Don't Stop Beliezing
This is a pretty epic trip. Mexico, Belize and Guatemala… ie Mayan ruins, tacos, Mexican markets, mezcal, waterfalls, dancing in the streets, hammocks, beaches, islands, snorkeling, swimming holes, caves, canoeing, butterflies, jungles, rivers, hot springs, volcanoes, tamales, homestays… this is just getting ridiculous.
Mexico, Belize, Guatemala. You’re welcome.
Day 1-2 - Mexico City
Head to the massive (12 acre) main square for your street food fix. See if you can find the vendor selling tacos made from 15 different animal parts (ribs, stomach, tongue, brain, cheek, lips, eyeballs, throat etc.) You'll soon find out who the alpha male of your group is.
- Pre-departure meeting in the evening
- Optional visit to the Teotihuacan ruins - the site of the massive ‘Piramides del Sol y de la Luna’(Pyramids of the Sun and Moon)
- Discover the site's remaining buildings with the help of a local guide
Day 3-4 - Puebla
Puebla's famous for mole poblano - a sauce made with over 20 ingredients like chilli, chocolate, nuts and cinnamon.
Free morning/afternoon in Mexico City
- Catch a late afternoon bus to Puebla
- This evening and tomorrow are free to discover Puebla.
- Perhaps visit some of Puebla's 70 churches or thousand or so colonial buildings
Day 5-7 - Oaxaca - Overnight Bus
Fill your bag with painted wooden animals, woven rugs, embroidered clothing and pottery at the markets in Oaxaca ('wha-haw-kah').
- Get lost among Oaxaca's renowned handicraft markets
- Perhaps relax in a local cafe after a haggling frenzy
- Optional visit to the ancient Zapotec ruins at Monte Alban
- Board an overnight bus to San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 8-9 - San Cristobal de las Casas
If someone offers you a shot of mezcal, you had better be wearing your party pants. This stuff is like tequila's idiotic, hyperactive, slightly insane brother whose name you won't remember the next day. Goes down a treat with a plate of fried grasshoppers.
- Visit San Cristobal's beautiful churches
- Grab some bargains at the weekly market
- Continue the search for the best taco in Mexico
Day 10-11 - Palenque - Overnight Bus
Indiana Jones wannabes take note - apparently only 10% of these Mayan ruins have been uncovered. Here's your chance to climb a pyramid in the middle of the jungle with the creepy sounds of howler monkeys as your soundtrack.
- Travel on a windy road by local bus to Palenque
- The afternoon is free to enjoy the optional activities in town
- Visit the ruins of Palenque
- Cool off at the nearby Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls
- Transfer to the bus station and board an overnight bus to Merida
Day 12-13 - Merida
The White City' of Merida is a good place for fun. You can go to markets, go for walks, sample the local food (el yucateco will blow your head off), visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal, or, if visiting on a Sunday, have a dance in the street with the locals. We told you it was fun. And we don't lie.
- Early morning arrival into Merida
- Utilise your tour leader to make the most of free time exploring 'White City'
- Hang out at Plaza Grande, with a 16th century cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the others.
- Visit the outdoor markets (morning is recommended) and stock up on hammocks and Maya replicas, perhaps try cochinita pibil or the head-blowingly spicy el yucateco
- You will have the opportunity to visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal
- The roads in Merida are turned into an open air dance floor every Sunday showcasing a variety of Salsa and Merengue bands
Day 14-15 - Chichen Itza - Playa del Carmen
Chichen Itza is a great big pyramid with 365 steps (one for each day of the year) and a shadow that looks like a serpent. You're off the leash in Playa del Carmen, with no activities planned. Pina coladas, seafood and beach will probably feature.
- Set off for the Caribbean Coast
- Swing by one of Mexico's most famous Mayan sites, Chichen Itza
- Explore the temples, pyramids and ruins
- Enjoy free time in Playa del Carmen to relax on the beach, drink in the bars, eat in the restaurants or explore the local surroundings
Day 16-17 - Tulum
- Bound to be a few sore heads today, so take a bit of "me time" as you wander the Mayan ruins of Tulum. Our favourite building is the Temple of the Frescoes.
- Take a bus along the Caribbean coast to Tulum
- Perhaps visit the pre-Columbian walled city ruins and enjoy spectacular views
- Spend time relaxing on the beach or strolling along the white sandy shore
- In the evenings, kick back and watch the waves with a margarita
Day 18-19 - Caye Caulker
The next few days will involve some hard decisions. Where is the best spot on the beach to put your deck chair? Do you feel like tacos or tamales for lunch? Swim or snorkel? It's a tough life.
- Take a speedboat to the palm-fringed island of Caye Caulker
- Enjoy this idyllic island and the nearby reefs during free time
- Perhaps explore the coral reefs and their abundance of fish, or just relax on the beach
Day 20-21 - San Ignacio
Head to San Ignacio and perhaps stop off at a cave full of crystalised, 1,400(ish)-year-old skeletons. You don't need us to tell you how cool that is. All the skeletons are victims of blunt trauma to the head, mind you, so you shouldn't be too keen. Just pretend you don't really want to see them, then go anyway.
