Maya Encounter

17 days
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Small Group Tour
Dive into a 17-day adventure through Central America, from the calming sea breezes of Playa del Carmen's beaches to the bustling chaos of Chichi market. On this journey to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, enjoy a hearty, homecooked dinner in a lakeside Maya village, amble down the coast to the island paradise of Caye Caulker, cut inland to the lush jungle around...
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Overview

Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Basic - 2 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

    • 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.
    • Hit the streets of Antigua with your local leader and climb to a vintage cross lookout for views of the city and the incredible volcano that towers over it. Then, enjoy heaps of free time to take photos, wander and people-watch.
    • 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.
    • Wander between stalls of rainbow handicrafts, fruits and flowers and get some haggling tips from your leader in the popular and colourful Chichicastenango Market.
    • 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.
    • By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about our Intrepid Foundation partner, Gastromotiva. Donations help them provide nutritious, balanced meals for vulnerable people in Mexico. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

What's this trip about?

    Dive into a 17-day adventure through Central America, from the calming sea breezes of Playa del Carmen's beaches to the bustling chaos of Chichi market. On this journey to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, enjoy a hearty, homecooked dinner in a lakeside Maya village, amble down the coast to the island paradise of Caye Caulker, cut inland to the lush jungle around Tikal National Park, cruise to the vast Rio Dulce, watch a pottery demonstration using ancient Maya techniques and finish among the clouds in Panajachel and under the volcano in Antigua. On this trip, you’ll get the right balance of local-led experiences and independent exploration in a whole load of incredible places ready to be discovered.

Details

Itinerary focusOff the Beaten Path
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 16 people
Age range15 years and up
Flights and transportAll internal ground transport included
Start CityPlaya del Carmen
End CityAntigua

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • High Adventure
  • Local Immersion & Homestays

Destinations

  • North America
  • New Mexico
  • Central America
  • Belize
  • Guatemala

Attractions

  • Antigua
  • Caribbean
  • Caye Caulker
  • Central America
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Panajachel
  • San Ignacio
  • Tikal
  • Tikal National Park

Trip includes

    • Caye Caulker - Leader-led orientation walk
    • San Ignacio - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Tikal National Park - Tikal archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)
    • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
    • Chichicastenango - Market Visit
    • Chichicastenango - Shaman Visit
    • Panajachel - Leader-led orientation walk
    • San Juan La Laguna - Traditional Maya Homestay
    • Antigua - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Santa Apolonia - Traditional Pottery Demonstration

Popular Trips

Itinerary

Travel Map

Day 1 Playa del Carmen

Hola! Welcome to Mexico. Your adventure begins in Playa del Carmen with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early and are lucky enough to have extra time in this beachside playground, maybe try your hand (and feet and lungs) at snorkelling in the freshwater rock ...

Day 2 Playa del Carmen

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 ra...

Day 3 Chetumal

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 af...

Day 4 Caye Caulker

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...

Day 5 Caye Caulker

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 C...

Day 6 Caye Caulker

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...

Day 7 San Ignacio

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...

Day 8 San Ignacio

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 ...

Day 9 Tikal National Park

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 tem...

Day 10 Rio Dulce

This morning you’ll depart for Flores, where your leader will take you on a walking tour of 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 tha...

Day 11 Rio Dulce

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 diffe...

Day 12 Antigua

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,...

Day 13 Panajachel

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 offerin...

Day 14 San Juan La Laguna

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...

Day 15 Antigua

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 Sa...

Day 16 Antigua

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.

Day 17 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.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $1,444
Price per day$85
Last Updated: 4/9/2024
Start Date
Finish Date
Base Price
Availability
20 Apr 2024
06 May 2024
$2,040
4 spots left
27 Apr 2024
13 May 2024
$1,854
5 spots left
04 May 2024
20 May 2024
$1,782
5 spots left
07 May 2024
23 May 2024
$1,636
7 spots left
18 May 2024
03 Jun 2024
$1,444
12 spots left
25 May 2024
10 Jun 2024
$1,719
8 spots left
01 Jun 2024
17 Jun 2024
$1,701
7 spots left
15 Jun 2024
01 Jul 2024
$1,890
11 spots left
29 Jun 2024
15 Jul 2024
$1,855
11 spots left
06 Jul 2024
22 Jul 2024
$1,930
8 spots left

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

Intrepid Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.5/5  Excellent
Excellent
3,237
Great
659
Average
144
Disappointing
80
Terrible
194
S

Simona

Oct 2015

Written on

was a fantastic trip

was a fantastic trip

I

Ivan

Sep 2015

Written on

The cost of the meals etc. was

The cost of the meals etc. was markedly more than the sugge...

L

Leona

Sep 2015

Written on

great destinations and activities, comfortable efficient transport

great destinations and activities, comfortable efficient transport, very knowledge...

