A jungle adventure in Guatemala and Belize
Climb an active volcano kayak across Lake Atitlán and swim with sharks on the barrier reef of Belize
A jungle adventure in Guatemala and Belize
About your trip
Our adventure around Guatemala and Belize isn’t for the fairweather traveller.
From trekking through the jungle to swimming with sharks, this Central American escape will take you right out of your comfort zone. Come join us as we hike up an active volcano and kayak the mirror-still waters of Lake Atitlán. Let us guide you through the jungle to the top of an ancient Mayan temple, where you can watch the sun blaze orange as it sets over the rainforest. Get set for your jaw to hit the floor as we river tube through incredible underground caves lined with giant stalactites and ancient Mayan paintings. From wild swimming in sapphire cenotes to a paddle around Belize Barrier Reef in the company of sharks and stingrays, this is an adventure of non-stop wonders, complete with Caribbean beaches, barbeques and delicious local rum. Grab your bags, Flashpackers, and join us in the Great Unknown…
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Local transport
- Most meals included
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Private airport transfers
Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 Hola Guatemala
Flashpackers, welcome to day one of your adventure in Guatemala! Touch down at La Aurora International Airport, where a private transfer will be waiting to whisk you off to your hotel in Antigua. Today is all about getting to know your fellow Flashpackers and settling into your new surroundings. If you arrive early, feel free to explore the nearby Parque Central (also known as Plaza Mayor) or take a stroll through the city’s cobblestone streets, where you’ll find pastel-hued buildings and colonial restorations lining the remarkably photogenic pavements. Look out for a riot of colour as the infamous Chicken Buses zip past you, laden with people, animals and goods. This evening, we’ll all head to a rooftop bar (or a local bar depending on the weather) to share a few beers before tucking into our first Antiguan dinner together. Soak in the balmy night’s warmth as you chat to your guide and fellow explorers, the promise of adventure lying right on the horizon.
Day 02 Volcano hiking and a viewpoint picnic
You’re going to need a lot of the excellent Guatemalan coffee this morning because we’re hiking the still-active Pacaya Volcano, over 2,500 metres above sea level. We’ll drive an hour and 50 minutes outside the city before starting our hike. The ascent offers incredible views and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a little smoke puffing from Pacaya’s crater. Back at the hotel, rest up your jelly legs or explore some of the area’s dining options. To eat like a local try pepián de pollo, a hearty chicken stew often served with thick corn tortillas. Vegetarians are in luck too: squash, black beans, corn, avocado and roasted veggie dishes are all Mayan staples, so you’ll have no problem getting to grips with Guatemalan cuisine.
Day 03 Local cooking and onto Lake Atitlán
After breakfast at the hotel (think eggs, tortillas, beans, fried plantains and of course, potent coffee) we’ll hop on the bus and drive the short distance to nearby town San Miguel Escobar, which sits at the base of the steaming Volcán Agua. Roll up your sleeves for a Guatemalan cookery class led by a local where we’ll learn to make – and eat – pepián, a meaty stew packed with spices and roasted veggies. After lunch, we’ll jump back on the bus and continue to Lake Atitlán. Kick back with a good book or load up your phone with an epic playlist. The drive will take around three hours, but once we’ve arrived at our boutique hotel, we’ll be greeted by picturesque views stretching right across the lake. Take a dip in the outdoor pool, enjoy a massage at the spa or treat yourself to a few drinks overlooking the incredible horizon.
Day 04 Lake kayaking and ancient art
Wake up to the stirring landscape of Lake Atitlán spreading out before you and get set for today’s activities. We’ll start our day by hitting the waters for a fresh morning kayak, before heading to the nearby village of San Juan La Laguna, where we’ll delve into traditional Mayan art. You can also try your hand at making like a Tz’utujil artist while painting your own Nauhual Maya (aka Mayan animal spirit – the area is steeped in folklore and traditional Maya culture). The evening is then yours to do as you please. Relax with a mojito at the hotel bar, take a swim or savour a beautiful sunset over the lake. We’ll be making a beeline for the massage table.
Day 05 Jet set to sunset beers
Today we’ll be off to an early start, as we head onto our next destination. Load up your Kindle because today is all about kicking back and enjoying the ride as we travel from one side of Guatemala to the other. We’ll drive the scenic 150 kilometres back to Guatemala City, hitch a flight north to the Petén department, and touch down an hour later in Flores at Mundo Maya International Airport. For the last leg of today’s journey, we’ll jump in a private transfer to the island-town of Flores proper (the name is also given to the general area comprising the towns of Santa Elena, San Benito and actual Flores), where we’ll check into our boutique hotel. The evening is yours to explore the area, so after a freshen up we suggest you meet your fellow Flashpackers on the rooftop for a well-deserved drink by the pool. Feel free to move on to the nearby bars and restaurants in this small but surprisingly energetic town.
Day 06 Island life on Flores
Flashpackers, today there’s no itinerary and the day is completely yours. Rise late and tuck into breakfast at the hotel. Then, find a sunlounger with your name on on the rooftop terrace or take a dip in the outdoor pool with stretching views across Lake Petén Itza. With nothing on the agenda, take things at your own leisurely pace – the perfect way to unwind after an action-packed few days.
