The Mayan route
Powerful civilisations flourished for centuries before they mysteriously weakened and abandoned their cities to the encroaching jungle. On this tour we have the opportunity to visit Mayan archeological sites, admire the traditional weavings and observe the culture of their descendants.
Day by Day Summary
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Days 1 - 2
Depart Monday on the daytime flight to Mexico City. Overnight there. Morning flight to Villahermosa and by road to Palenque for 1 night. After lunch, visit Agua Azul, a rainforest region of lush trees overhanging beautiful warm waterfalls, crashing into clear pools. (B)
Days 3 - 4
Early morning at Palenque ruins set at the edge of the Sierra de Chiapas rainforest. A superb site comprising ornate carvings that provide many insights into the Mayan culture. Afternoon flight to Mérida for 2 nights. The main plaza is bordered by graceful buildings and trees, gleaming white patios blending colonial and Mayan designs. On Day 4 we take a full day tour to Uxmal, a fine example of the ornate Puuc style. Perfectly restored, it shows intricate building decorations in lattice work and mosaics. (B)
Days 5 - 6
Morning journey to the archeological site of Chichén Itzá. Witness the technical skill and knowledge of the Mayas at this mighty, austere site which encompasses several pyramids and buildings spread over a large area. The tallest pyramid was a cosmological observatory, its 365 steps representing the solar year. The following day continue to Cancún for 1 night. (B)
Days 7 - 8
Flight to Tikal where we stay 2 nights. With an expert guide we visit the mysterious pyramids and temples, some still entangled in vines and creepers. The peaks of the temples rise out of the jungle offering a truly magical image (B)
Continue on to the ruins of Ceibal, hardly excavated and hidden deep in the forest. Continue to Sayaxche and then by canoe to our basic jungle lodge overlooking a tranquil lagoon for 1 night. The rooms are simple with private facilities. (B,L,D)
Days 10 - 12
Morning walk in the forest at the unique site of Aguateca where the ancient builders of a retreating empire used a deep ravine to protect one of their last strongholds. Return to Flores for a flight to Guatemala City and transfer to Antigua for 3 nights. Antigua has cobbled streets and Spanish colonial architecture, with delightful interior courtyards restored to their original splendour and now used as hotels, restaurants and shops. A wonderful city, full of character in which to relax, walk and experience the colonial heritage. (B,L)
You have a private guide, driver and transport for three full days and 2 nights, staying first at a colonial hotel in Chichicastenango to visit the colourful open-air Indian market, and church with its delightful blend of Catholic and pagan religions. Continue to the shores of Lake Atitlán and stay one night at our beautiful lakeshore hotel, set amidst lush gardens and stunning lake scenery. We take a boat trip across the lake to Santiago Atitlán at the foot of three towering volcanoes to visit an Indian community trying to maintain its traditions and customs. (B)
Days 14 - 15
Continue to the shores of Lake Atitlán and stay one night at our beautiful lakeshore hotel, set amidst lush gardens and stunning lake scenery. We take a boat trip across the lake to Santiago Atitlán at the foot of three towering volcanoes to visit an Indian community trying to maintain its traditions and customs. (B)
Visit the market at Solola, a small picturesque village overlooking the lake and return to Antigua for 1 night.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, arriving on Day 17 (Wednesday). (B)