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LA RUTA MAYA

15 days departing ANTIGUA Oct-Mar from £1969

Central America | Hotels

Search the vibrant lands of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize for the remnants of a once powerful civilization, the Maya! With stops at important Mayan sites such as Palenque, Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Tikal and Xunantunich, you'll learn the region's history while seeing its legacy in colourful San Cristobal de las Casas and colonial Antigua. From ancient pyramids set deep in their steamy jungle lair, to the depths of the warm Caribbean Sea - explore and discover the rhythm of life, both past and present, as we travel through these vibrant lands.

Prices are land only, let us know if you require a flight inclusive quote.

Price of tour vary depending on date of departure.

If you require further information please fill in the Query form below, also detailing the dates you would like to depart.

Trip Departure Time

As this tour departs at 0800 on day 2 we recommend that you book pre-tour accommodation. Please request hotel details at the time of booking.

Day 1: Antigua, Guatemala

Guatemala's Antigua has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and as such you'll find a wealth of colonial architecture, particularly incorporating the style of Spanish Baroque. Places of worship are prevalent throughout the city and some of the most notable ruins include the Cathedral of San Jose, La Merced Church, San Francisco Church and the Santo Domingo Monastery. Another spiritual pastime of Antigua is the noble art of chocolate making and if you want to find out more and maybe compare the local version to your favourite brand back home then the Chocolate Museum & Workshop is well-worth a visit. Explore the cobbled streets and bustling markets of Guatemala's most visited destination, Antigua. There is so much going on in this former capital city you won't know where to begin, discover the cities vibrant plazas and markets, or simply relax with the locals in the Central Park. Then in the evening it is time for the welcome meeting and a chance to meet your fellow travellers. Accommodation: Hotel included I Meals payable locally

 

Day 2: Panajachel, Guatemala

There's plenty of time after breakfast to see many of the hidden treasures of Antigua on a guided walking tour and some of the views of both Agua and Fuego volcanoes are definitely worth an early start. Depart late morning for magical Chichicastenango, where centuries-old economic and cultural traditions of the Kaqchikel people continue to thrive. Here you will see peoples of Guatemala in their distinctive traditional dress where the sacred book of the Maya was once enshrined. Visit the local market (Sundays and Thursdays) which is one of Guatemala's largest. After visiting this major indigenous centre, head for the volcanic Lake Atitlan and the small town of Panajachel. This evening promises some pretty breath-taking views too and as you enjoy a nightcap or two as the sun sets over the lake your thoughts will soon turn to exploring ever-deeper into the world of the Mayans. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 3: Panajachel, Guatemala

Panajachel is situated in the Western Highlands of Guatemala and is nestled on the shore of Lake Atitlan, which is often referred to as `the most beautiful lake in the world. Today will start with a beautiful scenic boat ride across the lake whereupon you'll disembark at the creative village of San Juan La Laguna which is well-known for its hand-woven textiles and artists' studios. Your journey continues by boat as you depart the shores of San Juan and head for San Antonio where you'll find out more about the traditions, beliefs and rituals that have been passed down from one generation of Mayan to the next. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 4-5: San Cristobal, Mexico

Today you will cross the border into Mexico and the café-filled plazas and colonial churches of San Cristobal. San Cristobal is one of Mexico's best-preserved Spanish colonial towns and is made up of a series of traditional neighbourhoods, each of which is known for a particular trade or custom, such as iron working, carpentry and woodcarving. Aside from the colonial grandeur of San Cristobal this is also an important meeting place for Tzotzil Indians and you'll find a variety of traditional costumes being worn, especially around the large handicraft and food market. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 6: Palenque, Mexico

Traverse the winding roads down through the highlands, forests and waterfalls as you head for the Mayan ruins of Palenque. The Palenque ruins were discovered in the 18th century and it is great place to gain a better understanding of Mexico's hidden archaeological treasures. Break your journey at the Agua Azul Falls, a glittering series of cataracts which often appear blue due to the high mineral content. In Spanish the name of the falls means 'Blue Water'. In the afternoon, an optional trip to El Panchán provides a laid-back chance to get to know your travelling companions. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 7: Palenque & Campeche, Mexico

