Immerse yourself in culture and history in a 13 day journey through the modern and ancient marvels of southern Mexico.
Begin your Mexican journey with two nights in cosmopolitan Playa del Carmen with its perfect combination of stunning tropical beaches and modern dining and shopping opportunities on the famous 5th Avenue. Discover the underwater world on the second largest coral reef in the world, discover delicious international cuisine and acclimatise to beautiful Mexico. Travel south to magical Laguna Bacalar where you can immerse yourself in nature for a night just as the ancient Mayans did. Palenque provides the backdrop for two nights; explore the impressive jungle location of Palenque ruins and the marvel at the turquoise waters of Agua Azul cascades winding through the mountainous landscape. Return to the flat lands of the Yucatan peninsula to visit the colourful city of Campeche with its bright colonial houses protected by the ancient city walls, originally built to keep pirates out of this important port. Move north to Merida, the “white city” and capital of Yucatan, home to culture and traditions spanning thousands of years of history. A night in Chichen Itza home to one of the modern wonders of the world will be your stepping stone to three final nights of relaxation and immersion in a true tropical paradise, Holbox Island.
As you step out of the terminal at Cancun International Airport into the warmth of the Mexican sun your adventure begins. You will be greeted by our transport team and taken directly to your hotel close to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean in downtown Playa. You have a free afternoon / evening to dip your toes in the white sands and swim in the blue Caribbean or explore the famous 5th Avenue and choose from the delicious menus on offer in multicultural Playa.
Today you have a free day to explore and enjoy all that bustling Playa del Carmen has to offer… you can relax on the white sandy beaches, shop til you drop and choose from the many restaurants offering international cuisine on the famous 5th Avenue or take an optional excursion to see a fresh water underground cave system or get up close and personal with the reef dwelling tropical fish.
This morning you will pick up your hire car – a comfortable C class saloon is ideal for this route. The road system is of good quality and easy to navigate. Your destination is your lakeside hotel in Bacalar, however on the way you can stop at the beautiful beachside ruins of ancient Tulum and the traditional Mayan town of Felipe Carillo Puerto where the central market offers authentic local Yucatan food at great prices..
Your day will start before the sunrise as you prepare for a kayak adventure with a fresh cup of coffee and safety briefing. Your guide will lead you across the lake through the network of mangroves – home to many different bird species making the most of this peaceful haven where the only sound to be heard is your oars gently splashing in the clear fresh waters. Sit and enjoy the sunrise over the rippling water before heading back to the hotel for a well-deserved breakfast.
After breakfast you will begin your journey to Palenque… a drive of between 6 and 7 hours through the state of Campeche and mountainous Chiapas.. enjoy the views along the way.
The ruins of ancient Palenque await you this morning. Make the most of your visit: The gates open at 8am and we highly recommend arriving early to enjoy the morning birdsong and the jungle mist rising over these impressive Mayan temples. Hire a local guide to walk you through the city, explaining how life would have been for the ancient Mayan people. Visit the museum on site which displays many of the artefacts found here and immerse yourself in the culture of Palenque.
Today you will travel back down the mountains of Chiapas to the rolling land of the state of Campeche and its colourful capital city, Campeche. Along the way you can stop at Champoton, a small city south of Campeche …sample some of its famous seafood dishes and take a walk on the beach or a refreshing swim.
After breakfast in your hotel, begin your short journey to Merida in the state of Yucatan. On the way you can explore the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal, where the well-preserved temples give a good idea of how life was for the original inhabitants. Climb the large pyramid (Adivino) known as the Pyramid of the Magician with its unusual oval shape and great views over the surrounding jungle. Enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants before continuing to busy Merida. Enjoy an evening walk around the centre of this ancient city and experience the street theatre and culture of this historic place.
Your day tour today will take to back to the last century and the life of the henequen workers of Yucatan. Henequen was the richest natural resource of the area and created huge wealth for the Hacienda owners. Today you can explore the remains of some of these haciendas travelling in the traditional horse-drawn trucks and enjoy a refreshing swim in the surrounding cenotes which for part of a huge underground network of fresh water. You will stop for lunch (not included) before returning to your hotel to enjoy another evening experiencing the flavours of this vibrant city.
From Bustling Merida, you will drive the short distance to iconic Chichen Itza where you will have time to settle in to your hotel and explore the surrounding area – perhaps discover the underground world in the caves of Balankanche a short taxi ride away or relax and reflect on the journey so far.
We recommend making an early start today to be at the gates when the archaeological zone opens at 8am… at this time there is more chance to enjoy the peace and quiet of the magical temples and explore the many buildings before the full heat Mexican sun. After checking out of your hotel, your journey takes you towards beautiful Holbox, a true paradise island where you will spend 3 days relaxing before heading home.
Today will you be picked up from your hotel for a boat trip around this paradise island. You will visit a bird sanctuary, known as Bird Island, a fresh water swimming hole and finally to Passion Island with its virgin beaches and clear blue waters. Return to the hotel to relax and enjoy the sound of palm trees swaying in the breeze as you relax.
Day 12 is a free day to relax and enjoy your island paradise to the maximum… either in a hammock under the palm trees or on a rented golf buggy exploring this tiny tropical treasure.
Enjoy your breakfast and some beach or pool time before catching a golf buggy taxi to the ferry dock to begin your journey home. The ferry will take you to nearby Chiquila where you can collect your hire car and drive the two to three hours to Cancun Airport. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the car drop off and airline check in.