Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - February 20th, 2015 Last Updated: August 12, 2014
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Introduction

Leave the resorts of Cancún behind and explore the authentic Yucatán. From sunny beaches and lush jungles to the highlands of Chiapas, journey through Belize, Guatemala and southern Mexico on this incredible 22-day adventure. Explore the amazing ruins of Chichén Itzá, Palenque and Tikal and walk the cobblestoned streets of colonial San Cristóbal de las Casas and Antigua. Snorkel with stingrays or just get into the reggae pace of life on sunny Caribbean beaches. Experience a journey that introduces you to local culture and offers insight into the history of the Mayan heartland.

  • Explore incredible Mayan sites and colourful local markets
  • Relax on the world-class Mayan Riviera beaches
  • Go caving in a Mayan sacred site
  • Snorkel on Belize's world-famous barrier reef
Duration: 22 days
Start/Finish City: Cancún to Playa del Carmen
Service Level: Standard
  • Great value, reasonable prices, quality experiences
  • Comfortable and varied tourist-class accommodations chosen for location and character
  • Mix of public and private transport for the best overall experience
  • All the top highlights included, plus plenty of time to explore on your own
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Classic
The trips we've built our reputation on.

Designed for maximum variety, these trips are geared towards travellers searching for a healthy mix of active exploration, uncommon landscapes, amazing wildlife and local cultures.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Mayan Adventure (CAM)

Day 1 Arrive Cancún

Arrive in Cancún at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.

Long a destination among sun-worshipping tourists and spring breakers, we only stay here long enough to meet and get primed for our adventure. As your fellow travellers are arriving at various times throughout the day, there are no planned activities other than a group dinner and info session. Look in the hotel lobby for notices on when/where the group meeting will occur.

The heat and humidity of Cancún may affect you upon arrival, with a general sense of lethargy and/or loss of appetite. This is no cause for alarm, it’s simply a reaction to the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water (cold bottled water is available everywhere) and do not attempt too much in any given day. We prefer fan-cooled rather than air conditioned rooms to avoid having to acclimatize to the heat and humidity every time you go outside.

The famous resort of Cancún on the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, is a thriving town with skyscraper hotels and crowded beaches. Prices are higher in Cancún than elsewhere in Mexico because everything must be transported into the city. We use it as a starting and finishing point, and try not to spend too much time in this massive resort area.

Days 2-3 Chichén Itzá/Mérida

Departing Cancún at approx 9:00am under the already scorching sun, we stop for a guided tour of the famous Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. Spend approximately two hours exploring this famous site, known for its huge stepped pyramids and elaborate stone carvings. The bus then continues on as we make our way to Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán State. Also known as la ciudad blanca (the white city), Mérida offers the ideal opportunity to learn about Mexico’s fascinating mix of cultural influences.

The city of Chichén Itzá, estimated to be founded in 432 AD, houses some of the finest examples of Mayan architecture ever excavated, including El Castillo (The Castle). This 75-foot pyramid, also known as the Pyramid of Kukulcan, is famous for its balustrade of 91 stairs up each of the four sides, a ball court with a grandstand, and towering walls. At about 3:00 PM on the day of the vernal equinox (approx March 20) and the autumnal equinox (approx Sept 21), the sunlight lands directly on the main stairway in a series of triangles that form a serpent's body and ultimately connect with the stone-carved serpent's head at the bottom of the pyramid. The attention to detail, and fusion of architecture, science and religion within the structures and throughout the city planning, will no doubt impress you.

We will have an included orientation walking tour of Mérida, the capital of Yucatán State, which was founded in 1542 on the site of the Mayan city of Tihoo. Its centre, the Plaza Mayor, or zocalo, is green and shady and surrounded by the twin-towered 16th Century Cathedral, the City Hall, the State Government Palace, and the Casa Montejo. There are several 16th and 17th century churches scattered throughout the city, as well as some interesting museums. Mornings are the best time to visit the busy and colourful markets. You can buy traditional crafts, such as hammocks or Guyabera shirts, and a good selection of Maya replicas. You can also try out new and wonderful food items. Be sure to stroll down the Paseo de Montejo (or take a caleche carriage ride). Together with many shops and restaurants, you will see stately mansions dating from the late 19th century. Nearby you will find the main shopping street, Calle 65. You are sure to find Mérida a fascinating and beautiful city to explore on foot.

