12-Day Maya Encounter Tour: Antigua to Caye Caulker
Product Code: 1113-113359
OVERVIEW

Highlights

  • • Antigua orientation walk
  • • Rio Dulce stay
  • • Tikal guided tour
  • • Caye Caulker stay
  • • Bike tour of Caye Caulker
  • • Visit the hottest waterfall near Finca el Paraiso
  • • Explore the Maya ruins of Xunantunich.
Tour Code
1113-113359
Duration
12 days
Departure City
Guatemala City, Antigua, Guatemala
End City
Caye Caulker
Tour Type:
Bus/Coach
Language:
English
IS THIS TOUR FOR ME?

Experience: Historical, UNESCO, Nature, Adventure, Backpacker

Encounter rich historical landmarks with expert guides; Visit locations designated as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations; Get in touch with Mother Earth; Explore the world with an active and adrenaline pumping tour; Geared to the "Get up and go!" traveler who wants to enjoy independent or semi-guided adventures

Style: Escorted

Tour director/guided escort is available from the beginning to the end of the vacation

Group Type: Small group

Take an intimate and semi-private trip with a small group

Activity Level: Moderate, Strenuous

Designed for travelers in good health who are comfortable with light walking or hiking; Activities are geared towards experienced and fit travelers

Quality: Budget, Standard

The most affordable tour service and/or accommodation with fast-paced itineraries; Travel with professional guides, enjoy more time at attractions and/or stay at comfortable accommodations

Itinerary
Day 01
Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua

Hotel: Posada Los Bucaros or similar

Please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your Certified Experience Officer (CEO). This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5:00pm and 7:00pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

Tips:
Joining hotel: Posada Los Bucaros (7a Avenida Norte #94, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez).

Please note that Antigua's nearest airport is Guatemala City, Guatemala. Don't get caught flying into the Caribbean island nation of Antigua - it's nowhere near the start of this tour!

If you've booked airport pick-up service, your driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals hall. Please refer to your voucher for detailed pick-up information.

Visiting Attractions

Day 02
Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua

Hotel: Posada Los Bucaros or similar

Spend a full day enjoying all Antigua has to offer. Opt to visit the museums or cafés, attend a chocolate workshop, visit a local coffee plantation or macadamia nut farm or explore the nearby towns by bike.

**Optional Activities**

Salsa Lesson

Kick up your heels and learn this typical Latin dance. Dancers of all skill levels are welcome. Get lost in the rhythm of the music and let your body take you to a new place - one-two-three, one-two three, hip roll, arm up, partner under, shimmy, shake, salsa! Vamos a bailar! (Let's dance!)

Massage

Relax and enjoy a Mayan massage. You’re on vacation!

Finca Valhalla Visit

Take a tour of the macadamia nut plantation at Finca Valhalla led by the workers. Learn about this sustainable crop for the experts and discover the health benefits of the nut. Pamper yourself with a free facial and purchase some of the treats made from the macadamia nut like oils, nuts, and chocolate. This tour is offered for free in the hopes that you’ll show your gratitude by stopping by and picking up some tasty treats from the gift shop or café.

Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day)

Drive one hour to the base of Pacaya Volcano to begin your ascent. This volcano is still active, so hiking to the crater is off limits. Near the summit, grab a stick and toast marshmallows over a smoking fumarole using earth's natural "ovens" to heat your snack.

ChocoMuseo Tour and Workshop

Enjoy a chocolate workshop and museum tour to learn about the process "from bean to bar" and the history of this tasty crop. In this 1.5-hour workshop, make your own bar to take home and enjoy tastings of the varieties of chocolate drinks made on site. Who knew history could be so sweet?

Visiting Attractions

Day 03
Rio Dulce

Antigua - Rio Dulce

Hotel: Hacienda Tijax or similar

In the morning travel to Rio Dulce, a charming town named after the river on which it's located. Arrive in the late afternoon and start exploring.

Take a stroll through the market located in the city centre or enjoy a swim in the hotel pool.

Visiting Attractions

Day 04
Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce

Hotel: Hacienda Tijax or similar

Enjoy a free day to explore. Opt to go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall, take a sunrise kayak trip to check out the local monkeys, hike to the Shaman Tower for some yoga, visit Castillo de San Felipe which was a fort used to defend the town from pirates, or visit the coastal town of Livingston.

