- Learn how to fight like a ninja and have lunch with a sumo wrestler
- Spend 2 days hiking and hot spring bathing in the Hakone mountains
- Go off-radar in Tokyo, with a visit to Tokyo Whisky Library and a bike ride to a hidden district
- Visit the world's largest fish market and discover how to make your own sushi
- Join a street food safari to the hidden bars and stalls of Osaka, Japan's culinary hot spot
- Sea-kayak around the Great Torii on Miyajima Island
Climb an active volcano on an exhilarating hike and kayak your way across the blue waters of Lake Atitlán. Sip rum in the sunshine from a rooftop lounger, sleep under the canopy of the Guatemalan jungle, and watch the sun set over the rainforest from a towering Mayan temple. River tube through incredible underground caves, dive into the blue waters of a plunging cenote, and swim with sharks on the Belize Barrier Reef. End your adventure lounging on golden sands, soaking up the sweet life with a sunset BBQ.
We’re an honest bunch here at Flash Pack HQ so a word to the wise; our adventure around Guatemala and Belize isn’t for the fairweather traveller who wants to fly-and-flop. From trekking through the thickets of the jungle and rainforest, to swimming with sharks and hiking the active volcanic landscape, both Guatemala and Belize offer up incredible scenes of breathtaking natural beauty, but don’t come without their quirks and challenges. As with travelling around any still developing country, to get the most out this epic adventure you’ll need to be laid back about plans prone to quick change, and able to see the charm in some questionable service and timekeeping. But if you’re up for escaping to the jungles of Central America before hopping to the beaches on the edge of Caribbean, all while pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, jump aboard! We’ll begin our 12-day adventure in Antigua, embark on an exhilarating hike up an active volcano, then travel to Lake Atitlán to kayak our way across its great blue waters. We’ll head into both the Guatemalan and Belizean jungles, climb to the top a gargantuan Mayan temple and watch the sun blaze orange as it sets over the rainforest. You’ll go river tubing through incredible underground caves lined with giant stalactites and ancient Mayan paintings, dive into the sapphire-hued waters of a plunging cenote, and take an ocean dip off the Belize Barrier Reef with the company of sharks and stingrays. We’ll round things off lounging on golden sands overlooking the Caribbean, feasting on fresh seafood, sipping local rum and soaking up the sweet life with a sunset beach BBQ. Grab your bags Flashpackers, the adventure’s about to begin…
The Flash Pack promise
Here at Flash Pack, we’re committed to unique adventures that deliver great value for money. We pack our trips with epic experiences (unlike other companies, all activities are included), hand-pick stylish hotels and match you with like-minded people.
- Climb an active volcano on an exhilarating hike and picnic near its peak
- Work up a sweat kayaking across the blue waters of Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán
- River tube through the incredible junglescape and underground caves of Belize
- Get out of your comfort zone swimming with sharks and stingrays off the Belize Barrier Reef
- Climb to the top of a towering ancient temple and watch the sun setting over the thickets of the rainforest
- Bed down for the night under the canopy of the jungle at an enchanting rainforest retreat
- Sip rum and relax with the laid back charm of island life in Belize
- Learn the art of Guatemalan cooking with a hands-on masterclass from a local
Day 1: Hola Guatemala
Touch down in Guatemala City, jump in your private transfer to Antigua and soak up the city’s atmosphere on day one of your adventure. Check into your hotel, an impressively restored Colonial building with interiors that’ll appeal your inner art lover, then share a few beers with your fellow flashpackers at our first group dinner.
Flashpackers, welcome to day one of your adventure in Guatemala! Touch down in Guatemala City at La Aurora International Airport, where a private transfer will be waiting to whisk you off to your hotel in Antigua, our base for the next two nights. Today is all about getting to know your fellow Flashpackers and settling into your new surroundings. If you arrive early, feel free to explore the nearby Parque Central (also known as Plaza Mayor) or take a stroll through the city’s cobblestone streets, where you’ll find pastel-hued buildings and Colonial restorations lining the remarkably photogenic pavements—look out for a riot of colour as the infamous Chicken Bus rounds each corner. This evening, we’ll all head to a rooftop bar to share a few beers before tucking into your first Antiguan dinner with your fellow explorers.More +
Day 2: Volcano Hiking
Fuel up on rich local coffee at breakfast, then hike an active volcano with your Flash Pack crew. Tuck into a glorious picnic at one of the highest points of our climb, snap a selfie against the incredible backdrop, then prepare your jelly legs for the steep descent. Rest up come evening or explore Antiguan dining options in the local area.
