Are you looking for help planning your Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Itinerary?
Then you have come to the right place! I have put together this Mexico, Belize and Guatemala Itinerary to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime. Just like we did.
I can understand how it can be pretty hard, if not impossible, to choose between these locations. So it only makes sense to combine them into one great big epic trip.
We started our Central America trip in Mexico and worked our way down through Belize then Guatemala. I am going to take everything we experienced and loved, plus everything we wish we had done, and plan out the ultimate itinerary for you.
So if you are ready to step back in time and explore ancient ruins, take the plunge and swim with sharks, camp next to an active volcano, wander through cobbled streets and try some of the best Tacos you’ve ever had… keep reading and I’ll explain exactly how you can do it all.
Prepare for your trip!
This Itinerary will start in Cancun, Mexico and Finish in Guatemala City. Search for your flights using SkyScanner and select their ‘create multi-city route‘ option to book your round-trip ticket.
Unfortunately, you can’t get a sim card at Cancun Airport. So stay connected by grabbing an online E-Sim before you go. We like to use Airalo for this.
4 Week Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Itinerary Overview
Before we dive into all of the finer details, I wanted to give you a quick day-by-day run-through of what your 30 days in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala could look like.
- Day 1 – Land in Cancun and travel to Cozumel
- Day 2 & 3 – Cozumel
- Day 4 – Travel from Cozumel to Valladolid
- Day 5 & 6 – Valladolid
- Day 7 – Travel from Valladolid to Bacalar
- Day 8 & 9 – Bacalar
- Day 10 – Travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, Belize
- Day 11, 12 & 13 – Caye Caulker
- Day 14 – Travel from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio
- Day 15 – San Ignacio
- Day 16 – Travel from san Ignacio to Flores, Guatemala
- Day 17 – Day trip to Tikal
- Day 18 – Travel from Flores to Lanquin
- Day 19 – Visit Semuc Champey
- Day 20 – Travel from Lanquin to Antigua
- Day 21, 22, 23 & 24 – Antigua
- Day 25 – Travel from Antigua to Lake Atitlan (Panjachel)
- Day 26 – Panjachel
- Day 27 – Day trip to San Marcos
- Day 28 & 29 – Move to San Pedro La Laguna (Lake Atitlan)
- Day 30 – Travel back to Guatemala City and fly home
4 Week Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Itinerary Details
So let’s dive into the Itinerary.
Remember, nothing is ever set in stone and that is the beauty of travel. If you want to make some tweaks to suit your personal preferences then go for it!
Although, I will add plenty of choices and options along the way so that you can decide the best way to spend your time, Including some of the best hostels in Central America.
Day 1 – Land in Cancun and travel to Cozumel
Day one of our Mexico, Belize and Guatemala Itinerary will be a day of travelling. You will land in Cancun, Mexico and head straight to your first destination; Cozumel.
To get to Cozumel you will first need to take a bus to Playa Del Carmen which is just a short drive from Cancun. I recommend taking the bus over a taxi because taxis in this area are ridiculously expensive and just a little bit dodgy.
We travelled all around Mexico Using the ADO buses and highly recommend them. Cancun airport has an ADO bus stand outside where you can catch your bus from. Depending on the time you arrive I recommend booking a bus online for shortly after your arrival time so you know you will get a seat.
You can see all their schedules and book tickets using the website Busbud. ADO do have their own site but we found it to be very glitchy and we were never able to buy tickets directly on there.
The drive should take no longer than 1 hour and the bus will stop a short walk from the ferry terminal where you will catch a ferry to Cozumel. There are 2 companies that run the ferry service to Cozumel and there is a ferry every hour from 7 am to 10 pm.
You can buy your ticket at the terminal when you arrive and the ferry ride takes around 45 minutes. It is known to be rough, so if you are prone to seasickness, don’t forget your motion sickness pills.
Once you arrive in Cozumel, depending on where you decide to stay you should be able to walk or take a very short taxi ride to your accommodation.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Cozumel – Bea Rooms and Studios
🍽 Best Food In Cozumel – Sol De Maple
Day 2 & 3 – Cozumel
You will then have 2 full days to enjoy Cozumel. Depending on your interests you can go diving, snorkelling, relax at a beach club, wander through the town or even hire a scooter and explore the other side of the island.
If you love diving as much as we do then Cozumel is a fabulous place to have some underwater adventures. We did our PADI open water course on Cozumel with Maple Leaf Scuba divers and can’t recommend them enough. You can see the location of their dive shop here.