F

Fred

Sep 2015

Written on

The trip gave me a good chance

The trip gave me a good chance to experience the attractions and integ...

W

Wendy

Sep 2015

Written on

The tour leader, Carlos Oropeza was the

The tour leader, Carlos Oropeza was the icing on the cake. His enthusiasm and professionalism made the trip all worth while despite some misgivings I had on the tri...

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Tour Operator

Intrepid Travel

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The Intrepid Travel Experience

If you’re looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. For the past 25 years, we’ve been taking small groups of travelers on unforgettable trips around the world. What makes them unforgettable? Take a look for yourself and discover the Intrepid experience.

Our travelers have three styles of tour to choose from: Basix, Original and Comfort. Each has a different level of inclusions and accommodation, but all have unforgettable real life experiences as part of the package. Travellers can also choose themed trips, such as Family, Sailing or Food, to suit their interests.

Our group size has an average of just ten travellers, which allows us to get off the beaten track, use local accommodation and transport, and really get to know the culture. It also ensures we are contributing to the local economy; by choosing local suppliers we were able to keep AUD 60 million in local economies in 2012. We’re also working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and were the first in our sector to introduce carbon offset trips. This, along with our many corporate sustainability activities, has meant we’re one of the travel industry’s leaders in responsible travel.

Why Intrepid?

  •   Small groups - average of 10 people per trip
  •   Sustainability - pioneers for the industry
  •   Local leaders - authentic perspectives
  •   Local transport - get close and personal
  •   Local accommodation - experience real living
  •   Intrepid travelers - like-minded companions 

History

Intrepid Travel has come a long way since its beginnings in 1989. From two university friends, a typewriter and a kitchen desk, it is now a proud member of The Intrepid Group, taking over 100,000 travelers every year.

Intrepid Travel is part of The Intrepid Group of companies, alongside leading small group adventure companies Peregrine, Urban Adventures and PEAK DMC.

Despite growing into a global business with over 1,000 staff based all over the world and over 800 different trips across every continent, we’ve remained devoted to the same grassroots values and responsible travel philosophies that we had at the very beginning.

 

Values

On every trip we operate and in every interaction we have with a client, supplier or local, we live our core values everyday:

  • Integrity – Doing the right thing
  • Responsible – Think global, act local
  • Growth – Stakeholders in our own success
  • Innovation – Thriving on new ideas and embracing change
  • Fun – It’s engrained into who we are and what we do
  • Passion – We are inspired by the work we do and the trips we offer

 

Why we love this operator
They’re very committed to sustainable and responsible tourism and contribute to important initiatives like climate action.
What they’re known for
Small group tours for active and adventurous travelers at a range of different price points and service levels.

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Logistics

Accommodation

Hotel (12 nights),Multishare Hotel (1 night),Hotel with shared facilities (2 nights),Homestay (1 night),

Transportation & Flights

Private vehicle,Public bus,Taxi,Shared Boat,Ferry,

Transportation & flights

Private vehicle,Public bus,Taxi,Shared Boat,Ferry
Guides
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leader or local representative. The aim of the group leader or local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced group leader or local representative however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your group leader or local representative is new to a particular region or training other group leader or local representative. Your group leader or local representative will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your group leader or local representative can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your group leader or local representative. If you have credit card insurance your group leader or local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. For travellers who reside within the European Union, Switzerland or USA the requirement to purchase travel insurance cannot be compulsory. However the purchase of travel insurance is still highly recommended, and travellers from these regions who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting, recognizing personal responsibility for emergency medical and repatriation costs should they arise. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services
Visa requirements
PASSPORT You’ll need a valid passport to travel internationally and most countries require your passport to have a minimum of 6 months validity, so remember to check the expiry date. We need your passport information to get everything ready for your trip so it’s important that the information on your booking matches your passport exactly. Please take care to provide the correct details. We recommend carrying a copy of the photo page of your passport while travelling and leaving a copy at home with family or friends. VISAS & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Many countries require a visa and obtaining the correct visa for your trip and any countries you may transit through is your responsibility. We recommend you check your visa requirements as soon as you have booked your trip. This will ensure you have time to prepare your documents and for your visa application to be processed. You can check the entry requirements for your nationality on your government's foreign travel advisories, consular websites or on our page here:  www.intrepidtravel.com/visa-entry-requirements
Health & Safety
Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your group leader or local representative will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your group leader or local representative will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader or local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MONEY WITHDRAWAL: In order to avoid fraud and theft, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only. LOCAL LODGINGS: On this trip you will be staying in some restored houses and local lodges - these are one of the charms of this journey, but their staircases, balconies and passages etc may not always comply with western safety standards. Please do not expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state. FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
Age Requirements
15 years and up
Additional Information
Finish point Posada Los Bucaros #94, 7a North Avenue Antigua 03001 GUATEMALA Phone: +502 78322346
Trip ID
intrepid-QVRA

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