04 - 31 Mar 2020 (28-days) Cuba Mexico Guatemala (Havana, Trinidad, Cancun, Merida, Chitchen Itza, Palenque, Flores, Tikal, Panajachel, San Cristobal & Mexico City)
Based on USD1=Rm4.20 Cost Rm16,200 (13 pax group) Rm15,500 (14-15 pax group)
We will make final cost adjustment based on USD exchange rate in Feb 2020
18 Apr 2019 Trip cost above is based on estimated KLM Group fares of Rm3800 and will be adjusted up or down,depending on final fares. Past trip Mar 2019 KLM group fare was Rm3460. The faster we form the Group, the better the chances of lower Group fares. Note that KLM airport taxes surcharges of about Rm2500 is NOT included in the trip cost. Cost also based on estimated Havana Merida flights of Rm900 including taxes. Note that we use public buses and a few chartered vans. Trip strictly limited to 15 pax because of small van/bus for many of the road trips.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This is meant to be a "free and easy" adventure trip. Participants should be relatively fit, with a good sense of humor, and above all, have the right attitude for close travel with others through possibly some trying times. Most definitely, this is not a trip for prudes, whiners, fuss-pots, and other similarly assorted types! We had a couple of those before and it wasn't pleasant for us or them. Although every effort will be made to stick to the given itinerary, ground conditions may change and cause some disruption and/or deviation from the norm. Otherwise, have fun.
Group in Havana / Lake Atitlan / Homun Cenote Yaxbakultun / Cuban Taxi
This will be a semi-backpack experience using local express bus rides and some chartered buses traveling from town to town. In Cuba, we stay in small family guesthouses called Casa Particulars located near to each other. In Mexico and Guatemala, we stay in good clean guesthouse. Its quite important participants are able to manage their own luggage and please use backpacks if possible. Like most Yongo trips, you pay for your own meals but many of the entrances are covered and is mentioned below. You also pay within-the-town taxis and other activities not specifed below. Note that the Public Express Buses in Mexico which we use are of good international standard with proper reclining seats and equipped with toilets.
DAY 1 KLIA to Amsterdam. Gather by 930PM WED 4 MAR 2020 for KLM flight KL810 departing 1150PM to Amsterdam (13hrs flight). No need to take leave on this day.
DAY 2 Amsterdam to Havana. Arrive Amsterdam 5:55AM local time. Transit 6:40hr until flight KL723 to Havana Cuba at 1235PM, arriving 10.5hr later at 1615PM local time. Free to wander in the Old Town. Overnight (ON) Havana.
Day 3 Havana Old Town. Havana is one of the finest and largest colonial city in the Americas and was the main port where ships start their journey back to Spain and Europe. Christopher Columbus first landed in Cuba and not in the United States. We have a local tour guide for a half a day visiting the Museo Revolution and other main sights of Havana Old Town. Group will have the rest of the day visiting other sights. There are many places for people-watching and in the evenings, there are many places for food and good music. Entrance fees to Museo is included. ON 2nd night Havana.
Day 4 Pinar then Vinales. On the way to Vinales direct drive 3hr, we stop in small town Pinar del Rio to visit a Cigar Factory. We arrive in time for lunch at a local eatery for local paladar (home-cooked) lunch. Unesco listed Vinales was the first area in the world for widespread growing of tobacco starting 200 years ago. It still produces some of the finest tobacco in the World. We do a guided Walking Tour of Vinales valley. Entrance Cigar factory, Vinales National Park fees and Walking Tour fees included. ON Vinales.
Day 5 Cienfuegos via Santa Clara. We visit Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara. Che was an Argentine doctor who joined Fidel Castro in the fight for Cuban Independence. Santa Clara was the first major city to be liberated by Castro's Army in December 1958. From here, we travel to Cienfuegos with its many European buildings, Parisian-styled boulevards and elegant colonnades. ON Cienfuegos.
Day 6 Trinidad & Ingenious Sugar Cane Valley. We have a few hours in the morning to wander about Cienfuegos with our Tour Guide. We then travel 1hr to Unesco listed Trinidad, itself a small colonial town full of charm, live music, handicraft markets and Paladars (private restaurants). Trinidad was built on the back of the 19th century sugar and slave trade, was the biggest producer of sugar for Europe. In the afternoon we visit the UNESCO listed Valley of the Sugar Mills 17km outside Trinidad, which was one of the World centers of sugar production in the late 18th Century. At its height, there were over 50 sugar mills with over 30,000 slaves. ON Trinidad.
Day 7 Horse Riding to Waterfall and free day. Today is a free day to relax in the prettiest town in Cuba. The weath accummulated from sugar is reflected in Trinidad's numberous beautiful colonial buildings. Trinidad is also a center for live music every night at its main town square. There is an optional morning 3-4 hours horse riding to a nearby National Park ending with a swim in a waterfall pool costing CUC30 USD30. ON 2nd night Trinidad.