Mérida is also the gateway to the Mayan ruins of the Puuc Route. The most famous of these ruins, Uxmal, is one of the Yucatán’s many ancient treasures. Uxmal rivals Chichén Itzá both in scale and extent of excavation.

Optional visit to three nearby cenotes (water sink holes) in the town of Cuzama, not far outside Mérida. Transportation to the cenotes is an adventure in itself as it involves taking small wooden horse-drawn carts that run along old rail tracks. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of the cenotes!

Approximate Distance: 320 km
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours

Days 4-5 Palenque

After a long day of travel we arrive at the monumental Mayan ruins of Palenque. The large sarcophagus containing the mummified remains of the Lord Pakal were found in 1952 by Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz and is only one of Palenque’s many treasures. The temples at this site, with fantastic comb-like decorations on their intact roofs, and the sculptured wall panels, are undoubtedly amongst the most exquisite achievements of the Maya. The ancient city holds over 200 buildings of varying size and complexity. Don’t forget to bring your camera.

The Highlands of southwestern Mexico retain a more traditional feel. Only about 210 km (130 miles) separate the Atlantic and the Pacific, at the hot heavily jungled Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Entering the state of Chiapas, you will see and feel its uniqueness. This is the richest area of Mexico in natural resources, yet it is also home to the poorest citizens of the country. The mountains of Chiapas are the birthplace of the revolutionary Commandante Marcos and the Zapatista movement. It is also home to some of Mexico’s poorest people, the majority of whom are of pure or mixed indigenous descent.

Estimated Travel Time: 9 hours
Approximate Distance: 620 km

Days 6-7 San Cristóbal de las Casas/Agua Azul & Misol-Ha Waterfalls

Visit the famous Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls, which are approximately 45 minutes away from Palenque and both well worth a visit. The 35-metre high Misol-Ha waterfall is set in the middle of lush jungle, with smaller falls just inside a nearby cave. Take a break from the heat with a swim in the stunning naturally formed pools at the waterfalls of Agua Azul, located just 15 minutes from Misol-Ha.

Wind your way out of the jungle as you head towards San Crístóbal De Las Casas, which stands in a high mountain valley at 2110m (6921 ft). We include an orientation walking tour of the city and you will find fine examples of 16th century architecture, including a church whose engraved altar is solid silver, and a crown shaped fountain. The city enjoys a temperate climate and most visitors find that walking the old cobble-stoned streets is the best way to discover the city’s past and present. The city’s mountain valley setting and proximity to the jungle of the Chiapas lowlands, also allows various opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, where you will appreciate the natural scenery of the area.

Most indigenous groups in this area are members of the Tzotzil and Tzeltal groupings. Within these groups are the Tenejapans who wear black knee-length tunics, the Chamulans who wear white wool tunics and the Zinacantecos who wear multi-coloured outfits, with the ribbons on their hats signifying how many children they have. The people here are as curious about foreigners as foreigners are about them. Please respect their traditions. Dress conservatively when visiting the villages and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies, or individuals who do not wish to be photographed. Put yourself in their place before you act.

Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours
Approximate Distance: 220 km

Days 8-9 Panajachel (1L)

Our first destination in the country is the shores of Guatemala's most beautiful lake, Lake Atitlán. We stay in Panajachel, a lakeshore town surrounded by spectacular volcanoes and small villages. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the villages on the lake by boat, departing in the mornings and returning in late afternoon. Get ready for spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes and everyday life in a highland village.

The Planeterra project - The Mayan Homestay Project is located in the village of San Juan. The project currently hosts G Adventures groups twice per week and another company’s group once per month. Planeterra's initiative here is to help more families get involved in the Posadas Mayas program and current families to have more space by remodeling and constructing new rooms. The project also includes investing in solutions that reduce environmental impacts associated with tourism (i.e. waste and water management) and developing other small businesses to be linked to the Posadas Mayas.

Panajachel is a relatively modern town with paved streets in its centre, with a great deal of old world flavour and charm. The best way to see Panajachel is on foot but beware as there aren't any street signs! Visit the old churches and explore the back streets to see the more traditional side of Panajachel. You can test your communication and bargaining skills in the local markets, of which there are many. There is also a number of community cooperatives that you may wish to visit. The proceeds from the sales return directly to the community and are a significant contribution to the local economy. The area is also ideal for outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, wind surfing, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, horseback riding, and for the really adventurous, parapenting!

