Iconic Mayan sites, an idyllic Caribbean coast and a laid-back tropical ambience – the Yucatan Peninsula has it all. And this small group tour features them all. This is a week packed with sightseeing, taking you through three Central American countries from the largest Mayan archaeological site of Tikal, to smaller sites that sit off the beaten track.

• Tulum 1 night

• Chetumal: 1 night

• Tikal National Park: 2 nights

• Palenque: 1 night

• Campeche: 1 night

• Mérida: 1 night

8nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE

Iconic Mayan sites, an idyllic Caribbean coast and a laid-back tropical ambience – the Yucatan Peninsula has it all. And this small group tour features them all. This is a week packed with sightseeing, taking you through three Central American countries from the largest Mayan archaeological site of Tikal, to smaller sites that sit off the beaten track.

• Playa del Carmen: 1 night

• Chetumal: 1 night

• Tikal National Park: 2 nights

• Palenque: 1 night

• Campeche: 1 night

• Mérida: 1 night

8nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Tulum Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to Mexico. Your discovery of Central America’s Mayan past begins with a night on the breathtaking Tulum coast. Stay: Dreams Tulum. ALL.

Day 2: Tulum to Chetumal This morning you will visit the first of the Mayan archaeological sites, the stunning ruins of a former port city at Tulum. The combination of dramatic coastal landscapes, well preserved ruins and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean make this one of the most picturesque and popular attractions in Mexico. As your hotel is located just along the coast, you will have the opportunity to explore the ruins before the crowds arrive. During a tour of the ruins you will witness the three most famous structures – the Temple of the Frescoes, the Temple of the Descending God and El Castillo – as well as smaller ruins of interest such as watch towers, gateways and some remains of the city wall; be sure to keep your camera at hand as the views here are absolutely spectacular. Continue along to the city of Chetumal, which sits close to the border between Mexico and Belize. Here you will visit the Museum of Mayan Culture to gain a basic understanding of Mayan life which you will build on during the tour. This evening’s welcome dinner at a local restaurant provides the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers. Approx. journey time: 5 hours, 154 miles. Stay: Fiesta Inn or similar. B, L, D.

Day 3: Chetumal to Tikal National Park From Chetumal cross the border into Belize and travel through this small nation’s interior towards the border with Guatemala, where you will visit the Mayan site of Xunantunich. The journey to this former ceremonial spot is a bit of an adventure as you take a hand cranked ferry across the Mopan River. This is a truly charming way to begin a visit of one of the smaller Mayan sites you will witness during the tour. As well as taking in the main ruins, which include the second tallest structure in Belize, El Castillo, you will also be able to enjoy views over the jungle landscapes of Belize and neighbouring Guatemala from the elevated position. Following the border crossing into Guatemala, the journey continues to the Camino Real Tikal which sits on the northern shore of Lake Peten Itza. Approx. journey time: 7 hours, 218 miles. Stay: Camino Real Tikal or similar. B, L, D.

Day 4: Tikal National Park Today is undoubtedly the highlight of the tour as the entire day is spent at one of the America’s largest Mayan sites – the UNESCO-listed Tikal. Set deep within the jungle of the Tikal National Park, this is an expansive site with approximately 3000 buildings, including temples and palaces, which are set out over 6 square miles. A knowledgeable guide will enlighten you as to how it developed from a small village into one of the most important pre-Columbian cities and home to an estimated 90,000 Mayan Indians in the 8th and 9th Centuries. You will stop for lunch during your time here. Stay: Camino Real Tikal or similar. B, L, D.

Day 5: Tikal National Park to Palenque This morning you will travel west to reach the riverside archaeological site of Yaxchilan. Reaching the ruins is part of today’s adventure as you will take a 30 minute narrow-boat ride along the Usumacinta River, which marks the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Once the border crossing procedures are completed you will be able to explore this beautiful site, which has a real off-the-beaten-track quality. Yaxchilan means ‘green rocks’ and these moss-covered structures appear to have been swallowed up by the jungle. With a guide you will explore the complex of plazas and temples which boast beautifully preserved stone lintels, relief carvings and hieroglyphs. Upon leaving the ruins by boat you will continue by road to the town of Palenque. Approx.  journey time: 7 hours, 190 miles. Stay: Villa Mercedes or similar. B, L.

