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The Maya Treasure-Trail

make some sacrifices in mexico, guatemala, honduras & belize! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,599,-
GROUP SIZE: 4-24 | 22 DAYS

The Maya Treasure-Trail

Here you can find the day-to-day description for The Maya Treasure-Trail

Any extensions for this tour can be found at the bottom of this page.

Highlights

There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Cancun

Cancun

Cancun has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is a paradise for relaxing and swimming. |Mexico

Merida

Merida

Merida, also called the 'white city', because of the limestone buildings and the white traditional clothing. In this city, the Maya culture came to its bloom. |Mexico

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque, known for its great landscape and beautiful buildings. Visit the ruin complex of Palenque. |Mexico

San Christobal de las Casas

San Christobal de las Casas

San Christobal de las Casas, situated in a 20km, beautiful canyon, is a magical place that attracts musicians, painters, writers, silver smiths, students and human rights activists. |Mexico

Panajachel

Panajachel

Panajachel is situated at the biggest lake of Guatemala: Lago de Atitlán. |Guatemala

Antigua

Antigua

Antigua is a lovely old colonial village. The centre of Antigua stands on the World Heritage List of the Unesco. |Guatemala

Copan

Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce is a fantastic river with beautiful birds, high cliffs and lush flora. |Guatemala

Flores

Flores

Visit Flores, the island in the middle of the Petén lake. |Guatemala

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Take the speedboat water taxi to Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker has a number of restaurants and bars, the white beaches and a turquoise sea. |Belize

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, lovely beach village with turquoise sea. Go diving around the island, Cozumel. Jacques Cousteau once called this underwater world one of the top 5 diving destinations in the world. |Mexico

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Cancun Cancun
2 Public transport Cancun - Excursion Chichén Itzá - Mérida Mérida
3 Public transport Mérida - Palenque Palenque
4 Palenque Palenque
5 Public transport Palenque - San Cristobal de las Casas San Cristobal de las Casas
6 San Cristobal de las Casas San Cristobal de las Casas
7 San Cristobal de las Casas San Cristobal de las Casas
8 Public transport San Cristobal de las Casas – Panajachel Panajachel
9 Panajachel Panajachel
10 Bus Panajachel – Chichicastenango - Antigua Antigua
11 Antigua Antigua
12 Bus Antigua – Copán Copán
13 Copán Copán
14 Bus Copán – Rio Dulce Rio Dulce
15 Boat, Bus Rio Dulce – Flores (Tikal) Flores (Tikal)
16 Flores (Tikal) Flores (Tikal)
17 Boat, Bus Flores – Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
18 Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
19 Boat, Bus Caye Caulker – Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
20 Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
21 Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
22 Playa del Carmen End of tour

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Day 1: Cancun

Welcome to Mexico!

Your tour starts in the coastal city of Cancun, on the Riviera Maya. Most of your travel companions will arrive into Cancun airport this evening; the exact time will depend on their flight schedule. Check in to your hotel, relax and get some rest before your journey through Mexico gets underway in the morning.


Day 2: Cancun - Excursion Chichén Itzá - Mérida

We travel into Mayan country visiting the well-preserved Mayan town of Chichén Itzá (entrance fees not included). The 11th century Toltec rule had a noticeable effect on the architecture of the townhouses, pyramids and temples in the centre of this medieval city. Most buildings and particularly El Castillo are decorated with impressive sculptures.

We will then travel to Mérida, one of Latin America’s oldest colonial cities. Sample the real Mexico as you wander through the covered market and central square enjoying the marimba musicians, street bands, and mythical dances who entertain in the streets and parks.

Day 3: Mérida - Palenque

Today you travel by bus (first class) to the town of Palenque (travel time approximately 9 hours). The hotel where you sleep has a pool. Palenque is a messy town, with a typical Mexican atmosphere.

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Day 4: Palenque

Set in the jungle at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains this magnificent Mayan site is one of the new world’s most important archaeological finds. In the nearby rainforest lie countless ancient structures completely overgrown by the jungle. The Temple of the Inscriptions is the tallest and most prominent. Other excursions available include a visit to Misol Ha Waterfall and the smaller waterfalls and rapids of Agua Azul, where you can swim and enjoy the wonderful natural pools.

