Overview & Highlights
A whirlwind tour of Central America’s Mayan world takes you to the top sights in Belize, Guatemala and southern Mexico.
- Guided excursion to Caracol Mayan ruins, Rio Frio pools
- Visit to Yaxha ruins
- Guided tour of Tikal archaeological site
- Excursion to Bonampak and Yaxchilán Mayan sites
- Half day tour of Palenque abandoned Mayan city
- Guided tour of Chichen Itzá site
It was over 3,000 years ago when tribes who’d been on the move over large swathes of what is now known as Central America began to settle down in the region’s tangled rainforests, scrubby plains and misty mountains. They had no written language but created a complex civilisation the astronomy and architecture of which was more sophisticated than any other on the continent. Their cities, featuring giant pyramids and ornate temples, were inexplicably abandoned by 1,200AD but the ruins of these stand testament today to the Maya’s achievements, and their descendants still populate the region with their own language and traditions.
There are too many of these architectural masterpieces to name here but on this holiday we have picked out the most stunning and most significant for your visit. But it isn’t all about history – the natural landscapes of unrestrained jungles swarming with wildlife, craggy mountains cut through by rivers and caves, immaculate powdery beaches and the second longest barrier reef in the world are well worth discovering in themselves.
Put these together, mingled with the graceful heritage of colonial Spain, and you have a marvellous self-contained holiday where you will encounter top highlights in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico in just two weeks.
Arrive Belize City and transfer to Mountain Pine Ridge in the Mayan Mountains.
Guided excursion to the Mayan ruins at Caracol and Rio Frio cave and pools.
At leisure at the lodge.
Continue into Guatemala via Yaxhá ruins and arrive at Tikal.
Discover the Mayan Empire’s most extraordinary ruins.
Cross the border into Mexico; overnight close to the border.
Visit Yaxchilán and Bonampak; continue to Palenque.
Guided tour of Palenque.
Fly from Villahermosa to Mérida in the Yucatán.
At leisure: optional excursion to Uxmal.
By road to Chichén Itzá; guided tour.
By road to Cancún.
Transfer to the airport for your international flight home.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
Belize / Maya mountains and jungle
Hidden Valley Inn and Reserve
Guatemala / Tikal
Mexico / Chiapas, San Cristobal and Palenque
Mexico / Caribbean coast: Riviera Maya and Holbox
Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites
Mérida, Chichén Itzá and the Yucatan / Mexico
Mision de Fray Diego
Mérida, Chichén Itzá and the Yucatan / Mexico
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
An extremely memorable trip, well organised, with knowledgeable and passionate guides. I'm so lucky to have had this great experience and not to have had the worry of organising it!JB, Bristol
We have travelled with JLA on several occasions throughout South America. JLA may not be the cheapest tour operator, but booking with JLA means peace of mind, expert and helpful advice, reliable pick ups and travel arrangements and expert and informative tour leaders and local guides. A holiday should be free of worry and JLA take care of everything!CR, Bath
Guatemala is a very beautiful and interesting country which deserves to be better known. The history of the Maya and their ancient sites is fascinating, much enhanced by the fact that the Maya people are still there and their customs and traditions can be observed. The scenery, colonial architecture and birdlife: outstanding.JE, Ware
We have toured the USA, Europe and China before but the experience we had with JLA was the by far and away the best we've ever had!PD, Stockport
Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time, it was breath taking! and enjoying the company of a good set of fellow travellers.IE, Coventry
JLA provided great planning from the start to the end, took all the hassle out of booking flights, bus, train and mini bus travel. Included excursions were excellent and well thought out, with a great tour leader.
I would highly recommend this tour. The itinerary was very well chosen and we felt we saw as much as we could hope for in the time provided. The tour leader was highly professional and experienced, had excellent knowledge of the countries we visited and was available 24/7 for anything we needed. The local guides were excellent too and each gave us a special insight into the area we were visiting.MC, Australia
This tour is an excellent introduction to Brazil and will appeal to anyone with an interest in wildlife and landscapes. In the Pantanal, there are excellent chances to get quite close to many birds, mammals and reptiles. But having an armadillo sit on my foot at dinner was quite a surprise.KM, Basingstoke
Highlights? "There were many. Cuba itself is a fascinating country, a unique combination of geography, history, politics, culture and music. Highlights include: horse riding through the Valle de Silencio in Vinales, riding in an old American convertible car in Havana, visiting the Che Guevara Mausoleum and the Bay of Pigs Museum, numerous meals and drinks in restaurants and bars with great live music as a soundtrack to the tour, the intoxicating atmosphere walking along Obispo in Havana, a microcosm of Cuban life, the beautiful, faded architecture, different in each town we visited, the number of working horses everywhere, the resilience of Cubans in the face of grinding poverty and a repressive regime, spontaneous music performed everywhere at any time."DK, Coventry
Everything exceeded expectations, from the printed itinerary to the excursions.SB, Mansfield
It was better than my wildest expectations, especially as value for money is very important for me and I saved 4 yrs for this trip it was worth every penny £ and $.JS, Malvern
'Untouched Aisen' is a tour which describes exactly what it is - a trip off the beaten track, away from people and exploring a truly wild and beautiful part of the world. It was my first visit to South America and a really memorable one.
