Mayan Wonders ~ 8 Days
- Round Trip Route, Yucatan, Campeche, Chiapas-Palenque & Quintana Roo from Cancun. Tour Code: WOTMDS18
- Visit Ria Lagartos, Chichen Itza. Izamal, Merida, Uxmal, Campeche, Palenque, Chetumal, Tulum
- Nature and Cultural Tour
- Tour Code: MWMDS18
Itinerary - click for more
DAY 1 | ARRIVAL CANCUN. Upon arrival at Cancun International Airport, a Destination Services team member awaits you for pick-up and transfer to your hotel in Cancun. Overnight in Cancun hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 2 | CANCUN – RÍA LAGARTOS – CENOTE – CHICHEN ITZA (406km – 5 hrs). Today’s adventure starts with a visit to Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, home to the largest flocks of pink flamingos in Mexico, in addition to the almost 400 birds species that have been identified here. Take a boat trip lasting around two hours through the mangroves in the reserve’s estuary to observe flamingos, other birdlife and crocodiles. The trip also includes a visit to feeding areas, a stop for a Mayan mud bath with the mineral-rich white mud and a dip in the salt-rich waters of the lagoon. We then visit a cenote, a natural sinkhole, for some time to cool off and have a swim. After the visit, continue to the hotel in Chichen Itza. Overnight in Chichen Itza hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 3 | CHICHEN ITZA – IZAMAL – MERIDA (135km – 2 hrs). Perhaps one of the most magical moments you can experience in Mexico is viewing the sunrise over Chichén Itza. Today we make an early start at 06:00 hrs in this enigmatic location, one of the most important archaeological sites of the Maya. On arrival to the site, observe your quiet surroundings, as you arrive before the grounds are open to the general public. The legendary Maya city of Chichén Itza has been laboriously reclaimed from the jungle – learn about the Maya and their civilisation as you admire the scale and detail of this ancient city. Behold the geometric perfection of the 25-metre-tall Temple of Kukulkan, popularly known as El Castillo (‘the Castle’), which was built both as a representation of the mystical Maya calendar and to reflect the optical illusion of a serpent snaking its way up or down the pyramid during the spring and autumn equinoxes. Admire the Great Ball Court, the largest of 13 discovered at the site, see the haunting Skull Platform, where the heads of human sacrifice victims and prisoners of war were impaled, and also the Sacred Cenote, where sacrifice victims were dumped. Also extremely well-preserved are the Temple of the Warriors, the Ossuary, the Nunnery and adjacent Church, and the large observatory known as the Snail. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Next, we make our way to the Mayan town of Izamal, known as ‘the city of the three cultures’, combining remnants of its pre-Hispanic past, the colonial period and the present. Izamal is one of Mexico’s ‘magical towns’, a designation awarded to select locations famed for their cultural and historical heritage, whose Mayan name means ‘Heavenly Dew’. Here you can see the Convent of St Anthony of Padua, which stands on a former Maya pyramid. Time for lunch in Izamal (not included). We continue to the ‘White City’ of Merida, the capital of Yucatan, to enjoy a city tour of the historical downtown. Explore the Paseo de Montejo, where you will find a series of beautiful villas and palaces built in the 19th century. Enjoy the splendid Plaza Grande, home of the cathedral and the Casa de los Montejo, built in the 16th century in the plateresque style and whose beautiful façade has become a symbol of the city. We also see the Government Palace and City Hall, with free time discover the city on your own. Overnight in Merida hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 4 | MERIDA – UXMAL – CAMPECHE (250km – 3 hrs). Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a morning exploring the ruins of another former Maya city clawed back from vegetation. Arrive at Uxmal and enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which as you approach it comes into view as it rises above the canopy of the jungle. Unlike other Mayan cities, Uxmal was devoured by the rainforest after the Spaniards had arrived. The most famous structure is the 35-metre-tall Pyramid of the Magician, which towers over the remarkably well-preserved Nunnery Quadrangle with its ornately carved interior and exterior walls. Across the central plaza, just beyond the ballgame court, is the Governor’s Palace with its elaborately decorated roof. At the southern end of the main complex is the Great Pyramid, of which only one side has been excavated with the other three still unclaimed from the bush. Continue to Campeche to your hotel for check-in. Overnight in Campeche hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 5 | CAMPECHE – PALENQUE (380km – 5 hrs). After breakfast at the hotel, set out to see Campeche on a panoramic tour of this