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Honeymoon in Guatemala and Belize: Volcanoes, lakes and desert islands

14 days from £3563pp

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Honeymoon in Guatemala and Belize: Volcanoes, lakes and desert islands:
Trip Dossier

This fortnight-long honeymoon combines two countries which couldn’t be more different. Guatemala is steeped in indigenous and Spanish colonial tradition and religious mysticism. Belize, a truly Caribbean country, is English speaking, utterly laid-back, and a popular destination for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. It’s a real treat to be able to combine the two in a holiday which travels at a lazy pace: you are based in just four places, each so different from one another, staying in intimate but high quality properties where the attention is on premium service.

Start off in Antigua, Guatemala’s colonial masterpiece, and continue to the serene setting of Lake Atitlán, encircled by volcanoes, handkerchief sized fields and tiny indigenous villages. On to Tikal, the vast Mayan ruined city where ancient temples and pyramids penetrate the rainforest canopy. Cross the border into Belize and round off the holiday at the pearl white beaches of Ambergris Caye, maybe with a bit of snorkelling or scuba diving. 

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Antigua and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Guided walking tour of Antigua and a coffee farm.

Day 3

At leisure in Antigua.

Day 4

Transfer to Panajachel, via Chichicastenango market.

Day 5

Learn local fishing methods in San Juan Laguna.

Day 6

Boat excursion on Lake Atitlán.

Day 7

Fly to Flores in the jungle Petén region; guided tour of the Mayan ruins at Tikal.

Days 8-9

Guided excursion to explore remote sites of Yaxhá and Topoxte.

Day 10

Fly to Belize City. Fly to Ambergris Caye, coral atoll in the Caribbean.

Days 11-13

At leisure.

Day 14

Boat to San Pedro. Fly to Belize City and connect with international flight.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Antigua and transfer to hotel.
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.

Day 2

Guided walking tour of Antigua and a coffee farm.

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 bear witness to the city’s destruction a volcanic eruption in 1773. There’s a guided tour of a coffee farm as well: Guatemalan coffee is well regarded throughout the world:  volcanic soil on sunny slopes is the perfect environment for its cultivation.

Volcano over Antigua

Day 3

At leisure in Antigua.
At leisure in Antigua.  The city is a welcoming place to relax and unwind, do some shopping in tempting boutiques and art galleries, and enjoy the excellent food in a large range of restaurants and pavement cafés. Wander around the courtyards and enjoy the floral displays in beautifully tended gardens.

Day 4

Transfer to Panajachel, via Chichicastenango market.

Travel by a gradually-ascending road to Lake Atitlán. The landscapes in the highlands west of Antigua are dominated by watchful volcanoes and compact, busy farming villages. The lake is one of the most captivating in the world and its beauty has been eulogised by poets and travellers.  On a sunny day, the closely forested volcanic cones are reflected in cobalt waters.

Traditional villages and indigenous agricultural settlements skirt its fertile shores, each with its own character and identity, its own dialect and often a unique costume still worn by the proud inhabitants.

En route you’ll stop at Chichicastenango market. This ramshackle mountain town, which has a decidedly mystical air, is where the symbols and practices of overt Catholicism sit side by side or even amalgamate with esoteric Mayan religious ceremonies, centred round the simple, whitewashed façade of the church. There is a vast, bustling market, and you can wander the labyrinthine streets. Here are textiles, clothes and tapestries of striking colour and extraordinary intricacy, as well as extravagant hand-carved masks and good-quality leather goods. Local farmers both barter and sell an array of fruit and vegetables from the surrounding villages.

Colourful woven blankets in Chichicastenango

Day 5

Learn local fishing methods in San Juan Laguna.

Your accommodation at the lake couldn’t be more dreamy: an exclusive boutique hotel with lake and volcano views from the infinity pool. But you will tear yourselves away for a fascinating tour. A private boat will transport you across the full length of the lake to the village of San Juan La Laguna on its western edge.

You will meet and see first-hand how the local fishermen venture into the lake each day and fish using age-old techniques to catch what will be their daily meal. Here you will also learn about the recent project initiated by local people to raise and maintain fish levels and lessen the negative impact on the ecological balance of fishing. This trip can be combined with a cycle ride or hike if you wish. Note that lake tours are weather-dependent.

Local fisherman on Lake Panajachel

Day 6

Boat excursion on Lake Atitlán.

Take a motor launch across the lake to Santiago de Atitlán. Cruising over the calm and silent morning waters, you’ll have wonderful views of the various shoreline hamlets and cultivated fields alongside some grand houses, and beyond to the gently sloping bottle-green volcanoes that encircle the water. You are greeted as you alight at Santiago by enthusiastic children, and the town is an excellent place to buy brilliantly coloured textiles.

