From peaceful jungle cenotes to the colonial streets of Valladolid, this nine-day trip covers millennia of history and culture and leaves plenty of time for relaxation. Swim in the jungle, visit Chichen Itza — one of the Seven Wonders and relax on the car-free beaches of Holbox Island. Immerse yourself into local life as you learn about local indigenous culture & customs and eat a delicious traditional meal.

Highlights

  • Explore ancient Maya ruins and pyramids
  • Kick back and relax on the beach
  • Visit the rainforest and look for wildlife, like spider monkeys
  • See Chichen Itza and other archaeological sites
  • Go swimming in a jungle cenote

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Cancun, Transfer to Tulum Tulum
Day 2 Cenotes of Chemuyil, Tulum Archeological Site Tulum
Day 3 Float in the Muyil Sian Ka´an Biosphere Reserve Tulum
Day 4 Archeological Site of Coba, Eco Center & Traditional Mayan Meal, Punta Laguna Wildlife Tour, Transfer to Valladolid Valladolid
Day 5 Visit Chichen Itza: a Wonder of the Mayan World, Discover Corn: the Sacred Food of the Gods in Yaxunah Valladolid
Day 6 Walking Tour of Colonial Valladolid, Transfer to Holbox Holbox
Day 7 Free Day on Holbox Island Holbox
Day 8 Holbox to Puerto Morelos Puerto Morelos
Day 9 Puerto Morelos to Cancun, Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Cancun, Transfer to Tulum

Beaches of the Caribbean
Welcome to the Mexican Caribbean! Upon your arrival at Cancun’s airport, you'll meet your driver to be transferred to your hotel in Tulum. 

Day 2: Cenotes of Chemuyil, Tulum Archeological Site

Chemuyil Cenotes
Chemuyil Cenotes
Your adventure begins in the community of Chemuyil, a small beachfront town with plentiful white sand beaches and shallow waters. A local guide will be waiting for you to welcome you with a plate of fruit and tell you more about the different places you will visit today. You'll spend the day learning about the project, which was initiated by 5 young people from the community of Chemuyil who seek to introduce and preserve the cenotes where they used to live and play during their childhood. Their initiative allows the visitor to explore virgin forests, discover the fauna, and become one with nature. 

You will be assigned a bicycle and start cycling through the charming town of Chemuyil. There you will continue your bike tour to visit 3 different cenotes of different shapes and sizes. You will start with a cenote known locally as La Cuevita; an enclosed cenote where your guide will tell you anecdotes and stories of the place.

Next, you will go to an open cenote where, with some luck, you will be able to see some of the endemic birds of the Yucatan Peninsula. Finally, you will visit an open cenote where you can take a dip. All of these cenotes are part of a system fed by the largest underground river in the world. Once you finish this experience, you will say goodbye to the young people of the community and head back to town.

After, you will visit the ruins of Tulum, one of the most famous archaeological sites in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Spend the afternoon exploring the area with your guide, who will explain why these ruins be played a particularly important role in the area's maritime and terrestrial trade. You'll also learn about the site's function as an astronomical observatory and as a defensive system.

This old Mayan city sits in the middle of a mangrove ecosystem, on a cliff facing ​​the Caribbean Sea. You'll find spectacular views from the site of both the surrounding forest, as well as the open water. From the archaeological site, you'll have access to the Playa Ruinas (Ruins Beach). After spending some time exploring the ruins, head down to the water for some sun wand water to round out your visit. 

Day 3: Float in the Muyil Sian Ka´an Biosphere Reserve

Floating in Sian Ka'an Reserve
Floating in Sian Ka'an Reserve
Today you will visit the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, which in Mayan means "a place where the sky is born". When you arrive at the Muyil Community Center, enjoy a light snack and join a group of travelers to start the tour. This community-based ecotourism cooperative focuses on the conservation and preservation of ecosystems by promoting unique experiences with a commitment to responsible tourism.

Your first stop will be the little-known and mysterious archaeological site of Muyil, which you will reach at the end of an interpretive trail surrounded by the thick jungle. Walk until you reach the edge of the turquoise Chunyaxche Lagoon, where you will take a small boat through a channel surrounded by mangroves to arrive at a small dock. Once there enjoy a serene dip in the water. It is a moment of reconnection with mother earth, as you float slowly through the channels you will feel the peace of your surroundings and take in the soft sounds of the local birds and other animals.

Once you are done enjoying the water, return to the community center on a short walk. You will be welcomed back with a traditional meal to complete the excursion.

Day 4: Archeological Site of Coba, Eco Center & Traditional Mayan Meal, Punta Laguna Wildlife Tour, Transfer to Valladolid

Climbing the stairs to the top
Climbing the stairs to the top
Today, you'll enjoy a guided visit to the archaeological site of Coba. Start with a guided bike or bicycle taxi tour through the sacbé (a paved, raised road built by the Maya). These roads connect each settlement to the main pyramid, Nohoch Mul — the Yucatan Peninsula's largest pyramid.

