- Wander Sumidero Canyon and soak in the solitude this hidden gem offers
- Learn traditional Mexican dishes and prepare them during a culinary workshop
- Discover the Maya temples of Palenque, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, and Uxmal
- Swim in water caverns and secluded lagoons (cenotes) that dot the landscape
|Day 1||Arrive in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Transfer to San Cristóbal via Sumidero Canyon||San Cristóbal|
|Day 2||Cooking Experience in Zinacantan, Flavors of San Cristóbal||San Cristóbal|
|Day 3||Free Day in San Cristóbal de las Casas||San Cristóbal|
|Day 4||Tziscao's Mountain Coffee Plantation, Rafting on Montebello Lake||San Cristóbal|
|Day 5||Transfer to Palenque via Agua Azul & Misol Ha Waterfalls||Palenque|
|Day 6||Discover the Palenque Archeological Site, Visit Roberto Barrios Waterfalls||Palenque|
|Day 7||Ancient Maya Cities of Yaxchilan & Bonampak, Transfer to Nahá||Nahá|
|Day 8||Nature Exploration at the Nahá Reserve, Nocturnal Bird Watching||Nahá|
|Day 9||Bow & Arrow Workshop, Clay Workshop, Transfer to Palenque||Palenque|
|Day 10||Visit Cenote Azul, Transfer to Campeche||Campeche|
|Day 11||Explore the Archaeological Site of Uxmal, Transfer to Merida||Merida|
|Day 12||City Tour of Merida: The White City||Merida|
|Day 13||Visit Chichén Itzá, Swim in Yokdzonot Cenote, Transfer to Valladolid||Valladolid|
|Day 14||Cultural & Natural Immersion in Yalcobá||Valladolid|
|Day 15||Transfer to Cancun, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Transfer to San Cristóbal via Sumidero Canyon
Welcome to Chiapas! Your local driver will pick you up at the airport and take you toward the Islet of Cahuaré embarkation point near Chiapa de Corzo, approximately a 25 minutes drive. Here, you will board a motorboat with other travelers to navigate along the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon, a natural formation whose geologic roots reach back approximately 136 million years. Its walls reach 2,624 ft (800 m) above the Grijalva River in the middle of lush vegetation.
Day 2: Cooking Experience in Zinacantan, Flavors of San Cristóbal de las Casas
On your quest for food, this adventure introduces you to the rhythms of local life as you feel the sun on your skin, smell the smoke in the air, and taste the traditional dishes of a charming local town. Begin with a walk to the Tzotzil community of Zinacantan, where you'll be welcomed into a local house to meet your hosts and look at the kitchen, where you'll later prepare the food. If you visit during the growing season, you'll take an hour's walk to a traditional cornfield, learning all about the ancient cultivation cycles known as milpa. Harvest the produce for today's meal, then return to the house to get cooking!
Day 3: Free Day in San Cristóbal de las CasasEnjoy a free day to explore this quiet town in the hills. Walking is the best way to get to know the true San Cristóbal, so take your time and enjoy getting lost in its narrow and colorful streets. From the lovely churches to the animated plazas, spend the day resting and learning about the regional culture.
The city is home to many churches, convents, and museums. Some suggested cultural sites to enjoy are the Cathedral, the ex-convent of Santo Domingo, and the Church of Guadalupe. You could also visit Lagrimas de la Selva, an artisan amber workshop, the Jade Museum, showcasing the typical dress of Sergio Castro, or the Na-Bolom Museum. Or, enjoy a delicious, aromatic coffee cup in one of the town's many coffee shops.