**Optional Activities**

Natural Hot Waterfall Visit

Finca el Paraiso contains a unique volcanic vein that heats spring water and dumps it into a colder river below. Refresh and relax as you bathe in these therapeutic thermal waters and swim in the river below. Arrive by boat or overland.

Livingston Visit

Take a boat down the Rio Dulce toward the Caribbean Sea passing through El Golfete and El Canyon before arriving for a Tapado lunch in Livingston. Float past mangroves and lily pads, Lake El Golfete, and the Boqueron Canyon, where a sheer limestone cliff rises 122m (400 ft) out of the river, covered in vines, trees and moss. Arrive at the small fishing village of Livingston known for its unique Afro-Caribbean Garifuna population, with their unique art, music and delicious coconut seafood soup, “tapado”.

Sunrise Monkey Kayak

Set your alarm very early and set off on a sweet soulful paddle along the Rio Dulce. Kayak to the base of the Boqueron Canyon with its sheer cliff face, covered in a green mass of moss, vines, and trees. Enjoy a striking sunrise, sit back, and listen to the jungle as it wakes up - howler monkeys, birds and the slap of the paddle on the water provide the soundtrack to this memorable morning.

Hike and Yoga in Shaman Tower

Go for a hike through some of the many hectares that Hacienda Tijax Reserve has to offer. Stop for a swim and walk amidst the rubber plantations. Arrive at the Shaman Tower where you will do some basic yoga and take in the 360-degree view.

Visiting Attractions

Day 05
Flores

Rio Dulce - Flores

Hotel: Hotel Peten or similar

Travel to Flores, located on Lake Peten Itza, an excellent home base for exploring nearby Tikal.

With flexibility on start time today, the group may enjoy some extra time in Rio Dulce or extra time upon arrival in Flores. There may be options for stops along the route.

Visiting Attractions

Day 06
Flores

Flores

Hotel: Hotel Peten or similar

Put on your walking shoes and prepare for a tiring but memorable day walking through history at the impressive site of Tikal. The Mayan site is set in the heart of the jungle, in Tikal National Park, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with our bilingual guide, see some of the temples, plazas, carved stone monuments and public squares, more than 3,000 buildings in all, dating from as far back as 600 BC. Climb to the top of Temple IV, catch your breath, take photos, and then sit and contemplate the magnificence of the site and the tropical rainforest beyond. Look for monkeys, anteaters, armadillos, and deer, as well as macaws and eagles, snakes, and spiders.

**Optional Activities**

Swimming

Grab your bathing suit and go for a refreshing swim.

Lake Peten Itza Boat Tour

Enjoy a calm boat ride around Lake Peten Itza. Stop for a swim and climb to the lookout that sits above the small archaeological site of Tayasal.

Visiting Attractions

Day 07
San Ignacio

Flores - San Ignacio

Hotel: Rolson Hotel or similar

Cross the border to Belize. Opt to .

Today we'll cross the border into Belize. The relaxed atmosphere of San Ignacio allows for options including horseback riding, canoeing, caving, visiting the sacred Mayan cave Actun Tunichil Muknal, explore the Mountain Pine Ridge area or see the lesser-known Mayan ruins of Xunantunich

**Optional Activities**

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Visit

The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave has only been open to the public since 1998. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see up to 1400 artifacts, including pottery, tools and vessels used by the Maya for a thousand years. Hike 45 minutes to the cave entrance, wade/swim through deep pools, past calcite formations, to explore this damp, dark place of ritual and sacrifice. With a helmet and headlamp, see the skeleton of the “Crystal Maiden,” a young girl whose bones have calcified over the past 1,100 years, making them appear to sparkle.

Day Trip to Xunantunich

Hike to the top of this impressive 9th-century Maya centre, set high on a natural limestone ridge, and admire the view of the Mopan River, Cayo District and neighboring Guatemalan countryside. The tallest temple, El Castillo, is partially excavated and explored and there’s a unique stucco frieze on the east side of the structure. Discover why Xunantunich is Belize’s most visited site with intricately carved stellae, 25 temples, and well-preserved palaces.

