Ancient Mayan discoveries in Guatemala and Belize

One day you’ll be trawling vibrant local craft markets with local artisans of Antigua,  the next you’ll be kayaking across volcano-lined lakes as you continue your  journey of Central American discovery.  In Guatemala we’ll have you staying at the luxurious lakeside hideaway of Casa Palopó overlooking the peaceful waters of Lago de Atitlán, and then you’ll experience exclusive glamping amidst remote Mayan ruins and a shaman blessing, before taking a private sunset boat ride to view hidden temples. Then we’ll fly you to Belize where you’ll be relaxing on your very own private Caribbean island, Cayo Espanto.

Explore Architectural Antigua

Start this adventure winding your way through the pastel patchwork streets of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua. With a name that translates as ‘ancient’ there’s no surprise that you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time as you discover the vibrant city the best way, on a guided walking tour. You’ll come across beautiful church and cathedral ruins, reminders of the city’s rich colonial heritage, as well as stunning Spanish Baroque buildings. Here you’ll stay in the heart of the city in El Convento, a contemporary boutique hotel with colonial finishes before embarking on the next part of your trip.

Into the Highlands

Leave Antigua and civilisation behind as you travel into the tropical countryside to Lago de Atitlán, the deepest lake in Central America. After an authentic market experience in Comalapa, you’ll visit the Mayan ruins of Iximiche – popular among the Maya and local Guatemalans but a bit off the tourist track. The luxurious rural retreat of Casa Palopó is the perfect base to explore this stunning region for the next few days. You’ll be kayaking across the volcano-lined lake, hiking the Cerro de Oro trail before rubbing shoulders with the locals as you catch a ride to the nearby town of Santiago for lunch. Finally, you’ll come face to face with how Mayan culture has fused with the Catholic Church in the highland town of Chichicastenango. For a cultural immersion like no other, we can arrange for you to enjoy a spiritual shaman blessing, something few travelers get to experience.

Make this itinerary yours

Like what you see? Contact us today to find out more about our exclusive itineraries. But remember: each and every Black Tomato trip is tailored exactly to who you are and what you want to do so tell us about yourself and we’ll create something that’s entirely you.

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Mayan Discovery

Set amidst the Guatemalan jungle, Uaxactún a sacred Mayan site, will be your humble abode as you brush up on your ancient history and astronomy. A private guide will explain how the locals make their living and why they’re called ‘chicleros’ as they take you around the remote village showing you ruins of a once great civilisation. For us, a Mayan history lesson wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal National Park where you’ll be accompanied by an expert as well as the calls of howler monkeys.

For a unique, exclusive experience you’ll be transferred to Yaxha National Park where you can enjoy a private guided tour of this lesser visited, Mayan ceremonial site. At sunset you’ll enjoy a private cruise of the peaceful lagoon with some champagne to toast this incredible experience.

Go Green

You’ll see the green side of Belize while you’re staying at Chaa Creek, an eco-friendly lodge perched on the banks of the Macal River, where luxury here comes completely guilt-free. You’ll take a trip by canoe into the caves of Xibalba and while it may mean ‘underworld’ in Mayan, it’s not quite as ominous as it sounds. Travel deeper into the the Cayo region for another nature fix with a guided tour around the colorful Butterfly Farm or if you’re an early riser, don’t miss the vibrant birdlife on display.

Beaches, Barrier Reefs and an Island Paradise

Some rest and relaxation is much deserved after some intrepid exploration and the tranquil Cayo Espanto is just the ticket. You’ll be greeted by a picture-perfect private island surrounded by azure Caribbean waters and lined with tropical palms. So trade in the hiking boots for some flip-flops as you unwind in complete luxury in your private villa before a romantic candlelit dinner under the stars. You’ll have the chance to see two of Belize’s stunning atolls as well as the largest Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere (second largest in the world) as you head to Turneffe Islands on an exhilarating helicopter ride. You’ll be able to awe at the dazzling Blue Hole, the largest ocean sink-hole in the world, with your guide who will be able to explain the region’s geology in great detail. If you’re into diving then this will be your idea of heaven, with the world’s second largest coral reef at your fingertips, not to mention the iconic Blue Hole. Before you go, tick off a Belize must-do with a snorkel trip down Shark Ray Alley.