If you fancy a relaxed day, sunbathing on beautiful white sand beaches, swimming in crystal clear seas and enjoying a drink or 2 by the pool then Paradise Beach is the place to be. Rated as one of the best beach clubs on the whole island. We stopped by here on one of our dive trips and it looks amazing!
If you are on more of a tight budget or prefer natural and undeveloped beaches then I suggest getting to the opposite side of the island for the day. There is one road that goes in a loop so you can’t get lost.
The whole of the east coast of Cozumel is waiting to be explored. We found a nice little spot to watch a couple of surfers. There are a couple of small shacks and bars along the way to grab a drink and we also spotted a couple of wild crocodiles too! Not to worry though Cozumel is totally safe.
Day 4 – Travel from Cozumel to Valladolid
On Day 4 it is time to wave goodbye to Island life for now and head inland to Valladolid.
To do this journey, you will need to take the same ferry ride that you did to get to Cozumel. The ferries are every hour again and tickets can be bought from the terminal.
Once you are in Playa Del Carmen you will want to make your way to the ADO bus station. There are multiple buses doing this route every day so you can pick a time that works for you. It will help if you book your bus ticket online in advance so you don’t have to wait around in the queues. The journey should take around 3 hours.
If you leave Cozumel in the morning you should arrive in Valladolid early afternoon and can spend the day exploring the town.
TOP TIP*** At around 5 pm every day in the main square, there are some locals who perform a traditional dance show which is fun to watch.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Valladolid – Hostal 230
🍽 Best Food In Valladolid – Le Kaat
Day 5 & 6 – Valladolid
Valladolid is a small town with not too much to do in the town. However, it is the absolute perfect place to base yourself for a couple of days and explore the surrounding area.
From Valladolid, the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are only a short drive away! There are also countless Cenotes in the area and Ek Balam Ruins are also not too far. So depending on what you are most keen to do on your trip you have plenty to choose from.
We have a specific Itinerary for Valladolid that you can also use if you are not sure where to start.
However, when in Mexico you really must go to see Chichen Itza, one of the 7 wonders of the world! You can either go independently or on a tour. We cover all the details for both options in our separate guide.
Our favourite cenotes to explore around Valladolid are Suytan Cenote, Cenote Secreto Maya and Cenote Xcanahaltun. We hired a scooter for a day to explore all 3 but you could also arrange for a driver for the day to take you to them.
Day 7 – Travel from Valladolid to Bacalar
Travelling from Valladolid to Bacalar is another fairly straightforward journey, again with ADO buses.
If you book your ticket online it will include the whole journey. This time there is no direct bus and you will need to change buses in Merida. It will take around 8-9 hours in total, so make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Bacalar – Villa Akbal
🍽 Best Food In Bacalar – Mango and Chile
Day 8 & 9 – Bacalar
After that long travel day, you will have 2 full days to relax and enjoy the beauty that is Bacalar Lagoon. Known as the Lagoon of 7 colours and you will see why once you get there.
From here you can go swimming in the lagoon, spend time at a beach club, take a boat trip out onto the lagoon, explore even more cenotes or float down a natural lazy river.
TOP TIP*** For free access to the lagoon head to this location. Just remember that it can get pretty busy during the day so early mornings are best if you want the place to yourself.
Check out these ideas for some great day trips from Bacalar.
Day 10 – Travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker
Ok folks, buckle up this is going to be a long day but you can do this! We did this exact route in a day and made a few mistakes along the way so I’m going to save you the hassle and explain exactly how to get from Bacalar all the way to Caye Caulker in Belize.
Steps to crossing the border;
Step 1 – Head up to the main road in Bacalar and take a Taxi from the taxi stand opposite the ADO bus stop. These will wait to fill up then take you all to Chetumal together. It will get a little cosy but it’s a fair price of 50 Mexican Pesos per person.
Step 2 – Once in Chetumal the taxi will stop in a car park and you will need to hop out and into another Taxi to take you to the border. Don’t be afraid to haggle hard and get a fair price to the border, we got massively scammed at this point but I think 400-500 Mexican pesos should be about right.
Step 3 – Once at the border you will need to pay an exit fee of around 250 Mexican pesos per person. IMPORTANT… You have to pay this in cash (Mexican Pesos ONLY) and NOT ONLINE! We had paid it online and they wouldn’t accept it and made us pay again.
