5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

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  • Location: Cancun, Mexico
  • Duration:  8 days (approx.)
Experience the mystery of the ancient Mayans as you explore seven archeological sites of the Yucatan Peninsula on this 8-day tour from Cancun with a small group. Visit Chichen Itza as well as Uxmal, Ek Balam, Tulum and more. You’ll learn about local history and culture, stopping in several colonial towns with your knowledgeable guide. Travel in comfort and enjoy luxury hotel accommodations for an unforgettable trip through the Yucatan! This small-group tour operates with a maximum of 8 people, ensuring you’ll receive personal attention.

Highlights

  • 8-day Yucatan tour from Cancun
  • Gain private entry to Chichen Itza – one of the seven modern wonders of the world!
  • See the Mayan temple ruins of Ek Balam and Tulum, plus the Chaac masks of Sayil and the Great Pyramid of Uxmal
  • Go on a boat ride to Rio Lagartos, a bird-watching paradise featuring pink flamingoes
  • Take a walking tour of Merida and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride down its main avenues
  • Visit Becal, known for its Panama hats, and tour the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Campeche
  • Watch an amazing spectacle of Uxmal’s light and sound show at night (optional)
  • Small-group tour limited to 8 passengers ensures personal attention from your expert guide

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

8-Day Yucatan Peninsula: Small-Group Tour from Cancun Including Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Ek Balam and Tulum

Stay overnight on the Yucatan Peninsula

With seven overnight stays in your choice of 4-star economy or deluxe accommodation, including luxury transportation between all locations, you’ll find this small-group tour is an ideal way to discover the local towns and Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula! All meals in the itinerary are included. If you choose the deluxe upgrade, enjoy a complimentary open bar with unlimited domestic drinks at your hotel during meals.

Itinerary

Day 1: Cancun – Chichen Itza (D)
After pickup from your hotel or the airport by your guide, meet your small group and enjoy luxurious travel aboard a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle to your first stop – Chichen Itza. Enjoy the rest of your day relaxing at your lodge or hotel, located within the archaeological park.

Overnight: Lodge at Chichen Itza or Hotel Chichen Itza in Chichen Itza

Day 2: Chichen Itza (B, L, D)
Start your day with breakfast at your hotel, and then embark on a small-group tour of Chichen Itza with your expert guide. Skip the lines and gain private entry to the archeological site, where you’ll learn about the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization that built this amazing city – one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

First, head to the Great Plaza that’s located at the center of Chichen Itza and admire the excavated ruins of this fascinating complex. Listen as your guide describes the cultural significance of its most famous landmarks, such as the Temple of the Warriors, the Temple of the Jaguars and the Pyramid of Kukulcán.

Next, visit the sacred cenote on site, as well as the ball court and observatory. Your guide will show your small group a set of buildings constructed during the classic Maya period, including the nunnery, La Iglesia (the Church) and Akab Dzib, which means ‘The House of Mysterious Writing’ in Mayan.

Enjoy Mexican and Yucatecan dishes for lunch at the Mayaland Resort, considered a National Geographic favorite since 1936. Afterward, relax for the afternoon, lounging by your hotel pool or touring the area on horseback (own expense).

If you’d like, go bird watching as you stroll through the beautiful gardens at Mayaland; the Yucatan boasts more species than the United States and Canada combined! (If you are staying at the Hotel Chichen Itza you will be driven back to your hotel.)

In the evening, a delicious dinner will be served at the Mayaland Hotel in the El Mural dining room and terrace.

Overnight: Lodge at Chichen Itza or Hotel Chichen Itza in Chichen Itza

Day 3: Chichen Itza (B, L, D)
After breakfast, depart from your hotel with your small group and drive up the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Pass the magnificent archeological site of Ek Balam, one of the most mysterious Mayan cities ever to be discovered. See its main temple, which features a delicate stucco relief as well as feathered sculptures and jaw of the jaguar.

Continue to Rio Lagartos, a nature reserve and bird-watching haven located on the Mexican Gulf, and take a lovely boat ride through the mangroves as you learn about the flora and fauna. Then, visit the feeding ground of the beautiful pink flamingoes, where you’ll enjoy a box lunch as you take in the gorgeous surroundings.

In the late afternoon, return to your hotel to spend the rest of your time at leisure.

Overnight: Lodge at Chichen Itza or Hotel Chichen Itza in Chichen Itza

Day 4: Chichen Itza – Uxmal (B, L, D)
After eating breakfast, depart for Merida, stopping in the quiet colonial city of Izamal on the way. Your guide will take you to visit the Convent of San Francisco de Padua and its famous yellow monastery, as well as the central park and regional market.

Next, explore the pyramid of Kinich Kak Mo, the Mayan sun god. Located downtown just behind the church, it reaches a height of 115 feet (35 meters) – the largest pyramid temple on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Upon arrival in Merida, take a walking tour of the city center, including the zocalo (main square), the stately cathedral and the Casa de Montejo – a 16th-century home of city founder Don Francisco de Montejo. Your guide will point out the City Hall and the palace of the state government before leading your small group on a walking tour of the city market to see local arts and crafts.

Enjoy lunch at a typical Mexican restaurant, where you will taste authentic local cuisine and listen to the serenades of strolling trovadores (musicians). When you’re satisfied, continue your guided walk to the church of Tercera Orden, a stately 17th-century monastery, and admire the architecture of the Peon Contreras Theater and the University of Yucatan.

