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Home ] Colonial Cities Tours ] Mayan World Tours ] [ Why Travel With Us ] Terms/Conditions ]

Why Travel With Us

We are delighted to have this opportunity to let you know about ourselves and our packages to the Colonial Cities, Mayan ruins and natural history of Mexico and the land of the ancient and modern Maya.

Renowned as an innovative leader in Latin American travel since 1984, we have introduced thousands to Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru and are proud of our priorities:

  • Safety is our number one concern for each of our tours;

  • We have been offering quality, high value participatory birding, natural history, archaeology and adventure tours to Latin America since 1984;

  • All tours are designed to be educational, enlightening and fun;

  • Expert specialized guides and lecturers;

  • Constant quality control measures to guarantee client satisfaction;

  • And, most importantly, we have a continuing passion for what we do!

Please call us at 1-888-843-6292 or email us at for information about booking a tour or with any questions not addressed here. 

We understand that an investment in a vacation should be carefully considered.  We know that you want to know that the people with whom you are entrusting this most important time of your year are experienced, reliable professionals.

The questions and answers presented below are intended to instill a confidence in us, our capabilities and our expertise.  If you have any other questions, please let us hear from you.  And, if would like to add your own question to the list, just let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who are you?  We are a U.S. based tour operator specializing in Colonial Cities, Mayan ruins, natural history and academic tours to Mexico and the lands of the ancient and modern Maya.  These tours encompass Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.  The Mayan Traveler is a sister company of Tropical Travel Representatives, a tour operator offering educational, natural history, ecotourism and cultural tours to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Peru.

  • How long have you been in business?  Twenty seven years!  These companies began operating as Belize Promotions in 1984.  We began expanding the scope of our operations soon thereafter.  Since then we have received so many references and kudos that we have become the most highly recommended travel service in all of our areas of expertise.  We now serve thousands of clients to our growing list of destinations.

  • Why can't I find you on TripAdvisor We are often asked why we can’t be found on TripAdvisor for client comments or as a source for tours.  Clients returning from our tours often ask why they can’t go to TripAdvisor to post their compliments and tour comments. The answer is simple – We offer only multi day tours and TripAdvisor only lists “day tour” operators.  Their explanation is that they don’t list multi day attractions because they want the attractions listed on their site narrowed down to things that can be done on the spur of the moment while a traveler is on vacation.  The rationale is they only want to list activities where one can you can just show up at a scheduled time and just take a tour. Below we have posted client feedback for your review. We are proud of our past successes and look forward to providing you with our usual great service and a safe, fun, entertaining and educational tour.

  • Are you a “specialty” travel service?  Yes and No.  Yes, we are specialists in our destinations.  We know and book all activities in each.  No, we do not specialize in just scuba diving, sport fishing, natural history, archaeology, etc.  Our many years of traveling throughout the region and knowledge of all their various activities and attractions allow us to service all our clients needs.

  • Are your tours for everyone?  Not necessarily.  It is the responsibility of each client to select a trip that is appropriate to their health, physical abilities and interests.  Certainly we will offer advice, but the final decision to travel on any particular itinerary is ultimately with the individual traveler.

  • Can you tell me more about the hotel categories you offer?  Certainly - Most of our tour prices anticipate accommodations while in Mexico City at either the Hotel Geneve or the Galeria Plaza in the Zona Rosa or at either the Historico Central or Zocalo Central in the downtown area near the Zocalo. Upgrade accommodations in Mexico City are available at increased prices. Hotels while on tour are rated from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 on Trip Advisor.  They are all rated as at least 4 star accommodations under the Mexico hotel rating system.  This category includes hotels that have a high level of, but not elaborate, service. They have adequate staffing, in room entertainment and, in most cases, WiFi. They offer enhanced overall physical design elements and amenities. The accommodations guarantee cleanliness with bathrooms cleaned and linens washed and changed daily and services such as hot water and purified drinking water (but we do recommend bottled water).  All hotels have restaurant facilities, in some cases a specialty restaurant, and most offer at least limited room service hours.  Hotels on tour can be upgraded only on private tours.  .  Hotels on route will be confirmed according to availability.

