Lost City Marathon
The Lost City Marathon kicks off from the ancient Maya city of Palenque, México. The race features both a marathon and a half marathon. The awe-inspiring route follows jungle trails, majestic rivers, picturesque ranches and small villages. It’s a challenging race crossing various surfaces and steep hills, where you’ll be rewarded at the finish line with tacos, guacamole and cervezas, plus refreshing dip in a pool!
Palenque is nestled in the dense rainforests of the Chiapas region on the Yucatan peninsula, surrounded by lush vegetation and breath-taking beauty.
It provides a fascinating glimpse into the religious and cultural practices of the Maya people which thrived in this once vibrant and powerful city, famous for its well preserved and impressive architecture of the Maya civilization. It has now been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical and cultural significance.
A rich birdlife and howler monkeys dominate the jungle and in the open plains hundreds of species of butterflies live.
Only 10% of this magnificent city has been fully discovered. Lets embark on this adventure together!
Travel Package Information
Monday 19th February, 2024
This tour starts in Cancún airport. According to your arrival time this day we will arrange transportation from the airport to your chosen hotel in Playa del Carmen.The drive to Playa del Carmen takes 45-60 minutes and upon arrival you can simply kick back and relax in this famous vacation town.
Note: Check-in cannot be guaranteed before 15:00, but luggage can be stored at the hotel while you stroll the city or visit the beach if you arrive early.
It is possible to book pre-nights if you want more time to explore.
Meals: No meals included on Standard package. Deluxe has all-inclusive from the time of your check in.
Tuesday 20th February, 2024
Playa del Carmen
A full day to relax by the beach and enjoy Playa del Carmen.
Meals: Breakfast for standard package. Deluxe package has all inclusive.
Wednesday 21th February, 2024
Chichén Itza, cenote and Campeche
After breakfast it is time to wave goodbye to the beach as we head inland for the amazing Chichén Itzá. Named one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World in 2007 the Chichén Itzá is of course the most famous of the Maya cities, but it was also one of the most important places of the Maya civilization.
The pyramid known as El Castillo – a geometrical, astronomical and architechtural masterpiece rises majestically in the center of the archeological zone, but Chichén Itzá has many excavated and reconstructed buildings including one of the finest ball courts from the period of the Maya.
After our guided tour in Chichén Itzá we continue our journey west, but on the way we make a stop by a cenote for a swim. Cenotes are sinkholes where the limestone bedrock has collapsed and exposed groundwater. The Maya used these as a source of fresh water while today they are more popular as natural swimming pools.
In the evening we reach the coastal city of Campeche – an often overlooked gem of the Yucatan peninsula. The city center has well preserved Baroque colonial buildings and a walled historical district.
Thursday 22nd February 2024
We start the day with a small sightseeing in Campeche before heading west to Palenque, which we reach in the late afternoon.
Palenque town is located 8km from the Maya ruins of Palenque. It is a small and a relaxing place to stay, with a vibrant square andand several good restaurants.
As we check in to our hotel we can enjoy the evening ambience and get in to “race weekend” mode.
Friday 23rd February 2024
Explore the Maya ruins of Palenque – race briefing
The day before race day we will drive to the Maya ruins of Palenque where the race kicks off.
The Palenque ruins used to be a Maya city state, but perished on the brink of the 9th century after more or less 1000 years of existence. It was a medium-sized city on a Maya scale, but none-the-less a very important site. Due to its location right between the flat Yucatan and the mountains Palenque become a connecting center for several city states and has some of the finest architecture of all the Maya cities.
It is estimated that only about 10% of the constructions have been excavated with the rest of the city still being lost to the jungle…
After the guided tour there will be time to explore the area on your own before the bus leaves. On the way back all runners meet at the Chan-Kah Jungle Resort for lunch and a race briefing by the race offials. At this time your race packs will be handed out, the most important details about tomorrow’s race will be explained and questions can be asked to the officials and medical team.
Back at your hotel the rest of the afternoon can be used to relax at the hotel or take a stroll through the cosy town of Palenque.
In the evening a pasta buffet dinner is served at your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Friday 24th February 2024
Today is the big day! You will enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel before we take the bus to the start at 06:00 am.
All runners will be dropped off at the parking lot outside the Palenque Archeological Zone. Here bags and items for the finish line can be dropped and toilets will be available.
The race will be started in waves, with marathon runners in the first waves and half marathon runners in the last waves.
