Pirates, Maya & Day of Dead Festival

Mexico

All about the tour

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.

Itinerary

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.

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What's included

Accommodation

11 nights' accommodation (three to four star hotels)

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner (typically in local restaurants where viable)

Guided tours

Full services of a Tour Leader with local guides and drivers

Sightseeing, excursions and activities as per the itinerary

Transport

All transport (minibus)

Support

24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through our office)

Entrance tickets

All entrance fees as per the itinerary

Not Included

International flights

Meals not mentioned

Optional tours and activities

Personal expenses

Highlights

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

Book

Our reviews
Trustpilot

Gabriel Carvajal

Mexico

My cousin and I attended the first Mexico soccer games of the 2018 World Cup and World of Discoveries was excellent. The lodging accommodations were great and centrally located. The personnel were wonderful. Thank you Tim for taking care of all our request. I was very surprised to received a message at 3 am informing me that our car was outside waiting to transfer us to the airport. That is the level of service that we received from World of Discoveries. Great company that made our trip even more memorable since it was absolutely hassle free.

RobynChris Haynes

Australia

We travelled to Russia for the FIFA World Cup in 2018 to follow the Australian Socceroos with World of Discoveries. We had the most fantastic time in an amazing country visiting 5 cities and attending all 3 Socceroos pool games. All travel, accommodation, sightseeing and pre and post game entertainment was organised expertly by the team at World of Discoveries, all travel was coordinated extremely well including airport transfers to and from hotels. Not knowing what to expect in Russia we were pleased with the standard of our accommodation, the locations were excellent and the standard of hotel was great. The great team from World of Discoveries looked after our every need and are to be congratulated for their level of commitment to ensuring our Russian experience was the very best. Thank you all.

Gordon Ketelbey

Australia

World of Discoveries put an excellent tour together. All well organised with lots of side events all unplanned but the focus was on fun. Pity Australia can’t score goals but the party made up for it.

Chris Balogh

Australia

These guys has made my World Cup dream a reality and also provided a spectecular tour of Kazan, Samara & Sochi along the way! The team who made it happen were fantastic, organised, attentive and even fulfilled requests like having window seats on all 3 of my domestic flights not to mention the smooth transportations to and from airports. If you ever want to visit FIFA World Cup, “World of Dsicoveries” is the best way to go!!!!

Santiago Angulo

Colombia

We joined the Colombian Team tour during the Russia World Cup. The package was extremely well planned, we got to enjoy 5 cities, museums & attractions, and specially we were able to follow our team during the classifying phase. The World of Discoveries coordinator, Phillip, was excellent, he answered all our inquiries, helped us resolving any issues with the tour and with any other parties, and he was committed to help us have a great time. I will recommend World of Discoveries to anyone looking to visit remote countries, not just from the tourist point of view, but from the authentic local culture!!!

Andrew Weifler

Australia

I decided to use the Tour Service of the World Cup after some extensive research into the tour alternatives. These guys seemed to differentiate its tour Service by providing a more culturally based service with a healthy dose of Football and Fun. My experience was that it as well run ie they delivered on their promises. They have a health mix of local staff and Australian staff. The Russian staff had a great empathy for the challenges for us Aussies traveling in a country where you had no language skills they bridged that gap with there wonderful help. I know there are many alternative tours but this one certainly lived up to its name. I felt I discovered part of Russia but there’s plenty more to go!’ Overall just a great experience