La Ruta Maya, code AUR

Anyone also doing the tour 'La Ruta Maya' on the 17th of October '09?

Astrid 

Hi Astrid

Just sent a deposit for this trip for me and a friend. took me a while cause was hesitant due to the swine flu news but i went ahead since it is now everywhere!  let's hope all goes well

Michelle

Astrid

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for contacting me. Don't worry about swine flu, if you are healthy. I'm a nurse and also infection control nurse, and even our senior infection control nurse is not worried. The swine flu is mainly in Mexico City and the border with the US. I'll be taking precautions like using a face mask during take off, to protect myself from the germs in the plane, and I shall sniff essential, antiseptic oils for protection. They also help against insects. Anyway, we'll have a great time, I have already travelled several times along the Ruta Maya, looking forward to it.

Astrid

Hi Astrid

 I feel much better to know someone with your qualifications will be amogst us! Is it just during take-off or do you intend to wear a mask during the whole flight...all 13 hours of it? We will be leaving from Heathrow with the group, are you also on the group flight? I'm really excited about this trip. Sara and myself as spending an extra week in Belize to do some diving. Can't wait. I might need some advice re clothing etc since you've been already, hope you don't mind.

Michelle

 

Astrid

Hi Michelle, I also fly from Heathrow (probably going to travel by National Express from Birmingham). You only need to wear a mask or sniff something like Olbas oil during takeoff, when they blast all the recycled air into the system. About clothes: In the highlands it might be cool at night or in the evening (Antigua, San Cristobal), so bring a cardigan or, much more versatile, a sarong: Where there are ceiling fans or air conditioning, or where the bed clothes are too warm, you can cover up with a sarong, also on the beach of course. For the hot and humid lowlands (Palenque, Tikal), wear pale trousers (mosquitoes go for dark colours), trousers that are narrow at the ankles, and white socks. You will also need a couple of loose long-sleeved white blouses or shirts, for protection against mosquitoes or sunburn, or to wear on top of t-shirts. You will also need loose summery dresses or skirts, e.g. for Belize, where it can be so sticky that you don't want to wear anything else. You need trainers or non-slip sandals for climbing the pyramids, preferably shoes that you don't mind getting wet (Palenque can get swampy). Bring a large loose light-weight raincoat, or buy one, or an umbrella, during the holiday, as the occasional downpours can be torrential, and to protect your equipment. Hope that helps, Astrid.   

Thanks Astrid. Very useful information! I'm sure I will have some more questions along the way. I'll keep in touch.

 Michelle

 

Astrid

Hi Michelle,

I've got a question regarding the type of hotels we are likely to get with Exodus, as I have never travelled with them, and as they don't appear to want to give us any details; I mean, how basic are they?

Astrid

hi astrid

 i've only travelled to morocco with exodus and was quite happy with the standard of the hotels. no 5 star...but basic, decent and clean.  i think it's a matter of personal opinion. can't say we had any bad experiences. In todra gorge though the hotel was not heated and it was freezing. some members of the group complained. i'm very easy especially when i'm on holiday and i  put down certain flaws under 'different culture different standards'. the good thing is that most of the time we only spend one night or two in the same hotel so if it's not to my liking i know that it's short term. 

it seems that we are 7 booked so far. that is what sharmil from exodus told me. we were a great group in morocco i wish we'll have the same atmosphere on this one as it makes a huge difference.

Michelle

Astrid

Thanks for your reply. I'm not fussy either, I was just wondering, will we need to bring our own soap and towels. I know there won't always be electricity, but it would be nice to have a bedside lamp, if there is electricity. Well, if we stick together, we'll have a great atmosphere.

Astrid

Hi Astrid

 I always carry my shower gel and a towel but i'm sure the hotels will provide. This strip only notes standard and comfortable hotels in the trip notes so i'm expecting electricity everywhere too.

michellle

 

Astrid

Hi Michelle,

thanks for your reply. In the meantime I've got the details of the hotel in Antigua, which is exactly what I had been hoping for; it's the kind of hotel I've had before in that region, so I feel reassured. Our departure is later than expected though, but at least the hotel is right in the centre of Antigue, for the sight-seeing the next morning.

Take care,

Astrid 

which one is it so that i can have a sneak peek!

 michelle

Astrid

Hi Michelle,

It's a 'museum-hotel' called Uxlabil, in Antigue; there are several websites about it, and most certainly we'll also be there for our last night. It's right by the central park. It means Exodus has very carefully chosen a hotel with a suitable theme for our trip, which means, the other hotels will also be special.

Astrid

wow, it does look nice....unfortunately we are leaving the group in Flores to get the bus to Belize so won't be with you on the  last night! i think we're taking over this blog...hope someone else joins :-)

 keep in touch.

michelle

 

Astrid

I'm sure you'll have a great time for your week in Belize, and the other hotels are likely to have character and be very colourful.

Astrid

greg0708

Hi Astrid & Michelle,

Looking forward to meeting you both on the trip, as all booked up and been reading the the Exodus documents. Thanks for all the top tips, as they will all come in handy.

Trying to do some additional research, therefore do either of you recommend any books to read, especially for the locations, history etc?

