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Rental car tour - Belize & Guatemala

Belize & Guatemala Round Trip - Mayans & Beach

Highlights

  • Explore the famous Mayan site of Tikal in Guatemala

  • Visit Mayan ruins from bygone times

  • Relaxation and beach days in Ambergris Caye

  • Snorkel in the second largest reef system in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef

  • See a variety of tropical birds and howler monkeys and encounter the sacred animal of the Mayans, the jaguar

Description

Even though Belize is one of the smallest countries in Central America, it has many highlights that will impress you. It’s the youngest country in Central America and offers many opportunities for discovery. On our adventurous rental car tour, you’ll explore large ancient Maya archaeological sites such as Caracol, Xunantunich, Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, and the famous Tikal in Guatemala. Hike through the dense rainforests and feel the power of nature at every corner you turn. Keep your eyes peeled for the third-largest cat on earth: the jaguar.

Destination

Central America

Belize City - Mayflower Bocawina National Park - Tikal / Guatemala - Toledo - Ambergris Caye

The best time to travel to Belize is between February and May, and the rainy season is between August and November. The average annual temperature is around 26°C, and in the mountains, it’s just under 22°C.

Welcome to Belize! We’ll explore fascinating natural paradises and learn about the impressive Mayan culture for the next few days. The country’s biodiversity will inspire you, and the end of the trip will soothe your soul on breathtaking cayes in the Caribbean Sea. Despite its small size, Belize has a population of around 350,000, one of the most populous countries in Central America. Discover its lagoon-rich coasts, swampy plains, hilly landscapes, and dense rainforests.

After landing, you’ll pick up your rental car and drive to your first hotel, where you can recover after your long flight.

Travel time Belize Airport - Hotel Belize: approx. 10 minutes / approx. 12 km

Overnight with breakfast in Belize City, Belize

After breakfast, drive past Burrell Boom to the Baboon Sanctuary. The country’s most popular and successful conservation project was launched in 1985 and ensured a stable howler monkey population. Currently, around 2500 animals live in this intact jungle area, and the trend continues to rise.

Continue your journey on the Western Highway towards San Ignacio, the capital of the Cayo District. On the way, we recommend stopping at the Belize Zoo, which is halfway between Belize City and the capital, Belmopan. The zoo opened in 1983 and originally intended to provide refuge for captured wildlife. In the years that followed, the need to bring the local population closer to native animals. It is now home to more than 175 animals of about 48 species, all native to Belize.

Travel time Belize City - San Ignacio: approx. 2 hours / approx. 113 km

Overnight with breakfast in San Ignacio, Belize

Today we’ll go on a group day trip to Guatemala’s Tikal National Park. It nestles in the middle of the Peten rainforest and is the former home for around 50,000 Mayans. It’s considered an archaeological jewel and is home to one of the most important Mayan sites. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the 125 km² city area, and around 3000 buildings are still on the site today.

The anticipated journey to Tikal is an experience within itself. You will make your way through dense jungles that are home to jaguars, snakes, and turkeys. The 45-meter-high Temple of the Great Jaguar is the centerpiece of the Mayan site. Together with another site across the street, it frames the Great Plaza. Your English-speaking guide will tell you everything you need to know about its history. The excursion will take place with other travelers. Lunch and the Tikal entrance fee are included.

Overnight with breakfast in San Ignacio, Belize

Today we have two recommendations for you to choose between:

  1. Visit the Caracol Mayan sites, which are about two to three hours from San Ignacio, on the edge of the Maya Mountains in the heart of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. Caracol, translated means snail, is one of the best-preserved Mayan sites in Belize. According to stories, the name originated from the numerous snail shells found in the area at the time. However, the Maya name is Oxhuitza. The bumpy stretch of road through the jungle is one of the country’s most beautiful. The entire Mayan city has been exposed or restored, and many buildings are still overgrown by vegetation and can be glimpsed under tropical nature. The Caracol center has an estimated population of around 115,000 people, and the largest pyramid is the La Caana sky palace, which is about 43 meters.

    On the way back, stop at the Rio On pool and relish the Mountain Pine Ridge backdrop. Capture photos of the enormous granite boulders in the river bed, where you can relax by a series of pools connected by small waterfalls.
  2. Another excellent excursion is a visit to Xunantunich, another Mayan site not far from San Ignacio. Hop on a ferry across the Mopan River, and then follow a 1.6-kilometer footpath that leads uphill to El Castillo, known as the Temple of Kukulcán. The 42-meter Mesoamerican step-pyramid dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site and is one of the tallest structures in Belize. A total of six plazas, around which stand some temples and palaces, attest to the fact that the site was a ceremonial center.

