Hi! I just decided that I want to take a trip to guatemala, belize, or mexico from December 20 - January 3. I don't plan on staying in one place for the entire time, but a combination of all three or two. My top site is to see the Mayan pyramids, but don't really have any other priorities. The days can be plus or minus a few days, but any tips? proposed itineraries? I just started doing research on it, but maybe someone here can help me out. This will be my first time in any of those countries (but have backpacked other countries) and will be travelings with another girl. I don't really need a party atmosphere, but more looking for the cultural experience. I plan on staying in hostels or any cheap hotels. Any tips? THANKS!
You need to read a guidebook and come back with more specific questions. You could probably cover more territory by flying into one place and out of another. For beaches at the end and Maya ruins along the way, into Guate City and out of Cancun could work. Going through Belize would cost you an extra $18.75 USD each to get out, so going the Palenque route could be better.
Of all the Mayan sites, I hear that Tikal is definately the one to see. It's in Guatamela. I would probably base myself around that, and pick off some trips from there. Did you want to get to the beach at all?
I can't help about Belize cause I haven't been but here's my thoughts about Guatemala and Mexico.
Tikal and Palenque are the 2 sites I preferred, both being set in the jungle. If you decide to go to Tikal, do the sunset rise tour, it's amazing to see the sun rising on the ruins and to hear meanwhile the wildlife waking up.
In Guatemala, you shouldn't miss Antigua, a beautiful colonial city. Chichicastenango has a really nice handcraft market if you're into it.
If you're looking for beaches, Tulum in Mexico is a gem , you can rent a bungalow on the beach and it's a lot less touristy than Cancun. If you wish to party, Playa del Carmen is great.
In Mexico, San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas is worth a visit too.
As for accommodation, you'll find heaps of cheap places there (except Playa del Carmen), use a travel guide but look for some on your own too and you'll be fine.