- Relax and sink into a slower pace of life in Mexico
- Explore the Tulum archaeological site
- Go sailing on the Bacalar Lagoon
- See how gum is traditionally made from the gum tree
- Experience sunrise at Chichén Itzá
|Day 1||Arrive in Cancún, Pick Up Rental Car & Drive to Tulum||Tulum|
|Day 2||Cenotes of Chemuyil, Tulum Archeological Site||Tulum|
|Day 3||Float in the Muyil Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Drive to Bacalar||Bacalar|
|Day 4||Sailing Tour in the Bacalar Lagoon||Bacalar|
|Day 5||Mystical Energy Bonfire Under the Ya'ax ché, Drive to Chunhuhub||Chunhuhub|
|Day 6||Great Gum Tree Tour in Chunhuhub, Drive to Uxmal||Uxmal|
|Day 7||Uxmal Archaeological Site & Mun Ha Community Eco-Tour, Drive to Mérida||Mérida|
|Day 8||Walking Tour of Mérida: The White City||Mérida|
|Day 9||Explore Yellow Izamal, Swim the Yokdzonot Cenote, Drive to Chichén Itzá||Chichen Itza|
|Day 10||Sunrise at Chichén Itzá, Walking Tour of Valladolid, Drive to Holbox||Holbox|
|Day 11-12||Free Days on Holbox Island||Holbox|
|Day 13||Transfer to Puerto Morelos||Puerto Morelos|
|Day 14||Drive to Cancún, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Cancún, Pick Up Rental Car & Drive to TulumWelcome to the Mexican Caribbean! Your local host will welcome you and help you to pick up your rental car. From here, you'll head to the town of Tulum—a two-hour drive from the airport.
Day 2: Cenotes of Chemuyil, Tulum Archeological Site
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 and tell you more about the different places you'll visit today. You'll spend the day learning about the project, which was initiated by five 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'll be assigned a bicycle and start cycling through the charming town of Chemuyil. There you'll continue your bike tour to visit three different cenotes of different shapes and sizes. You'll 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'll go to an open cenote where, with some luck, you'll be able to see some of the endemic birds of the Yucatán Peninsula. Finally, you'll 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'll say goodbye to the young people of the community and head back to town.
In the afternoon, you'll visit the ruins of Tulum, one of the most famous archaeological sites in Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend the day exploring the area with your guide, who will explain why these ruins 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 Maya 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 and water to round out your visit.
Day 3: Float in the Muyil Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Drive to Bacalar
Today you'll visit the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, which in Maya 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'll 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'll 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'll 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'll be welcomed back with a traditional meal to complete the excursion. After, drive from Tulum to Bacalar.
Day 4: Sailing Tour in the Bacalar Lagoon
Bacalar, or Bakhalal in Maya (meaning "near or surrounded by reeds"), is known for its seven-colored lagoon, which you'll get to see on this boat tour. Sailing on these boats is a great alternative to motorboats since they do not pollute the water, helping to preserve the natural beauty of the place.
You'll begin this approximately four-hour excursion by visiting the pirates' channel, where you'll have the opportunity to swim and snorkel. For hundreds of years, it has been the territory of travelers and treasure hunters. It is said that the Mayas built this channel for commercial purposes and also to connect the people of the South with those of the North. As a result, pirate attacks became very frequent, hence its name.
Continue navigating to the Cenote de la Bruja, also called "black cenote," where you can dive into the waters and enjoy the colors of the different depths. Finally, pay a visit to the Isla de Los Pájaros, a place locally declared as a sanctuary, where you can go bird watching and enjoy the different shades of blue of the Bacalar lagoon.
Day 5: Mystical Energy Bonfire Under the Ya'ax ché, Drive to Chunhuhub
This activity takes place in the community of Chuhunhub, where your local guide will meet you. In this mystical experience, you'll be able to connect with the sacred tree of the local community, recharge your energy and receive purification from the grandparents of the village. They have, according to popular belief, the ability to cure illnesses with herbs.
You'll listen to the stories that the wisest of the community will share with you while enjoying a sacred drink, which only the high-level (gods) could make. It will be an experience of just over an hour full of mysticism and cultural immersion.
Day 6: Great Gum Tree Tour in Chunhuhub, Drive to Uxmal
You'll start the tour through the lush jungle with the grandfather and local guide of the community of Chunhuhub.
Gradually, you'll immerse yourself in the dense Maya jungle, where you'll discover how the ancestors found their food, water, and shelter until you reach an area of lush chicozapote trees over 50 years old, the tree from which chicle (gum) is extracted. You'll learn about the process of obtaining the chicle from the tree. The extraction happens during the rainy season, so if it is the dry season, you'll see a demonstration of the activity. In both cases, you'll learn how the Mayans used the tools given to them by Mother Earth to carry out all these processes in their daily life.
You'll also have the opportunity to taste the organic gum produced by the grandparents of the community. When it is time, you'll continue to Uxmal.