- Travel by local bus to San Ignacio
- Go on an optional day trip to Xunantunich, an impressive Mayan ceremonial centre. Take a hand cranked ferry to cross the river
- Perhaps go to the Mountain Pine Ridge area to visit waterfalls, warm swimming holes as well as a huge system of caves
- The cave of Tunichil Muknal is a living museum of Mayan relic
- Take opportunities to go tubing or canoeing through the region
- Perhaps visit San Ignacio's butterfly garden.
- In the late afternoon and at night visit the little barbecue street stalls, sit down and enjoy a juicy chicken leg
Day 22-23 - Flores - Tikal
Looks like everyone in Flores got the red-roof memo. Then it's a jungle trek through the ruins of Tikal to the sounds of parrots, toucans, macaws, tree frogs and howler monkeys.
- Head into Guatemala and visit the town of Flores
- Stroll through the cobblestone streets, buy local handicrafts or take a dip in Lake Peten Itza
- Perhaps visit the ancient city of Tikal - deserted Mayan ruins in the heart of the Guatemala jungle
- If you're feeling energetic, perhaps climb to the peak of Temple IV
Day 24-25 - Rio Dulce
There is a trend in Flores that involves taking a boat out onto the lake and cruising around. We are all for this trend, and we reckon you will be too. If you're not a trendy-type, you can go out to spot manatees or head up to thermal hot springs. There's loads of other stuff you can do, but we've only just so much space here. OK?
- Head to Rio Dulce, the sweet river, by local bus (approx. 5 hours)
- Take time to explore this laid back Caribbean town, quite different from the inland communities.
- Enjoy some optional activities on your free day, go boating on the lake, take a tour to spot the protected manatees or travel up the river on a lancha to the thermal hot springs
- Perhaps hike through the jungle-strewn trails of the Chocon-Machacas Natural Reserve, ride a horse through a nearby rubber plantation or travel to Livingston to explore the San Felipe fort
Day 26 - Antigua
It's not very often you see a volcano puffing away as it looms overhead, but after a few days you won't even bat an eyelid.
- Travel to Antigua by local bus (approx. 7 hours) were you'll spend the night
- You won't be in Antiguam long today, but you should try Tamales while you're here, a local dish served in a corn leaf, or perhaps try Pepian, a combination of three meats (chicken, beef and pork) with a dark sauce
Day 27 - Chichicastenango - San Jorge La Laguna
"Lo siento, no hablo mucho español, pero me gustaría que," means "Sorry, I don't speak much Spanish, but I like you". You need to learn phrases like this to break down the barriers on your homestay in San Jorge La Laguna. Be creative and kind and you can't go wrong.
- Travel by local bus to famous market in Chichicastenango
- Head to San Pedro La Laguna (approx. 1.5 hours)
- Be introduced to your host family for tonight's homestay
- Houses in San Jorge La Laguna are very basic, your room may only consist of a couple of beds with clean bedding, the bathroom will be outside the room and is shared with the rest of the family
- The mother of the family will cook dinner and breakfast for you, meals are basic but filling
Day 28 - Panajachel
Guatemala is actually a Spanish word, meaning "the great outdoors". OK, that's not true. But it could be. Mountains, volcanoes and a picturesque lake are the backdrop for swimming, wind surfing, hiking, kayaking, or paragliding in Panajachel.
- Head to Panajachel
- Perhaps visit the smaller, neighbouring villages by boat
- There are a number of community cooperatives that can visit, the proceeds from these will return directly to the community
Day 29-31 - Antigua
Nothing says, "Heck yeah we're back in Antigua!" quite like having a big night out then taking a trip up the Pacaya Volcano.
- Stop by Antigua, a World Heritage-listed town
- Spend two nights in Antigua, a World Heritage-listed town
- Perhaps journey to the summit of one of the nearby volcanoes and take in the vistas of the surrounding verdant hills
- Perhaps take a scenic horse ride, a bike ride or go white-water rafting on one of the highland rivers
- Opportunity to explore the city’s cobblestone streets at your leisure
- The trip ends today after breakfast
What to Know
An experienced regional tour guide and there will be the services of local guides at some sites. All transport, accommodation and sightseeing.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, meals, entrance fees, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
This tour passes through volcanic areas. In the instance a volcano becomes potentially dangerous and authorities declare nearby towns unsafe for travel, the itinerary will be re-routed. Where possible, Geckos will provide advance notice of such changes. At short notice, when this is not possible, your tour leader will provide up to date information on behalf of Geckos.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 04 Nov 2014 - 04 Dec 2014 Available US $2,195 Book Now 16 Dec 2014 - 15 Jan 2015 Available US $2,195 Book Now 30 Dec 2014 - 29 Jan 2015 Available US $2,195 Book Now 06 Jan 2015 - 05 Feb 2015 Available US $2,195 Book Now 27 Jan 2015 - 26 Feb 2015 Available US $2,195 Book Now 24 Feb 2015 - 26 Mar 2015 Available US $2,130 Book Now 07 Apr 2015 - 07 May 2015 Available US $2,130 Book Now 05 May 2015 - 04 Jun 2015 Available US $2,130 Book Now 28 Jul 2015 - 27 Aug 2015 Available US $2,130 Book Now
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