16 days departing GUATEMALA CITY from

Style: Discovery
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 you travel through these vibrant lands.

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 the fascinating church in Chamula
  • Idyllic Caribbean swimming and relaxing
  • Excellent barrier reef snorkelling and diving opportunities
  • Internal flight from Flores to Guatemala City
Tour Facts and 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 comfortable private vehicles plus internal flight from Flores to Guatemala City
Meals: 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners
Guided: Services of a professional bilingual tour leader
Group size: Maximum 15
Age range: 16+

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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.

Download Trip Dossier

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)

Our optional activities offer the flexibility to do the things you want to and leave out the things you don't. Below are the main optional activities for this trip which can be arranged once you are on tour via your tour leader and paid for locally. Please note that not all optional activities may available on every tour and prices are subject to change.

  • Snorkelling - Caye Caulker from US$35
  • Sea kayaking - Caye Caulker US$25 per hour
  • Manatee and snorkelling day trip - Caye Caulker US$85
  • SCUBA Diving - Caye Caulker US$85- $115

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, comparing the local version to your favourite brand back home, then the Chocolate Museum and Workshop is well worth a visit. There's 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 Parque Central. This evening, join your welcome meeting at 18.00 hrs and meet your travelling companions.
Accommodation: Hotel included | 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 views of both the 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'll see people 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 breathtaking views. As you enjoy a nightcap or two while the sun sets over the lake your thoughts will soon turn to exploring ever-deeper into the world of the Mayans.
Accommodation: Hotel included | 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 and disembark at the creative village of San Juan La Laguna which is well known for its handwoven 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's to the next.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 4-5: San Cristobal, Mexico

Today you'll cross the border into Mexico and the cafe-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 it's 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 | 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's a 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 Panchan provides a laid-back chance to get to know your travelling companions.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 7: Palenque and Campeche, Mexico

Unearth the creeper-covered pyramids and temples of Palenque, one of the most famous in Mexico, 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. You 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 will 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 | Breakfast included

Day 8: Uxmal ruins and 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 you make your way to the bustling colonial city of Merida, 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 we recommend an enjoyable walking tour of the city; the main square is particularly impressive when lit up at night.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 9: Tulum , Mexico

Spend the morning exploring one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centres at Chichen Itza, located approximately two hours from Merida. 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 was found to contain precious gold, silver and jade artefacts as well as the remains of sacrifice victims. After the tour you'll 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 overlooks the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Arrive this evening at one of Mexico's greatest beaches, with some of the bluest waters and most breathtaking pearly white sand you've ever lied eyes on, you're definitely in paradise now!
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast and dinner 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'll return to the fabulous Tulum Beach for an afternoon of soft white sand between your toes. Relaxing in this unspoilt, picture-perfect beauty of a beach will quickly become your favourite way to spend a day. Make the most of the world-class wood-fired cuisine, among other tasty offerings along this beautiful stretch of beach.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Day 11: Caye Caulker, Belize

This morning you embark for Caye Caulker in Belize. This laid-back Caribbean Island is just west of the Belize Barrier Reef and offers fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities. Measuring about five miles by less than one 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 vibe of Belize and you'll be able take your pick of the optional outdoor activities. Relax into island life and in no time at all 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, activities, or to simply relax - you are on holiday after all. Diving, snorkelling, sea kayaking and fishing can all be arranged locally and due to the island being small in size, it's very easy to complete a circuit on foot. As well as the marine activities there's also a forest reserve in the northern part of the island which offers great bird watching in the mangroves, so make sure you pack your binoculars.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 13: El Remate, Guatemala

Sun-kissed and happy, you leave Caye Caulker by boat bound for Belize City and 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 and 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 its jungle environment and visitors regularly see Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, toucan, Weaver Birds, coati and even tarantulas! In the afternoon, you return to Flores and take a short flight to Guatemala City, where you spend your final night.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 15: Guatemala City

Today your tour finishes after breakfast an you're free to depart at any time before check out. Should you wish to extend your stay please reserve additional 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 confirm your booking.
  • Full payment is due 8 weeks before the tour departure
  • We charge no credit card fees or hidden surcharges
  • ABTA & ATOL licensed operator offering financial security for our tours
  • Prices are land only. Call 0333 999 7965 for a flight inclusive quote (UK)

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 tailor-made private departures for any of our published tours enabling friends, families or organizations to enjoy our style of travel at special rates. Tailored itineraries and departure dates can be chosen to suit your needs. (Subject to seasonal/operational restrictions).

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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 our designated hotels listed below in the departure and arrival cities. You can book additional hotel nights online or contact our sales team.

Hotel Villa Toscana


Located close to La Aurora International Airport this hotel offers free Wi-Fi and cable TV, rooms with mountain and garden views as well as a free airport shuttle service.

  • Full room: From  per room per night
      Based on single, twin or double room.

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 +44 208 682 8921 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

We recommend you take out insurance as soon as your booking is confirmed. 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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0333 999 7965
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1800 873-5872
Call us 1300 030 714
Call us 0800 102 364
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