Your panoramic coach will pick you up at your local hotel and transfer you to the small fishing village of Río Lagartos for a spectacular 2-hour raft ride through the protected nature reserve of Ría Lagartos. En route, eat a light gourmet breakfast that includes a baguette, natural juice, a muffin and coffee.
Characterized by abundant mangroves and varied fauna, the biosphere reserve and bird sanctuary of Ría Lagartos is a nature-lover’s paradise. During your boat tour through the pristine marsh, your guide will point out the many bird species that inhabit the estuary, including pelicans, ducks, herons, falcons and eagles.
Visit Las Salinas, a 12-mile (20-km) refuge of pinkish water where pink flamingos gather, and keep an eye out for the stealthy river alligators for which the region was named by the first Spanish conquistadors in the Yucatan. You’ll learn about the ecology of the ‘river’ – an inlet where seawater flows between the mainland and a long stretch of beach – before re-boarding your coach for Ek’Balam.
Enjoy a pastry and juice along with unlimited beverage service (including water, soda, coffee and beer) aboard the bus until you reach the imposing archaeological site. Capital of the ancient Mayan empire of Talol, Ek´Balam is an imposing city filled with squares, temples, palaces and a ball court. Surrounded by two defensive walls and linked by several sacbehs (white roads), this magnificent site includes altars, stelae, murals, hieroglyphic texts – and even a steam bath!
Embark on a 1.5-hour guided walking tour and discover numerous monuments with unique urban and architectural characteristics. After touring the 7-square-mile (12-square-km) Ek’Balam with your guide, you’ll have free time to explore the 45 structures of this ancient Mayan city on your own.
Around 5:30 pm, delight in a dinner buffet of traditional and international food at La Casona, a restaurant located in the colonial city of Valladolid. Upon arrival, walk under the building’s imposing central arch, created more than 100 years ago to allow horse-drawn carriages to pass through. Admire the restored French floors and the balconies of the main facade as you savor an exquisite selection of regional specialties, including more than 75 dishes of the best Yucatecan cuisine. If you’d like, browse the onsite gift shop for local craftwork before boarding your coach for return transport to your hotel.