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
Your guide will meet you at the Tuxtla Gutiérrez Airport . From here, we will visit the Cañon del Sumidero National Park, which is home to the Usumacinta River, and hosts some of the most spectacular views in the region. We then transfer to San Cristóbal de las Casas and arrive at Na Bolom, a beautiful hotel and museum, where the Archeological School of Harvard is said to have been founded.
Day 2 : Half day tour Chamula, Zinacantan and San Cristobal
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 and Chinkultic Archeological Site on route
Transfer to Montebello Lagoons National Park where we'll take a short hike through the jungle. Visit the Mayan archeological site of Chincultik.
Day 4 : Transfer to Montes Azules - Las Guacamayas
Transfer to Las Guacamayas n the southern edge of the Parque Natural Montes Azules in southern Chiapas, across the Lacantún River, where a center has been established for the protection of the Scarlet Macaw, the Guacamaya.
Day 5 : Tour of Montes Azules Reserve
Navigate by motorboat into the heart of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, home to various fauna including tapir and jaguar. Optional evening participation in the local conservation program.
Day 6 : Yaxchilán and Bonampak
The river we raft on is the Lacanjà river. It is not a rapid river, so the descent is more like a scenic tour through waterfalls and backwaters, which will take us deep inside the lush vegetation of the tropical forest. On our tour, we will visit Mayan archeological sites and, with a little luck, we might see some animals of the jungle. We start our descents from the Rio Lacanja Camp, in the Lacandon community of Lacanja-Chansayab.
The first part of the river is a series of waterfalls, which takes about an hour. There are small waterfalls (less than a meter high) and a few big ones (up to 2,50 mts. high). We will then row for another hour until approaching the archeological site of Lacanjà, which is 15 min. away from the edge of the river by hiking in the jungle. We will then reach the Moctuniha waterfalls, where we'll swim and have our lunch. We will get back to the camp by hiking among the dense foliage of the high evergreen forest.
Later on, we'll visit the remote Mayan archeological sites of Yaxchilan and Bonampak locade deep in the Lacandon Jungle.
Day 7 : Palenque – Villahermosa
Explore the ruins of Palenque, with its many temples, plazas, and buildings, including "The Palace" and "Temple of Inscriptions." . Transfer to Villahermosa, the capital of the state of Tabasco.
Day 8 : Depart Villahermosa
DATES: Best time to go: January - April, October - December Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.
$2,995 (6-9 members)
Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations.
$800 single supplement
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.
Las GuacamayasMontes Azules,
An ecological center located in front of the Natural Reserve of the Biosphere Montes Azules (Blue Mountains). This Center is ideal for lovers of nature and here it is possible to observe birds in their natural surroundings, to do trekking in the jungle, explore flora and fauna unique to the region, go touring in boats on the rivers Lacantun and Tzeldales. What about nature paths of 1200 hectares of jungle that give you the opportunity to observe in their natural habitat, species like: Howler Monkeys, the red Guacamaya, the white tail deer, the toucan and the white falcon, among others.
Boutique Hotel Quinta ChanabnalPalenque, Chiapas
Only three kilometers from the archaeological site of Palenque, this luxury resort evokes a Mayan palace complex of the Classic Period. Traditional pre-Hispanic design, updated with modern sophistication, awaits the discerning traveler at Boutique Hotel Quinta Chanabnal. Amidst luxuriant jungle flora our swimming pools recall the typical waterfalls found in the ruins of Palenque. It recreates an exquisite Pre-hispanic atmosphere based on historic and archaeological data, allowing you to live the Maya World in full without sacrificing any modern luxury.
Hotel B¨oSan Cristobal de Las Casas
The word b¨o suggests a new and fresh way of looking at San Cristobal de las Casas. It is a concept with its own identity, a re-examination of what hotel keeping should be, where design creates integrated spaces which, at the same time, express what is both a private home and a hotel.
When you are in this magical and mystical town of San Cristobal de las Casas the traditions and roots of the region are evident in every detail of our hotel. Each room provides a pleasing sense of harmony and well-being with nature.
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.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.