Cave Tubing

Strap on a headlamp, sit on an inner tube and get set to enter the underworld. Float on an underground river past stalactites hanging above and through shafts of filtered light. Discover firsthand why the Maya selected these sites to make offerings to their gods.

Caracol Ruins Tour

Set within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, prepare to be wowed by Caracol. It’s the largest known Maya site in Belize and was once home to an estimated 180,000 people. The site was discovered in the 1920's by a logger looking for mahogany. One of its pyramids, Canaa or “Sky Place”, built in 800 AD and standing 43m (143 ft), continues to be the tallest man-made structure in the country. Bring your walking shoes, water and a sunhat because there’s lots to see here. Tombs, temples, altars, carved stelae and other stone monuments - it’s well worth the effort and easy to be impressed.

Visiting Attractions

Day 08
San Ignacio

San Ignacio

Hotel: Rolson Hotel or similar

Enjoy a free day to explore. Opt to check out nearby caves, some more Mayan sites or a local conservation project.

**Optional Activities**

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Visit

The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave has only been open to the public since 1998. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to see up to 1400 artifacts, including pottery, tools and vessels used by the Maya for a thousand years. Hike 45 minutes to the cave entrance, wade/swim through deep pools, past calcite formations, to explore this damp, dark place of ritual and sacrifice. With a helmet and headlamp, see the skeleton of the “Crystal Maiden,” a young girl whose bones have calcified over the past 1,100 years, making them appear to sparkle.

Day Trip to Xunantunich

Hike to the top of this impressive 9th-century Maya centre, set high on a natural limestone ridge, and admire the view of the Mopan River, Cayo District and neighboring Guatemalan countryside. The tallest temple, El Castillo, is partially excavated and explored and there’s a unique stucco frieze on the east side of the structure. Discover why Xunantunich is Belize’s most visited site with intricately carved stellae, 25 temples, and well-preserved palaces.

Crystal Cave Visit

Drive to Blue Hole National Park and hike for one hour through lush rainforest and down steep, slippery slopes, then descend 4.5m (15 ft) by ropes to start exploring Crystal Cave (also known as Mountain Cow Cave). Crab walk and crawl through the cave and head into the Mayan Xibabla or underworld. Slide down mud ramps, along rock faces, and be awed by the stalactites and stalagmites, ancient fire pits, wall carvings, pottery and the haunting skeletal remains of humans sacrificed by the Maya to appease their gods. Afterwards, take a short drive to the Blue Hole River, relax and refresh in the cool water.

Barton Creek Cave Canoeing

Strap on a headlamp, step in the canoe and paddle along an ancient Mayan waterway inside the Barton Creek Cave. Bring your camera to take memorable photos of cathedral rock chambers, stalactites and stalagmites. Upon return, opt to swim at Big Rock Falls.

Cave Tubing

Strap on a headlamp, sit on an inner tube and get set to enter the underworld. Float on an underground river past stalactites hanging above and through shafts of filtered light. Discover firsthand why the Maya selected these sites to make offerings to their gods.

Caracol Ruins Tour

Set within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, prepare to be wowed by Caracol. It’s the largest known Maya site in Belize and was once home to an estimated 180,000 people. The site was discovered in the 1920's by a logger looking for mahogany. One of its pyramids, Canaa or “Sky Place”, built in 800 AD and standing 43m (143 ft), continues to be the tallest man-made structure in the country. Bring your walking shoes, water and a sunhat because there’s lots to see here. Tombs, temples, altars, carved stelae and other stone monuments - it’s well worth the effort and easy to be impressed.

Horseback Riding

Choose from one of the 45 horses at Hannah's Stables and ride over farm trails and forested paths, all the way along the river to the Mayan site of Xunantunich. Enjoy a short guided tour of the site before taking a different trail back to the stables. Watch for native birds, including toucans and parrots, listen for howler monkeys, admire orchids and fruit trees and breathe in the fresh air of the Belize countryside.

Visiting Attractions

Day 09
Caye Caulker

San Ignacio - Caye Caulker

Hotel: Anchorage Resort or similar

Today we'll travel to Belize City to catch a ferry to Caye Caulker. Spend a few days enjoying this island paradise.

