Mexican scarves

Beyond the Mayan World

15 days
from
$3,025 USD
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Traveller ratings
4.3 / 5 from 16 reviews >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
AUE
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–15

Explore the lost civilisations of Central America

More than 3000 years of history and ancient civilisations make this region a cultural mecca. We visit the diverse pyramids, temples and relics of the Aztec, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec and Toltec cultures. We visit the lost archaeological ruins of Bonampak where Howler monkeys hide in the jungle canopy. In Oaxaca, we explore the vibrant markets soaking up the aromas and sampling regional delicacies.

Highlights

  • Explore the history and culture of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras
  • Guided visits to the archaeological sites of Monte Alban, Palenque, Tikal and Copan
  • Diverse pre-Columbian pyramids, temples and relics
  • World renowned cuisine of Oaxaca

Key information

  • 14 nights in a mixture of standard and comfortable hotels with en suite facilities
  • Travel by private minibus and boat
  • Several long drives

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Mexico City.

    The group flight arrives in the early evening and we transfer to our start hotel. Those on Land Only arrangements should join us at the hotel in the evening.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Morning visit Teotihuacan, afternoon city tour.

    After a group briefing, there is an excursion to the holy city of Teotihuacan, one of the oldest known archaeological sites in Mexico, thought to have had 25,000 inhabitants in its time. The Teotihuacan Pyramids are located 50 km north-east of Mexico City, and are known for two massive pyramids, the Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) and the Pirámide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon), which dominate the remains of the metropolis. We can climb up a very steep staircase to the summit for an incredible, sweeping view of the ancient city.

    In the afternoon we set off for a walking tour of the historical centre of Mexico City. We will visit the largest Cathedral in Latin America and the archaeological site of Templo Mayor (where the main pyramid of the former Tenochtitlan stood - please note, entrance to this last site is not included but we will see it from the outside).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    To Oaxaca via Cholula and Puebla.

    After breakfast we depart towards Oaxaca, stopping our journey after around 2 hours at the Great Pyramid of Cholula. By volume, this is the largest pyramid in the world, influenced by the Olmec, Toltec and Aztec cultures. The pyramid was covered in grass when the Spanish conquered Cholula and they built a large church on top of it - one theory about this is that they mistook the pyramid for a hill! Archaeologists have found some 8km of tunnels inside the structure - we will spend some time at this famous site to understand the history surrounding it. Our second stop will be in nearby Puebla, where we will walk around the colonial centre and see the many religious structures that it is famous for. This afternoon our journey continues for around 4.5 hours to Oaxaca City where we check into our hotel for the night, located in a central position just a few blocks from the main square.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Discover Monte Alban; Oaxaca market tour.

    This morning we visit the incredible pre-Columbian ruins of Monte Alban, sitting 400 metres up on the side of a mountain overlooking the fertile valley of Oaxaca. It is thought that the Zapotecs (also known as the 'Cloud People') began levelling the top of the mountain around 500 BC in order to build Monte Alban, a place of divine worship where rituals, sacrifices, ball games and astrological observations took place. A 30 minute drive takes us back to Oaxaca where we will spend the afternoon exploring the plazas and colourful food markets. Oaxacan cuisine is famous for its oversized tortillas, quesillo (a type of cheese in long strips wound into a ball) and of course the world-renowned mole sauce - a blend of chocolate, garlic, nuts, chilli and onions that has tantalised the nation! Mole negro chocolate sauce is the perfect accompaniment to shredded chicken heaped on a freshly cooked tortilla.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Visit Teotitlan del Valle and Mitla; to Tehuantepec.

    We have a short drive (approximately 40 mins) to Teotitlan del Valle ('Place of the Gods'), a Zapotec community that make traditional weavings in a myriad of colours. The textiles and pottery produced by the Zapotec people follow ancient traditions and have remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years - we will learn about the weaving process and see this traditional craft in action. Our journey then continues to the archaeological site of Mitla, impressive ruins surrounded by a town of the same name that was recently classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The intricately carved stone mosaic patterns found throughout the site are unique to the area. We spend some time exploring Mitla, crowned as one of the architectural wonders of Mexico, before continuing our journey for around 4.5 hours to Tehuantepec.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    To San Cristobal de las Casas.

