Antigua

La Ruta Maya

15 days
from
3 135 €
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.3 / 5 from 26 reviews >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
AUR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–15

The ruins, rainforest, villages and beaches of the Mayan heartland

The Mayans forged a powerful and mysterious empire across southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Following ‘La Ruta Maya’ the magnificent cities, pyramids and temples are properly explored. These incredible architectural feats have captivated historians since their discovery. This ancient Mayan civilisation is also apparent in the customs, language and dress of the Indian towns and villages passed through. There are also lively colonial towns in all three countries, active volcanoes and the palm-fringed Caye Caulker, a paradise for snorkelling and diving.

Highlights

  • An in-depth exploration of the highlights of the Mayan world
  • Guided visits to the Mayan sites of Palenque, Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Tulum, Tikal and Xunantunich
  • Colourful colonial cities of Antigua, San Cristobal de las Casas, Campeche and Merida
  • Traditional communities in the Mexican highlands
  • Two nights at beautiful Lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes
  • Idyllic Caribbean waters in Mexico and Belize

Key information

  • 14 nights in a mixture of standard and comfortable hotels, all with en suite facilities
  • Travel by private minibus, boat and internal flight
  • Several long drives
  • Day of the Dead Festival departures (AUX)

What's included

  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • All breakfasts and 1 dinner included
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
020 420 22 20
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Antigua.

    Those on group flights will be met at Guatemala City airport and taken to our start hotel in Antigua (approx. 1 hour drive). Those on land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    City tour; to Panajachel.

    Many travellers agree that Antigua is one of the most attractive cities in Latin America. Rightly declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the colourful, colonial city attracts visitors from all over for its unique history and renowned Spanish language schools. Above the tiled roofs of pastel houses there are impressive views of the Agua and Fuego volcanoes, standing in excess of 3700m above the city. Antigua was the capital of the Spanish empire in Central America from 1543 to 1773, a highly religious period that left the city with an abundance of convents and churches packed with religious art. Unfortunately many buildings are now in ruins from centuries of earthquake damage - our guided walking tour of the city will bring its fascinating history to life.

    In the afternoon we drive for approximately 2.5 hours into the highlands to the ancient market town of Chichicastenango, where centuries-old economic and cultural traditions of the Kaqchikel people continue to thrive. A further drive of 1.5 hours brings us to Panajachel, a small town on the shore of Lake Atitlan. Guatemala's largest lake is dominated by three volcanoes and was formed following an ancient eruption. Many of the villages that exist around the lake are only accessible by boat.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Boat trip on Lake Atitlan.

    Today we will explore some of the area surrounding Lake Atitlan. A 60-minute scenic boat ride on the lake takes us to the village of San Juan La Laguna, where we will visit the home studios of local painters and a textile cooperative where women are engaged in hand weaving and natural dyeing processes. We continue by boat to Santiago Atitlan where we can learn about the Mayan traditions and beliefs from our local guides. At certain times of the year, it may be possible to visit a shaman's house to see this fascinating practice, held amidst clouds of burning incense.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    To San Cristobal de las Casas.

    Today we begin early and drive north, crossing the border into Mexico's southern state of Chiapas. The road takes us through rugged mountain scenery before we come to the old capital of the region, San Cristobal de Las Casas. This is one of the most attractive colonial towns in Mexico, with many old churches and squares amongst a lively café scene. It is also a major centre for the Tzotzil Indians, each group having different, colourful costumes. The extensive market has some good handicrafts for sale and plenty of interesting foodstuffs on offer! San Cristobal has a very pleasant climate because of its altitude. . Today is a full day drive of around 11 hours including stops for lunch in a simple restaurant in a small town (not included) and the border crossing.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Explore San Cristobal de las Casas and nearby villages.