  • How do I make a reservation?  Once you have selected the tour you wish, just give us a call with the dates of travel. We will determine the availability of the tour and quote our discount airfare from the departure city.  Then we will confirm your instructions and begin the billing and voucher process.

  • Can I make a reservation online?  Yes and no.  You may use our email link to request any of our tours, and we will respond immediately. 

  • What does the tour cost include?  We include details in each of our tour descriptions.  However, any questions will be addressed separately.  BUT—IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT INTERNATIONAL AIR IS NOT INCLUDED in any tour.  Our discount airfares are available from most major cities.

  • Do you offer customized tours?  Yes.  We can take portions of existing tours and combine them with portions of others to suit your requests.  We can also  completely customize any specific tour.  Due to the large number of clients we send to our destinations we offer customized tours at package tour rates. 

  • Do you offer guaranteed departure dates?  Yes, where there are good reasons to do so.  Those are the tours where there are extraordinary activities on the tour or where the individual or small group pricing would not be reasonable for the value minded client.

  • Do you offer transfers or extra hotel nights?  Yes.  Where noted, transfers are included.  Where they are not included, they can be arranged.  Similarly, the number of hotel nights included in each tours are noted, but additional nights are certainly available.

  • Can you book airline reservations?  For individuals and small groups, no. Yes, for groups.  We can book airline reservations from most major U.S. departure cities to our destinations at discount fares for groups.  Individuals can normally arrange their own airfares online at the same or lower that our contract rates.  But, where we can provide airfare these are not included in any of our packages. 

  • Are there penalties for changes in reservations?   A $50 fee will be charged for changes to a confirmed reservation prior to the issuance of documentation.  Once travel documents and tickets have been issued a $100 per person change fee applies. Changes by Passengers are subject to any other change or cancellation penalties that may be imposed by suppliers or airlines.

  • Are there any tour cancellation penalties?  Yes.  Cancellation penalties of up to deposits of $200 ($300 for major holiday periods, i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year‘s, Holy Week, Spring Break, etc., highly customized bookings) can apply. 

  • Do you accept late bookings?  Yes, but there might be extra charges for processing, handling and voucher delivery and the tour costs are non-refundable.

  • What if I am unable to make any portion of my tour?  Once the tour begins or travel commences, unused portions of packages are non-refundable.

  • When will I receive my travel documents?  Except in the case of late bookings, travel documents will be delivered no later than one week prior to departure via U.S. mail and/or email.

  • Will there be any variations in tour itineraries?  Due to unanticipated conditions it is possible that certain activities or services may be substituted for similar scheduled activities.  Certain services may be interrupted or cancelled due to weather or other conditions out of the control of the hotels, airlines, tour operators or Tropical Travel.  No refunds will be granted as a result of these interruptions or cancellations.   And, accommodations may change but will always to hotels of the same class as quoted and confirmed.

  • How much luggage can be taken on tour?  Please keep your luggage to a minimum, especially if air transfers are included as part of your tour.  In most cases these carriers restrict luggage to two pieces with a limit of 25 pounds.  Otherwise it is important to recognize that many airlines allow a checked single bag limit with a maximum weight limit of 50 lbs without charge.  Charges for extra bags may apply. Please check with your airline for details.  Our advice is to take as little as you can (25 to 50 lbs) as you will be on the move a good deal!  We recommend one main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase) and a daypack large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, sunscreen, etc.

  • What type of accommodations are included on the tours?  Unless otherwise noted lodgings are at lease 3 Star.   But we do offer three classes of accommodations, Standard, Superior and Deluxe.  All of tours are quoted on the basis of Superior accommodations but we can quote the other classes upon request.

  • How much time is spent at each city and attraction?  As a general rule a minimum of 3 hours is spent touring each city and attraction on your itinerary up to about 6 hours a day.  The times  are dictated by the size of the city, the attractions at each and the realities of traveling between venues.  For the sake of safety and security there is never any intent for our tours to travel after dark.  Therefore, extended times at sites will not be permitted to interfere with the tour’s travel schedule.

  • Are there any special entry or documentation requirements for entry into the destinations offered?  Each country has its own entry requirements.  But it is now a requirement that all U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. have a valid passport.  Therefore, all of our tour participants are required to produce a valid passport for boarding any aircraft whose destination is any of the countries of our tours. 

