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The Maya and More: History and Culture of Honduras, Guatemala and Belize

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Road Scholar
Program #3217RJ

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15 Days | 14 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Judy from Old Greenwich, CT Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 01/14/16 - 01/28/16
This is an outstanding trip. Take it if you are at all interested in the Maya and Central America. You, like me, may want to return again and also do more reading at home. And, go while you can...an adventure not to be missed, but part of the fun is climbing and walking at the ruins. At the moment everything is included in the price, so you can leave home and not spend an additional penny. Shopping and extra non-water drinks are extra :) The local guides are outstanding, subject material is interesting, and is Julio an enthusiastic guide who shares his love of these lovely areas. I'm sure the other guides do the same.

Dianne from Allendale, MI Number of programs attended: 13
Date attended: 01/14/16 - 01/28/16
Great program. Activity level correct. Julio was a good and knowledgeable leader. One's understanding of Mayan culture and writing grew as the trip progressed.

Weldon from Nashville, TN Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 01/14/16 - 01/28/16
Great trip, great people, great instruction about the Mayan history and culture

Roxanne from Okemos, MI Number of programs attended: 18
Date attended: 01/14/16 - 01/28/16
This trip provided a very thorough insight into the Maya culture designed for those who are truly interested in delving into it. The bus riding was longer than I realized from the map, but the roads were in much better shape than I thought they'd be. The Jan. weather was cooler in the higher elevations in the morning and at night. Bring warmer clothes if traveling in Jan. and Feb. I always felt very safe with Julio who was well acquainted with each area. The accomadations were top level and many did have WiFi which was not included in the prep materials.

Dianne from Milton, DE Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 10/15/15 - 10/29/15
What a wonderful comprehensive view of the ancient Maya and the Maya of today. I had a wonderful vacation and was so appreciative of our knowledgeable group leader, Julio Valladares.

Julie from Litchfield Park, AZ Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/15/15 - 10/29/15
I had a terrific experience on this Mayan adventure. Julio, our main guide and Maruo, our driver made sure we had a great and safe time. I could never have imagined the things I'd experience before the trip. My fellow travelers were a wonderful bunch and the sights, guides and lecturers were fantastic and the hotels, except for 2 nights, were way beyond what I expected. I highly recommend this trip.

Robin from Sacramento, CA Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 10/15/15 - 10/29/15
This is an exceptional learning experience that was made even more enjoyable by the energy, good humor and caring of Julio, our trip leader, Mauro, our driver, and all my fellow participants. Three fascinating and beautiful countries with a variety of things to offer, seen in comfort and safety.

Mary from Belen, NM Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/15/15 - 10/29/15
This was a wonderful experience. The group size was perfect. Our guide Julio Valladares was extremely knowledgeable and always available to answer questions and solve any issue that arose. Our driver Mauro kept us safe and comfortable on the roads of these three beautiful countries. If you take this trip be sure to ask for Julio and Mauro.

David from Bloomington, IN Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 10/15/15 - 10/29/15
This was the best organized, informative, and satisfying experience we have ever had. If you have any interest at all in Maya culture take this trip and request Julio Valladares as your group leader.

Mike from Pembroke Pines, FL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/05/15 - 03/19/15
Absolutely a great program!

Cheryl from Lakewood, CO Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 03/05/15 - 03/19/15
My husband and I participated in the March 2015 program with Eli as the Program Leader(and Mauro as our driver). Both of these gentlemen were amazing in how they conducted themselves with the utmost in patience and warmth thorough the trip. Eli was a exceptional guide and quite the Ambassador for this Road Scholar program. Our local guides Judith, Patrick, Nathaniel, Kevin, Bertha all did a fabulous job sharing in-depth knowledge. The entire trip was absolutely incredible and would encourage anyone interested in learning about the Mayan culture and experiencing these wonderful Central American countries to sign up for this Program.

Lorraine from Seattle, WA Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 01/08/15 - 01/22/15
Wonderful trip! Our guide, Julio, was a superb organizer and leader, and the driver, Mauro, was also outstanding in his difficult role. Both were very caring and enthusiastic to share their culture with us. The local guides and experts were also almost all excellent. It would have been impossible to see and do as much on one's own, with such a feeling of security. I learned much more than I had expected. Trip is a great value. I highly recommend it.