Caye Caulker is a relaxed and easy going island with friendly and welcoming local residents. There are dozens of activities around the island and surrounding coral reefs. Try your hand at fishing and barbecue your catch on the beach.

**Optional Activities**

Bike Rental

Rent a bike from any one of the many grocery stores on Caye Caulker and cycle around the island out to the split and back. It's a great way to get some exercise and see the sights on this laid-back island. Don't forget to bring water and wear lots of sunscreen.

Visiting Attractions

Day 10
Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Hotel: Anchorage Resort or similar

Spend time enjoying this island paradise. Explore Caye Caulker on a Bike with Purpose tour. Or go on a sailing trip to snorkel with stingrays, nurse sharks and green turtles at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Choose to visit the famous Blue Hole on a diving trip or a fly-over.

If the boats aren't your thing, just relax, Belizean-style.

Belize Bike with Purpose Tour

Take a leisurely bike tour around Caye Caulker with a guide from the Bike with Purpose project. See the island through the eyes of a local on this two-hour tour, and live the island's motto of 'Go Slow'. Feel the island breeze in you hair while knowing you're supporting a program that helps youth from the Caye Caulker build skills for tourism jobs upon graduation from high school.

**Optional Activities**

Hol Chan Snorkel Tour

Slather on the sunscreen and set out on a snorkel adventure of a lifetime. Stop at the coral gardens, shark and ray alley, and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Snorkel three different spots along the Belize reef in this protected channel. See hundreds of varieties of tropical fish in this natural aquarium including angelfish, nurse sharks, stingrays and green moray eels. Be sure to check out the Coral Gardens to see a rainbow of colours - red, purple, pink and green - and depending on the season, float past manatees while you marvel at nature’s underwater artistry.

Blue Hole National Park Flight

Charge up your camera batteries and take flight over the crystal clear waters off Belize. Take off from Caye Caulker airstrip in a small plane and observe the incredible Blue Hole national monument from above. Made famous by underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, this limestone sinkhole is 300m (1000 ft) in diameter and was formed more than a million years ago.

Blue Hole National Monument Dive

Channel your inner Jacques Cousteau and dive the Great Blue Hole, ranked by the Discovery Channel as their top choice for “most amazing place on earth”. This giant limestone sinkhole, 300m (1000 ft) in diameter and 124m (407 ft) deep, was formed more than a million years ago and is now part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Geared to open water and advanced divers, see Midnight Parrotfish and Caribbean reef sharks and interesting rock formations, including stalactites which formed before the area was submerged by the sea.

Fishing

Cast a line and see what you can reel in. Fish for snapper, barracuda, horse-eye jack and more. Bring your catch to any local restaurant and have them gut and grill it just for you. Buy the rest of dinner and some drinks and enjoy! It doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Guided Kayak Trip

Follow a guide on a sea kayak tour around the southern portion of Caye Caulker. Paddle around the mangroves and try to spot some of the unique wildlife in the area.

Sunset Sailing Boat Tour

Set sail just before sunset. Relax with reggae music and rum punch, snack on shrimp ceviche and snap a few photos as you sail around the island as the sun sets to the west of Caye Caulker.

Visiting Attractions

Day 11
Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Hotel: Anchorage Resort or similar

Your exploration of Caye Caulker continues.

Visiting Attractions

Day 12

Caye Caulker

Today we'll say farewell to our fellow travelers and head out for our next adventure.

Your flight must depart no earlier than 11:30am.

Tips:
Caye Caulker is located 1 hr by water taxi from Belize city (an additional 30 min by taxi to the airport). There are frequent ferry departures between 7:30am and 5:00pm. You can purchase your return ferry ticket easily once you get to Caye Caulker.
Please note that order of day-to-day itinerary is adjustable depending on tour start day.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Package Includes

  • Antigua orientation walk
  • Rio Dulce stay
  • Tikal guided tour
  • Caye Caulker stay
  • Bike tour of Caye Caulker
  • 11-night tourist-class accommodations
  • Professional Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and local guides
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Package Excludes