  •  Do you have any travel insurance available?  Yes. Trip cancellation, interruption or delay, accidental death and dismemberment, excess medical expense and excess baggage coverages are available through Travel Guard Travel Insurance.  We will be pleased to provide applications if you so desire.  Remember - Anytime, anywhere unexpected events can complicate even the best planned trip!  We highly recommend that you consider purchasing these coverages.

We welcome any other questions!


“Tommy – I want to drop you a note and let you know what a FABULOUS time we had! Everything was as expected and much, much more. Juan was amazing. He is one of the best and well informed guides that we have ever encountered. We were both so pleased about everything! You have a first class operation and we will highly recommend it to all of our friends and associates. You really made our vacation memorable.”
Diane and Glenn Bachman – Repeat client

“We are thrilled with this amazing trip and with the precision with which it was planned and executed even though it evolved so many places and activities! The guides and drivers provided for us were superb, very nice and pleasant persons. They were like friends to us!!!! They were teaching us Spanish too. We will miss them! Each of the sites and the museums chosen displayed something different! Sofia kept many notes and also we were given much written material and maps to help us with our documentation of our travels. The whole trip was a success. Words are poor to describe how happy we feel! We thank you again for your efforts to please us and to make this trip unforgettable.”
Dimitris Tragkas - Greece – Custom tour client

“Everyone had a great time and the trip was a resounding success. I want to thank you for giving us Juan Canul as our guide. He was excellent -- very knowledgeable, professional and accommodating. Everyone loved him and learned so much from him. Our driver, Jesus, was great, too -- helpful, pleasant, and always got us where we were going in a timely and safe manner. I plan to run the OCC World of the Maya Travel Seminar during a similar time next year and each January thereafter and hope we can travel with The Mayan Traveler again.” (They have)
Christine W. Kitchin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Ocean County College – Four time client

“An emphatic ‘fantastic!’ is my review. I can assure you that everything, everything was beyond my expectations. I cannot say enough good things about the tour, accommodations, facilities, etc., and especially the extreme care, knowledge, and genuineness offered by Juan and Gaspar. They truly made it wonderful, not just in terms of keeping everything running so smoothly behind the scenes but being so good to us as well. Thanks so much for everything!!”
Lisa Crutchfield, Ph.D., Department of History, LaGrange College – Three time client

“Well, the trip is over and I wanted to get back with you and give you some feedback. First, I really appreciate all of your help and assistance. You patiently answered all of my questions and always responded promptly. That helped me make the decision to go with you. The documents were sent timely and were complete. There were never any problems with the room or meals or entrance fees. That all went very smoothly. The rooms were all very comfortable and the food and service in the restaurants was very, very good. No complaints! Although busy, we did not find the schedule overwhelming and felt we had plenty of time at all the sites. We felt as though we had a chance to see all of the Yucatan and really experience Mexico. It was GREAT!”
Judy Jenner – Scheduled tour client

“All three tours that you have organized for our group left nothing to chance. Our accommodations were above average and the food was good. The guides were outstanding and attended to our every need. That includes any special requests that we had. I want to extend a well deserved thank you for a job well done.”
Dr. James Graceffa – Verde Valley Archaeology Center – Now a five time client

“Our thanks to you for the planning and execution of our trip. It was a great adventure and we really enjoyed every minute. Thanks for making this a wonderful experience for us.”
Robyn and John – Queensland Australia - Colonial Cities tour

“I just thought I'd send you a quick message to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Best of the Maya trip. I've been on many trips all over the world, and I think this was one of the best. Getting to see the famous Classic Maya sites in one week was a real treat. I thought the itinerary was spot on and I enjoyed very much the variety of the hotels - especially the jungle lodge in the very rural setting.”
Mark Langer – London England - Scheduled tour client

