Mexico, Guatemala, Belize
January 21st - February 1st, 2019
This comprehensive journey introduces you to the awe-inspiring natural wonders, arts, monuments and vibrant cities in the lands of the ancient Mayan civilisation: Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
The Maya were an ancient Mesoamerican group that reside across Central America, and played an enormous role in the history, art and culture of these lands. Embark on an enthralling journey that explores the past and present ways of life in the rainforests of Villahermosa and Palenque, historic Flores, cosmopolitan Guatemala City, and the picturesque Lake Atitlán as we explore some of the most famous ruined Mayan cities in the world. This an epic voyage through three remarkable countries explores their ancient roots and experiencing their modern character, and whether you are a seasoned explorer or a first-time visitor, the memories and experiences gathered from this trip will be life changing.
We invite you to a tour that raises the bar of the educational experience, taking you far beyond anything that you have imagined of the Mayan civilisation. Our innovative excursions and exclusive cultural events help you get a hands-on experience of each country’s history, art, gastronomy and religion. The 100% kosher tour permits you to travel comfortably and confidently alongside our expertly chosen local tour guide available at all times to provide information or suggestions.
The world of the Maya is waiting – discover it with Deluxe Kosher Tours.
Monday, January 21st Villahermosa
Meet and greet, Orientation, Comalcalco, Cacao farm tour, Parque Museo La Venta
We depart on our flight to the capital city of the Mexican province of Tabasco, Villahermosa. Enjoy kosher meals and in-flight entertainment during your journey, or read some of our suggested books about Mexico, Guatemala and Belize (see below).
Upon arrival at Carlos Rovirosa Pérez International Airport we are welcomed to Mexico by our carefully-selected personal Deluxe Kosher Tours tour director. They will bring us to our luxury hotel, the Hilton Hotel, and offer an introduction to Mexico and Villahermosa. In the afternoon we go on an exploratory tour of the must-see sights around Villahermosa. We begin with the Pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site of Comalcalco. The 6th century city is the only major Maya complex built with bricks rather than limestone masonry, and was the westernmost city of the Mayan civilisation. Receive a guided tour of the hundreds of structures scattered around the site, from pyramidal temples to elite dwellings, Mayan bathhouses to palaces, admiring the stunning architectural and decorative achievements of the Chontal Maya people. Then visit one of the many cacao farms that are settled deep in the forests of Tabasco, where we can see, smell and taste cacao in its various stages of production. Finally, return to Villahermosa to visit the Parque Museo La Venta, a fascinating tropical garden, zoo and museum where you can view Mayan and Olmec statues from Tabasco province.
Tuesday, January 22nd Villahermosa-Palenque
Palenque National Park
After breakfast we set off on our journey to the archaeological site of Palenque. Drive through enormous wetlands and mountainous scenery, rich with ancient archaeology and natural beauty. We will stop on the way to admire breathtaking views of jungle-covered mountains, misty river valleys, and cascading waterfalls. Upon arrival at Palenque National Park our expert tour guide brings you on an educational exploration of the site. The Palenque ruins emerge from the jungle, which appears to grow from the buildings themselves. The site has a fascinating history, gleaned by archaeologists from studying the hieroglyphs that decorate many of the monuments. Visit the palace with it’s amazing observation tower, before continuing to the Temple of the Inscriptions which contains the second longest Mayan hieroglyphic text in the world. After our tour is complete we transfer to modern Palenque, where we check in at the Hotel Chablis.
Wednesday, January 23rd Palenque-Frontera Corozal
Bonampak Mayan Ruins, Ancestral Mayan Ritual demonstration
We leave Palenque early to drive through Chiapas province to the Mayan ruins of Bonampak. This city is well-hidden in the Lacandon Jungle, and features exceptionally well-preserved Mayan frescoes, depicting traditional clothing, rituals, games, food and other aspects of life from that time. We then meet members of the indigenous groups of Chiapas, the Lacandon people, to learn about their language, history and traditional culture. We take part in an Ancestral Mayan cleansing and healing ritual led by the elders of the Lacandon people – a unique opportunity to experience traditional Mayan practices. In the evening we transfer to Frontera Corozal, a riverside town on the banks of the Usumacinta River, which flows along the Mexico-Guatemala border. We check in to the Corozal Bolontiku Hotel Boutique, and relax for the rest of the evening.