Day 7: Uxmal Archaeological Site & Mun Ha Community Eco-Tour, Drive to Mérida
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Meet your guide at the archaeological site of Uxmal, who will tell you a little more about these impressive pyramids. The name Uxmal means "thrice built" in Maya. This name refers to the construction of its tallest structure: the Pyramid of the Magician, which was built on top of the existing pyramids. Legend has it that the Pyramid of the Magician was built in a single night. However, this is very unlikely since it consists of several structures from different eras. One possible theory is that only the last and smallest structure at the top was built in one night, and it then became legend.
This city stands out for its monumentality and fineness in its architecture and decorative art. It is perhaps the most representative city of the Puuc style, with low, horizontal palaces built around patios. The decoration is incredible, as you can appreciate the quality of Indigenous art with detailed sculptures made with polished stones that form a perfect mosaic. During its heyday, the city was one of the largest in Mesoamerica: at its peak, Uxmal was home to some 20,000 Maya.
You'll meet your guide in the community of Muná for an ecological tour through the jungle and a visit to a lookout point. This community project combines nature conservation and traditional Maya culture. You'll start with a view from the lookout point, where you are sure to get spectacular photos. Afterward, you'll enter the jungle and feel how it embraces you little by little.
At the end of the trail, you'll enter the grotto of the Maya aluxes. According to Maya mythology, these beings inhabit the jungle, filling these territories with legends and magic. It is believed that Maya sorcerers and wise men made aluxes figures, which at night came to life to take care of the owner's property, the animals, and the jungle itself. The guides will also tell you the legend of Xtabay and the meaning of Xibalba, the underworld. You'll continue to Mérida.
Day 8: Walking Tour of Mérida: The White CitySpend some time exploring the historic city center of Mérida, also known as the White City. Founded on top of what was once the Maya city of Ichcaanzihó (better known as T'Hó), today, Mérida is a modern city 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 Mérida. You'll see examples of colonial architecture, including the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace, and stroll along the city's main avenue: Paseo Montejo.
Day 9: Explore Yellow Izamal, Swim the Yokdzonot Cenote, Drive to Chichén Itzá
Spend the day visiting Izamal, an iconic example of colonial architecture. Just about all the buildings are painted an egg-yolk yellow, and cobblestone streets and colonial lamp posts complete the scenery. The Spaniards conquered the village, and it was the monks, in their eagerness to convert the Maya to Catholicism, that gave the city its religious distinction. An important sight in Izamal is the Franciscan Convent San Antoni de Padua, which was built from and over one of the Maya pyramids. Make sure to make time for plenty of food stops: Izamal is renowned for its delicious Yucatecan cuisine.
In 2005, a group of women from the rural community of Yokdzonot, Yucatan organized to transform the Maya cenote of their village into a unique eco-tourism site. Today, experience how the earth beats in turquoise waters that unite mind, body, and soul as you swim. Cenotes were the main water supply in the middle of the Maya jungle, a reason to develop cities and settlements. They were also considered symbolic spaces for the rituals of rain, life, death, rebirth, and fertility and served a sacred function for the Maya. A lesser-frequented site, this cenote is not as crowded as others.
Day 10: Sunrise at Chichén Itzá, Walking Tour of Valladolid, Transfer to Holbox
Today you'll get up early at 5:30 am to wait for the sunrise at one of the 7 Wonders of the World, the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá. This hour is incredibly special since the site is practically alone, and you can enjoy it without the heat of the day. Additionally, the light of the sunrise is such an impressive site full of history, giving it a special touch.
This pre-Hispanic city was the most outstanding capital of the Maya area at the end of the Postclassic period. When the Spanish arrived, it was the most revered center of worship and pilgrimage in the Yucatán Peninsula. Your local guide will tell you the history of this place, from the Pyramid of Kukulkan (El Castillo) to buildings and monuments of great importance, such as the Chacmools, the Temple of the Warriors, the Hall of a Thousand Columns, and the Ball Game Field, to name a few.
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'll visit (among others) the Ex Convento San Bernadino de Siena, the Cathedral, and the beautiful Calzada de Los Frailes.
After, drive to Chiquilá, leaving the car behind and ferrying to Holbox, where cars are not permitted.
Days 11-12: Free Days on Holbox Island
The next two days are yours to explore independently. 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'll 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 cafés.
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 13: Transfer to Puerto MorelosSpend one last morning in Holbox before you say hasta luego to this paradise. Take a ferry back to Chiquilá, pick up your rental car, and drive to the beach town of Puerto Morelos.
Day 14: Drive to Cancún, Depart
Today is your last morning in this paradise. This part of Mexico is famed for its spectacular sunrises, so rise early on your last day to take in the magnificent show.Afterward, you'll have a free morning to rest. At the scheduled time, drive to Cancún's airport to drop off your rental car and catch your flight home.