Day 07 Jungle sunsets and ancient temples
After breakfast, we’ll wave farewell to Flores proper and head to Tikal National Park. The ruins of a capital city belonging to the ancient Mayan Empire, Tikal spreads over 575 square kilometres of jungle, and plays home to a gargantuan pyramid, ruins of millennia-old Mayan architecture, and the open plain of the Great Plaza. Towering temples isn’t all there is to see at Tikal however, as the rainforest is teeming with wildlife from monkeys, parrots and toucans, to blue-headed ‘oscillated’ turkeys and if you’re lucky, a rare jaguar spot. There are even crocodiles living in the Tikal Lake. After a day spent exploring Tikal from the ground, we’ll climb a temple for a birds-eye view of the jungle bathed in the burnished glow of a Guatemalan sunset, depending on the climate at the time of year. Bed down for the night in your forest hotel, where you’ll get to drift off to the mesmerising sounds of the nocturnal jungle.
Day 08 Temple sunrise and ziplining
If you’ve got the stamina, rise before dawn for an optional climb to a Tikal temple to watch a jungle sunrise, depending on the weather. Then you’ll spend the rest of the afternoon cutting through the jungle on a thrilling zipline. Soak up the sounds of the rainforest, as the canopy unfolds below you. Then, later in the afternoon, we’ll head over to Belize, where pristine white beaches await you.
Day 09 Cave tubing and cenote swimming
This morning we’ll be soaking up the Belizean views via river tube. After an hour’s drive to Saint Herman’s National Park, we’ll kit up and take a short jungle trek to the Caves Branch River. Hop in your rubber tube and drift along the river through limestone underground caves – today’s tubing activities take part only in these caves. There’ll be plenty of opportunity for wild swimming before we dry off and head to Belize City, jumping on a ferry to San Pedro on the Ambergris Caye. Prepare to embrace the Belizean beach life for the next few days, as we arrive our final hotel of the trip. Belize is not known for its abundance of world-class hotels; our beach retreat is quite basic but we go here because the experience of island life that it offers is not to be missed.
Day 10 Beach life in Belize
After nine days of adventure, it’s time to kick back and embrace the super-chill Belizean spirit. Wake up on San Pedro Caye, tuck into breakfast overlooking the ocean, and then feel free to use your day as you wish. Head to the spa for a massage to unwind, grab a snorkel and wade into the big blue, or hitch a short boat ride to one of the nearby island cayes—the golden sands and cerulean waters of car-free Caye Caulker is just a 30-minute water taxi ride. This your chance to chill out sipping rum on a hammock until sunset, feast on fresh seafood with the sand between your toes or head into San Pedro town to browse shops, cafes and bars. There’s also a fun nightlife scene at San Pedro, so come sundown grab your fellow Flashpackers and head out to explore what’s on offer.
Day 11 Swimming with sharks
Load up on coffee and jam-dipped Johnnycake this morning, because we’re leaping outside our comfort zone for an amazing experience. Jump on a speedboat and head towards Belize’s Barrier Reef. Our first stop of the day is at Shark Ray Alley, where despite ocean depths of a relatively shallow six feet, the area teems with curious nurse sharks (don’t worry, they prefer shrimp and squid) and stingrays spanning up to four feet wide. Snorkel through the crystal clear ocean among the sharks and stingrays; an exhilarating experience you’re unlikely to forget. Hop back onto the boat for our second stop-off at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where you can enjoy a serene snorkelling session spotting colourful coral reefs, glistening shoals of tropical fish, and if you’re lucky, green sea turtles, too. Back on dry land, rack open the beers, light some candles and keep the rum flowing on our finale night of the trip.
Day 12 Adiós Flashpackers
Fellow Flashpackers it’s time to say adiós. It’s over to you to organise your ferry and taxi to the airport and depart at your leisure. No matter where you’re headed next, you’re sure to be arriving refreshed and recharged after an incredible adventure around Guatemala and Belize. You’ve hiked an active volcano mastered Guatemalan cooking, kayaked along the tranquil blue waters of Lake Atitlán and sipped rum at sunset from a rooftop lounger. You’ve climbed the gargantuan ancient temples at Tikal and watched the sunset over the rainforest, slept under the canopy of the Guatemalan jungle, and river tubed your way through the caves of Belize. We’ve kicked back on the beach gazing out to the Caribbean, splashed in the turquoise waters of a plunging cenote, and jumped into swim with sharks and stingrays. All in all, we’d say that’s an adventure well done.
Our Favourite Hotels
Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.
Posada Don Rodrigo, Antigua
This hacienda-style hotel is fringed by pretty tropical foliage and dates back over 300 years, with charming rustic décor.
Hotel Isla de Flores, Petén
Bold pops of colour lend a cheery vibe to this small and friendly hotel on the Guatemalan island of Flores.
Steve & Becky’s, San Pedro
We love these quaint cabanas painted in vibrant colours, not to mention the lush garden and lagoon hot tub.
Sunbreeze Hotel, San Pedro
Within walking distance of San Pedro town, this beachfront hideaway comes with all the palm-tree trimmings you’d expect.
Fly into Guatemala City Airport (GUA) and out of Belize City Airport (BZE).
Try to arrive before 3pm on Day 1 if you can but we can pick you up anytime
Make sure your flight back on Day 12 is after 10am, to give yourself enough time to get to the airport from Ambergris Caye
Hotel standards particularly in Belize can be a little dated and service can be slow. For those looking to stay in luxury hotels, this is not the adventure for you
For the internal flight to Flores, the baggage allowance is 15.9 kilograms. Customers may have the option to pay $1 per pound over this weight limit, but it depends on availability at the time of the flight. Please note your bag may be sent on the next flight, if it’s over the limit
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh
We take safety very seriously on Flash Pack adventures, read more here
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