If there’s one thing not to skip while in Guatemala it’s the rich local coffee, so fill up your cup at breakfast today—you’re going to need all the fuel you can get for our volcano hike. We’ll load up the Flash Pack coach and set off, arriving at Pacaya Volcano in just over an hour. Some 8,373ft above sea level, it’ll take us around 1.5 hours to climb to the top, with incredible views along the way that’ll make the steep climb well worth it. Since Pacaya is still an active volcano, you may catch a little smoke puffing from its crater, but if you’re expecting flowing lava we’re happy to report you’ll be disappointed, little more than clouds of ash have been reported from Pacaya eruptions since 1965.
After tucking into a picnic quite unlike any other (how many packed lunches have you eaten atop an active volcano?), and checking the ground for soil patches hot enough to toast our marshmallows over, we’ll begin the scenic descent. Once back at the hotel, feel free to rest up your jelly legs or explore some of the area’s dining options. To eat like a local try pepián de pollo, a hearty chicken stew often served with thick corn tortillas (a staple food here). Vegetarians are in luck too; since meat can be a luxury in some areas, squash, frijoles (black beans), corn, avocado and roasted veggie dishes are all Mayan staples, so you’ll have no problem exploring Guatemalan cuisine.More +
Day 3: GUATEMALAN COOKING & DRIVE TO LAKE ATITLÁN
Take a more leisurely pace today starting with breakfast at the hotel, before a masterclass in Guatemalan cuisine at nearby town San Miguel Escobar. Prepare to get stuck in—you’re making lunch! Kick back with a good book as we drive on to Lake Atitlán, then enjoy dinner with an incredible view after we check into our hotel on the shores of the picturesque lake.
After yesterday’s volcano hike, we’ll enjoy a more leisurely pace today. After breakfast at the hotel, which is always a hearty affair in Guatemala (think eggs, tortillas, beans, fried plantains and of course, good coffee) we’ll hop on the coach and drive the short distance to nearby town San Miguel Escobar, which sits at the base of Volcán Agua. Fast fact: San Miguel Escobar was once the second Colonial capital of Guatemala, until the volcano triggered a mudslide in 1541 which wiped out the entire town.
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get stuck into a Guatemalan cookery class led by a local where we’ll learn how to rustle up Pepián, a meaty stew packed with spices and roasted veggies, often considered to be the national dish. After feasting on a lunch whipped up by your own hand (plus a little help, if you need it), we’ll jump back on the coach and continue our journey down to Lake Atitlán. Kick back with a good book or load up your phone with an epic playlist, the drive will take us around three hours, but once we’ve arrived at our 4* hotel you’ll be met with picturesque views right across the lake.Take a dip in the outdoor pool surrounded by manicured gardens , enjoy a massage at the spa or treat yourself to a few drinks overlooking the incredible view.
Day 4: LAKE KAYAKING & ANCIENT ART
Visit the colourful village of San Juan La Laguna and try your hand at traditional Mayan painting, then glide along the tranquil waters of Lake Atitlán in a kayak. Jump in for a swim after working up a sweat, before putting your photography skills to the test in this idyllic location, it is known for being one of the most picturesque lakes in the world.
