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—talk about an immersive family vacation. This cave exploring, barrier reef diving, Garifuna drum beating, Maya ruin wandering, Caribbean blue water rejuvenating, tropical rain forest hiking, lagoon kayaking adventure will immerse you and your family in every way. So go on, dive in. What are you waiting for?
THIS ITINERARY: 7 days, 6 nights
ACCOMMODATIONS: Premiere Hotels*
Special Kids Prices
Start/End Belize City
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
Hop on a flight to Flores, a charming island city in Guatemala's Lake Petén Itzá | Bike along the picturesque lakeshore through an ancient land once ruled by the Maya | A private boat takes us to La Lancha, our boutique rain-forest hideaway | Pedal amid a tropical jungle landscape to Tikal National Park, a World Heritage site | Explore Maya pyramids tucked within the dense forest and discover an impressive Maya civilization alongside 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 through subtropical dry forest to stunning lookouts for panoramic views of Lakes Petén Itzá and Sacpetén | A Maya family welcomes us into their home for a meal and cooking demonstration | Youngsters learn how traditional Maya chocolate is produced—and taste the result!Spot exotic native flora and fauna during a hike in a lush rain forest | Savor a lunch of local specialties overlooking the winding Macal River | Follow jungle trails to a sacred cave once used as an ancient Maya ceremonial center | Choose to adventure down the Macal on a river tube or pamper yourself at the hotel spa.
A well-appointed and tranquil boutique hotel nestled in the Maya Mountains amid lush tropical gardens. A Small Luxury Hotels of the World member. (pool, spa)
Hop in a kayak and navigate the Caribbean coastline with your family | Devote a day to warm crystalline water and exotic marine life during our snorkeling excursion on the Belize Barrier Reef, the longest coral reef outside of Australia | Enjoy 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: The minimum age required for kids to ride their own bike on this trip is 9+
Note: Belize & Guatemala are world-renowned destinations for numerous eco-adventures. However, due to the tropical climate and under-developed infrastructure, road maintenance is a continual challenge and options for bike routes are limited. Our routes are often on busier thoroughfares, so you should be prepared for unexpected potholes and sections of rough road. Also note that these roads were not designed with a shoulder, and if you are 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.
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, and range 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. Ka'ana Boutique Resort & Spa provides a bespoke luxury experience in the culturally rich Cayo district, but its proximity to the highway means you may hear the hum of traffic.
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.