Our April 2013 trip took us to Central America in search of the Mayan culture.
We started & ended in Mexico before moving on to Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.
We started the trip when we flew into Cancun,
Mexico but immediately moved to the town of Valladolid where we spent
the night. Our guide for the Mexican part of the tour was Mario, who was
quickly named 'Super Mario'.
This allowed us to get to the extensive site of Chichen Itza at opening time, well ahead of the hottest time of the day and of the many 'day trippers' who travel from Cancun by the bus load. We then continued to the city of Merida for a walking tour of the 'White City', before travelling to our second Mayan site at Uxmal. It was evening when we arrived at our hotel at the gates of the Uxmal site, just in time for an evening Sound and Light show.
Again we were at the site at opening time, well ahead of the crowds to visit the archaeological site of Uxmal before driving to the colonial city of Campeche for a walking tour. We then continued to Palenque for overnight stay.
As has become the custom, we visited the archaeological site of Palenque in the morning and continued to the waterfalls of Agua Azul. Arriving in San Cristobal de las Casas for a short walking tour of this picturesque Maya town.
Morning visit to an Indian community in San Juan Chamula, before travelling to the border with Guatemala (4 hrs). Now with our new guide 'Sandra', who picked us up the border, we continued to the town of Panajachel (5 hrs) for two nights.
We visited Chichicastenango with its colourful market and the Church of Santo Tomas, where a team from National Geographic were filming a ceremony with VisitGuatemala.com This allowed us to see the people in their very colourful traditional 'National Dress' costumes, and photograph them.
We took a morning boat excursion across Lake Atitlan, the fourth largest lake in Central America and surrounded by three volcanoes, visiting a village of the 'Living Maya', before driving through the highlands to the World Heritage town of Antigua for two nights.
Next Morning we had a walking city tour of ancient Antigua, with a visit to a Jade Workshop.
We departed for our third country, this time Honduras and a visit to the ancient city of Copan.
Next morning we travelled through the Motagua Valley to the site of Quirigua. After lunch we took a 21/2 hour speedboat trip from Rio Dulce, passing through a narrow 'canyon', to the town of Livingston on the Caribean coast. We cruised slowly through the Mangrove Swamps and backwaters, teeming with birds and assorted wildlife.
Next morning we took the return Rio Dulce boat trip. Stopping to visit a community school in the jungle. Then on to visit San Felipe fort, before transferring to Flores for two nights.
Today was the highlight of the tour, a visit to the ruins of Tikal and the Sylvannus G. Morley Museum, with a ceramic and jade display, and a hungry crocodile. In the 38 degree heat and high humidity, we even managed to scale the 70 metre high, 'Temple 4' with it's spectacular views over the surrounding jungle. This is the land of the Jaguar big cat, hence the warning road signs as we left the park, though we were never lucky enough to see one.
Next day we took the most direct route back to Mexico with a visit to our fourth country Belize and a visit to the Community Baboon Sanctuary, home to the Howler Monkey. Apparently their call was used in the 'Jurassic Park' movies for the call of the T-Rex. This made the jungle walk, quite an eerie expirience as we got to within a few feet of a family of 'Howlers', who were in full scream.
We continued back to Mexico, stopping just over the border, for an overnight stay in the town of Chetumal.
Our final Mayan site was at Tulum, a site that sits by the seaside and not deep in the jungle, and unlike our visits to the previous sites, this one was innundated with 'daytrippers' from Cancun, due to it's close proximity.
Overnight at the Hotel Beach Scape for four nights in modern Cancun, relaxing after a hard but well worthwhile journey.
The photographs are more or less in chronological order as we travelled over 3100 km through four countries, from sea level up to altitudes of almost 10,000 ft, from dry arid landscape and exotic beach to dense jungle, and hopefully the description above will help identify the locations.
Day 16 Arrive Gatwick.
|Click on a picture to show it full sized. Use the Browser Back Button to return.|
The Maya Civilisation is thought to have been at its most magnificent some 2,000 years ago and the grandeur and scale of their sites cannot fail to impress even the most hardened of travellers. Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is one of the richest archaeological zones in ancient Mesoamerica and home to some of the best preserved Maya monuments.
Most notably is one of the New7Wonders of the World, the restored structures of Chichen Itza.
In neighbouring Guatemala, which is the only country in Central America where the indigenous Indian population still outnumbers the Ladinos, the awe-inspiring city of Tikal stood for over 1,000 years before being consumed by the jungle in 9th century AD. Just across the border in Honduras, the sixty stone steps of the Hieroglyphic stairway contain the longest Maya text in existence.
Beyond the Maya ruins, this tour explored the colonial cities of Campeche and Antigua, the breathtaking Lake Atitlan with its three volcanoes, the tropical vegetation and fauna of Rio Dulce and a howler monkey colony in Belize.
Why not check out our other Photo Albums !
All photos are ©www.georgeandpaula.com
We visit all of these countries as travellers and make no political comment on the way they are governed.
Last Updated - Sunday, 24. November 2013 13:26:18