    We visit the nearby Indian villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan this morning. These small communities are very traditional and many of the villagers continue to follow ancient religious practices within the Catholic churches. In the main church of Chamula, where locals practice a blend of Catholicism and Mayan customs, people sit on the pine needle covered floor surrounded by dozens of candles, chanting prayers in an ancient dialect of Tzotzil. Our guide will explain some of the local traditions before we enter the church to see this practice for ourselves. Visitors should note that when visiting churches in the villages, photography of the worshippers and the church interiors is expressly forbidden. Your guide will explain the full reasons behind this, but please remember to exercise discretion when taking pictures, always seeking permission before using your camera. In the afternoon, there will be some free time to explore San Cristobal de las Casas at your leisure.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit Agua Azul Waterfall; to Palenque.

    Today we descend from the highlands to the humid forests of north-eastern Chiapas - expect some winding roads but plenty of spectacular scenery en route. We break our journey at the Agua Azul Falls, a glittering series of cataracts which often appear blue due to the high mineral content. In Spanish the name of the falls means 'Blue Water'. (Please note that on the rare occasions where we are unable to visit Agua Azul Falls, we will endeavour to visit the Misol Ha waterfalls instead) Our journey will continue to the small town of Palenque, where the Mayan site of the same name is located just on the outskirts. Enjoy an optional trip to El Panchán for dinner this evening, a nearby bohemian rainforest hangout (dinner not included). The total driving time today is approximately 8.5 hours, including stops.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Tour of Palenque; to Campeche.

    This morning we have a guided tour of the impressive Mayan site of Palenque. The jungle-covered complex is one of the most famous in Mexico and is located in the low hills of Chiapas. The pyramids, sanctuaries and temples, with their sculptured wall-panels and roofs are remarkably well preserved and are probably the finest surviving examples of Mayan buildings. In the afternoon, we drive for around 7 hours to the historic fortified city of Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which boats incredibly well preserved colonial architecture. Most impressive are the city walls, built to protect the city from the constant attacks of English and Dutch buccaneers and pirates during the 16th and 17th centuries. Arrive in the early evening and head out to sample some local cuisine overlooking the Bay of Campeche - seafood is a local specialty and widely available.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Merida via Uxmal ruins.

    From Campeche we travel for around 2 hours to reach the fascinating Mayan ruins of Uxmal. Uxmal dates back to the late classic period, having been built by the Xiu tribe. The site is dominated by the Pyramid of the Magician and the Nunnery Quadrangle which consists of long buildings with elaborately carved façades. There are remnants of a ball court used in ritual games that sometimes ended in sacrifice, and the whole site is quite exposed, which is a real contrast to the ruins of Palenque. From Uxmal it is around a 1 hour and 30 minute drive to the bustling colonial city of Mérida. Many of its buildings were constructed using stones from the Mayan city which existed on the site and these are still visible in the walls of the imposing cathedral. The city flourished following the conquest and the 19th century homes designed in French style contribute to the attractive appearance of the historical centre. We arrive in the middle to late afternoon and will enjoy a walking tour of the city; the main square is particularly impressive when lit up at night.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit Chichen Itza; to Tulum.

    We will spend the morning exploring one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centres at Chichén Itza, located approximately 2 hours from Mérida. The impressive El Castillo Pyramid sits in the middle of the site and is surrounded by temples, palaces and ball courts. Nearby, we stop to visit the Cenote Sagrado ('Sacred Well'), dredged in the early 20th century and found to contain precious gold, silver and jade artifacts as well as the remains of sacrifice victims. After the tour we stop in Valladolid to further explore the mix of Mayan and colonial Spanish culture on the Yucatan before driving for around 3 hours to the fantastic beach community of Tulum, where we stay for the next 2 nights. Just outside the town lies one of the most photographed sites in the Yucatan; the ruins of an ancient Mayan city that overlook the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Visit Tulum ruins; swim in a cenote; free afternoon.

    This morning we have a short tour of the ancient Mayan fortress of Tulum followed by an optional visit to the sacred underground Mayan waters to cool off in a nearby cenote that is suitable for swimming. The most famous buildings in the complex are the ruins that overlook the lapping waves of the Caribbean, but there are also several temples, ritual platforms and houses to be explored. In common with many other Mayan cities, the whole site is surrounded by a huge defensive wall. This afternoon is free to relax on the beautiful Tulum beach.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    To Belize city; boat to Caye Caulker.