    We drive for approximately 6 hours to San Cristobal de las Casas, considered to be the cultural capital of the state. We will have a city tour of the cobbled streets this afternoon, before checking into our centrally located hotel, within a short walking distance of the central plaza.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Free day.

    Today is a free day to explore San Cristobal de las Casas at your leisure. Undoubtedly one of the most interesting colonial towns on the itinerary with many old churches and squares amongst a lively café scene. It is also a major centre for the Tzotzil Indians, each group having different, colourful costumes. The extensive market has some good handicrafts for sale and plenty of interesting foodstuffs on offer! Alternatively, it's possible to take an optional boat trip through the Sumidero Canyon, or visit a traditional Mayan community in one of the villages outside San Cristobal.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Palenque via Tonina and Agua Azul falls.

    We set off for Palenque today, stopping our journey after around 2.5 hours at the archaeological site of Tonina which is less well known than some of Mexico's other sites and as a consequence tends to have relatively few visitors. Tonina is an impressive site with two ball courts, one that is sunken and, at 60 metres long, one of the Mayan world's largest and another that has an altar where it is thought that sacrifices took place. A 3.5 hour drive this afternoon brings us to Palenque where we check into our hotel for the night - on the way we stop at the Agua Azul waterfalls, a beauty spot where it's possible to take a refreshing dip. Please note that on the rare occasions where we are unable to visit Agua Azul Falls, we will endeavour to visit the Misol Ha waterfalls instead.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Discover Palenque; optional excursion to Misol Ha waterfall.

    This morning we have a guided tour of the impressive Mayan site of Palenque. The jungle-covered complex is 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. This afternoon it's possible to continue exploring Palenque at your leisure, or take an optional excursion to Misol Ha waterfall, a cascading stream pouring 120 feet into a deep pool of water below. Surrounded by lush vegetation, Misol Ha is perfect for a relaxing afternoon!
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Visit Bonampak; crossing to Guatemala; to El Remate.

    We have an early departure today to visit Bonampak, some 'lost' ruins that are surrounded by jungle. Bonampak means 'painted walls' and is famous for its astonishing frescos in side the modest looking Templo de las Pinturas. After visiting the ruins, we cross the border into Guatemala where our journey continues with a 4.5 hour drive (at times on a dirt road) to the small village of El Remate, close to tomorrow's attraction: Tikal.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Explore Tikal ruins.

    Tikal is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular of all Mayan sites, surrounded by rainforest and with pyramids rising above the tree tops. We spend the morning here, in the middle of the jungle, exploring nearly 20 square miles of classic Mayan ruins. We 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 (if you know where to look and wish to find one!). In the afternoon there will be free time to relax by Lake Peten Itza.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    To Copan in Honduras.

    Today is primarily a long travel day of around 11 hours which also involves a border crossing to get to Copan in Honduras. We break our journey near Rio Dulce for lunch (not included) and to visit the former Spanish fort of Castillo de San Felipe de Lara.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Visit Copan ruins.

    Nestled in the Rio Copan Valley, the ancient city of Copan was once a major Mayan capital, the most southerly site of the Mayan empire. Copan is renowned for its striking carvings and architecture and has a huge number of sculptures making this one of the most artistic of all sites. The jungle surrounding Copan is a haven for birds and wildlife and we will also spend some time exploring the eco-park before we return to the quaint town of Copan Ruinas.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    To Antigua.

    We make our way to Antigua after breakfast this morning, crossing the border back into Guatemala. The drive should take around 6 hours giving us a free afternoon in Antigua to explore the cobbled streets and numerous churches. Beyond the tiled roofs there are stunning views of the Agua and Fuego Volcanoes - it is not hard to see why Antigua is regarded as one of the most attractive cities in Latin America.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Antigua.

    Our trip ends today in Antigua, but clients on group flights will return to Guatemala City airport in order to catch the flight home. Land Only clients are free to make onward arrangements from Antigua or can return to Guatemala City airport with the group transfer, providing that there is room.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Guatemala

Holders of British, Australian, New Zealand, US, Canadian and most EU passports do not require visas for Guatemala.

Honduras

British nationals can get a 30-day tourist visa on arrival, which may be extended by 30 days on two further occasions (to a maximum of 90 days in total) if you apply to an Immigration Office. There is no fee payable for the initial arrival visa, nor for the extensions. The same process applies to holders of Australian, US, Canadian and most EU passports.

