Diversity of Mexico: a self-drive tour in Yucatan

Idea of itinerary travel in Mexico in 14 days.

Discover traditions, customs and crafts in the cradle of the Mayan civilization. Immerse yourself in the Mayan culture of yesterday and today, spending time with the local people and learning the Mexican know-how. A change of scenery is guaranteed thanks to many surprising encounters and unique experiences! Your trip will end with two days of relaxation along the Caribbean Sea.

Length of stay: 14 days

Kind: Family Tours

Fix: For all public

Countries visited: Mexico

Your customized trip

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Day 1 : Cancún

Arrive in Sunny Cancun

Welcome to Cancun airport. Here you will meet your private driver and make the 30 minute journey to Puerto Morelos . Check in at your hotel and spend the evening relaxing in your surroundings by the Caribbean Sea. Overnight stay at the hotel Jolie Jungle.

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Day 2 : Puerto Morelos

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.

At the end of the day arrive in the village of Ek Balam where you will spend the night in the heart of the jungle and have dinner cooked by a local family. Option included : English speaking tour guide. Option included : Entrance fees to Chichen Itza. Overnight stay at hotel U Najil.

Option included: Cabin with one or two double beds.

Note: This option is basic comfort.

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Day 3 : Ek Balam

Spend the morning within the community of Ek Balam , where you will learn more about their culture and every day life.

The Pyramids of the “Black Jaguar” Ek Balam

In the late morning, travel to the archeological site of Ek Balam . This recently excavated site remains a major discovery in Mayan archeology of the end of the twentieth century. It’s possible to climb the steps of the Pyramids and enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding jungle.

Note: entrance not included unless otherwise stated.

SUGGESTION: Cenote X’canche: Swim in the Forest

Take a bike tour (1.5 km, 20 minutes) from Ek Balam’s site entrance to the cenote X’canche . If luck is on your side, you might see the famous Mayan bird ‘Toh’ and its iridescent colours. At the cenote, go for a swim in this sacred place, or be adventurous and go on a zip-line or do some rappelling.

Note: entrance not included unless otherwise stated.

At the end of the day, arrive in Merida . Option included : English speaking tour guide. Option included : Tour Milpa Option included : Lunch in Ek Balam Entrance fees Ek Balam. Overnight stay at the hotel Casa Lucia.

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Day 4 : Mérida

A Day of Adventure in Search of the Captain’s Lost Treasure

Today you are going to take part in an investigative game where you play as detectives.

Your mission: to find the captain’s lost treasure! Having gone to sea to find his parrot, the captain unfortunately left his treasure on the beach.

Your goal: to find the treasure before he comes back from his expedition! In your room, you will find a bottle containing your mission. You will also have at your disposal several elements such as a logbook and a map that will guide you and lead you to discover different places. Each place will lead you to puzzles to solve and you will speak to witnesses who you will need to question for a chance to discover the lost treasure!

A Small Paradise Near Merida

A boat will take you to the lagoon where the depth will only allow kayaks to pass through. Here, you will explore the beautiful, peaceful lagoons by kayak. Gaze upon flora and fauna and spot the beautifully graceful flamingos that live here in the mangroves. Cross the lagoon to refresh yourselves in an ojo de agua, a small source of fresh water.

Have lunch in a boat and enjoy some of the locally caught fish.

Spend the night in Hunucma , a small town close to the coast where you can really get a feel for local life.

NB: Think of the swimsuit, sunscreen, a hat or cap and your explorer’s equipment. Overnight stay at the Ranch San Joaquin.

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Day 5 : Hunucmá

Mexican Cooking Workshop

This morning, travel with a member of a local family to visit the market of Hunucma and purchase all the local products needed for your cooking class . With your shopping bags full, travel to the family dish, just outside the town, and learn how to prepare a typical dish. It will be all hands on deck to prepare the tortillas and mix spices and condiments. You will become a real chef! During the class, learn about the local production of honey. You will also have the chance to see and taste the very rare Honey Melipona Maya Bees .

Important Note : Any allergic person will not be able to make the visit: The clothes cannot protect 100% against a bee sting.

After lunch visit Sisal , a little fishing village with the most beautiful beaches of the north coast of the peninsula. It feels like its own little island, Sisal remains isolated, creating a laid-back beach vibe unlike any other Yucatecan port along the coast.

There are many activity options here. Ride a horse along the beach, see the flamingos by boat, go snorkeling, visit ‘ojo de aguas’ or take a tour to see the wildlife that live in the lagoons along the coast.

Return to Merida at the end of the day. Horse riding (2h)

Horse riding on Sisal beach, the most beautiful beach of the north’ coast (if you are a beginner, someone will lead the horse walking at your side). Option included : English speaking tour guide. Overnight stay at the hotel Casa Lucia.

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Day 6 : 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.

At the end of the day, arrive at Uxmal where you will spend the night.

Evening suggestion: sound and light show in Uxmal (every day, extra charge of about 5 euros to be paid on site, at 20:00 in summer and 19:00 in winter). Option included : English speaking tour guide. Option included : Lunch at Doña Ana home. Making mayan ceramic with Patricia (2h)

In Muna, Patricia is making ceramics using ancestral techniques, reproducing precolumbian pieces for lots of european and american museums. We will make a stop at her workshop to see her work, learn the techniques and make our owm ceramic to bring it back home! 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 7 : Santa Elena

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 The Great Pyramid, House of the Turtles, a vast ballgame court and the Governor’s Palace. The water is really scarce in the region which explains the omnipresence of representations of the rain god Chac-Mool.

Then, travel to Ticul , the shoemaking village, where you can visit a family’s shoemaking workshop.