    This morning we drive for around 3 hours to Chetumal and cross the border into Belize. We continue another 2.5 hours to Belize city, stopping for lunch en route, where we board the water taxi for the 60 minute transfer to Caye Caulker. This laid-back Caribbean Island is just west of the Belize Barrier Reef and offers fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities. There will be some border formalities this morning, but this afternoon has been left free to relax into island life and understand the meaning of Belize's motto: 'no shirt, no shoes, no problem!' The tiny village of Caye Caulker has only three sandy main streets (Front, Middle and Back Street), but they are full of bars and restaurants, many of which serve excellent fresh seafood.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Free day.

    Today is a free day for optional excursions and activities, or simply for relaxation. Diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking and fishing can all be arranged locally. As the island is small, it is very easy to complete a circuit on foot. As well as the marine activities there is also a forest reserve in the northern part of the island which offers great bird watching in the mangroves.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Boat to Belize City; to El Remate via Xunantunich.

    We leave Caye Caulker by boat bound for Belize City (approx. 1 hour) and then drive from the coast into the heavily forested and sparsely populated Maya Mountains, encountering some spectacular scenery en route. We will stop at the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich to explore its temples and palaces. Located on a ridge close to the border with Guatemala, the site has some fine stucco facades as well as several elaborately carved stelae and an impressive 40 metre high pyramid. After looking around the ruins, we cross the border and descend into the humid eastern lowlands of Guatemala. Our final destination is El Remate on Lake Peten Itza, where we have the opportunity to learn more about sacred plants in a traditional Mayan garden and enjoy a group dinner. Total drive time today is just under 3 hours (2 hours between Belize City and the border with an additional 45 minutes to El Remate).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 14

    Visit Tikal; fly from Flores to Guatemala City.

    We make an early start this morning to reach Tikal, the most famous and probably the most impressive of all Mayan sites (approx. 45 minute drive). Here, in the middle of the jungle are nearly 20 square miles of classic Mayan ruins, surrounded by the dense jungles of Petén. We take a tour of the city, visiting the Q complex, Main Plaza, North and Central Acropolis, Seven Temples and Mundo Perdido (Lost World). Tikal is a superb area for observing wildlife in the jungle environment and visitors regularly see Howler monkeys, Spider monkeys, toucan, Weaver birds, coatimundi and even tarantula (if you know where to look and wish to find one!) In the afternoon, we head to the town of Flores and take a short flight to Guatemala City, where we will spend our final night.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Guatemala City.

    The trip ends after breakfast for land only passengers. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for their flight back to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Belize

Holders of British, Australian, New Zealand, US, Canadian and most EU passports do not require visas for Belize. However, please note that if flying via the USA, you will have to clear immigration during transit. In this case, you will be required to get an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) prior to flying if travelling via the USA under the Visa Waiver Scheme (as is the case for most UK citizens). Please see www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information. Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a .

Guatemala

Holders of British, Australian, New Zealand, US, Canadian and most EU passports do not require visas for Guatemala.

Mexico

Holders of British, Australian, New Zealand, US, Canadian and most EU passports do not require visas for Mexico.
However, please note that if flying via the USA, you will have to clear immigration during transit. In this case, you will be required to get an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) prior to flying if travelling via the USA under the Visa Waiver Scheme (as is the case for most UK citizens). Please see www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information.

Vaccinations

Belize

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Guatemala

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Mexico

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a .

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 dinner included

Breakfast generally consist of fruits, cereals, beans and eggs. Meals vary from around US$10-18 for lunch and dinner in Guatemala and the Mexican highlands to around US$15 - 30 in the Yucatan area and Belize. A beer costs on average US$3-5.

