World Trip 2012-13: Mayan Sun Tour Highlights

Tour Title: Mayan Sun
Tour Company: G Adventures
Tour Leader: Andrea Moreno
Dates: 30 December 2012 to 11 January 2013

I took this trip as part of a wider and combined Mexico and Central America tour between 15 December and 10 February 2013. There are four legs:
1) Mexico Ancient Civilizations
2) Mayan Sun
3) Volcano Trail; and
4) Panama Experience

This is my third official tour with G Adventures during my 2012-2013 world trip with the other ones being;
1) Colours of Asia; and
2) Patagonia Experience & Antarctica

The Patagonia Experience and Antarctica tour was also a combination tour so in many ways I will have taken 7 different G Adventure tours by the end of this trip.

Highlights
This tour is listed as one of G Adventures basic tour types titled YOLO – You Only Live Once. While some of the stays are basic or rustic like the San Ignacio and Río Dulce they really add to the charm of these locations. The chicken bus ride to Panajachel is something e ermine should experience a least once in their lifetime, watching the conductor move down the bus collecting fares is a highlight in itself!

The 14 other tour members covered a lot of different countries and they all had great positive attitudes, something you find with people booking G Adventure tours. Some like partying, some liked ruins, others the beach and swimming, and some wanted to chill but everyone wanted to have a good experience and everyone helped each other when needed.

The tour doesn’t have many inclusions so you pick what you want to do with the tour leader helping you with recommendations. The ruins at Tulum (Playa) and Tikal (Flores) are well worth visiting. Caye Caulker was an exceptional place probably made better by being there for New Year’s Eve but also the Caribbean snorkelling cruise is something I will remember for a long time.

While only a few people did the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves in Belize (San Ignacio) I would highly recommend it. I only decided at the last minute to do this activity and it was a fortunate choice. It felt like a real Indiana Jones adventure hiking though a forest, using ropes to walk though rivers up to neck high and climbing, swimming and twisting though the caves to see skeletons! Damn this was good, especially doing it fully clothed with shoes.

I should also mention the visit to the San Juan village by Lake Atitlán. We got to support a local community especially the women’s cooperatives and see great artist. The home stays also gave me a great insight into local life and struggles. Having three children to play with for a few hours was exhausting and an extremely fun time.

Visiting a local school supported by donations and volunteers in Río Dulce helped remind me of the many positives in this world. Supporting organisations, local communities and commitment to sustainable travel is why I try to preference G Adventures.

Book this trip and come to these countries!

Tour Leader

Andrea Moreno is relatively new to tour leading but has an energetic style that rubbed off on everyone. It’s great travelling with someone who loves travelling and sharing experiences. She is proud of the organisation she works for and talked to me and a few others about the Planterra organisation G Adventures started and still supports.

Her idea to bring a piñata to San Juan for the children (and let’s face it us adults!) was inspired. Helping Laura stay an extra night while she was unwell was a good decision, and her handling of the stolen van issue turned what could have been very bad into a positive group bounding event.

While I have never had a bad G Adventure tour leader Andrea falls into the excellent category, I wish she was leading the next tour. Interestingly a fellow traveller I met on the Antarctica Trip who travelled with Andrea earlier said a lot of the same things.

Photos
1) Mexico Facebook Photos
2) Belize Facebook Photos
3) Guatemala Facebook Photos

Mayan Sun Journal Entries
-
Day 94 – Playa de Carmen. Highlights: Meeting new tour members.
Day 95 – Playa de Carmen. Highlights: Tulum Ruins
Day 96 – Playa de Carmen to Caye Caulker. Highlights: School bus transportation, New Year’s Eve
Day 97 – Caye Caulker. Highlights: Walking around the island.
Day 98 – Caye Caulker. Highlights: Snorkelling and cruising in the Caribbean.
Day 99 – Caye Caulker to San Ignacio. Highlights: Colourful Belize houses, Environmental friendly lodge.
Day 100 – San Ignacio. Highlights: Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves.
Day 101 – San Ignacio to Flores. Highlights: Tikal Ruins.
Day 102 – Flores to Río Dulce. Highlights: Boat ride around Flores.
Day 103 – Río Dulce. Highlights: Kayaking, Howler Monkeys, Boat Cruise, Hot Springs, Volunteer School.
Day 104 – Río Dulce to Antigua. Highlights: A dangerous waterfall, Birthday wishes.
Day 105 – Antigua. Highlights: Birthday fun, Zocalo, Marijuana.
Day 106 – Chichicastenango and Panajachel. Highlights: Chicken Buses, Stunning sunset, Chichicastenango Market.
Day 107 – Panajachel and San Juan. Highlights: Local Market, Weaving Class, Local Artwork, Piñata Fun, Homestay.
Day 108 – San Juan to Antigua. Highlights: ‘Stolen Bus’, Farewell Dinner.

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