San Ignacio To Tikal & BEST Tikal Tours From San Ignacio

Let’s embark on an adventure, exploring the route and transport options, so you can create unforgettable memories in the heart of the jungle, whether you decide to book a Tikal day trip from San Ignacio or travel San Ignacio to Tikal all on your own.

Are you ready to embark on an adventure through ancient Mayan ruins and lush jungles? If you’re dreaming of exploring the majestic archaeological site of Tikal from the charming town of San Ignacio, Belize, you’ve come to the right place.

Navigating the journey from San Ignacio to Tikal can be daunting, with transportation options, border crossings, and unfamiliar routes to consider. But fear not! In this guide, I’ll provide insider tips and essential information to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip.

Luckily for you, this is a route I have done myself so I am here to share my firsthand experience. From money matters, timings, and all that is San Ignacio to Tikal.

Whether you’re a history buff eager to delve into the mysteries of the Mayan civilization or an adventure seeker craving an immersive jungle experience, Tikal is the perfect place to explore. However, due to the border crossing, this can be a bit daunting.

Nevertheless, join me as I let you know how exactly to travel from San Ignacio to Tikal. This includes whether you can do it all in one day, booking Tikal tours from San Ignacio, how to travel by yourself, and other top tips for a Tikal day trip from San Ignacio.

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo

San Ignacio To Tikal Distance

The distance to Tikal from San Ignacio varies depending on the mode of transportation and the specific route taken. By road, the distance is approximately 130 kilometers (about 80 miles).

However, the journey involves crossing the border from Belize into Guatemala, which can affect travel time depending on border control procedures. The road route typically includes traveling south from San Ignacio to the Belize-Guatemala border at Melchor de Mencos, then heading north towards Tikal National Park in Guatemala.

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San Ignacio To Tikal Travel Time

The journey from San Ignacio to Tikal typically spans about 2 to 3 hours by road. This travel time can vary based on several factors, including the border crossing efficiency at Melchor de Mencos and road conditions.

For those looking for ease and reliability, considering organized shuttle services or guided tours can be beneficial. These options manage the logistics of border formalities and provide a more direct route to Tikal National Park.

Tasha Amy gazing at the iconic Temple I at Tikal National Park, a popular destination for day trips from San Ignacio, with thatched-roof structures dotting the landscape.
admiring the impressive beauty of the structures around tikal

Is Visiting Tikal Actually Worth All This Effort?

Visiting Tikal is definitely worth it, especially if you’re into history, archaeology, or just love being surrounded by nature.

Nestled in the Guatemalan jungle, Tikal stands as a testament to the ancient Maya civilization and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s like stepping into another world where you can wander around massive temple pyramids, like the famous Temple IV, and catch a stunning sunrise over the jungle canopy.

It’s not just about the ruins, though. Tikal lets you walk through history, seeing the grand plazas, towering temples, and old palaces up close, giving you a real sense of what Maya life was like. Plus, the wildlife in Tikal National Park is a huge bonus. You might spot spider monkeys, howler monkeys, and all sorts of birds during your visit.

All in all getting to Tikal might take some effort, especially with the travel and border crossing, but it’s an adventure into history and nature that’s absolutely worth it.

Can You Do A Day Trip?

Yes, you can definitely do a day trip from San Ignacio to Tikal. Many travelers choose this option since it’s quite feasible given the proximity between the two locations.

As I said before the drive takes about 2 to 3 hours one way, depending on border crossing times and road conditions. This makes it possible to leave early in the morning, spend several hours exploring the majestic ruins of Tikal, and return to San Ignacio by evening.

Several tour operators in San Ignacio offer organized day trips to Tikal. These tours often include transportation, a guided tour of the site, and sometimes meals. Using a tour service can simplify the logistics, like handling the border crossing paperwork and providing detailed insights into the history and significance of the ruins, enhancing your experience.

However if I am being completely honest I do recommend spending at least 1 night in Flores or even closer to Tikal if you have extra time in your Belize itinerary. Guatemala is so beautiful, and you are already so close why not experience the country a bit deeper?

