Adventure Planning: The Cancun To Guate Challenge


As you may have noticed from the itinerary for the trip I posted earlier, we’ve got about four days to make it from our arrival in Cancun to the check-in date at our honeymoon hotel in Antigua, Guatemala. Now, to avoid too much backtracking, we’d like to also be able to fit in some time on the beach in Belize and visit Tikal in Northeast Guatemala (Antigua is in the Southwest) on the way. Is it possible? Maybe not, but it is certainly a challenge.

Just six months ago, there was an easier solution. Guatemala’s first (and only) low-fare carrier, Tikal Jets, offered cheap flights direct from Cancun to Guatemala City. But, alas, the company ceased operations in August. Other carriers offer flights along the route, but at a fare roughly double the amount I paid for my return flight from Cancun to Florida. So that leaves us looking at ground routes. I’m told buses between Cancun and Belize City are plentiful (after checking guidebooks, the thorn tree, and of course, BootsnAll), but the journey takes most of a day, and then you still have to take a ferry or flight out to the Cayes (there are few if any beaches on the Belize mainland).

One other option I came across, but am a bit weary of, is this Shuttle Service from Cancun direct to San Ignacio, Belize in about seven hours, considerably faster than the bus system via Belize City. This would put us within striking distance of Tikal, but force us to delay our visit to the beach until later in the trip. Oh, yea, and it’s $100 per person.

Yet another option would be to bus it to Belize City and then down to the Southern edge of the country where we could catch a ferry that would drop us off near the eastern edge of a major Guatemalan highway, making it just a 6-7 hour ride to Antigua, rather than the longer route via Tikal. Obviously, though, this forces us to leave Tikal for later in the trip.

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The final option? Don’t sweat it. Take our sweet time to visit both the Cayes and Tikal and end up in Antigua a few days late. Nobody’s keeping track anyway…

Related Posts:
Adventure Planning: Flights to Florida and Latin America

Adventure Travel Planning: Mexico / Central America, Part 2

Adventure Planning – Yucatan, Part 1