Day 5: Palenque - San Cristobal de las Casas

On day 5 we head into the mountains to the fantastic colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, estimated travel time without stops is 5 to 6 hours.

Day 6: San Cristobal de las Casas

This colonial town has many pleasant restaurants, coffee houses and lively bars and is surrounded by the fascinating villages of the Tzotzil, Tzeltzal and Tzojolabal Indians. Learn more about the Indians of the Lacandón rainforest on an optional visit to Na Bolom, a house turned museum which has a valuable collection of photos, archaeological finds and books. It’s also a refuge for the Indians of the Lacandón rainforest. There are regular daily tours given and you can also take a look at the market, where the Indians sell their beautifully handmade souvenirs.

Day 7: San Cristobal de las Casas

How green can you go? TIP

During this free day you may choose to visit the surrounding villages. San Juan Chamula is a small settlement with a white church and an impressive painted entrance. In Zinacantán the men must wear red and white striped tunics and flat, round reed hats lined with bright ribbons and photography is strictly prohibited. Nearby is the Cañon del Sumidero gorge, perfect for an optional day excursion sailing over the Río Grijalva with waterfalls and steep rock walls and where many birds and even the odd crocodile live. Alternatively visit Lagos de Montebello on the border of Guatemala, with its different coloured lakes.

Day 8: San Cristobal de las Casas – Panajachel

We will travel in a public bus to the Guatemalan border through some stunning scenery. You will notice the change in scenery, people and houses when we enter Guatemala along with its spectacular volcanoes, dense jungle and wonderful people. We continue to Lake Atitlán with its three volcanoes and Panajachel is our base. We will stay two nights in Panajachel at a hotel near the lake.

Day 9: Panajachel

Today you are free to see Panajachel. Cross by boat to the village of San Pedro at the foot of the volcano and Santiago de Atitlán. In Santiago you will find the idol Maximón, which probably represents a mixture of ancient Mayan gods, conqueror Pedro de Alvarado and Jude. In these villages the Mayan Indians live, each group with its own dress, culture and language. Later you can go out for dinner or visit one of the pleasant bars in Panajachel.

Day 10: Panajachel – Chichicastenango - Antigua

Travel to Antigua, stopping to visit the colourful market in Chichicastenango (Sundays and Thursdays), where the locals dress in bright hand-embroidered clothes. Visit the Santo Tomás-church where a mix of Christian and Mayan rituals take place such as those on public holidays when tribal elders enter the church in procession, clad in silver and feathers.

Antigua is Guatemala’s former capital and the main trade centre until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. Across Antigua the remains of numerous monasteries, churches and beautiful colonial buildings can be seen. Most have been renovated, however the damage caused is clearly visible. Most churches are beautifully decorated, such as 'La Merced' and 'San Francisco'. Antigua is a wonderful city to spend a few hours walking around

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Day 11: Antigua

Today you have a free day in Antigua. Climb to the Cerro de la Cruz and enjoy a magnificent view of the city, surrounded by the Agua, Fuego en Acatenango volcanoes.

How green can you go? TIP

During your day off in Antigua, you can join an optional excursion to climb the still active Pacaya volcano. The climb starts in the afternoon and you reach the summit before sunset, where you may see the hot lava glowing in the dark.

Day 12: Antigua – Copán

We cross the border into Honduras to visit Copán (estimated travel without stops today is 6 to 7 hours). Copán is situated in a valley surrounded by spectacular hills. We will find many tobacco plantations here too. We stay in the lovely village of Copán Ruinas near the ruins of the same name.

Day 13: Copán

The extensive Mayan complex of Copán lies in the middle of a spectacular valley and is famous for its elaborately decorated 'stellae' (stone columns) and Hieroglyphic Stairway. Considered the most impressive monument of the Mayan period, the Heiroglyphic Stairway has inscriptions decorating each of the 63 cants making it the longest Mayan text ever discovered. In the afternoon there is an opportunity to go horse-riding or visit the hot springs.

