Discover the true wealth of the Mayan Riviera, enjoying perfect white sand beaches, taking a dip in cenotes, and learning of Mayan heritage sites. As well as exploring beautiful colonial cities, you will earn how to make tortillas by hand, weave hammocks, enjoy an embroidery workshop and purification ritual, and go on a jungle trek with Mayan communities. Your adventure is completed floating in the canals of Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve and on the wonderful beaches of ancient Tulum. The experience can be enjoyed as a self-guided car hire tour or with transport and driver, as preferred.
Day 1: Cancun - Puerto Morelos
Arrival at the international airport of Cancun, where your local hostess will be waiting for you to go together to the car rental agency to pick up your car (or guide, as preferred). You will be provided with a map and a mobile phone to use during this travel journey. Once you have your car, you can head towards Puerto Morelos, a charming little town. very close to the airport, approx 20 minutes drive.
Day 2: Puerto Morelos – Mayan Cooperative Ek Balam – Valladolid
After breakfast, you will head towards the Mayan community of Ek Balam (2h, 15min). At the main gate of the archaelogical site, you can take bicycles (or a Taxibike, depending on what you have booked) and ride a 1.5-mile Sacbe (Sacbe means “Camino Blanco” in the Mayan language) to reach the Xcanché cenote. Once at the cenote, you can cool off and take a dip. In the area they have some options to taste the regional food offered by the members of the cooperative (not included in the price). After this, you will head towards the town, 5 minutes by car, where a guide will be waiting to take you on a community walk, in which you will visit three homes to see the daily life of the Mayan families. You will learn how to make tortillas by hand, as well as weaving hammocks. Finally, you will participate in an embroidery workshop. When you have finished, you can take your car to the colonial city of Valladolid, 30 min away. Check-in at your hotel and free night to walk through this beautiful city.
Day 3: Valladolid - Izamal
You will be able to see Valladolid in the daylight, and perhaps enter some of its colonial temples, if they were closed yesterday. After this, you will continue the route to the town of Izamal, known as the “Hill City” because it has in its urban zone and several archaeological sites located on the hill sides. It is a remarkable site of the ancient Mayan civilisation. Free evening to explore this beautiful yellow town.
Day 4: Izamal – Mérida - Uxmal
After breakfast, you will drive one hour to the white city of Mérida where you will meet your local guide for a tour of the city centre. Mérida developed a very strong cultural and political identity, due to its isolation from the rest of the country. The city is a symbol of the Mayan legacy, something that you can discover during this guided cultural tour, where you will visit the local market, Lucas de Gálvez, known for its endemic food products, very typical of traditional gastronomy. Here you will be able to taste exotic fruits and Mayan dishes with different types of corn tortilla. You will also be able to witness the particular religious life, discovering the pre-hispanic and Christian syncretism that characterises the Mayan culture. In addition, you will discover icons such as the cathedral, the main square, the government hall and its incredible paintings, which tells the history of the city, as well as other interesting buildings. When finished, you will head towards Uxmal, 1 hour away, to rest at the hotel.
Day 5: Muná Chac Nah – Uxmal
In the morning you will head to the beautiful archaeological site of Uxmal, one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mayan culture. Here, you will have a guided tour of the area to arrive at the Mirador Muná Chac-Nah, a beautiful project that preserves local biodiversity and culture. You will be invited to participate in a jícara engraving workshop and visit their craft workshop and ecological museum. When finished, you will head towards the ecological centre of Mun-Ha to taste a delicious regional food. Time to explore the area and return to your hotel to rest.
Day 6: Uxmal – Chunhuhub
After breakfast, you will drive to a Mayan cooperative located in the village of Chunhuhub, approximately 3.5 hours away. The hospitality of the members of this ecotourism centre will make you feel at home. Upon arrival, you will visit their facilities to then participate in the experience of being in a traditional Mayan house, discovering how the ancient Mayans lived. You will have time to have lunch and rest or explore the area in the afternoon. Around 7:00 pm, you will set out to discover the Yu’um Lu’um trail. Before beginning the trail, a purification ritual is carried out to allow you enter the jungle, guided by torches and your local guide. You will reach a meeting point on the path, where your hosts will share stories and legends with you, while enjoying a typical drink of the region called Balché (only for adults, as it contains alcohol). Return to the ecotourism centre for dinner.
Day 7: Chunhuhub - Bacalar
The season of chewing gum coincides with the rainy season, so the ideal months for this activity are from May to November. Out of these, you will see a demonstration of how the chewing gum is extracted. Today you will get up very early to take an initial light breakfast (usually fruit) at 7am, to then head into the jungle to see the interesting process of extracting the chewing gum resin from the tree. On the way you will learn about medicinal plants and the interesting biodiversity of this mid jungle. When you return from your walk, you will have a full breakfast at the ecotourism centre. Time to relax for a bit to hit the road again! Today you are heading to the famous and incredible Bacalar lagoon. Check-in at your hotel in Bacalar and free afternoon.
Day 8: Bacalar Lagoon
The Bacalar Lagoon is famous for its seven colours and fresh water, always with warm temperature. You will be enjoy this wonder of the world today at your leisure! We suggest you to enjoy a kayak ride (on your own, without tour) to relax in the calm waters. Depending on the hotel, this service will be included or you can go to a local bar where you can use the kayaks for free if you buy a drink
Day 9: Tulum
After check-out, today you will travel to Tulum (2.5 hours). Along the way, we recommend that you stop in the small village of Felipe Carrillo Puerto (1h 20min) to taste the delicious Yucatecan food from a village restaurant. You will continue to Tulum to check-in at a charming hotel in the town centre, 15 minutes from the beach. Free afternoon to relax.
Day 10: Tulum – Muyil / Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Today, at early doors, you will go out to explore some of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. You will arrive at the Sian Ka’an centre at 8.15am to have a light breakfast and then take a transport with the rest of the group (note: group excursion). You will explore an archaeological site hidden in the jungle and enjoy a path in the middle of nature. If you are not scared of heights, you will be able to go up to a viewpoint to observe the incredible views of the lagoons! Next, you will take a boat to visit the beautiful lagoons and the mangrove forests, and then reward your senses by floating through crystalline channels of fresh water leading to the Muyil Lagoon. Its gentle current will drag you very slowly towards the end point. After this activity, you will walk a path to return to the centre, where a regional meal will be waiting for you. Return to your hotel in Tulum.
Day 11: Tulum
Today you will have the day off to enjoy this lovely town. We recommend that you visit the archaeological site of Tulum (entry fee and guide not included) and the amazing Paraiso beach or Pescadores beach, located very close to the site.
Day 12: Tulum - Cancun Departure
We recommend leaving early towards Cancún airport (it takes approx. 1.5 hours) to return your rented car, to connect with your departure flight.