Mexico & Guatemala Explorer Trip Notes
At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
Trip code : psmg
Trip length : 9
Trip starts in : Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Trip ends in : Antigua
Maximum group size : maximum 15
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mayan city of Tikal
- 1200-year-old cliff-top ruins of Tulum
“I’ve travelled to Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu but I have to say that the ruins at Tikal topped them both. We visited at dawn when you could see animals such as coatimundi, agouti and spider monkeys emerging from the jungle. This was pretty magical in itself, but being able to climb on the ruins made me feel like a real explorer. The fact that there were so few other tourists, combined with our fantastic guide who had a wealth of knowledge, really brought the sites to life.” Claire Baxter, Destination Manager North & Central America.
Playa del Carmen
- Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. The day will be free until a welcome meeting at around 6pm. Check with the hotel reception for details. There is often adinner arrnaged for those interested after the orientation.
- With azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but without the party atmosphere. Spend your time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along the white sands. In the evenings kick back and watch the waves with a margarita. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.
- In order to make the most of what Playa has to offer, we strongly recommend that you extend your stay in Playa del Carmen for one or two extra days. Please contact us if you need us to assist you with additional accommodation. If you can afford a few extra days in Playa, you may want to spend time snorkelling among the mangroves or strolling along the white sands. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.
- You will venture to the cliff-top ruins of Tulum today. From the crumbling walls of the city ruins, you will enjoy breathtaking views across the coastline of the Carribean below.
- Dating back to to the year 1200, these ruins are quite young by Mayan standards.
- The largest of the temples here is Castillo. Once coated in stucco, painted and decorated with masks, this temple has also served as a fortress.
- Temple of the Winds is perched over the water, and is reputed whistle when a hurricane approaches as a warning.
- From here you will get back on the minibus and travel to Chetumal, where you'll catch a water taxi to the island of Caye Caulker.
- ust a short boat ride from the coast is the island group of the Belize Cayes.
- You will be based at one of the more popular of the many islands here, Caye Caulker. From here you can arrange day trips to other Caye if you are in search of the best reefs for diving. You will notice that each of the islands has its own character, but there is an unmistakable Carribean charm about all of them. You may also choose to take a local boat out to the reef of Caulker itself.
- There is a half-day of snorkelling on the reef included in your trip, where you will most likely see sharks, rays, fish and coral. You can upgrade this to a full-day snorkelling package at an additional cost if you wish - where you might also see turtles and manatees.
- Spend the afternoon sipping cocktails overlooking the water, swimming off the Split, or perhaps shopping for local souvenirs.
- You will stop at the Belize Zoo on the way to San Ignacio today.
- The zoo was initially designed as a tool to teach the Belizean people about local animals and the benefits of conservation of their habitats. Though the zoo is quite small, all of the animals here are local, including jaguars, ocelots, toucans, harpy eagles and crocodiles.
- From the zoo you will head on to San Ignacio (approx. 3 hours). It is situated in the highlands, and is surrounded by forest, waterfalls, rivers, and Mayan ruins, a beautiful place in its own right, and a great base for uncovering the beauty and history of the area.
- You will have a free day here, with some optional activies available for those who are interested. You may like to go on a day trip the impressive Mayan ceremonial centre, Xunantunich, where you can enjoy expansive views across the surrounding countryside. There is also a unique stucco frieze on the east side of the temple. Part of the joy of this optional trip is the hand-cranked ferry ride across the river.
- You might prefer to spend a day exploring the Mountain Pine Ridge area - a region blessed with beautiful waterfalls, a remarkable cave system, and swimming holes. Tunichil Muknal is possibly the most intriguing of the caves in the area, it is essentially a living museum. You can wade into the cave through water to discover fasinating rellics, including crystallised skeletons and ceremic pots preserved naturally by the cave for over 1400 years.
- If you fancy a more adventurous day, canoeing or tubing through the jungle can also be arranged. Those seeking a more peaceful and relaxing experience might enoiy San Ignacio's butterfly garden.
- You will continue by minibus to Tikal today.
- Home to some of the most magnificent Mayan ruins, the Tikal National Park is awash with wonder. The five granite temples of Tikal tower above the impressive jungle canopy, while a veritable feast of smaller structures remain hidden among the jungle growth. There are over 3000 structures in total, which once housed over 100,000 people. You will be taken to see the highlights of the area.
- For those who are interested, climbing to the top of the ruins will provide you with unsurpassed views over the jungle, you may even glimpse of a toucan or macaw.
- You will stay overnight in the park, before a dawn tour of the ruins. Our accommodation is in a jungle eco-lodge. While facilities at the lodge are a little more basic, it is a great experience staying in the jungle, and hearing jungle sounds as you fall asleep. Electricity at the lodge is limited and is turned off at around 9-10pm each day.
- You will continue on to the central mountains and Antigua Guetemala today. A beautifully preserved UNESCO World Heritage site, Antigua is home to a plethora of Spanish Baroque architecture and ruined churches. Once the capital of Spanish Guatemala, today Antigua is a town of over 30,000 people nestled between three towering volcanoes. The captial was moved to Guatemala City after the earthquakes of 1773.
- It is a very popular stop for travellers because of its historical relics, as well as the pleasant ambience and vibrancy of the local people. There are a number of interesting markets, restaurants and cafes; be sure to try the famous Guatemalan coffee! It is also a place renowned for its many Spanish language schools. There is no shortage of things to do and places to discover during your time here.
- You will visit a women's cooperative while you are in town. Founded in 1992, the coopoerative is an independent, grassroots organisation designed to assist community development, health, education, clean water and income generation. Skills like cooking, weaving and textiles are employed by the women here to demonstrate traditional crafts.
- Your trip will come to an end on Day 9 after breakfast.
While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.
- Enjoy a destination in depth and comfort
- Tourist class hotels and family homestays
- Both private and local transport
- A number of included activities and meals throughout
- Fully trained and experienced leader.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
On some trips we’ll push you out of your comfort zone to ensure an authentic experience, on other trips you will stay in amazing places where there is no ‘roughing it’ involved. There is plenty of choice so you can select a trip with as much activity or as little as you wish. Our small groups ensure a more intimate experience and that the impact on the local environment and community is kept to a minimum. Extra Comfort tours offer rich and rewarding adventures and are stress-free, safe and, most importantly, fun!
- Innovative itineraries offering authentic travel encounters
- A mix of active adventure, culture, wildlife, sightseeing and relaxation
- Well appointed, quality hotels in central locations
- Arrival transfers, transport (mostly private) and accommodation included
- Many meals and adventure activities also included
- Fully trained and experienced local leaders
This tour is operated by our partners Peregrine Adventures
Local tour leader, local guides, arrival transfer, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees.
Airport departure tax, visas where required, meals not included in the itinerary, insurance, laundry, any optional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.
8 breakfasts, ,
Most of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.