A Paean to the Himalaya

High, high up in the mountains, camped in a meadow and it rains all night. The morning is dry, but shrouded in mist, we have come so high and the sights are unseen. But, we climb to the top of the ridge notwithstanding and pay obeisance to the Devi.

Sit and wait, send up a collective prayer and the mist only thickens, so we start walking down…. a gust of wind, a peek of the peaks, up the valley comes this beautiful wind and away blows the mist. The whole panorama of the Pir Panjal in all it’s majesty displays itself, still shrouded and mysterious, but certainly letting us know where we are – in the majestic mountains.

Even the sun makes a little show and all the flowers smile all the way up the hillsides, the heart just lifts out of your body and floats into the limitlessness.

A paean to all this glory seemingly rises from the very soul in an unsung outpouring of gratitude to the powers that create!!

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Central America: Costa Rica: Jungles, rivers, beaches and the Yucatan heritage

My delightful travelling friends and all who would like to join us,

Sorry for the delay in getting this out to you all. It has taken some research and much excitiement for me to put it together and I think we have the most glorious trip – one that we are going to marvellously enjoy.

I am giving you briefs and costs here – you can click the links for the detailed itineraries.

24 Feb to 3 rd March 2013

COSTA RICA: We arrive and depart from San Jose, the capital, in between for 8 days we raft the Pacuare river, sea kayak through the Tortuguero National Park looking for sea turtles and all the other myriad wild life. We stay at jungle lodges, luxury in the forest, true paradise, complete with zip lines over the river, jungle walks, rainforest canopy tours, waterfalls and time to just relax in  amazing river canyons, along the beach and at the volcano.

We raft out on the Pacuare river and head to the Arenal volcano area and it’s beautiful lake – hotsprings et al. So if that does not sound enticing enough – after this we head to Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula.

4th March to 11th March 2013

CANCUN: We fly San Jose to Cancun, the veritable riviera of Mexico, but we are going to find those little magic places to stay and see. The Mayan heritage.

With its eastern border by the Caribbean Sea (the Mayan Riviera), the Yucatán Peninsula has ancient ruins, underground caves, colonial cities, and natural wonders that we are going to discover, or not, as the mood takes us. The itinerary gives us the options of famous Mayan archeological sites, several lesser known sites, and days of relaxing white sand beaches in the Riviera Maya. All in great locations and hotels.

After the Incas, I think we need to discover this other great people too. They discovered spectacles! The actual ones that we wear to see better, not just the visual panorama of beauty.

So obviously we want to do this, below are costs/ I have seperated the two areas so if there are some of you that want to do only one trip that too is possible, though I hope we will all do all, know how we feel missed out else.

The details of inclusive and exclusive are given on the different itineraries, here are just the total costs and the payment break up in rupees. (please note that these may fluctuate a little depending on the rates of the dollar once we make all final payments)

Costa Rica: Rs.2,06,000.00. /   Yucatan, Mexico: Rs. 1,96,000.00

Booking amount: by end Sept: Costa Rica: Rs. 69000.00 /  Yucatan: Rs. 64600.00

2nd payment by end Nov: Rs.68500.00 / Rs.65700.00

Final payment by end Jan: Rs.68500.00 / Rs. 65700.00

The rates are based on twin share occupancy – I will let you have single supplements if you want.

All tours and ground transportation are included in the itinerary

Please also note the current trip will run with a minimum of 6 persons. We can go up to 16 persons and if we do manage that the costs will come down some because ground transport  and guides etc  get distributed.

Meals & tips outside of those listed in the itineraries are not included

Flights: the best connectivity is offered by British Airways with American Airlines and Air Mexico. Currently the rate for the full round trip : Delhi – London – Miami – San Jose – Cancun – Miami – London – Delhi : Rs. 1,11,000.00 approximately.

Sorry I have not researched Bombay or other connections, but can do so if you want.

I need to confirm bookings as soon as possible so all those who are on please email :pavane@mhe.co.in or pavanemann@gmail.com and I can let you have the details for making payments etc.

I hope we are all going to be on this grand trip, so looking forward to enjoying another great adventure with everyone.

