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Luxury Guatemala and Belize: Tikal and the Caribbean

Day 1

Arrive in Guatemala and transfer to your hotel in Antigua.
 
antigua

You will be met by our local representative and taken to your hotel in the old colonial capital, Antigua. It’s a journey of about one hour along a winding paved road. You are staying in a romantic restored colonial monastery.

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antigua

Day 2

Guided walking tour of Antigua.
 
Antigua

The city is a colonial work of art, with cobbled streets, overhanging tiled roofs and a beautiful, leafy central plaza. There’s an abundance of huge ruined churches, convents and monasteries, testament to a time when Antigua was the country’s capital and its main religious centre. You’ll have plenty of time to absorb this fascinating city, including on a walking tour of the historic centre. It seems that every doorway opens onto a fragrant tiled courtyard.

A dramatic backdrop of smouldering volcanoes and ruined churches and convents surrounded by parkland bears witness to the city’s destruction by a volcanic eruption in 1773: but much has been painstakingly restored.

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Antigua

Day 3

Fly to Flores in the jungle Petén region.
 
Tikal

You’re driven (1hr) to Guatemala City airport for an hour-long flight to Flores, in the sticky jungles of northern Guatemala, and from here you continue to your lodge.

You are staying at La Lancha, a unique and innovative property conceived and owned by the film director Francis Ford Coppola.  You’ll sleep in a cottage with a view over jungle-fringed Lake Petén.

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Tikal

Day 4

Guided tour of the archaeological site at Tikal.
 
Tikal

Steep-stepped and vertiginous temples emerge high above the rainforest canopy; the views over the site from one of these ancient skyscrapers are unforgettable. Spend the day wandering through the palace complexes.

Tikal was one of the largest and most important Mayan city states, reaching its peak around AD800 prior to its mysterious demise. The pyramids and temples seem frozen in time, but you’re brought back to the present by the roar of curious howler monkeys and lithe spider monkeys as they swing through the trees; and by flashes of colour as toucans and parrots take flight.

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Tikal

Day 5

By road to the Belize border and over to Blancaneaux Lodge.
 
Mountain Pine Ridge

The drive across the border into Belize to the lodge takes about three hours. The first part of the journey is on the well paved Western Highway, the last section is mainly on dirt track heading to Mountain Pine Ridge to Blancaneaux Lodge, another exclusive Coppola property making an ideal base to explore the surrounding forest, waterfalls, rivers and caves.

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Mountain Pine Ridge

Day 6

Guided horse ride to Big Rock Falls.
 
Swimmers by natural pool in Belize

A gentle ride through the forest takes you to the well hidden falls, where you can swim beneath the water as it tumbles through rich foliage. This gentle-paced excursion is suitable for first time riders, beginners or equestrians who just want a short time in the saddle. Care is taken to match the rider with the most suitable horse to ensure comfort and safety. Wear long trousers and sturdy shoes for comfort. Riding helmets are available.

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Swimmers by natural pool in Belize

Day 7

At leisure at Blancaneaux Lodge.
 
jaguar

There are several optional excursions and activities offered by the lodge n this lovely cool and shaded mountain region. Hikes, sunrise bird watching, even jaguar spotting by moonlight. 

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jaguar

Day 8

Transfer to Placencia on the Caribbean coast.
 
Placencia

This 3-4 hour journey takes you from the lush highlands to the coastal tropics. From a dirt road you join the Western Highway to the country’s capital, Belmopan where you turn onto the Hummingbird highway with some outstanding views of the Maya Mountains and Victoria Peak in the Cockscombe reserve. The vegetation thins out as you approach the coast and your journey ends surrounded by water and driving down the peninsula to Placencia.

The village is a friendly and low-key beach resort typified by its ramshackle and colourful wooden houses built on stilts, linked by paths weaving under swaying palms. With some of Belize's finest beaches and one or two top notch hotels, it is developing into an increasingly popular tourist retreat. The nearby Monkey River and Placencia Lagoon provide good opportunities for spotting wildlife including the rare manatee.

You are staying at the charming, unique and idiosyncratic Turtle Inn, which lies behind a small sandy beach 3km from the village. Like La Lancha, it’s a luxury property conceived and owned by American film director Francis Ford Coppola.

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Placencia

Day 9

Optional manatee spotting expedition.
 
Manatee

Today you have a guided sea-kayaking adventure along the barrier reef home to an abundance of tropical fish and other exotic marine creatures.

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Manatee

Day 10

At leisure on the beach.
 
belize beach

Placencia Lagoon, fringed by stifling mangrove forests and wild orchids, embraces a range of marine, estuarine and freshwater aquatic habitats providing various ecosystem services in which literally thousands of species can thrive. Over 70 species of fish are present and two types of crocodile. Kayak on the calm waters with an eye out for manatees on an optional adventure.

Alternatively just relax at the lodge, or choose another activity at the lodge: there’s complimentary use of cycles, kayaks, windsurfers and Hobie cats; the dive shop (at extra cost) can organise scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing excursions, and a variety of land-based trips.

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belize beach

Day 11

Fly to Belize City and connect with international flight.
 
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Luxury Guatemala and Belize: Tikal and the Caribbean

11 days from £2,449pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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