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15 days/13 nights:

Tour of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico

Highlights of this tour:

Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Kabah, Campeche, Palenque, Aguas Azul Falls, Misol-Ha Falls, San Cristobal de las Casas, the Indian villages of San Juan de Chamula and Zinacantan, sailing trip in Sumidero Canyon, Playa del Carmen.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Return flights from the UK to Cancún (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • 1 domestic flight: Tuxtla Gutiérrez – Cancún
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small international groups)
  • Coach travel: Cancún – Mérida
  • First-class coach travel: Mérida – Campeche – Palenque
  • Coach travel: Palanque – San Cristobal de las Casas – Tuxtla Gutiérrez // Cancún – Playa del Carmen
  • 13 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 1 x lunch (day 2)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides except on day 7 and 9
  • Telephone hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Daily departures

The following package of excursions are included:

  • Guided tour of one of the seven wonders of the modern world
    Chichen Itza
  • Guided tour of the impressive Mayan ruins at Uxmal & Kabah
  • Guided tour of the Mayan complex at Palenque
  • Visit to the Agua Azul Falls and Misol-ha
  • Tour to the Indian villages of Chamula and Zinacantan
  • Sailing trip in Sumidero Canyon
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned

Single room supplement: £540
Discounts are available for groups of 6 or more people

Choose this tour because…

Delightful countryside, impressive Mayan ruins and well-preserved buildings dating back to the Spanish colonial age are just some of the treats that await you on this trip. The tour takes in highlights including Chichen Itza, the ruined city of Uxmal and the ruin complex of Palenque. You can immerse yourself in the beauty of the landscapes when you visit captivating turquoise waterfalls and enjoy a sailing trip down the river in Sumidero Canyon. The country still bears the marks of its fascinating history, and the trip will take you to charming colonial towns, and to small, interesting Indian communities where you can see how the descendants of the Mayan people have succeeded in retaining their defining features and cultural heritage. Your wonderful trip finishes up in the delightful resort town of Playa del Carmen, with fine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Cancún

Departure day, where you will fly to Cancún on the Yucatan peninsula, with connecting flights along the way.
At Cancún airport, you will be met by a driver who will accompany you to your hotel.

Overnight stay Hotel Calypso

Day 2: Cancun – Chichen Itza - Mérida

Today is given over to the trip to Mérida, which was founded in 1542 on the remains of the former Mayan city of Tihó. Mérida is known as ‘The White City’ on account of the many white-painted houses it contains. The locals also refer to it as ‘the Paris of Mexico’ as it is the most European city on the Yucatan peninsula.

Before reaching Mérida, however, we will be stopping at the ruins of Chichen Itza, an ancient city that is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and which has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world.The ruins actually feature traces of two different cultural periods: one Mayan and one Itzá. The Mayans were highly skilled in both astronomy and architecture, which is clearly evidenced in the ruins. We will be visiting the famous El Castillo pyramid, which reaches a height of 25 metres. It is actually the Mayan calendar made of stone, and in March and September every year, a ‘snake’ appears on the north staircase – actually just a shadow cast by the sun. We will also take a look at the biggest antique playing field in Mexico, which measures more than 180 x 70 metres, the Temple of the Warriors, famous for its Chacmool figure, and the observatory from where the Mayans studied the stars. In addition, we will see Cenote Sagrado – the holy well that was used in religious rituals. It was a source of water, and the Mayans expressed their thanks through sacrifices to Chaac, the rain god. Both human bones and valuable gifts to the gods have been found at the bottom of the well.

Overnight stay Hotel del Gobernador

Day 3: Uxmal - Kabah

You leave the hotel in the morning for a full-day excursion to one of the most famous archaeological sites in Yucatan: Uxmal, an ancient Mayan city ruin dating back to around 500 AD. It was the most powerful city in Western Yucatan until around 1200. Following the Spanish conquest of Yucatan, old colonial documents indicate that Uxmal was still inhabited until the 1550s, after which the city was abandoned. The buildings here were constructed of pink limestone, and the site presents some of the most beautiful and impressive Mayan ruins in the world, delightfully laid out on the hills. Uxmal means ‘built for the third time’ in the Mayan language, but the city was actually built and rebuilt on the site a total of five times in typical Mesoamerican tradition. Uxmal is in much better condition than many other Mayan settlements, largely because the city was extraordinarily well built. Much of it was constructed of finely hewn stones laid without cement. If you are lucky, you may spot some of the lizards that live among the ruins.