Unearth the creeper-covered pyramids and temples of Palenque, one of the most famous in Mexico and is located in the low hills of Chiapas. The pyramids, sanctuaries and temples, with their sculptured wall-panels and roofs are remarkably well preserved and are probably the finest surviving examples of Mayan buildings. Then it's on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the protected fortifications of Campeche. Campeche boasts incredibly well preserved colonial architecture. Most impressive are the city walls, built to protect the city from the constant attacks of English and Dutch buccaneers and pirates during the 16th and 17th centuries. We head straight to the Parador Gastronomico de Cocteleros, just north of town, to sample the freshest seafood as the sun sets on the Bay of Campeche. Far from the tourist track the people of Campeche are likely to give you an extremely warm welcome and you most certainly enjoy strolling the cobbled streets and admiring the perfectly restored pastel buildings. Visit Museo de la Arquitectura Maya a museum situated on the outskirts of the city housing some world class archaeological pieces. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 8: Uxmal ruins & Merida, Mexico

From Campeche we travel to the fascinating Mayan ruins of Uxmal. Uxmal dates back to the late classic period, having been built by the Xiu tribe. The site is dominated by the Pyramid of the Magician and the Nunnery Quadrangle which consists of long buildings with elaborately carved façades. There are remnants of a ball court used in ritual games that sometimes ended in sacrifice, and the whole site is quite exposed, which is a real contrast to the ruins of Palenque. From Uxmal we make our way to the bustling colonial city of Mérida, the capital and largest city in Yucatan State and the cultural and financial capital of the region. Many of its buildings were constructed using stones from the Mayan city which existed on the site and these are still visible in the walls of the imposing cathedral and other important buildings. The city flourished following the conquest and the 19th century homes designed in French style, contribute to the attractive appearance of the historical centre. You arrive in the middle of the afternoon and will enjoy a walking tour of the city; the main square is particularly impressive when lit up at night. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 9: Tulum , Mexico

Spend the morning exploring one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centres at Chichén Itza, located approximately 2 hours from Mérida. The impressive El Castillo Pyramid sits in the middle of the site and is surrounded by temples, palaces and ball courts. The nearby Cenote Sagrado ('Sacred Well') was dredged in the early 20th century and found to contain precious gold, silver and jade artefacts as well as the remains of sacrifice victims. After the tour you will stop in the `Pueblo Magico' of Valladolid to explore the mix of Mayan and colonial Spanish culture on the Yucatan before arriving in the fantastic beach community of Tulum. Just outside the town lies one of the most photographed sites in the Yucatan; the ruins of an ancient Mayan city that directly overlook the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Arrive this evening one of Mexico's greatest beaches. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 10: Tulum , Mexico

Take a short tour of the ancient Mayan fortress of Tulum followed by an optional visit to the sacred underground Mayan waters to cool off in a nearby cenote (one of the unique opportunities within Mexico). The most famous buildings in the complex are the ruins that overlook the lapping waves of the Caribbean, but there are also several temples, ritual platforms and houses to be explored. In common with many other Mayan cities, the whole site is surrounded by a huge defensive wall. In the afternoon you will return to the fabulous Tulum beach for the afternoon of relaxation and the option of world-class wood-fired cuisine, among other magnificent offerings. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 11: Caye Caulker, Belize

This morning we embark for Caye Caluker in Belize. This laid-back Caribbean Island is just west of the Belize Barrier Reef and offers fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities.' Measuring about 5 miles by less than 1 mile, this tiny island still retains that small village vibe despite being a popular destination with tourists. The tiny village of Caye Caulker has only three sandy main streets but they are full of bars and restaurants, many of which serve excellent fresh seafood. Here you'll quickly discover the laid back life of Belize and you'll be able take your pick of the optional outdoor activities, whilst relaxing into island life, and in no time you'll understand the meaning of Belize's motto: 'no shirt, no shoes, no problem! Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 12: Caye Caulker, Belize

