Discover the lost Maya city of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Your tour of the ancient ruins includes a special visit and traditional lunch to the nearby Piste community.. Sip margaritas and try local specialties in Merida: Yucatan’s charming colonial capital. There’s so much culture to this city, and always a place to practise your salsa!. Dip your toe in the fresh waters surrounding Tulum – a laidback beachside community close to deep blue cenotes and expansive lagoons..
Adventure across the Yucatan Peninsula from the tropical beaches to the colourful cities. Lose yourself among ancient Maya ruins of Chichen Itza and Uxmal, and head to the bustling street markets before finding yourself in clear waters and turquoise lagoons of the coast. Learn about the Maya culture in colonial Merida, experience a traditional meal with a family, and then take the plunge in Bacalar: a laidback lake town famous for its ever-changing shades of blue water. Thousands of years of history mixed with a modern, laidback lifestyle means Mexico, and the Yucatan in particular, should be high on everyone’s bucket list.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 1
Playa del Carmen
Hola! Welcome to Playa del Carmen, on the sandy shores of the Yucatan Peninsula. Meet your leader and fellow travellers at an important welcome meeting at 6pm, then tuck into some Mexican morsels for dinner. If you do arrive early, good for you, as there’s so much to do! Playa del Carmen is popular resort town famed for its coral reef and sparkling warm waters, so feel free to kick back with a book, take a stroll along the white sands, go on a day trip to the island of Cozumel or head for a dip in the Caribbean.
Chichen Itza / Merida
Depart the coast early by private vehicle towards Merida, learning some Spanish from your leader on the way. You’ll be stopping at the famous Chichen Itza, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, for a guided tour. This is perhaps the most famous Maya site in Mexico and dominated by the Temple of Kukulkan, or El Castillo, a Mesoamerican step-pyramid. After your tour, experience a special lunch in the local Piste community, a short drive from the archaeological site. You’ll have time to experience the culture and interact with the locals while being served some traditional Yucatecan cuisine. Make sure you have learnt some Spanish phrases – the men and women of the community will be very appreciative. Continue on to Merida, where your leader will take you on an orientation walk to get your bearings. Founded in 1542, Merida is the capital of the Yucatan region and has retained so much of its old-world charm. Wander the streets and take in the colonial buildings, learn about the town’s Maya heritage and don’t forget to visit Mercado 60: a buzzing food market with international and local cuisine, margaritas and live music.
Take today to explore the many sights of Merida. Your leader will have some recommendations and there are a number of optional activities available. Perhaps visit one of the several museums in town, including the Regional Museum of Yucatan, located in the stunning Palacio Canton. Chill out in the shady Plaza Grande, surrounded by the 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, the State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo, or stroll through the outdoor markets selling hammocks, Maya replicas and mouth-watering local food including the Yucatan specialty: cochinita pibil. There’s also the option of visiting the Celestun Bird Sanctuary where, depending on the season, you can catch the flamingos painting pink streaks across the landscape. Merida is a people-pleaser when it comes to nightlife and has something for all tastes, whether you’re after a low-key bar, cultural show or some live music and dancing. However, be warned there is an early start tomorrow.
Uxmal Ruins / Campeche
Leave the city of Merida behind at around 8 am and drive (approximately 1.5 hours) to one of Mexico's best-preserved Maya sites, Uxmal. Spend two hours exploring the ruins with your leader – see the so-called Pyramid of the Magician, one of Mexico’s most impressive, marvel at the decorative details of the Governor’s Palace, and take the opportunity to climb one of the pyramids for an astounding view of the surrounding area. You’ll enjoy an included lunch at the nearby municipality of Santa Elena, before continuing (2 hours) to the coast to spend the night among the pastel shades of seaside Campeche. Upon arrival, your leader will take you out for a short orientation walk before free time explore and dine as you wish – there’s good seafood all around, and good restaurants for snacking at Portales de San Martin.
Hopefully, you've woken up fresh for the 6-hour cross-peninsular drive to Bacalar today. Bacalar is said to be the first settlement of the Itza tribe, who would go on to create Chitchen Itza. Today it’s a quiet spot to sit back, relax, and take in the surrounding nature. Once arrived, take a short leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings of this small town, and then have a free afternoon and evening to relax after a long travel day. Cerveza, anyone?
Today, take some time to chill out in relaxed riverside Balacar. You’ll have a free day to do as you please, perhaps a relax by the banks of the lake, a swim, or just diving straight into a book. Bacalar is known for its Lake of Seven Colours – thanks to the various stunning shades of blue it adopts throughout the day. There’s also the option to visit Cenote Azul today: a beautiful fresh water rockpool, perfect for swimming. The sparkling blue water and stalactites and stalagmites in the cave are a sight to behold.
Enjoy a free morning relaxing around Balacar’s lake before heading in a private vehicle for 2.5 hours towards Tulum. Not far outside of town, you will stop for a couple of hours at the quiet and less-visited Muyil ruins. Float gently on a boat or in the water through beautifully clear fresh water down a Mayan canal amongst the mangroves. Just another 20minutes left in the vehicle before arriving in Tulum for your final stop. Take an orientation walk with your leader to know your way around, and then there may be time to fit in a visit to another cenote or Tulum’s Maya ruins, or otherwise, find a bar to keep working on that Spanish with the locals. Later, meet your leader at a local restaurant for the farewell dinner and say ‘salud’ to Mexico.
After breakfast, there are no activities planned for the day, but that’s no reason to stop exploring! Tulum is famous for its crystal water, snorkelling, ancient ruins and general magnificence, so no-one can blame you for wanting to stick around for a few more days. If you would like to spend some more time in Tulum, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).