Have you always wanted to walk the same path as the Mayans, one of the ancient civilisations of the world? Step into the world of the first known civilisation to first fully develop writing, mathematics and a calendar. The Quetzal Highway is a 10-day adventure through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala, and is the perfect introduction to these countries, showing you just enough to make you want to return for a longer trip. Bathe in the warm waters of beautiful Caribbean beaches, bask in the sun, explore ancient Mayan ruins, visit laid-back local villages and indulge in local cuisine in this quick trip through the three countries that make up the Mayan territory. Begin your Caribbean trip in Cancun, where you can enjoy a free day exploring the city and relaxing in its warm, white sandy beaches. If the tourist area becomes a bit too busy for you, take a short ferry ride to the relaxing Isla Mujeres or arrange a snorkelling or diving excursion. Next, travel to the Belizean island of Caye Cualker, and take this opportunity to visit the big blue hole, a unique site in the world. Cross into Guatemala to the charming island-town of Flores where you will visit the breath-taking Maya site of Tikal. It is considered the greatest city of the Maya world and is nestled deep in the jungle. This tour offers the opportunity to discover so much of the ancient Mayan lands, so hop on this adventure with Tucan Tours and explore the Quetzal Highway.
Tucan Travel are proud providers of incredible tours that cater for the adventurous souls of the world, whilst keeping one very simple thing in mind: sustainability. Their aim is to make adventure travel sustainable for the long term. To achieve this, Tucan Travel have implemented measures that respect the delicate ecosystems, wildlife and natural habitats that they are exploring, following strict rules to minimise the effects of tourist presence. They have developed waste management solutions to help recycle, repair and reuse materials, and have also introduced a carbon offset scheme that encourages the use of public transport wherever possible, further helping to minimise their carbon footprint.Many of Tucan Travel’s tours include opportunities to view local wildlife in national parks or at dedicated conservation centres. Animal welfare is big focus for Tucan Travel, who even have their own policy which includes only working with suppliers who meet their animal welfare standards, and only offering wildlife encounters insofar as they directly benefit that species. With so many sustainability initiatives and more, such as contribution to local community schemes, supporting the work of World Land Trust and LATA in Latin America, Tucan Travel are truly committed to eco-tourism and their long term target of sustainable tourism.
Arrive in Cancun: Arrive in Cancun at any time and enjoy some free time in the Caribbean city. If the hustle and bustle of life in Cancun is a bit too much, take a short ferry trip to Isla Mujeres where you can make the most of the relaxing beaches or arrange a snorkelling or diving excursion.
Playa del Carmen: Make your way to Playa del Carmen, a short bus-ride away from Cancun. Here you can take advantage of several optional activities, such as visiting the island of Cozumel, exploring cenotes or visiting the Maya/Toltec ruins of Tulum.
Caye Cualker: Begin the Belizean section of your trip in Caye Cualker. Make the most of the relaxing nature of Caye Cualker; spend evenings eating seafood, drinking cocktails and listening to reggae music in one of the local bars. During the day there’s plenty of activities to try, from snorkelling trips to swimming with nurse sharks and sting rays in ‘Shark and Ray Alley’! Weather dependent, you might even spot sea cows… If you are a diving enthusiast with heaps of experience, why not explore the ‘Blue Hole’, a wonderful and picturesque diving site with plenty of underwater flora and fauna to be discovered.
San Ignacio: Continue on to San Ignacio, an agricultural centre known to be the adventure and nature capital of Belize. The city is surrounded by jungle, wildlife, waterfalls, rivers and caves which have created the ideal location for numerous excursions such as canoeing downriver. If you are feeling even more adventurous, take the plunge and tube through caves to visit the famous Actun Tunichil Muknal caves, where you can see untouched Mayan ceremonial and sacrificial remains.
Flores: Say ‘hello’ to Guatemala as you are warmly welcomed to the island-town of Flores. En route, you’ll stop by at the mesmerising Maya site of Tikal, regarded as the greatest city of the Maya world; this complex is one of the largest sites discovered of the ancient empire, and it takes most of the day to learn about its history and to explore properly! In the vast 570 square kilometre national park almost every mound is another Mayan temple to discover!
Rio Dulce: Carry on to the river town of Rio Dulce, where you will get to spend the night in cabins on the water. Take a 23 kilometre boat tour through the waterway to Livingston, passing by some of Guatemala’s most scenic areas along the way. This small Caribbean town, located at the mouth of the river, is inhabited by the Garifuna people. The area has an atmosphere unique to this region, and is a great place to try the delicious speciality tapado (seafood coconut soup) and revel in the local African-influenced punta music.
Antigua: Head towards your final stop, Antigua. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most delightful colonial towns in Central America, with cobbled streets filled with vendors selling their textiles and crafts – perfect for souvenir shopping!
Departure: Time to wave goodbye to your Mayan adventure. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation, make the most of your remaining time in Antigua to discovered some more of the city and explore the sights.