10 minutes before the start of each wave the runners in that wave will be allowed to enter the Archeological Zone and line up at the start. No items that are not being used during the race can be taken inside. This includes drinks of any kind, food of any kind, bags, and extra clothing that is not being worn for at least the first 3 kilometers.
The first wave starts at 07:00 am.
The finish line is located by the Chiapaneca restaurant where a post-race meal is included. Shuttle busses will be ready to bring runners back to their hotels.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch in the Finish Area
Saturday 25th February 2024
Optional excursion and celebration dinner
After yesterday’s run some may want to relax at the hotel pool or take another visit to the Palenque ruins on their own.
You also have the option to reserve an excursion that takes you to the breathtaking waterfalls of Misol-Ha & Agua Azul with our adventure guides.
In the evening busses will bring everybody to the festive celebration dinner.
Meals: Breakfast & celebration dinner (if the excursion to Agua Azul is booked, lunch is also included)
Saturday 26th February 2024
Our time in Palenque has come to an end. We leave in the morning and drive to Mérida where we will spend the night.
Mérida is the capital of the state of Yucatan and has a rich cultural heritage of both the Maya and Spanish periods. It is also known to be the safest city in all of Mexcio.
Saturday 27th February 2024
Back to Cancún airport and goodbye Mexico
After an early breakfast our bus will bring us from Mérida to the airport in Cancún. Expected arrival is at 12:00pm, so keep this in mind when booking your flight home.
It is also possible to book a post-night in the airport if your return flight doesn’t match the bus arrival time to the airport.
Packages & Rates
Guaranteed Lost City Marathon Entries from $435
We are pleased to offer you guaranteed entry for the Lost City Marathon. You can buy the entry from Marathon Tours & Travel if you have also purchased our accommodation package.
- English-speaking race officials
- English-speaking medical team from Denmark
- Timing and results
- Craft Runners T-shirt
- Manned water and energy drink stations along the route
- Collapsible cup for hydration
- Transportation to start area and from finish area
Entries available to purchase:
- Half Marathon – $435
- Full Marathon – $435
Our Lost City Marathon 2024 accommodation package Includes:
- 2 nights accommodation at chosen hotel in Playa del Carmen
- 4 nights accomodation at chosen hotel in Palenque
- 1 night accommodation in Campeche + 1 night in Mérida
- Transfer from and to Cancún airport on 19th and 27th February 2024
- Bus transportation as described in the program
- Daily breakfast
- Snack lunch and one beer or soft drink at the finish area day 6
- Lunch day 4
- Celebration dinner Day 7
- Guided tour to Palenque ruins incl. entry ticket
- Guided tour to Chichén Itzá ruins incl. entry ticket
- English speaking tour leader
- Note: If choosing the Deluxe package the stay in Playa del Carmen is all inclusive (some food and alcoholic beverages at a fee)
Lost City Marathon Accommodation 2024 - Standard Package
You will be staying at a number of good 3-star hotels throughout the trip. Starting in Playa del Carmen you will check in to the Hacienda Paradise. Located just one block from the beach and right on the edge of the town centre you will have access to all of Playa del Carmens treats at an affordable level. When reaching Campeche on day 3 of the tour you will be staying at Misión Campeche hotel. In Palenque we check in at the Maya Tulipanes. The hotel has a pool and relaxing courtyard with trees to offer shade during the hottest hours of the day. Centrally located in the town of Palenque you will find many restaurants nearby and the town square is just a 10 minutes walk away. The last night before the tour ends we find ourselves in Mérida where we will be staying at Del Gobernador hotel in the city centre.Lost City Marathon Accommodation 2024 - Deluxe Package
On the deluxe package you will be staying at some of the best hotels in the Yucatan Peninsula. Starting in Playa del Carmen you will check in to the Viva Wyndham Azteca. Right on the beach and all-inclusive – can it get any better? When reaching Campeche on day 3 of the tour you will be staying at Gamme Campeche hotel. In Palenque we check in at the Chan-Kah Resort Villas. All rooms are built as an independent “villa” and located under the trees. The resort pool is created to resemble a cenote and ideal for a relaxing day. The last night before the tour ends we find ourselves in Mérida where we will be staying at El Castellano hotel in the city centre.
Run the Lost City Marathon with Marathon Tours & Travel
Race Date: 24 February 2024
Race Time: 7AM
The Course: Starting at the Archaeological Zone of Palenque, the race takes you past remnants of the ancient Maya city and guides you along lush jungle trails.
