Yucatan, Guatemala, Belize


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The highlights of this trip are the Maya ruins in Yucatan, Guatemala and Belize.
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TM, ®, Copyright © 1999 Ulysses-Travel all rights reserved.

Itinerary

  1. Ciudad de Mexico
  2. Teotihuacan, most important pre-Aztec city
  3. Xochicalco, ancient fortress (40 kms south of Cuernavaca)
  4. El Tajin, most important ruin of the Totonacs (near Papantla)
  5. Monte Alban, ancient Zapotec cerimonial site
  6. Cancun
  7. Chichen Itza
  8. Uxmal
  9. Palenque
  10. Border crossing at Corozal and then on to Flores (7 hours)
  11. Tikal
  12. Uaxactum
  13. El Mirador (Hiking to El Mirador, a 2-day hike from Carmelita, the end of the road north of Flores)
  14. Belize: Caracol (2hr drive from San Ignacio)
  15. Bus to Belize City and to Corozal
  16. Bus Chetumal (Mexico)-Tulum 4 hours
  17. Optional: Lamanai and Altun Ha
  18. Tulum
  19. Cancun

Mar 10 - Apr 3, 2001
  • $1=9.7 pesos, 2 Belize dollars, 7.40 quetzal
  • Mar 10: Mexico City - Morelia (185 pesos)
  • Mar 11: Hike up Paricutin (from Uruapan or San Juan)
  • Mar 12: Morelia-Mexico-Papantla (130 pesos, 5.5 hours, hotel Pulido near zocalo 130 pesos)
  • Mar 13: El Tajin
  • Mar 13: Papantla-Mexico-Oaxaca (6 hrs, 300 pesos)
  • Mar 14: Oaxaca-Monte Alban (20' from Hotel Rivera, 18 pesos, several cheap hotels nearby)
  • Mar 14: Flight Oaxaca-Merida (1800 pesos)
  • Mar 15: Bus Merida-Cancun (4 hrs, 160 pesos)
  • Mar 16: Cancun (Hotel Colonial, near bus station, 300 pesos)
  • Mar 17: Cancun
  • Mar 18: Cancun-Valladolid (2.5 hrs, 60 pesos, hotel Don Luis 210 pesos)
  • Mar 19: Valladolid-Chichen Itza (1 hr)
  • Mar 19: Chichen Itza: +El Castillo, +columns, +juego de pelota
  • Mar 19: Chichen Itza-Merida (2.5 hrs, 35 pesos)
  • Mar 19: Merida-Uxmal (2 hrs, 28 pesos)
  • Mar 19: Uxmal: ++ pyramid, palacio de gobierno, +nunnery
  • Mar 20: Merida-Chetumal (4 hrs, 160 pesos)
  • Mar 20: Corozal-Belize (3.5 hrs, $6)
  • Mar 20: Belize-San Ignacio (2 hrs, $5, hotel Venus $24)
  • Mar 21: San Ignacio-border (1hr)
  • Mar 21: border-Flores (2 hrs)
  • Mar 21: Flores-El Remate (30', hotel David $20)
  • Mar 22: Tikal ($7): North Acropolis (+mask of Chak), ++Gran Plaza (temple I and II), Central Acropolis, +temple V, Plaza of the 7 temples, +Observatorio, Plaza of the Lost World, ++temple IV, temple III, complex Q.
  • Mar 22: Tikal-San Ignacio
  • Mar 23: San Ignacio-Belmopan (2 hrs, $1.50) -Dangriga (2hrs, $3) -Placencia (3 hrs, $5). ++Hotel Sunrider ($20).
  • Mar 24: Placencia: snorkeling to Laughing Bird cay (world heritage)
  • Mar 25: Placencia-Belize-Corozal-Chetumal (hotel Nanchanan $25)
  • Mar 26: Chetumal-Tulum (3.5 hrs, $10)
  • Mar 26: Tulum
  • Mar 26: Tulum-Playa del Carmen (1 hr)
  • Mar 27: Playa del Carmen (hotel Melodia and Mom's, $20)
  • Mar 27: Cancun-Havana ($205 rt including Hotel Capri)
  • Mar 28: Havana Vieja (east of Capitolio, around Calle Obispo)
  • Mar 29: Havana-Trinidad ($25)
  • Mar 30: Trinidad-Havana (Estilita Rodriguez, Animas 777 & Gervasio $20 or across from Hotel Lido for $30)
  • Mar 31: Havana-Cancun
  • Apr 1: Playa del Carmen

Notes

Trip difficulty: easy
Length: 14 days
Season: September-April
  • Pictures of Guatemala and Belize
  • No entrance fee is charged in Mexico on sundays: all monuments are free
  • Sanborns is a restaurant chain in Mexico, highly recommended
  • The bus at Cancun airport stops outside the airport
  • Cancun hotels in the beach area are very expensive. Prices collapse near the bus station, particularly towards north and west. Hotel Jerusalem is $18 with air conditioning. Take the airport bus till the end and a few more hotels appear.
  • Cancun has become a gigantic tourist trap (with some of the most obnoxious young American tourists). Hotels line up the legendary beaches. Playa Delphines is pretty much the last decent beach. Restaurants mainly serve American fare (not a compliment) at European prices, the worst possible combination.
  • Playa del Carmen has the same beaches but much cheaper hotels and much better restaurants. It also has character, particularly along Avenida 5. Recommended restaurants: 100% Natural on Avenida 5 and Lo Sfizio on Calle 4 Norte. Hotels: Mom's and Melodia, both on calle 4 norte.
  • Entering Belize is expensive: $10 to leave Belize and $7 for parks.
  • Tikal: restoration of temple V will be completed in 2004. The ladder leading to the top of temple IV has been removed. The East Plaza is still invisible. Transportation to/from El Remate and Flores is erratic at best.
  • Unfortunately, crime is on the rise in Guatemala (2001). Tikal is as dangerous as any other place in Guatemala. Robberies, shootings and especially rapes of tourists occur frequently in and around Tikal. Police seem to tolerate crime: very few police officers are to be seen among the ruins. You are basically on your own. Tour buses between Belize and Tikal are the least safe of all means of transportation: that's precisely what bandits are after. You're much safer hitchhiking or taking a regular, slow Guatemalan bus.
  • In Placencia the cheapest guesthouses are downtown, east side by the sea.
  • Cuba is terribly expensive if you stay at hotels. Several people rent rooms (alquilo abitacion) for more reasonable prices (but no less than $15). Best places to find out are bus stations. Tourists pay prices in dollars, not cuban pesos. Even more expensive is transportation. Avoid unofficial taxis: official taxis are the only thing that is cheap (and reliable). Unofficial taxis will charge you more, ask for tips and often cheat you.
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  • TM, ®, Copyright © 1999 Ulysses-Travel all rights reserved.