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.
Your G for Good Moment: San Antonio Women’s Pottery Cooperative and Local Lunch, San Ignacio
Your G for Good Moment: El Hongo Mexican Community Restaurant & Youth Art Program, Playa del Carmen
Your Discover Moment: Mérida
Your Discover Moment: San Ignacio
Your Discover Moment: Caye Caulker
Your Discover Moment: Playa del Carmen. Chichén Itzá guided tour. Mérida orientation walk. Palenque guided tour. Tikal guided tour. 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 533MXN payable in cash (35 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
1 lunch, 1 dinner
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 vehicle, water taxi, 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).
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time.
A G Adventures Representative 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. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
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 4001 8474
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 using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
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 and Entry Requirements
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.
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.
It is uncommon to pay for optional activities, souvenirs and meals on credit card in the areas this trip visits, so be prepared with a combination of USD cash and local currency to pay for these on-trip costs.
That said, 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 prior to travelling. ATMs generally only dispense local currency, not USD. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
You will be able to exchange USD to local currency along the way , but please be advised that slightly torn notes and 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 50USD (or equivalent). Learn about local exchange rates at www.xe.com.
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!
Mexico departure tax: 533 Mexican Pesos (approximately 35USD)
Mexico entrance tax by land: 533 Mexican Pesos if staying more than 7 days, otherwise no entrance tax
Mexico exit fee in airport: None, but if stay was longer than 7 days, must present receipt from land entrance.
Guatemala entrance tax: 10Q ($1.25USD)
Guatemala exit tax: 10Q ($1.25USD)
Border Fees must be paid in full at the time of entry and exit and are subject to change without prior notice.
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.
- Day Trip to Progreso Beach (4USD per person)
- Celestún Bird Watching (45-50USD per person)
- Uxmal Ruins Visit (800MXN per person)
- Cenote Visit (45USD per person)
- Jungle Trail Hike (25USD per person)
- Roberto Barrios Waterfalls (35-50USD per person)
- Yaxchilan and Bonampak Ruins (65USD per person)
Lago Petén Itzá
- Lake Petén Itzá Boat Tour (10-20USD per person)
- Xunantunich Visit (5USD per person)
- Horseback Riding (40-65USD per person)
- Cave Tubing (75USD per person)
Actun Tunichil Muknal
- Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Visit (90USD per person)
Mountain Pine Ridge
- Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve Visit (75USD per person)
- Barton Creek Cave Canoeing (50-75USD per person)
- Caracol Ruins Tour (95USD per person)
- Bike with Purpose Rental (7-30USD per person)
- Fishing (200USD per group)
- Guided Kayak Trip (25USD per person)
- Sunset Sailing Boat Tour (35USD per person)
- Blue Hole National Park Flight (180-250USD per person)
- Blue Hole National Monument Dive (200-250USD per person)
- Cozumel Diving (Certified Divers) (85-140USD per person)
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve Canal Float (40USD per person)
- Tulum Ruins Visit (10USD per person)
Playa del Carmen
- Cenote Visit (10-30USD per person)
- Coco Bongo Disco and Show (70-75USD per person)
- Tequila Tasting (850-1100MXN per person)
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:
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 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 leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. 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
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
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 email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
PRODUCT_LINE: CMMD, ID: 22833
Day 1 Playa del Carmen
There are no planned activities before an evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Playa del Carmen/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
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 190km)
Private Vehicle (1.25-2.00 hours, 130km)
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
Sit back and relax on a travel to Palenque in the lush 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
Enjoy a free day to explore Palenque and surroundings. Opt to visit the Mayan ruins of Yaxchilán and Bonampak.
Day 7 Palenque/San José
Journey through the jungle by private vehicle, crossing into Guatemala and continuing on to San José. Explore Lake Petén Itzá and the island of Flores.
Border Crossing (Mexico – Guatemala)
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours, 200km)
Day 8 San José
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 (1L)
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)
San Antonio Women’s Pottery Cooperative and Local Lunch
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)
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 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 313km)
Day 14 Playa del Carmen (1D)
Enjoy a free day to explore the Mayan ruins of Tulúm, visit one of the many cenotes or the diving mecca of Cozumel. Enjoy dinner at a G Adventures-supported community restaurant with a youth-focused art program.
El Hongo Mexican Community Restaurant & Youth Art Program
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.