Belize was once was the centre of the great Mayan culture, whose history dates back some 4000 years. The region covers Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsular (South Eastern tip of Mexico), Belize and Guatemala.
The Maya were one of the western hemisphere’s greatest but least known civilizations, and the sites of their impressive stone pyramids, temples and buildings are set against a backdrop of tropical jungles and stunning beaches. These days the history of the region is represented with six million Mayan Indians, still populating their ancestral lands.
The Yucatán’s hot climate makes it a great destination all year round, but you’ll get the most out of a visit to La Ruta Maya if you go between November to March because this avoids both the wet season (mid-August through mid-October) and the hottest weather (mid-April through mid-June). Planning is necessary when travelling because the temperatures between the beaches and the highlands can vary quite noticeably.
Practicality should your main consideration when planning a trip along La Ruta Maya. When visiting smaller villages in Mexico, Guatemala or Belize, women wearing skirts and covered shoulders will draw less attention to themselves. In bigger towns relatively conservative clothing is fine, and on the more commercial beaches and resorts, anything goes. Covering your arms and legs when entering a Church is respectful but not often insisted upon.
The local currency in Mexico is the Peso (MXN).
The local currency in Belize is the Belize Dollar (BZD), which is currently
Guatemala‘s currency is the Quetzal (GTQ), which is currently
Check you local currency exchange bureau for up to date rates.
Spanish is the dominant language of Mexico, but many Mexican’s living in resort areas will speak some English. Also, in the Yucatán, a variety of Mayan languages are still spoken.
English is Belize’s national language, but many people in northern Belize speak Spanish as a first language, and many black people of Belize also speak the distinct dialect of Creole.
Officially, Spanish is the national language of Guatemala, but Garifuna and some 21 Mayan languages are spoken. Many of the Mayans can speak Spanish but not all, especially some women and children.
Visas requirements vary drastically, for Visa requirements for Mexico, Belize or Guatemala, check with your local embassy for the most up to date information.
Generally avoid tap water in all three countries. Malaria can be an issue in some regions, so it might be wise to begin taking anti-malarial medication before going abroad (Chloroquine is the recommended vaccine). Dengue Fever and Cholera are other diseases that aren’t widespread, but can be contacted, especially if sanitation is poor.
Mexico, Guatemala and Belize are quite well serviced by buses, which is usually the cheapest option, and one that takes the pressure off drivers trying to negotiate the hectic and bizarre world of Central American roads, traffic, police and toll booths.
Active volcanos, towering mountains and stunning scenery characterise the lands of Guatemala. Guatemala City is surrounded by deep ravines and hosts stunning colonial architecture and culture. The beach town of Escobar has fantastic multi-cultural cuisine, from the Caribbean and inland.
Ancient Mayan sites like the Lubaantum, home of an infamous crystal skull, and cities emerging from jungles like Belmopan, the capital city as well as fantastic multicultural cuisine and architecture define Belize.
The Yucatan peninsula in south East Mexico are famed for its swampy, sleepy coastal lagoons and rich wetlands ripe for trekking and nature watching.
Contrary to popular belief, they are on the whole safe lands to visit and offer the most amazing tastes, sights and smells you may ever experience in the world.