Continue your visit through Maní , a picturesque village steeped in history due to its important role in pre-Columbian history and the Spanish conquest. We recommend eating in the restaurant El principe de Tutul Xiu , known throughout Yucatán for its local specialities.

In the evening, arrive in Tekit where you will spend the night with the locals. The main square and the market invite you to stroll and discover this peaceful town. Option included : English speaking tour guide. Option included : Entrance fees to Uxmal. Visiting a shoemaker’s workshop

Ticul is famous all over Mexico for the quality of its shoes industry. We will make a stop in one of the city’s workshop to see the manufacture processes, and try to make a pair ourselves! Overnight stay in a local’s house. Option included : dinner.

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Day 8 : Tekit

Local Experiences in Tekit

Tekit is known in the peninsula as the village where the best quality guayaberas (elegant traditional shirts) are produced. The growth of this activity brings to this village all its dynamism, the central square is teeming with life at all hours and conviviality is essential.

Today, we invite you to discover the life of the village by meeting its inhabitants who will teach you about their daily lives and their craftsmenship.

Put your hands together with Marco the baker who will teach you the recipes that make his business so successful. Then visit Leidi, who makes magnificent huipiles embroidered with a thousand flowers. In recent years she has been rehabilitating several forgotten embroidery techniques by studying old fabrics and meeting the latest craftswomen who still possess this knowledge. After, visit Ana’s who will take you to her aromatic garden and show you her many melipona beehives.

In the afternoon, visit a guayaberas workshop. Here, you will work as a family and by hand: one cuts the canvas, another embroiders it, another assembles it… Each one has his own speciality.

You can also visit the Luís’ plot; he is the first inhabitant of the village to rehabilitate mixed farming, and his audacity is now rewarded! His land overflows with vegetables and the branches of the trees bend beneath the weight of abundant and delicious fruit. Certainly the best fruit of your stay!

Note: Activities may vary depending on the day of visit. Option included : English speaking tour guide. Overnight stay in a local’s house. Option included : dinner.

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Day 9 : Tekit

The Quiet Ruins of Mayapan

This morning, visit the archaeological site of Mayapan , nicknamed the “mini Chichen Itza”. It is said that the city was built by Kukulcan himself. Mayapan is not widely visited by tourists… it will feel like you have the site to yourselves.

Then drive to the small village of Kantemó where you will visit the famous snake cave at nightfall: this endemic (and non poisonous) species has developed a very special hunting technique: it catches bats in flight as they leave their cave to feed at nightfall. Walk through the maze of the cave while observing this spectacle of nature. Start of the tour at 5pm in Winter, 6pm in Summer.

Spend the evening in the huts of Kantemó . Option included : English speaking tour guide. Overnight stay at Kantemó’s lodge (basic comfort – no air conditioning). dinner included

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Day 10 : Kantemó

The southern part of Quintana Roo, also known as Zona Maya , is a place characterized by a strong cultural identity because of its history and marginal geographical location. We set off to discover this region with its cultural and historical richness.

We will leave our guide at Felipe Carillo Puerto before finishing the day at the edge of the lagoon of Sijil Noh Ha , an ideal haven for observing wildlife in the early morning hours. Caste War Museum (1h)

Reach Tihosuco to visit the Museum of the Caste Wars, a war that pitted the rebellious Mayas against the system of servitude created by the Haciendas and the families of great landowners for nearly a century. This is a very informative visit, the church of the village with the roof devastated by the war is also worth seeing. Community tour in Señor (4h)

Señor Doña Teodocia, a village healer, will teach you about the medicinal plants used since ancient times by the Mayans.

Then Don Crecencio will teach you how to work Henequen (nopal to the very resistant fiber traditionally used for textiles) in a traditional way to extract its fiber. The green gold as it was called at the time of the apogee of its exploitation still serves today to make hammocks, shoes, ropes etc.

Then meet an inhabitant who will tell you anecdotes of the caste war, the strategies and ambuscades used by the Mayans to resist the regular army, as well as several local tales and legends.

Finally, learn how a hive of melipona bees produce a small amount of an exquisite honey with great medicinal properties … Option included : English speaking tour guide. Overnight stay at Sijil Noh Ha (basic comfort – no air conditioning).

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Day 11 : Sijil Noh Ha

White Sand and Turquoise Sea

Today, travel to the Magic Town of Tulum. Arrive in the late morning and spend the rest of your day at leisure in this beautiful boho-beach town. Overnight stay at hotel Hip Hotel. Garden View.

Note: Resort fee 8$ USD to be paid on arrival, per room per night.

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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.

Possibility of scuba diving with a team of professionals (first dive, snorkeling, cenote, Cozumel, padi certifications, for beginners or advanced).

Note : Transport is not included on this day. Overnight stay at hotel Hip Hotel. Garden View.

Note: Resort fee 8$ USD to be paid on arrival, per room per night.

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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.

Possibility of scuba diving with a team of professionals (first dive, snorkeling, cenote, Cozumel, padi certifications, for beginners or advanced).

Note : Transport is not included on this day. Overnight stay at hotel Hip Hotel. Garden View.

Note: Resort fee 8$ USD to be paid on arrival, per room per night.

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Day 14 : Tulum

After breakfast we visit Tulum’s archaeological site , which witnessed the arrival of the first colonists, in 1518, as the Spanish conquistador Juan de Grijalva set foot on the beach, under the stunned eye of Batab (Mayan governor of the time). Visit of this ancient harbor (and the only one known) built in 1200 and which disappeared at the end of the sixteenth century.

Then transfer to Cancun Airpor t 4 hours before take off.

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