The Mayan civilisation flourished in parts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, leaving behind well-preserved ruins and immense pyramids that allow expert guides to paint vivid pictures of life in ancient times.

The most renowned Mayan archaeological site in Central America is Chichén Itzá on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, an ancient city built around the immense El Castillo pyramid and other important structures, such as the Temple of the Warriors, the Caracol staircase and the observatory. Nearby is one of the areas most beautiful undergound cenotes, a collapsed limestone cave that was once a sacred source of water and route to the underworld in Mayan times. Today visitors can bathe in the crystal-clear water of many of these sinkholes. 

Close-by is the noted former Mayan town of Uxmal, ensconced in deep jungle. The ruins show a very different architectural style to its more famous counterpart, this time built it the distinctive Puuc style. They are amongst the most impressive remains and clearly demonstrate the importance of astronomy and social divides in the Mayan society.

One of the most eye-catching sites on the peninsula is the former seaport of Tulum, where the remains overlook a beautiful white sand beach on the Caribbean coast. There are many other lesser-visited and off-the-beaten-track ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula, these include Chicanná, Becán and Calakmul which can be visited together from the colonial city of Campeche. In the neighbouring state of Chiapas is Palenque, where you can appreciate both the scale and intricate detail of Mayan architecture.

Guatemala's biggest and best Mayan site is the 4th century citadel Tikal. Visits here allow you to admire and scale the soaring pyramids which poke-out above the dense jungle canopy and marvel at some of the most impressive structures on the continent. The site is also home to an abundance of birds and small mammals. The country's other noted Mayan remains include Aguateca and El Ceibal, located close together slightly south of Tikal and Quirigua, close to the border with Honduras. Just over said border is Copán, once one of the most important Mayan centres. It can be visited on a full day excursion from Guatemala.

The best Mayan ruins in Belize are found in the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve. There are also some interesting Mayan remains in the Chaa Creek region, including ancient Mayan ceremonial caves and the nearby sites at Xunantunich, Cahal Pech and El Pilar.

See below for more on each destination and for a selection of tours that will take you to the best Mayan ruins in Central America.

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The Tenango Tour - Tikal - Holidays to Guatemala

Guatemala

Tenango Tour

12 Nights from £3,552 €3,362 $3,617

Dotted with fabulous archaeological sites and picturesque colonial towns, we browse through the colourful markets and scale the magnificent, soaring pyrami…

The Tenango Tour
Tours in Guatemala

12 Nights from £3,552 €3,362 $3,617

Full Itinerary Contact Specialist

Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Flight to Guatemala City. Transfer to Antigua.

    Day 2 - Tour of Antigua and travel to Lake Atitlan

  2. Day 3 - Boat trip to Santiago Atitlan. Transfer to Chichicastenango

    Day 4 - Sunday market. Return to Antigua

  3. Day 5 - Day at leisure in Antigua

  4. Day 6 - Visit the Mayan site Quiriguá and Copán ruins in the jungle

  5. Day 7 - Return to Guatemala City

  6. Day 8 - Visit El Ceibal

    Day 9 - Archaeological site of Aguateca

    Day 10 - Explore pyramids and admire the wildlife at Tikal

  7. Day 11 - Return to Antigua

    Day 12 - Day at leisure in Antigua

    Day 13 - Guatemala City and flight home

The Tikal Tour - Holidays to Group Tours

Group Tours

Tikal Tour

14 Nights from £3,188 €2,925 $3,144

The Mayan Civilisation self-destructed before the arrival of the Conquistadores. Today, we visit their legacy, massive pyramids and jungle strongholds, col…

The Tikal Tour
Tours in Group Tours

14 Nights from £3,188 €2,925 $3,144

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Antigua

    Day 2 - City tour Antigua

  2. Day 3 - Chichicastenango

  3. Day 4 - Santo Tomas church & travel to Lake Atitlan

    Day 5 - Full day excursion across Lake Atitlan

  4. Day 6 - Shore of Lake Atitlan & travel to Antigua

    Day 7 - Excursion to weaver village

  5. Day 8 - Guatemala City tour

  6. Day 9 - Transfer to Tikal

    Day 10 - Tour of Tikal

  7. Day 11 - Travel to San Ignacio, Belize

    Day 12 - Mountain Pine Ridge

  8. Day 13 - Orange Walk district

    Day 14 - Lamanai ruins

    Day 15 - Departure from Belize City

The Senderos Tour - Holidays to Group Tours

Group Tours

Senderos Tour

15 Nights from £2,483 €2,079 $2,227

Journey overland to admire the myriad of landscapes and cultures along the route. Peeling back layers to discover ancient Mayan and Aztec pyramids, combine…