Cheers

Pavane

The Mayan Riviera, Yucatan, Mexico

What I like about this itinerary is to have found a perfect combination of stays that are split between jungle lodges, luxury haciendas and beachfront boutiques. Plunge pool at your hotel in Playa del Carmen!

WHAT’S INCLUDED

7 nights accommodation in the listed accommodations
Guided tour of Chichen Itza Archeological site and Cenote ik-Ill
Privately guided excursion to Uxmal & Kabah
Celestun with private boat tour and Merida city tour
Biking tour of Coba
1/2 day Tulum trip
Private transportation in deluxe vehicle with driver as mentioned

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
International or Domestic Flights
Meals and drinks other than those mentioned
Tips or personal expenses
Travel insurance
Any items not mentioned

Day 1 – Arrive in Cancun

Meet your bilingual driver at Cancun airport for a 2.5 hour drive to the lodge at Chichen Itza.

Overnight at Lodge at Chichen – Royal Mayan Bungalow

Day 2 – Chichen Itza & Cenote
Early today after breakfast you will explore Chichen Itza in a privately guided excursion to the most famous Mayan temple city, which served as the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization.

After visiting this archeological site, you will stop for swim and refresh in one of the Mayan Cenotes, natural underground rivers that were once the only resource for fresh, sweet water in the local Yucatecan jungle. After a refreshment and lunch in a local restaurant, you will continue for a 2.5 hour transfer to your beautiful and romantic Hacienda Santa Rosa located 45 minutes south of Merida, and your home for the following 2 nights.

Overnight at Hacienda Santa Rosa – Superior Room with Breakfast

Day 3 – Day Trip to Uxmal & Kabah
You will be met by your guide in the hotel lobby this morning for a full day excursion to Uxmal & Kabah. A World Heritage site, Uxmal is one of the most magnificent and best restored ruins in Yucatan. Kabah is a city known as the second greatest religious center of the Puuc style. It connects with Uxmal via a sacbé (Mayan road) that originates in El Arco, main door to the city.

Return to your hacienda and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Overnight at Hacienda Santa Rosa – Superior Room with Breakfast

Day 4 – Excursion to Celestun & Merida City
Today after breakfast and check out, you will be picked up for a privately guided tour of wonderful wildlife sanctuary, Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve. Celestun is home to one of the largest migratory flamingo populations in the world. Continue your Journey with an afternoon City tour of Merida. Founded in 1542 by the Spaniard Francisco de Montejo over the ruins of the Mayan city T’ho and receiving its name to evoke the conquerors the city of Merida in Spain. Merida is known as the White City, her remote Mayan roots, superb colonial monuments and the splendor of her turn to the XIX century architecture, has made Merida a captivating and charming mixture of cultural influences.

Overnight at Hacienda Xcanatun – Superior Room with Breakfast
Lush gardens surround Hacienda Xcanatun, an exclusive small hotel converted from a traditional hacienda

Day 5 – Merida/ Coba / Riviera Maya
Early this morning after breakfast and hotel check out, you’ll continue towards the Riviera Maya, visiting the Coba archeological site in route. Here you’ll get to enjoy one of the greatest archeological sites on a private guided bike trip.

After departing Coba, you’l enjoy a tranquil evening along as you transition into the magical Mexican Rivera.

Overnight at Playa Del Carmen: Hotel Esencia – Garden suite with plunge pool and Breakfast

Day 6 – Day at leisure
Enjoy a beach day at leisure in the Mexican Riviera

Overnight at Playa Del Carmen: Hotel Esencia – Garden suite with plunge pool and Breakfast

Day 7 – Half Day Tulum Visit
Today you will visit Tulum Arqueological site, considered to be one of the most beautiful Mayan archaeological sites. The only Mayan archaeological site to be in use at the time of the Spanish conquest, Tulum, means wall in Mayan. Also known as Zama, or city of dawn, this beautiful site sits on 50-foot high cliffs above the sea.

Then head back to your hotel for an afternoon on your own.

Overnight at Playa Del Carmen: Hotel Esencia – Garden suite with plunge pool and Breakfast

Day 8 – Departure from Cancun
Today is departure day. At the appropriate time, you’ll be transfered back to the Cancun airport for your flight home.