Today is a free day for optional excursions and activities, or simply for relaxation. Diving, snorkelling, sea kayaking and fishing can all be arranged locally. As the island is small, it is very easy to complete a circuit on foot. As well as the marine activities there is also a forest reserve in the northern part of the island which offers great bird watching in the mangroves. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 13: El Remate, Guatemala

Sun-kissed and happy, you leave Caye Caulker by boat bound for Belize City and then drive from the coast into the heavily-forested and sparsely-populated Maya Mountains encountering some spectacular scenery en route. Have lunch at Ko-Ox Han-nah and visit the Mayan temples and palaces of Xunantunich. Located on a ridge close to the border with Guatemala, the site has some fine stucco facades as well as several elaborately carved stelae and an impressive 40 metre high pyramid. Cross the border this afternoon and descend into the eastern lowlands of Guatemala. This evening's group meal in el Remate takes place in a typically Mayan garden and promises to be an alfresco dining experience to really savour. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast and dinner included

 

Day 14: Tikal & Guatemala City

You make an early start this morning to reach Tikal, the most famous and probably the most impressive of all Mayan sites. Here, in the middle of the jungle are nearly 20 square miles of classic Mayan ruins, surrounded by the dense jungles of Peten. Take a tour of the city, visiting the Q complex, Main Plaza, North and Central Acropolis, Seven Temples and Mundo Perdido (Lost World). Tikal is a superb area for observing wildlife in the jungle environment and visitors regularly see Howler monkeys, Spider monkeys, toucan, Weaver birds, coatimundi and even tarantula. In the afternoon, we return to Flores and take a short flight to Guatemala City, where we spend our final night. Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

 

Day 15: Guatemala City

Today your tour finishes after breakfast. You are free to depart at any time before check out however, should you wish to extend your stay please reserve more accommodation at the time of booking. Meals: Breakfast included

 Included Highlights

Explore the highlights of the Mayan world

Guided visits of Mayan sites of Palenque, Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Tulum, Tikal and Xunantunich

Colourful colonial cities of Antigua, San Cristobal de las Casas, Campeche and Merida

Traditional Indian communities in the Mexican highlands

Two nights at beautiful Lake Atitlan

Guided tour of Antigua and Merida

Scenic boat trips at Lake Atitlan and Caye Caulker

Visit local markets and a textile cooperative

Visit to the functioning church in Chamula

Idyllic Caribbean swimming and relaxing

Excellent barrier reef snorkelling and diving opportunities

Internal flight from Flores to Guatemala City

 

Tour Facts & Features

Accommodation:  14 hotel nights in twin share with en suite bathrooms. For your own room request our optional Solo Sleeper (see Dates & Prices tab).

Transport:  All transportation in private vehicles plus internal flight from Flores to Guatemala City

Meals:  14 breakfasts & 1 dinner included

Guided:  Services of a professional bilingual tour leader

Group size:  Maximum 15

Age range:  18+

Optional Activities (paid locally)

Optional Activities (paid locally)

Snorkelling, Caye Caulker from US$25

Sea kayaking, Caye Caulker US$25 per hour

Manatee and snorkelling day trip US$60

Scuba Diving US$55 (single tank) or US$80 (two tanks)

A 10% deposit per person is required to book

Full payment is due 8 weeks before the tour departure

Optional Solo Sleeper

There are no forced supplements for single travellers. Accommodation is based on twin-share, so if you're travelling on your own, you'll share with a fellow passenger of the same sex. However, if you would prefer your own space our Solo Sleeper Option can be requested from £430 per person. This will guarantee you your own room for every night of the tour. The number of single rooms we can offer is limited, so it's best to book early. Simply select the "Solo Sleepers" check box on the booking form or request over the phone.

Travel Insurance

 

Before you join your Grand American Adventures tour you MUST be covered by insurance that includes adequate coverage for baggage, medical expenses and the cost of repatriation.

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