“You will not find a more professional organization. My wife and I have traveled all over the world the last 31 years and have used a variety of travel companies; big and small, but nothing surpassed our experiences with The Mayan Traveler. Tommy Thomson was a stellar travel coordinator who demonstrated strong customer service, a collaborative personality and acute listening skills. I gave Tommy a list of Mayan archeological sites we hoped to visit, our travel time frame, price range and restriction of traveling with only a driver and guide or driver/guide combination person. Tommy designed a wonderful itinerary which included all of our desired sites plus a few of which we were not familiar. The hotels and restaurants were outstanding. The final itinerary far exceeded our expectations. Tommy’s patience and willingness to accommodate our details (when possible) were refreshing. He never once forced a decision. All Tommy’s associates throughout the trip were pleasant, thorough and willing to please. Lastly, in that we were celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary, Tommy, unbeknownst to us, arranged a special surprise ending to our experience which was a true show stopper. Everything from the honeymoon palapa, the adult beverage and bouquet waiting in our room at our Playa Del Carmen hotel my wife described as ‘magical’.”
Joseph Holland – Custom tour client

“Tommy, I wanted you to know what an absolutely fabulous time we had on our trip! The guides were all wonderful - we could not be more pleased. Thank you so much for making the arrangements!!”
Kimiko Burton - Custom tour client

“I really want to thank you again for all that you did in preparing us for our trip. We most certainly did enjoy the surprise celebrations of our honeymoon and my birthday that you arranged. We and grew a very special bond with both the country of Mexico and it’s people as well as our driver and guide. I’ll be recommending you guys to all our friends and for sure if we return we’ll be in touch. Thanks again Tommy. Awesome vacation!!! “
Noelia da Mata – Paris France - Custom tour client

“We had a great vacation to Mundo Maya. We really had fun and learned a lot. Julio was a great guide. We would recommend this trip to others. We also appreciate you working in the trip to Piedras Negras. I am sure that took some work to arrange and it is surely off the beaten path. Our going there impressed the owner of Chanabnal Resort.”
J. Passmore – Scheduled tour client

“Tommy, greetings from Turkey. We just got back home from Mexico. Thanks a lot for everything. It was a very beautiful trip. Couldn’t thank you enough. Hope to do this again with another group in the future. Cheers.”
Cahit Ital – Custom tour group leader – Suleyman Tours of Turkey

“The tour was great and the colonial cities that we saw were awesome - all we could ask for. The guides and drivers were also very good, and the border transfers were flawless - all good things!”
Susan and Lance Hamilton - Private tour clients

“Thank you very much for the wonderful trip. It exceeded our expectations and, after having spent close to 2 weeks with your ground operations team, I feel like they are all part of the family. Should they find themselves in California, please let us know and we will take them on a few guided tours of places that we love. However, we cannot promise the same level of knowledge that we were shown about Mexico! This was a near perfect experience.”
Rick Walsh and party – Private archaeology and birding clients

“We really enjoyed your tour. Everything was very well organized and Fausto and Julio were excellent guides. It was wonderful to be able to visit all the Mayan sites in such a convenient way and we learnt a lot. All the accommodation was very good including the lovely little villas at Hotel Cabanas Valle Escondido near Bonampak. No problems with the food either. Thanks again - we are very happy to recommend this tour to others.”
Kate Bosser and Ray Walker – Melbourne, Australia - Scheduled tour client

“Tommy - We are back from our trip to Mexico. The driver/guide we had was superb. The hotels were all excellent choices. It was a nearly flawless trip. We appreciate your work on developing a memorable experience.”
Chris Lofgren - Private tour clients – Central Mexico Archaeology tour

“Tommy, everything was wonderful--as expected. Students and faculty all happy--quite an adventure (in a good way.) Julio and Eddie, Juan and Ariel were all fabulous. Thanks so much for making it another successful trip. I gave a high recommendation to a gentleman who recently contacted me to inquire about your services.”
College History/Anthropology Professor – Repeat client