Mexico

Holders of British, Australian, New Zealand, US, Canadian and most EU passports do not require visas for Mexico.
However, please note that if flying via the USA, you will have to clear immigration during transit. In this case, you will be required to get an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) prior to flying if travelling via the USA under the Visa Waiver Scheme (as is the case for most UK citizens). Please see www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information.

Vaccinations

Guatemala

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Mexico

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being witten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a .

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts included. Breakfast generally consist of fruits, cereals, beans and eggs. Meals vary in price from around $15-20 USD for lunch and $15-30 USD dinner. A beer costs on average $2-5 USD.

Weather

On the coast and in the lowland areas there is little variation in temperatures between the seasons. These are likely to be 28ºC to 33ºC average daytime maximum and 18ºC to 23ºC night time minimum. On the coast the heat and humidity are moderated by sea breezes, but inland it is likely to be quite humid. The wet season is from June to October, when it normally rains on average one day in three. The rains tend to be short and heavy, alternating with pleasant clear spells. During the other months rain is much less likely, but there is the chance of an occasional storm at almost any time. In the hills the temperatures are moderated by the altitude, and there is more seasonal variation. Between November and February the daytime maximum is around 20ºC, rising to 27ºC in summer. Nights are much cooler, around 6ºC in winter and 12ºC in summer. Note that it can be surprisingly cold in the highlands on winter nights. The pattern of rainfall is similar to the lowlands.

Flores

Flores

Is this trip for you?

You should be prepared for some long drives, sometimes across bumpy roads. Border crossings can sometimes be delayed with significant queues and formalities. Being in the tropics, most of the region is hot and humid, particularly during the summer months and inland - drinking plenty of water and dressing in loose cotton clothing will help.

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We will stay in a variety of colonial and modern properties, all with en suite facilities. Some of the accommodation highlights will include: a charming restored XVI century convent in Oaxaca, a Spanish colonial residence in the heart of San Cristobal de las Casas, a property 2km from Palenque surrounded by forest, family owned guesthouse on the lakeshore of Peten Itza. Some of the hotels have pools and most have wifi/internet.

Single supplements are available upon request.

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed October 2016
    William Godfrey

    Wonderful Trip, every day was amazing

    The trip was great from the first day until the last, It was like traveling with a family more than anything else. We were well taken care of with recommendations for what to do with spare time, restaurants, rest stops, we were all on this adventure together.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is hard to say but we visited a small Mayan site on the trip to Guatemala that was on an island in the river that bordered with Mexico, we were there with only a handful of other tourists and because of this were able to spot monkeys and other animals on our walk through the site that would normally be scared away by the crowds. The site was great because you felt that you were seeing a unique site in a remote setting like it was when it was first discovered.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eduardo (Lalo) was probably the best tour leader I have had contact with in my many years traveling, he was completely attentive, made sure the bus rides were broken up with rest stops for bathrooms and snacks, if he didn't know something he would find out and let us know, if we wanted more information about something he would make sure he got that information to us. When things went wrong he made decisions and kept the trip moving. He is a great tour leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When you get to the southern part of Mexico it will be Hot Humid and Buggy, be prepared, but the hotels are all great (except one was ok) they all have wifi and AC, have fun and go with whatever happens.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were all of course concerned with the water and every Hotel had a sign warning you not to drink the water. The bus driver in Mexico had arranged a 5 Gallon water cooler jug of water in the bus with a pump on top so we always had good water to drink every day, no hunting for bottled water each morning, Lalo called the driver in Guatemala and had him buy the same setup so our bus there had it as well. This should be standard on EVERY bus tour that is run, very simple and cheep and we could fill our bottles without having to buy disposable bottles at every stop.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Rachel Spokes

    Beyond the Mayan World

    A great range of sites and activities. The hotels were all good and several were characterful and attractive. The food exceeded expectations, particularly in Guatemala. The whole experieice was made even better by the group we were with who were all great company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many great moments it's hard to pick out the highlights but the pyramids at Tikal, in the jungle, complete with a family of spider monkeys, and the scarlet macaws flying around the Mayan remains at Copan will live long in the memory. The optional boat trip up the canyon, with close-up sitghtings of several crocodile as well as numerous birds was also a highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Eduardo, was knowledgable, very helpful and extremely concientious. His obvious sincere concern for everybody's wellbeing and enjoyment of the trip helped to make it particulary special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some early starts, long drives and heat and humidity at jungle sites.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We flew out on a direct filght with British Airways and back via Mardid with Iberia rather than using the group flights - Exodus were happy to book these alternate flights fo us. This avoided a stopover in Houston and gave us an extra half day in Antigua at the end. It's worth flying out a day early if you can so you can visit the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Anne Wilcox

