helping me get there a day late! THANK YOU ALL X

Nicole  

North American Adventure

12-Oct-2021

This was my first international solo trip, but I never felt “alone” - there was always someone to go shopping, hike, or grab a quick bite with. The itinerary was a great balance between organized activities, while still allowing free time for exploring. Each location was unique and charming in its own way. Spending the night in the holy city of Moulay Idriss and wandering the winding streets of Chefchaouen were especially memorable. Thank you Mustapha and Intrepid for an incredible adventure!

Alice Norton (Google Reviewer)  

I have just completed a...

29-Feb-2024

I have just completed a 12 day food tour of Vietnam, and had an amazing time. Our tour leader was great, knowledgeable and kind, who helped throughout the trip with recommendations for places on our free days, and spas. All the food we tried was delicious. It is a very fast paced tour, and Bon tried to maximise our experiences for the best.

Henry Guy Robinson   United Kingdom

Cambodia Discovery

22-Jan-2024

The overall experience was fantastic. V good tour leader. All places visited had something special to do or see. I would book a tour with this company again. Only one negative tour hub is not I repeat not available to contact direct by phone.

Merouane Harkat   Uk

Explore Southern Africa

08-Mar-2024

Best trip ever was, 2 things I didn't like the black mamba stop was wasting day and village ,so 2 night I think was just wasting, I could do 2 days in Kruger, and one more night in delta

Ann  

Amazing Guatemala and beyond tour with Intrepid

13-Dec-2022

Did Guatemala and beyond trip in November 22. It was amazing, we were so well looked after by our guide Aura. She was very knowledgeable and during our bus trips she gave us the history of the 4 countries. The border crossings can be tricky but handled very well by our guide. We saw all the most interesting and beautiful places. The hotels were lovely comfortable colonial style. I will travel with intrepid again

Trustpilot
Hazel Rogers (Google Reviewer)  

I have just completed my...

06-Mar-2024

I have just completed my first trip with Intrepid to Southern Africa, and I loved every moment of it! We saw so much wildlife, stayed in some beautiful places, and learnt so much about the countries and people in a very short space of time. Our group leader, Admore, was exceptionally organised, coordinating every detail of our packed itinerary and keeping us informed along the way. The recruitment of a local group leader who can share their knowledge and fix the smallest of issues quickly really sets these trips apart, ensuring you feel safe and looked after at all times. I shall be booking my next trip soon!

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$4110 $3997

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$4110 $3997

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$4110 $3997

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$4110 $3997

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$4275 $4157

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$118

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$4275 $4157

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$4735 $4605

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

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$4735 $4605

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$4735 $4605

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$4735 $4605

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$4735 $4605

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$4735 $4605

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$4735 $4605

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$4735 $4605

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Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

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$4560 $4435

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$4560 $4435

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

Saturday - Monday

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$4385 $4264

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$121

Saturday - Monday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Saturday - Monday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Saturday - Monday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Saturday - Monday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Tuesday - Thursday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Tuesday - Thursday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Saturday - Monday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Tuesday - Thursday

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

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$4560 $4435

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$125

Tuesday - Thursday

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$4735 $4605

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Saturday - Monday

Nov 28, 2026 - Dec 28, 2026
$4735 $4605

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Tuesday - Thursday

Dec 01, 2026 - Dec 31, 2026
$4735 $4605

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Saturday - Monday

Dec 05, 2026 - Jan 04, 2027
$4735 $4605

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Tuesday - Thursday

Dec 08, 2026 - Jan 07, 2027
$4735 $4605

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Saturday - Monday

Dec 12, 2026 - Jan 11, 2027
$4735 $4605

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$130

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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