Mayan ruins peeking out from verdant jungle, street vendors hawking their wares on colonial streets, pristine white-sand beaches sparkling under the Caribbean sun—now this is the real Yucatán. On this unique 15-day journey, you’ll tour the ruins at Chichén Itzá and Palenque, and head deep into the jungle of Guatemala to experience the ruins of Tikal. You’re free to choose your own adventure! So escape the resort packages and witness all the incredible wilderness, wildlife and Mayan culture—past and present—that you can imagine.
Chichén Itzá guided tour. Mérida orientation walk. Palenque guided tour. Tikal guided tour. Caye Caulker Stay. Beach time in Playa del Carmen. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Explore Mayan temples, spot monkeys in the jungle, chill out on a Belizean island, stare out into the Caribbean blue from a Mayan Riviera beach
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. As this trip crosses national borders, please be prepared to pay some border fees for certain countries ranging from $1 to $30 USD. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.
2. When entering Mexico by land for the second time (from Belize) you must pay a tax of 390MXN, payable in cash (30 USD approximately) due to new regulations.
3. The Cancún airport is only 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen and frequent buses run on schedule.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Public bus, private van, boat, taxi, walking.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Simple hotels (14 nts).
My Own Room Exceptions
Night 6: Lacanjá, Nights 11-12 Caye Caulker
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). You must be able to carry your luggage to our accommodations and should be prepared to load it on and off of transportation, as porters are usually not on hand. A good size daypack is also essential.
- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Camera and memory cards
- Reading/writing material
- Cover for backpacks
- Concealable money belt
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small umbrella (optional)
- Small towel and swim wear
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Watch or alarm clock
- Sun hat
- hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Water bottle
- 2 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Small padlock for bag
- Flashlight or head lamp
- Waterproof cover for backpack/duffel
- Sturdy water shoes/Sandals
- Insect repellent – suggest natural as opposed to DEET based products
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards with travellers cheques as backup is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
GUATEMALA ATMs: Please note that daily withdrawal limits in this country are extremely low, currently set at 1000 quetzales – less than 140 USD. It is advisable to arrive with enough cash, if your daily needs exceed this amount.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Depending on the exchange rate departure tax is approximately $48 USD per person. This tax is sometimes included in the price of your ticket, contact your airline to confirm.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
City tour USD20
Celestún Bird Sanctuary USD60 (includes transport, guide, lunch and entrance) 9am to 5pm
Cenotes Tour $18 via public transport, USD45 via private transport (includes transport, entrance, guide and trolleys) 9am to 4pm
Uxmal and Kabah guided tour USD60 (includes transport, guide, lunch, entrance) 9am to 6pm
Yaxchilan/Bonampak tour (includes entrance, transport guide and lunch) USD70 – 7am to 7pm – Motion sickness pills advised.
Palenque 2.5 hours jungle walk (includes guide) USD20
Massages USD 30-50
Riverside BBQ (includes transport, entrance to private property, BBQ lunch, BYOD) USD30
Yaxchilán/Bonampak tour USD65
Boat tour: Lake Petén Itzá USD12
SAN IGNACIO, BELIZE
Chaa Cree Canoe Rental USD25 to 35 per person
Cave tubing USD75
Barton Creek Cave USD50 (4-hour return trip)
Mountain Pine Ridge USD75
Crystal Cave caving with lunch USD90
ATM caving with lunch USD90
Horseback riding USD40-60
Biking Tours USD55.00-75.00
Butterfly farm USD7.50
Xunantunich entrace fee USD5
Caracol Ruins Tour USD95 person
CAYE CAULKER, BELIZE
Snorkel trips USD25-70
Blue Hole dive USD210
Manatee watching tour USD80
Snorkel equipment rental $5 (day)
Windsurfing USD50 (for board & instruction/hour)
Sea kayaking tour USD (2 hours)
Kayak rental USD7
Two-tank dive starting USD100
Sunset Sail Rum cruise USD35
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO
Snorkel rental USD15
Ferry to Cozumel USD25 roundtrip
Tulum transport and ruins entrance USD10 Public USD40Tour
Diving course USD350
Scuba diving (for already certified divers) USD50-120
Bicycle rental USD10 day
Tulum- Cenote Snorkeling- Turtle snorkeling Tour USD50
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD375-490 for meals not included.
1 breakfast, 0 lunches, 1 dinner
PRODUCT_LINE: CMMD, ID: 22833
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Cancún
There are no planned activities before an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Cancún/Mérida
Stop for a guided tour of the popular Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. Explore this famous site, known for its huge stepped pyramids and elaborate stone carvings.