If you decide to climb the stairs to the top, your efforts will be rewarded by an extraordinary view of the beautiful jungle that surrounds this impressive site.

Visit Nuevo Durango, small ecotourism and organic food production community. It's a small ecotourism and organic food production community whose people have managed to maintain their cultural identity in both language and customs.

Here you will enjoy a traditional meal and meet Don Manuel and his family. Don is a member of the community that operates an Environmental Management Unit (EMU), a project for the conservation of animals in the region that are in danger of extinction. As you learn about Don's work, you'll be able to see and meet some of the endemic species of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Punta Laguna is part of a 12,350-acre area known as "Otoch Ma'ax yetel Kooh," which in Maya means "The home of the spider monkey and the puma". Since 1950, local Mayan families have been protecting the reserve where animals like spider monkeys, howler monkeys, birds, jaguars, pumas can be observed in complete freedom.

On this visit, you'll take a canoe ride through the biosphere, where with a little luck you will be able to spot several species of local wildlife, including of course the iconic spider monkey.

After, your private transportation will drive you from Tulum to Valladolid. 

Day 5: Visit Chichen Itza: a Wonder of the Mayan World, Discover Corn: the Sacred Food of the Gods in Yaxunah

Chichen Itza pyramid
Chichen Itza pyramid
Today you will meet your local guide to visit the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the modern world. 

This indigenous city is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was once the most revered center of worship and pilgrimage in the Yucatan Peninsula. Its main attraction is the stepped pyramid of Kukulkan (El Castillo). Let your imagination run wild as you learn about the life of the Mayas through the architecture, accompanies by your guide's stories.

Spend part of your day traveling back in history to explore the world of the Maya. Your visit to the archaeological site starts with a meeting with a guide from the Yaxunah community, who will join you for the trip to the site. 

The Yaxunah site, which in Mayan means "the first house", is surrounded by cornfields and dense vegetation. There is bountiful archaeological evidence that suggests that this site has been continuously occupied for millennia, and that is was an important center for the cultivation of corn: the sacred food of the gods. For the Mayans, the milpa (agricultural field) was like their home, as they had to ask permission to enter. 

Your guide, along with the members of the community, will show you the production process of this important regional food staple. You'll learn about the cleaning, planting, and harvesting of corn, as well as taste the beverages that can be prepared with corn, like potzoles, pinoles, nixtamal, and atoles.

Day 6: Walking Tour of Colonial Valladolid, Transfer to Holbox

Colorful Spanish architecture
Colorful Spanish architecture
Enjoy a walking tour through the heart of the historic center of Valladolid. Founded in 1543 and invaded several times by the Spanish, the city was the stage of vast confrontations between the Maya and the Conquistadores during events such as the Guerra de Castas in 1847 and the first spark of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

Today, Valladolid is a charming Yucatecan city that's known for its hospitality, cenotes, food, and beautiful architecture. During the tour, you will visit (among others) the Ex Convento San Bernadino de Siena, the Cathedral, and the beautiful Calzada de Los Frailes.

After, your private transportation will drive you from Valladolid to Chiquilá, where you will take a ferry to Holbox Island. Upon arrival, a golf cart will be waiting to take you to your hotel.

Day 7: Free Day on Holbox Island

Holbox Islands
Holbox Islands
Today is free to spend however you want on the peaceful island. Soak in the sunshine, the spectacular turquoise waters, the unpaved streets, the incredible sunsets, and the delicious food. Choose one of the beautiful beaches to enjoy the sun and white sand, and recharge your batteries. 

As cars are not allowed on the island, you will also have the option to rent a bicycle or a golf cart to travel around and explore the less-crowded parts of the island. Other great options to spend your free day include walking around town, browsing the street art for souvenirs to bring back home, or simply relaxing at one of the town's cafes. 

If you prefer to get onto the water, book a boat tour to Cabo Catoche for an afternoon of snorkeling and enjoying the underwater world.

At the end of the day, catch the sunset from Punta Coco, view the starry sky from the beach, or enjoy a show of bioluminescence in the waters.

Day 8: Holbox to Puerto Morelos

Slopped lighthouse of Puerto Morelos
Slanted lighthouse of Puerto Morelos
Spend one last morning in Holbox Island before you say "hasta luego" to this paradise. You will take the ferry back to Chiquilá where your private transportation will be waiting for your to take you to the charming fishing village of Puerto Morelos.

Day 9: Puerto Morelos to Cancun, Departure

Sunrise over the water
Sunrise over the water
Today is your last morning in this paradise. If you're up for it, wake up early for a sunrise on the beach. Afterward, you'll have the rest of your morning free to relax, before your scheduled transport transfers you to Cancun International Airport.