Yucatan tour: perfect balance between land and sea in Mexico

14 day travel itinerary in Yucatan

Lovers of diversity, this tour offers you the best of Yucatan. From Mayan ruins to heavenly beaches; from cenotes to pueblos magicos , the Yucatan peninsula will surprise you with its cultural richness and natural beauty.

Length of stay: 14 days

Kind: Must-sees and cultural tours

Fix: For all public

Countries visited: Mexico

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Day 1 : Cancún

Cancun Arrival

Arrive at the airport and collect your vehicle at the rental company’s counter . Meeting directly at the counter at the end of the car park in front of terminal 2.

The rental agency will offer you more complete insurance, be careful it can be very expensive. An English-speaking guide will meet you, help you with paperwork and provide you with a road map. Chevrolet Aveo Elegance (4 passengers) or similar.

Extended insurance: against theft and damage to third parties (property and persons) up to 350,000 pesos. Liability limited to 10% of the commercial value of the vehicle in the event of damage or collision.

– 5 passengers
– 3 Large pieces of luggage
– Manual transmission
– Air Conditioning
– 16 Kilometres per litre

NB: Pleasant vehicle for 4 people but the trunk can sometimes be used just for 3 or 4 luggage. Overnight stay at the Ramada hotel.

Option included: Standard room.

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Day 2 : Cancún (Downtown)

Chichen Itza, Mayan Wonder

After breakfast, head to Chichen Itza , one the seven wonders of the modern world. Built by the Maya, and then reorganized by the Toltecs, Chichen Itza symbolizes the unification of both religious cultures. The site, which at its height was the most important religious center of the peninsula, is the largest archaeological site in Yucatan.

The Yellow Town of Izamal

Then, journey to the gorgeous colonial town of Izamal , entirely painted in bright yellow. The Franciscan convent San Antonio de Padua was built on top of a Mayan ceremonial center, and is the continent’s largest cloister.

Arrival in Merida at the end of the day.

The White City of Merida

Merida , the capital city of Yucatan, has maintained its captivating colonial charm and strong personality while enjoying great economical growth in recent years. You will find many historical monuments, churches and restaurants with both local and international food. The city is dotted with pleasant little squares which are perfect to relax in, have a drink and listen to a marimba-playing band.

Spend the evening exploring the handicrafts market which offers numerous souvenirs like the renowned huipils (very colorful embroidered woman tunics), the authentic Panama hats, the true Yucatecan all-cotton hammocks and many more. Option included : Entrance fees to Chichen Itza. Option included : english speaking local guide in Chichen Itza. Overnight stay at hotel Casa del Balam. ( Parking to be paid on arrival, 50 pesos per night).

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Day 3 : Mérida

Celestun’s Pink Flamingos

After breakfast, head to Celestun , a fishermen’s village with about 6000 inhabitants. Hop on a motorboat for a tour of the lagoon where you can see the sanctuary of the flamingos as well as mangrove canals. End this tour with a surprising swim in the middle of the tropical forest.

Return to the center of Celestun for lunch, and spend the rest of the afternoon with your feet in the sand. Treat yourself with delicious grilled fish!

Note : The boat in Celestun has to be paid on the day of the excursion. It is not included in our services if you choose a self-drive tour option, unless a guide accompanies you from Merida for the day (contact us).

Return to Merida at the end of the day. Option included : English speaking local guide for the day. Option included : Boat in Celestun. Overnight stay at hotel Casa del Balam. ( Parking to be paid on arrival, 50 pesos per night).

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Day 4 : Mérida

Cenote Tour Off-the-Beaten-Tracks

Cenotes are natural pools of fresh and crystalline water, where the sun’s rays create spectacular lighting effects. On the way to the first cenote, stop at a typical Mayan market where the colors of fruits and vegetables are matched only by those of the women’s traditional clothing. Then, take some time to explore 2 cenotes, and take a refreshing swim in the forest. One thing is certain, you will leave completely transformed.

Conquer the City of Uxmal

The archaeological site is peaceful and not widely visited by tourists… You will love it! Uxmal , in Mayan language, means “Thrice Built”, but in reality the city was constructed five times. One of the best preserved sites on the peninsula, this massive complex includes Th Great Pyramid, House of the Turtles, a vast ballgame court and the Governor’s Palace. The water is really scarce in the region, this explains the omnipresence of representations of the rain god Chac-Mool.

Spend the night in Uxmal . Option included: Entrance fee to Uxmal. Option included : Lunch at the home of Doña Ana. Option included : English speaking local guide in cenotes and Uxmal (meet at 09:00 in the hotel’s lobby). Overnight stay at the hotel The Pickled Onion. ( The hotel is 15km from Uxmal in the town of Santa Elena.)

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Day 5 : Uxmal

Chocolate Museum Delights

Visit the Museum of Cocoa . Here you will learn about the history of chocolate and how it is closely linked with Mayan history. See how cacao has transformed from the prehispanic era, when it was used as a bargaining tool, to the bars of chocolate we know and love today. With your own eyes see the cacoa from the tree to the final product and prepare your own beverage with a choice of ingredients.

Note : Entrance fees not included.

Explore the Forts of Campeche

In the afternoon, arrive in the city of Campeche . UNESCO named it as a model of a colonial baroque city planning and it has also been declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. Campeche oozes charm on every corner. Take some time to stroll through the beautiful colonial port, visit various Mayan ceremonial centers, wander down the ‘malecon’ (boulevard) and explore the fort. Here you can gaze out to see and imagine the assaults the pirates of the Caribbean launched on the town during colonization.

Spend your evening at leisure in Campeche. Overnight stay at hotel Socaire. Standard room.