Overnight with breakfast in San Ignacio, Belize

Today you’ll drive over the Hummingbird Highway to the St. Herman’s Cave. Ancient stalagmites and stalactites, as well as huge caverns that look like cathedrals, await you in the caves. Nature trails lead to the cave systems and a lake in the St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. The Blue Hole and the caves are connected by an underground river, which invites you into its glistening waters for a refreshing dip.

Then you’ll drive to the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, where you’ll spend the night at the Bocawina Rainforest Lodge.

Travel time San Ignacio - Dangriga: approx. 2 hours 30 minutes / approx. 132 km

Overnight with full board in Dangriga, Belize

Bocawina National Park is the perfect starting point for adventurers. Fly over the tropical jungle on the country’s longest zipline! If you’re feeling up for the challenge, you can even join a nighttime zip lining tour, most spectacular under the full moon.

Hike along the nature trails to the national park’s waterfalls, such as the Bocawina Falls, Three Sisters Falls, and Antelope Falls. You will also discover three Mayan sites! For the bird lovers: keep your eyes peeled for the 290 bird species native to the area. As you listen to your local Mayan guide, embark on a journey by foot and by boat through the local birdlife. You will also have the opportunity to take a boat tour on the Belize Monkey River. With a little luck, you might spot a jaguar!

For the adrenaline loves, the cave tubing and cave canoeing experiences are just the things for you.

Overnight in Dangriga, Belize

Today you’ll drive on the Southern Highway toward the historic Mayan sites of Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit, and Uxbenka.

We recommend visiting the Nim Li Punit ruins at the foot of the Maya Mountains. In the Mayan language, the name translates to “Big Hat” and derives from a 30-foot stone pillar depicting a Mayan king with a large headdress. The site consists of three plazas, surrounded by several buildings. What makes this site special? The stone pillars depict scenes from the life, politics, and religion of the Mayans. After archaeologists discovered it in 1976, they have found more than 20 other monuments in the area that date back to the late classical period between 700 and 900 BC.

Travel time Dangriga - Punta Gorda: approx. 2 hours 30 minutes / approx. 154 km

Overnight with breakfast in Punta Gorda, Belize

Your drive takes you to Pedro Columbia, home to the Mayan site of Lubaantum. It’s known for its unusual construction style — all structures are made of limestone blocks with no visible mortar binding them together. It is assumed that the city housed around 10,000 inhabitants during the settlement’s short period. The most famous find is an 11-pound crystal skull that was uncovered in 1926!

Continue the adventure to Blue Creek, the starting point of the nature trail to the Rainforest Preserve and the Hokeb Ha Cave. If you decide to visit the cave, it requires strong swimming skills because you will have to swim through a natural lake to get there. You cannot pass the lake in the rainy season because the water level makes it impossible to get through.

Just 15-minutes from the Blue Creek village is a freshwater pool, perfect for an afternoon swim!

Overnight with breakfast in Punta Gorda, Belize

Today, you will drive over the Southern Highway to Dangriga, where you will meet the Garifuna people. The Afro-indigenous group is as old as the 19th century and has a population of around 100,000 people in Central America and even in the USA.

Continue your journey to Belize City, where you’ll drop off your rental car at the international airport. Then, a transfer will take you to the regional airport where you’ll embark on a domestic flight to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye — a tropical escape where you will spend the next few days relaxing on the sandy beaches.

Travel time Punta Gorda - Belize Airport: approx. 4 hours / approx. 273 km

Overnight with breakfast in San Pedro, Belize

Are you looking forward to some relaxing days on a breathtaking island? Madonna already knew about Ambergris Caye’s beauty as early as the 1980s and even sang it in her hit “La Isla Bonita.” A few years ago, the island was also voted the most beautiful in the world.

Ambergris Caye is the most significant barrier island off Belize. Its main town is San Pedro, which a population of 13,000 people.

