Mexico City to Antigua BOLT    *alt*

31 days, from £1715
Trek America
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Description

How about a month of tropical beaches, ancient ruins and some of the best snorkelling on the continent? This trip takes in some of the best beach and cultural locations in Mexico before skipping over the border to Belize and Guatemala. Think Aztec, Mayan and Latino culture, some great party towns and warm Caribbean seas, this the perfect mix of adventure and paradise!

Highlights:
* Visit Mexico, Belize & Guatemala
* Toe-tap to a mariachi band in Mexico City
* Embrace a kaleidoscope of colour at a Mexican market
* Walk amongst waterfalls and clear limestone pools
* Escape the Mexican heat in San Cristobal de las Casas
* Explore the cathedrals of the Yucatan capital, Merida
* Sparkling Caribbean Sea and sprawling jungles
* Bask on Playa del Carmen's white sand beaches
* Learn the history of ancient Guatemalan ruins
* Kick back on the beautiful coast of Belize
* Experience traditional Guatemalan life with a local homestay
* Enjoy colonial buildings and surrounding volcanoes in Antigua
* Haggle in the markets of Chichicastenango
* Entrance and visit to Chichen Itza

Interests:
* Beaches
* Cities
* Small Group

Itinerary


 Days 1-2 Mexico City

An incredible mix of old and new awaits in Mexico City. Over the next couple of days you'll have the chance to acclimatise on an orientation walk of the city, where you'll discover a whole host of archaeological, cultural and exciting options ensuring you really get to hit the Aztec trail at full pace. There's so much to do in Mexico City that it may take you a while to stop your head from spinning however, once you get your bearings it's time to have fun. Having the option to watch a football match, explore anthropology museums or find out more about the ruins of Teotihuacan all present a wide array of choices. So, best advice is to research, ask your guide and then hit the ground running.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 3-4 Puebla

Wave adios to the ancient pyramids and urban excitement of Mexico City as you head by local bus further south to the colonial streets and handicraft markets of Puebla. Get ready for plenty of haggling as well as the chance to hike by a volcano or for something a little different why not make the delicious local sauce, mole poblano. Cookery lessons are a great way to learn a bit of the local lingo and take home a couple of recipes to impress the folks back home with your newfound skills.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 5-7 Oaxaca

Take an afternoon local bus to Oaxaca where you'll be met by a mix of native and colonial buildings including the legendary UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte Alban. This is an exceptional site and an absolute cultural experience to savour no matter what you're into. Monte Alban is literally carved from the mountain and features: terraces, canals, pyramids and ceremonial alters that pay testament to the ingenuity of the pre-Columbian inhabitants of Oaxaca. On day seven you're free to enjoy your Oaxaca before boarding your overnight bus to San Cristobal de las Casas.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 8-9 San Cristobal De Las Casas

The effects of Spanish colonialism are littered throughout Mexico, and nowhere is this more evident than the cobbled streets of San Cristobal de las Casas. Get out of the city discover what life was like before the arrival of the early European explorers. Optional village tours are a great way to explore the local area and renting a bike will allow you to travel at your leisure and experience life at your own pace.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 10-11 Palenque

Wind your way through the jungle to the ancient city of Palenque by local bus where you'll find one of the finest collections of Mayan architecture and carvings in existence. Palenque is situated on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle and is home to possibly the most impressive series of Mayan ruins, which date back at AD600. Whilst walking amongst the ruins it is often possible to hear the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle, giving an added dimension to this magnificent site. The temples are superb relics of Mayan culture and there are many ruins here still unexcavated and hidden in the surrounding forest. On day 11 you transfer to the bus station and board an overnight bus to Merida (approx. 8-9 hrs).
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 12-13 Merida

Leave the jungles behind as you explore the museums, galleries and cathedrals of Merida, the capital city of Yucatan. This is a great chance to collect your thoughts amongst the markets and mansions of this cultural hub and if you're still hankering for more Mayan ruins then the site of Uxmal is easily within reach. Cultural activities of a different nature can be found in Merida every Sunday and if you fancy slipping on your dancing shoes then you won't be disappointed. Salsa and merengue are the order of the day to finish off the weekend and as some of the streets close and turn into dance floors you may not be able to stop yourself from joining in, Strictly Come Dancing here you come! For some more spectacular sites of the feathered variety head to the pink flamingos of Celestun Bird Sanctuary, which always proves to be one of many colourful highlights on this stretch of your Mexican adventure.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 14-15 Chichen Itza - Playa Del Carmen

