This 10-day itinerary starts and ends in Cancun. In between, you'll enjoy a journey through the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula, learning about Mayan history at Chichén Itzá, visiting colorful seaside villages, relaxing on the beach, snorkeling around the coral reef off Puerto Morelos, and taking a boat to Isla Holbox for a few days away from civilization.

Highlights

  • Explore a colorful underwater world while snorkeling in Puerto Morelos
  • Discover exotic flora and fauna at Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve
  • Tour Chichén Itzá, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World
  • Relax on the beaches of Holbox Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Bienvenidos a México - Puerto Morelos Puerto Morelos
Day 2 Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos Puerto Morelos
Day 3 Nuevo Xcan & subterranean river Valladolid
Day 4 Chichén Itzá & Yokdzonot Cenote Valladolid
Day 5 Izamal & Mérida Valladolid
Day 6 Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve Valladolid
Day 7 Holbox Island  Holbox
Days 8-9 Paradise on Holbox Holbox
Day 10 International departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Bienvenidos a México - Puerto Morelos

A view of Cancun from the water
A view of Cancun from the water

Welcome to the warm Mexican Caribbean! On your arrival at Cancun’s airport, a driver will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel in Puerto Morelos. After checking into your hotel, you will be free to rest from your flight, take a stroll on the beach, and have dinner on your own.

Day 2: Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos

A boat transports passengers to the coral reef  in Puerto Morelos
A boat transports passengers to the coral reef

 

Today, after breakfast, you will have the opportunity to snorkel off the coast of Puerto Morelos. Discover the beautiful world that lies beneath the surface of the water: you'll see many colorful corals and fishes in their natural habitat. If you're lucky, you might even see turtles and rays.

At the end of the snorkeling session, visit a nearby village that sits on a wonderful beach. Feast on fresh seafood before heading back to your hotel to relax.  

Day 3: Nuevo Xcan & subterranean river 

A subterranean river in the Yucatán
A subterranean river in the Yucatán

After breakfast, visit the community of Nuevo Xcan for a swim in a subterranean river called Xibalba and a cenote called Tzeldzonot. At the end of the activity, your guide will invite you to his house to share a traditional Mayan meal. After lunch, head to the colonial city of Valladolid.

Two important moments of Mexico’s history happened in Valladolid: The Caste War of Yucatan in 1847 and the Rebellion of Valladolid in 1910. Valladolid is nicknamed the “Sultan of the East” due to the beauty of its colonial buildings and its strategic location. You'll spend the night in a hotel in town.

Day 4: Chichén Itzá & Yokdzonot Cenote

Archaeological site of Chichen Itza
The wonder of Chichén Itzá

After an early breakfast, meet your local guide and head west to the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. This pre-Hispanic city was once the most venerated center of worship and pilgrimage of the Yucatán Peninsula. 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— the Temple of the Warriors, the Hall of the Thousand Columns, and the ball courts, to name just a few.

After exploring the sprawling complex, travel the short distance to the lesser-known Yokdzonot Cenote. The Yucatán Peninsula is a porous limestone shelf with no visible rivers: all of its freshwater rivers are underground. A key feature along the rivers are cenotes—water-filled pits or sinkholes—once the only source of freshwater in the jungle. They were therefore sacred to the Mayans, and they also represented the entrance to the underworld.  Enjoy a refreshing swim in the cenote before continuing along the journey.

Day 5: Izamal & Mérida

The "Yellow City" of Izamal

Today, after breakfast, you will explore Mérida, a beautiful colonial city that developed a strong cultural and political identity due to its isolation from the rest of the country. The city is a symbol of the Mayan legacy, as you will discover during your tour. You'll learn about religious history, specifically the pre-Hispanic and Christian elements that run through Mayan culture, and visit the cathedral, the main square, and the government hall, filled with incredible paintings.

Then, you will head to the "Yellow City" of Izamal. This small colonial city, built in the middle of the 16th century on the ruins of a Mayan city, is also known as the “City of the Three Cultures” due to its combination of influences from a pre-Hispanic era, a colonial era, and today’s contemporary time. Its most important building is the Convento de San Antonio, a Franciscan convent built over the Mayan shrine, Pap Hol Chac. 

Day 6: Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

Flamingos at Río Lagartos
Flamingos at Río Lagartos

Go on a morning tour to Rio Lagartos, a charming village on the Yucatán Peninsula. The Río Lagartos protected reserve is a wetlands area home of animals like flamingos, crocodiles, sea turtles, jaguars, and all kinds of sea birds. Explore this beautiful area by boat.

Day 7: Isla Holbox

Holbox Island
Sun, sand, and sea on Holbox Island

In the morning, you will travel to the last destination on your trip: Isla Holbox (Holbox Island). You'll catch a ferry to this paradise island, then check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day relaxing. To preserve the beauty of the island, few motor vehicles are allowed: revel in the peace and quiet as you swim, stroll, sunbathe, and sleep.

Days 8-9: Paradise on Holbox Island

Holbox Island
Taking it easy on Holbox Island

Sleep in and take it easy: you have two days to relax on the island.  Enjoy the spectacular color of the sea, the unpaved streets, and incredibly beautiful sunsets. Rent a bike or a golf cart to get around, or just stay put in a hammock that swings in the breeze. Dine on fresh seafood and make a toast on the last night: it's the perfect ending to a perfect trip.

Day 10: International departure

Catch the ferry from Isla Holbox and transfer to Cancun International Airport to make your connection home. Have a great flight!

Map

Map of Treasures of the Yucatan Peninsula with Beach Stay - 10 Days
Map of Treasures of the Yucatan Peninsula with Beach Stay - 10 Days