Thursday, January 24th Frontera Corozal-Flores
Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins, Ixpanpajul Nature Park
After breakfast we set off on a traditional lanchas (small, narrow boat) downriver to the hidden Mayan city of Yaxchilan. Yaxchilan was one of the most powerful Maya states founded on the banks of the Usumacinta, though has a fascinating history of rivalry with its neighbours. Receive a guided tour of the Acropolis, Main Plaza, Labyrinth, temples, terraces and more, as you see some of the finest examples of carved lintels and steles. Then return to the lanchas to cross the border to Bethel in Guatemala. Here we transfer to the town of Flores on the shore of Lake Peten Itza. This town was the last independent Mayan enclave against the Spanish conquerors, who were unable to defeat the Mayans in Nojpetén, the city they built on the island, until 1697. We check in to the Hotel Isla de Flores and relax over refreshments before going out to explore Ixpanpajul Nature Park, where we can hike through the rainforest along suspended bridges and enjoy stunning views of the tropical landscape.
Friday, January 25th Flores-Guatemala City
Uaxactun Mayan Ruins, Tikal Mayan Ruins
After a restful evening in Flores we embark to explore the isolated ruins of Uaxactun. Discovered by American archaeologist Sylvanus Morley in 1916, this site is famous for its large amount of hieroglyphs. Receive a guided tour of the ruins here, including a ballcourt used to play the Mayan sport, Pitz. Then explore the ceremonial centre of Tikal, where you can witness superb palaces, temples, an acropolis of dwellings, and Mundo Perdido – the largest ceremonial complex from the Preclassical period. After lunch transfer to Mundo Maya International Airport for our flight to Guatemala City – the capital of Guatemala. Here we check in to the Westin Camino Real Hotel before relaxing for the rest of the evening.
Saturday, January 26th Guatemala City
Relief Map, La Mercad, Union Church, Teatro Nacional, Palacio Nacional, Paseo Cayala, Museo Popol Vuh, Museo Miraflores
In the morning we begin with a sightseeing tour of the city. We visit the Relief Map in Zone 2 where we can see a 1:10,000 scale model of the country, and track the route of our adventures so far. Then pass La Mercad, a beautiful colonial church with stunning statuary, and the Union Church on our way to the Teatro Nacional. Admire the unique architecture of this theatre, where plays, ballet and concerts are performed. Before lunch we receive a guided tour of the Palacio Nacional, the governmental centre of the country.
In the afternoon we visit the Paseo Cayala – a splendid shopping centre inspired by Spanish colonial architecture. Continue to the Museo Popol Vuh in the grounds of the Francisco Marroquín University, which has numerous exhibitions showcasing Guatemalan and Mayan culture. Our tour concludes at the Museo Miraflores, located in the Miraflores Shopping Mall. Explore their collection of Mayan arts and crafts before browsing the shops at your leisure. In the evening we return to the hotel to prepare for the Shabbat
Sunday, January 27th Guatemala City
Shabbat services, Seudat Shabbat, Jardin Botanico
After the Shabbat services and lunch with the local community, you are free to spend the rest of the day as you wish. We also suggest having a relaxed stroll through the sumptuous Jardin Botanico.
Monday, January 28th Guatemala City-Antigua
ChocoMuseo, Parque Central, Arco de Santa Catalina, La Merced, Church of San Francisco, Cathedral de Santiago, Convento de las Caphuchinas, Lake Atitlán
In the morning we transfer by bus to the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala. Despite major destruction following an earthquake in 1773 the city has preserved its 18th century charm, with well-preserved Spanish Baroque influenced architecture and spectacular ruins of colonial churches. Enjoy a guided tour of the city, incorporating all of the must-see sites. We visit the ChocoMuseo, where you can learn about chocolate-making. The Mayans were the first people to cultivate chocolate, and consumed it as a thick, bitter, frothy drink served cold. Continue our tour at the Parque Central, the vibrant heart of Antigua. Here you can view the magnificent Arco de Santa Catalina. Continue to La Merced, a baroque church founded by Mercedarian monks in the 18th century. Then receive a guided visit of the Church of San Francisco and Cathedral de Santiago, before concluding the tour at the Convento de las Capuchina.