Greg

Hi Greg

i usually stick to the lonely planet guides...i find them quite useful. the right amount of description of places and they usually get it right...for me at least. 

looking forward to meeting you on the 17th. will you be leaving from heathrow with the group too?

michelle

 

Astrid

Hi Greg,

I've been having problems posting a comment. Like Michelle, reading the Lonely Planet or one of the Rough Guides (First time Latin America, or Central America), is sufficient. The most 'expert' book on the Maya at present is 'The Ancient Maya', 6th edition, Robert J. Sharer, Stanford University press, ISBN 0-8047-4817-9, as paperback, but that may be too much detail if you have not seen any Maya structures yet.

Looking forward to meeting you,

Astrid 

Astrid

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for letting me know about the hotel on Caye Caulker, it's great; I half expected a beach cabin, and had been wondering whether we would need mosquito nets. Please let me know when you find out anything else. We can get the name of the tour guide a month before the trip is due.

Take care,

Astrid

 

 

Astrid

 will do if i get more info.  to be honest i would have liked a beach cabin...!  but this looks cool. 

Michelle 

Astrid

Hi Michelle, I would have liked a beach cabin too, but the rooftop area of this hotel looks ok, and according to the reviews the hotel is 'safe', which they claim is essential, e.g. for leaving your stuff in the safe, while you are at the beach, and they also say that the air con works. There must be some poor locals, who are either after your money or valuables, or who might give you unwanted attention in a little cabin.

Astrid

greg0708

Looks like you too have been doing some discovering on the trip itinery. All these hotels etc sound fantastic and Im hopefull of not taking a mosquito net, as Im sure those little blighters enjoy eating me, so the better no nets I'm hopeful, as they are not as good as 100% deet - though you do smell different for a holiday!!

 Purchased the Rough Guide and it is all looking good for the holdiay

Greg

Guys

 talking of mosquito nets....will you be taking Malaria tablets? I think they are recommended but I hat them. They really mess with my brain when I start taking them. 

Michelle 

greg0708

Hi Michelle,

I agree, Malaria tablets are awful. I won't be taking them, but will have strong deet, and taking the obvious precautions such as covering up in the dusk period with trousers and shirts. However, Astrid may be better placed for this following her advice earlier on Swine Flu

Greg

Astrid

I shall take malaria tablets with me, and probably take one dose a couple of days before Palenque, which is supposed to be high risk. I also don't like taking them. I have been to central American countries several times without taking malaria tablets, and didn't get stung. I use a variety of insect repellents, wrist bands, white clothes, no perfume etc. I won't bring a mosquito net with me, as all of our hotels are supposed to have either air con, or ceiling fans. You can also buy coils everywhere. It's going to be great. I can't wait to be able to walk barefoot on the white sands of Belize...

Astrid

 

 

Hi guys,

just sent sara and my final payment....no turning back now! exodus said we are 9 so far. less than 2 months to go. changed my flight to get into london friday evening as i only had a 2.5 hr gap between getting from malta and leaving to guatemala and did not want to risk missing the group flight out. thanks to the link which exodus sent i got a room for Gbp39 close to the airport which is very good i thought. 

Michelle

 

greg0708

All paid up as well. The group is 9, with one on hold, so we could be 10. Exodus told me that the flight is T4, which is not the easiest of Terminals to get to.

Michelle - my top tip is to check the Hotel Hopper rouet to ensure you go the right way round the perimeter road. But £39 sounds a very good deal.

I may not be sitting in the Exodus block of seats as I have requested a seat with extra leg room, as I am 6ft 3ins tall, and recovering from a major injury, so need to be able to stretch my legs out (I snapped my Achilles tendon in Feb this year :-( )

 Look forward to seeing you both in 7 weeks! Greg

Astrid

Hi Greg, thanks for the update; I shall probably take National Express, but our departure time is not yet final. Hope your sports injuries heal o.k.; no climbing pyramids for you, then.

Take care,

Astrid

Astrid

Hi guys, have you got your Mexican 'visa'? I just got mine online, for free, whereas if you use the webside Exodus recommend, it is supposed to cost £12.

Astrid 

hi astrid,

 do british citizenz require a visa for mexico, guatemala or belize?

michelle

 

Astrid

Hi Michelle, British citizens don't need a visa for Guatemala or Belize, but for our transit at Houston we need a 'visa waiver' visa, which one is supposed to request online in advance; previously it was just a lot of paperwork at the airport. For Mexico we need a tourist card, which we will get at the border. When you change money, put some money aside for departure taxes.

Astrid

hi astrid

thanks for the info. it's the same as we thought then. will be in the UK in a couple of weeks and planning to get some stuff like repellents  from boots. then we're pretty much set to go!

see you in less than 7 weeks.

michelle

 

Astrid

Hi Michelle, enjoy Malta, see you in less than 7 weeks, time seams to drag...

All the best,

Astrid

hi

did you receive the last joining instructions yet? i didn't

michelle 

hi  greg and astrid

got the final instructions. no one will be meeting us at heathrow so i guess we might bump into each other at the check in desk. see you then. i'm off to start sorting out stuff i'm taking with me.

see ya.

michelle 

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