Opt to visit the Chichicastenango market, which is the best known market in the region, but there are a number of other markets around where you may wish to purchase any number of handicraft items. Renowned for its colourful handicrafts and intricate weavings, “Chichi” is also an important trading place for the local residents, and provides close views of daily life of modern Maya.

Estimated Travel Time: 10 hours
Approximate Distance: 380 km

Days 10-12 Antigua

Once the third largest city in all of Spanish America, Antigua served as Guatemala's capital city for more than 200 years until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. Antigua today is a peaceful, partially restored colonial city that is a pleasure to explore. Your tour leader will give you an orientation walking tour to help you get your bearings. Walk through quiet cobblestone streets past rebuilt stucco homes with heavy, beautifully carved wooden entrances. It is a short 45 km from Guatemala City on a lovely winding road. The natural scenery is some of the most beautiful anywhere with high mountain peaks surrounding deep valleys, every inch of land covered with lush growth. The point of reference for finding one's way around Antigua is the Central Park, which is directly in the centre of town and the place to be in the late afternoon or early evening. You can pick up a map from the tourist office located on the ground floor of the Palace of the Captains-General on the south side of the Central Park. Explore the museums, the colonial buildings and other sites in this delightful town.

Antigua offers three specialties that make shopping here very worthwhile. Textiles sold here and in the nearby towns are of the highest quality, beautifully designed and woven on foot looms or the rarer back strap loom. Jade, in carved statues and jewellery, is sold in several factories and shops in town and silver jewellery is sold in the better shops and also in a silver factory in nearby San Felipe de Jesus. The city offers good buys in ceramics and antiques as well.

Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours
Approximate Distance: 80 km

Day 13 Rio Dulce

This morning we head to Rio Dulce, a charming town named after the river on which it's located. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore. Take a stroll in the market located in the city centre or visit Castillo de San Felipe which was a fort used to defend the town from pirates. You also have the option to rent a canoe and peacefully navigate the river.

Day 14 Tikal/Flores

It is an early start to the famous ruins of Tikal where we will enjoy an included tour. The sheer scale of the ruins at Tikal may at first seem daunting. Even if you make it only to the main plaza or spend an hour relaxing in deep contemplation, you certainly won't be disappointed. The central area, with its five main temples, forms by far the most impressive section. If you start to explore beyond this you can wander endlessly into the maze of smaller structures and outlying complexes hidden in the jungle growth. If your energy levels are high enough to make it to the top of Temple IV, your senses won’t be disappointed! Spectacular views of the surrounding jungle canopy will greet you from the top of the highest structure within the complex. Occasionally, you may spot toucans, macaws and other bright birds from this artificial perch within the greenery. Otherwise, you may simply marvel at the engineering and organizational skills needed to construct this city within the jungle! A local bilingual guide will explain the natural and artificial wonders of this site during our foray into Tikal. 

After exploring Tikal we will travel to Flores for our overnight. 

Days 15-16 San Ignacio

This morning you will have time visit Flores. The city of Tayasal was transformed into the city of Flores, officially founded by the Spanish in 1700. It remained an isolated area, relying on the subsistence farming of corn and beans, and the gathering of chicle from nearby trees, used in the manufacture of gum. Despite the recent growth in Petén, Flores remains the same small island town, with narrow, cobblestoned streets, small, brightly painted houses and friendly people. The island is now attached to the mainland by a causeway, but many of the local inhabitants still get around by cayuco, or dug-out canoe. Flores remains one of the most scenic and charming towns in the Petén. It is particularly attractive to visitors because of Lake Petén Itzá, a large lake (12 km long and 3 km wide) offering all sorts of possibilities for fun, including swimming, boating, fishing and bird watching, a small zoo and a nature preserve.

In the afternoon we will cross the boarder into Belize and overnight in San Ignacio.

The relaxed atmosphere of San Ignacio allows for options including horseback riding, canoeing, caving, or exploring the Mountain Pine Ridge area. Belize is an anomaly. Peaceful, democratic, English-speaking, it seems in many ways not to belong in Central America at all. And indeed, to an extent, it is more a Caribbean nation than a Latin one, looking out from the coast rather than inland for its trade and alliances. On the other hand it has plenty of distinctively Central American features as well. Above all, it offers a blend of cultures and races that includes Maya, Mestizo, African, European, and Asian. Spanish runs a close second as spoken language, with the rich local Creole. Belize consists of remarkable marine life, profuse jungle vegetation, ancient Mayan ruins, and above all, friendly and easy-going people.

