Day 1 Sun. Arrival to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico. Meet at Tuxtla Gutierrez Airport and transfer to hotel in Chiapa de Corzo for overnight.
Day 2 Mon. Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico. Recently restored and open to the public by the National Institute of Archaeology of Mexico (INAH), the Chiapa de Corzo Archaeological Site is within the city limits and it is a pre-Classic Maya Site strategically located in the Grijalba River banks en the trade route that connected the Gulf of Mexico Coast with the Pacific Coastal Plains in the Soconusco. San Cristobal de las Casas is a charming city with Spanish Colonial Heritage. Morning walking city tour, incuding the Santo Domingo Church and Convent, the Cathedral and the Na Bolom Museum. Free afternoon to enjoy the city and to visit the colorful handicrafts market. Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas. (B.L.)
Day 3 Tue. Maya Villages & Sumidero Canyon, Mexico. Just 7 miles from San Cristobal de las Casas, the Maya village of San Juan Chamula is located and it is a good example of Religious syncretism, where the Maya people were forced to become Catholic and managed to preserve their own ancient religious traditions by combining them with the new rites. Visiting the church of San Juan Chamula is a good experience, but please keep in mind that by no means pictures can be taken inside. The other Maya Village in the area that will be visited is Zinacantan, where the weavers show with price the exquisite hand woven textiles they make for their daily use. Lunch will be served at Chiapa de Corzo, after which a boat tour through the Sumidero Canyon will be taken. An impressive geological formation, the canyon walls have over 3,000 feet high walls. Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas. (B.L.)
Day 4 Wed. Amatenango, Comitan & Chinkultik, Mexico. Traveling through a scenic area of pine tree forests, visit the Amatenango del Valle village where ceramics are made keeping old techniques and designs, followed by visit to the lively city of Comitan and the Chinkultik Archaeological Site, from the late Classic and built by a Cenote or Natural well considered an entrance to the Underworld by the Ancient Maya. The accommodation of this night is itself another attraction, the Santa Maria Hacienda is a well kept 200 years old mansion with 7 beautiful rooms for guests. (B.L.)
Day 5 Thu. Tonina, Mexico. Transfer to the Chiapas lowlands visiting en route Tonina Archaeological Site. Of the larger and most important Classic Maya cities, Tonina is the one located at a higher elevation and its setting in the Chiapas highlands, provides a unique setting. Remarkable reliefs and impressive structures it is a great closing for the Maya Classic Tour. Recent discoveries are bringing new information and it seems that Tonina was larger than what has been known. Overnight in Palenque. (B.L.)
Day 6 Fri. Palenque, Mexico. Palenque was the Classic Maya dominant polity over the Tabasco coastal plains and wetlands were the Usumacinta and Grijalba Rivers meet and form a fertile delta. Palenque is a World Heritage Site prized for its well-preserved buildings, carved stucco ornamentation, delicate bas-reliefs and lengthy hieroglyphic texts. Palenque reached its zenith during the reign of Pacal the Great (AD 615-683). His tomb in the Temple of the Inscriptions opened in 1952 and stands as one of the greatest discoveries of Mayan archaeology. Overnight in Palenque. (B.L.)
Day 7 Sat. Yaxchilan & Bonampak, Mexico. Transfer to Bonampak Site with the main structures situated around a rectangular plaza. The southern buildings are well preserved. The “Templo de los Frescos” contains three rooms covered with paintings depicting ancient Maya ceremonies and customs. Transfer to the Usumacinta River and after a brief boat ride on the river, visit Yaxchilan. Yaxchilan, set above the jungle banks of the river, was first inhabited around 200 AD and the central plaza holds statues of jaguars and crocodiles. Adventurous travellers will want to climb Yaxchilan’s highest temple as the view of the Rio Usumacinta and surrounding jungle is magnificent. Afternoon boat ride to Frontera Corozal Town to end this day visiting Plan de Ayutla Archaeological Site, which is believed to be a site called Sak Tzi in the steles of Piedras Negras. Overnight in Palenque. (B.L.)
Day 8 Sun. Departure from Villahermosa, Mexico. Transfer to Villahermosa International Airport.
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