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Day 6 : Campeche

Travel to Chiapas

Today, take a trip down to Sabancuy , a beautiful fishing town. Tourists don’t come here very often and its peaceful atmosphere make it a perfect spot to chill at the seaside for an hour or two.

Then take the road to the south. We cross tens of kilometres of swamps against a backdrop of haciendas where the country’s bulls are raised.

Arrive in the late afternoon in Palenque , where the coolness of the tropical forest can be felt. Overnight stay at hotel La Aldea. Standard room.

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Day 7 : Palenque

Explore the Maya City of Palenque

In the morning, visit the archaeological site of Palenque . It might well be the most magical site of Mexico. The majesty and mystery of its ceremonial centers still echoes from the past. At the heart of the Inscriptions Temple stands the crypt of King Pakal, discovered in 1952. It still contains the remains of the powerful monarch, covered with jewels and a mortuary mask made of jade mosaic. The surrounding jungle and the buried ruins create an awe-inspiring scenery and it’s easy to imagine the magnificence of the place, back when the temples and the palace stood in their full glory, adorned with richly animated esplanades, columns and ceilings.

Agua Azul and Misol-Ha

All year long, water comes down from the mountains and eventually creates magnificent waterfalls like Misol Ha or Agua Azul . This is the perfect place to try some grilled fish for lunch. You can sit near the water while enjoying a beautiful view. You will also have plenty of time to go swimming in one of the many pools shaped by the waterfalls.

Note : Entrance fees are not included.

In the afternoon, return to Palenque . Option included : Entrance fees to Palenque. Option included : English speaking local guide in Palenque. Meeting at 08:30 at the entrance of the site. Overnight stay at hotel La Aldea. Standard room.

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Day 8 : Palenque

Ruins of Calakmul

This morning, depart early for the archaeological site of Calakmul , located in the state of Campeche, at the heart of a biosphere reserve, home to numerous jaguars. This still quite unknown site is one of the jewels of the Mayan culture and was, at its peak, the direct rival of Tikal (Guatemala). Like in Tikal a few years ago, it’s possible to observe wildlife wandering freely on the site (toucans, monkeys, oco pheasant). Jaguars usually prefer to wander at night, but who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky.

Spend the night in Calakmul . Overnight stay at hotel Puerta Calakmul. Standard

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Day 9 : Calakmul

Explore the Peaceful Town of Chetumal

Departure in the morning for Chetumal , bordertown with Belize. We go on a discovery walk of the town and visit the superb Museum of Mayan Culture (closed on Mondays) where we learn how to count and read in Mayan. It’s very easy !

Note : Entry not included, unless otherwise stated.

On the way you can stop at cenote Azul (40 minutes), swim in this water point.

We arrive in Bacalar in the late afternoon, just in time to watch a beautiful sunset. Overnight stay at the hotel Aires Bacalar. Standard

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Day 10 : Bacalar

Boat tour on the Bacalar lagoon (3h tour )

Take a trip on a small boat and discover the lagoon of Bacalar, as well as the canal which was used by the pirates as access to the lagoon and the town during their repeated assaults to plunder Bacalar . You can swim all morning in the multi-colored water and even a cenote.

Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel Aires Bacalar. Standard

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Day 11 : Bacalar

White Sand and Turquoise Sea

After breakfast, head north and visit the archeological site of Tulum . This World Heritage Site sits on a cliff edge facing the Caribbean sea and witnessed the arrival of the first colonists. In 1518, the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva set foot on the beach, under the stunned eye of Batab (Mayan governor of the time). Visit this ancient harbor (and the only one known) built in 1200 and which disappeared at the end of the sixteenth century.

Spend your afternoon at leisure in the gorgeous beach town of Tulum . Overnight stay at the hotel Don Diego de la Selva. Room with a/c and ona king size bed.

Note : please contact us for a supplement for a twin-bedded room (family room)

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Day 12 : Tulum

White Sand and Turquoise Sea

Spend the day in the Magic Town of Tulum , either shopping in the small boutiques, strolling up the central street, relaxing on the white sand, swimming in the crystal clear blue, Caribbean waters or sampling some local seafood.

Don’t forget to visit the archeaological site to the north of the main beach. This World Heritage Site sits on a cliff edge facing the Caribbean sea and witnessed the arrival of the first colonists. In 1518, the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva set foot on the beach, under the stunned eye of Batab (Mayan governor of the time). Visit this ancient harbor (and the only one known) built in 1200 and which disappeared at the end of the sixteenth century. Overnight stay at the hotel Don Diego de la Selva. Room with a/c and ona king size bed.

Note : please contact us for a supplement for a twin-bedded room (family room)

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Day 13 : Tulum

White Sand and Turquoise Sea

Spend the day in the Magic Town of Tulum , either shopping in the small boutiques, strolling up the central street, relaxing on the white sand, swimming in the crystal clear blue, Caribbean waters or sampling some local seafood.

Don’t forget to visit the archeaological site to the north of the main beach. This World Heritage Site sits on a cliff edge facing the Caribbean sea and witnessed the arrival of the first colonists. In 1518, the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva set foot on the beach, under the stunned eye of Batab (Mayan governor of the time). Visit this ancient harbor (and the only one known) built in 1200 and which disappeared at the end of the sixteenth century. Overnight stay at the hotel Don Diego de la Selva. Room with a/c and ona king size bed.

Note : please contact us for a supplement for a twin-bedded room (family room)

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Day 14 : Tulum

Hasta Luego México

Depart from the hotel to travel to Cancun Airport at least 5 hours before your flight is due to take off.

Return the rental car to the Hertz desk.

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