I brought a fabulous group of 7 women with me on my trip from Belize to Guatemala and back, and I wanted to write a review of it! The Belize and Guatemala itinerary that we chose is located here under the Belize G Adventures page. Keep reading to see in-depth about my experience on this tour!
Guide for Belize and Guatemala Tour Companies!
One thing that I love about G Adventures is that they use local guides; our guide was Chris, and he’s from Belize and Guatemala! Local guides are important to me because it keeps the money in the local community, they speak the language, and they can answer all my questions about history and culture!
And a bonus is that we got to drive through the town he lives in, and we saw where he grew up! We even ran into his mom on Caye Caulker!
Chris was friendly and enthusiastic, and he went above and beyond to help me surprise one of the passengers for her birthday!
Belize and Guatemala Itinerary
The first day is always just an arrival day. The only thing scheduled is the arrival meeting (usually at 6 pm. There’s a sign in the lobby). We had our meeting at the beautiful rooftop restaurant of the hotel!
After waking up and having our included breakfast, we went to the bus station to get the Chicken Bus (local bus that’s a former US school bus) to take us over to Guatemala. Make sure you’re on time! Some in our group were a little lagging, so we weren’t all able to get on the 8 am bus we wanted, so we had to wait until the 9 am bus.
The chicken bus is an every-man-for-himself-sitting situation, so just get on board! You can move seats as seats are available. We were on it about 3 hours before we made it to the border.
The Belize to Guatemala border crossing was rather straightforward with just paying a departure tax (cash or credit card, but they recommend cash), then we were picked up by a private van.
The van took us to Flores Island which is where our hotel was for the night! It was a cute hotel on a cute island, and our hotel was right by the lake. After a dip in the pool, we had an orientation walk, dinner, and sunset!
Our first real “tour” of the tour was to Tikal! We arrived early in the morning to beat the heat. I was really hoping to see a toucan but was told it wasn’t guaranteed. Imagine my excited surprise when we saw one literally right as we walked in!
Our guide was from one of the local Guatemala tour companies and was amazing. He was even calling to birds, and the birds would call back! He was a guide specific to Tikal, so he was an expert.
We saw some beautiful ruins!
But I’m not going to lie that the toucan and coatimundi sightings were my favorite.
We took our private van back to the Belize and Guatemala border crossing again, and then a cab to our hotel! Our hotel had a large, open pool and was a lot of fun. It was a short walk into town as well.
San Ignacio has the most options of any tour I’ve ever seen! Pretty much the whole group opted to go cave tubing on the first afternoon!
Another day in San Ignacio to choose more adventure options. There were quite a few to choose from, but the major contenders were cave tubing, cave canoeing, cave spelunking in the ATM cave, horseback riding, and Xunantunich ruins. A large part of the group opted for the spelunking (I will discuss more in the optional extras portion of the blog) but they weren’t allowed to take pics, so I don’t have any pics!
I went cave canoeing with 3 others, and I was happy with my choice!
Cave canoeing also wasn’t as long as the ATM cave, so we got to come back and relax at the pool for a bit. This was also the hotel we did laundry at since it was about the halfway point, and why not.
The chicken bus picked us up right at our hotel, and whisked us off to Belize City, so we could catch a ferry to Caye Caulker! The ferry was only about an hour, so not too bad at all!
Our afternoon was spent doing the G for Good bike ride. We were escorted all over the island to learn about Mangroves, the first school on Caye Caulker, tarpon fish, seeing stingrays and seahorses, and learning Creole!
Snorkel triiiip! We went off in the morning (not too early, finally a sleep-in!) on a private sailboat to go snorkeling! Our Captain Shane said seeing a manatee has a percentage of maybe 25-33%, but that he would try. What a champion because he stopped the boat at one point and said this was the area they like to be in. And JUST then RIGHT next to the boat, a manatee surfaced!
It was so special to me because I’d seen manatees in Florida in the river where it’s easy to spot them. So to see this beautiful lady in the middle of the ocean was quite exciting!
We also swam around the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark and Ray Alley! Lots of gentle nurse sharks, eagle rays, sting rays, trumpet fish and more!
This was the last official day of the tour, and was pretty much a free day! We all split up to do whatever it was that we wanted. Some options were renting a golf cart, going to the beach, going scuba diving, and hey… even getting a tattoo!
I really enjoyed going to Sip n Dip which has seats in the water where you can order food and drinks and sit in the water in or out of shade!
That night we went on a Sunset Sail on a Catamaran which would have been an amazing end to the tour in its own right, but also served the dual purpose to celebrate one of the ladies on the trip’s birthday! After that was karaoke and key lime pie! And goodbyes 🙁
This was the departure day! Pretty much everyone went to the airport to leave. Emily and I stayed one more night just to chill before we left the next day. I ended up flying to El Salvador for a few days before heading home myself.
Accommodations for Belize Tour Companies
This was a Classic tour, so all of the accommodations were hotels and two to a room. We had an odd number of solo women, so we’d rotate who got the room to themselves! All of the rooms were pretty good, although not necessarily the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever been in.
But all of the hotels were in amazing locations and all but the first hotel had a pool! Both of which I think are more important than beauty.
We all particularly loved this hotel on Flores Island since it had two pools (one with a swim-up bar), and it was lake adjacent!