Rise and shine at Lake Atitlán, drink in another view of that glorious shoreline over breakfast, then get ready to hit the lake on today’s kayaking adventure. Fear not if it’s your first time in a kayak, the tranquility of the lake will work in your favour. We’ll head to nearby village San Juan La Laguna, a particular favourite among bohemian travellers, where we’ll delve into traditional Mayan art—you can also try your hand at making like a Tz’utujil artist while painting your own Nauhual Maya (aka Mayan animal spirit—the area is steeped in folklore and traditional Maya culture). Grab some lunch at a local cafe to help fuel those muscles as it’s time to buckle up and hit the kayaks. We’ll spend the afternoon gliding along the lake taking in epic views of the surrounding volcanoes, and if you’ve worked up a sweat feel free to jump in for a refreshing swim once we’ve put the paddles down. Put your photography skills to the test before we head-off, locations don’t come more idyllic than this. The evening is yours to do with as you wish, relax with a mojito at the hotel bar and restaurant, take a swim in the outdoor pool as the sun sets over the lake, or ease your tired muscles in the sauna. We’d be making a beeline for the massage table.More +
Day 5: JETTING TO THE JUNGLE & BEERS AT SUNSET
Today is all about kicking back and enjoying the ride as we travel from Lake Atitlán to Guatemala City, then hitch a local flight across the country to its northernmost department, Petén. Check in at your boutique hotel, enjoy sunset drinks at the rooftop bar, then explore the nightlife of island-town Flores.
Pack a good book because today is all about kicking back and enjoying the ride as we travel from one side of Guatemala to the other. Enjoy one last breakfast overlooking Lake Atitlán, if you haven’t yet snapped the iconic volcanic landscape now’s the time, then hop on Flash Pack minibus as we drive the scenic 157 km back to Guatemala City. We’ll hitch a local flight to Petén, Guatemala’s northernmost department and a landscape largely covered in dense green jungle, and touch down an hour later in Flores at Mundo Maya International Airport. For the last leg of today’s journey, we’ll jump in a private transfer to the island-town of Flores proper (the name is also given to the general area comprising the towns of Santa Elena, San Benito and actual Flores), where we’ll check into our boutique hotel. The evening is yours to explore the area, so after a freshen up in your room we suggest you meet your fellow Flashpackers on the rooftop for a well deserved drink, feel free to move on to the nearby bars and restaurants in this small but surprisingly energetic town.More +
Day 6: KICK BACK IN FLORES
After five jam-packed days of Guatemalan adventure, it’s time to kick back and indulge in some serious R&R. Rise late, sip cocktails from a sunlounger on the roof terrace, take a dip in the rooftop pool or jump aboard a boat for an optional jaunt to El Crater Azul.
After just five days of adventure we’ve hiked an active volcano, cooked up a Guatemalan feast, kayaked across Lake Atitlán, hung out in San Juan La Laguna, and travelled across the country, so it’s time to slow things down. Today Flashpackers, there’s no itinerary and the day is completely yours. Rise late and tuck into breakfast at the hotel, kick back on a sunlounger at the rooftop terrace and take a dip in the outdoor pool with stretching views across Lake Petén Itza, the second largest in all of Guatemala. If you’ve got itchy feet, book yourself onto our optional jaunt to El Crater Azul. We’ll take an hour’s drive to nearby town Sayaxché, where we’ll then boat across the River La Pasion to the Pucte Stream. El Crater Azul is a 1.5 hour sail away, so relax on board as we approach the impossibly blue waters of the crater. Slide off the boat and snorkel the clear turquoise waters, there’s plenty of fish and an underwater garden to be seen, tuck into a picnic on deck and enjoy a slice of Guatemala’s beautiful wilderness before we head back to Flores. For the perfect finisher, we’d suggest beers at sunset with your fellow Flashpackers.More +
Day 7: JUNGLE SUNSETS & ANCIENT TEMPLES
Get ready to tick yet another item off your bucket list. Today we’re jungle-bound as we head to the gargantuan temples of Tikal. Explore the architectural feats of the ancient Mayan Empire, spot monkeys, parrots and if you’re lucky, even jaguars or crocodiles, climb a temple at sunset for a birds-eye view of the rainforest, then bed down under the canopy at your jungle hotel.