The Caye is the best starting point for the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef system after the Australian Great Barrier Reef. It extends over 256 kilometers past the Yucatán in Mexico and the Islas de la Bahia to the north coast in Honduras. About 450 Cayes line the reef, Ambergris Caye and Caulker Caye being the most famous. During snorkeling adventures, discover the 350 fish species and 65 coral species. However, around 90% of the reef’s invertebrates have yet to be explored, and some parts of the reef are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Great Blue Hole is one of the most famous highlights on your trip. The giant marine sinkhole is 80 kilometers off the coast, with a diameter of 300 meters and a depth of about 125 meters. It originally was a cave that was flooded by the ocean when water began to rise 10,000 years ago. It’s one of the top three diving spots in the world because when you venture underwater, you can admire the stalactites and stalagmites that still have perfect form after all these years.

You don’t have to go to the Great Blue Hole to get to know the Belize Barrier Reef because it’s right in front of your door! Your accommodation is surrounded by these colorful underwater worlds that you can explore from the comfort of your hotel.

Overnight with breakfast in San Pedro, Belize

Today is your last day before flying home. If you would like to extend your stay in Ambergris Caye, upgrade a hotel, or explore neighboring countries such as Guatemala or Mexico, please contact us. We are happy to customize your trip according to your wishes.

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Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza***, Belize City, Belize

The hotel is just a few minutes from the airport in a quiet area in the north of Belize City. Each of the 90 rooms offers everything you need for a comfortable stay, like a ceiling fan, TV, safe, free WiFi, and modern technology. The bathrooms come equipped with a shower, hairdryer, and towels. Indulge in local and international dishes at the hotel’s restaurant.

Hotel Cahal Pech Village****, San Ignacio, Belize

The country-style hotel offers uninterrupted views of San Ignacio’s riverbed, and the rooms come equipped with a shower, toilet, air conditioning, cable TV, WiFi, and a balcony. At the in-house restaurant, enjoy authentic, regional cuisine.

Hotel Bocawina Rainforest Lodge*** +, Bocawina Rainforest National Park, Belize

The eco-lodge nestles in the middle of the Mayflower Bocawina National Park and uses hydro-energy and solar panels. All room categories have a private bathroom with a shower, hot water, a refrigerator, WiFi, and a fan. Some rooms face the dense jungle, and others have a garden view.

Hotel Hickatee Cottages*** +, Toledo, Belize

The hotel lies in the beautiful jungle landscape, not far from Punta Gorda village. The six rooms are in free-standing buildings, all comfortably and colorfully furnished in Caribbean style, coveying a family atmosphere. The lodge is powered by solar energy.

Ramons Village ****, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

The one and two-story bungalows have two to four rooms, offering impeccable views of the glistening ocean or the tropical garden. Amenities include air conditioning, a safe, WiFi, a terrace, and a coffee maker. At the private beach, unwind after an adventurous day and soak in one of the most beautiful areas on Ambergris Caye. The resort also has a diving center and golf cart rentals for excursions.

Closest airport: Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport

Duration of the trip: 12 days / 11 nights

Including

  • 11 nights at the mentioned accommodations or similar:

    • 1 night at Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza******* with breakfast in a standard room in Belize City

    • 3 nights at Hotel Cahal Pech Village******* with breakfast in a Junior Suite in San Ignacio

    • 2 nights at Bocawina Rainforest Lodge*****+** with full board in a Mayan room in Dangriga

    • 2 nights at Hotel Hickatee Cottages*****+** with breakfast in a Den Room in Punta Gorda

    • 3 nights at Ramon’s Village Resort******* with breakfast in a Belizean Princess Room in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

  • 8 days rental car category Jeep Patriot Sport, 4 doors, 2-wheel drive, air conditioning, unlimited mileage, CDW insurance with 850 USD deductible in the event of damage, local taxes

  • Round-trip transportation in San Pedro

  • Day trip to Tikal on an add-on basis with English-speaking tour guide, entrance fee, and lunch

  • Domestic flight (Belize City - San Pedro - Belize City)

Excluding

  • Optional excursions and entrance fees

  • Meals not mentioned in the scope of services

  • Personal expenses, such as tips

  • Gasoline and road tolls

  • Entrance fees

  • Departure tax Belize = 20 USD per person

  • Visa, entry and/or exit fees

  • Travel insurance

Rental car

  • The minimum age for renting a car is 25 years old, and your driver's license must have been valid for at least one year. When picking up the vehicle, the rental car station charges a deposit as security (credit card needed).

  • When picking up the rental car, indicate that you want to take it to Tikal in Guatemala.

  • You must return the rental car at the transfer station.

Additional experiences

Flight over the Great Blue Hole

  1. Per person from 247 € excl. Flight min. 2 people
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