Region Overviews: Central America Travel Guide: Overview
Central America is a beautiful, exotic, colorful hodgepodge of adventure tourism, pre-Columbian civilizations and colonial remnants.
Belize and Guatemala will enchant you. From Maya temples to jungle trails, the thrill dives deep. Like a plunge into the Caribbean, reemerging with the call of the toucan and the beat of the Garifuna's drum. Days filled with wonders that stop you in your tracks—or your flippers, as the case may be. We're thrilled to have you join us.
THIS ITINERARY: 7 days, 6 nights
ACCOMMODATIONS: Premiere Hotels*
Start/End Belize City
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
Board a flight to Flores, a charming city on an island in Guatemala's Lake Petén Itzá | Bike through an ancient land once ruled by the Maya | A private boat takes us across the water to La Lancha, our secluded hideaway | Pedal through a tropical rain forest into Tikal National Park | Join a local guide to explore ancient Maya pyramids amid the vast jungle | Uncover the mysteries of a majestic World Heritage site teeming with parrots and howler monkeys.
This beautifully decorated Francis Ford Coppola retreat, set in the rain forest high above Lake Petén Itzá, is a comfortable base for exploring nearby Tikal. (pool)
Hike to stunning mirador for a view of Lake Petén Itzá | A Maya family welcomes us into their home for a traditional meal and cooking demonstration | Walk through the jungle to the Sleeping Giant Ceremonial Cave, where you can explore the caverns once used as ancient Maya ceremonial centers | Spend the afternoon relaxing in a hammock or by the pool - or perhaps book a riverside massage or river tubing adventure.
Hammocks, hot tubs and a mountainous rain forest setting are among the many features of this refined and airy lodge. (pool)
Learn about and taste Maya chocolate | Grab a paddle and explore the coastline by kayak | Devote the morning to warm water and exotic marine life during a snorkeling excursion on the Belize Barrier Reef, the longest coral reef outside Australia | Enjoy a beachfront barbecue while listening to Garifuna drumming | Stretch out in a morning yoga class | Take a scenic flight from the beach resort town of Placencia back to Belize City.
Stretched across 19 acres of pristine beachfront property, this luxuriously minimalist resort has all the makings of a tropical oasis. (pool, spa)
The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy
Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy.
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next—and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do. LEARN MORE.
Note: Belize & Guatemala are world-renowned destinations for numerous eco-adventures. However, due to the tropical climate and underdeveloped infrastructure, road maintenance is a continual challenge and options for bike routes are limited. Our routes are often on busier throughways, and you should be prepared for unexpected potholes and sections of rough roads. Also note that roads were not designed with a shoulder, and if you're traveling over busier holiday periods, there may be more traffic than expected. Liberal van shuttling is incorporated into the itinerary to facilitate our activities and to support all abilities.
The key to a stellar day's ride is a bike that's perfectly in tune with your cycling style… Backroads has you covered with the best bike fleet in the world! Read on for your available bike options for this trip.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
On this trip we occasionally travel by single-engine or turbo-prop plane to reach the exclusive hotels and activities this destination has to offer. We will be flying on scheduled flights with Tropic Air aboard Airvan, Caravan and turbo-prop planes that seat 6–14 passengers.
The hotels on this trip are among the best the region has to offer, and allow us to experience three distinct architectural styles and eco-climates. They may, however, seem more rustic than other Backroads hotels, ranging from cabins with thatched roofs in the rain forest to more modern villas on the beach. La Lancha's authentic cabins blend well into the surroundings, but the walls are thin and you may hear your neighbors moving around along with the sounds of monkeys and birds outdoors.
On this trip we have the opportunity to venture from Belize to Guatemala and back again. On all our trips we make every effort to facilitate crossing international borders by removing as many obstacles and inconveniences as possible. Often we are able to create a seamless experience. But even with all the organization and effort of our leaders, sometimes border crossings take time. With a little patience we hope to make this experience as enjoyable and easy as possible.
In order to bring you the full splendor of this region, we spend more time shuttling on this trip than on many other Backroads trips. Our time in the shuttles allows us to experience the incredible variety of ecosystems, scenery and activities that Belize and Guatemala have to offer. Due to the tropical climate and underdeveloped infrastructure, road maintenance is a continual challenge, so we will likely encounter sections of bumpy gravel roads. Sit back and relax, knowing that someone else is doing the driving, and enjoy the beauty of the journey.
This is a Level 1-2 trip, meaning the activities are easygoing and designed to allow us to take it slow and soak up the beauty of the region. Each day we embark on an active adventure, but the amount of time spent in the saddle and on the trails is less than the typical Backroads trip. We've paired our core activities with ones that are suited to this destination, such as kayaking and snorkeling. Although the distances traveled are on the shorter side, some activities—like climbing the stairs at Tikal and La Lancha hotel—might feel a little harder due to the warm weather.