For many adventurers, the allure of travel is in the land itself.
- Wildlife & Polar
Wildlife & Polar highlights
- Types of Holiday
Popular Cultural Holiday
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The trip was great from the first day until the last, It was like traveling with a family more than anything else. We were well taken care of with recommendations for what to do with spare time, restaurants, rest stops, we were all on this adventure together.
This is hard to say but we visited a small Mayan site on the trip to Guatemala that was on an island in the river that bordered with Mexico, we were there with only a handful of other tourists and because of this were able to spot monkeys and other animals on our walk through the site that would normally be scared away by the crowds. The site was great because you felt that you were seeing a unique site in a remote setting like it was when it was first discovered.
Eduardo (Lalo) was probably the best tour leader I have had contact with in my many years traveling, he was completely attentive, made sure the bus rides were broken up with rest stops for bathrooms and snacks, if he didn't know something he would find out and let us know, if we wanted more information about something he would make sure he got that information to us. When things went wrong he made decisions and kept the trip moving. He is a great tour leader.
When you get to the southern part of Mexico it will be Hot Humid and Buggy, be prepared, but the hotels are all great (except one was ok) they all have wifi and AC, have fun and go with whatever happens.
We were all of course concerned with the water and every Hotel had a sign warning you not to drink the water. The bus driver in Mexico had arranged a 5 Gallon water cooler jug of water in the bus with a pump on top so we always had good water to drink every day, no hunting for bottled water each morning, Lalo called the driver in Guatemala and had him buy the same setup so our bus there had it as well. This should be standard on EVERY bus tour that is run, very simple and cheep and we could fill our bottles without having to buy disposable bottles at every stop.
A great range of sites and activities. The hotels were all good and several were characterful and attractive. The food exceeded expectations, particularly in Guatemala. The whole experieice was made even better by the group we were with who were all great company.
There were so many great moments it's hard to pick out the highlights but the pyramids at Tikal, in the jungle, complete with a family of spider monkeys, and the scarlet macaws flying around the Mayan remains at Copan will live long in the memory. The optional boat trip up the canyon, with close-up sitghtings of several crocodile as well as numerous birds was also a highlight.
Our leader, Eduardo, was knowledgable, very helpful and extremely concientious. His obvious sincere concern for everybody's wellbeing and enjoyment of the trip helped to make it particulary special.
Be prepared for some early starts, long drives and heat and humidity at jungle sites.
We flew out on a direct filght with British Airways and back via Mardid with Iberia rather than using the group flights - Exodus were happy to book these alternate flights fo us. This avoided a stopover in Houston and gave us an extra half day in Antigua at the end. It's worth flying out a day early if you can so you can visit the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
This was a fabulous holiday and very well organised. Our accommodation was excellent and in a couple of places, quite outstanding being set in old colonial buildings. Breakfasts differed from place to place but included eggs, cereal and bread and coffee. Requests for something different could usually be accommodated. The restaurants our guide recommended varied from international to typical of the country and were all good and we did not have major stomach problems. Our group consisted of 14 people of similar ages, very well travelled and easy to get
along with. We had two Americans and two Canadians who joined our group in Mexico City and it was very pleasant to have their company. We saw widely different scenery, lots of wildlife and our guide was knowledgeable and had plenty of information to hand out about birds, the Mayans and general history of the countries we passed through. However I must add that this holiday was classed as 1 - leisurely - and I think it should be a 2. We visited many Mayan sites and in nearly all cases there were magnificent pyramids which we could climb to see the view or look over the site. Admittedly we did not have to climb the pyramids but who could resist and we would have missed out so much by staying earth bound? Climbing the pyramids was really hard work, they were very high, very steep and the steps were worn and irregular and usually with nothing to hold onto. It was also very hot although our guide did try to arrive early in the morning before the crowds and the sun was too hot. Even the very fittest of our group had to pause occasionally as they climbed the 200 or more steep steps to the tops of irresistible pyramids. There were several very long full day drives, with stops every two hours and very early morning starts, one about 5.00 am. Our mini buses were air conditioned, clean and in very good shape, but snug, so we were usually rather stiff when we reached our destination. Local guides were very good with excellent English. Optional excursions were well worth doing and interesting.
There were so many inspiring moments it is had to choose. However two come to mind. The first was the family weaving business we visited where both husband and wife spun and dyed wool to weave beautiful tradional rugs and other handicrafts. The lady's English was exceptional and she was obviously very proud of their business. The second memorable moment was watching the Easter parades in Antigua. We arrived late after a very long day and terrible traffic and were just in time to see the long columns of young boys and girls carrying the Easter floats through the streets accompanied by musicians. Everyone was in their best clothes, even the babies and it was a solemn and joyous occasion.
Our guide Eduardo was fantastic. 10/10. He was organised and flexible and very patient. He didn't seem to mind repeating instructions and was always cheerful, particularly important at 4.30 am and at the end of a very long day! He had a throat infection but soldiered on, went to the doctor and never complained. He was a wildlife expert and a fount of knowledge about all things Mayan. He was very interested in what out guide books said and willing to discuss anything. He was fun to be with and we enjoyed travelling with him, even when he tried to teach us Mexican songs. Our two drivers, Alberto and Edy were steady and reliable and we felt safe in their hands.
Take a hat, plenty of strong sunscreen and insect repellant. We took all precautions and only had a couple of bites. Wear loose clothing because it was hot and you are travelling in a bus for long periods. Water was always available in the hotels and minibuses and take advantage of this. Do change money when the opportunity arises. The group leader will advise the best times and places. Do not be put off by the prospect of lots of steps. Just climb them slowly and take rests when you need to. The view from the top is well worth the effort but if it looks too steep then don't do it. I have asthma and it was hard but I made it with a little help from my friends and helpful locals!
We realise this holiday is tailored to fit into two weeks so as not to disrupt work schedules. However we feel that it would be good to advise people who could take the time, to arrive one day early in Mexico City to rest after travelling for 24 hours before tackling a very high pyramid the morning after arrival. It would also afford an opportunity to visit museums and galleries. Also, Antigua is such a beautiful town we would have enjoyed more time there at the end of the tour. Obviously we could have done this at extra cost if we had known, but perhaps
Exodus could mention this possibility in their brochure.
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|Date||Trip Status||Price excl. flights (pp) from|
|Sat 20 Jan 18 - Sat 03 Feb 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £1,949||Book now|
|Sat 17 Feb 18 - Sat 03 Mar 18||Available & guaranteed||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £1,949||Book now|
|Sat 29 Sep 18 - Sat 13 Oct 18||Available||Price excl. flights (pp) from GBP £1,949||Book now|
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