Continue on to Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán State. Follow your CEO on an orientation walk to get the lay of the land.
Chichén Itzá Guided Tour
First-class bus (2.00 hour(s))
First-class bus (3.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Mérida
Opt to visit ruins of Uxmal, ride the PUUC Route, go bird-watching in Celestún, hit the beach in Progreso, visit cenotes in the nearby town of Cuzamá, or walk around town and soak in all of the history this city has to offer.
Day 4 Mérida/Palenque
Travel day to Palenque in the lush dense jungle of Chiapas.
First-class bus (9.00-10.00 hours, 620km)
Day 5 Palenque
Take a guided tour of the ruins of Palenque. Later, choose from one of the many optional activities in the area.
Palenque Ruins Guided Tour
Day 6 Palenque/Lacanjá
Lacanjá Chansayab is the largest Lacandón Maya village. It is located deep in the jungle with the Lacanjá River flowing nearby.
A perfect starting off point for jungle hikes and excursions to the Mayan ruins of Yaxchilán and Bonampak, this little village is not on the traditional tourist trail.
While drive time is roughly 4 hrs, there are optional stops and activities along the way.
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 240km)
Day 7 Lacanjá/San José
Cross from Mexico into Guatemala by boat on the Usumacinta River before travelling by bus to San Jose, Peten, which enjoys a scenic setting on Lake Petén Itzá. Explore Lake Petén Itzá.
Border Crossing (Mexico – Guatemala)
Private Vehicle (0.75-1.00 hours)
Part of the adventure is the journey! The first half of this drive is on unpaved roads – it may get a bit bumpy, but taking the road less travelled will show you a different side of Guatemala.
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours)
Day 8 San José (1D)
Learn about Mayan culture and history on a guided tour of Tikal archaeological site. Relax on Lake Petén Itzá with a boat cruise or a swim.
Tikal Ruins Guided Tour
Day 9 San José/San Ignacio (1B)
Continue on to Belize, a country with a decidedly Caribbean flavour. The relaxed atmosphere of San Ignacio allows for options including horseback riding, canoeing, caving, or exploring the Mountain Pine Ridge area.
Border Crossing (Guatemala – Belize)
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle; the drive today will be on a mixture of paved and unpaved roads.
Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours, 95km)
Private Vehicle (0.50-0.75 hours, 13km)
Day 10 San Ignacio
Optional acitivities abound around San Ignacio. Choose to see the Mountain Pine Ridge area or take a day trip to the astounding Actun Tunichil Muknal cave. Explore the cave’s water systems using a helmet and headlamp. An experienced local guide will provide insight into the fascinating practices of the ancient Maya.
Alternatively, opt for a trip to the impressive Maya ceremonial centre of Xunantunich. Getting there includes crossing a narrow river by a hand-cranked ferry.
Day 11 San Ignacio/Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is a relaxed and easy going island with friendly and welcoming local residents. Snorkel and dive boats leave daily for full- or half-day outings to the reef, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the Blue Hole and for manatee spotting tours.
Try your hand fishing and be rewarded with a fresh catch, then barbecue it on the beach.
Climb aboard and enjoy travel as the locals do.
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours, 123km)
Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km)
Day 12 Caye Caulker
Opt to snorkel with stingrays, nurse sharks, and green turtles at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving in Blue Hole National Park, take a flight over the Blue Hole and coral reef, rent a bike, or just chill out, Belizean style.
Day 13 Caye Caulker/Playa del Carmen
Head to Playa del Carmen, located on the beach just a 45-minute drive south of Cancún. Enjoy some nightlife, buy last minute souvenirs and relax and swim in the Caribbean.
Just off the coast is the island of Cozumel, renowned for its world-class diving. Take the ferry from Playa del Carmen (30-75 mins depending on the boat) across the turquoise waters and explore the towns and the reefs of the island. For a final dose of ruins, Tulúm is just a 45-minute drive south of Playa.
Border Crossing (Belize – Mexico)
Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km)
Climb aboard and enjoy travel as the locals do.
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 313km)
Day 14 Playa del Carmen
Enjoy a free to explore the Mayan ruins of Tulúm, visit one of the many cenotes or the diving mecca of Cozumel.
Day 15 Playa del Carmen
Depart at any time.
Playa del Carmen is located just south of Cancún airport (45 mins) so you can head directly there without returning to Cancún.