An optional day trip to the astounding Actun Tunichil Muknal cave will leave you with memories long after the adventure ends. Discover a wealth of archaeological and natural wonders lying within the cave chambers. The Maya used the cave for rituals and communication with their gods; clay pots used for ceremonies remain intact as well as evidence of human sacrifice. Make your way through one of the cave’s water systems using a helmet and headlamp. An experienced local guide will give us insight into the fascinating practices of the ancient Maya.

You can also arrange a trip to the impressive Maya ceremonial centre of Xunantunich. Located on a natural limestone ridge, the site provides a grand view of the entire Cayo District and the neighbouring Guatemalan countryside. The tallest pyramid on the site, El Castillo, has been partially excavated and explored, and the east side of the structure displays a unique stucco frieze. The plaza of the ceremonial centre houses three carved stellae. You can get a group together and hire a taxi to take you the 14 km (9 miles) to the site. Getting there includes crossing a narrow river by a hand-cranked ferry which shuttles you across! There is a small fee to enter the grounds, and a guide will explain the site. A third alternative activity is to take a walk on the Pantí Trail. From Chaa Creek, visitors are welcome to take part in a self-guided walking tour set up by the herbalist, Rosita Arvigo, who has been practicing for 20 years. Anyone interested in holistic medicine will be fascinated with Rosita’s work at Ix Chel Farm. This can be arranged from San Ignacio, by taking a taxi to the farm.

Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours
Approximate Distance: 130 km

Days 17-19 Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is a relaxed and easy going island with friendly and welcoming local residents. The main street is a sandy pathway through the centre of town surrounded by small bakery and seafood stands. The main activities on the island are relaxation and exploration of the reef. 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. The reef is the world's second largest (after Australia) and offers some truly amazing sights including coral canyons and an astonishing range of tropical fish, manta rays, sharks and barracudas. You can also try your hand fishing and be rewarded with a fresh catch, then barbecue it on the beach...delicious!

Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours
Approximate Distance: 110 km

Days 20-21 Playa del Carmen

Our final stop is Playa del Carmen, located on the beach just a 45-minute drive south of Cancún. The town is your last chance to enjoy some nightlife, buy last minute souvenirs and to relax and swim in the Caribbean Sea. There is also snorkelling and diving available, and long stretches of sandy beaches which are perfect for walking and relaxing after a hectic day. Just off the coast is the island of Cozumel, renowned for its world-class diving. Take the ferry from Playa del Carmen (30 to 75 minutes 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. Aside from its unusual late Mayan architecture, it offers possibly the most appealing setting for any ruins, as it is located on a palm-fringed, white-sand beach, where you can even go for a swim within the ancient walls.

Estimated Travel Time: 12 hours
Approximate Distance: 480 km

Day 22 Depart Playa del Carmen

Depart Playa del Carmen at any time.

Note: Playa del Carmen is located just south of Cancún airport (45 minute drive) so you can head directly there without returning to Cancún.

What's Included

Chichén Itzá guided tour. Mérida orientation walk. Palenque guided tour. Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls visit. San Cristóbal de las Casas orientation walk. Lake Atitlán boat tour including local lunch at a Planeterra-supported Mayan community project. Antigua orientation walk. Tikal guided tour. Caye Caulker stay. Beach time in Playa del Carmen. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Explore incredible Mayan sites and colourful local markets, relax on the world-class Mayan Riviera beaches, go caving in a Mayan sacred site, snorkel on Belize's world-famous barrier reef

Dossier Disclaimer

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.

Itinerary Disclaimer

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.

Important Notes

1. When entering Mexico, make sure to ask for the 30-day stay on your immigration tourist card! Getting a shorter, 10-day stay will result in an extra tax when you reenter Mexico later in the trip.

2. The Cancún airport is only 45 minutes from Playa del Carmen and frequent buses run on schedule.

3. Please note that this tour is a combination of several G Adventures tours. As such, your group chief experience officer, fellow passengers, or vehicle may change between the individual tour sections.

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

Meals Included

1 lunch.

Meals

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.

Meal Budget

Allow USD480-630 for meals not included.