This is our 3rd trip with JLA and we look forward to our 4th. The best place to start planning holiday in South America, incredible wealth of knowledge and experience.LG, Richmond
JLA is one of the best Tour Operators I have been with - nothing in the booking process was too much trouble. They stick to specialising in one continent, the staff are very knowledgeable and helpful and the tour groups small. A pity more of their competitors don't take a leaf out of their books.LS, Didcot
Trogon is an excellent holiday taking you from the bustle of Rio to the relative quietness of Paraty. Then on to the magnificent Iguasu Falls, before the thrill of the wild animals of the Pantanal and fishing for piranha.JDC, Sheffield
Jacana was a fascinating, very well organised 3 week tour through Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Lima taking in the highlights of each country. Every day gave us a new experience which will stay in our memories for a long time to come.VT, London
Overall, the holiday was excellent. As a single traveller, it was great that the group - a mixture of couples, pairs and singles got on very well together, which added to the enjoyment. The specialist guides were very good especially our guide at Cusco, Machu Picchu and Pisac.PW, Beaconsfield
Alcion was an excellent trip with a superb tour leader who enabled us to to understand and appreciate each country and place we visited even though packing in six countries. A great way to see and experience Central America.AME, Cardiff
This was a truly great experience with JLA and having a local guide with us all the way made it very easy. It was a very relaxed way to see an amazing part of the world.LB, London
Cuba is a fascinating country and JLA have pulled together a fantastic trip with excellent local guides. It exceeded my expectations and I do hope to return one day.AES, Eastbourne
Journey Latin America provided us with what we wanted and it seemed to be a sentiment shared by the group as several of us had looked at other organisations and had found them unsatisfactory.EU, London
Seeing the people on the Uros islands demonstrate how they cook, the amazing Iguassu Falls, seeing a toucan close up (at Iguassu), all the different Inca sites, seeing the traditional dress and witches market in La Paz, the herbal drinks being explained in Asuncion, sunset on sugarloaf mountain and chilling out on Ilha grande.PW, Leatherhead
As always, JLA provides very experienced guides and this ensures the success of the trip. They are very knowledgeable and go out of their way to ensure clients get a great experience.VH, Australia
Overall the Nandu tour was a wonderful experience. We have seen some stunning scenery, done some reasonably tough hiking and had some fabulous meals. The JLA staff and their representatives have been first class and the food was excellent. The accommodation was mostly very good too. It is a full-on tour so people going on the tour may want to chill-out somewhere at the end of the tour to relax as we did!VJ, London
The fact that we were blessed with exceptionally good weather meant that we could make the most of every day, to the full, bar one day on Lago General Carrera. Patagonia is so beautiful - and it would have been so different if the weather had been poor or the tour leader/driver hadn't been so good. We feel very lucky to have had it all!RD, Amersham
Amazingly the trip was everything I had hoped it would be. Having wanted to go to Patagonia since I can remember, and having the opportunity arise fairly last minute, choosing JLA was a good decision! Great itinerary and good organisation left me to enjoy the experience!JA, Sutton
Most memorable experience/aspect of your trip? "There are several - riding in different types of transportation i.e. coco cabs, bike taxi, American Chevy etc. The plantation walk in Vinales, meals arranged by the tour leader in paradors and the knowledge of the local guides."MR, Broxbourne
This was my first tour with JLA, and I would certainly have it as my first choice for tours in South America in the future.
The two journeys from Cajamarca to Leymebamba and Arequipa to Chivay had such spectacular scenery.MK, Hassocks
Eagle was an epic trip within all of its parameters; geographic, cultural, historic and culinary. I would not hesitate to recommend it.RB, Henley-on-Thames
Overall the Tangara trip was well structured, if a little hectic moving on every two nights. It achieved its main objectives and we saw fascinating parts of South America that we had long wanted to see. Our guide, was most assiduous, knew the area very well and eased our path considerably. The highlights for us on Tangara were i) The trip to Chiloe, particularly with the services of an excellent nature guide, ii) the visit to Iguazu, iii) Buenos Aries, and iv) of course Rio de Janeiro.TE, Cirencester
Northern Peru is currently a little less discovered which makes travel there more rewarding. The people have not been jaded with excess tourism and are truly welcoming. The wealth of ancient sites and beauty of the countryside means it deserves to be more visited - and it will be!CP, Manchester
All of it! Aisen is visually stunning and unforgettable. The whole thing was a great adventure we will never forget and we loved the cities as well.TO, Loughton
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.