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.
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.
Visit the UNESCO-listed Celestún Biosphere Reserve, navigating the lagoons and canals in small boats in search of its famous flamingoes. This evening, we'll Connect with Locals, joining Chef Don Miguel in the Chaya Maya Mansion kitchen for Mayita cocktails and traditional Dishes at a Be My Guest dinner.
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.
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 Regional Meal 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.
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.
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.
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.
Crossovers: Itineraries, durations, hotels and inclusions may vary. Please inquire at the time of booking.
"Take time for yourself. Glide your hand over ancients ruins and pyramids, gaze onto warrior temples and ceremonial centers, pause to view the open sea. Then remind yourself, this is not Egypt-this is Mexico."Alan Cook, Manager, Latin America
Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.
Please note: This journey requires walking on uneven surfaces and steps. Occasionally, the itinerary may be subject to delays or variations due to circumstances beyond our control; it is best enjoyed by the experienced traveller in good health who can take such variations in stride.