After an amazing holiday with my family at United States I decided to stay in the Americas to learn a bit of Spanish and see the culture. I had $4500 (AUD) or $3400 (USD) to last me 2 months. I flew from Miami to Cancun and traveled down the Caribbean coast to cross the border to Belize and then to Guatemala. I had a last-minute decision to ditch Spanish school at Guatemala and head back to Mexico via Chiapas to fly from Cancun to Cuba.
This is just a quick itinerary route with hostel recommendations and some quick tips on how to get there and must see places. I traveled from mid August to mid October.
See Map Here
My favourite country in this trip and I only got a little taste of it! I will definitely be back to explore more of the country.
Cancun – 1 day, can be skipped.
Getting there: From airport arrivals go outside to the right there is an ADO booth, Take the ADO bus to Downtown Cancun (P66).
Hostels: Quetzal, Mundo Joven, Hotel Kin Mayab – All walking distance to ADO Bus Stop
Must see/do: Take the R1 bus to Playa delfines, Walk to Parque de Palapas for cheap eats and live entertainment, Mercado 23.
Isla Mujeres – 1-2 Days
Arrival: From Downtown Cancun take a Collectivo (outside McDonalds) to Puerto Juarez and catch a ferry to Isla Mujeres.
Hostels: Poc-na, Azucar
Must see/do: Playa Norte, Snorkeling, street food cheap eats near the basketball and church.
Playa Del Carmen – 6 days
Arrival: Take the ADO bus from Downtown Cancun to Playa Del Carmen
Hostels: Loft10, The Yak, Quinta Playa
Must see/do: Playa Acar, Take a collectivo (P30) to Akumal (swim with turtles), Tulum Ruins, Playa Paraiso (Tulum), Cenotes (Grand Cenote, Azul, Dos Ojos etc) Coba Temple.
Note: My original plan was only 2 days here and then 2 days Tulum I decided to skip Tulum and stay at Playa del Carmen because it was my birthday week and I met some really cool people. It was also a great base for me to other places as the collectivo is only 30 pesos to all cenotes and playas. The place is very touristy I recommend Tulum for a more backpacker feel.
Bacalar – 1-2 days
Arrival: ADO bus from Playa del Carmen to Bacalar. Tip – you can save half price if you buy the ticket the day before.
Hostels: Green Monkey, Yaxche
Must See/Do: A quiet town with a beautiful lake and cafes, sunrise paddle board, cenote negro.
See Chiapas and Yucatan further below.
Caye Caulker – 5 days
Arrival: Take a bus to Chetumal (ado or mayab), from nuevo mercado bus stop take a bus to Belize City walk to the terminal and ferry to Caye Caulker.
Hostels: Bellas, Tropical Oasis, Dirty McNasty, Yumis
Must see/do: Swim with shark and rays tour, the split, kayak, snorkelling, fishing, raggamuffin 3 days sailing tour* (Expensive)
San Ignacio – 2 Days
Arrival: From Ferry Port take a taxi (4USD) or walk to Belize City Bus Stop take the chicken bus to San Ignacio $2(USD). There are also air-conditioned buses from ferry port to San Ignacio.
Hostel: Bellas, The old house
Must see/do: ATM Caves, Xenuntunich Mayan temple, Crystal Caves, Saturday Market
Other Places in Belize to visit are: San Pedro, Hopkins, Orange walk.
Flores: 1-2 days
Arrival: From San Ignacio town, take a collectivo to the border (5USD), after immigration from the Guatemalan border after the bridge take another Collectivo to Santa Elena (30-45Quetzales) then take a Tuktuk from Santa Elena to Flores (5Q). Tip: have some quetzales ready the conversion if you give USD is horrible.
Hostel: Los Amigos
Must See/Do: Tikal, cheap street food at the waterfront, boat ride at the lake, hike up a mountain to have the best view of the island (have to ask locals where)
Semuc Champey: 1-2 days
Arrival: Bus booked from hostel
Hostel: El Muro, Zephyr Lodge
Must See/Do: Semuc tour, explore Lanquin
Antigua – 7 days
Arrival: From Flores take an overnight bus to Guatemala city then a van to Antigua buy tickets for both all at once. From Lanquin take a bus/van to Antigua.
Hostels: Somos, Tropicana, Jacaranda,
Homestay: Isabelles $100 USD for a week including 3 meals. *contact me for details.
Spanish School: San Jose El Viejo $100 USD 20 hours
Must see/do: Acatenango, Cerro De La Cruz, Santa Catalina Arch, Cathedrals, Art, Markets, Pacaya, Mayan Museum and many more.
Lake Atitlan (San Pedro) – 2days
Arrival: Taka the van Panajachel and take a boat to San Pedro
Hostels: Mr. Mullet, I stayed at Hotel Mansion de Lago because the private room there is the same price as a dorm room (75-80Q)
Must see/do: San Pedro Hike, Indian Nose Sunrise, Paddleboard/Kayak, Cheap Spanish Schools
Indian Nose, Lake Atitlan
BACK TO MEXICO
San Cristobal De Las Cases – 4days
Arrival: Take a transfer from San Pedro to San Cristobal de las Casas (180Q). 6am ferry to Panajachel and van to San Cristobal de las Casas 4pm arrival.
Hostels: De Ja vu, Luna Nueva
Must See: Churches/Cathedrals, Chiapas tours to waterfalls and Canyon.
Palenque: 1 day
Arrival: I did the day trip tour to see the waterfalls and palenque ruins and decided to stay at palenque instead of heading back to San Cristobal de las Casas.
Hostels: Posada Nacha`n – Ka`an, Yaxkin
Must see: Mayan Ruins, Town
Merida: 3 days
Arrival: ADO bus to Merida, take a uber or taxi to city centre (4op)
Hostel: Catedral, Zocalo
Must See: Events at the Plaza and Santa Lucia, Chichen Itza and Uxmal Mayan Tours, Cenote Ikkill , Yellow City. Free walking tour everyday 9am at the information centre.
Isla Holbox: 2 days
Arrival: Take the 11pm overnight bus from Merida (2nd class bus station) to Chiquila then take the ferry to Isla Holbox take a seat upstairs where you can watch the beautiful sunrise.
Hostels: Book before getting there – Ida y Vuelta, Tribu.
Must See/Do: Find the flamingoes, sunset at playa, swim with whale sharks, hammocks on the Caribbean.
Head back to Cancun on ferry and Bus to Fly to Cuba.
Chiapas Cascada del Chiflon
San Cristobal De Las Casas
Havana – 4 days
Arrival: $25 Tourist Visa Card at Mexico Airport and from Havana airport a taxi should cost no less than 25CUC to your hostel.
Hostels: Book before flying to Cuba – Mango (Havana Vieja) Paradise, Ronaldos Backpackers (Central Havana).
Must see: Malecon, Museums, Old Havana, Central Havana, Vedado.
Trinidad – 5 days
Arrival: Viazul bus $25CUC or taxi with other people for shorter time $25-30CUC PP
Homestay: Hostal Albertico
Must see: Playa Ancon, Waterfall and Horse-riding tour, Salsa Classes, Markets, Cave Party.
Vinales – I didn’t have time so I did a day tour from Havana it was $60US you can book this on any big hotels in Old Havana. Includes: Tobacco farm, Limestone Mural, Lunch and walk and boat inside Indian Cave. If I had time I would have stayed in Vinales for a couple of days.
More time? – Add in Santa Clara, Santa Maria, Cienfuegos and of course the West side.
I hope this helps your planning, feel free to ask me any questions.
Check out my Instagram Page
for some photos 🙂