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Mayan Discovery

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Mayan Discovery - G Adventures
Mayan Discovery - G Adventures
Good
2 reviews
Starts
Playa del Carmen
Destinations
+9
Ends
Playa del Carmen
Map

Highlights

Start and end in Playa del Carmen! With the in-depth cultural tour Mayan Discovery, you have a 15 day tour package taking you through Playa del Carmen, Mexico and 9 other destinations in Latin America. Mayan Discovery is a small group tour that includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Age range
12 to 70 year olds
Accommodation
Hotel
Max Group Size
16
Transportation
Local Transport, Private Vehicle

2 Reviews

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  • AG
    Written on July 25, 2017
    4.0 - Good

    Great tour. Our CEO Chris was amazing. He had great knowledge about every place we went to. Everything we did was well organised. The only complaint would be some of the accomodation was not very nice
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  • KC
    Written on May 24, 2017
    3.0 - Average

    Overall, it was a well-organized tour. We were able to do, see and experience a lot of pretty incredible things. So in general, I would recommend. However, I have reservations on several aspects of the trip. First, value for money. I booked the tour in USD since that was the default currency displayed. On the GA site, it was listed as 1799 USD, full price. Some time earlier, I remember seeing the price was 1600+ USD. On Tour Radar, I was able to get a discount on the full price by referring friends, and paid around 1700 USD. The next day, I saw the tour price in GBP on a different site, and it was only 1109 GBP. Imagine my surprise and dismay, since this was a difference of more than 300 USD from what I had paid. I had numerous conversations with customer service through chat and phone, mentioning the Tour Radar Best Price Guarantee. Disappointingly, I was informed that it only applies to the same currency, and I could not get a refund for the difference, or anything like that. Furthermore, I could not book the tour in GBP anyway, because G Adventures says that you can only book in GBP if you have a billing address in the UK, which I don't. I think this is highly unfair. It's exactly the same trip, but I paid 300 USD more because GA would not give me the option of paying in other currencies. This got me quite upset, but refunding and cancelling was not a viable option, so I went ahead with the tour. It is surprising and very disappointing that G Adventures does not provide the flexibility to pay in multiple currencies, regardless of where in the world the buyer is located, especially in today's global economy. Hopefully they can modify their system in the future to accept these kinds of transactions, as it would make them more competitive. At the end of the trip, I assessed the value of our trip overall, and I feel that we paid quite a lot for what was actually included. Only accommodation, transpo and very few activities were covered. In most stops, I checked prices of accommodation and found they were very inexpensive, and in addition, GA would have gotten a group discount. Transportation and guided tours likewise would not have cost much either, since we were travelling as a group. I feel it was not good value for money, comparing what we paid and what we got in return. To be honest, there were barely any activities included. If one did not do the optional activities, then one would have spent 70-90% of the tour doing nothing! We ended up spending a lot for all the optionals, for food, and for REQUIRED tips. It was offputting, that we were required to tip practically every single person we came across who so much as lifted a finger to help us in some way. I would suggest for others to book this tour only if it was on sale, or if they could do so in GBP. Second reservation--there was a lot of travelling involved, which wasted a lot of time. For example, the journey from Belize to Playa del Carmen could have been shortened and been more efficient by taking the boat, but GA opted to do land transfers all the way because it was cheaper. On other travel days, it would be appreciated if we could have made more sightseeing stops along the way to break up the day. Also, to have decent stops where we could buy food, even to eat on the bus. On the good side, all the tour guides provided by GA were excellent and highly commendable. However, we wish more time had been given to do some shopping in those areas. In Tikal, we were given all of 15 minutes, which was nothing. Many people were late coming to the bus because they were still shopping and had to be rushed back. What for? There was nothing else scheduled the rest of the day except for lunch and an optional boat visit to Flores. 30mins to 1 hour more at the site would have been much appreciated to shop for good quality souvenirs. In Chichen Itza, during the tour, we passed by many roads with vendors selling all sorts of wares. Some of us wanted to check out various items, but we never got the chance. We had to keep moving forward to keep up with the group. After the tour, we barely had time to take a few photos, and absolutely no time was given to shop. It was a shame, since there were beautiful pieces there that were not available or found anywhere else during the rest of our tour. Our CEO (Chief Experience Officer) Sid was excellent at ensuring the group knew what to expect/knew the schedule for the next or next few days. I appreciated how detailed he was with the plans, including the time to be spent in each destination or travel segment. It was also good that he communicated future plans at appropriate times during the day, when people were all together, awake and alert. He was also responsive in whatsapp. The restaurants the group stopped in for meals along the way were alright, if a bit pricey. Most of his recommended restaurants were good. Also appreciated that he set an early start every day so we could get the most out of the day, and we were one of the first groups in some destinations. That made a big difference in the quality of our experience in those locations. A comment on our first day after Chichen Itza--he asked the group who wanted/did not want to stop for lunch. It was vaguely worded though, and I think most people did not immediately respond. Someone said yes to lunch, one girl said she did not want lunch. I don't know if a consensus was needed, but Sid decided we were not stopping for lunch, and it was another 4 hours or something to Merida. I think in consideration to everyone, the group should have stopped for lunch at a proper establishment. Those hungry could eat, and those not hungry could just do something else. Sid was also very familiar with the places we went to, and gave useful descriptions of each area, such as where to find what. He obviously knew his way around. He could improve on sharing more information and insight about the countries and regions we visited. Background information on politics, culture, language, local way of life, etc. would have been much appreciated. He could also work on being more accommodating at times. After the Bonampak optional tour, some of the girls told him they were not able to see the renowned murals painted inside the buildings because the staff had chained the building closed half an hour before closing time. No one had bothered to inform them that this would happen. Another girl suggested that Bonampak should be made part of the tour (not optional) since it was so near our accommodation and it was very different from all the other ruins we'd seen, and particularly the murals were amazing and highly-recommended. Someone suggested for Sid to ask the group if anyone wanted to visit Bonampak the next day on the way to Guatemala, because a lot of people had not gone to see it. However, he never asked the group or even brought it up. So later on, one of the girls asked again if there