The Senderos Tour
Tours in Group Tours

15 Nights from £2,483 €2,079 $2,227

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Flight to Mexico City

    Day 2 - Mexico City at leisure

    Day 3 - City Tour of Mexico City

    Day 4 - Pyramids of Teotihuacan & Guadalupe

  2. Day 5 - Puebla & Travel to Oaxaca

    Day 6 - Oaxaca tour & ruins of Monte Alban

    Day 7 - Site of Mitla and Teotlitan & Tule villages

  3. Day 9 - Sumidero Canyon Boat Trip

    Day 10 - City tour San Cristobal

  4. Day 11 - Misol-Ha & travel to Palenque

    Day 12 - Visit Palenque archaeological site

  5. Day 13 - Visit Uxmal ruins & travel to Merida

  6. Day 14 - Explore Chichén Itzá

    Day 15 - Playa del Carmen at leisure

    Day 16 - Return flight

    Day 17 - Arrive home

The Zapotec Tour - Holidays to Landmark Tours, Multi-Country Itineraries

Landmark Tours, Multi-Country Itineraries

Zapotec Tour

21 Nights from £4,384 €4,360 $4,699

Mighty Aztec and Mayan civilisations built sprawling cities with fabulous pyramids. Visit the markets, admire the weaving, witness the colonial influences …

The Zapotec Tour
Tours in Landmark Tours, Multi-Country Itineraries

21 Nights from £4,384 €4,360 $4,699

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Flight to Mexico City

    Day 2 - Visit Archaeological Museum and Teotihuacan

    Day 3 - Day at leisure in Mexico 

  2. Day 4 - Fly to Oaxaca

    Day 5 - Visit Zapotec archaeological sites

  3. Day 6 - Fly to Merida 

    Day 7 - Day at leisure in Merida

    Day 8 - Visit Uxmal

    Day 9 - Depart for Chichén Itzá

  4. Day 10 - Visit Chichen Itza and Playa del Carmen

    Day 11 - Explore Tulum. Return via Xel-Ha Laguna 

  5. Day 12 - Transport to Belize continue to Lamanai Lodge

    Day 13-14 - Visit Mayan Ruins and explore the forest 

  6. Day 15 - Tranfer to Belize Airport and flight to Flores, Guatemala

    Day 16 - Tikal Mayan ruins

    Day 17 - At leisure in Tikal, fly to Guetemala city

  7. Day 18 - Sunday Market

  8. Day 19 - Santiago Atitlán

  9. Days 20 - 21- Antigua

The Palapa Tour - Tulum - Holidays to Mexico

Mexico

Palapa Tour

10 Nights from £1,562 €974 $1,030

Explore the Aztec remnants of the past, stepping back in time at Calakmul for the pyramids of mighty civilisations, small villages, the walled city of Camp…

The Palapa Tour
Tours in Mexico

10 Nights from £1,562 €974 $1,030

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1 - Departure from UK

    Day 2 - Tulum

  2. Day 3 - Kohunlich

    Day 4 - Chicanná & Calakmul

  3. Day 5 - Campeche

    Day 6 - Edzná

    Day 7 - Labná, Kabah and Uxmal

  4. Day 8 - Oxkutzcab

    Day 9 - Merida

  5. Day 10 - Chichén Itzá

    Day 11 - Depart to UK

The Ninos Mayas Tour - Holidays to Mexico

Mexico

Ninos Mayas Tour

13 Nights from £2,429 €2,014 $2,157

Experience the achievements of the ancient civilisation of the Mayas who built fortress cities with huge pyramids and were pioneers in the observation of t…

The Ninos Mayas Tour
Tours in Mexico

13 Nights from £2,429 €2,014 $2,157

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Itinerary Summary

  1. Day 1-2 - Cancun

    Day 3-4 - Chichen Itza

  2. Day 5-6 - Uxmal

  3. Days 7-9 - Merida

  4. Day 10-15 - Beach Resort

    Day 16 - Return home