Step back in time on this two-week itinerary featuring ancient Aztec and Mayan ruins of Morelos and the Yucatán Peninsula. Along the way, you will explore Mexico City, the colonial towns of Valladolid and Mérida, and the turquoise waters of the Riviera Maya. You will snorkel in freshwater cenotes, climb stone steps of Aztec pyramids, and meet with indigenous locals to learn about Maya history and culture firsthand.


  • Wander Mexico City's bohemian Coyoacán neighborhood 
  • Look upon the ancient pyramid of Chichén Itzá 
  • Refresh yourself in the X'Canche Cenote outside of Ek' Balam
  • Learn to make tortillas with a local Maya family
  • Relax on the white-sand beaches of Tulum

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City; Guided walking tour of the historic center Mexico City
Day 2 Visit the National Museum of Anthropology; Free evening Mexico City
Day 3 Aztec city of Teotihuacan; Basilica of Guadalupe; Free evening Mexico City
Day 4 Navigate the Xochimilco canals; Visit Frida Kahlo’s house Mexico City
Day 5 Flight to Cancún; Transfer to Valladolid Valladolid
Day 6 Day trip to Chichén Itzá and Yokdzonot Cenote Valladolid
Day 7 Free day in Valladolid Valladolid
Day 8 Day trip to Ek' Balam, X'Canche Cenote and Maya community workshop Valladolid
Day 9 Drive to Uxmal - Explore Uxmal and Kabah archaeological sites Uxmal
Day 10 Visit Muná; Drive to Mérida Merida
Day 11 Walking tour of Mérida – Transfer to Tulum Tulum
Days 12-13 Free day in Tulum Tulum
Day 14 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City - Guided walking tour of the historic center

Mexico - Zocalo Mexico City
Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral overlooks the Zócalo

Welcome to Mexico City! Upon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel in the historic core. 

After checking in, you will then meet your guide for a walking city tour of the historic center.  Depending on your arrival time, you will have the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, explore the Museum of the Great Temple, and stroll through the main square, Plaza de la Constitución or Zócalo as it is commonly called.

The evening will be yours to spend as you like.

Day 2: Visit the National Museum of Anthropology - Free evening

Anthropology Museum of Mexico City
Inside the National Museum of Anthropology

This morning you will dive into Mexico's past and explore the National Museum of Anthropology, the largest and most visited museum in Mexico. You will want to dedicate your time to two of its main exhibits, Aztec and Mayan. Afterward, choose from one of the many restaurants downtown and take the rest of the day to explore more of Mexico City on your own.

Day 3: Aztec city of Teotihuacan - Basilica of Guadalupe - Free evening

View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Sun from the Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, Mexico
View down the Avenue of the Dead from the Pyramid of the Moon

Meet your guide and head outside of the city to the impressive sprawling complex of Teotihuacan: the largest, most influential and revered city in the history of the New World which flourished in Mesoamerica's Golden Age. Walk down the Avenue of the Dead and marvel at the imposing stone structures it links, like the Pyramid of the Moon, Pyramid of the Sun, and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Enjoy lunch closeby before returning to your hotel, stopping in the north of Mexico City at the famous Basilica of Our Lady Guadalupe, a Roman Catholic church. 

Tonight is yours to explore on your own. Take advantage of your free evening to have dinner in one of Mexico City's traditional restaurants.

Day 4: Navigate the Xochimilco canals – Visit Frida Kahlo’s house

Xochimilco canals
Float through the Xochimilco canals

Visit the most emblematic area of Mexico City: the canals of Xochimilco. The canals are the last reminder of the rivers that once crossed the valley where Mexico City is now located. You will enjoy a lovely tour through the canals on a colorful trajinera (a decorated gondola-like boat) while tasting antojitos (Mexican snacks). 

From there, head to the bohemian neighborhood of Coyoacán for a little exploration. Stop for a bite to eat before carrying on to spend some time in La Casa de Frida, also known as the "Blue House". This historic house-turned-art museum is dedicated to the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The rest of your last day in Mexico City is yours to spend as you like.

Day 5: Flight to Cancún - Transfer to Valladolid

Buildings in Valladolid, Mexico
Admire the colorful Spanish influenced buildings in Valladolid

Today you will leave Mexico City behind and catch your two-hour flight to Cancún in the Yucatán Peninsula. Upon landing, you will meet your driver and transfer to the colonial town of Valladolid a couple of hours inland from the airport. After checking into your hotel you will have the rest of the day to explore the town at your own pace.

For a traditional gastronomic experience, head to Parque Francisco Canton to feast on typical Yucatecan dishes (many of which originated from Valladolid). Try los lomitos, la longaniza de Valladolid, or el escabeche oriental—simple but delicious dishes the locals eat on a regular basis. If you are looking for something a little more sophisticated, head to the city center for your choice of restaurant.

Plan your trip to Mexico
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 6: Day trip to Chichén Itzá and Yokdzonot Cenote

Archaeological site of Chichen Itza
El Castillo in Chichén Itzá

After an early breakfast, meet your local guide and head west to the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá (about an hour). This pre-Hispanic city was once the most venerated center of worship and pilgrimage of the Yucatán Peninsula. Its main draw is the step Pyramid of Kukulkán (El Castillo), though there are many significant Mayan and Toltec buildings, sculptures, and reliefs that will pull you in, like the Chacmools, Temple of the Warriors, Hall of the Thousand Columns, and the ball courts to name a few.

