Win a Holiday for Two to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. (Reader Survey)

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REALM OF THE MAYA

Fill in the reader survey on the opposite page, and you could be on your way to spending an amazing 16 days in Central America, courtesy of Travelbag Adventures.

There is a thread woven throughout this trip of the compelling and mysterious history of the ancient Mayan civilisation. As well as visiting the great archaeological sites, there are colourful highland towns and jungle wildlife to see, and the opportunity to relax on a tropical Caribbean island.

THE WORLD OF THE MAYA

From the graceful, shady plazas of colonial Merida the route heads to Chichen Itza, for a first awe-inspiring glimpse of the work of the Maya. After seeing its highly decorated stone pyramids, the road leads south to pristine Palenque, a Mayan site which stands in splendid isolation amid dense rainforest.

VILLAGE AND VOLCANO

In the cool hills of Chiapas, outside San Cristobal, you will visit villages which retain strong and distinctive traditions. Then, from Guatemala, the route takes to water, to cross serene Lake Atitlan, overlooked by three perfect volcanic cones, and heads for the thriving Indian village of Chichicastenango. After the colour and bustle of its famous market, however, it is a pleasant contrast to spend a lazy day in elegant Antigua.

PYRAMIDS AND PARADISE

A short flight takes you to Flores where, set in deep jungle, are the majestic pyramids of Tikal, the largest Mayan site of all. After crossing to Belize, a ship sets sail for the Caribbean island of Caye Caulker. Its calming shores offer relaxation at the trip's end, while its coral reefs provide great snorkelling.

ABOUT TRAVELBAG ADVENTURES

Travelbag Adventures is one of Britain's leading adventure travel companies. The company is run by committed travellers with a passion for adventure and a genuine interest in the world we live in. As well as offering a huge range of trips to remote and less-travelled places, the company prides itself on providing excellent service to its clients.

The Travelbag Adventures brochure features over one hundred small-group adventure tours. The trips offer a variety of activities and interests, as well a balanced mix of well-known `must-see' locations, and visits to little-known places.

A key feature is the opportunity for genuine contact with local people and a deep insight into other cultures. Group sizes are usually ten or twelve.

Most of the travelling therefore is by local transport, which adds to the enjoyment and variety of the trip. This includes using buses, dugout canoes, rickshaws, donkeys, elephants, feluccas, horse-drawn carriages, trains, and even camels. While the main form of transport will be a small bus, or 4WD vehicles where the terrain demands, the use of local transport adds an extra dimension.

Accommodation can be in the local style too. Mostly, two or three-star family-run hotels are used, but eating and sleeping in local style also adds something special to the experience. A stay with a family in a bamboo hut in Northern Thailand for instance; a night in a bedouin-style tent in Jordan's Wadi Rum; a thatched banda on the coast of Tanzania; or a tribal longhouse in Borneo.

Trips last from eight days to three weeks and are escorted by group leaders who see to all the logistical arrangements.

Among the many trips offered are treks in the Himalaya, the Atlas, Andes, Alpujarras; activity trips in Turkey, Corsica and Quebec; cultural journeys in China, Peru, Egypt, Vietnam and India; desert adventures in Jordan, Namibia or Chile; and wildlife trips throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.

For a copy of the Travelbag Adventures brochure, please telephone 01420 541007 (Open until 7pm weekdays and 5pm Saturdays), or go to www.travelbag-adventures.com to download trip dossiers (detailed itineraries) on all trips, and even check availability.

Here at Geographical we are particularly interested to hear the opinions of our readers. …