They will also tell you there is no ATM at the border. Whether or not this is true I don’t know but it is best not to take the risk and have a little extra cash on you just in case.
Step 4 – You can now take a deep breath, the hard part is over. You will find a bunch of Belize taxi drivers waiting on the other side and in our experience they are much fairer and easier to work with. You will want to ask them to take you to Corozal, just a short 20-minute ride away, which cost us $25 BZE.
TOP TIP*** You can exchange cash with guys at the border, just don’t do too much because it will be for a terrible exchange rate.
Step 5 – Get your taxi driver to drop you off at the bus station and buy a ticket on the next bus down to Belize City. It is going to be a typical local chicken bus but we found it to be totally fine. Not too crowded and we felt very safe. This bus ride took several hours and only cost us $12 BZE each.
Step 6 – Once in Belize, time to grab one last short taxi ride. This time to the ferry terminal. Just tell the driver you want the ferry to Caye Caulker and he will know where to go. This ride should cost around $10 BZE.
Step 7 – At the Terminal head to the ticket office and buy your return ticket to Caye Caulker. Check your bags in and hop on the ferry when it arrives. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views. Paradise is only about an hour’s ride away.
When you arrive in Caye Caulker, you will see the island is a tiny tropical paradise so it is likely no matter where you are staying it will be just a short walk away.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Caye Caulker – La Isla Resort
🍽 Best Food In Caye Caulker – Namaste Cafe
Day 11, 12 & 13 – Caye Caulker
After that crazy travel day, it’s only right to have a nice amount of time on the Island to really relax and make the most of it. I think 3 days is the ideal amount of time on Caye Caulker.
From here the best things to do are to do a diving or snorkelling trip out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. This was a truly incredible experience that I hope to have again someday.
You can also take snorkelling trips out to search for the gentle giants of the sea; Manatees.
And of course, one of the most famous things to do in this area is to visit the mysterious blue hole. You can either take boat trips out to the hole, go on a diving trip if you are an experienced diver or do a flight to see the hole from above.
Day 14 – Travel from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio
Almost halfway through our Mexico, Belize and Guatemala Itinerary and it’s time to leave the island life behind and travel to your final destination in Belize; San Ignacio.
To do this you will just need to jump back on the ferry heading to Belize city. Once at the ferry terminal in Belize City, there are multiple shops selling shuttle tickets to San Ignacio. You can buy a ticket from any of these and catch the next available shuttle bus.
The shuttle cost us $40 BZE each.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In San Ignacio – Yellow Belly Backpackers
🍽 Best Food In San Ignacio – The Spot Cafe & Lounge
Day 15 – San Ignacio
San Ignacio is the perfect place to explore some more Mayan Ruins.
You can either do as we did and opt for the close and cheap option and visit Cahal Pech Ruins. This is ideal as a half-day activity and leaves you the rest of the day to perhaps visit a chocolate-making workshop, visit the local market or take a stroll along the river.
When we visited Cahal Pech we had the entire site to ourselves! It really is a true hidden gem.
Alternatively, there are the famous ATM caves that can be explored as a day trip from San Ignacio. This trip is not cheap (as with most activities in Belize) but it certainly is a one-of-a-kind experience. Swim and hike through sacred caves to see ancient Mayan ritual grounds and even human remains!
Day 16 – Travel from San Ignacio to Flores
Grab yourself some breakfast before making the fairly short and easy journey across the border to Flores, Guatemala.
Ask your accommodation to call you a taxi to take you to the border. This is about a 20-minute journey that should cost around $20 BZE.
Go through the motions at the border, stamping out and then head across the bridge on foot in Guatemala. Once over the bridge turn left and you will see the bus station. Head inside and ask for the next bus to Flores.
The bus is likely to be a minibus or Collectivo and tickets should be around $5.25 per person. This bus ride should take around 1.5 hours.
Once you get to Flores, grab a Tuk Tuk to take you across to the Island where all of the hotels are located.
TOP TIP*** Book your day trip to Tikal as soon as you arrive in Flores for the next day.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Flores – Los Amigos Hostel
🍽 Best Food In Flores – Los Amigos Hostel (yep they have an awesome restaurant)
Day 17 – Tikal
On this trip, you may well have already visited a couple of different Mayan Ruins but trust me when I say that Tikal is special.
I highly recommend booking the sunrise or early bird option to get to experience the park coming to life first thing in the morning. If you do choose to stay at Los Amigos Hostel you can book the tour directly through them.
You can also read our post specifically on visiting Tikal for more handy info.