Transport

Public bus, private van, boat, walking.

About our Transportation

While in Mexico, the majority of the transportation will be via first class buses. While efficent and comfortable, these buses tend to be over air-conditioned. to ensure a comfortable journey, we recommend that our travellers bring an extra layer to cover up including socks onto these buses.

Solo Travellers

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.

Accommodation

Hotels (19 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts)

My Own Room Exceptions

Nights 17-19, Caye Caulker

Joining Hotel

Hotel Margaritas
Av Carlos Nader 1, Centro
Quintana Roo
Cancun
Mexico
+52 998 881 6523

Joining Instructions

The fastest way to get to the arrival point hotel from the airport is via taxi; there are fixed rates at the airport counter. It is a 20 to 30 minute drive (depending on traffic) into town. Shuttle services are also available and are quite inexpensive, but generally take over 1 hour due to frequent stops. A better option is the ADO bus service which leaves every half hour, costs $5 USD, and takes approximately 45 minutes. From the Cancun bus station, take a taxi to the hotel.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Arrival Complications

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.

Emergency Contact

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.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.

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: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
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 (whatever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential.

Checklist

- 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 film
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars
- Cover for backpacks
- Concealable money belt
- Fleece top
- Sunblock
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Sunglasses
- 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
- Pocketknife
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Closed toe shoes that can be immersed in water (optional ATM cave excursion in Guatemala)
- 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

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.

Visas

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.

Spending Money

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.

Money Exchange

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

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

Mexico airport departure tax: 262 Mexican Pesos (approximately 24USD)

Guatemala entrance tax: 10Q ($1.25USD)
Guatemala exit tax: 10Q ($1.25USD)

Belize entrance tax: free
Belize exit tax: $18.75USD

Tipping

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 Chief Experience Officer 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.

Optional Activities

All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Mérida (Mexico):
City tour $10
Celestún Bird Sanctuary $35
Uxmal Ruins tour $35-$40
Dzibilchaltun Ruins tour $10

Palenque:
Agua Azul/Misol-Ha $10-$12

San Cristobal de Las Casas:
Villages tour $10-$12
Lagunas de Montebello $25-$30
Sumidero Canyon $20-$25
Bicycle rental $2/hour
Horseback riding $10-20
Mountain bike tour $20
Museums $0-4

Antigua (Guatemala):
City tour $5 - $20
Climb Volcano Pacaya $15 (hiking boots recommended)
Bicycle rental/tour $5 - $19
Coffee /Macadamia Plantation tour $10
Salsa lessons $4/hr

Panajachel:
Boat trip $10(to Santiago de Atitlán and San Pedro)
Bicycle rental $1.60/hr
Kayak rental $2/hr
Horseback riding $50 (full day)
Volcano climb $10

Flores:
Boat tour: Lake Petén Itzá $5-$10

San Ignacio (Belize):
Pantí Trail $6
Canoe rental $12/$25 (half day/full day)
Barton Creek Cave in canoe $25 (4-hour return trip)
Mountain Pine Ridge $35
Kayaking $5
Half-day caving $15
Full-day caving $70
Horseback riding $20-$50
Bicycle rental $2.50/hour
Butterfly farm $7.50

Caye Caulker:
Snorkel trips $35 - $70 (half day/full day)
Blue Hole dive tour $200
Manatee & dolphins tour $80
Snorkel equipment rental $10 (day)
Windsurfing $25 (for board & instruction/hour)
Sea kayaking $15 (half-day)
Two-tank dive $60
Sunset Sail Rum cruise $35

Playa del Carmen (Mexico):
Snorkel rental $5
Ferry to Cozumel $8 -$10 ($18 return trip)
Tulum $10-40
Diving course $100 +
Xel-Ha $35
Bicycle rental $16 day
Horseback riding $35-40
Xcaret $45
Cenote IKIL $5

Health

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:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Medical Form

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:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

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: 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.

Associated Planeterra Project

The Planeterra project - The Mayan Homestay Project is located in the village of San Juan. The project currently hosts G Adventures groups twice per week and another company’s group once per month. Planeterra's initiative here is to help more families get involved in the Posadas Mayas program and current families to have more space by remodeling and constructing new rooms. The project also includes investing in solutions that reduce environmental impacts associated with tourism (i.e. waste and water management) and developing other small businesses to be linked to the Posadas Mayas.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

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.