John from Muncie, IN Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 03/05/15 - 03/19/15
This is a great learning adventure. You learn of how advanced the Maya were and how great their civilization. You will learn of the culture of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. You learn of things not stated in articles on the subject but expand on learning and make things more meaningful as you read about them. This program however may not be for everyone who is uncomfortable leaving their comfort zone. My wife and I thought it was a great program; knowing what we now know we would do the program again.

Shirley from Goshen, IN Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 02/05/15 - 02/19/15
Thanks for a wonderful program with two weeks of great weather in Central America! I learned a lot about the Maya and anticipate participating in another Road Scholar program in the future. -- Shirley

Elizabeth from Ellison Bay, WI Number of programs attended: 24
Date attended: 02/12/15 - 02/26/15
Wonderful trip seeing Mayan cities from the past and current Mayan cultures. We also saw volcanoes (one erupting), lakes, mountains, and some wildlife. Lodging was excellent! The trip exceeded our expectations. Gorgeous weather on our Feb trip. Julio was a wonderful guide.

Herbert from Menlo Park, CA Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 02/05/15 - 02/19/15
This was a great trip with a very friendly and informative guide and excellent and knowledgeable lecturers. The trip exceeded my expectations. Glad I went !

Beverly from Columbus, OH Number of programs attended: 15
Date attended: 02/05/15 - 02/19/15
Eli is the man--everything you want ib

Peter from Schroon Lake, NY Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 12/04/14 - 12/18/14
I attended this program in December of 2014. However, when I tried todonate blood through the Red Cross I was told that due to the malaria threat I could not donate again until a year following my visit. It was a great trip and I'm of the opinion that the Red Cross is taking the better safe than sorry approach, but I thought I would pass the work along.

Susan from Northbrook, IL Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 01/22/15 - 02/05/15
The Maya and More tour was all encompassing. A tremendous amount was accomplished within only 2 weeks. Julio is an excellent guide: extremely well-organized, knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects, and able to think quickly outside the box when necessary. He runs a tight ship, at times perhaps a little too tight; however everyone was on time; no one got too hurt; or lost; or was robbed; or overly ill; or any of numerous casualties that could have happened. He made certain that all the participants stayed safe. I would have liked to have more free time to explore the jewels of the trip: Lake Atitlan, Antigua, the archeological sites; and the incredible JADE!! (pun intended.) It was a great trip overall, and I highly recommend it.

Kathleen from Houston, TX Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 01/22/15 - 02/05/15
Something new to learn each day. Our leader, Julio, is enthusiastic about this part of the world and an endless source of knowledge.

Robert from Phippsburg, ME Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 01/08/15 - 01/22/15
This program is an excellent way to see and learn about the Maya past and present, the ruins of their past civilization, and present day life and culture in these three Central American countries. The program staff, organization and educational content of this program are excellent. It is a busy two weeks of interesting experiences and sights. We highly recommend this program.

Rachel from San Rafael, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 12/04/14 - 12/18/14
Wonderful trip with Julio Valladares, a superb leader.

Mary from Jackson, WI Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 10/23/14 - 11/06/14
This was my best travel buy so far. The trip was exciting, the accommodations charming and wonderful, the guides very knowledgeable and caring. I learned so much. I highly recommend this trip.

Merv from Melbourne, FL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/06/14 - 11/20/14
Also my first Road Scholar trip and can only echo Marygrace and Margaret. First class in all respects. Mauro, the driver, was professional, competent, and caring. The last day's drive was especially harrowing with the sharp turns and rough surfaced road. Mauro pulled it off beautifully

Mary-Grace from Stony Plain, AB Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/06/14 - 11/20/14
"Maya & More" was also our 1st Road Scholar tour, & we absolutely loved it! We felt totally pampered & safe. Eli, our leader, was delightful & experienced. Mauro, our driver, was helpful & focussed. Our lectures were eye-opening, our meals were delicious, our rooms were luxurious, & our field trips were varied & exciting, & our companions were engaging. We'd sign up again in a heartbeat, if there weren't so many other choices to tempt us! Thanks, Road Scholar!

