January 8-9-10-11, 2015
"Mr. Cernikovsky's Friends of Archaeology" January 2015
... a trip by private plane to Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Palenque and "La Venta" in Villahermosa, Tabasco
This is not really a travel agency, just a hobby arranging trips with "Mr. Cernikovsky's Friends of Archeology" to faraway and inaccessible Maya sites.
HASA is arranging our flights and you can use them, too, for your travel needs! Click to visit them to learn of their services.
Click the logo to see details of the SAAB 340A that we used on our trip.
Click their logo to browse around this beautiful hotel with cottages in the Chiapas jungle.
Thursday January 8
10:00 - Departure for Tapachula
The usual $33 Guatemala departure tax that is
included in your routine flights out of Guatemala, is also included in the
cost of our trip, as is the $44 Mexican departure tax when we return.
11:00 E.T.A. Tapachula. Get from the plane, pass Migracion. Get back on the plane to Palenque.
14:00 - Arrived in Palenque. Two buses from Palenque airport to the Chan-Kah Resort Village. A quick check-in and a table in reception to pick up a sandwich and a beer, water or soda as you go to your cottage. You can relax in your cottage, swim in the beautiful pools, or use the hotel's restaurant and bar during the afternoon. The quicker our flight is, the more time to relax.
Your room has A/C, TV, a ceiling fan, an outdoor patio, and is set in the
jungle. But modern conveniences, such as the bar and restaurant, are
close by. There is room service and poolside service.
When we get back home, please go to sleep ... tomorrow is a big day!
Friday January 9
06:00 - coffee by the Reception
06:30 - Two buses leave from the reception area. This will be a long day.
06:40 - Sunrise
08:00 - Breakfast in Restaurante Valle Escondido in the Chiapas jungle, heading toward the Guatemalan border. This is drug-trafficking country, but on the Mexican side, from personal experience, I know it is heavily policed to protect the tourists. All totally safe. Mexico impresses me how they do things.
09:30 - Corozal, Mexico-Guatemala border. This is the wild-wild West all over again. Smuggling, drugs, illegal emigrants, and affluent tourists all there at the same, but do NOT blend together. The tourists always come out safe and never notice anything.
We get three high-speed boats to take us down the Usumacinta river, Mexico on the left, Guatemala on the right, to Yaxchilan. A walking tour of Yaxchilan, a splendid late-classic Maya site, where the river makes an almost 360 bend, the land sticking into Guatemala, but Mexican territory.
We then get the boats for the return trip, slower up the stream.
14:00 - lunch in Corozal, with beers, sodas, water, etc.
15:00 - buses leave for Bonampak
Bonampak is one of the most amazing Maya sites, it was a dependency of Yaxchilan, but the fame it has earned comes from the frescoes, some of which we will see (in small groups). In addition to being amongst the most well-preserved Maya murals, the Bonampak murals are noteworthy for debunking early assumptions that the Maya were a peaceful culture of mystics, as the murals clearly depict war and human sacrifice.
19:30-- return to our hotel, late, but dinner will be waiting for us.
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Saturday January 10
08:00 breakfast at the hotel
RELAXATE! Morning. You can relax in your room or swim in the pools.
But, I have also arranged a bus to leave the hotel (16-18 seats) at 9 and 9:30 and 10 a.m. into the town of Palenque. It will go to "Che", no, not Che Guevara, but the new local branch of the Chedraui supermarkets, in case you want to sightsee, shop, buy Mexican things (it has ATM machines). The bus will return at 10:30 and 11:00 and 11:30.
12:00 - a simple lunch at the hotel
13:30 - two buses leave from the reception for Palenque, only one kilometer away. We will visit the Palenque museum first, with Tomas Barrientos. Then the "ruinas de Palenque". These are mobbed by crowds in the morning. In later afternoon, it gets cooler and the crowds go away. We will probably pay for staying past the closing hour of 5 p.m. to have the site pretty much to ourselves.
17:50 - sunset
18:30 - two buses leave Palenque for Restaurante La Selva. A big Mexican meal and Mariachis! Viva Mexico! Enjoy!
Sunday January 11
07:30 - breakfast at the hotel
08:00 - check-out.
09:00 - Two buses will take us to Villahermosa, 150 kilometers away.
11:00 - "La Venta" Park, Villahermosa. This is where the vast majority of the Olmec treasures, found as oil-drilling reached the remote state of Tabasco in the 1920's and 30's are now located. We visited the actual site of La Venta, north of Villahermosa, last April, but it is empty, all the treasures are either in Mexico City or in Villahermosa.
A presentation by Tomas Barrientos, in an air-conditioned room they have in the park. It will be a little crowded, some people may have to stand. A guided walk around the site.
14:00 - outdoor pic-nic lunch in the park.
15:00 - two buses to the Villahermosa airport.
16:00 - leave for Guatemala, E.T.A. 17:30
Buses will wait to take you to Antigua and drop you off at your house. V.I.P. service!
Amazing Olmec items al "La Venta" ... April 2014
Why should you join the tour ?
Third, this is "Archaeology in Luxury", with a nice hotel and meals and drinks in nice restaurants.
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happens if there is any money left over ?
I do not do this for a profit. I hope that I will break even. The costs of this trip are higher that before, with a private plane, departure taxes, three nights in a nice hotel and a lot of meals and drinks, entrance fees, bus transfers and so on. I hope that I will break even. I have built a tiny 2% reserve for exchange rate fluctuations and a 2% for any contingency expenses.
In previous trips, we donated $100 per person to El Mirador and $50 per person on the larger trips to Tak'alik Ab'aj and La Corona. This time, there are no donations, but if I have any money left over, I will donate it to the la Corona project, given that it's co-director, Tomas Barrientos has agreed to travel with us as an expert guide.
We have do this before! Mr. Cernikovsky's Friends of Archaeology previous trips:
January 2011 - El Mirador with 20
December 2012 - Tak'alik Ab'aj with 43
December 2013 - La Corona with 36
To find out more:
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Many thanks to Mike & Marlene Foster, who recently visited Bonampak and took the photos above and these. People are allowed, in small groups, into the three chambers with vivid frescoes.
Palenque is spectacular. We went, in April, to check the hotel, bus
companies and also the ruins of Palenque for you. We found them
acceptable and worth your visit.
30 people were on the trip
Raul & Cindy Montenegro
Stan & Claire Odland
Marion Popenoe Hatch
Kevin & Suzanne Roche
Ken & Winifred Veronda
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