Learn of the Ancient and Present Day Maya in the Tabasco & Chiapas Lowlands and Highlands. Arriving in Villahermosa, we have the opportunity to marvel at the Olmec culture and their monumental sculpture. Also in Tabasco, Comalcalco is a rarely visited Maya site of the Classic Era, rich in stucco sculpture and made of brick! By visiting a Cacao Plantation, we learn about and experience cacao in its pre-hispanic preparation and ritual. Cacao in ancient Maya times was used both as a form of currency and was consumed as an important element of ancient ceremony & ritual. From here, we explore the high phase of Maya civilization at the former empire of Palenque; we examine the murals of Bonampak and travel down the Usumacinta River to the sprawling riverside site of Yaxchilan; strategically located to dominate this important river trade. Traveling to the Highlands, we explore the hilltop fortress Tonina. Finally in San Cristobal de Las Casas we visit present day Tzotzil and Tzeltal Maya communities to learn about their textile traditions.