- Explore Valladolid's historic center on a walking tour
- Relax and swim in lesser-visited, beautiful Yokdzonot Cenote
- Float amid mangroves and wildlife in Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
- Learn to prepare a traditional meal with a local chef in Tulum
|Arrive in Cancún, Drive to Valladolid, Walking Tour
|Ek' Balam Archaeological Site Tour, Bike to & Swim in a Cenote
|Morning Visit to Chichén Itzá, Afternoon Yokdzonot Cenote Experience
|Transfer to Tulum, Cooking Class with a Local Chef
|Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Experience
|Morning Tour of Tulum, Afternoon Jungle Adventure
Day 1: Arrive in Cancún, Drive to Valladolid, Walking Tour
Welcome to Mexico! Fly into Cancún, pick up your rental car, and then drive the two hours to Valladolid. You'll pass through the jungle and a few Yucatecan villages. When you arrive, you'll have time to drop off your things at your hotel before joining a walking tour through the heart of Valladolid's historic center.
Founded in 1543 and invaded several times by the Spanish, this city was the site of major confrontations between the Maya and the Conquistadores. Today, Valladolid is a charming city known for its hospitality, cenotes (underground pools), food, and beautiful architecture. During the tour, you'll visit the Ex Convento San Bernardino de Siena, the Cathedral, and the beautiful Calzada de Los Frailes, among other sites.
Day 2: Ek' Balam Archaeological Site Tour, Bike to & Swim in a Cenote
Your day of sightseeing starts with a visit to the archaeological site of Ek' Balam, or "black jaguar," which refers to the MMayaking who constructed it. The site peaked during the Late Classic Period (600-900 CE); when the Mayas abandoned it, the area became surrounded by the dense low-lying jungle typical of the Yucatán Peninsula. The Ek' Balam pyramids were hidden for hundreds of years until they were discovered by archaeologists and adventurers who saw a group of hills with trees and brush growing out of them.
After the visit, you'll be outfitted with a bike to ride 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to arrive at a beautiful cenote. Once there, enjoy your time in nature as you relax and refresh with plenty of swimming. You'll also choose between various lunch options for some tasty regional food.
Day 3: Morning Visit to Chichén Itzá, Afternoon Yokdzonot Cenote Experience
Today you'll meet your guide to explore the archaeological site of the famous 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 most iconic attraction is the stepped pyramid of Kukulkán (El Castillo), built in honor of the feathered serpent god, an important deity to the Maya.
Later, immerse yourself in the peaceful Yokdzonot Cenote. 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. They were also considered symbolic spaces for rain, life, death, rebirth, and fertility rituals and served a sacred function for the Maya. Tourists do not frequently visit this quiet cenote; its peaceful waters have the perfect temperature to feel refreshed from the heat. After a cooling swim, you'll sit for a delicious lunch.
Day 4: Drive to Tulum, Cooking Class with a Local Chef
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Drive under two hours from Valladolid to the town of Tulum today. Here, you'll enjoy a very authentic cooking class with a local chef who's opened her home to cook in her kitchen. Start your lessons with a cultural introduction to Mexico's complex culinary history. Learn about Mesoamerican cultures, their traditions, and their main ingredients, as well as the colonial, independence, and revolutionary periods and their influence on Mexico's traditional cooking.
You'll next experience preparing and cooking a complete authentic Mexican meal, of which many of the dishes you'll prepare are the chef's personal family recipes. After, sit down with your group for lunch of your own making paired with a cup of agua de Jamaica (hibiscus tea), cold beer, and mezcal.
Day 5: Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Experience
Today you'll visit the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, which in Mayan means "place where the sky is born." You'll relive the ancient canal experience, a recreation of a Maya trade route that consisted of arriving from the Caribbean Sea through a system of lagoons connected by canals through natural waters. Your shared transportation will pick you up to take you to the Muyil Community Center, where you'll join a group of travelers to start the tour with your guide.
Transfer to the Muyil dock to board a boat and navigate through the reserve, visiting the Muyil and Chunyaxche lagoons until you reach the Xlapac dock. Here you'll immerse yourself in nature as you float slowly through the canals amid mangroves and listen to the gentle sounds of birds and other animals. Afterward, visit the Capelchén Lagoon, where you can observe manatees and crocodiles in their natural habitat. Finally, explore the coast of Boca Paila Beach before returning to Muyil for lunch.
Day 6: Morning Tour of Tulum, Afternoon Jungle Adventure
Discover the fascinating history of the Maya at the ruins of Tulum, then head into the nearby tropical jungle to zipline and explore cenotes, lagoons, and the native culture before sitting down for a traditional Maya lunch.
In the morning, an expert guide will lead you through the Tulum ruins with tales of calendars, ceremonies, and Spanish invaders before the crowds arrive. In the early afternoon, prepare for a visit to Parque Tankah, an adventure park featuring cenotes, ziplines, lagoons, snorkeling, canoes, and cliff jumps. Wander through the jungle, looking out for tropical wildlife, as you try various park activities.