The grand Temple I at Tikal against a grey sky, seen by travelers who venture from San Ignacio for a historical excursion.
first sight of the grand temple I at tikal
Panoramic view from the top of a Tikal temple, showing a bird's-eye perspective of the pathways and greenery travelers enjoy on Tikal tours from San Ignacio.
climbing the temples is something unique to guatemala as many countries prevent travelers from doing so

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo

Tour VS Organising Your Own Transport

Now lets look at some of the pros and cons of taking a tour vs organizing your own transport for a trip from San Ignacio to Tikal before we get too into all the details.

Pros Of Taking A TourCons Of Taking A Tour
Tours handle all the logistics, including transportation, tickets, and border crossing proceduresTours operate on a set schedule, which means less freedom to explore at your own pace or deviate from the planned itinerary.
You get the benefit of guided tours at TikalWhile tours offer convenience, they can be more expensive than self-organized trips
Traveling with an experienced guide can enhance safety and ease, especially in unfamiliar regions
Tours provide an opportunity to meet and interact with other travelers, which can enrich your experience.
Pros Of Organizing Your Own TransportCons Of Organizing Your Own Transport
You can decide your own schedule, choose where to stop along the way, and spend as much time as you wish at different sites. You’ll need to manage all aspects of your trip, including navigating foreign roads, handling border crossings, and dealing with potential language barriers.
Managing your own travel can be cheaper, particularly if you’re good at finding deals and are willing to use local transportation options.More freedom means more responsibility for safety and troubleshooting any issues that arise during the trip.
Planning your own trip allows for a more personalized adventure and the ability to tailor your journey to specific interests.Dealing with unexpected situations, especially in unfamiliar environments, can be stressful without the support structure of an organized tour.

Ultimately, the choice between a tour and self-organized transport when traveling San Ignacio to Tikal depends on what kind of travel experience you prefer.

Those seeking ease and educational value might opt for a tour, especially if you are traveling as a family, while those looking for flexibility and lower costs might choose to go it alone.

The quaint streets of San Ignacio town with pastel-colored buildings, setting off for an early morning journey to Tikal.
quiet streets around san ignacio
A chalkboard list of activities in San Ignacio, including tours to local attractions, showcasing the variety of adventures in the area.
list of some of the local attractions around san ignacio

Tikal Tours From San Ignacio

When considering the best Tikal tours from San Ignacio, you have a couple highly rated options which we will get into below.

However, it should be known the majority of these tours include the same things such as:

  • Lunch
  • Hotel Pick Up & Drop Off Around San Ignacio
  • Local Guide
  • Transport In Air Conditioned Van
  • Entry Fee To Tikal

Typically excluded from the price is:

  • Belize Departure Tax ($19.00)
The quiet roads of San Ignacio lined with colorful houses and parked cars, the starting point for travelers heading to Tikal.
walking around the streets of san ignacio in the early evening
Local Belizean breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, fry jacks, and fresh juice, fueling up before a Tikal tour from San Ignacio.
delicious breakfast in san ignacio fueling myself for todays adventures

Tikal Day Trip with Local Lunch from San Ignacio

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | 📍 Pick Up: Included Around San Ignacio | 🔎 Check Availability

No doubt one of the most popular and most booked Tikal day trips from San Ignacio is this one on Viator. With over 210 positive reviews you can book this knowing you will be in good hands!

This was a very long, exhausting, and exciting day. It is kinda a long drive, but most definitely worth it. We had the most amazing tour guide that explained everything very thoroughly so that we all understood everything. It was so hot, but everyone climbed up the high temples till the very end. They even provided us with lunch. A very tasty lunch in my personal opinion. To sum things up, it was a fun, adventurous 14 hours of our day that we will never forget.


With the Tikal Day Trip with Local Lunch from San Ignacio tour you have the option of doing it privately or as part of a group. Of course, the private is a lot more expensive starting at $410.00 per group. In contrast, the shared tour is a lot more affordable starting from $150.00 per person.

From San Ignacio: Tikal Maya Site Day-Trip with Local Lunch

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | 📍 Pick Up: Included Around San Ignacio | 🔎 Check Availability

Travel with Belize Caving Expeditions on their Tikal Maya Day Trip From San Ignacio. This includes all you need for the day except the border departure fee of $19.00.

Enjoy a hassle free experience where you can just live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of the Guatemala jungle and its history.