    Beyond the Mayan World

    This was a fabulous holiday and very well organised. Our accommodation was excellent and in a couple of places, quite outstanding being set in old colonial buildings. Breakfasts differed from place to place but included eggs, cereal and bread and coffee. Requests for something different could usually be accommodated. The restaurants our guide recommended varied from international to typical of the country and were all good and we did not have major stomach problems. Our group consisted of 14 people of similar ages, very well travelled and easy to get along with. We had two Americans and two Canadians who joined our group in Mexico City and it was very pleasant to have their company. We saw widely different scenery, lots of wildlife and our guide was knowledgeable and had plenty of information to hand out about birds, the Mayans and general history of the countries we passed through. However I must add that this holiday was classed as 1 - leisurely - and I think it should be a 2. We visited many Mayan sites and in nearly all cases there were magnificent pyramids which we could climb to see the view or look over the site. Admittedly we did not have to climb the pyramids but who could resist and we would have missed out so much by staying earth bound? Climbing the pyramids was really hard work, they were very high, very steep and the steps were worn and irregular and usually with nothing to hold onto. It was also very hot although our guide did try to arrive early in the morning before the crowds and the sun was too hot. Even the very fittest of our group had to pause occasionally as they climbed the 200 or more steep steps to the tops of irresistible pyramids. There were several very long full day drives, with stops every two hours and very early morning starts, one about 5.00 am. Our mini buses were air conditioned, clean and in very good shape, but snug, so we were usually rather stiff when we reached our destination. Local guides were very good with excellent English. Optional excursions were well worth doing and interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many inspiring moments it is had to choose. However two come to mind. The first was the family weaving business we visited where both husband and wife spun and dyed wool to weave beautiful tradional rugs and other handicrafts. The lady's English was exceptional and she was obviously very proud of their business. The second memorable moment was watching the Easter parades in Antigua. We arrived late after a very long day and terrible traffic and were just in time to see the long columns of young boys and girls carrying the Easter floats through the streets accompanied by musicians. Everyone was in their best clothes, even the babies and it was a solemn and joyous occasion.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Eduardo was fantastic. 10/10. He was organised and flexible and very patient. He didn't seem to mind repeating instructions and was always cheerful, particularly important at 4.30 am and at the end of a very long day! He had a throat infection but soldiered on, went to the doctor and never complained. He was a wildlife expert and a fount of knowledge about all things Mayan. He was very interested in what out guide books said and willing to discuss anything. He was fun to be with and we enjoyed travelling with him, even when he tried to teach us Mexican songs. Our two drivers, Alberto and Edy were steady and reliable and we felt safe in their hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a hat, plenty of strong sunscreen and insect repellant. We took all precautions and only had a couple of bites. Wear loose clothing because it was hot and you are travelling in a bus for long periods. Water was always available in the hotels and minibuses and take advantage of this. Do change money when the opportunity arises. The group leader will advise the best times and places. Do not be put off by the prospect of lots of steps. Just climb them slowly and take rests when you need to. The view from the top is well worth the effort but if it looks too steep then don't do it. I have asthma and it was hard but I made it with a little help from my friends and helpful locals!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We realise this holiday is tailored to fit into two weeks so as not to disrupt work schedules. However we feel that it would be good to advise people who could take the time, to arrive one day early in Mexico City to rest after travelling for 24 hours before tackling a very high pyramid the morning after arrival. It would also afford an opportunity to visit museums and galleries. Also, Antigua is such a beautiful town we would have enjoyed more time there at the end of the tour. Obviously we could have done this at extra cost if we had known, but perhaps Exodus could mention this possibility in their brochure.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Alison Woodhouse

