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Explore Mexico's Yucatan and Tikal

Starts: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Finishes: Cancun, Mexico

Visit: Guatemala City, Tikal, Cancún, Chichén-Itzá, Mérida, Uxmal, Tulum, Cancún

Accommodation: Moderate

Activity: Walking Tour

Overview

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Adding a little extra spice to this exciting Yucatan expedition, we first explore Tikal, the breathtaking ancient Guatemalan city built by the Mayan civilization. Constructed as a ceremonial centre, Tikal's temples, pyramids and majestic stone monuments were designed with an aim to inspire awe in visitors and after two millennia, they still do so today.

Our education into the ways and practices of the ancient world continues as we visit Chichen Itza in Mexico, a splendid archaeological site that incorporates the legacies and ruins both of the Maya and of the later-arriving Toltecs, and Uxmal, an ancient Mayan city of temple-pyramids, palaces, sacrificial tombs and ballcourts.

Deep into the heart of the Yucatan jungle, we travel to Coba through untamed nature, where we find temple ruins overgrown with trees and foliage. Perched atop a pyramid overlooking vast ocean on our visit to Tulum truly is an experience never forgotten.

Out Factor: The Latin/Catholic influence has limited the development of a gay community in Mexico, even though gay activity flourishes in a less acknowledged way. While the Yucatan is much more low-key than resorts on the Pacific coast, towns like Merida have long been known for their tolerance. The city has a strong Catholic influence, but its history of trade with Europe is believed to have led to its generally progressive attitude. That said, most locals are not particularly comfortable with in-your-face public displays of affection, gay or straight. Most of the organized gay life in Guatemala takes place around Guatemala Cityour time here is short, but our guides will show us an interesting time.

Trip Highlights:
  • Experience the mystique of Tikal, possibly the most magnificent of all Mayan sites
  • Visit the wonderful archaeological sites of Chichen Itza
  • Ancient temples surrounded by the thick Yucatan jungle
Trip Details:
  • Start city: Guatemala City
  • End city: Cancun
  • Group size: Maximum of 18 plus tour leader
  • Staff and support: Tour Leader, driver(s) and local step-on guides at various locations
  • Accommodation: Hotels
  • Transport: Private air-conditioned motor coach
  • Should be independent with your luggage, especially at airports
  • The region's roads are generally good and the distances covered are not great
  • Numerous nature walks and walking tours on uneven surfaces
  • This tour is offered in warm dry season (Dec-May) andcoolest months (Nov-Jan)
  • Most of our Tour Leaders are gay, some of them are not
  • Gay or gay-friendly travelers of any gender are welcome
  • Smoking is not permitted on any group transport or during official sightseeing excursions
  • Anyone of an average fitness level can participate
  • You can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end
Small Group Experiences Traveling is often made even more exciting by sharing the experience with others. Small groups range from 6 to 15 people in size, making for a trip filled with camaraderie, adventure and the personal attention of a trained guide.

Highlights

    • Experience the mystique of Tikal, possibly the most magnificent of all Mayan sites
    • Visit the wonderful archaeological sites of Chichen Itza
    • Ancient temples surrounded by the thick Yucatan jungle

Trip Details

The Trip

Product Code: 131175
Accommodation: Moderate
Guide Language: english

Starts: Guatemala City, Guatemala
Finishes: Cancun, Mexico
Duration: 9 days
Departures: Guaranteed
Physical rating: Basic

Includes

  • Accommodation
  • Internal transportation
  • Breakfasts and most dinners
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Tips for hotel, porters, drivers
  • Transfers (Land/Air)
  • Services of a Tour Leader

Excludes

  • Lunches and some dinners
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Air departure taxes/fuel surcharges
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Transfers (if early/late)
  • Transfers (if Land Only)
  • Tour Leader gratuities

Price

Price person (sharing double) $2,730 ($303/day)

Deposit:

20% per person for bookings made 60 days or more prior to departure

Full Amount for bookings made less than 60 days prior to departure

Cancellation: Super Strict

Trip Notes

Price does not include airfare (to the Trip start & from the end location)

Trip Price generally includes accommodation, transport/transfer, activities, services of a professional guide & more. (Please refer to the include/excludes section for details)

Tour packages spare you the hassles of trip planning, a la carte booking, organizing and managing the logistics at a foreign location.

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Arrival in Guatemala

Arrival in Guatemala City and transfer to our hotel.

Guatemala's capital city is on of the most modern and cosmopolitan city in Central America. Fast paced and vibrant, Guatemala City (or Guate as it's referred to locally) is a wonderful blend of old and new and possesses a distinct Latin charm.

This evening, after dinner, we'll have an informal "Guate-by-Night" exploration of some of the more interesting nightspots.
  • Meal: Dinner if required
  • Overnight in Guatemala City

Day 2: Fly to Flores and tour around Tikal

Today we fly from Guatemala City to Flores.

On arrival we embark on a guided tour to experience the mystique of Tikal, possibly the most magnificent of all Mayan sites. Here we discover ancient temples, pyramids and stone structures dating from 500 BC. The five great pyramids of Tikal give this ceremonial centre a majestic grandeur unique among Maya cities. The height of the temples, crowned with tremendous roof combs; the complicated assemblage of the palace structures of the central Acropolis; and the complexity of the chronology of the North Acropolis are staggering to anyone visiting Tikal for the first time. In ancient times Tikal functioned mainly as a ceremonial centre in which the aristocratic elite and their priests ruled, dictated, and directed the activities of the architects, builders, craftsmen, and labourers. All endeavours in the region of Tikal were directed to enhance the city, to glorify the gods, to amass wealth, and to acquire tribute for the ruling upper strata of society. To sustain this activity for over a thousand years demanded a well-disciplined peasantry.
  • Meal: Breakfast and dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel Jungle Lodge or similar, Tikal

Day 3: Fly to Cancun

Today we fly from Flores, Guatemala to Cancun, Mexico.