In the afternoon we transfer to Lake Atitlán, west of Antigua. The journey itself is a lovely trip through the Guatemalan highlands, and descending towards Lake Atitlan provides views that are truly magnificent. Upon arrival we check in to the Villa Maya hotel before relaxing for the rest of the day.
Tuesday, January 29th Lake Atitlan
Atitlan Nature Reserve, Iximche Mayan Ruins, Santiago Atitlán, Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum
Enjoy a fun-filled day exploring the shores of Lake Atitlán. We begin at Atitlan Nature Reserve where we hike to a waterfall, cross suspension bridges, see spider monkeys, and visit their butterfly sanctuary. We then make our way to the Mayan ruins of Iximche, where you can wander amongst the ballcourts, pyramids and dwellings containing murals that depict human sacrifice. Then come aboard for a boat ride across the lake to the town of Santiago Atitlán. Nestled between two volcanos, this town is populated by indigenous Mayans. Visit the Cojolya Weaving Center and Museum, where you can learn about the history and process of traditional Mayan weaving and costume. View the town’s Maximón (folk saint venerated by Mayan people), and enjoy browsing through the town’s artisanal shops selling locally-made handicrafts, colourful textiles, woodcarvings and naif paintings.
Wednesday, January 30th Lake Atitlan
Chichicastenango, Chichi Cemetery, Pascual Abaj, Santo Tomás Church, ChiChi Market
We begin our final full day in Guatemala at Chichicastenango, a town north of Lake Atitlán, which is famous for its Mayan traditions and market. Visit the brightly coloured Chichi Cemetery for breathtaking views of the landscape, before making our way to Pascual Abaj – a sacrificial stone and shrine to the Mayan deity Huyup Tak'ah. The god is still worshiped today, with local Mayans offering incense, flowers, and even sacrificial animals. Then stop to look at the Santo Tomás Church on our way to the ChiChi Market, where you are free to browse the stalls. In the evening we return to the hotel, and you are free to spend the rest of the day as you like.
Thursday, January 31st Antigua-Belize City
Caracol Mayan Ruins, Belize City Tour, Belize Museum
We set off very early for the airport, for our flights to Belize City Municipal Airport in the capital of Belize. The British and Spanish fought over the region in the 17th and 18th centuries, before finally becoming the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Tucked between tropical jungles and the Caribbean, Belize offers the perfect place to wind down after our adventures. Upon arrival we check in to the Radisson Fort George Hotel and receive an introduction to the city. The Mayan civilisation flourished in the region for hundreds of years, and left behind ruins of their grandeur at Caracol, which we visit in the afternoon. Receive a guided tour of the tall sculpted stelae, plazas, acropolis, altars and ballcourts of this ancient city. Then return to Belize City for a tour of its cultural and historical center. We visit the Belize Museum, which houses displays on the Mayan civilizations, insects, the battle of St Georges Caye and the development of Belizean independence. You have the rest of the day free to explore the city, though we recommend enjoying a relaxed stroll along the Caribbean marina, or view the attractive St. John's Cathedral. In the evening we reunite for our final meal together.
Friday, February 1st Belize City
After breakfast we transfer to Belize City Municipal Airport for our return flights home.
Cost Per Person:
Based On Double Occupancy (two to a room)
- Round-trip airfare from New York
- All domestic airfares within Mexico, Guatemala and Belize
- An English-speaking, experienced tour guide/chauffeur
- Full board accommodations for entire trip
- 3 Kosher meals daily
- All admissions as per itinerary
- Visa fees as required
- Health and Travel Insurance
- Budget for extra snacks, gifts, or other expenses of a personal nature
- Any other services not specified
$1,995 (Single Supplement)
ITINERARY AND HOTELS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
RATES MAY BE ADJUSTED IF THERE’S A FLUCTUATION IN CURRENCY OF MORE THAN 4% FROM SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
RATES MAY BE ADJUSTED IN THE EVENT OF AN INCREASE IN AIRLINE FUEL CHARGES
- Incidents of Travel in Yucatan - John Lloyd Stephens
- Breaking the Maya Code - Michael D. Coe
- Time among the Maya - Ronald Wright
- The Heart of the Sky - Peter Canby
- Beyond the Mexique Bay - Aldous Huxley
- The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw - Bruce Barcott