Day 4: Tziscao's Mountain Coffee Plantation, Rafting on Montebello Lake
Coffee lovers, today is for you. With your driver, head deeper into the southeast region of Chiapas to experience everything about the production of Cafe Tziscao's coffee, one of the best organic coffee exporters in the world. In this two-hour activity, you will learn how to make a coffee seedbed, plant it in the ground, and harvest it while enjoying a walk through the trails between the organic coffee fields.After lunch, you'll paddle on a traditional raft made of tied logs on one of the most iconic lakes of the Lagunas de Montebello National Park. You will spend about an hour surrounded by nature and tranquility as you learn about flora and fauna of this special place.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Transfer to Palenque via Agua Azul & Misol Ha Waterfalls
It's an early start today as you'll discover some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region on your way to Palenque. Your driver will take you on a scenic route toward your first visit of the day, the Agua Azul waterfalls. Marvel at the indigo color of the water, the bright green vegetation, and the breeze in the air. Next, visit the Misol-Ha waterfall, which cascades from 115 ft (35 m). Spend some time enjoying the refreshing water and taking photos as you soak in the peaceful atmosphere. You'll reach Palenque just in time to enjoy the sunset behind one of Mexico's most famous archaeological sites.
Day 6: Discover the Palenque Archeological Site, Visit Roberto Barrios Waterfalls
Explore the lesser-known archaeological area of Palenque today, where you can see how quickly the jungle can re-absorb an entire city. Once a center of civilization until the seventh century, the now-abandoned city was taken over by the forest until rediscovered in the early 1950s. Since then, the site has been recognized for its historical value and awarded a UNESCO designation. The ruins are one of Mexico's most interesting Maya sites, with plenty of artifacts that shed insight into its peoples' myths, rituals, beliefs, and lives.After lunch, head an hour outside the town of Palenque for a relaxing excursion at the Roberto Barrios Waterfalls. The falls are famed for their beautiful turquoise waters, which cast a refreshing spray into the surrounding air (perfect for cooling off!) Look around when you reach the falls—you might be able to spot fish in the clear water, monkeys in the trees, or even toucans, parrots, or motmots (clock birds) in the canopy above you. Spend a couple of hours enjoying the scenery, going for a refreshing swim, and relaxing by the water before heading back to town.
Day 7: Ancient Maya Cities of Yaxchilan & Bonampak, Transfer to Nahá
Venture out early for a day of exploring ancient ruins. You'll head to Frontera Corozal, a Chol Indigenous town three hours from Palenque. Here, you'll take a motorboat through the Usumacinta River (the longest in Central America) to the first Maya city: Yaxchilan, a place of green stones. This impressive archaeological site is in the middle of the jungle, nearly 2,000 years old. It became one of the most significant settlements on the Usumacinta's riverside. You'll visit the most iconic buildings of this archeological site and learn about the people that once lived here.
Day 8: Nature Exploration at the Nahá Reserve, Nocturnal Bird Watching
Head deep into the jungle today as a Lacandon guide accompanies you on a 2.5-hour tour through the remarkable Nahá Reserve. Listen as they share their knowledge of the different species of local flora and fauna, and take in the tranquility of Lake Nahá. You'll board a boat here before disembarking for a short jungle trek near the water, where, with some luck, you'll be able to spot a variety of local wildlife, including turtles and crocodiles.
The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax or take a swim. Gear up for this evening, when you set out with your local Lacandon guide to watch for nocturnal birds at sunset. You will have the opportunity to walk around your jungle lodge and listen to stories while trying to spot the many owls that inhabit this region.
Day 9: Bow & Arrow Workshop, Clay Workshop, Transfer to Palenque
Until fifty years ago, the Lacandon Maya were a nomadic tribe living in the deep jungle of Chiapas. In today's workshop, you will gain insight into their history and culture and discover how they used handmade arrows and bows for hunting and feeding their families. During the hour-long experience, learn how to turn a dry cane into a light and balanced arrow. You will feather the top, add the tip made with different stones, and finally tie it together to create your arrow. Once you're happy with your creation, it's time to test it out and demonstrate your archery skills!A little later, you'll participate in a clay workshop, a material that's been used since pre-Hispanic times to make utensils and model figures of gods. A Lacandon artist will guide you in using your skills and imagination to create a unique clay piece. Let your hands remember long-forgotten memories, and rediscover your creative and spiritual side. After the workshop, your driver will take you along the dirt roads that brought you here as you return to Palenque.
