When to go - Mexico, Guatemala and Belize
Mexico is one of the few countries that can be visited throughout the year. The weather is great all year round and the temperatures here rarely drop below 20 degrees in the plains and 15 degrees in the highlands. Dry season lasts from November to May with plenty of sunshine and a refreshing breeze by the coast. Ideal for spending time at the beach in Tulum. June brings the monsoon with higher temperatures, humid air and the occasional tropical shower.
There is a chance of hurricanes hitting Mexico’s coastline in September-October, which has little-to-no effect on the areas further inland, often resulting in stronger-than-usual winds.
Weather in Guatemala and Belize is very similar to Mexico’s, with a dry winter and a humid summer. With lower temperatures up in the hills, make sure to pack a couple of long-sleeved jumpers alongside your t-shirts as it does get a lot cooler in the highlands at night.
Visa & passport information
If you’re a British passport holder travelling as a tourist, all you need to do to enter Mexico (and stay there for up to 90 days) is to complete an immigration form on arrival. You might be asked for proof of your return flights, so it’s good to have a copy of your e-ticket handy. Please keep your visa/immigration form with you as you’ll need to present it on your departure. Don’t panic if you lose it along the way – it can be replaced at the immigration office at any international airport in Mexico for around 550 Mexican Pesos (£25). Please make sure your passport is valid for 6 months from the date that you’re back in the UK.
IMPORTANT: If the duration of your trip exceeds 90 days OR if you’re planning to get involved in some volunteering during your travels, please contact the Mexican Embassy in London to arrange a visa in advance.
Travelling to Guatemala and Belize from Mexico
You won’t need a visa to enter Guatemala or Belize, however, be prepared to pay exit fees of around USD20/25 for Belize, USD5/10 for Guatemala and USD30/35 for Mexico. We recommend having USD100 p/p in cash (preferably in small notes) to cover all the border crossing formalities and unexpected expenses.
Mexico flight info
If you’re flying to Mexico via the US and want to use the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), you will need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System Travel Authorization) in advance. All travellers with UK passports (including children and infants) must have an individual machine-readable passport and must complete an ESTA prior to departure. Without an approved ESTA, you could be denied entry into the US and therefore could miss your connecting flight(s). Also check with the US embassy ESTA website for current customs regulations, as they change frequently.
Mexican Nuevo Peso, known informally as ‘Peso’ is. UK debit and credit cards are broadly accepted for payment and in ATM’s – remember to notify your bank before you jet off so they don’t stop your transactions. If you take sterling with you, currency can be easily exchanged at Casas de Cambio (currency exchange kiosks, usually open throughout the day) or at the banks.
In Guatemala, the currency is called the Quetzal and you can exchange US dollars in the larger towns without any troubles. ATMs are also available if you prefer to use your card. If you’re crossing the border to Belize, you’ll be able to change your Quetzales into Belizean Dollars when you leave Guatemala. We recommend taking cash for Belize as ATMs are not as common, and sometimes they run out of money or don’t accept certain cards. US dollars are widely accepted here, and you can also get some local cash at the Casa de Cambio (exchange kiosk) or local bank.
A tip (or propiña) is the best way to show your appreciation for good service in Mexico, Guatemala & Belize. It’s usually expected, and a lot of people rely on it to earn their living as the salaries in these countries are very modest. It’s customary to leave 10-15% of the bill at a restaurant unless service is already included. Porters and bellboys usually get 25-50 pesos for help with the luggage and you can leave the same for housekeeping. Taxi drivers usually don’t expect tips. We recommend tipping your guide 150-200 pesos per person for a full day trip.
24 days / 23 nights
Playa del Carmen - Chichen Itza - Merida - Campeche - Palenque - San Cristobal - Panajachel/Lake Atitlan - Antigua - Flores/Tikal - Caye Caulker - Lake Bacalar - Tulum