Day 18 – Travel to Lanquin
The next destination on our 30 day Itinerary is Lanquin. This is the closest town to the natural wonder of Semuc Champey.
From any of the tour offices in Flores, you can buy a bus ticket that will take you to Lanquin. This will be a tourist shuttle bus and they depart from Flores daily at around 8 am, arriving in Lanquin around 5 pm. A ticket on the shared shuttle should cost around $45.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Lanquin – Casa Mary
🍽 Best Food In Lanquin – Kalula Cafe y Restaurante
Day 19 – Semuc Champey
It is time to jump in one of the many 4x4s waiting in the town centre to take eager tourists to the entrance to Semuc Champey for around $2 each. The entrance fee is $6.50 and you do not need a guide to visit.
It is easy to navigate the trails by yourself and once you get to the pools feel free to jump straight in. Don’t forget to also visit the viewpoint too for some of the best views!
Day 20 – Travel from Lanquin to Antigua
Time to head to one of our favourite cities in all of Central America; Antigua, Guatemala.
The best option is to take another tourist shuttle from Lanquin straight to Antigua, your hotel or hostel will be able to help you book this.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Antigua – Central Hostel
🍽 Best Food In Antigua – Once Once
Day 21, 22, 23 & 24 – Antigua
I have allowed for 4 days in Antigua for a very good reason. As easy as it would be to just spend 4 days exploring the city. Antigua is also the best place to do one of the most incredible hikes.
Acatenango Volcano is quickly becoming a very popular overnight hike among adventurous travellers. This is thanks to its close proximity to Volcano Fuego, which is super active.
You hike up Acatenango to base camp and from there spend the night watching the regular eruptions of Fuego. The darker it gets the more you can also see the bright red lava bursting out of the volcano!
It is a challenging hike but one of the best experiences you will ever have. So for this, you will need 2 full days.
For inspiration on how to spend your time during the other 2 days in Antigua, you can check out our post listing all the best things to do in and around the city.
Day 25 – Travel from Antigua to Lake Atitlan (Panajachel)
Day 25 and it is time to head to your final destination in Guatemala; Lake Atitlan. Or more specifically Panajachel.
You will find tour shops all over Antigua selling tickets on tourist shuttles to Lake Atitlan, just make sure to specify that you want to go to Panajachel. We used NEWay Tours company for a couple of different trips in Guatemala and they were always reliable. You can find them here.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In Panajachel – Selina Atitlan
🍽 Best Food In Panajachel – Crossroads Cafe
Day 26 – Panajachel
From Panajachel, I recommend taking a day trip to Chichicastenango Market. This is one of the largest and most famous markets in all of Central America.
On the day tour, you will get to explore the huge market as well as some local museums, and a cemetery and experience a fire ceremony.
Day 27 – San Marcos
On your second full day at Lake Atitlan, jump on one of the small speed boats and head to San Marcos for the day for a totally different vibe.
The speed boats do loops around the lake in both directions and there are plenty of them. You shouldn’t have to wait too long before one approaches. They will be shouting the direction they are going so you know if it’s the right one or not.
For more details on how to get around Lake Atitlan you can check out our guide to the area.
This small village has a very hippie atmosphere. It is the perfect place to come for some yoga or a wonderfully relaxing massage. We also found San Marcos to be the best spot on the lake for views of the surrounding volcanos.
When you are done for the day, just jump back on a speed boat back to Panajachel.
Day 28 & 29 – San Pedro La Laguna
On Day 28 I recommend checking out, grabbing your bags and heading down on the speed boats to San Pedro for your last couple of nights in Guatemala.
From San Pedro, you can choose to do another hike such as the Indian’s Nose Summit or Volcan San Pedro. You can try paddle boarding or kayaking on the lake. Jump in for a swim or take part in an art class or visit a textile-making workshop. The possibilities are endless.
San Pedro is also the perfect place to do some souvenir shopping before you head home.
There are plenty of tour agencies around town that can help you with any of the above activities, we had good experiences with Maya Atitlan Travél Center on the main street. You can also book your shuttle here to head back to Guatemala City on Day 30.
🏠 Recommended Accommodation In San Pedro – Hospedaji Lolita
🍽 Best Food In San Pedro – The Clover
Day 30 – Travel back to Guatemala City and fly home
The time has come to travel back towards Guatemala City and catch your flight back home.
