11 Night "GRAND" TOUR OF THE MAYA WORLD

Twelve day tour of major Maya Sites in the Yucatan, Chiapas, Guatemala & Belize. This tour can be customized to suit your individual interests and needs.  Some sites can be eliminated if you wish, other sites of interest along the route (cultural, historical or adventure activities) can also be added. 

 






















 

ITINERARY:

Day 1: At 8 am your driver and guide will pick you up at your hotel (any hotel between Cancun and Tulum) and take you to spectacular Tulum, the most visited of Mayan archeological sites. Perched atop a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, it is a photographer´s dream come true! Colorful iguanas bask lazily on rocks in the sun; gentle waves caress the shore. The pristine beach is so beautiful it is almost surreal. In the afternoon you visit the extensive jungle ruins at Coba. You may explore the ruins by foot, bicycle or human-powered tricycle. Coba is situated in a lush natural setting filled with many species of animals, birds and butterflies and is a real nature lovers delight. It is also home to the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan. From its top you can see the jungle canopy stretch for miles in each direction. Then to the Villas Arqueologicas Hotel with excellent restaurant, pool & bar located near the archaeological site in Chichen Itzá. In the evening you can attend the entertaining light and sound show at the ruins. Overnight Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza.

Day 2: By overnighting in Chichen Itza you'll beat the "big bus" crowds this morning while you visit majestic Chichen Itzá, the most famous of Mayan archeological sites, one of the "New 7 Wonders of the World", and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Chichen Itzá has numerous monuments to explore. El Castillo, or the grand pyramid, has a staircase on all four sides, each with 91 steps that totaled with the last step on top equal the 365 days in a solar year..
  Then to the lovely colonial city of Valladolid for lunch and sightseeing.  In the afternoon you visit Ek Balam, a newly uncovered Mayan archaeological site with some very distinct features. The wonderfully preserved state of the sculptures and frescos Ek Balam are some of the most outstanding examples of the art of the ancient Maya. In the late afternoon you'll go to historic colonial Merida for the evening. You'll overnight at the Hotel Gran Real Yucatan, located 3 blocks from the main square in Merida. (If possible, we schedule this tour for you to be in Merida for "Merida Sunday", a weekly local fiesta with live entertainment, music and market.)

Day 3: This morning you visit the magnificent Maya ruins of Uxmal. Uxmal is one of the finest examples of the "Puuc Maya" architectural style. Graced with two of the largest pyramids in the Yucatan and a multitude of incredibly preserved frescos paying homage to the rain god Chac and the serpent god Quetzecoatal, it is a site that inspires both awe and mystery.  After a lunch break visit the ruins at Labna, also home to many Chac masks and a beautiful corbeled arch. One of its interesting features is a carving of a Vision Serpent with a human head emerging from its outstretched mouth.  This evening you take a short non stop flight to Villahermosa. Overnight Hilton Hotel Villahermosa.

Day 4: In the morning your guide will meet you at your hotel and then you go to La Venta Olmec Museum. There are 28 Olmec carvings at this beautiful outdoor museum with interesting zoo and lake. Each piece was set carefully for optimum viewing with benches placed for those wishing to meditate or ponder the huge and amazingly well crafted Olmec heads, intricate altars, and intriguing stele and statues.  Based on the earliest long count date inscriptions found at sites that combine both Olmec and Maya influences many scholars theorize that it was the Olmec who invented the long count calendar and initiated the Maya into this system of calculating time.
You’ll also visit the newly remodeled Carlos Pellicer Museum of Anthropology.  On display is the controversial Tortuguero Stela 6 which has rare inscriptions referring to the end of the 13th baktún, which corresponds to December 21st, 2012.

Then you'll travel to Palenque.
The town of Palenque is 5 miles from the archaeological site. Like its Mayan ruins, it exudes character, charm and an energy all its own. You'll have free time in the evening to relax in the lush jungle rainforest or explore the sights, sounds and cuisines of Palenque. Your hotel is nestled in the forested "La Canada" area and within walking distance of downtown.  Enjoy a refreshment by the pool and upload your photos with the hotel's surprising fast wireless internet connection. Overnight Maya Tulipanes Hotel Palenque.

Day 5:  Today you have an entire day to visit the spectacular ruins of Palenque and the Palenque archaeological museum. A UNESCO historical monument, Palenque is considered a world treasure. Ancient structures rise out of the lush rainforest on multiple terraces set against the mountains. There are many major buildings to explore and new buildings are now being uncovered and studied.  Many wonderful examples of Maya art and history are carved into the building´s facades, some of them the most famous depictions from the ancient Maya world. Overnight Maya Tulipanes Hotel in Palenque.

