US$ 3671 / pp
23 October - 3 November 2021
Mexico’s el Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) provides a chance for families to welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives. A macabre and fascinating mix of Mesoamerican ritual, Spanish culture and European dogma, its origins go back nearly 3,000 years, to the pre-Columbian rituals of the Aztecs and the Nahua people of Central Mexico. This remarkable journey takes us through a land steeped in these ancient traditions, where the reminders of Spanish expansion share the landscape with spectacular Maya ruins, colourful markets and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Beginning on Mexico’s Caribbean coast we travel along the eastern fringes of the Yucatan Peninsula, visiting the Maya ruins at Tulum and Kohunlich and the tranquil waters of Bacalar Lagoon, before heading for the lush jungles of the Petén Basin.
Cancún → Playa del Carmen → Tulum → Bacalar → Kohunlich → Becán → Chicanná → Calakmul → Puerta Calakmul → Chicanná → Edzná → Campeche → Pomuch → Uxmal → Campeche → Kabah → Loltún Caves → Mérida → Hacienda Sotuta de Peón → Mayapan → Mérida → Izamal → Yokdz
Day 1: Cancún - Playa del Carmen
The tour starts at Cancun airport this evening where we will be met and driven to the hotel in Playa del Carmen, situated along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
Day 2: Playa del Carmen - Tulum - Bacalar
We head to the Mayan rock fortress of Tulum, one of the last cities to be built by the Maya. After our visit, we then continue on to the small and tranquil town of Bacalar, located on the edge of a beautiful lagoon.
Day 3: Bacalar
Bacalar was founded by the Maya, sacked by pirates and fortified by the Spanish. Today we have an opportunity to enjoy the picturesque waters of its lagoon, part of the world’s largest subterranean water cave system, on a boat trip, with time to snorkel.
Day 4: Bacalar - Kohunlich - Becán - Chicanná
We drive to Chetumal to discover the Mayan treasures at its Museo de la Cultura. We then explore the famed Pyramid of the Masks at Kohunlich and the ruins of Becán, the oldest architectural defence system in Mexico, before ending in Chicanná.
Day 5: Chicanná - Calakmul - Puerta Calakmul - Chicanná
The journey then takes us to the Maya archaeological site at Calakmul, shrouded in the ancient rain forest and home to howler monkeys and birds. We then visit Puerta Calakmul’s remarkable ‘Bat Cave’, the haunt of some five million bats!
Day 6: Chicanná - Edzná - Campeche
Close to Campeche lies the ancient ruins of Edzná, which can trace their early origins back to 400 BC. We will have the chance to climb the Pyramid of the Five Storeys staircase for beautiful views before reaching Campeche.
Day 7: Campeche
A tour of the UNESCO city takes in its narrow streets and colonial architecture before we pay a visit to the Museum of Mayan Architecture. The city is also home to the Fortress of San Miguel, which today houses the city’s archaeological museum.
Day 8: Campeche - Pomuch - Uxmal - Campeche
Today we will witness the Day of the Dead celebration, believed to be of Aztec origin, in Pomuch. The locals remove and clean the bones and skulls from the decorated ossuaries that line the town’s cemetery. We then visit the UNESCO site of Uxmal.
Day 9: Campeche - Kabah - Loltún Caves - Mérida
Departing Campeche, we head to the spectacular ruins at Kabah. We will walk an ancient Mayan road to the caves of Loltún to enter a subterranean world of stalactites, tree roots and rock paintings, before completing our journey on to Meridá.
Day 10: Mérida – Hacienda Sotuta de Peón - Mayapan - Mérida
Founded by the Spanish in 1542, Meridá is still the economic and cultural capital of the region. We’ll tour the city this morning before we depart for the 19th century Hacienda Sotuta de Peón and Mayan capital of Mayapan.
Day 11: Mérida - Izamal - Yokdzonot - Chichén Itzá
As we journey to Chichén Itzá, we will stop at the Gran Museo del Mundo, where Yucatan’s social history is laid out, Izamal, one of the oldest towns in Yucatán, and Yokdzonot Cenote, where we can swim amongst the ancient trees and blue/green waters.
Day 12: Chichén Itzá - Valladolid - Cancún
We meet an expert archaeological guide today at Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO site and one of the most important examples of Mayan-Toltec civilisation anywhere in the Yucatán. We then spend time exploring Valladolid before reaching the airport in Cancún.
11 nights' accommodation (three to four star hotels)
11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner (typically in local restaurants where viable)
Full services of a Tour Leader with local guides and drivers
Sightseeing, excursions and activities as per the itinerary
All transport (minibus)
24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line
A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through our office)
All entrance fees as per the itinerary
Meals not mentioned
Optional tours and activities
Travel through the Yucatan Peninsula stopping at Mayan ruins
Witness the cleaning of the dead at the Day of The Dead festivities
Visit the spectacular Mayan sites of Uxmal, Tulum, and Chichén Itzá
Snorkel in the natural beauty of Bacalar Lagoon
Marvel at the colonial elegance of Campeche and Meridá
Explore the subterranean world of Loltún Caves
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