Day 8 Bay of Pigs and Havana. On the way to Havana, we visit at Bay of Pigs Museum, the site of the failed US sponsored invasion of Cuba of 1961. Nearby is Caleta Buena, which has a natural sea pool for clear blue water swimming in the Caribbean Sea. Bring swim gear for this. Entrance CUC15 USD15 includes buffet lunch and free flow drinks including Cuban Rum is covered. We arrive late afternoon in Havana. ON Havana.
Hemmingway's Bar / Cuba Paseo del Prado / Vinales Tobacco / Che Guevera stuff
Day 9 Fly to Merida. After breakfast, we transfer to Airport for our flight to Merida MEXICO, departing at 1310PM arriving at 1250PM, 1:40hr flight. Transfer by taxis 8km to Hotel Reforma Merida, located one street away from the Main Square (Zocola). Within walking distance are many good Mexican restaurants and local cheap eats. ON Merida.
Day 10 Merry Merida. Free day in Merida, the state capital of Yucatan and cultural center. This busy city is full of small parks and good sized colonial buildings. We have an easy relaxing day in Merida, starting with a free walking tour 1:30hr at 930am from the Main Square. After the tour, members can visit local market Mercado Lucas de Galves. ON 2nd night Merida.
Day 11 Chitchen Itza. Our chartered van takes us to Chitchen Itza 125km 1:30hr. (Fom Merida it is 125km 1:45hr) This most visited UNESCO listed site, is one of the best examples of Mayan architecture with its stepped pyramids. The El Castilo pyramid is best known for its carved snakes which 'follows' the sun during the spring and fall equinoxes and has been voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. We hire an on-site guide to bring the group around for about 2.5hr. After lunch, group travel to Homun 46km 1hr to visit the cenotes. These underground caverns have clear blue turquoise waters, which are filtered through the limestone ground. Bring SWIM THINGS for Cenote. We return to Merida 46km 1hr. Entrance Chitzhen Itza and Cenotes covered. ON 3rd night Merida.
Day 12 Palenque. Our chartered van takes us to Palenque 530km 8hr, arriving in the late afternoon. Palenque is a small town and a jumping off point to visit Palenque Mayan city as well as Agua Azul cascades. ON Palenque.
Day 13 Palenque and Agua Azul. Palenque Ruins is a medium sized site but contains some of the finest architecture sculpture, roof comb and bas-reflief carvings of the Mayans. It is famous for being the site of the tomb of Pacal the Great, where the carving of the 'space-man in a rocket ship', was found. We also visit Agua Azul, a popular river recreation area with many big waterfalls. Entrance and day tour to Palenque and Agua Azul covered. ON 2nd night Palenque.
Semuc Champey and back streets Trinidad / Chicken Buses n Solola Market Guatemala
Day 14 Flores. We cross into GUATEMALA via the border crossing at El Ciebo. We change to a local van and contiue our journey to FLores, arriving afternoon. Flores sits on the banks of the Lago or Lake Peten and is the gateway to the biggest Mayan City of Tikal. ON Flores.
Day 15 Tikal National Park. UNESCO listed Tikal is much quieter than the crowded sites of Chitchen Itza and Palenque. The five main temples tower above the jungles of the Tikal National Park. Much of Tikal is still unexcavated but there is much to see. We start from Flores at 5AM to get to Tikal one hour away. Morning hours is best for some wildlife spotting. We return to Flores in the afternoon to lunch at one of the many local restaurants. Transport, local guide and entrance to Tikal included in trip cost. ON 2nd night Flores.
Day 16 Semuc Champey. We have an early start in a 2-days hired van to take the group first to Semuc Champey 7hr away. Semuc Champey has a natural 300m limestone bridge, under which passes the Cahabon River. Atop the bridge is a series of stepped turquoise pools, great for swimming. We will have a few hours until the evening to enjoy this natural scenic area. Entrance fees Semuc Champey covered. ON Semuc Champey.
Day 17 Antiqua. We travel to Antigua 6hr and expect to arrive late afternoon. UNESCO listed Antigua founded in early 16th Century was the old capital of Guatemala and home to numerous colonial buildings and churches. ON Antigua.
Day 18 Panajachel. We have a morning to visit the vibrant local market and its huge Artesan Center. At noon, our chartered van to take us to Panajachel, located beside the beautiful Lake Atitlan that is ringed by volcanoes and colourful villages. On the way, we have short stop at Solola market, a local market with locals still dressed in their traditional wear. ON Panajachel.