  • All personal expenses
  • Meals
  • Service fee to tour guide/driver
  • Optional activities (price and availability subject to change):
    - Antigua City tour: USD 20.00
    - Antigua Bicycle rental/tour: USD 10.00/35.00
    - Macadamia nut Plantation tour: USD 5.00-10.00
    - Antigua salsa lessons: USD 5.00-10.00
    - Antigua massages: USD 30.00-60.00
    - Antigua chocolate tour: USD 20.00
    - Antigua volcano hike: USD 30.00-70.00
    - Flores boat tour: USD 12.00
    - Rio Dulce nature walk: USD 18.00
    - Rio Dulce horseback riding: USD 25.00
    - Howler monkey kayak morning tour: USD 10.00
    - Rio Dulce hot springs: USD 20.00
    - Boat trip to Livingston includes a swim in the hot springs: USD 20
    - El Castillo Fort (minimum 10 pax): USD 5.00
    - Rio Dulce birdwatch boat tour (minimum 10 pax): USD 5.00
    - Chaa Cree Canoe Rental: USD 25.00 to 35.00 per person
    - San Ignacio cave tubing: USD 75.00
    - Barton Creek Cave (4-hour return trip): USD 50.00
    - San Ignacio mountain pine ridge: USD 75.00
    - Crystal Cave caving with lunch: USD 90.00
    - San Ignacio ATM caving with lunch: USD 90.00
    - San Ignacio horseback riding: USD 40.00-60.00
    - San Ignacio biking tours: USD 55.00-75.00
    - San Ignacio butterfly farm: USD 7.50
    - Xunantunich entrace fee: USD 5.00
    - Caracol Ruins Tour: USD 95.00
    - Caye Caulker snorkel trips: USD 25.00-70.00
    - Blue Hole dive: USD 210.00
    - Manatee watching tour: USD 80.00
    - Caye Caulker snorkel equipment rental: USD 5.00
    - Caye Caulker windsurfing (for board & instruction/hour): USD 50.00
    - Caye Caulker kayak rental: USD 7.00
    - Caye Caulker two-tank dive starting: USD 100.00
    - Caye Caulker sunset sail rum cruise: USD 35.00
Special Notes
  • Travel style: classic. All of the highlights, culture, access, and I can't-believe-we-did-that moments, all at a great price.
  • Physical rating: light. Light walking and hiking suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
  • While it is our intention to adhere to the route described, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. Also, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
  • This tour/activity is overseen by a select local operator in the region. Upon booking your tour or activity and after receiving confirmation, you will be issued an e-ticket detailing the local operator's name and contact information. If you require assistance finding a specific tour, please contact us for more information.

Pricing Info

Your reservation is always subject to confirmation by email, normally within one to two business days.

* Age requirement: 12+. All travelers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
* Trip type: small group with max 16, avg 12.
* Single occupancy price applies when one people stays in one standard hotel room.
* Double occupancy price applies when two people stay in one standard hotel room.
* Please note that availability and prices of optional services including airport transfers, pre and post accommodations are subject to final confirmation.

Reservation Info

    1.Immediately after submitting your reservation you will receive a Receipt of Reservation via email.
    2. Within one to two business days of submitting your reservation you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you need to book an airline ticket, we recommend that you do so after you receive a confirmation of your tour reservation from us.
    3. An E-Ticket will be sent to you via email as soon as details of your reservation are confirmed or your supporting information is received by us. We will provide you with all detailed information about your tour on the E-Ticket. Contact information for local tour provider will be included on E-Ticket for your convenience or re-confirmation purpose if re-confirmation is required.
    4. Simply print your E-Ticket and present it with your valid photo ID on the day of your activity to your tour guide. Please remember E-Ticket is your proof of purchase.

Terms and Conditions

    - Your purchase does not guarantee confirmation. Your purchase will initiate a reservation process. We will confirm with you via email within one to two business days.
    - Prices may vary due to availability. We reserve the right to make price adjustment without prior notice.
    - Please refer to our Standard Amendment, Cancellation and Refund Policy before you make reservation.
    - Please refer to Customer Agreement before you make reservation.
    - Local tour provider reserves the right to make modifications to tour arrangements including order of tour activities, hotel and its location if deemed necessary.
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Departure Date:jul-01, 2017
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