Duration 8 days
Delve into the soul of the Yucatán-home to sun, sea and the glories of an ancient civilisation which once ruled Central America, then mysteriously disappeared.
Warm heart and soul on the sojourn to Mexico’s Caribbean playground, Cancun. On arrival, you’ll be met with a hearty Mexican bienvenido and transferred to your hotel, where you’ll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception this evening.
Hotel: InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort
Meal: Welcome Reception
Cancun – Ek Balam – Valladolid – Izamal – Merida (2 Nights)
Delve into Mayan culture this morning during a visit to the Ek Balam acropolis, whose well-preserved stucco sculptures and painted hieroglyphic inscriptions provide a window into the Mayan soul. We’ll journey to Valladolid, once Yucatan’s capital and today a sleepy town. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then stroll around its convivial central square before continuing to the colonial jewel of Izamal, said to be the oldest city in the Yucatan. See its yellow buildings glow in the tropical sun and pay a visit to the Franciscan Monastery before ending your day in “The White City” of Merida.
Hotel: InterContinental Presidente Merida
The vivid pink display of hundreds of flamingos takes centre stage during our visit to the UNESCO-listed Celestún Biosphere Reserve through which we’ll travel on small boats, navigating its protected lagoons and canals. Relax under the palm-thatched roof of a local beach restaurant at lunch, enjoying some free time to connect with your surrounds. This evening, we’ll ‘Connect with Locals’, joining Chef Don Miguel in the Chaya Maya Mansion kitchen. Prepare for an unforgettable gastronomic ‘Be My Guest’ encounter that begins with a welcome cocktail symbolic to the region. Sip your Mayita before learning about the traditional dishes with a modern twist you’ll be making and sampling for dinner.
Meal: Breakfast,Lunch,Be My Guest
Mérida – Campeche
Ancient meets colonial in the Yucatan’s cultural capital of Mérida, which we will have an opportunity to explore in-depth today. View the Paseo de Montejo lined with beautiful Spanish mansions, then visit the Mérida Museum to gain insights into the glories of the city’s past. Stroll through the tranquil Central Plaza surrounded by beautiful architecture, see the ornate Casa Montejo, the massive Cathedral and the Palacio del Gobierno with its remarkable collection of murals. We’ll travel to the port city of Campeche next, with its colourful colonial history and tales of marauding pirates. Stroll from the magnificent Puerta de Tierra-the main entrance to the Campeche’s UNESCO-listed fortified old city-to the Puerta del Mar, which opens up to the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy an evening at leisure.
Hotel: Plaza Campeche
Campeche – Edzná – Uxmal
Journey through the rolling hills of La Ruta Puuc and immerse yourself in Mexico’s Mayan Puuc culture and heritage. We’ll visit the abandoned city of Edzná which reveals the ornate façades and rituals of this ancient culture. Savour smoky local flavours during a lunch featuring the Yucatecan specialities of pollo and cochinita pibil (chicken and pork wrapped in banana leaves). We’ll overnight in a historic hacienda ‘Stay with a Story’ that has attracted world leaders and royalty.
Hotel: Hacienda Uxmal Plantation and Museum
Uxmal – Sotuta de Peón – Chichén Itzá
Few sites reflect the glories of Maya architecture better than the UNESCO-listed Uxmal. Gaze up at its House of the Magician, built in one night as legend would have it. See the Governor’s Palace with its tributes to the rain god Chaac and the House of Turtles, among other spectacular examples of Mayan construction. At the living history museum of Hacienda Sotuta de Peón, we’ll step back in time to the age of the haciendas. ‘Dive into Culture’ and learn about henequen (sisal fiber), the green gold of the Yucatán during the colonial era. We’ll visit the main house and the still-active processing plant, then hop on a mule-drawn rail cart to visit one of the cenotes (natural wells) that dot the Yucatán countryside. Later this afternoon, we journey to our ‘Stay with a Story’ located next to the famous Mayan archaeological site of Chichén Itzá.
Chichén Itzá Sightseeing – Cancun
Rise with the birds and stroll through the ruins of the UNESCO-listed Chichén Itzá, savouring the rare opportunity to be the first visitors on site. Your Travel Director will reveal the iconic and unexpected highlights including the imposing El Castillo (The Castle), the Temple of the Warriors and the great Ball Court, the largest of its kind in Central America. This afternoon, we’ll return to Cancun for some free time to embrace fun and freedom in this Caribbean beach playground. Our journey almost at its end, we’ll join our travel companions for a lively Farewell Dinner.
Hotel: InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort
Meal: Breakfast,Farewell Dinner
Say a fond farewell to the Yucatan and your newfound amigos as you transfer to Cancun International Airport for your flight home or consider extending your stay in Cancun.
(price per person)
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Alternative itineraries and tailor-made trips available.
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