Explore Legendary Mayan Ruins & Remnants of an Ancient Civilization in the Tropical Jungle
Day 1: Belize City, Belize / Guatemala—Ruins of Yaxha
This morning, hop a short flight to Mayan Flats airstrip in Belize, then transfer overland across the border into Guatemala. Spend the day exploring Yaxha, an impressive site
from the Maya civilization's Classical Period. The ruins, once buried beneath centuries of jungle overgrowth, are currently being reconstructed. Learn fascinating details about Maya culture and archaeological restoration on a guided tour. The Yaxha (Green Water) and Topoxte (Ramon Tree) sites around Lake Yaxha are home to Morelet's crocodiles. Howler and spider monkeys swing from the trees, and myriad birds add color and sound—and keep an eye out for toucans, parrots and bat-eating hawks from the temple tops. At day’s end, watch the sun set behind the lagoon, then continue to Las Lagunas for dinner overlooking the placid Quexil Lagoon.
Day 2: Tikal National Park—Ruins of Tikal
Spend the day touring the ruins of Tikal, one of the largest urban centers of the Maya civilization. The name Tikal means "City of Voices," and some have called the world-famous collection of pre-Columbian monuments, temples
and palaces "the New York City of the Maya world." Tikal National Park, with its extensive ruins and tropical jungle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of the 5-million-acre Maya Biosphere Reserve that anchors the largest remaining natural forest block in Mesoamerica.
Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. The oldest architecture dates back to the 4th century B.C., though Tikal reached its height during the Classic Period from 200 to 900 A.D. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically and militarily. At the same time, Tikal was interacting with other areas throughout Mesoamerica, including the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico, located just outside modern-day Mexico City. After a full day of exploration, return to Las Lagunas late this afternoon to swim, birdwatch
or ounge by the lagoon.
Day 3: Ixpanpajul Nature Park
This morning, visit nearby Ixpanpajul Nature Park, a wild reserve surrounding this cradle of Maya culture. The park has 200 tree species, 150 bird species and 40 different mammals, all of which you'll look for on rain forest walks
through the canopy on a series of suspension bridges. For adrenaline-seekers, choose an exciting zip line opportunity—a chance to whiz through the treetops on a system of cables and platforms that will have you swinging alongside the monkeys! This afternoon, return to Las Lagunas to relax or explore the private reserve.
Day 4: Fly to Belize City / Depart
After breakfast at your hotel, board an early flight to Belize City to connect with homeward flights. Please note that onward flights from Belize International Airport should not be booked for departure earlier than noon.
Physical Rating: Moderate