Enjoy this getaway to the Riviera Maya with its mix of culture and relaxing on the beach. Base yourself in lively Playa del Carmen as you explore Mayan ruins, swim in picturesque cenotes, snorkel in family-friendly water parks, and enjoy the sun, sand, and sea along the white sandy coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula.

Highlights

  • Enjoy shopping and nightlife in Playa del Carmen
  • Explore the ruins of Chichén Itzá
  • Snorkel along an underground river at Xcaret
  • Kayak and ride a zipline through the forest in Bacalar

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to the Riviera Maya Playa del Carmen
Day 2 Chichén Itzá to Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
Day 3 Akumal, Mayan Coast & the Jungle Playa del Carmen
Day 4 Tulum & Mayan Traditions Playa del Carmen
Day 5 Adventure in Bacalar Bacalar
Day 6 Xcaret Park Playa del Carmen
Day 7 Paradise in the Caribbean Playa del Carmen
Day 8 Departure from Mexico  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to the Riviera Maya

The turquoise waters of the Riviera Maya

Arrive at Cancun International Airport and transfer to your hotel in Playa del Carmen. Rest and get ready to begin your Mayan adventure. You have the afternoon and evening free to walk along the beach, relax by the hotel pool, have a Mexican-style meal, and get acclimated.  

Day 2: Chichén Itzá to Playa del Carmen

Chichen Itza, Mexico
The ruins of Chichén Itzá, Mexico

Today's excursion takes you to Chichén Itzá, an archaeological site considered one of the New Wonders of the World. After a visit to learn about its history—its main draw is the step Pyramid of Kukulkán (El Castillo), though there are many significant Mayan and Toltec buildings, sculptures, and reliefs of interest—you'll go to Yokdzono Cenote. It's a stunning example of the 6,000-plus sinkholes in the Yucatán region, which were sometimes used by ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. Soak up the beauty of the tropical plants and trees that surround it, which are also perfect habitats for exotic birds.

Day 3: Akumal, Mayan Coast & the Jungle

Exploring the underground
Exploring the underground

After a delicious breakfast, you will be picked up and driven to Río Secreto, an underwater river, where you will join a shared tour (approx. 20 min drive).

Explore a natural world wonder in one of the most beautiful underground river systems in the world where the history of our planet is written on the myriad geological formations. As you explore this underground world, your guide will explain to you everything about how this geological wonder has been formed. You will rappel, cycle, and try the dry route until you see daylight again at the end of the tour. Lunch is included afterward.

Finally, you will drive back to Playa del Carmen and enjoy the rest of your day as you please. 

Day 4: Tulum & Mayan Traditions

Tulum, Mexico
Seaside ruins in Tulum, Mexico

Discover the archaeological site of Tulum, one of the most important sites of the Mayan culture, located on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. The city has five different access points and two observation towers that the Mayans used. You'll learn all about it on a guided tour. 

Later, enjoy a short visit to Cobá, an archaeological site filled with pyramids. Renting bikes is one way of getting around the sprawling area. On the way back to Playa del Carmen, go for a dip in a cenote.

Day 5: Adventure in Bacalar

Welcome to Bacalar, Mexico

Go on an adventure in Bacalar, one of the most beautiful places in Riviera Maya.  Go on a mid-day sailing tour through the most outstanding spots of this famous 7 color lagoon. Then enjoy the small-town vibe of the center or rest in your hotel. 

Day 6: Xcaret Park

The natural setting of Xcaret

Today, after breakfast you will have some more free time to explore this magical place and recharge your batteries. 

In the afternoon, you will leave Bacalar and drive towards the community of Chunhuhub, a Mayan community just a couple of hours away. From the little town, you will arrive at Selva Bonita. This ecotourism center is run by a local family and was created to be able to share with visitors the importance of coexisting with nature through responsible tourism by offering experiences that respect and preserve the environment and the identity of the Mayan culture.

Once you arrive, you will be welcomed by a member of the family and will have free time to settle into your private cabin before starting a very special activity. At 7 pm (the time may vary depending on the time of the year), your local guide will be waiting for you to walk on the Yu'um Lu'um (caretaker of the land) trail.

After asking permission along with a jmen, you will take a walk through a jungle trail, connecting with Mother Earth and her caretakers. The trail will take you to the meeting point where a grandfather from the community will tell you stories and legends, all while enjoying a sacred drink called Balché. Finally, a delicious dinner will be served at the ecotourism center. 

Day 7: Paradise in the Caribbean

A beach in Playa del Carmen
A beach in Playa del Carmen

Enjoy a free day to explore Playa del Carmen in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Go for street tacos, relax on the beach, side-trip to nearby cenotes, or hang around the hotel pool. In the evening, go for a stroll on the busy pedestrian promenade, lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. 

Day 8: Departure from Mexico

A slice of paradise on the Riviera Maya

It's time to say goodbye. After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Cancun International Airport for your flight out of Mexico. Safe travels!