Transportation (Including Belize to Guatemala Border Crossing)
We had quite a variety for transportation on this trip! We had a taxi and a private van which I feel like are pretty standard. The two styles worth mentioning specifically are the chicken bus and the water taxi.
The chicken bus is a fun Latin American tradition of an old school bus that’s being used as public transportation. They aren’t quite are colorful as I’ve seen in other countries like El Salvador and Panama, but still festive. Some stops people would come on and sell food and drinks which was good for my anxiety of not wanting to be left behind (although of course, Chris would never have allowed that!)
The Water Taxi/Ferry from Belize City to Caye Caulker was a straightforward boat ride. You check your luggage like a flight (and then give you a piece of paper with a number to collect. They’re very serious about confirming the numbers afterward, so I feel like the luggage is safe). It was just an hour, and it’s always fun to be on a boat! Go ahead and take some motion sickness pills just in case though.
Food During Your Adventure Travel in Belize and Guatemala
Not a lot of food was included in this tour, but at this price point… I honestly don’t mind. I like being able to choose what food I’d like to eat! Sometimes we’d all eat together, and sometimes we’d split up and do our own thing!
Optional Extras During the Belize G Adventures Tour
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Tour
This is the only one you can pre-book. We all did it, and I view it as an absolute must. You’re going to go all that way and just… not? Shark and Ray Alley seem scary, but they are just nurse sharks which are really just puppies. They swim near you, but won’t hurt you.
San Ignacio Options
This is where there are the most optional extras I’ve ever seen! I’m going to talk about the main ones here.
Cave Tubing is exactly what it sounds like. You’re in the water in a tube and get to float through the caves. There’s a guide that helps pull you along and guide you. I did it a few years ago, so I skipped it this time, but everyone else went and had a great time.
Cave Canoeing is also what it sounds like, lol. But what I will add is that it has some spaces where you lay flat on your back to make it through a tighter place (totally optional. It’s possible to just not go through that spot), but most areas are quite large. I found it very peaceful and beautiful. We did see signs of the Mayans including a skull and some pottery!
ATM Caves is probably the biggest draw. A few of us did canoeing, and everyone else did the ATM. You’re not allowed to take pictures in there, so I don’t have a visual. There are some tight spots to get through, and it’s a mix of wet and dry walking. Water shoes are a big recommendation! There is a body of a skeleton that’s been crystallized, which seems cool.
This one also seems like a no-brainer. We made it our last night as a combo to celebrate the tour and the birthday girl! Some free drinks were included on a lovely catamaran that we all lounged on and scream-sang Spice Girls!
Free Time from Belize to Guatemala Tour
This tour had a lot of free time, actually! Several times we were able to lounge, go to the pool, have a gentle wander, and choice of activities! This really was a very well-balanced itinerary!
I’d say I love the pacing of everything. I liked how the more “intense” part of the trip was front-loaded, and the “chill” part of the trip was at the end! I absolutely wouldn’t want it in the reverse.
If I had to pick a favorite moment, it was the wildlife. I tend to skew towards prioritizing wildlife on my trips now (like Antarctica and South Africa). So getting to see my first-ever wild Toucan was incredibly special for me. And then also ran into a manatee when we weren’t sure we’d be able to either.
In hindsight, I would’ve probably not gone during June as it was quite hot. But luckily all of our hotels had access to water (and even one of the restaurants had a pool!).
Other than the weather, I think I was a little taken aback by the Chicken Bus at first. I was so confused why we didn’t have a private transfer. I sat in the front and ended up being hit on the arm by a lot of people, but the second time I sat in the back and it was much more comfortable. I also really liked seeing how the locals travel, and I’m glad it was included now.
Compare to Intrepid’s Belize and Guatemala Itinerary
Intrepid is pretty similar to G, but they don’t have an exact itinerary match for this tour. There are two that are close, and neither I think is better. The first one is just Belize, and it doesn’t go to Tikal (which I loved). It does have another one that does have a Belize and Guatemala itinerary option, but it’s a lot more fast-paced which I think would ruin a lot of the vibe, but it does include Antigua. Long travel days though. And both are more expensive than G’s… which is why I picked G! Perfect mix of everything.
Price for Belize G Adventures Tour
The base price is a very comfortable $1149 unless it’s on sale or you have 5% off for being a repeat customer! Stay tuned for a more specific breakdown of my budget!
Things To Do Before or After Tour
For before in Belize City, I do usually suggest to come to hang out early around the departure city since tours usually don’t include much there. But for Belize City… not sure I can say the same, haha. Most of the places seemed to be closed if no cruise ships were there that day. So really only two main things to do!
The first is the Belize Sign! It’s a reasonable walk from the meeting hotel.
The other is Old Belize or Kukumba Beach. It has a waterslide, saltwater pool, floating agility activities, and tubes! There’s also a bar/restaurant, and a little train ride that goes through Belizean History.
Afterwards, in Caye Caulker, I definitely recommend either flying over the Blue Hole or diving it! I myself was going to dive it with Frenchie’s Diving Center, but I wasn’t feeling well that day and opted out. Whomp Whomp.
Please comment any other questions you have about Belize, Guatemala, G Adventures, booking with me, or small group tours!