3 & 6 Week Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Itineraries
I know that not everyone can get the same amount of time to travel. So I also put together a couple of alternative Mexico, Belize and Guatemala itineraries for either a 3-week trip or a 6-week trip.
You can still use all of the information I have given above to plan your trip.
3 Week Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Itinerary
If you are a little short on time and only have 3 weeks to spare then this Itinerary is for you. 3 weeks may feel like rushing through all 3 countries but if you have your heart set on experiencing Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, then it is totally possible.
- Day 1 – Land in Cancun and travel to Valladolid or Tulum (Chichen Itza and Cenotes can be done from either location) Depending if you want beach vibes or not.
- Day 2 & 3 – Valladolid or Tulum
- Day 4 – Travel to Bacalar
- Day 5 & 6 – Bacalar
- Day 7 – Travel to Caye Caulker, Belize
- Day 8 & 9 – Caye Caulker
- Day 10 – Travel from Caye Caulker to Flores, Guatemala (Just combine the travel day info from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio AND San Ignacio to Flores)
- Day 11 – Day trip to Tikal
- Day 12 – Travel from Flores to Antigua (Skipping Lanquin, makes the journey even simpler, check out this post for more instructions)
- Day 13,14,15 & 16 – Antigua
- Day 17 – Travel from Antigua to Lake Atitlan
- Day 18, 19 & 20 – Lake Atitlan
- Day 21 – Travel to Guatemala City and fly home
6 Week Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Itinerary
If you are lucky enough to have 6 weeks for your trip then you will have time to do perhaps a little more. For this slightly extended Itinerary, I have added an additional location to Mexico and added extra time in most places to allow you to really enjoy them.
- Day 1 – Land in Cancun and travel to Cozumel
- Day 2, 3 & 4 – Cozumel
- Day 4 – Travel from Cozumel to Holbox
- Day 5, 6 & 7– Holbox
- Day 8 – Travel from Holbox to Valladolid
- Day 9, 10 & 11 – Valladolid
- Day 12 – Travel from Valladolid to Bacalar
- Day 13 & 14 – Bacalar
- Day 15 – Travel from Bacalar to Caye Caulker, Belize
- Day 16, 17 & 18– Caye Caulker
- Day 19 – Travel from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio
- Day 20 & 21 – San ignacio
- Day 22 – Travel from San Ignacio to Flores, Guatemala
- Day 23 & 24 – Flores and Tikal
- Day 25 – Travel from Flores to Lanquin
- Day 26 – Visit Semuc Champey
- Day 27 – Travel from Lanquin to Antigua
- Day 28,29,30 31 & 32 – Antigua
- Day 33 – Travel from Antigua to Lake Atitlan (Panjachel)
- Day 34 & 35 – Panjachel market day
- Day 36 – San Marcos day trip
- Day 37 & 38 – Move to San Pedro La Laguna
- Day 39 – Travel to Guatemala City
- Day 40 – Guatemala City
- Day 41 – Flight home
Good To Know Before You Visit Mexico, Belize & Guatemala
Here is a little more info that you may find really useful while planning your Mexico, Belize and Guatemala trip.
Visas requirements for Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize
For all 3 countries; Mexico, Belize and Guatemala you do not need to apply for a visa in advance. This applies to all citizens of the UK, USA and EU.
When you arrive in Cancun, Mexico you will be granted up to 180 days. They will likely ask you how long you need and grant you that much time.
You will cross into Belize, they will give you an entry stamp that allows you to stay for up to 30 days.
When you cross into Guatemala they will give you an entry stamp for up to 90 days.
What to pack for Mexico, Belize & Guatemala
The majority of this trip will be warm weather no matter what time you visit. Mexico and Belize are great pretty much all year round but Antigua can be a little cooler as it is at a higher altitude.
Also, if you plan to do the Acatenango Hike (which I highly recommend you do) then this will get very, VERY cold at night. You will need sturdy boots and plenty of layers.
To help you pack your bags you can follow along on my Central America Packing list.
Mexico, Belize & Guatemala Itinerary – Final Thoughts
So there you have it, 3 different options for your Mexico, Belize and Guatemala Itinerary, depending on how long you have to spend on your trip.
We travelled a lot slower than this and spent more time than we need in most of the locations I have mentioned. This is how I can now say how much time is the minimum you need in each place.
The highlights of these countries for me were diving in Cozumel, swimming in Cenotes, swimming with sharks in Belize, Exploring Tikal and hiking up Acatenango.
Have fun travel planning! As always feel free to reach out if you would like some more help.