historic coastal city, driving through the heart of the picturesque old town, with its pastel-coloured colonial houses, colonnaded arcades and bell-gabled churches. Alight and explore further by foot, seeing sights such as ramparts of the old city walls and St Francis’ Cathedral. The state of preservation and quality of its architecture earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will see why as you explore. Continue the journey to Palenque, a bastion of the Ch’ol Maya people, in the state of Chiapas. We are now in Mexico’s ‘deep south’, where the colourfully dressed descendants of the Maya can be seen everywhere, and their languages frequently heard on the streets and in the marketplaces. Check in to your hotel. Overnight in Palenque hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 6 | PALENQUE. For thousands of years, the Maya’s writ stretched across what are now the five southern Mexican states as well as all of Belize and Guatemala, and the eastern parts of both El Salvador and Honduras – until their civilisation mysteriously collapsed in the eighth and ninth centuries. It was during this period that the now ruined city of Palenque (or B’aakal as the ancient Maya called it) entered decline and was devoured by the jungle until it was encountered by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. In its heyday, Palenque was a sprawling city-state that spanned nearly 60 square kilometres but archaeologists estimate that they have excavated only 5-10% of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. So far, more than 200 structures have been unearthed, with the Temple of the Inscriptions, the Palace, the Temple of the Count and the Temple of the Cross the most prominent. Enjoy exploring this ancient site on a guided tour. After, we set out on a visit to an incredible waterfall where you can appreciate Mexico’s natural beauty. Overnight in Palenque hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 7 | PALENQUE – BECAN – CHETUMAL (485km – 6.3 hrs). Depart Palenque after breakfast heading east, arriving to the archaeological site of Becan, an interesting ceremonial centre and city of the ancient Maya and, despite archaeologist efforts, still full of mysteries – even the original name of the site is unknown. Take the opportunity to admire the site’s main structures before we continue our trip, arriving to the capital of the state of Quintana Roo, Chetumal, where we check in to the hotel. Overnight in Chetumal hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 8 | CHETUMAL – BACALAR – TULUM – CANCUN (384km – 5 hrs). If your flight departs today, after breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer from Chetumal to the Cancun airport in order to catch your return flight (transfer not included). If you are extending your stay, near Chetumal is the small town and lagoon of Bacalar, commonly known as the ‘Lagoon of Seven Colours’ due to the distinct shades of blue apparent in the water. Be amazed by its beauty! Here we make a quick photo-stop before continuing north to the archaeological site of Tulum, one of the last cities built and inhibited by the Mayans. Tulum is perhaps one of the most visually impactful sites in Mexico, as it juxtaposes ancient ruins next to aqua coloured waters and white sand beaches. Continue to Playa del Carmen/Cancun with drop-off at your selected hotel. Breakfast included. End of Services
2018-2019 Dates & Rates (Each)
|Nov - Apr||Standard||$902||$317|
- Triple Reduction on Request
|Nov - Apr Saturday Departures|
|Nov 10, 24|
|Dec 08, 22|
|Jan 5, 19|
|Feb 02, 16|
|Mar 02, 16|
|Apr 13, 27|
|01||Cancun||Hampton Inn Cancun, or similar||Breakfast|
|02||Chichen Itza||Villas Arqueológicas or similar||Breakfast|
|03||Merida||El Castellano or similar||Breakfast|
|04||Campeche||Plaza Campeche or similar||Breakfast|
|05||Palenque||Misión Palenque or similar||Breakfast|
|06||Palenque||Misión Palenque or similar||Breakfast|
|07||Chetumal||Capital Plaza or similar||Breakfast|
Included & Not Included - click for more
Operated with English – Spanish speaking licensed local guide on a shared basis.
07 Nights as indicated on bed-and breakfast basis, including local taxes.
Daily breakfasts (07 total)
Air-conditioned transportation with pickup/drop-off as indicated in the itinerary on a shared basis.
Entrance fees and activities:
All monuments and visits as indicated: Rio Lagartos boat tour, entrance to cenote, Chichen Itza, Izamal, Merida City Tour, Uxmal, Campeche City Tour, Palenque, Becan, Bacalar photo stop, Tulum.
Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals if not stated explicitly in the program.
International flight tickets or Mexican visa fees and local taxes.
Gratuities for drivers and guides.
Price per person in US $ Dollars. Minimum 2 passengers
All rates and hotel availability subject to change
High season surcharges may apply
Note: Rates not valid at Christmas, New Year , Easter, Carnival or long weekends