Chichen Itza is just one of those 'must see' Mayan destinations and that's why we've included a visit for you. After you've had your fill of pyramids, inscriptions and gigantic stone staircases then it's time to let your hair down and celebrate in Playa del Carmen. Although close to Cancun, Playa isn't as full on and if you're hoping for a spot of snorkelling, or simply watching the sunset with a tropical cocktail or two then why not - you deserve it!
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 16-17 Tulum

Take a scenic local bus trip south to even more gorgeous beaches and the warm waves of Tulum. White sand, cocktails and palm trees have never looked so sweet and if you'd like the opportunity to get your first taste of Mayan ruins then Tulum is the best place to start. Renting a mask and snorkel is a great idea to see the colourful fishes up close and personal. One of the best spots for snorkelling are the ruins of Tulum where you can actually swim around some of the ancient walls that have made their way into the sea, this trip just keeps on getting even more epic!
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 18-20 Caye Caulker

Say "adios" Mexico and "what's up?" `Belize as you journey across the border on a combination of public and private transport on what promises to be a real culture jolt to remember. Once in Central America you'll be whisked over to the Caribbean island of Caye Caulker where you'll be able to swim and snorkel amongst some of the most incredible marine reserves on the continent. This is pretty much where things go all Captain Jack Sparrow, from grilled shrimp to rum with absolutely everything, keep your eyes peeled for the Jolly Roger flag and you won't go far wrong. If you've had enough of landlubbing and fancy a trip out to sea then there are plenty of options to sail, kayak and snorkel out on the ocean wave, this is the life!
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 21-22 San Ignacio

After bidding the manatees and coral reefs a fond farewell it's time to travel inland by local bus as you encounter the forest covered highlands that sit beyond Belize's capital city, Belmopan. Get ready for rushing rivers, tumbling waterfalls and ancient ruins, with a chance to visit the ceremonial temples of Xunantunich and the incredible caves of Tunichil Muknal. This is a true outdoor adventure playground and for many will prove to be one of the active highlights of the whole tour. Tubing, caving and canoeing are all excellent optional activities for the energetic and the opportunities to have awesome adventures whilst in Belize is going to stay with you for years to come. If you're not that into the extreme side of life then don't panic - there are plenty of more laid-back alternatives with bike hire, butterfly gardens and trips to nearby ruins always proving excellent for learning more about the area.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Day 23 Tikal

Travel by `collective minibus' and step back in time by opting to visit the awesome Tikal temples - don't miss this one! The Tikal Temples are magnificent and although the pilgrimage does involve a climb through the jungle the views from the top of the ruins are nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 24-25 Rio Dulce

Next stop is one of the absolute legends of the Central American circuit - the awesome Rio Dulce. This has long been a draw for boaters and if you're looking for things to do on your free day then why not take a tour of Lake Izabel or explore up river in search of manatees and hot springs. If you'd prefer to keep your feet on dry land then there are loads of other choices to do just that. With other options including nature reserves and the San Felipe fort at Livingstone, you're bound to find the right pace to suit your mood and whatever you're into you're sure to come away happy, experienced and hungry for more.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Day 26 Antigua

Take the bus to Antigua for a taste of delicious local street food before settling down for the night in preparation for tomorrow's meeting with your host family and your stay in a traditional Guatemalan home, things are about to get crazy good!
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Day 27 Chichicastenango - San Jorge La Laguna

Pick up a gift for your host family at the handicraft stalls of Chichicastenango before heading by private minibus to San Jorge La Laguna and a real opportunity to practise your Spanish and learn more about the customs and lifestyles of Guatemala. Although living conditions can be pretty basic this is a genuine chance to see what life is like for local people and through a combination of hand gestures and phrase books you'll be surprised what you can learn during just a short period of time.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Day 28 Panajachel

Today it's time to make the most of Guatemala's natural beauty as you swim, hike or kayak within a stunning volcanic backdrop.
Meals: All meals paid locally


 Days 29-31 Antigua

Travel onwards by private transport to Antigua. Salsa lessons, coffee tours and strolls over cultural cobbles are all possible in Antigua . The beauty of this irresistible part of the world will most definitely stay with you long after you return home.
Meals: All meals paid locally


Tour Map