Fantastic day our. The border crossing was made easy, we were taken to a traditional restaurant in Guatemala for breakfast and lunch, our guide was extremely knowledgeable and friendly, the transport was great, and of course the day at Tikal itself was magical. Would 100% recommend.


The Tikal Maya Site Day Trip with Local Lunch From San Ignacio starts at $230.00 per person, however, the price gets cheaper the more people you are traveling with. For example booking for two people this price drops dramatically to $140.00, making it a better option if you are traveling with others.

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo

Colectivos From San Ignacio To Tikal *CHEAPEST*

Colectivos, or shared vans, from San Ignacio to Tikal offer an economical travel option for visitors. These vehicles typically operate on a schedule and can be a more affordable alternative to private transfers.

Now I have seen other bloggers write about direct shuttles, but this is no longer an option. Instead, if you are on a budget you will need to take multiple colectives in order to get from San Ignacio to Tikal. As a result, I do recommend not doing a day trip if you decide this method and instead at least spend 1 night in Guatemala.

You will need to take a taxi to the border in San Ignacio, however, because it is such a short journey it is pretty cheap. You will commonly find travelers heading in this direction so it shouldn’t be hard to find someone to share a ride with.

Once at the border you will exit Belize and enter Guatemala. Here, on the Guatemalan side, you will have the opportunity to take a colectivo to the following destinations:

To Flores: Travel directly to Flores (a great option if you plan to spend the night in Guatemala) Q40 / $4.90

To Tikal: This will take a couple of shuttle changes, but if you speak a bit of Spanish you will be fine. First, take the Colectivo to El Cruce for Q40 / $4.90, then take another Colectivo to Tikal for Q30 / $3.90.

You can then do the above in reverse when you wish to head back to San Ignacio.

Expansive view of the Guatemalan jungle with a distant temple at Tikal, captured by visitors on a San Ignacio to Tikal day trip.
looking out over the guatemalan jungle

Taxi From San Ignacio To Tikal

You won’t be able to get a direct taxi straight from San Ignacio to Tikal, simply due to the border crossing. However in my experience, this crossing is super straight forward and there are numerous taxi drivers around more than happy to take travelers to their destination, just expect to haggle for a good price.

First off you will need to take a taxi from San Ignacio to the Belize border. This is only a 15 minute drive alongside the river and you will have no issues finding a driver for this leg.

You will then arrive at the border, exit Belize, enter Guatemala, and prepare yourself for a busy adventure. Now you will find plenty of taxi drivers at the Guatemala border more than happy to take you the distance to Tikal.

Typically you will pay around Q350 / $45.00 to Flores and Q650 / $85.00 to Tikal. However, at the border, it will be best to talk to a few drivers to try to get the best price.

You will also have the chance to negotiate with the driver a waiting fee and return price if you wish for them to take you back to the border at the end of your exploration. This is highly recommended as Tikal is quite isolated it can be hard to find a driver to take you back to the border.

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo

Rent A Car To Travel To Tikal From San Ignacio

Renting a car to travel from San Ignacio to Tikal can be a convenient option in theory, however, there are a few complications making this not an entirely ideal option.

Its important to note that the majority of Car Rentals in Belize do not let you take the vehicles into Guatemala. Actually, Crystal Auto Rental in Belize City is one of the few companies that allows their rental vehicles to cross into Guatemala.

However insurance is invalid for this period it is out of the country, so it is quite risky. Honestly, I recommend simply booking a tour or traveling by Colectivo if you prefer a bit more freedom.

Tikal Travel Tips

Now you know exactly how to travel from San Ignacio to Tikal lets get into what other information you may want to know for your visit.