Dinner is on your own this evening -- join your Tour Leader on an on-foot exploration of some of Cancun's evening attractions.
  • Meal: Breakfast
  • Overnight in Cancun

Day 4: Explore the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza

Today we travel to Chichen Itza. This is a wonderful archaeological site incorporating the ruins of two different cultures, the ancient Maya and the later arriving Toltecs. The substantial fusion of highland central Mexican and Puuc architecture make Chichen Itza unique. The El Castrillo, the temple of Panels and the Platform of Venus are superb architectural feats. 

The most impressive monuments here are the Temple of the Warriors, the group of a thousand columns, the Temple of Kukulcan, the Temple of Chac-Mool and the Ball Court.  The Toltecs interest in astronomy and mathematics is evident with a visit to the Astronomical Observatory, perhaps one of the most impressive revelations is the phenomenon occurring during equinoxes, when shadows cast across the ramp of the castle appear to form the shape of a slithering serpent. 

Tonight we include a visit to the Sound and Light show.
  • Meal: Breakfast and dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel Mayaland or similar, Chichen Itza

Day 5: Merida sightseeing

Today we drive to Merida, probably the most beautiful town in the Yucatan peninsula. We find that the most enjoyable way to sightsee is from a calesa, or horse drawn carriage. We include a half-day's sightseeing in this most elegant of fashions. During the nineteenth century, European traders flocked to the bustling city to exchange their luxuries for the area's much sought after sisal hemp. The state capital's many buildings and the Moorish and rococo-style mansions of the Paseo Montejo reflect the strong Old World influences.

This evening's dinner will be at a gay-friendly restaurant, either Trotter's, where steak, tapas and wine is a winning formula; or La Pigua, a fabulous seafood restaurant.
  • Meal: Breakfast and dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel Casa del Balam or similar, Merida

Day 6: See the Mayan sites of Uxmal

Uxmal is a stunning place. Uxmal was one of the sites to which the  Maya returned again and again in the course of their civilization. The name means 'thrice built'. The Palace of the Governor at Uxmal is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the Maya structures in Central America. Here some 20,000 hand cut stones have been set into acres of geometric friezes. The nunnery is the quadrangle where vestals allegedly spent a licentious final year of worldly pleasure before their sacrifice to appease the rain god Chac. This truly is a step back into the years of the Maya glory (AD 7-10). The Palace of Large Masks with its magnificent stone mosaics and representations of the ubiquitous rain god.

We also visit the nearby smaller sites of Kabah and Labna. Kabah is the most notable for its Palace of the Masks, the facade of which is covered with innumerable carved masks of the rain god Chac. Labna is another beautiful site. It is famous for its fine sculpture and its arch, this was one of the most ornate built by the Maya.
  • Meal: Breakfast and dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel Hacienda Uxmal or similar, Uxmal

Day 7: Drive through Valladolid to Coba

Today we depart Uxmal for Coba. The morning's drive takes us through Valladolid where we stop for our lunch break. The peaceful Zocalo in the heart of Valladolid is shaded by large trees and surrounded by a variety of restaurants.

We continue on to Coba, one of the grandest Mayan city-states, and have a tour of this impressive site immediately upon arrival. As a large trading center, Coba was connected to other Mayan cities by an elaborate network of roads known as "sacbes". The ancient temples are still surrounded by the thick Yucatan jungle which adds a lot of natural flavour to a rich cultural experience.

After our guided tour you may choose to rent a mountain bike available at the site. A bike is the quickest way to reach some of the most remote parts of this enormous ruined city that once rivalled Tikal in size. Because our hotel is so close to the site you may choose to stay in the site and climb up Nocoh Muh -- the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan. Watching the sun set from the top of this Mayan pyramid over an endless stretch of forests is truly one of Mexico's most magical experiences.
  • Meal: Breakfast and dinner
  • Overnight in Coba

Day 8: Visit the Mayan sites of Tulum

In order to beat the crowds, we depart early today for Tulum, one of the most beautiful Maya sites, perched high on the cliffs above the Caribbean. Tulum means "wall" in Maya. The most impressive site at this area is the large pyramid on the edge of the cliff overlooking the sea. A wide staircase leads to a two-chamber temple on the top. Two serpent columns divide the entrance and above the middle entrance is a carved figure of the Diving God. The sight at the top of the pyramid is stunning with a breathtaking view of the ocean and surrounding jungle. You will have free time to explore this site on your own.

Balance of the day at leisure in Tulum.

Note: If you would like to extend your stay in Tulum, please advise so we can book hotel and air accordingly.
  • Meal: Breakfast and dinner
  • Overnight in Tulum

Day 9: Depart in Cancun

Transfer back to the airport at Cancun. Departure from Cancun. BUEN VIAJE!
  • Meal: Breakfast

See
Guatemala, Mexico Guatemala, Flores, Tikal, Cancun, Chichen Itza, Merida, Uxmal, Valladolid, Coba, Tulum
Do
Walking Tour

Availability