Day 6: Today you journey to Bonampak, home of famous Mayan murals. Their ancient colors remain clear and vital, making them an excellent representation of Mayan art. Bonampak´s great plaza is astounding in its sheer mass and one of the largest in the region, measuring over 100 yards. The site also has some very well preserved stele that detail important historical moments.  Overnight at the Escudo Jaguar jungle lodge near Yaxchilan.

Day 7: This morning you travel by boat down the mighty Usumacinta River to the mysterious ancient Maya site of Yaxchilan. This incredible boat ride through the rainforest with its huge trees and abundant wildlife makes you feel like you´re in an Indiana Jones movie!  The tremendous archaeological site of Yaxchilan, situated on the riverbanks, rises in levels to temples with breathtaking views of the rainforest stretching far into Guatemala. Afternoon private transfer to Camino Real Tikal Inn, located on lovely Lake Peten.

Day 8:  Today you visit the spectacular Mayan ruins at Tikal. One of the most famous and beautiful of Maya sites, Tikal’s massive and steep pyramids (one is over 200 feet high) loom above the lush jungle of the Peten where one can observe spider and howler monkeys and numerous bird species such as toucans, parrots and macaws. At its peak Tikal was home to an estimated 100,000 people and the site has over 3,000 structures within a six square mile area. Then you visit the Sylvanus Morley archaeological museum.  Overnight Camino Real Tikal.

Day 9:  Today you travel to Belize with a stop at Yaxhá  ("Green Water"). on the way.  Yaxhá was the third largest Maya city in the Peten (after El Mirador & Tikal) and has an unusual layout for the region. Its twin pyramid complexes, 9 acropolis', plazas and more than 500 structures are connected by sacbés (ancient elevated roads) in a manner more similar to Maya sites in the Yucatan. The views of the jungle from the 30 meter high Structure 216 are breathtaking. Then you cross the border to Belize.  Overnight Midas Resort in San Ignacio.

Day 10:  Today you visit Caracol
Caracol is a Classic Period Maya archaeological site covering 35 square miles.  Over 30,000 buildings and structures have been identified at the site.  Located within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve and surrounded by lush wildlife filled jungle, Caracol is the largest Maya archaeological site in Belize. Tall pyramids, ball courts for the sacred games and an observatory for naked eye astronomy make this site a perfect place to see the Classic Maya at the pinnacle of their civilization.  Overnight Midas Resort.

Day 11:  This morning visit Xunantunich & Cahel Pech.  Xunantunich was a thriving Maya city center in the Late and Terminal Classic periods.  When many of its neighbor cities were being abandoned Xunantunich expanded its influence through the region and remained a seat of power for more than a century.  It is home to the second largest pyramid in Belize, El Castillo, which has an impressive banded stucco frieze.  From its top you have a nice view of the nearby villages and the jungle extending all the way to Guatemala.  Cahel Pech is perched on a hilltop above the Cayo District and it was a home for the elite ruling class with a history of continuous habitation dating back to 1200 BCE.   Which makes it unique among other sites in Belize.  Overnight Midas Resort.

Day 12:  Transfer to the Belize International Airport for departure. Or, contact us about visiting Copan.























TOUR SPECIFICS:

Cost per person for this 11 night private tour (double occupancy):

2 people $3,740 per person
4 people $2,740 per person
6 people $2,060 per person
8 people $1,885 per person

Discount for children under age 12 sharing hotel room with 2 adults.

Cost is approximate -- contact us about price for your travel dates.

Tour includes:
  • 11 night's hotel and tourist taxes (as listed on the itinerary)
  • All ground transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with licensed chauffeur
  • The services of an English speaking licensed guide who will travel with you throughout the day when you visit the ruins
  • 1 breakfast, and 4 lunches per person
  • Transit train at Tulum
  • Bicycle or human powered tricycle rental at Coba
  • Evening light & sound show at Chichen Itza
  • Private boat to and from Yaxchilan
  • Transit bus at Bonampak
  • All other entry and guide fees for activities listed on the itinerary

For this tour you need to fly into Cancun and out of Belize City (or the schedule can also be reversed). Air tickets are not included.

For private groups of 9 or more people, please contact us for further discounted prices.

Price is based on medium range lodging. If you would prefer less expensive or more deluxe accommodations please contact us about the price difference.

Prices for Thanksgiving week, Dec. 18-Jan. 6 and Easter week may be slightly higher depending on hotel policies and availability.

For more information call our U.S. office at our toll free number 1-877-620-8715
Outside of the U.S. (country code 1) 505-255-2279
Or, e-mail us at
[email protected]. See you soon!


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