After fully exploring the sprawling complex, head the short distance to the lesser known Yokdzonot Cenote. Cenotes are magical, enigmatic and unique in the world and were once the only source of fresh water in the local jungle. They were sacred to the Mayas for that reason, but also because they represented the entrance to the underworld. The Yucatán Peninsula is a porous limestone shelf with no visible rivers: all the freshwater rivers are underground. Enjoy a refreshing swim before grabbing a bite of lunch and returning to Valladolid.

Day 7: Free day in Valladolid

Mexico - Cathedral de San Gervasio, Valladolid
Valladolid's 16th-century San Gervasio Cathedral

Take today to spend as you choose. Discover Valladolid's colonial-era churches and architecture, like the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena, the baroque-style San Gervasio Cathedral, and the old Spanish-style mansions. Have lunch in the market and if you're in the mood for a swim, cool off in the Cenote Zaci close to the heart of the city.

Day 8: Day trip to Ek' Balam, X'Canche cCnote and Maya community workshop

Ek' Balam, Mexico
For centuries Ek' Balam was hidden by the Yucatán jungle

Rise bright and early for today's full-day excursion. Your first stop is to explore the Yucatec-Maya archaeological site of Ek' Balam. Once a thriving seat of a Mayan kingdom, the city was absorbed into the dense jungle typical of the area and wasn't rediscovered until the late 1800s. Wander the complex and climb the steps of the Acropolis taking in the site as well as the surrounding jungle.

From there, you'll head to the nearby cenote of X'Canche. At the entrance to X'Canche, you'll rent a bike and cycle along the sacbé or "white path" leading you to its cool waters. Enjoy a swim in the freshwater and a bite to eat before making the short drive for your walking tour of a local village. You will have the opportunity to visit three Mayan families where you'll learn how to make tortillas, knit hammocks, and participate in an embroidery workshop.

In the evening, you'll return to Valladolid.

Day 9: Drive to Uxmal - Explore Uxmal and Kabah archaeological sites

The UNESCO-protected Governor's Palace and Pyramid of the Magician in Uxmal

This morning you will check out of your accommodation and make the three-hour drive further west to Uxmal. At its height, Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Ruta Puuc (Puuc Route). Explore the ruins, marvel at the height and structure of the Pyramid of the Magician, and note the many glyphs and reliefs, before carrying on to Kabah, another treasure of the area in the Puuc region. Kabah's most prominent building is the Palace of the Masks (also known as Codz Poop), with a façade completely covered in 250 stone masks of the rain god Chac. 

You'll return to Uxmal in the late afternoon and check into your accommodation.

Day 10: Visit Muná - Drive to Mérida

jícara drying, Yucatan, Mexico
Versatile jícara before it's decorated and used as a container or turned into an instrument


This morning you will drive the short distance to the Mirador Muná Chac-Nah—a lookout point with spectacular views of the countryside as well as Uxmal rising above the jungle in the distance. Here you will learn how the indigenous locals work for the conservation of nature and Maya culture, where you will be invited to participate in a jícara engraving workshop. Jícara is a fruit grown in the Yucatán used to store food or water. From there you will visit the local craft workshop and ecological museum, before stopping for lunch in the Ecotourism Complex of Mun-Ha for a regional lunch.

In the afternoon, transfer to the Yucatán capital of  Mérida (about an hour), check into your hotel before setting out to explore your surroundings.

Day 11: Walking tour of Mérida – Transfer to Tulum

Mexico - Merida - Inside the courtyard of the Government Palace
 Inside the courtyard of the Government Palace in Mérida

Spend the morning touring Mérida's colorful and ornate Spanish colonial buildings, like the salmon Municpal Palace, or the green Government's Palace and the distinctive canary yellow-painted arch, one of the last original gateways marking the former 16th-century city limits.

In the early afternoon, you will drive the three hours into Quintana Roo and to Tulum on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. After settling in, take the rest of the day to relax on the fine white sand of the beach.

Days 12-13: Free day in Tulum

Tulum, Mexico
Discover the Tulum ruins of this ancient port city

The next two days are yours to spend as you please. Stroll along the palm-fringed Paradise Beach, swim in the turquoise waters of the sea and dine on fresh seafood at any of the choice restaurants overlooking the Caribbean. Visit the Parque Nacional Tulum and check out the limestone sinkholes like the Cenote Calavera or snorkel in the Gran Cenote before spending the afternoon discovering the Mayan ruins just outside of town. 

Day 14: Depart

Tulum, Mexico
Sunset behind Tulum's iconic El Castillo (castle) ruins

Fully relaxed, today you will head to the Cancún airport and say adios to the Riviera Maya and this little slice of paradise. 


Map of Highlights of Mexico: From Mexico City to the Mayan Riviera  - 14 Days
Map of Highlights of Mexico: From Mexico City to the Mayan Riviera - 14 Days