Day 10: Visit Cenote Azul, Transfer to Campeche
Brace yourself for stunning scenery as you transfer to the walled city of Campeche. Your driver will pick you up this morning and on the way, you'll stop for a fascinating visit to one of the most famous natural attractions of the Yucatán Peninsula. Cenotes, baptized by the Maya as dz'onot or "water caverns," are formed by the erosion of the region's limestone, creating countless unique and extraordinary swimming holes and sinkholes that dot the landscape.You will have plenty of free time to enjoy these natural wonders, diving into the stunning Cenote Azul or walking a trail that leads to two other scenic cenotes in the area, surrounded by incredible flora and fauna. If you're feeling adventurous, you can enjoy various activities, such as kayaking or admiring the view from a zip line located 278 feet (85 m) above. At the end of your visit, your driver will continue to Campeche, where you will spend the night.
Day 11: Explore the Archaeological Site of Uxmal, Transfer to Merida
Start today at the archaeological site of Uxmal, where your guide will tell you a little more about this impressive landmark. Meaning "thrice built" in Maya, the name refers to the site's crowning glory: the Pyramid of the Magician. Built atop the existing pyramids, legend has it that this monumental structure was constructed in a single night. However, this is very unlikely since it consists of several designs from different eras! The detail is incredible, and you'll appreciate the quality of Indigenous art as you discover intricate sculptures made with polished stones that form a perfect mosaic.Your driver will take you to Merida, located in the northwestern part of Yucatán, the state's capital. Once settled in at your hotel, you have the rest of the day free. An excellent place to start is Centro Histórico. Here, you will find the traditional barrios (neighborhoods) and markets, exquisite homes, several museums, and historical monuments, which are ideal for exploring in the afternoon. Another great option is the old neighborhood of Santa Lucía — one of Centro Histórico's most popular areas, with a past that's full of history.
Day 12: City Tour of Merida: The White CitySpend some time exploring the historic city center of Merida, also known as the White City. Founded on top of what was once the Maya city of Ichcaanzihó (better known as T'Hó), today, Merida is a modern metropolis that has developed a specific cultural identity due to its isolation from the rest of Mexico. Learn about the city's Indigenous roots as well as its colonial history, as you walk through Merida. You'll see examples of colonial architecture, including the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace, and stroll along the city's main avenue of Paseo Montejo.
Day 13: Visit Chichén Itzá, Swim in Yokdzonot Cenote, Transfer to Valladolid
Meet your local guide to explore the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this pre-Columbian Maya city was once the most revered center of worship and pilgrimage in the Yucatán Peninsula. Its iconic attraction is the stepped pyramid of Kukulkán (El Castillo), built in honor of the feathered serpent god, an important deity to the Maya. Let your imagination run wild as you learn about the life of the Maya through the architecture, accompanied by your guide's fascinating stories.Afterward, discover how a group of women from the community of Yokdzonot transformed the Maya cenote of their village into a unique eco-tourism site. Cenotes were the main water supply in the middle of the jungle in ancient times and a vital part of developing early cities and settlements. This quiet cenote is not as frequented by tourists, so as you swim, experience the magic of these turquoise waters that unite mind, body, and soul. After swimming, you'll have lunch before your driver takes you to Valladolid.
Day 14: Cultural & Natural Immersion in Yalcobá
Visit the Maya community of Yalcobá in Valladolid, Yucatán, and enjoy a day of cultural immersion. Take a guided tour through farms using the traditional milpa system to grow maize, squash, and beans before heading to the forest. Explore caves and swim in cenotes (underground freshwater lagoons). Once you return to town, visit the handicrafts workshop, where artisans create jewelry out of bull horns and weave intricate hammocks. Maya cuisine is another of the many treasures you'll find in this town. Don't miss participating in a delicious gastronomic workshop to learn about the region's food.
Day 15: Transfer to Cancun & Depart
After a free morning in Valladolid, your trip comes to a close as your driver takes you to the Cancun Airport to catch your departing flight. Buen viaje!
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