What To Pack For Your Tikal Day Trip From San Ignacio

For your Tikal day trip from San Ignacio, packing effectively is key to enjoying the experience. Here’s a simple list:

  • Comfortable Clothing: Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics and comfortable walking or hiking shoes.
  • Weather Protection: Bring a raincoat or poncho, especially during the rainy season, and don’t forget sunscreen and a hat for sun protection.
  • Food & Drinks: Pack plenty of water to stay hydrated and snacks to keep your energy up.
  • Essential Documents: Carry your passport for border crossing and cash for the Belize exit fee ($19.00).
  • Insect Repellent: Protect yourself from mosquitoes with a good insect repellent.
  • Camera and Binoculars: For capturing the sights and observing wildlife.
  • Personal Health Items: Include any medications you might need and a basic first aid kit.
Tasha Amy standing in front of a towering temple at Tikal, evidence of the majestic Mayan architecture that can be explored on tours from San Ignacio.
impressive views inside tikal
A secluded ancient structure at Tikal enveloped in the jungle ambiance, captured during a serene moment on a tour from San Ignacio.
taking a quiet moment to enjoy the shade on a hot day exploring

Where To Stay In Tikal

If you decide to stay overnight in Guatemala after visiting Tikal, Flores is a charming and convenient option. This picturesque island town is located on Lake Petén Itzá and is well connected to Tikal, making it a popular base for tourists.

Flores offers a range of accommodations from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, many with beautiful lake views. The town is compact and walkable, filled with colorful buildings, local restaurants, and quaint shops, providing a delightful backdrop for exploring the rich culture and history of the region.

shark hostel

Los Amigos

The perfect stay for backpackers. Dorm rooms start from $25.00 per night.

shark hostel

Hotel Peten Express

Enjoy this modern hostel with incredible pool views. Dorms start from $20.00 per night.

shark hostel

Hotel Isla de Flores

A beautiful hotel with incredible rooftop views. Rooms start from $79.00 per night.

382884061 Hotel Casazul

Clean and modern blue-themed hotel. Rooms start from $70.00 per night.


🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo

Other Things To Do Around Tikal

Beyond exploring the magnificent ruins of Tikal, there are several engaging activities and attractions in the surrounding area:

Yaxha National Park: A lesser-known archaeological site that offers a quieter, more intimate experience compared to Tikal. Yaxha boasts impressive temples and beautiful views over the adjacent lake.

Canopy Tours: Experience the lush Guatemalan rainforest from above with a thrilling zip-lining adventure.

Lake Petén Itzá: Enjoy water activities such as kayaking, swimming, or a leisurely boat tour around this scenic lake.

Wildlife Watching: The region is a hotspot for biodiversity; guided nature walks are available to spot exotic birds, monkeys, and other wildlife.

Visit Local Communities: Engage with local culture by visiting nearby villages where you can learn about traditional crafts and lifestyles.

Jorges Rope Swing: This popular local spot offers a unique way to cool off with a refreshing swim. Visitors can enjoy the thrill of swinging from a rope and jumping into the lake.

FAQs About Traveling San Ignacio To Tikal

Can you drive from San Ignacio to Tikal?

Yes, you can drive from San Ignacio to Tikal. The route involves a border crossing from Belize into Guatemala, and the total travel time is typically about 2 to 3 hours. However, if you are renting a car most agencies won’t allow you to enter Guatemala.

How much is the tour of Tikal from San Ignacio?

The cost of a tour from San Ignacio to Tikal typically ranges from about $150.00 per person. This generally includes transportation, a guide, entrance fees, and meals.

Can you visit Tikal from Belize?

Yes, you can visit Tikal from Belize. Many tourists travel from places like San Ignacio in Belize to Tikal, Guatemala, for day trips or longer stays. The journey typically involves a few hours of travel, including a border crossing, with various transportation options available such as tours, private shuttles, or self-driving.

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize & Guatemala: GuateGo

Wrap Up: All You Need To Know About Visiting Tikal From San Ignacio

Overall, deciding between joining a tour or organizing your own transport from San Ignacio to Tikal depends heavily on your personal travel preferences, budget, and appetite for adventure.

Tours offer the ease and comprehensive nature of a packaged experience, making them ideal for those who prioritize convenience and detailed historical insights. On the other hand, arranging your own transport gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and potentially save money.

Whatever option you choose, a trip to Tikal from San Ignacio is sure to be a memorable adventure, rich with cultural heritage and natural beauty.

Any Questions? Let Me Know In The Comments!


Let's embark on an adventure, exploring the route and transport options, so you can create unforgettable memories in the heart of the jungle, whether you decide to book a Tikal day trip from San Ignacio or travel San Ignacio to Tikal all on your own.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

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