The hustle and bustle of the native Chichicastenango market made for a colourful stop en route to Lake Atitlan, where calmness and serenity took over. A highlight was waking up to the spectacular views of the volcano at sunrise.

 My whistle-stop tour of Guatemala finished in Flores, taking in the impressive Mayan site of Tikal. Despite the heat, I was determined to hike up as many of the temples as possible and was rewarded with some incredible views, particularly from Temple 4 from where you can see three other Temples in the distance towering over the jungle.

Crossing the border took me into Belize, staying firstly in the Orange Walk district, where I had the chance to hike through the jungle and kayak on the Macal River.

My highlight would have to be the challenging caving expedition known as ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal), which can only be accessed by a 45-minute hike through streams and paths of the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve.
Once there, a further 2 hour trek awaits you in the underground caves, accompanied only by your guide and head torch.

I forgot to mention, that you are submerged in water most of the way!
We saw scorpions, catfish and bats throughout our trek, which finished with ceremonial artifacts and the burial chambers, in which the skeleton of a young Mayan girl can still be seen.

  My other highlights from Belize included night-time caiman spotting at Lamanai, snorkelling with nurse-sharks and stingrays at Ambergris Caye and enjoying the funky beach side cafes at Placencia.

A two week trip covering both Guatemala and Belize certainly offers a perfect combination of culture, wildlife and beach.

Read more about holidays in Guatemala and Belize.