If heading into the lush green thickets of the jungle has long been on your bucket list, today’s the day you get to tick off another of your dream travelling goals. After breakfast, wave farewell to Flores proper and head to Tikal National Park. The ruins of a capital city belonging to the ancient Mayan Empire, Tikal spreads itself over 575 square kilometres of jungle, and plays home to gargantuan pyramid temples that break through the rainforest canopy, scattered stone ruins of millennia-old Mayan architecture, and the open plain of the Great Plaza—once a hub where Mayan rulers hosted extravagant ceremonies, brutal sporting events and religious sacrifices. Towering temples isn’t all there is to see at Tikal however, as the rainforest is teeming with wildlife from monkeys, parrots and toucans, to blue-headed ‘oscillated’ turkeys and if you’re lucky, a rare jaguar spot. There are even crocodiles living in the Tikal Lake. After a day spent exploring Tikal from the ground, we’ll climb a temple for a birds-eye view of the jungle bathed in the burnished glow of a Guatemalan sunset. Bed down for the night in your jungle hotel, where you’ll get to drift off in a cosy double bed to the sounds of the jungle at night.More +
Day 8: TEMPLE SUNRISE & HELLO BELIZE
Early risers can start the day overlooking the jungle at sunrise, then hop aboard the Flash Pack minibus bound for Belize. Check into your hotel at the foothills of the Mayan Mountains, kick back and enjoy the sweet life in a garden-hung hammock, or take a dip in the swimming pool lined with coconut palms.
If you’ve got the stamina for it, rise before dawn with early bird Flashpackers and climb a Tikal temple to watch the sky streaked with the pinky hues of a jungle sunrise, however as some people like their sleep this is an optional activity. Head back to your hotel to catch breakfast with the group, then we’ll hop aboard our minibus bound for Belize. Straddling the jungles of Central America on one side and the golden sandy beaches of the Caribbean on the other, Belize makes for a surprisingly diverse destination given its small size. Equally surprising may be the fact that English is the country’s official language, a hangover from its Colonial past and former rule by the British Empire. After yesterday’s temple climb (or this morning’s!) today’s a chance to rest your body and soak up the famously laid-back vibe of Belizean culture. Relax through the 1.5 hour transfer from Guatemalan jungle to Belizean jungle, check into our rustic but charming hotel in the Cayo District, and soak up the tropical views from the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Jump into the outdoor pool fringed with coconut palms, kick back with a book in a garden-hung hammock, and sample your first taste of Belizean cuisine at the hotel restaurant.More +
Day 9: CAVE TUBING AND CENOTE SWIMMING
Head to Saint Herman’s National Park for a short jungle trek, then jump into a river tube to float your way past wild junglescapes and through incredible underground caves hung with giant stalactites. Swim in the sapphire blue waters of a plunging cenote then hitch a ride in the local ferry to your hotel on the edge of the Caribbean sea.
After yesterday’s laidback agenda, today is all about getting out to see more of Belize. The Flash Pack way is to always get a unique snapshot of the places we’re travelling to (who wants ordinary, right?), which is why rather than clambering onto a packed-out tour bus, we’ll be soaking up the Belizean views via river tube. We’ll take an earlyish start to the day, driving just over an hour to nearby Saint Herman’s National Park after breakfast. There we’ll kit up and embark on a short jungle trek to the Caves Branch River. Hop in your tube and prepare to watch the world go by as we drift along the river past wild junglescapes and through limestone underground caves hung with stalactites and ancient Maya paintings (the Crystal Cave is particularly awe-inspiring), ending up at a deep blue cenote (a collapsed limestone cave, this one plunging 100 feet deep and 300 feet wide). The perfect place to jump in for a refreshing swim, the clear sapphire-hued waters are particularly photogenic. After drying off, we’ll head to Belize City and jump on a local ferry, speeding our way to San Pedro on the Ambergris Caye. Check into our final hotel of the trip, this one overlooking the palm-lined beach at the edge of Caribbean sea, and prepare to embrace the Belizean beach life for the next few days. It is worth noting that Belize is not known for its abundance in world class hotels, our beach hotel is quite basic but we go here because experiencing island life here is not to be missed.More +
Day 10: BEACH LIFE IN BELIZE
Wake up on San Pedro Caye, tuck into a breakfast overlooking the Caribbean ocean and prepare for a day spent soaking up the beach vibes. Hitch a short boat ride to the golden sands and cerulean seas of nearby cayes, tuck into fresh seafood with the sand between your toes and sip rum from a lounger until the sun goes down.