Some of the more notable buildings to view include the Governor’s Palace, a low building positioned on a 12-metre-high platform; the Magician’s Pyramid, an attractive pyramid temple; the Four-Winged Nunnery, the most impressive of the four-winged buildings in Uxmal featuring painstakingly carved façades; and a large playing field marked with inscriptions stating that it was established in 901 by Chan Chak K’ak’nal-Ahau.

Later on, you will visit Kabah, the second-largest Mayan ruin in the Puuc Region – exceeded only by Uxmal. Kabah means ‘strong hand’ in the Mayan language and the site is famous in particular for the ‘Codz Poop Palace’ with its numerous intricately carved Chaac masks. Chaac was a Mayan rain deity, and when you see how dry the region is, you will quickly understand why he was so important.

You will return to your hotel towards the end of the afternoon.

Overnight stay Hotel del Gobernador

Day 4: Mérida – Campeche

The next stop on the tour is the picturesque city of Campeche. You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the bus station, where you will travel first-class by bus to the city – a drive of approx. 2½ hours. On your arrival at the bus station in Campeche, you will be picked up by taxi and driven to your hotel.

Campeche was founded in 1540 by Spanish conquistadors on the site of the existing Mayan town of Can Pech. As the most important trading city in southern Mexico, it was home to many wealthy merchants. It was thus the target of numerous pirate attacks, prompting the Spanish king to intervene. He ordered a wall to be built around the city to protect its inhabitants and wealth.

Many of the ancient city walls and fortresses of the Spanish colonial era have been preserved, which is one of the reasons the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You have the rest of the day to yourself to explore the beautiful city that will enthral you, both by its beauty and, not least, its fascinating history. Enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from the cosy harbour promenade, where the locals also enjoy going for an evening stroll.

Overnight stay Hotel Plaza Colonial

Day 5: Campeche - Palenque

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the bus station, where this time you will be travelling first-class to Palenque – a bus ride of approx. 6 hours. On your arrival at Palenque bus station, you can either walk the short distance to your hotel or take a taxi (at your own expense).

Overnight stay Hotel Maya Tulipanes

Day 6: Palenque

Palenque is set in an area of tropical rainforest and known for its beauty and magnificent location overlooking the flat Yucatan countryside. Palenque was one of the biggest cities in the Mayan kingdom, and gives its name to the nearby Mayan ruins, which feature on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These fascinating ruins are hidden deep in the almost impenetrable rainforest in the Chiapas province of Mexico. Here, we will take a closer look at the Inscription Temple, a burial monument to King Pacal the Great.

Overnight stay Hotel Maya Tulipanes

Day 7: Palenque – San Cristobal de las Casas

Today we will be leaving Palenque and heading off to San Cristobal de las Casas (unguided). On the way, we will be stopping off at the 35-metre-high Misol-Ha waterfall, which is famous far and wide for its beauty. This beautiful landscape is surrounded by tropical vegetation, and dotted with mahogany and sapote trees. It was formed by cliffs collapsing into the river and creating a broad pool near the falls, where we have the opportunity to go swimming.

It is then time to continue on to the delightful Agua Azul Falls. With its turquoise water, intense colours, the constant breeze and the rumbling water, this is one of the most beautiful and memorable natural attractions in Mexico. There are more than 500 large and small waterfalls here, ranging in height from 3 to 30 metres.

We then carry on towards San Cristobal de las Casas, which is located at an altitude of around 2,100 metres. The town was once called just ‘San Cristobal’ – ‘de las Casas’ was added subsequently in honour of Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish priest who famously fought for the rights of the indigenous Indians.