Day 14: Copán – Rio Dulce

We return to Guatemala and set off to the tropical region of Río Dulce, on the warm and fertile coastline. Here we will stay in a simple hacienda in wooden cabañas with shared sanitary facilities. A swimming pool is available and from the hacienda you can take walks in the jungle accompanied by a guide.

In the morning we sail down the Río Dulce heading for the Caribbean coast (optional excursion). En route, the boat navigates between high cliffs, overgrown with giant trees in the tropical forest and on its banks you will see the scattered huts on stilts of the Kekchi Indians who live off fish and birds. At the estuary we stop in Lívingston, a Creole fishing village home of Garífunas, the descendants of African slaves whose language and customs still reflect their African origins.

Day 15: Rio Dulce – Flores (Tikal)

We journey on to Flores which lies in Middle America’s largest jungle and stay 2 nights in a hotel near Lake Flores (estimated travel time is 3 hours today with no stops). The town itself is located on a peninsula in the middle of Lake Petén Itzá, and has a wide variety of restaurants. It is a village with only 3000 inhabitants and a relaxed atmosphere. It is great fun to take a boat trip on the lake!

Day 16: Flores (Tikal)

Tikal is located 60 km deep in the jungle. This is the last and probably most beautiful of all the ancient Mayan cities (entrance fee not included). The most important of the ancient sections have been reclaimed from the jungle and renovated and there are temples, palaces, offering places and five large pyramids to see.

Tikal is renowned not only for its archaeological treasures but also the abundance of birdlife, flora and fauna. You could easily come across the howler monkeys, coatis, toucans, hummingbirds and trogons as you tour the ruins. You can hire a guide to visit temples deeper in the jungle that until now have only been visited by archaeologists.

Day 17: Flores – Caye Caulker

We cross the border of Belize and after a speedboat ride across the sea we arrive at Caye Caulker, a coral island that forms part of a 200 km long barrier reef along the coast. The island has a typically relaxed Caribbean atmosphere and you can go snorkelling or diving in the magnificent reef or have a break with a good book beneath a palm tree.

Day 18: Caye Caulker

Continue to relax on the beach, go scuba diving or snorkelling or alternatively, you can take an excursion to look for manatees and in the evening, treat yourself to a piña colada at a beach bar.

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Day 19: Caye Caulker – Playa del Carmen

In the early morning we return to Mexico by speedboat and then go by bus to Playa del Carmen which is packed with cosy bars, restaurants and home to a stunning beach. We will stay in a simple hotel, five minutes walk from the beach and centre of town. Spend the last few days of your holiday topping up your tan or shopping for last minute souvenirs.

Day 20: Playa del Carmen

You can choose to flee Playa del Carmen for a day by hopping on a ferry to the island of Cozumel, a place made famous by legendary underwater filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. From the mainland you can see some of the higher rise hotels and lots of impressive cruise ships docked there. Take advantage of the second largest coral reef in the world to dive or snorkel and enjoy the tropical fish in all the colours of the rainbow.

Day 21: Playa del Carmen

A must for nature lovers is an optional excursion to Rio Lagartos, a region of creeks and mangrove forests. Crocodiles and birds are the main attraction. Pink flamingos, pelicans and many other large water birds make the area a paradise for birdwatchers.

Whoever still has enough energy can also opt for an excursion to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, perfectly situated atop a cliff overlooking the turquoise sea and beautiful beaches below.

Day 22: Playa del Carmen

The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in Playa del Carmen until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). Playa del Carmen is situated only 1 hour drive from the Cancún International Airport. We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 22) is not included.


FESTIVAL TRIPS IN MEXICO AND GUATEMALA

On the trip departing on October 27, 2017 you can experience the Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.

On the trip departing on March 19, 2018 you can experience the Semana Santa in Guatemala.

On the trip departing on October 27, 2018 you can experience the Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.


The itineraries during these festival trips, may be modified. For more information about the various festivals please look under the heading 'Festivals' under the 'More Info' tab.

Extend your trip

  • Mexico City extension
    You can choose to extend your stay in Mexico with a stay in the fascinating capital: Mexico City (request when booking).