Day 19 SUN Market & Lake Atitlan Boats. Early monring we travel 1 hour to Chichicastenango to experience the colourful Sunday market. Great opportunity to see locals dressed up in their traditional clothing and also buy many handicrafts at affordable prices. It is reputed to be largest in Central America known for its traditional K'iche' Maya culture. We return to Panajachel for our lake tour to visit the lakeside towns of San Juan and Santiago villages. There are a total of 14 villages around Lake Atitlan. During the villange visit, we will encounter many artisan's shops including painting, weaving and famous Guatemala coffee. Chici Market and Boat Tour cost covered. ON 2nd night Panajachel.
Teotihuacan / Palenque / Chitchen Itza / Forested Tikal
Day 20 San Cristobal. Today is a long van journey of about 8 hours as we leave Guatemala and re-enter MEXICO. Our private transfer will take us from Panajachel to San Cristobal l de las Casas, the capital of state of Chiapas located in the Highlands region all. San Cristobal has many beautiful colonial buildings, legacy left behind by the Spanish who made it their regional base since 1528. It is also home to plenty of cafes and restaurants serving up a variety of great regional food. ON San Cristobal.
Day 21 San Cristobal. We have a day rest in this beautiful town with its big market/mercado, the very ornate Santo Domingo Church and other colonial buildings. Half day tour to Sumidero Canyon National Park. One gets on a boat to sight crocodiles, vultures, tree top monkeys and so on. This is followed by visit to the Indian villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. The church in San Juan Chamula is well known for its shamanistic practices in a Christian church. Boat ride at Sumidero Canyon NP covered. ON 2nd night San Cristobal.
Day 22 Overnight Bus to Mexico City. We have a free and easy morning to visit the big local market. A good shopping area can be found just outside Santo Domingo Church. We leave the Hotel at 445PM to the Bus Terminal for our overnight bus trip to Mexico City, starting 530PM, taking about 14 hours. We will have 3 nights in Mexico City. ON Bus.
Day 23 Mexico City. We arrive in Mexico City early morning and proceed to our hotel. After luggage storage, our local guide will show us the main highlights of the nearby UNESCO listed Historic Centre of Mexico City. Another must see is the Diego Murals painted on the walls of the Palacio Nacional. ON Mexico City.
Day 24 Teotihuacan. We use the efficient public transport to UNESCO listed Teotihuacan, a pre-Columbia Mesoamerican City 30km from Mexico City, for a guided visit. The Sun pyramid is the biggest and rivals the pyramids of Giza. One is allowed to climb to the top of Sun pyramid for great views of the site. Transport, entrance and local guiding included in trip cost. We finish in the late afternoon and travel by local Metro to nearby Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, one of the top pilgrimage site for Catholics, where a farmer claim to have seen Mother Mary on a few occassions. In the evening, we visit the famous Mariachi Square with hundreds of musicians, together with many locals and tourists alike. ON 2nd night Mexico City.
Day 25 Xochimilco. We head off to Xochimilco, an hour by local Metro, which is a popular weekend getaway for local, also known as the Venice of Mexico. We visit on a Saturday to join the crowds in navigating the canals in boats called trajineras. Mariachi bands on their music boats float up and down and serenade the visitors for a fee. Boats stop at floating gardens where locals buy plants and flowers. Xochilmilco Metro and boat trip cost covered. ON 3rd night Mexico City.
Day 26 Museum of Anthropology n Fly Home. In the morning we have an optional visit to this Musuem of Anthropology with a local guide. The musuem contains one of the best collection of archaeological and anthropological artifacts from the pre-Columbia heritage of Mexico. Metro rides and entrance tickets are at own cost. Rest of the day is free for last minute shopping and final exploration before our 430PM transfer to the airport. Our flight KL686 to Amsterdam takes off at 905PM taking 10:20hr flight time. ON Plane
Day 27 Amsterdam. Arrive in Amsterdam at 240PM and transit 6:10hr before the flying KL809 to Kuala Lumpur at 850PM. ON Plane
Day 28 KLIA & Home. Arrive home 250PM TUE 31 MAR 2020 after 12hr flight.
Xochimilco Boats / Diego Rivera Murals
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Cost cover airfares, accommodation, town-to-town travel, tours and entrances specified in the itinerary as covered.
- Accommodations will be in homestays (Cuba) and small hotels/guesthouses for Guatemala & Mexico.
- Not covered are airport taxes & fuel surcharges (Rm2400 for Mar 2019 group), meals (Rm80 x 25 days = Rm2000 and other entrance fees and optional activities (most of the main fees are already included in price).
- Trip cost are calculated based on estimated KLM fare Rm3800 and Merida fare Rm900. Fare differences will be adjusted up or down when final fares are known.
- In-town taxis are not covered except for transfers to and from bus stations to our place of stay.
- Cost is subject to change depending on fluctuations in exchange rates and/or airfares.
- Non Refundable deposit of Rm4000 is payable to confirm your place. Reservation is strictly on first-come basis re your deposits.