would be time to visit in the morning, and he responded ambiguously that tomorrow was gonna be a long day, and let's not make it longer. And that was that. The next day was travelling, but it wasn't particularly long or tiring. We left around 9am and were in the hotel by 3pm, and had absolutely nothing scheduled for the rest of the day. His suggestions for activities were the swimming pool, or walk around town. There was nothing in town. Everything was closed, barely any people, nothing to see or do. So in hindsight, it would have been a much better use of our time if we had indeed gone to Bonampak in the morning, just for an hour, instead of doing literally nothing the entire day, no activities. What bothers me is he didn't even bring up or offer the option to the group, or to anyone who might have been interested. If just a few or even one person wanted to go, they could have probably gone by themselves earlier in the morning while the rest of the group slept in or relaxed at the hotel. The tour provided a good QUALITY of included activities, but not a good QUANTITY. In fact, there were very very few activities included. I think around 70-90% of the activities were optional, which is not reasonable given the price we paid for the tour. I must commend the included guided tours though--they were all excellent. The guides were very knowledgeable, entertaining, and informative. However, I strongly suggest that more activities be included as part of the tour package, with respect to value for money. The optional activities were also good in general, offering some highlights of the areas we visited. The pace is tiring, but manageable, since we usually were able to rest in the afternoon-evening. It's good to have the option not to join the group for dinner. The tour itinerary was well-planned and thought-out in general, but I have some recommendations: Spend more time in the major ruins so we can shop for souvenirs found only on that location. Allow us time to take photos, not rushing the tour to finish or hurrying everyone along. Visit more ruins, especially those near each other. Famous sites like Ek Balam, Kabah, Sayil, Labna, Calakmul, Altunha, Lamanai, Caracol, Uaxactun, Copan, Tonina, Monte Alban, Edzna, Jaina. I'm sure this could be arranged to break up a long travel day, or a few days could be added. Perhaps other stops could be added as well, such as San Cristobal. Our Day 2-4 looked like this: Day 2 - Chichen Itza, free afternoon in Merida Day 3 - Cenotes, free afternoon to go around Merida Day 4 - Uxmal, travel day, free afternoon To make the best use of our time, I suggest instead: Day 2 - Chichen Itza, free afternoon in Merida Day 3 - Cenotes, Uxmal and Kabah, free afternoon to go around Merida Day 4 - Sayil, Labna, travel day, free afternoon Actually, on the paper Sid gave us, there is an Uxmal & Kabah guided tour listed. I'm wondering now why Kabah was never even offered nor mentioned to us. I know they are near each other. It's a shame since we were already there. The waterfall visit in Palenque was just alright. If there are other more interesting things to do in the area, then those options should be given as well. I suggest for Bonampak to be an included activity, since it is worth visiting and it's not remote or out of the way from the accommodation. Also, since there are no English-speaking guides at the site. I also suggest for the Yaxchilan+Bonampak day tour to leave half an hour earlier, in order to avoid the incident of the Bonampak mural building closing early and being unable to see the paintings inside. Or at least please inform the group to go see the murals first before anything else, since the timing of the visit is almost closing time. Are there any activities we can do in San Jose Peten? It was super boring. Also Flores was boring. Sid built up Flores so much, saying it was a really nice tourist town, etc, but when we got there.. practically nothing to do or see except the sunset and some shops selling the same things. Our first day in San Ignacio, once we're done with Xunantunich, what other activities can we do? We were not informed of additional things to do for that day. An extra day in Caye Caulker would have been nice to just unwind on the beach, or do more diving/snorkeling. Our time there was too short and rushed. Take the boat from Caye Caulker to Playa for efficiency. Consider making a longer tour including other countries like Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc. where there are Mayan ruins as well. The location of the hotels were more or less alright, but the quality of accommodations can definitely be improved. In several places, there was faulty or no airconditioning at all. In Merida, the a/c expelled no cold air whatsoever. It was suffocating and uncomfortable. In Palenque there were a/c rooms available, but GA had chosen to put us in non-a/c ones. In the middle of the jungle in sweltering heat. The price difference was a tiny amount for the additional level of comfort the a/c would have provided, and GA did not even give us that. We paid extra for an a/c room, and it was so much worth it. Since we were not even informed there was an a/c room option, the original room had been used already and we had to pay for a whole new room instead of just the price difference. In Lacanja, there was some issue with the power after dinner so they shut it down and did not open it again until who knows when. There was still no electricity when we left the next morning, and thank goodness it was just a one night stay. In San Jose, there was no a/c but it was breezy and cool beside the lake. In San Ignacio, we had to PAY 15 USD a night if we wanted to use the a/c. Ridiculous. It's a small amount to be covered in our tour, yet it gave the feeling that GA scrimped so much on our accommodations. In Caye Caulker, our hotel was right next to a cemetery, and there were shoveling sounds all night. But at least the aircon was great and cold. There was no one in their reception desk between 8pm-9am though, which was quite inconvenient when we needed to ask for something. In Playa, the hotel's location was great, but also noisy. And they had no blankets for guests to use (I asked reception). And oh my gosh the stairs--it was torture lugging our big maletas up and down 4 flights since they'd put us all the way at the top. We found out that in another GA tour called Mayan Sun, accommodation in Playa was at Koox Studio 30 Condotel. Both that tour and ours was rated Service Level: Basic. However, Studio 30 was leagues away from Koox Caribbean Paradise (our hotel). Three of us stayed one night in Studio 30, and we all agreed that the hotel was much more luxurious--fully equipped kitchenette, very soft and comfortable bed, big space with sofa, real blankets which were thick and warm (not just a thin sheet of cloth), modern room and shower design, etcetcetc. There was just no comparison. The only downside is, Studio 30 is farther from the city center. You might want to consider Koox Downtown Family Boutique as well. Also, my roommate and I suspect that some places (not sure which ones) had bedbugs, as we both developed very itchy, red bites all over our bodies in places mosquitoes would never reach. The private van we had for most of the trip (or the first part) was excellent. There was ample space, good a/c, good drivers. In some of the vehicles, there were seats with no leg space since the wheels jutted out, restricting legroom. I think the private van in Guatemala had no seat belt... major hazard. The public buses were a bit difficult--stuffy, hot, crowded. And of course, the last long travel day could have been shortened by taking the boat. In any case, all the transpo was well-organized and more or less on time. It was a bit difficult hauling our heavy luggage through all of it though. Especially the border crossings, boat riding, climbing hills with it, etc. Recommend making porters available throughout.
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Itinerary

