|Belize, Guatemala, Mexico|
|Mexico City||Antigua Guatemala|
Know your Mayans from your Aztecs:
- Baby Aztec boys were presented with bows, arrows and a miniture chest shield. Girls got a spindle, washing stone and a pot.
- The Mayans had a ball game where members of the losing team were tied up and decapitated before having their heads rolled down the steps to the plaza floor below.
- Mayans dangled objects in front of their babies to make them permanently cross-eyed.
- When the Aztecs ran out of food they would eat their dead enemies.
(Was Mayas & Aztecs)
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.
Puebla's famous for mole poblano - a sauce made with over 20 ingredients like chilli, chocolate, nuts and cinnamon. Fill your bag with painted wooden animals, woven rugs, embroidered clothing and pottery at the markets in Oaxaca ('wha-haw-kah').
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.
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.
Cancun's divided into two parts. For the real Cancun, stay away from the hotel zone and head to the main city where the locals are friendlier, the drinks are stronger and the food is so spicy you'll regret boasting to your waiter: "Don't worry, I can handle it."
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.
Roadways, marketplaces, jails, temples and palaces - it's all here. Well, it was here about 1500 years ago. Nowadays it's a little different, with a lot more jungle.
We suggest you stuff your mouth with tortillas so you won't be asked to pronounce anything.
• Gecko's expert English-speaking regional leader throughout the tour, and local guides most sites.
• Orientation walking tour in Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Cristobel, Palenque, Merida, Caye Caulker, Flores and Antigua.
• Exploration of six archaeological ruin sites with local guides and entry included: Teotihuacan, Monte Alban, Palenque, the most famous Mayan site in Mexico - Chichen Itza, pre-Columbian walled city ruins of Tulum; and ancient city of Tikal.
• Visit to indigenous highland villages near San Cristobal.
• Time at the waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol Ha.
• Free time to relax on the beaches of Cancun and Caye Caulker.
• Free time to explore Mexico City, Spanish colonial Puebla; Oaxaca, the 'White City' of Merida, and colonial town of Antigua.
• Return speedboat ride from Belize City to the palm-fringed island of Caye Caulker.
• Guided walk to the summit of one of the volcanoes near Antigua.
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.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Important - A Word on Central America
Central America is different and that’s what makes it such an fascinating destination. You will find that things don’t always go according to plan or work the way they do back home. Buses and planes often run late and sometimes the water in your bathroom can run cold and the electricity fail. The locals live with these issues everyday. In order to get the most out of your holiday, a degree of patience, good humour and understanding is a definite advantage. If you approach your holiday with an open and enquiring mind, the warm welcome you receive from Central Americans will ensure you a rich and rewarding holiday experience.
Public Holiday Inconveniences
Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, most museums also tend to be closed on Mondays.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
9 December 2013