The children may also offer to guide you to the current resting place of the smoking, drinking, be-hatted and roguish local idol, Maximón, who is moved to a different house each year, and looked after by a diligent entourage. He’s certainly not politically correct but he will help you with your problems in exchange for a suitable financial donation.


Day 7

Fly to Flores in the jungle Petén region; guided tour of the Mayan ruins at Tikal.

You’re driven (2 hours) to the airport in Guatemala City for an hour-long flight to Flores, in the sticky jungles of northern Guatemala, and from here you continue to your lodge. There will be a guided tour of the archaeological site at 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.

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.

Jungle shrouded mayan site of Tikal

Days 8-9

Guided excursion to explore remote sites of Yaxhá and Topoxte.

During your stay at La Lancha there is a guided tour of the ruins at Tikal, and also a guided trip to the ceremonial centre of Yaxhá, located between the two lakes of Yaxhá and Sacnab.  Visit Topoxte, a site with a long occupational history that was deserted by 900 AD, revived then finally abandoned in AD 1450. After lunch, explore Yaxhá, an important Mayan site with over 500 structures including 40 stelae, two ball courts and nine temple pyramids. End the tour atop a lofty temple to view the jungle and two lakes.

Day 10

Fly to Belize City. Fly to Ambergris Caye, coral atoll in the Caribbean.

Drive to Flores and fly via Belize City to Ambergris Caye, the most northerly and largest island in Belize, 46km long, and a breathtaking 15min flight low over transparent turquoise waters from Belize City. The island offers a splendid vantage point from which to enjoy the Belize Barrier Reef less than a kilometre from the shores of the relaxed main town of San Pedro, with its wide choice of restaurants and bars. The island’s main attraction is the first class diving, snorkelling and fishing on offer.

This is your beach time. Matachica Resort and Spa is a stylish and exclusive hideaway set on a secluded glistening white-sand beach reached only by boat from the town of San Pedro. The ambience at the resort is, in spite of its luxury, decidedly laid-back.


Days 11-13

At leisure.
At leisure at the resort. There is a large freshwater infinity pool and Jacuzzi. The resort can arrange diving (including PADI tuition, but it does not have its own dive shop), snorkelling and fishing. There is complimentary use of kayaks, sunfish dinghies, surf boards and snorkelling gear. You can also borrow a bike to explore the surroundings.
Ambergris Caye, Belize

Day 14

Boat to San Pedro. Fly to Belize City and connect with international flight.

Essential information

Included excersions

• Guided walking tour of Antigua and a coffee farm.
• Guided visit to Chichicastenango market.
• Learn local fishing methods in San Juan Laguna.
• Boat excursion on Lake Atitlán.
• Guided tour of the Mayan ruins at Tikal.
• Tour to explore lake Yaxhá, and Topoxte.

Recommended tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.

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.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.


4 flights (longest 30mins); 2 road journeys (longest 2hrs).


For this holiday we have chosen a mix of accommodation styles, all top quality properties and very suitable for honeymooners. They all have excellent and convenient locations, very personal service and good facilities.


Breakfast daily; lunch on day 8


We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return.

Summary of nights

14 days, 13 nights: Antigua 3; Lake Atitlán 3; Tikal 3; Ambergris Caye 4.

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions.
• departure tax $10.75.

Optional excursions

There are a number of half-day, full-day or longer excursions or activities you may wish to consider in order to customise your holiday to cater for your interests. Please contact us to discuss these further or to add them to your itinerary before you depart. A selection of these:

• Bird-watching tour, Antigua.
• Community tour, Antigua.
• Biking and kayaking, Tikal.
• Diving or snorkelling, Ambergris Caye, Caribbean Sea.


The unit of currency in Guatemala is the quetzal. In Belize it’s the Belize dollar.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$45 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking 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 additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, and possibly some travellers’ cheques, though these are gradually falling out of use (American Express are the most widely accepted). Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

The Belize exchange rate is fixed at $2 Belize dollars to 1 $US. Both currencies (US and Belize dollar) are widely accepted in cash. The quetzal/U$S rate is variable.


Travel insurance is essential.          

Details of our recommended policy can be found on Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

There are no long days of travel on this trip. This holiday is suitable for adventurous honeymooners. 

If you have a disability or other special requirements, please call us. In the summer the weather can be extremely hot and humid.


Travellers in May to October are likely to encounter high temperatures (around 35°C) and high humidity in the lowlands. There are likely to be some short bursts of heavy rainfall during these months.

December to April, visitors will still encounter high temperatures in the lowlands, but cool evenings in the Guatemalan highlands, with temperatures falling to around 5°C. Rainfall and humidity will be lower at this time.

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 mosquitos may be a problem.

Sandals are a good informal option for evenings. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sun block, guidebook, water and any extra layers.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America.


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 page. 


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. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to, or via, the USA you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.

This costs $14 per person, and 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.

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