After 3km the route transitions to an asphalt path leading downhill until it takes a left turn onto a gravel road. Continuing for a few more kilometers, the route approaches the foothills of the mountains, where it begins to ascend gradually.
Half marathon runners take a right turn for a nice relatively flat loop on gravel road around picturesque ranches and past the village of Cárdenas, which leads them to the finish line.
Marathon runners keep ascending the mountain towards the village of El Naranjo, but just before reaching the village the route breaks of from the gravel road and ventures onto narrow trails leading further into the mountains and the lush jungle.
The river Chacamax is crossed a couple of times and some very intense hills must be climbed.
After roughly 10 kilometers on mountain and jungle trails, the route takes the runners into the village of El Naranjo. From here on, the path is more or less downhill leading to the intersection where the half marathon runners previously branched off.
Marathon runners will now also run the loop around the green and lush ranches to finish in the same place as the half marathon runners.
Please note:- Do not forget that this is first and foremost an adventure. We are far away from comforts of home and this makes it impossible to offer services at the same level usually provided in city marathons.
Eligibility: Marathon Tours & Travel, an authorized tour operator, is required to offer travel arrangements in conjunction with guaranteed race entry. All runners must be 18 years or older on race day to be eligible for our guaranteed Full & Half Marathon entries.
Cut off times: Marathon runners have a net time limit of 7 hours, meaning any marathon runner spending more than 7 hours on the route will receive an FNT (Finished No Time) on the results list. Half Marathon runners will have a 6½ hours net time limit. 7 hours after the last marathon runner crossed the start line the race will end and runners still on the route will be picked up by race officials and driven back to the finish area.
Number Pickup: Runners will receive the goodie bag with start number and race t-shirt at the race briefing Friday.
Weather: February is one of the driest months in Mexico, with hot weather and pleasant water temperatures. You can expect an average daily high around 27°C (80°F). Its one of the more popular months to visit, where its not too hot with little to no chance of rain.
Shorts and T-shirt/singlet may be the preferred outfit for most, but some may also like long tights and sleeves to avoid ticks when running through the jungle.
Difficulty: The route is mainly run on gravel road with a few short parts on asphalt and a stretch on the Sendero Motiepa trail. Marathon runners will also have approximately 10 kilometers on narrow mountain trails through jungle forest.
Time Taking & Results: The Lost City Marathon will be timed with timing chip.
All runners will receive one bib number that must be worn during the race. It must be attached to the front of your body and readable – both for safety and for photography purposes. The bib numbers are color-coded according to the distance you are running:
– Full marathon bibs – black
– Half-marathon – red
The results will be published shortly after the race is finished.
Registration & Booking
On Request bookings
Request Bookings will confirm that you have accepted our Booking Conditions. Your booking is not however, guaranteed until our partner company confirms availability. Please expect confirmation of place within 1-3 days of making your booking. Your card payment details will still be required for the deposit to secure your space, though please be advised this information will be held securely, and the card will only be debited upon confirmation of booking.
Please check all the details shown to make sure the names on your booking are the same as each person’s passport. If not, please let us know within 48 hours of making your booking so we can change them. If you don’t let us know straight away you may be charged. Names must be given at the time of booking and any shown as TBA will be classed as a name change and there will be a charge.
Marathon Tours & Travel
Marathon Tours & Travel is part of Destination Sport Experiences. Founded in 1979, Marathon Tours & Travel is a longstanding recognised leader and innovator in the destination travel industry for runners and their supporters. We offer travel packages and guaranteed entry to iconic marathons, half marathons and 10ks both in Australia and abroad. Alongside guaranteed entry, we also offer comprehensive travel and accommodation packages with ideally located hotels, transfers and guide support. The team behind the tours have run many of the events themselves and have years of experience in taking runners to once-in-a lifetime races. With offices in Boston, Manchester, and Adelaide, we truly are a global running travel company.
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Top Finishers: The top three male and female finishers of all distances are the first three to physically cross the finish line regardless of their net time.
Gear: Nordic walking and trekking poles are not allowed.
Strollers are not allowed.
The use of headphones or earplugs of any kind is not allowed for the first 3 kilometres of the race. This is due to this part of the course containing narrow and difficult trails in places and the need to be able to communicate with your fellow runners is essential. Headphones and earplugs are discouraged throughout the race, but especially when running on the forest trails in the mountains.