LA RUTA MAYA

15 days departing ANTIGUA from

Style: Leisurely
Destination: Mexico
Tour Code: LRM

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Trip Overview

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.

Included Highlights
  • Explore the highlights of the Mayan world
  • Guided visits of Mayan sites of Palenque, Uxmal, Chichen Itzá, 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+

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Trip Itinerary

Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as local and operational conditions may vary and unforeseen circumstances can arise, the following itinerary should be used as a guideline.


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Download the La Ruta Maya trip dossier for tour-specific details including full itinerary, pre-departure information, packing tips and more about our style of travel.

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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)


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.
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

Today will start with a beautiful scenic boat ride across Lake Atitlan 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: San Cristobal, Mexico

Cross the border into Mexico and get your first taste of lunch south of the border as you pause on the plaza of Comitán ahead of your onward journey to the café-filled plazas and colonial churches of San Cristobal. 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 5: San Cristobal, Mexico

Follow your guide into the surrounding traditional villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan before returning to San Cristobal to explore at your leisure.

Note: As with most advice, listening to your guide is key to respecting the wishes and the feelings of the locals. In this case, when entering a place of worship, photography of worshippers and the church interior is expressly forbidden and wherever you are in San Cristobal it's always wise to exercise discretion and seek permission before taking photos.
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. 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: Campeche, Mexico

This morning presents 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. In the afternoon, drive towards the historic fortified city of Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which 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.
Accommodation: Hotel included I Breakfast included

Day 8: 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. 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. The city flourished following the conquest and the 19th century homes designed in French style, contribute to the attractive appearance of the historical centre. We 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 we 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. We will return to 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. Relax into island life and understand the meaning of Belize's motto: 'no shirt, no shoes, no problem!' 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.
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

We 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: Guatemala City

We 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. 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. 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

This tour is run by our trusted sister company.

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  • A 10% deposit per person is required to book.
  • Full payment is due 8 weeks before the tour departure
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  • If you prefer to book by telephone please contact our UK sales office
  • Prices are land only. Call 0333 999 7951 for a flight inclusive quote

Solo Sleepers   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 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.

Important Notes

We highly recommend you book this trip at least 60 days prior to departure. Reservations received within 30 days will be on request and subject to cabin availability.


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Private Departures

Why not arrange your own Grand American Adventures departure? For groups of 8 or more, we can offer private departures on any of our published itineraries enabling friends, families or organizations to enjoy our style of travel at special rates. Although tours will run as per our standard itinerary shown here, slight modifications may be considered and dates can be chosen to suit your needs. (Subject to seasonal/operational restrictions). So contact us today and start planning your own adventure.

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Tour Extras

We've offer a whole range of travel extras with everything from city sightseeing, additional hotel nights, insurance and more so you can organise everything you'll need for your trip in one easy place

Hotels Before and After your trip

Tours begin and end at designated hotels in the departure and arrival cities, starting at 7.30am (check your tour voucher for exact details) and finishing at around 5pm, so it's a great idea to book a room for the night before and after your tour. You can book hotels either online when you book your tour or by call our sales team.

ANTIGUA - HOTEL MESON DE MARIA

  • Twin share:  per person per night
      Matched with another traveller of the same sex.
       
    Full room:  per room per night
      Single or double room for travellers on the same booking.


GUATEMALA CITY - GRAND TIKAL FUTURA

  • Twin share:  per person per night
      Matched with another traveller of the same sex.
       
    Full room:  per room per night
      Single or double room for travellers on the same booking.


Book Flights

Our specialist flights department can offer UK customers a great airline fare to all of our travel destinations.

Book Flights

We have preferred contracts with many international carriers and have secured some of the most competitive prices in the industry. We are also ATOL protected and IATA licensed.

Special offers are regularly available, so call us now on 0208 682 8920 or click below to request a flight quote by email.

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Travel Insurance

At Grand American Adventures we believe that your safety and enjoyment are the most important parts of your holiday.

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. We can offer you a comprehensive travel insurance policy which is completely tailored for your trip and is specially designed to include all the activities listed.

See our insurance page for more information.


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