Mayan Adventure - CAM

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Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby amanda25 » Wed May 07, 2014 6:36 am

Hello

We are doing the CAM trip in July. I would be interested in any feedback from others who have done the trip as it is our first GAdventure. Does anyone have any views on how long is spent travelling on the bus versus doing acitivites/tours ??
Getting really excited about the trip now !!
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby shoomzee » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:59 pm

Hey Amanda,

I did the CAM trip in March/April. It was fantastic! Yes, there are some long days on the bus, but most days aren't that bad:

Cancun to Merida - you stop at Chichen Itza, it's super hot there but all in all the journey isn't too long or painful. It's also the start of the trip

Merida to Palenque - this is one super long bus journey BUT the ADO bus is very comfortable. The airconditioning is very cold, so take a jacket. But the seats recline and you get toilet breaks. All in all, you'll love the ADO buses by the end of the trip.

Palenque to San Cristobal - Painful. Truly painful. The journey takes ages (you'll likely stop along the way for a picnic or to look at waterfalls though) but basically the highways in Mexico all run through local villages. To slow the traffic the roads are packed with hundreds of speed bumps. I think it took about 6 hours to go 200km. Still, San Cristobal is a lot cooler than Palenque so the colder weather was a welcome change - it was also probably my favourite spot in Mexico!

Border crossing into Guatemala - we had a really great run here, and the bus from the border crossing to Panajachel was really good. Alas, that was the first and last decent bus we had in Guatemala. Our tour leader can't remember the last time a group got there in the record time we did.

Panajachel to Antigua - very short trip, maybe three hours. Then you have three nights in Antigua so you get over the buses. It's just nice to walk around a lot! Although have to add the journey into Antigua is bumpy because all the roads are cobblestone.

Antigua to Rio Dulce - this was a comedy of errors for us. The bus was cramped, hot and just plain uncomfortable. We also got held up because a semi trailer collided with another vehicle and blocked the road about 400m ahead of us. We didn't end up getting in Rio Dulce til late so all in all, that was sucky because the place looked amazing (we got there when it was dark and left early)

Rio Dulce to Flores - you are really sick of buses now. But it's not super duper long and Flores is a lovely little spot

Tikal - 5am bus journey to the ruins. It's a tad painful, you're over buses by now. But it's only about 1.5 hours.

Belize - I'm just going to sum up quickly - the journeys in Belize are very short because there isn't a whole lot of ground to cover. And once you get to Caye Caulker you will be feeling pretty relaxed and not caring about buses! The place is amazing!

Caye Caulker to Playa Del Carmen - the longest, longest day. Up around 5am, got into Playa around 8pm. It was peak season for us though and we had a big interchange waiting for the ADO bus at the Mexican border. Rest assured while we had a couple of hours to kill, we found an air-conditioned shopping centre with a McDonalds :)



Accommodations:
Not sure if you have travelled in Central America before - but get used to bathrooms where you don't flush toilet paper. That's the norm. It clogs the pipes.

Some places had fans, others air-con. The most basic accommodation is Palenque - no wi-fi, just a fan, and in our room we had one working power point in the bathroom. It's really hot in the day but the ceiling fan was enough at night once it had cooled off outside.

Some places didn't have hot water (Rio Dulce comes to mind) and in San Cristobal we didn't have any water for about 30 minutes when we first checked in, I think everyone just tried to shower at once and the water system couldn't cope! After that it was fine.

No big issues with wifi although many places you could only get wifi in common areas and not in your room.


Tipping
Generally we tipped all our bus drivers (the private mini bus drivers that is) - around US$1-2 a day (per person) and tour leaders on specialised tours around US$3-5pp/per tour. Just as a heads up. Your G Adventures Tour Leader we tipped around US$25/wk per person ($75USD)

Um...is there anything else you'd like to know! I can tell you lots about the different activities and tours as well. There are lots of things on offer. My highlight was probably the villages tour in San Cristobal de las Casas - you must do that tour!! Also in Palenque, check out the waterfalls and go for a BBQ near the river. It was a lot of fun.

Happy if anyone wants to PM me :)
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby amanda25 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:21 am

Hey Shoomzee

Thank you so much for your very detailed reply. It will help me plan the trip so much better!!
If you have the time, I would be really interested in which activities/tours you did or would recommend. Also did you take a range of currencies or just USD? Really appreciate your help. So looking forward to this especially sitting her with the rain pouring down!!

Amanda
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby shoomzee » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:33 pm

Certainly! Probably best I document all this before I forget anyway :)

Chichen Itza - it's included. And it's damn hot. We had the option to go to a cenote after the tour but I was actually so hot that I didn't want to swim. We had to get a taxi there and, for me, just seemed like a hassle for a short period of time. I just hung out at the cafe and had a cool drink!