    The current capital of Mexico is built on the site of the former Aztec capital. The Spanish built palaces and buildings in the colonial style and their glory has been preserved. Mexico City has many contradictions, such as the difference between the busy squares and wide avenues and the silence that you find in the small streets and parks. Include a visit to the Zocalo, the main square of the city and at the Palace of Fine Arts. The museum owes much to the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera and the Anthropological Museum is also well worth a look.

    This three-day extension can be added at the beginning or at the conclusion of your trip. Transfers (shared service) to and from the airport and the 2 hotel nights in a centrally located hotel are all included in the fare. You also have an excursion to the nearby Teotihuacan included:

    "Teotihuacan" The City of the Gods is about 50 miles outside of Mexico City. The pyramids of the Sun and Moon are world famous. According to legend, the god Quetzalóatl rushed from the Pyramid of the Sun in a raging flame and transformed into a feathered serpent. Maybe you can still stop at the Basilica of Guadalupe. This ancient pilgrimage site is said to be where the Virgin Mary appeared to the Indian Juan Diego and is still visited today by many believers.

    Specify when booking whether you wish to extend your trip with a visit to Mexico City. You can indicate this by selecting the extension in the booking form. Please indicate in the comments section in the penultimate booking step whether you would like the extension before or after the trip.

  • Spanish lessons in Playa del Carmen
    Now is your chance to learn Spanish in a tropical setting! During the day you will get acquainted with the basics of the Spanish language. In the evening you can enjoy a cocktail on the beach and put the learning into practice immediately! You can then get to know the Mexican people really well.

    Duration 6 days / 5 nights

    Day-to-day description

    Day 1
    Playa del Carmen, arrival

    Classes begin on a Monday, so you fly to Cancun on Sunday. You will be met by our local representative on arrival in Cancun. They bring you to your accommodation in Playa del Carmen. Note: this is only in the event that you have pre-booked a transfer. You can also make your way independently to Playa del Carmen.

    Day 2-5
    Playa del Carmen, Spanish lessons

    During your stay in Playa del Carmen you will get individual instruction in the Spanish language for 5 days. The course is tailored to your needs and interests (in consultation with your teacher), and is the quickest and most intensive way to learn the language. Every day you get 4 x 45 minute lessons, the lessons times are set in consultation with your teacher. The rest of the day you are free to go and enjoy the beach!

    You stay in a comfortable studio, located on the same grounds as the school. A kitchenette is available. You can use the swimming pool, restaurant, bar, spa and library of the hotel. Linen and towels are provided. The beach is 5-10 minutes walking distance.

    After and between classes you are free to explore Playa del Carmen. Relaxing on the white beach paradise is an excellent idea. The blue water is just unreal. In the evening you have dinner here in one of the many restaurants and then there is dancing in a bar on the beach. In "Playa" there is plenty to do in the form of water/beachsports. You could even take the ferry over to the island of Cozumel. Get to know the second largest coral reef in the world when diving or snorkelling. Enjoy the tropical fish in all colours of the rainbow. Those that still have enough energy, an excursion to the Mayan ruins of Tulum is worthwhile. The ruins sit beautifully atop a cliff overlooking the azure sea and white bounty beaches.

    Day 6
    Playa del Carmen, end of extension

    After your last lesson today your course is complete. Tonight the group arrive in Cancun and you will join them. You can now make a good impression with what you've learned from this first week!

    Cost: From € 449 per person (based on double occupancy)
    Single supplement: € 50 per person

    Included:
    - 5 nights in Playa del Carmen in a comfortable studio
    - 4 x 45 minutes private Spanish lessons for 5 days
    - Qualified Spanish teacher
    - Course certificate

    Excluded:
    Meals, transfers, excursions, entrance fees, personal expenses and tips

    Surcharges:
    - Surcharge return transfer (to and from the airport): € 125 pp (one way: € 65 pp)
    - Extra night studio, based on double room: € 30 pp
    - Extra night studio, single room supplement: € 30 pp
    - Dance course: from € 75 pp per week
    - Cooking class: from € 75 pp per week

    Please note:

    Prices in other currencies available on a request basis.

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