On this tour, you’ll be accompanied from start to finish by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders
. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go.
1 flight (1 hour), 4 land journeys (longest 4 hours).
On this tour we use mid-range and upper-mid range hotels. In Belize we stay in a first class lodge.
Examples of the hotels include:
• Antigua: Meson de Maria
• Lake Atitlán: Villa Santa Catarina
• Lake Petén: Villa Maya
• Belize: Chaa Creek Lodge
On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.
Breakfast daily, lunch day 8, half-board days 9-11.
• Antigua: Guided walking tour of Antigua
• Lake Atitlán: excursion by boat
• Chichicastenango: exploring the market
• Tikal: guided tour of the ruins
• Yaxha: guided tour of the ruins
• Chaa Creek: outdoor activities
Summary of nights
12 days, 11 nights: Antigua 3, Lake Atitlán 3; Tikal 2; Chaa Creek 3.
Included in the journey price
• Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
• All land and domestic air transport
• Accommodation as specified
• Meals as specified
• Excursions as specified
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and insurance
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions
• International airport departure taxes
There are optional excursions which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $130USD should cover participation in the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so cannot be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:
• Antigua: climb Volcano Pacaya
• Antigua: visit surrounding villages
• Antigua: walk up Cerro de la Cruz
• Lake Atitlán: further boat trips out onto the water
• Lake Atitlán: walk up to Nariz del Indio
• Chaa Creek: additional options include guided nature walks, a visit to some nearby botanical gardens, horse riding.
There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single rooms available, which carry a surcharge.
The unit of currency in Guatemala is the quetzal; in Belize it is the Belize dollar.
A budget of around $35USD per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday price, drinks and the odd souvenir.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.
We recommend that you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers’ cheques are increasingly less favoured by visitors who find them difficult to exchange as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).
Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance
International departure tax is normally included in the price of your ticket.
This journey moves at a gentle pace and there is plenty of time to relax in each location. All walks and excursions are optional, so speak to your tour leader if you have any doubts about their suitability. There are some early mornings, and in the lowlands temperature and humidity are high, and the sun is strong.
Situated well within the tropics, Guatemala and Belize have a typical tropical climate with high temperatures all year round. May-Nov is rainy season and there’s a risk of tropical storms or hurricanes from August to November. The wet season is characterised by short afternoon downpours rather than constant rain which relieve the heat somewhat.
Areas of Guatemala and Belize (including Guatemala City, Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango and Chaa Creek) experience a much more comfortable spring-like climate with sunny days and temperatures averaging 22C.
Clothing and special equipment
Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. Some warm items and good waterproof jackets are also necessary. We suggest that you plan to ‘layer’ your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper, and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitoes may be a problem.
Protection against the sun (sun-block, sun hat) and mosquito repellent are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying around sun block, guidebook, camera and binoculars, water and any extra layers of clothing.
Reduce plastic waste
Journey Latin America has partnered with Water-To-Go to offer JLA Group Tour passengers the opportunity to purchase 75cl filtered water bottles for a 50% discount. The bottle can be refilled at any water outlet and has a filter that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, allowing the water to be safe to drink. Please call your contact at JLA to add it your booking and it will be delivered to your address. More information about this initiative can be found on our website here
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets (unlikely for this holiday). For specific requirements you must consult your GP. You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Clients with a different nationality should enquire or check with the Guatemalan or Belizean Consulates.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.
This costs $14USD per person. This must be done by you personally.
Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.