Margaret from Palo Alto, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/06/14 - 11/20/14
This was our first Road Scholar trip and it certainly exceeded our expectations. The program has been fine tuned over several iterations with a good blend of history and current issues. We started in Belize where we were charmed with the friendliness and pride of country exhibited by both the local guides and the hotel staff. We visited 3 Mayan sites, had a thrilling boat ride down the New River, were amazed at the iguanas being rescued, and stayed at the best hotel in town that had hosted the Queen of England. In Guatemala we learned about contemporary Maya peoples, their many language groups, their difficulties during the civil war, and some hopes for a better future since the war ended. We marveled at Tikal's tall towers in the jungle, jostled with villagers (and other tourists) at Chichi market, were entranced by beautiful handicrafts and weaving, and loved the charm of Antigua with its restored colonial buildings and many remaining ruins. In Honduras we learned yet more about Mayan cosmology and glyphs and admired the highly developed stone carvings produced by the Copan dynasties. From the moment we were greeted at Belize City airport to the sad farewells we made at San Pedro Sula airport, we felt safe and confident all was being taken care of. Hotels and food were excellent and it was a great joy to be able to dedicate full attention to seeing and learning about these fascinating countries without concern for logistics and having utter confidence in our wonderful group leader, Eli Gonzalez.

Joyce from Modesto, CA Number of programs attended: 16
Date attended: 09/18/14 - 10/02/14
What a wonderful trip! I had friends who were concerned with travel to that pat of the world, but I knew Road Scholar would take care of me and I was right. I felt completely safe the whole time. The Maya ruins were even better than I had hoped, and it was a delight to see themodern Maya and other citizens of these three countries - and to attend the colorful and fascinating markets. Our leader, Julio, was wonderful - he knew so much - and our driver, Kimi, kept us afe on the roads. Our local guides were excellent too- it was hard to say good-bye as we moved on. From start to finish, this trip was outstanding!

Diane from Orlando, FL Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 05/15/14 - 05/29/14
The Maya and More tour was just that. We visited and learned about multiple phenomenal Mayan sites in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras but also had opportunities to see towns, villages and markets (not just tourist markets though there were many of them) along the way. Most all the lectures were great and the small group size (15) was ideal for seeing the sites and just being in the towns. Great tour director (Julio) and van driver (“Kimi”). Together, they made the overall experience even better. Beautiful and very unique hotels along the way. Food was great although much too plentiful. All but one lecture was enjoyable. The tour guides were all great. Their varied perspectives on the challenges and strengths of their countries enhanced the learning experience. Do take the comments about being fit seriously. There was a lot of walking in hot and humid conditions and multiple very active days in the towns. A walking cane does facilitate climbing where allowed at the Mayan sites. There are some “new” stairways but there are still lots of steps. Take lots of sunscreen and bug spray as well as small bills for when you do not have local currency. And, don’t forget your swimsuit. Most all of the hotels have pools – a wonderful way to cool down after a day in the heat.

Edith from Saint Louis, MO Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 04/24/14 - 05/08/14
I so agree with my fellow travelers Teresa, Ray, Connie, Pam. Ive taken so many tours since 1967, I can't count them. Julio was the MOST outstanding tour manager ever! He and Will, our driver are amazing. However, I have posted comments on TripAdvisor re: hotels in Atitlan and Antigua. As Julio emphasized, location is key. The only negative is the terrible condition and size of the bus. Not made for North Americans. Extremely uncomfortable especially for the long, bumpy trips. Be Prepared!

