Mayan Capital

Capital Cities of the Ancient Maya: Honduras, Guatemala & Mexico Tour
June 9, 2020 – 02:28 pm
Mexico Mayan capital

Tour Itinerary

(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner

Day 1: Fly to San Pedro Sula, Honduras and drive to Copán. Spend the next two nights in a charming, colonial-style hotel with swimming pool encircled by lush tropical plants, located on the central plaza of Copán village. Gather for our festive welcome dinner at a lovely hacienda nestled in the hills overlooking the ruins. (D)

Day 2: Upon viewing the stunning art and architecture of Copán, archaeologist Sylvanus Morley proclaimed it the Athens of the New World. This UNESCO World Heritage Site represents one of the most spectacular cultural achievements of antiquity. Recent work has helped restore the magnificent hieroglyphic stairway to its former grandeur, and art historians are reconstructing the elaborate facades on the buildings. Throughout the site, finely chiseled inscriptions tell us of the powerful kings in the Copán lineage, from the founder, K’inich Yax K’uk Mo’, to Waxaklajuun Ubaah K’awiil (Ruler 13 known as 18 Rabbit). The day will be spent exploring this exquisite city. (B/L/D)

Gautemala-Mexico-Honduras-Tour-Mayan-Ruins-Copan-Tikal-Palenque-San-Cristobal-Casas-Boat-Ride-2Day 3: Begin in the Copán Village Museum located in the town square, and then depart Honduras and cross the border to Guatemala and Quiriguá, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quiriguá’s stelae are the tallest and most intricately carved in the Maya world. The Great Plaza contains zoomorphic sculptures and elaborately carved stone monuments honoring K’ahk’ Tiliw Chan Yopaat (commonly known as Two-Legged Sky), who freed his city from Copán when he captured and beheaded 18 Rabbit in 738 AD. Drive to the Rio Dulce, flowing from Lake Izabal, in the eastern part of Guatemala, to the Caribbean Sea. With graceful birds soaring overhead and edged with tall cliffs teeming with verdant flora, the waterway is extraordinarily beautiful. Overnight at the Villa Caribe in Livingston and enjoy a glimpse of the unique Garifuna culture. These descendants of West and Central African, Kalinago and Arawak people have their own language and customs and reflect Guatemala’s multi-cultural heritage. (B/L/D)

Gautemala-Mexico-Honduras-Tour-Mayan-Ruins-Copan-Tikal-Palenque-San-Cristobal-Casas-Bethel-Village-Usumacinta-River-2Day 4: This morning explore the town of Livingston and continue on to El Castillo de San Felipe de Lara. This structure was built by the Spanish in 1644 as protection against pirates, mostly English. Strategically located at the narrowest point on the river, this small fortress was used for several centuries in order to prevent buccaneers from robbing ships and pillaging villages along the lake’s shores. We will take a short boat ride to view the fort and to experience the beauty of the lagoon. In the afternoon, transfer to Flores with time to shop and explore the brightly painted buildings of this charming island town. Continue to Tikal and overnight for two nights at the simple Jungle Lodge, located within the national park. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Tikal has been a national park since 1955 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The 222 square miles of protected forest is home to wild pigs, or peccaries, raccoon-like coatimundis, jaguar and other cats, along with brilliantly colored turkeys and other tropical birds. Here, in the shadow of the magnificent pyramids, discover the royal families of Tikal through their stories on the carved stone monuments.Gautemala-Mexico-Honduras-Tour-Mayan-Ruins-Copan-Tikal-Palenque-San-Cristobal-Casas-Bonampak-Musicians-2 Learn about the wars of conquest that rocked the region for centuries and begin to understand how the ties of blood created an allegiance between this impressive city and the other sites we will visit, and how these ties were often frayed by battles between the powers that ruled these royal centers. (B/L/D)

Day 6: Spend the morning in Tikal’s two museums where the finest stone monuments are preserved along with other artifacts from the many years of excavation. After lunch, drive to the village of Bethel, located on the banks of the Usumacinta River, the largest river in Central America and the border between Guatemala and Mexico’s Chiapas state. Here, we board local lanchas for an “African Queen” boat ride that takes us through lovely tropical waterways to the village of Frontera Corozol. Overnight for two nights in a remote, simple jungle lodge. (B/L/D)

Day 7: Located deep within the rain forest on an oxbow of the Usumacinta River, Yaxchilán was until very recently almost inaccessible. Here, in the 6th century, the rulers Itzamnaaj Bahlam (known as Shield Jaguar) and his son Yaxuun Bahlam (Bird Jaguar) built towering memorials to themselves. There are more than 125 carved monuments at Yaxchilán, including altars, thrones, steps, walls, and stelae. However, the door lintels are the site’s claim to fame. Sheltered from the elements, these great stone slabs spanned the tops of 56 doorways, and on many of them, the incised hieroglyphs are still fresh after more than 1, 200 years. Here, we will learn the history of the elite and their blood sacrifice to the gods. The howler monkeys hanging from the trees, scarlet macaws soaring overhead, and the rushing river make the overall experience at Yaxchilán very special, even for the seasoned traveler. In the afternoon, return upstream to our jungle lodge. (B/L/D)

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