Compilation of comments from other evaluation forms

Guides and Drivers – “extremely knowledgeable”, “friendly and flexible”, “Great guides, great group, indelible memories.”, “not to discount ALL the hard work that everyone else does to pull these trips off but Juan and Gaspar personally MADE the trip what it was”, “accommodating”, “always on time”’, “Wonderful experience with a very knowledgeable guide”, “We could not have had a better and more courteous and accommodations driver than Laurentino. He is a treasure.”, “the greatest guide/driver duo ever”, “Juan was the most accommodating, fun and knowledgeable tour leader I’ve ever met”, Carlos and Enrique kept the whole group interested, even when we were tired; their energy and enthusiasm were continually motivating”, “well prepared, smart, fun, enjoyable – couldn’t have asked for better”, “Hugo was excellent. He has an amazing knowledge of birds, architecture, flora and fauna. He was always charming, humorous, patient, and prompt. We could not have asked for a better guide for a two week trip. We would highly recommend him to any future client”, “Jose was informative, personable, a pleasure to be around and very accommodating in assisting with our menu since we are vegans”, “Gaspar is a great driver, is very helpful and has a great sense of humor”, “the guides were excellent and extremely helpful”, “the guides were outstanding and went out of their way to make this a unique tour”, “Juan was the perfect guide, his knowledge amplified our experience”, “Jaime is a wonderfully knowledgeable and outgoing guide”.

Transportation – “excellent”, “very comfortable”, “very careful driver”, “The vehicle was great – comfortable, perfect size for the group”, “The van was very spacious and comfortable. Couldn't have asked for more. Also, Pablo and Hugo were always on time”, “drivers skills were outstanding”, “Pablo was excellent and an excellent driver. Not only was his English very much appreciated, but he was also charming and very helpful. We always felt safe. In addition, the van was always spotless”, “Gaspar was a great driver – very accommodating and fun to have as part of our trip”, “careful, but fun, nice and helpful”, “fantastic, we felt completely comfortable”, “wonderful and unique”, “well organized, roomy, comfortable and well air-conditioned”,

Activities – “LOVED them, especially the combination itinerary that covered so many different venues”, “great – enjoyed everything”, “educational and fun”, “excellent – precisely as described”, “The trip was a great combination of birding and architecture. We learned a lot and had a good time doing it. “, “great schedule”, “perfect from start to finish”, “nice variety for all ages and interests”, “each activity exceed expectations”, “wonderful and unique”, “very fun and well organized”, “Excellent!”, “The pace was fast, but usually that was for the best”, “fun, adventurous and well executed”, “it struck the perfect balance of archaeology, history, natural history, and adventure”.

Academics – “fabulous – I learned so much!”, “excellent”, “exciting – learned a lot”, “expanded so much on what I had already learned”, “ I’m amazed at the huge amount of education packed into a few days”, “the lectures were delightful”, “it was just as we had hoped to see and learn”.

Accommodations – “great”, “comfortable, no complaints, good locations”, “excellent”, “I thought the accommodations were very good, several better than I had anticipated and the food was all very good”, “each property had a lot of character, was comfortable, safe and usually beautiful”, “Each hotel had it’s unique charm”.

Would you recommend your tour/us to a friend – “will definitely use your services in the future for any student trips to Latin America (in fact—I refused to even entertain the idea other faculty members were pushing for a talk with another tour operator”, “absolutely”, “very much”, “certainly”, “I already have”, “definitely!”, “I can’t wait to tell all my friends and family”, “without hesitation”, “Yes! At some point I would like to bring my own group”, “In a heartbeat – yes!!”, “absolutely – hope to come again!”

Summary – “Perfect trip from planning stages thru execution. Loved every second and especially the personnel”, “Had a wonderful time. Our driver and guide are excellent.”, “I particularly enjoyed the extra events not listed on the itinerary, i.e., the lectures given by archeologists at Palenque and Copan. Being entertained by one of the archeologists at his home in Copan Ruinas was a special treat.”, “GREAT EXPERIENCE”, “Overall tour as excellent”, “This was a great trip”, “This was an excellent tour, a trip worth repeating”, “One of the best tours I have ever been on”, “The trip was excellent”, “ Excellent!”, “We will be back”, “We could not have had a better tour”, “This was the trip of a lifetime”, “The most amazing experience ever!”, “Thanks you for all you have done and the service you provide”, “Our trip exceeded our expectations”, “Having been to all corners of the world we very much appreciated been given access to some of these very special sites”, “The trip was Great!! I truly had one of the ‘times of my life’ experience”, “LOVED every aspect of the trip”, “I just wanted to thank you and your organization for a fantastic trip. I really enjoyed it. It was the trip of a lifetime!”

Please call us at 1-888-843-6292 or email us at with your questions or for more information. 

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