Weather

On the coast and in the lowland areas there is little variation in temperatures between the seasons. These are likely to be 28ºC to 33ºC average daytime maximum and 18ºC to 23ºC night time minimum. On the coast the heat and humidity are moderated by sea breezes, but inland it is likely to be quite humid. The wet season is from June to October, when it normally rains on average one day in three. The rains tend to be short and heavy, alternating with pleasant clear spells. During the other months rain is much less likely, but there is the chance of an occasional storm at almost any time. In the hills the temperatures are moderated by the altitude, and there is more seasonal variation. Between November and February the daytime maximum is around 20ºC, rising to 27ºC in summer. Nights are much cooler, around 6ºC in winter and 12ºC in summer. Note that it can be surprisingly cold in the highlands on winter nights. The pattern of rainfall is similar to the lowlands.

Guatemala City

Guatemala City

Is this trip for you?

Some of the areas that we visit have been affected by powerful hurricanes in past years, damage from which has resulted in itinerary changes. We will always try and maintain the integrity of the tour as much as possible, but please be aware that adverse weather may affect tours in this region in the future. This trip includes several long drives and you should be prepared for this. Border crossings can sometimes be delayed with significant queues and formalities. Being in the tropics, most of the region is hot and humid, particularly during the summer months and inland - drinking plenty of water and dressing in loose cotton clothing is advisable.

Call us on
020 420 22 20
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will stay in a variety of colonial and modern properties, all with en suite facilities. Some of the hotels have pools and most have wifi/internet.

Some of the accommodation highlights will include: a property on the shore of Lake Atitlan with wonderful views of the lake, a property 2km from Palenque surrounded by forest, a Spanish colonial residence in the heart of San Cristobal de las Casas and a hotel overlooking the beach in Tulum.

Single supplements are available on request.

Call us on
020 420 22 20
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
020 420 22 20
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Neil Frankum
    Trip:

    Ruta Maya

    With all trips where you are visiting lots of temples etc there is the potential to loose interest after seeing too much of the same. Luckily on this trip the sites visited have been carefully chosen to keep the interest because of their differences, each with its own distinct flavour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Palenque and Tikal for the Mayan history. Snorkelling on the Belize Barrier Reef for the wildlife. Lake Atitlan for the scenery. Seeing Volcan Fuego erupt for a reminder that mother nature is bigger than all of us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the long bus journeys. Be prepared for the heat in the lowlands (mid-30s most days, and one day was into the 40s).
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Gyan Fernando
    Trip:

    Mayan Adventure

    As described and we started off from Antigua, Guatemala on Easter Sunday. Then on to Lago Atitlan and the colourful Mayan Culture, border crossing into Mexico to visit Palanque and other Mayan sites, cross the border into Belize and back in to Guatemala.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots of them but I thought the distant volcanic eruptions were rather inspirational in that they reflected the fragility of life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando Barraza at first did not seem a good leader. Maybe he was rather careful with the new Conquistadors that we were and was very careful with the choice of drinking water, restaurants etc. On the way we came to like him and vice versa and he was with us until the last day. If anybody was at fault in the day to day details it was not him and maybe it was us. He would make sure that our rooms were in good condition, within minutes of us getting into our new accommodation, and with a discrete knock on the door. I was the last in the group to fly out of Guatemala and he made sure that everything was fine.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is a very hot country. Do drink a lot of electrolyte fluid not just water. Look up salt depletion etc on "Doctor" Google. There are a lot of re hydration fluids available locally and do take a lot of salt with your food. Our tour leader Armando, in his own way, did persuade us to drink coconut water based fluids. Good shoes, long trousers of a light-weight kind and sensible upper clothing of the non-offensive kind will help with mosquitoes, churches and snakes!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Richard Muia
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    A great trip to soak in the Mayan culture across different regions and to see the ancient Mayan civilisations greatest creations. A good way to see parts of Mexico and Guatemala not on the main tourist trails.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    waking up at Lake Atitlan and wandering down to the lake side; watching the clouds skim the top of the volcanoes. Diving at Tulum and snorkeling in Belize; the reefs are teeming with life. Swimming with nurse sharks and sting rays was an unforgettable experience. Climbing the Mayan temples in the rain forests and upon reaching the top, surveying the dark green canopy backdropped against the bluest sky.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was an excellent leader and very knowledgeable about all the countries we visited and the Mayan civilisations. He would plan ahead to make sure we got to the sites before the coaches arrived and got too busy; as well as making sure everyone was doing ok and had plenty of water, sunscreen, insect repellent etc. All the drivers were great too, especially Javier our driver for the Mexican Leg.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long days travelling in the bus. It was comfortable but some roads were a little bumpy. Stops were made every few hours. Plenty of mosquito repellent; my ankles were the favourite spots that I got bitten. No need to overpack, washing can be done at a few stops on the way, I got mine done in Belize for a reasonable rate, done same day.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    David Potts
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    An excellent adventure ,no hard slogs . My companion had major surgery on her spine four months before tour,and with the help of guide Armando Barraza, she really had a great time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of the trip was inspirational,among the ruins ,swimming in the caye,and the cenote,resting and having a few drinks at Tulum beach.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A great guy,helpful in every way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    leave half your luggage at home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus ,you did us proud
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Mandy Davis
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    I could not have asked for a better introduction to the countries visited in the itinery. The areas we stayed in Guatamala were surrounded by volcanoes, but due to crops being burned there was always a smoggy haze that obscured their beauty. Mexico exceeded my expectations, a beautiful country with the people to match. As we were out of season, many of the visited sites up to Chichen Itza were uncrowded which added to the delight of the group. On the Caribbean coast we stayed at a lovely all inclusive resort for 2 nights which was a bit of a shock as it was only rated as a standard hotel, we all thought it should have been classed a comfortable hotel. Belize again was a stunning country where we stayed on the island of Caye Caulker. I can highly recommend the snorkelling on the island. Alcoholic drinks were expensive on the island though. The trip notes tell you about some of the long drives, the longest was about 11 hours, but there were stops every 2 hours of so, giving time for bathroom stops and stretching of legs which was greatly needed. I also believe that there are more speed humps in Guatamala and Mexico then anywhere in the world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Learning to swim in some of the hotel pools and going snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea. Watching the sunset as a group also over the Caribbean Sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amundo was an excellent leader, he sorted out a couple of problems that the group had. He ensured my luggage made it back to Guatamala city at the end of the trip when it had been stuck in Florres. He was always smiling and ensured that those wishing to join a group meal every night were made welcome and took us to local restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    After all the travelling to get to Guatamala, I wish I had booked an extra night at the start to get over the jet lag. Be prepared for the long drives. Weather is very humid, there are places to get laundry done along the way but not every stop.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it, one of my trips yet!!
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Stephen Brierley
    Trip:

