Mayan Culture & Natural Wonders 2020
10 days with Tauck Rating:
Day 1 Arrive Cancun
Tour begins: 6:00 PM. A transfer is included from Cancun International Airport to the Fairmont Mayakoba Resort on the Riviera Maya. Your hotel is located in a private resort community on the shores of the Caribbean, within 240 acres of mangrove forests, gardens, and lagoons designed as a lush wildlife habitat, criss-crossed by waterways and nature trails. Take an optional hour-long cruise on the Mayakoba River with a naturalist guide this afternoon, then join us this evening for a welcome reception and dinner with music by a Mariachi band. (D)
Day 2 Tulum: Seaside Citadel
Drive to the clifftop Mayan city of Tulum, overlooking the Caribbean. Built in the 13th century, this ruined citadel with its watchtower and temples was once a hub of international trade, defended by towering sea cliffs and limestone walls up to 20 feet thick; Tulum is the only Mayan coastal city in existence. This afternoon, explore the town of Playa del Carmen or spend the rest of the day at your hotel; enjoy the spa or the beach; go golfing, bicycling, or river-cruising. Dine on your own tonight at any of the restaurants in the resort community. (B)
Day 3 Aktun Chen / Embark Le Champlain
Drive to Aktun Chen, an eco-park where you can walk a suspension bridge through a rainforest canopy, hike a jungle trail, explore a grotto, or swim in a "cenote" (a lagoon inside a cave); lights underwater illuminate the beautiful rock formations below. Or attend a Mexican cooking class and tequila tasting in Cancun. After lunch, embark your ship in Puerto Morelos. Dine aboard ship as you sail for Puerto Cortez, Honduras (B, L, D)
Day 4 A Day at Sea
Enjoy the amenities aboard Le Champlain as you sail to Honduras; onboard activities include a lecture on Mayan civilization and amazing new discoveries that were made in 2018. Join us tonight for the Captain's welcome reception followed by dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Copan or San Fernando Fortress
Fly to Copan, a stunning jungle city of Mayan stone temples, altars, and royal residences built between 400 and 800 AD, featuring a towering pyramid structure with more than 2,000 hieroglyphs carved on its 63 steps. Or drive to coastal Omoa for a visit to San Fernando Fortress, built by the Spanish in the 18th century to defend the city from pirates; hike in the jungle, enjoy the beach, lounge by a resort pool, or swim in the crystal-clear waters. Dine on ship tonight and sail for Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Tikal or Coastal Adventure
Tikal in Guatemala is among the grandest Mayan ruins in Central America, set deep in a protected region known as the Mayan Biosphere. Fly from Puerto Barrios to Flores, then arrive at Tikal, where the jungle complex of shrines, temples, and palaces includes pyramid towers over 120 feet high. Alternatively, you can explore nature reserves along the coast near Santo Tomas de Castilla, hiking or kayaking, with a picnic lunch of traditional Guatemalan food. (B, L, D)
Day 7 River Cruise or a Day at the Beach
Arrive in Livingston, Guatemala, where most of the residents are descendants of escaped slaves, famous for their Garifuna music and coconut-infused cuisine. Take a full-day's cruise on the Rio Dulce through a tropical reserve of virgin jungle, exotic birds, thatched villages, and hot springs; visit a village school and the colonial Castle of San Felipe. Or take a half-day cruise and spend time in Livingston; or relax on a private beach at Playa Blanca, where the sand is white, the water is blue, and a barbecue lunch is included. Tonight, enjoy a performance of Garifuna music and dance aboard ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Lamanai, Monkeys or Barrier Reef
Arrive in Belize City and drive to the New River, then take a boat-ride through swamps, creeks, and lagoons to the jungle ruins of Lamanai, "the Submerged Crocodile," a Mayan city 2,000 years old. Huge stone "masks" depicting dead rulers and gods seem to materialize out of the rainforest amid the chatter of bird-life and the haunting call of howler monkeys. Crocodiles still inhabit the jungle where the High Temple offers breathtaking views over the treetops. Alternatively you can visit a sanctuary for howler monkeys, and discover the ceremonial Mayan temples of Altun Ha, founded in 200 BC, where exquisite jade artifacts have been found. Or sail to Caye Caulker and the Barrier Reef for unparalleled snorkeling in the marine reserve. Join us tonight for the Captain's farewell reception and dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Half Moon Caye
Half Moon Caye is a protected island of Belize in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, inhabited by red-footed boobies, frigate birds, iguanas, and turtles; offshore, pristine waters teeming with coral and marine life offer magical snorkeling experiences. Swim or just relax with a good book on the idyllic beach. Dine at leisure tonight as you sail for Puerto Morelos. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Journey Home
Tour ends: Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Transfer is included to Cancun International Airport or to post-stay hotels. Transfer to the airport is about 45 minutes. Allow three hours for flight check-in. Safe flights after 1:00 PM. (B)
All This Included
Feel the thrill of discovery deep in the jungles of Guatemala and on the sea-cliffs of Mexico... the lure of ancient mysteries, hieroglyphs, and stone jaguar masks... close encounters with howler monkeys and manta rays... Garifuna dances in Livingston... and the easy, welcoming smiles of modern-day Mayans along the Rio Dulce...
Explore "lost" Mayan cities and breathtaking nature reserves on this 10-day journey to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, including a 7-night cruise aboard the Ponant yacht Le Champlain. Visit Tulum, a Mayan trading port guarded by high walls and sea cliffs overlooking the Caribbean. Discover the jungle city of Copán, with its complex of ruined temples, sculptures, pyramids, and towering hieroglyphic stairway... Tikal, one of the grandest ruins in Mesoamerica, a Mayan city-state of massive pyramids that flourished between 600 BC and 900 AD... Lamanai, the "Submerged Crocodile," a Mayan complex of huge stone temples and "masks" in Belize, where crocodiles and brilliantly colored birds inhabit the surrounding rainforest... and Altun Ha, a Mayan enclave of exquisite jade sculptures and artifacts. Sail to Half Moon Caye, a protected island in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, where the waters are crystal clear and eagle rays and sea turtles abound, for exciting snorkeling and kayaking. Take your choice of shore excursions, including guided jungle river-cruises... a visit to a howler monkey sanctuary... and a spectacular cave-walk at Aktun-Chen, an ecopark in Belize... cooking lessons and tequila-tasting in Cancún... or beach-combing and jungle walks in Guatemala's wildlife-rich Biosphere with a naturalist guide. The Explorer-class yacht Le Champlain offers the best in small-ship cruising, with sophisticated styling, spacious accommodations, and large windows.
Cancun: Fairmont Mayakoba Resort
Cruising: Le Champlain
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.