Mayan ruins, jungle trekking, and river cruising!
Our adventure in Mexico's Chiapas state is a wonderfully fun education in Mayan history and civilization, rainforest ecology, and the mysteries of time.
Chiapas was once a Mayan refuge, and you'll pay heed to history at the exquisite ruins of Palenque and Yaxchilán, great and lovely cities of the past that remain as testaments to the glories of the Maya. A visit to San Cristóbal de las Casas, a tranquil colonial town set in a beautiful mountain valley, will provide contrast to the ancient architecture and culture of the Mayans.
You'll enjoy an active exploration of Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, whose biodiversity is simply amazing—the vastest in all Mexico, with 341 bird species (nearly a third of Mexico's total), 3,400 plant species, and more than a hundred different mammals, including jaguar and tapir. To fully appreciate its greatness, you'll take boating trips along the reserve's many rivers, canoe through tranquil turquoise waters, and hike jungle paths while scarlet macaws screech overhead. And what better way to round out the adventure than with an exploration of the dazzling waterfalls and turquoise pools of Agua Azul National Park!
2 days hiking, jungle exploration, river travel, easy touring, 1 day easy rafting (Class II/III rapids-paddle boat only)
- Explore Montes Azules—the largest biosphere reserve in Mexico
- Three fun river journeys down the "freeways" of Mayan civilization: cruise the Lacantún River, self-float on the Tzendales, and motor canoe on the Usumacinta!
- Visit the ancient Mayan sites of Yaxchilán and Palenque, thriving city-states of the 7th and 8th centuries
Duration: 8 days Start Location: Tuxtla Gutiérrez End Location: VillahermosaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Tuxtla Gutiérrez
Meet in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico.
Day 2 : San Cristóbal de las Casas
Transfer to San Cristóbal de las Casas and visit San Juan Chamula, a ceremonial center of the Tzotzil people dating from the 16th century.
Day 3 : Lagunas de Montebello & Lacantún
Transfer to Montebello Lagoons National Park where we'll take a short hike through the jungle. Drive to the Lacantún River where we'll motorboat downstream to a jungle lodge, where we'll be the only guests.
Day 4 : Montes Azules Investigation Center
On an amazing jungle hike you'll ramble past huge 200-foot ceiba trees to an unrestored, mystical archaeological Mayan site discovered just 20 years ago. Continue to some enchanting waterfalls where you can swim and cool off, then visit the Montes Azules Investigation Center, a local conservation effort.
Day 5 : Río Tzendales
Navigate by motorboat into the heart of the Reserve, home to various fauna including tapir and jaguar. Afternoon self float down the tranquil Río Tzendales with the aid of a lifejacket. Optional evening participation in the local conservation program.
Day 6 : Yaxchilán
Shuttle to the Río Usumacinta for a journey by cayuco (local boat) to the Mayan ruins of Yaxchilán, with its "Raiders of the Lost Ark"-like entrance maze. Transfer to the ancient Maya site of Palenque, set among the steamy lowland jungle.
Day 7 : Palenque – Villahermosa
Explore the ruins of Palenque, with its many temples, plazas, and buildings, including "The Palace" and "Temple of Inscriptions." Travel to Agua Azul, a set of astonishing waterfalls where you can swim in aquamarine travertine pools. Transfer to Villahermosa, the capital of the state of Tabasco.
Day 8 : Depart Villahermosa
DATES: Best time to go: January, November - December Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.
$3,795 (5-6 members)
Bring the Kids!
Hotel Quinta Real Villahermosa
Ideally located within minutes of revered ancient Mayan cities and the industrial and commercial centers of Tabasco, this hotel is a majestic jewel of neoclassical architecture in the style of a Tabesquena Hacienda. Experience elegantly appointed Villahermosa hotel suites, offering classic colonial-style decor and contemporary, modern amenities.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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