    Experience the Indigenous Way

    This trip is an excellent way to learn about the Mayan ways from the Pre-Classical period in antiquity all the way through to the struggles of the Mayan people in today's world. Be prepared to swat up on some amazing history along the way. The tour begins in the UNESCO-listed city of Antigua and then proceeds across various settlements with significant Mayan populations in Guatemala and Mexico . The marks of civil wars of the 1900s are never far away. Our guide Armando seemed to be a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of local life and history. The ruins are well-selected and interspersed with great sights. Highlights for me included swimming in Cascadas de Agua Azul and in a cenote in Yucatan. I loved the groove of Caye Caulker and snorkelling on the reef is a must. Tikal was the climax of the tour with a walk in the jungle accompanied by birds and monkeys. The panorama over the landscape from the highest pyramid was marvellous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the local people in the Indian villages - especially the union of local and Catholic religions into a unique indigenous way of life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was experienced, generous and kind. It was difficult to believe he could maintain such enthusiasm after 12 years in the trade.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Despite Exodus advice to take US dollars, ATM's are widely available and efficient. Juggling the different currencies can be difficult. It is not as easy to use US dollars in Mexico as it is in Guatemala and Belize.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some days are very long with very early starts. There is still discontent in Chiapas with the Zapatista movement making frequent nonviolent protests.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Peter Woolley
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    This was an excellent trip with a good balance of activities. The Mayan sites were impressive particularly: Tikal is spectacular, Palenque was very good Uxmal which is very special. Chichen Itza is far too busy but the way this visit was planned ensured that we saw it before the hordes arrived. Antigua and Lake Atitlan are also both very special places. Other highlights were the coast at Tulum and Caye Caulker and the very beautiful Agua Azul. Some of the towns such as San Cristobel and Campeche are just lovely. We were particularly lucky to be with our guide Armando. He is so well organised, friendly, perceptive of people's needs and knowledgeable. He was always relaxed and happy and fun to be with. I'm not sure how he could possibly have been better - if you go on a trip with this guy you can be sure it will be good. We also had some good food and stayed in several really lovely hotels. It is made clear in the notes that there are long journeys - you need to be prepared for this. However I would thoroughly recommend this tour, especially if Armando is the guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at Tikal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando couldn't be faulted in any way. He did everything he could to make sure we were safe and enjoyed ourselves.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the long journeys as mentioned in the trip notes.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Deborah French
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    Plenty of mayan sites to see plus the added bonus of some holiday time on the beach (you will need it). I was prepared for the long days travelling and I think it was worth it to be in more remote areas of Guatemala.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with sharks was a great optional extra.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a lot of bussing so if you don't like being on a bus this isn't the trip for you. There is an internal flight in a tiny plane which came as a bit of a shock!
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Nicola Quick
    Trip:

    An amazing 2 weeks

    We absolutely loved our trip! So much was crammed into the 2 weeks - be prepared for the long drives which are mentioned in the trip notes (we found some to be slightly longer than listed), but the travelling is a must if you are to fit in everything this trip has to offer. We loved the variety of places visited on the trip, with a good balance between Mayan ruins, colonial towns, lakes and beaches. The hotels were mostly very nice, the highlights were the hotel in the jungle in Palenque and the all inclusive hotel set on the beach in Tulum. The hotel in Belize was a bit of a disappointment.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a volcano erupt in Guatemala, seeing our first Mayan ruin, swimming with sting rays and nurse sharks in Belize - we would highly recommend the half day snorkelling trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader Armando was fantastic. He really got to know the group, had excellent knowledge of all the areas we visited and went above and beyond what we would have expected from a group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the long drives. The buses are air-conditioned and comfortable but bring something to entertain yourself! Also be prepared for early starts. These ranged from 6am-9am with most being around 7.30/8 , though this was evidently necessary in order to fit everything in and the days never seemed too long. We took mostly US dollars and some Mexican pesos. US dollars are fine for Belize, and the tour guide will take you to a bank to exchange them into Guatemalan Quetzals, which are hard to get hold of in the UK. We found that the £100 each we took in pesos was almost enough for our 8 days in Mexico, and we got a better rate changing this in the UK than if we had changed our dollars into pesos in Mexico. We spent around £400 each in total over the 2 weeks - everything was cheaper than we had expected!
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Elizabeth Brasher
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    This trip more than lived up to expectations. The Mayan sites are breathtaking, the scenery in places stunning, and the programme very varied - including wildlife spotting, snorkelling, etc, as well as the historical sites. There is a lot of driving, and some early starts, but it's not arduous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the coloured clothes and friendly smiles throughout Guatemala. Seeing the Mayan temples rising high above the surrounding jungle. Seeing a coatimundi in the wild!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very knowledgeable, and very patient....

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the long journeys (including the delays at Houston if you go on the group flight). Try to be clear from the beginning on how you'll handle your money as you travel through three countries (dollars plus a little local currency seemed to be the best answer) The weather is more variable than you might expect - we got very wet and quite cold on a couple of occasions

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is one of the most varied trips we've done with Exodus - all three countries are very different and interesting.

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

For the 2016 and 2017 Day of the Dead Festival departures, please see the La Ruta Maya - Day of the Dead Festival Departure page.

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

Trips you might also like

Call us on 020 420 22 20