Overnight stay Hotel Diego Mazariegos

Day 8: Excursion to Indian villages

Visits to two Indian villages are on the schedule for today. San Juan de Chamula is home to 50,000 descendants from the Mayans, primarily Tzotzil and Tzeltals. The Mayan descendants take care to maintain their distinctive features and cultural heritage, so they speak their own language, the town has its own police force and own rules.

We will also visit the distinctive church, which is located on the central square in the town. The church is a good example of how the original Mayan beliefs gradually merged with the Catholic faith. The Indians pray to the Mayan god or saint relevant to the illness or wish that forms the basis for their visit. There are no pews in the church, so visitors have to kneel and pray on the floor among the numerous lighted candles. The air is thick with incense, and the walls are lined with wooden figures of the local saints and of John the Baptist, who is the guardian angel of the town.

Both San Juan de Chamula and Zinacantan are well-known for their weaving techniques, and each village has its own special costumes featuring carefully composed patterns and colours. At the markets, Indian traders in colourful clothes sell ceramic items and clothing made of wool and cotton.

Overnight stay Hotel Diego Mazariegos

Day 9: San Cristobal de las Casas – Sumidero – Tuxtla – Playa del Carmen

It is now time to depart from San Cristobal de las Casas and drive to Sumidero. Here, we take a sailing trip along the 13 km river that flows through it. It is truly a beautiful boat trip, and if you’re lucky, you will see crocodiles, monkeys and vultures (unguided).

You then continue to Tuxtla, from where you fly to Cancun and continue to the lovely Playa del Carmen, with its kilometre-long white sandy beach with palm trees and crystal clear waters.

Overnight stay Hotel Hacienda Real

Days 10-13: Playa del Carmen

The days are yours to do with as you wish: explore Playa del Carmen on your own and relax on the fine white sandy beach, for example. You can also try some of the different water sports, such as windsurfing or jet-skiing, or go snorkelling or diving by Cozumel island – a world-famous paradise for divers with its fascinating grottoes and beautiful reefs. A ferry sails directly from the beach at Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, and the trip takes around 30–45 minutes.

The central square in Playa del Carmen is the Plaza Mayor, situated next to the beach and close to the ferry that sails to Isla Cozumel – a true paradise for divers. Plaza Mayor marks the start of the main street in the town, Avenida 5, which is lined with shops, restaurants and bars. In the evening, the beach comes to life in the form of bars that generally present live reggae or calypso music. It is hard to imagine a better way to start the evening than sitting down with a cool Corona beer, listening to sweet music and admiring the view out over the Caribbean Sea.

Overnight stay Hotel Hacienda Real

Day 14: Start of the trip home

The time has now come to bid farewell to Mexico. You will be collected and driven to Cancún airport to start your journey home.
You will fly to the UK with connecting flights along the way.

Day 15: Arrival in the UK

You arrive in the UK after a wonderful tour.

Highlights of this tour:

Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Kabah, Campeche, Palenque, Aguas Azul Falls, Misol-Ha Falls, San Cristobal de las Casas, the Indian villages of San Juan de Chamula and Zinacantan, sailing trip in Sumidero Canyon, Playa del Carmen.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Return flights from the UK to Cancún (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • 1 domestic flight: Tuxtla Gutiérrez – Cancún
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small international groups)
  • Coach travel: Cancún – Mérida
  • First-class coach travel: Mérida – Campeche – Palenque
  • Coach travel: Palanque – San Cristobal de las Casas – Tuxtla Gutiérrez // Cancún – Playa del Carmen
  • 13 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 1 x lunch (day 2)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides except on day 7 and 9
  • Telephone hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Daily departures

The following package of excursions are included:

  • Guided tour of one of the seven wonders of the modern world
    Chichen Itza
  • Guided tour of the impressive Mayan ruins at Uxmal & Kabah
  • Guided tour of the Mayan complex at Palenque
  • Visit to the Agua Azul Falls and Misol-ha
  • Tour to the Indian villages of Chamula and Zinacantan
  • Sailing trip in Sumidero Canyon
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned

Single room supplement: £540
Discounts are available for groups of 6 or more people