    Beyond the Mayan World

    A great trip giving a wonderful insight into Mayan culture past and present.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many ... but the bits that stood out for me in particular were the Mayan village visits and the local markets. The Mayan ruins were impressive and all different in character which made it very interesting, even for someone with very little prior knowledge or experience in this field. I learned a lot about the wildlife of the region, too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabriel was our group leader - his English was excellent, his knowledge of Mexican history exceptional and his insights into modern culture in the region made the landscapes we drove through and towns we stayed in come alive. He is a certified tour guide for Mexico as well as a tour leader so this helped the group form a good relationship with him throughout the journey. He worked extremely hard on our behalf.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We started in Mexico City - I would recommend arriving a day or two early to visit the Frida Kahlo museum (great context for a visit to the National Palace on the city tour) and the Anthropological Museum (which we missed but heard very good accounts of). We found travelling around the city on the metro easy and safe, even late at night in the central area (the trains were packed!). We also returned to Mexico at the end of the tour to stay on the beach near Tulum - there is a direct flight operating on some days each week from Guatemala City to Cancun and a direct flight back from there to the UK. An extra night in Antigua would have been useful as we had relatively little time to explore the town.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Jennifer Forster

    Beyond the Mayan World

    An experience rather than a holiday

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a toucan while waiting for the bus

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabriel excellent language skills and very informed The guides at Tikal (Eric) and Copan were also excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The heat and humidity in Guatemala was quite a shock and took some getting used to Take the strongest mosquito repellant and appropriate clothing Also watch out for stomach upsets half our party were affected

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I got left at the airport Having arrived early on a different flight our guide advised me to go and get something to eat and drink because the other flight was delayed When I arrived back at the meeting point just over an hour later there was no one I rang the hotel who told me the exodus party had arrived and I would have to get a taxi This cost me 250 pesos (£10) I was annoyed at being left because the airport was not enormous and there were only two cafes open so I felt they could have tannoyed me or checked the two cafes

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We are very sorry that Jenny’s arrival into Mexico did not run as smoothly as we would have hoped. We understand that Jenny’s tour leader looked for her in the cafes, but that regrettably he could not find her; we have, however, reminded him that the airport tannoy can be used in situations like this as we realise this must have been a very disappointing experience for Jenny.

    Sarah Ahern - Product Manager for Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras

  • Reviewed June 2015
    Astrid Laich

    Beyond The Mayan World

    Fly to Mexico City, then travel through Oaxaca across the isthmus of Tehuantepec, taking in the sites of Chiapas before crossing into El Peten, Guatemala, finishing in Antigua Guatemala.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments every day. The trip was magic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour leader Gabriel was excellent, couldn't have been better. I was particularly pleased that he was a Maya.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Depending on the time of the year, it could be cool at night in San Cristobal de las Casas. Also, there are a couple of hours on the coach where the roads are windy, so bring travel sickness medication.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Excellent trip, highly recommendable RPUJA
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Phillip Farrell

    Rewarding, but tiring

    Sites visited were interesting, but lots of early starts and long journeys made the trip quite tiring. Did not get to see enough of the local life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tikal was a wonderful site to visit

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good on the archaeology, not so good on the modern day. Needed to be better informed on the cities that we were visiting.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a late arrival in Mexico City (10 pm local time equivalent to 4am UK time). US dollars are accepted in most places, but you will need Mexican pesos for some visits, especially for the local craft visit. The first leg of the journey in Guatemala is on a very bumpy road, and progress is slow, it was about 2-2.5 hours before we got to a tarmac surface. Be prepared to to find places of your own to eat, as the street food is delicious and cheap, rather than going to the 'suggested' restaurants. DO NOT BOOK THIS TRIP IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE 'DAY OF THE DEAD' - although we were in Mexico at the same time as this festival, we saw very little of it, and the guide was not interested in providing details of places to go and things to see. If this is one of your main interests, then you should look elsewhere.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most of the hotels are very good, one or two could be improved, and be more centrally located, especially if you have one of the few free days available, it would be nice to be in the centre of activities.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    Rewarding but hard work!