Merida - I did a hacienda and cenote tour. The tour was a little diff to what is usually offered because the main cenote (the one mentioned in the trip notes) was closed. We drove around and heard about the haciendas and visited two cenotes, one underground and one 'above' ground (so to speak). I'd recommend a tour in Merida because I didn't think the town was that cool. The other activity was more Mayan Ruins but I have to tell you - it's REALLY hot in Merida! Swimming in a cenote was much more inviting (for me anyway!)

Palenque - The morning jungle trek wasn't very exciting. It was cool to see ruins but no wildlife really came out to play! The afternoon BBQ and swimming in the waterfalls is highly recommended though. We got to visit a Zapanista village and swim with the local kids who are super cute.

San Cristobal - there was a choice between the Sumidero Canyon or the Village Tour. Some people chose to hang out in the town (which was amazing, you could totally just have a free day in that town) but I cannot recommend the Village tour enough. It was the highlight of the trip for me and I was really unsure beforehand because I was keen on the canyon! Look up on Wikipedia San Juan Chamula - that's one of two towns you visit.

Panajachel - I went to Chichicastentango market. If you are into souvenirs etc it's pretty cool, but I wasn't wow'ed by the place. I think I'd rather have just hung around Pana. The lake is beautiful and the whole town has a real hippy, chilled vibe to it!

Antigua - I didn't do any optional activities. The city is just a lot of fun to explore on foot. And do yourself a huge favour - find Lava Bar. They have a rooftop bar with wicked views and the most amazing burgers. You must do sunset there!

San Ignacio - I did the cave tubing which was a lot of fun. There isn't much in San Ignacio but the cave tubing was the least strenuous. ATM cave was meant to be really cool too though! Some people found other hotels with a pool and some wildlife centre (I forget exactly) and they said that was really cool too.

Caye Caulker - I didn't do the snorkelling or anything. The island is just beautiful, just spend sunset at the split and sleep off the hangover during the heat of the day!

Playa del Carmen - there's so much shopping and fun to be had in this place, no need to really plan much or do any tours. Tulum would have been cool but I was just ready to relax by the end of the trip!

Re: Money. Just take USD. It's accepted everywhere and you can change money at every border crossing. Your tour guide will secure the rate for you. In Belize everything is either 2 BZE dollars or 1 USD. You can probably get by in most places having just USD actually. A lot of people on our tour would tip tours and leaders in USD because they had that in small denominations.


Hope that helps! :)
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby amanda25 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:27 am

Yes it does help a lot Shoomzee - its very generous of you to do this ..and its great to have a steer on things to do and what to bring. Sounds like you had a fab time. We are definitely in countdown mode now!!
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby reisenudel » Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:59 am

Hello to everybody who is travelling to Mexico,
I`m although doing the Mayan Adventure in July. I`m already very excited. What kind of clothes do you wear? How hot is it during the day and in the evening? I found some sites in the internet, they are telling about not to show too much skin.... something like: no short clothes, no short skirts and trousers, long sleeves.....
And how is the temperature?
I would be very happy if anybody can tell me something.
And who is doing the Mayan Adventure at 19.07., too?
Britta
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby kizz » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:26 am

I'm doing the Mayan Adventure departing 5 July 2014. Anyone else??
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby gumper » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:49 am

reisenudel wrote:Hello to everybody who is travelling to Mexico,
I`m although doing the Mayan Adventure in July. I`m already very excited. What kind of clothes do you wear? How hot is it during the day and in the evening? I found some sites in the internet, they are telling about not to show too much skin.... something like: no short clothes, no short skirts and trousers, long sleeves.....
And how is the temperature?
I would be very happy if anybody can tell me something.
And who is doing the Mayan Adventure at 19.07., too?
Britta


I did Mexico in September 2002 and it's hot and it's a very dry heat (except when it rains). Found that any exposed skin soon got very hot, felt like you could feel the sun burning. Wear light, loose clothing that covers you fully and a broad rimmed hat. An army type poncho could be useful.

Mayan sites are wonderful as are some of the eco parks.
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby reisenudel » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:24 am

Thank you very much for your answer. I¨ve read it only now. Now, I?m already at Mexico City and will fly to Cancun tomorrow.
Have a good time.
Britta
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby oldyoungperson » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:09 am

Hi doing this trip in November. Any advice on luggage and how much carrying of it there is. Was it a problem.
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Re: Mayan Adventure - CAM

Postby ginger14 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:23 pm

hi guys!

I booked this trip recently and am starting to pack. I was wondering if somebody could answer me a couple of questions:
-is breakfast included and how was it?
-should I bring a mosquito net (especially for Guatemala and the jungle?). are there any in the hotel rooms provided?
-do I need hiking boots for the jungle? or any special gear in particular?

thanks a lot for your help!
cheers
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