Afterward, board a traditional calesa (horse-drawn carriage) for a ride down Paseo de Montejo, a lovely avenue housing some of the beautiful buildings in the city. Enjoy a visit to the Regional Museum of Anthropology and History before boarding your luxury vehicle for a tour around the Monument to the Nation. Ride past 19th-century mansions on Avenida Colon before returning to Uxmal for dinner at your hotel.

Overnight: Hacienda Uxmal Hotel or The Lodge at Uxmal in Uxmal

Day 5: Uxmal (B, L, D)
Enjoy conversation with your small group over breakfast at your hotel before walking to the temples at Uxmal for a guided tour. Visit the 120-foot (37-meter) high, oval-shaped Magician’s Pyramid and the Nun’s Quadrangle with its magnificent friezes depicting the Mayan rain god. Your guide will show you the Palace of the Governor and the impressive Great Pyramid, telling tales of the pre-Columbian Mayans who built these edifices.

Spend your afternoon relaxing during free time at the hotel, where you can swim in the beautiful pools or enjoy the spa. In the evening, attend the Uxmal light and sound show if you choose, staged nightly in the Nun’s Quadrangle at Uxmal’s central plaza.

The amazing spectacle, acclaimed as the finest light and sound show in the world, features music, dialogue and illumination for an unforgettable experience. After this awesome introduction to the Puuc Mayan culture and the legends of this ancient city, enjoy dinner at your lodge or hotel.

Overnight: Hacienda Uxmal Hotel or The Lodge at Uxmal in Uxmal

Day 6: Uxmal (B, L, D)
Your guide will take you to the village of Becal after breakfast at your lodge or hotel. The town is famous for its Panama hats, which are created by artisans who construct them in caves in order to preserve the quality of the palm fronds.

After touring the town with your small group, drive to the city of Campeche – at one time a fortified haven for pirates and now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, enjoy a scrumptious seafood lunch while dining at a local restaurant before embarking on a walking tour of the city to visit several small museums and other places of interest.

Back in Uxmal, enjoy a leisurely evening with dinner at your lodge or hotel.

Overnight: Hacienda Uxmal Hotel or The Lodge at Uxmal in Uxmal

Day 7: Uxmal (B, L, D)
Eat a delicious breakfast at your hotel or lodge and then hop in your luxury vehicle for a day trip to several more sites. First, stop in Kabah and admire the Codz Pop, a palace famous for its facade of 250 Chaac masks and statues of Mayan rulers. Your guide will take you through the Arch of Kabah, which marks the entrance to the Sacbe, an ancient path that links Kabah to Uxmal.

Your next stop is Sayil, a unique Mayan archeological site known for its 3-tiered palace. Visit the labyrinth of 70 rooms adorned with columns and gorgeous Chaac masks carved in stone. After exploring the area with your small group, head to Labna, a classical Puuc Maya village with many fascinating temples, such as The Palace and The Mirador.

Just minutes away, you’ll find the town of Ticul, a contemporary Mayan village. Artisans in this community will demonstrate how their own pottery is constructed, as well as show your small group reproductions of ancient Mayan figurines.

A box lunch will be served on your way to the caves of Loltun, where pre-Maya engravings date back more than four thousand years. Your guide will explain the unique geological formations that mark the Yucatan Peninsula’s resurgence from the sea.

Your last stop of the day is in the nearby city of Tekax, where you’ll visit a 17th-century convent and fortress-like chapel. Before heading back to your accommodation for dinner, learn about the Yucatan’s turbulent past when Mayan revolts against Spanish rule resulted in the war of castes.

Overnight: Hacienda Uxmal Hotel or The Lodge at Uxmal in Uxmal

Day 8: Uxmal – Cancun (B)
After breakfast, leave your lodge or hotel for the archaeological site of Tulum, a Mayan word for wall, and admire the impressive cliffs overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea. As you tour the area, learn how this walled fortress in the Mayan Riviera once served as a main port for the Mayan Empire during the post-classical period.

After a brief visit, hop in your deluxe van back to the hotel of your choice in Cancun, the Riviera Maya or the Cancun airport.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2014

Highly enjoyed my one week in the Yucatan, especially after putting up with 3 months of one of the coldest and snowiest winters in a long time in Boston. My guide, Victor Gonzales was very knowledgeable about the sites that we saw and very attentive to my requests . He seemed to exhibit a real sense of pride in his part of the world and this made the experience all the more enjoyable. Having had an interest in the Mayan civilization for many years, I was very impressed with all the Mayan sites that we visited and learned a great deal on the tour. Besides the ruins we visited beautiful colonial towns, colorful market places, an incredible cave (Lol Tun) and saw some exotic animals on the boat ride on Rio Lagartos.
The two hotels I stayed in were both beautiful and well situated for visiting Chichen Itza and Uxmal. My only real complaint is that Internet and WiFi access was spotty at best.
We modified the itinerary a little and spent the last night in Chichen Itza instead of Uxmal and in retrospect this made a lot more sense since my guide told me that the ride from Uxmal to the Cancun airport would have been close to 4 hours and this would have been much too long on my last day of vacation.
Overall, a fantastic tour that I would definitely recommend to friends and family.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2014

This was an absolutely fascinating tour with emphasis on Mayan culture and sites, however, without leaving other aspects like the colonial towns of Mérida and Campeche, or the natural reserve at Rio Lagartos. Our guide was well informed, spoke Mayan himself and could tell us a lot about the history of his people.

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Tour code: 5811CUN8DAY

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