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The Ancient Mayan Jade Route (9 days / 8 nts)

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Places Visited:
v/   Belize
v/   Guatemala
v/   Honduras
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This itinerary is designed on the trading route of the most precious commodity of the Ancient Maya - Jade, highlighted by an overnight stay deep in the rainforest with a present day Qeqchi Maya community where we will have traditional Maya meals, observe present day rituals, and participate in a community dance. Mixed in with all this is kayaking, cave swimming, snorkeling and hiking.
Day 1:Belize International - Punta Gorda
Day 2:Punta Gorda
Day 3:Punta Gorda
Day 4:Punta Gorda - Livingston
Day 5:Livingston
Day 6:Livingston
Day 7:Livingston - Río Dulce
Day 8:Livingston - Rio Dulce - Copan
Day 9:Copan - San Pedro Sula


Day 1:  Belize International - Punta Gorda
Today clients arrive into Belize international (Goldston Intl.). Then clients will be met and assisted with the connecting domestic flight to Punta Gorda. Upon arrival at the Lodge at Big Falls, guests will be greeted with ta cocktail and orientation before dining in the softly lit ambience of the restaurant. Dinner.
Day 2:  Punta Gorda
Today begins with an early morning guided bird walk along the river bank and through the orchard and meadows around the Lodge. After breakfast you will betaken to visit the home of Mr.Florencio Mes a Kek’chi Mayan harpist and instrument maker. Visit his workshop, hear him play and tour his kitchen garden. Then on to Lubaantun Mayan site where the Crystal Skull was discovered in 1926 followed by a visit to Rio Blanco National Park for lunch and a swim beneath the waterfall and to explore the natural history of the riverside with a local Mayan guide. Overnight at Lodge at Big Falls. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 3:  Punta Gorda
After breakfast you will be driven the thirteen miles to Blue Creek village where you will spend the day with very experienced local guides with a deep knowledge of rainforest medicinal plants and of the caves system in the hills and mountainsides around Blue Creek. 

Blue Creek offers variety of activities to suit the seasons including swimming into the cave where Blue Creek emerges from the mountainside, hiking through a dry cave higher up in the mountainside, exploring a medicinal plant trail or visiting your Mayan guide’s home and learning how to grind corn and make tortillas.  For the very energetic there is also the option of climbing the steep side of the valley to the peak where you can gain a magnificent view of the forest between Blue Creek and the coast twenty miles away. Overnight at Lodge at Big Falls. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 4:  Punta Gorda - Livingston
Breakfast at the Lodge and opportunity to have a last walk around the Lodge or dip in the pool.  If your flight departure from Punta Gorda allows we will drop your luggage off at the air terminal and then leave you on Front Street to explore Punta Gorda and its market (Saturday, Monday, Wednesday & Friday) before boarding your onward flight. when arriving to Livingston land transfer (8kms) to Plan Grande Quehueche overnight in Plan grande Eco lodge. Breakfast, box lunch, dinner (Home made).
Day 5:  Livingston
We will have relaxing morning for bird watching, swimming in a nearby rainforest stream, and just getting to know our Q’eqchi’ hosts. We will depart after lunch (Land transfer to Livingston from Plan Grande Eco-Lodge). We will check into Villa Caribe Hotel and have an afternoon open to relax at the pool or wander through the shops of Livingston. Breakfast, Lunch (home made).
Day 6:  Livingston
Depart by boat for a full day exploring the Rio Dulce area. This includes two national parks and a spectacular gorge.the majority of exploration will be by boat in hopes of seeing manatees and freshwater dolphins.Rio Dulce area of Guatemala is home to Lago Izabal – Guatemala’s largest lake and also is the only area to include the Coastal Garifuna culture and where people speak English. Visitors normally travel to the town of Rio Dulce and from here board a boat to get to their hotel or to explore the tropical river of Rio Dulce and to arrive at the Coastal town of Livingston whose only access is by water.

Livingston, situated at the mouth of the Rio Dulce at the Gulf of Honduras, is noted for its unusual mix of Garífuna (decedents of renegade slaves who migrated here from the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras after the revolt in 1795.), Maya & Latino people & culture. through the central canyon and down to end up in  the Garifuna town of Livingston on the Coast.Overnight at Villa Caribe. Breakfast, Lunch.
Day 7:  Livingston - Río Dulce
Guests will take a boat trip to Rio Dulce to be transfered to Quirigua, an important Classic Maya site and subservient to Copan for much of its history, Quirigua controlled the jade trade of the Ancient Maya. Quiriguá is a medium sized site along the lower Montagua river. The city period of occupation seems to correspond to the Maya Classic period. Construction on the acropolis begun about 550, a great boom of grander construction beginning in the 700s with all construction evidently halting about 850.

Quiriguá boom in the 700s was no doubt tied to the military victory by Quiriguá king Cauac Sky (also known to the Ancient Maya asButz Tiliw and K ak Tiliw Chan Yo at) over Copán in 738. Before this Quiriguá was probably a vasal state of Copán, afterwards the situation was reversed. The amount of grand ceremonial architecture is perhaps rather small for a site of Quiriguá importance, but the site remains very impressive thanks largely to its wealth of sculpture, some of the finest of ancient MesoAmerica.

This includes unusually huge stelae elaborately carved from single blocks of stone, the largest being 10 meters (35 feet) tall and weighing some 60,000 kg (65 tons). In addition to the tall vertical stelae, the site has a number of bolders elaborately sculpted into the forms of mythological animals; these sculptures are referred to as Zoomorphs. After exploring this mayan city you will be transfer to Don Udo´s hotel for overnight. Breakfast.
Day 8:  Livingston - Rio Dulce - Copan
Copan Tour with Tunnels & Bird Park (Private/Full Day) Activity Includes:Private Guide (Half Day), Private Transfers, Entrances to Site, Museums & Tunnels, Lunch at the Bird Park, Entrance to Bird Park, Local Guide at the Bird Park.Guests are transferred to the Archaeology site at Copan.

Here they enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful site which is famous for its intricately carved stelea and amazing hyroglyphic stairway. Tour includes visit to the site, museum. When ready guests return to Copan and to the Bird Park for lunch. After lunch guests enjoy a walk in the lush, shady river valley location of the Copan Bird Park where they get a local guide to accompany them and see and interact with a number of beautiful tropical birds that have been rescued from locales all over Honduras.This tour includes a visit to the Tunnels. Overnight at Don Udo . Breakfast / Lunch.
Day 9:  Copan - San Pedro Sula
Transfer to the airport at San Pedro Sula ( 2.5 hours transfer ) to connect with your International flights. Breakfast.
 
Trip type:
  Private service
Departures:
   Daily