    A rewarding trip but exhausting, I need a holiday to recover. It did lack a bit of wow.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Can't pick one particular thing all the places were unique

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edwin was very knowledgeable about all the sites but sometimes lacked local knowledge. I felt sometimes he separated himself from the group once the day trip was over, and he mostly sat with the driver away from the group when eating. I felt he could have put more into the small amount of free time given to us more even if it was just information about where things were etc. I liked Edwin very much but when I read previous reviews about other leaders I felt we were a short changed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Be prepared for stupid amounts of travelling in the minibus forget the times said on itinerary2. Even if you have never experienced travel sickness take some tablets, I got caught out. 3. Every morning is early, no lie ins 4. Loads of climbing sometimes very steep, take good shoes. 5. We had 3 drivers and 3 guides be prepared for lots of tipping. 6. Not all hotels of the same standard and most have very thin walls and floors can be very noisy, take earplugs if you are a light sleeper. 7. Food is very samey, eggs and fruit for breakfast, club sandwiches or soup for lunch with the odd buffet (way too much at 1pm). ask to be taken to different restaurants, I felt we went to very touristy places be brave say no and find your own place especially at Lunctime. 8. Take mostly light clothing, but you will need a fleece at some point, there are plenty of laundry services along route. 9. Take plenty of Jungle spray, I got so many bites it was stupid. 10. Don't eat the salad I did once never again. 11.Our boarder crossing went very smooth but I don't think this happens every time, people will be there trying to sell you money beware!! 12. Lunch was around 200 when we had buffets but varies. 13. Don't buy duty free in Guatemala if you have a connecting flight through USA they make you put in to cargo or throw it away, it was not wrapped to their standards, if your flight times are tight this could be an issue as airport is big and security a nightmare at Houston. There is no queue jumping as suggested in the trip notes!! 14 Whilst shorts are not widely worn don't worry if you want to. 15 If you arrive on Saturday on the late flight change your money at the airport as banks are shut on Sunday

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would like to have spent more time in San Cristobel, less time in Palenque. Honduras is an experience in itself, we were there the day the tax inspector was calling, very entertaining!! More time in Antigua, and a trip up the volcano would have rounded the trip of. Extend your time if you can, you are only an hour from the airport. Dollars, make sure you have plenty in the second week you will use them quite often as both countries except them as standard, very handy for boarder crossings.
  • Reviewed November 2013
    Anonymous

    BEYOND THE MAYAN WORLD

    A chance to visit some of the most impressive sites of pre-Columbian America, spread across three countries from the mountains around Mexico City to the jungles of Central America, whilst also experiencing charming colonial-era towns and churches.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This trip is so full of highlights that it is very hard to pick out a single one, so many of the sites of the ancient pre-Columbian civilisations, whether Teotihuacan, Zapotec or Mayan, are simply breathtaking. The visit to Yaxchilan was a particularly atmospheric day involving a boat trip along the Usumacinta River past crocodiles before landing to explore the jungle covered ruins, accompanied by the calls of tropical birds while troops of monkeys swung by in the foliage overhead.However, as our trip occurred while the Day of the Dead festival was taking place the particular highlight for me was to see the preparations taking place in the days leading up to the festival, with all the decorations, costumes and marigold covered shrines everywhere and it being celebrated on the evenings by the locals.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miia is an excellent tour leader with an enthusiasm and passion for the people, places, food and culture that can’t help rubbing off on you. She is very knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects from the history, wildlife and crafts and would always follow up on anything she could not answer immediately.She always found great places to go on the lunchtimes and evenings for food and drinks that were well suited to the group. Most of all her positive, good natured and good humoured approach meant that we always had fun whether at the sites, or on the long journeys or socialising in the evenings. It was a real pleasure to have had her as our tour guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If possible trying to time your visit with one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year can only add to the whole experience of a trip already full of attractions.There is quite a bit of climbing up steep-stepped pyramids, certainly nothing to be worried about but shoes with good grips would be advised and good insect repellent is definitely needed at a couple of the jungle located sites.There are also a couple of long road trips with early starts to be prepared for, and if you suffer from travel sickness it might be best to have some tablets with you, but with ample stops along the way and the chance to view the wide variety of scenery as you pass by, the journeys are interesting in themselves.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of the best trips I’ve been on, for the sheer number of impressive sights visited and the wide range of things to experience - from ancient history, culture, wildlife, as well as plenty of great restaurants and bars to sample the local food and relax with a drink on an evening - it certainly is great value for money. I would recommend this trip without hesitation.
  • Reviewed November 2013
    Anonymous

    BEYOND THE MAYAN WORLD

    Hi, if anyone is looking at this trip go for it. we had a fantastic time our tour leader was great and all the guides new so much. The accomadation was great too. Some of the drives were long but you have to get from A to B so just look at the lovely scenary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day of the dead celebrations and all the sites we visited were so different.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miia was fantastic

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