Get a full dose of sun and sea while learning about Mexico's rich Mayan history as you travel from the beaches of Tulum to the wonders of Chichén Itzá pyramid. This journey through a few regions of Mexico will give you ample time to relax while experiencing the country's mystical, handicraft, and culinary traditions, and seeing its significant architectural monuments.

Highlights

  • Marvel at the natural wonders of Sumidero Canyon
  • Explore the mystical villages of San Cristobal de las Casas
  • Gaze at Olmec sculptures in Villahermosa
  • Be awestruck by the pyramid of Chichén Itzá
  • Relax on the beaches of Tulum and Cancun

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Sumidero Canyon and Chiapa del Corzo San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 2 Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 3 Villahermosa Villahermosa
Day 4 Agua Azul waterfalls and Palenque Palenque
Day 5 Campeche Campeche
Day 6 Yucatan Peninsula, Kabah and Uxmal Merida
Day 7 Merida Merida
Day 8 Chichen Itza to Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
Day 9 Tulum, Coba, and Cancun Cancun
Days 10-11 Cancun Cancun

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Sumidero Canyon and Chiapa del Corzo

Sumidero Canyon, Mexico
Sumidero Canyon, Mexico

After you arrive at Tuxtla Gutierrez airport, you'll begin your exploration of Chiapas by heading to Sumidero Canyon, where you can admire its impressive biodiversity and natural beauty by boat. You'll then head south to the town of Chiapa de Corzo, with its beautiful main plaza. After a day of exploring, you'll make your way to San Cristobal de las Casas, where you'll stay for the evening.

Day 2: Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula

Embroidery in Zinacantan, Mexico
Embroidery in Zinacantan, Mexico

Your explorations today will teach you about Mayan traditions, as you travel west from San Cristobal de las Casas, to Zinacantan — a Tzotzil Mayan town that is famous for its embroidery, gastronomy, and crafts. After lunch, you'll then visit nearby San Juan Chamula, which is known for its mix of Catholic mysticism and indigenous traditions. You'll tour the church of San Juan Bautista, where you will learn more about how these cultures are combined.

Day 3: Villahermosa

La Venta park, Villahermosa, Mexico
La Venta park, Villahermosa, Mexico

It's an early start, as you depart for Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco. You'll learn more about the city with a walking tour and in the afternoon, you'll visit its La Venta park and museum, to learn about Olmec culture and admire its ancient artworks and artifacts.

Day 4: Agua Azul waterfalls and Palenque

Agua Azul waterfalls, Palenque, Mexico
Agua Azul waterfalls, Palenque, Mexico

Your adventure continues 89 miles (144 km) east to the Agua Azul waterfalls near Palenque. After taking time to soak up their clear blue springs and soothing properties, you'll travel to the nearby archaeological wonder of Palenque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can learn more about Mayan society.

Day 5: Campeche

Campeche, Mexico
Campeche, Mexico

It's an adventure traveling 230 miles (371 km) north to the city of Campeche. There, you'll have a city tour where you'll learn about its rich heritage that spans centuries. You'll visit its two hilltop fortresses that date back to colonial times and pirate ships, and see significant Mayan artifacts in its museums.

Day 6: Yucatan Peninsula, Kabah and Uxmal

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Next, you'll marvel at the beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula, where you'll visit Uxmal, one of the largest and best-preserved archeological sites from the Classical Puuc period. Travel back in time as you walk among its well-conserved pyramids and plazas. After your visit, you'll continue to Kabah, another impressive archaeological site, where you can see buildings with detailed faces of the ancient Mayan Water God, Chaac. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel in Mérida.

Day 7: Merida

Merida, Mexico
Merida, Mexico

Discover the exciting city of Merida, which has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. You'll learn more about its main sights like its Montejo Avenue, Plaza de la Independencia, Mérida Cathedral, limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, and European architectural influences.

Day 8: Chichen Itza to Playa del Carmen

Chichen Itza, Mexico
Chichen Itza, Mexico

It's almost time for the beach, as you head for Playa del Carmen. Along the way, you'll stop in  Chichen Itza, an archaeological site which was a winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World campaign, for its Kukulkan pyramid, observatory, and several of its other monuments.

After a visit to learn about its history, you'll also discover Ik Kil cenote (or sinkhole) — a stunning example of the 6,000-plus sinkholes in the Yucatan 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 the perfect habitat for exotic birds.

Day 9: Tulum, Coba, and Cancun

Tulum, Mexico
Tulum, Mexico

Your journey into the wonders of Mexico continues in Tulum — one of the most significant towns to learn about Mayan culture. You'll explore the city's five access points, and two observation towers, from which the Mayas used to manage control over the entire city. Enjoy an ideal mix of beach and culture as you next travel to Coba, an ancient city with an archaeological site in the middle of the jungle.

Days 10-11: Cancun

Cancun, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico

It's time to soak up the ocean and waves in Cancun where there are 14 miles (22 km) of beach to enjoy. The popular resort town has numerous options no matter if you want to lounge on the sand, go shopping, or eat authentic Mexican food.

Map

Map of Mayan Discovery:  Sumidero Canyon, Chichén Itzá, Tulum, and Cancun - 11 days
Map of Mayan Discovery: Sumidero Canyon, Chichén Itzá, Tulum, and Cancun - 11 days