After nine days of adventure, it’s time to kick back and embrace the super chill Belizean spirit. Wake up on San Pedro Caye, tuck into breakfast overlooking the ocean, and then feel free to use your day as you wish. Head to the spa for a massage to unwind, grab a snorkel and wade into the big blue, or hitch a short boat ride to one of the nearby island cayes—the golden sands and cerulean waters of car-free Caye Caulker is just a 30-minute water taxi ride. This your chance to chill out sipping rum on a hammock until sunset, feast on fresh seafood with the sand between your toes (we’d particularly recommend Belizean Spiny lobster and tasty red snapper), or head into San Pedro town to browse the shops, cafes and bars. There’s also a fun nightlife scene at San Pedro, so come sundown grab your fellow Flashpackers and head out to explore what’s on offer.More +
Day 11: SWIMMING WITH SHARKS & BEACH BBQ
It’s the penultimate day of our epic adventure and we’ve still got plenty of bucket list action in store. Hop on a speedboat and head towards the Belize Barrier Reef. Slip outside your comfort zone by swimming with sharks and stingrays, stop-off for a snorkelling session over colourful coral reefs, then head back to dryland for a sunset beach barbeque.
Another day on your Flash Pack adventure, another chance for more serious bucket list action. Load up on coffee and jam-dipped Johnnycake this morning, because we’ll leaping outside the comfort zone for a truly amazing experience. Jump on a speedboat and head towards Belize’s Barrier Reef, the second largest outside of Australia. Our first stop of the day is at Shark Ray Alley, where despite ocean depths of a relatively shallow 6 feet, the area teems with curious nurse sharks (don’t worry, they prefer shrimp and squid) and stingrays spanning up to 4 feet wide. If you’ve got the bottle to swim with these locals, join your Flashpackers in the water to snorkel through the crystal clear ocean among the sharks and stingrays; an exhilarating experience you’re unlikely to forget. Hop back onto the boat and our second stop-off is at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where you can enjoy a more serene snorkelling session spotting colourful coral reefs, glistening shoals of tropical fish (over 160 species can be found on the Belize Barrier Reef), and if you’re lucky, green sea turtles too. Once we’re back on dry land it’s time to toast an epic adventure with a sunset beach party. We’ll toss lobster on the barbecue, crack open the beers, light some candles and keep the rum and juice flowing.More +
Day 12: ADIÓS FLASHPACKERS
Flashpackers, it’s time say adiós to Belize and Guatemala. You’ll need to arrange your own transfers to the airport. What an adventure it’s been!
Fellow Flashpackers it’s time to say adiós. It’s over to you to organise your ferry and taxi to the airport and depart at your leisure. No matter where you’re headed next, you’re sure to be arriving refreshed and recharged after an incredible adventure around Guatemala and Belize. You’ve hiked an active volcano and picniced near its peak, mastered Guatemalan cooking, kayaked along the tranquil blue waters of Lake Atitlán and sipped rum at sunset from a rooftop lounger. You’ve climbed the gargantuan ancient temples at Tikal and watched the sunset over the rainforest, slept under the canopy of the Guatemalan jungle, and river tubed your way through the caves of Belize. We’ve kicked back on the beach gazing out to the Caribbean, splashed in the turquoise waters of a plunging cenote, and jumped into swim with sharks and stingrays. All in all, we’d say that’s an adventure well done.More +
Fly into: La Aurora International Airport – Guatemala City – Try to arrive before 3pm if you can but we will pick you up anytime on day 1.
Fly out of: Belize City Airport (make sure your flight is after 10am to give yourself enough time to get to the airport from Ambergris Caye).
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.
Hotel standards particularly in Belize can be a little dated and service can be slow. For those looking to stay in luxury hotels this is not the adventure for you.
We take safety very seriously on Flash Pack adventures, click here to learn more.
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