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  • Introduction
  • Expand all
  • Day 1 Playa del Carmen
  • Day 2 Playa del Carmen/Mérida
  • Day 3 Mérida
  • Day 4 Mérida/Palenque
  • Day 5 Palenque
  • Day 6 Palenque/Lacanjá
  • Day 7 Lacanjá/San José
  • Day 8 San José (1D)
  • Day 9 San José/San Ignacio (1B)
  • Day 10 San Ignacio
  • Day 11 San Ignacio/Caye Caulker
  • Day 12 Caye Caulker
  • Day 13 Caye Caulker/Playa del Carmen
  • Day 14 Playa del Carmen (1D)
  • Day 15 Playa del Carmen

What's included

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  • Accommodation

    Rated Average by past passengers
  • Guide

    Rated Excellent by past passengers
  • Meals

    Rated Average by past passengers
  • Transport

    Rated Good by past passengers
  • Additional Services

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    About the countries

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    Currencies

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    Visa

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    Vaccinations

    These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
    Typhoid
    Recommended for Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
    Hepatitis A
    Recommended for Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
    Hepatitis B
    Recommended for Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Ideally 2 months before travel.
    Tuberculosis
    Recommended for Guatemala and Belize. Ideally 3 months before travel.
    Yellow fever
    Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for Guatemala. Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an infected area for Belize. Ideally 10 days before travel.

    Policies

    Location
    Start and end in Playa del Carmen.
    Hold my space
    TourRadar can request G Adventures to hold spaces for you for up to 48 hours without any credit card details.
    Deposit
    TourRadar only requires a deposit of $250 to confirm this G Adventures booking. The remaining balance is then payable 65 days prior to the departure date. For any tour departing before 25 December 2017 the full payment of $1,519 is necessary.
    Cancellation policy
    No additional cancellation fees! You can cancel the tour up to 65 days prior to the departure date and you will not need to pay the full amount of $1519 for Mayan Discovery, but the deposit of $250 is non-refundable. But, the deposit is fully transferable to future bookings with G Adventures.
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    Destinations

    Covering a total distance of approx 1,640 km.
    • Playa del Carmen (Mexico)
    • 63 km
    • Cancun (Mexico)
    • 185 km
    • Chichen Itza (Mexico)
    • 114 km
    • Merida (Mexico)
    • 455 km
    • Palenque (Mexico)
    • 123 km
    • Lacanja (Mexico)
    • 133 km
    • Flores (Guatemala)
    • 47 km
    • Tikal (Guatemala)
    • 54 km
    • San Ignacio (Belize)
    • 129 km
    • Caye Caulker (Belize)
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