Teresa from Addison, TX Number of programs attended: 32
Date attended: 04/24/14 - 05/08/14
Searching "La Ruta Maya" on adventure travel sites, I found this the best itinerary for the time I could invest. Mayan ruins are in 5 countries where borders can be challenging. We got to 3 of them, with hassle-free crossings coached by our expert American-speaking tour leader, Julio. I had to see Tikal since I missed it on a previous stay in Guatemala. And Copan, a rarely visited ruins in Honduras, was a must as well. We saw both, and Julio just happens to be Honduran, so by the time we got there, he had long since allayed doubts about visiting his home town for security reasons. I was disappointed not to see the Belize Zoo until learning the substitute. Instead we saw Lamanai, a ruin reached by jungle river cruise. Given its remote location, it is among the longest occupied Mayan sites, from before the Pre-Classic into the Post-Classic period. Tikal did not disappoint and we had a full day to wander its towering monuments peeking out through the jungle canopy now occupied by howler monkeys. Our driver saved us an overnight bus trip to Guatemala City, driving there alone while we dined on fish fresh from Flores Lake and slept at a lakeside hotel. After a short morning flight, we resumed our bus tour to Lake Atitlan where a water taxi took us to current Mayan villages. Then we faced the ardors of long-distance bus touring on mountain roads in order to reach Chichicastenango's bustling Mayan market, and Antigua filled with magnificent colonial era museums. But Copan was the objective, and it topped our expectations with its artistic sculptures and hieroglyphic stairs. We had it to ourselves save for the resident scarlet macaws. Julio introduced us to his family and took us to the school his children attend, where he serves as PTA President. We saw the home of an archaeologist, still publishing, but also aiding the present-day Maya to recapture their cacao culture as a path to sustainablity. Maya and More, including Markets, Museums, Monkeys, Macaws!

Ray from Albuquerque, NM Number of programs attended: 28
Date attended: 04/24/14 - 05/08/14
This program will transport you to another world, both in time long past and the present. How the two collide yet intersect will give you a new understanding and appreciation for both worlds.

Connie from Bend, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/24/14 - 05/08/14
The Road Scholar program was beautifully organized and varied. I've traveled to Peru with Smithsonian and this trip was more informative and culturally interesting than what they offered. Kudos to Julio and Road Scholar.

Pam from Sisters, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/24/14 - 05/08/14
This trip provided more information about the Mayan culture than I thought possible in a two-week format! VERY interesting. The group was good, the tour was impeccably organized, and the tour leader was excellent. Depending upon the season, expect HEAT and humidity which were challenges for me. Otherwise, the level of physical activity was lower than I expected. Also expect long travel between archaeological sites, good accommodations and meals.

Carol from Marietta, GA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/06/14 - 03/20/14
I just completed "The Maya and More". A well-organized educational program with a variety of activities focusing on the classic and modern Maya. The logistics are well-planned, the tour director is very knowledgeable, the lecturers are enthusiastic about their subject, and the accommodations are comfortable. This in-depth experience was well worth my time.

Patricia from Hilton, NY Number of programs attended: 17
Date attended: 02/06/14 - 02/20/14
My husband and I loved this trip. The seven ruins we explored differed in their complexity, condition, or period, and our many guides and lecturers exposed a full picture of early and modern Maya culture. The program is full but not hectic. It covers archaeology, spirituality, agriculture, wildlife, education, colonial architecture, and music. The hotels all had scenic environs and/or historic charm.

Mary Ellen from Flagstaff, AZ Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 02/06/14 - 02/20/14
A rich and varied journey through the Maya world in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Excellent planning and leadership with interesting companions along the way.

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"Our group at one of the Copan ruins." Uploaded By: Mary
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"Eruption of Fuego March 2015" Uploaded By: Celso

"Driver Mauro in the hotel performance, Atitlan" Uploaded By: Lorraine

"Guide Julio interpreting a stele at Copan" Uploaded By: Lorraine

"Hieroglyphic staircase, Copan, Honduras" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Marimba ensemble, Hotel Posada Don Rodrigo, Antigua, Guatemala" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Mayan Market, Chichicastenango, Guatemala" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Mayan hearth, San Antonio Palopo, Guatemala" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Lake Atitlan from Hotel Posada Don Rodrigo, Guatemala" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Peten Esplendido Hotel, Flores, Guatemala" Uploaded By: Teresa

"Green Iguana Sanctuary, San Ignacio Hotel & Resort, Belize" Uploaded By: Teresa

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
14 nights of accommodations
41 meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners
11 Expert-led lectures
22 Field trips


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