Day 6: Palenque to Campeche A visit to the pre-Hispanic city of Palenque is the focus today. Another set of ruins seemingly engulfed by the Central American jungle, Palenque dates back to the 3rd Century BC and reached its height in the late 8th Century AD before being completely abandoned to the encroaching jungle. Although not as expansive as the site at Tikal, these ruins are some of the most beautiful and elegant that you will see on the journey through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. During the guided tour there will be a visit to the astronomic observatory, which it is believed was once used for stargazing and making astronomic predictions. This afternoon the tour will continue on to the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and the fortified port town of Campeche. The city is a colonial gem and it is home to narrow cobbled streets lined with vibrantly-painted houses. Parts of the historic city wall still stand, as do a number of bastions and two colonial forts which overlook the city and the Gulf-of-Mexico coastline. The evening here is free to explore independently and perhaps find a charming restaurant for dinner. Approx. journey time: 5 hours, 223 miles. Stay: Ocean View Hotel or similar. B.

Day 7: Campeche to Mérida This morning the group will travel to Mérida, visiting the pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal en route. Here you will witness a different style of architecture than you have seen so far on the tour. Discover the late-Mayan, ‘Puuc’ style buildings with their smooth, almost rounded walls. You will stop for lunch in Uxmal before continuing the journey to the city of Mérida. This evening you will have free in the region’s cultural capital, exploring the enchanting historic colonial centre. Perhaps seek out a fantastic restaurant where you can enjoy dinner and a bar or two for some drinks to celebrate the final night of your tour, and spend some time soaking up the atmosphere in the city’s main square. Approx. journey time: 4 hours, 140 miles. Stay: Casa del Balam Hotel or similar. B.

Day 8: Mérida to UK The tour comes to a conclusion at the most famous and popular Mayan site of them all – Chichen Itza. Believed by many to be the most important of the region’s pre-Hispanic cities, this is a fitting end to your exploration of the relics of the Mayan civilisation. Arrive here first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive, and spend your time discovering the ruins of this breathtaking sight. You will then travel onward to Cancun where you will catch your flight to the UK, arriving the following day. Alternatively, you can extend your holiday with a few nights on the Caribbean coast. B.


Stay longer

Mayan Riviera Beaches 3 nights

Featuring some of the best beaches in Mexico, the Mayan Riviera is the perfect spot for a post tour break.

Day 1: UK to Playa del Carmen Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to Mexico. Your discovery of Central America’s Mayan past begins with a night on the Riviera Maya coast. Stay: Fiesta Inn Playa del Carmen (or similar). 

Day 2: Playa del Carmen to Chetumal This morning, visit the first of the Mayan archaeological sites – the stunning ruins of a former port city at Tulum. The combination of dramatic coastal landscapes, well-preserved ruins and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean make this one of the most picturesque and popular attractions in Mexico. During a tour of the ruins you’ll witness the three most famous structures – the Temple of the Frescoes, the Temple of the Descending God and El Castillo – as well as smaller ruins of interest such as watch towers, gateways and some remains of the city wall. Be sure to keep your camera at hand as the views here are absolutely spectacular. Continue along to the city of Chetumal, which sits close to the border between Mexico and Belize. Here you will visit the Museum of Mayan Culture to gain a basic overview of Mayan life which you will build on during the tour. This evening’s welcome dinner at a local restaurant provides the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers. Approx. journey time: 4 hours, 195 miles. Stay: Fiesta Inn Chetumal (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 3: Chetumal to Tikal National Park From Chetumal cross the border into Belize and travel through this small nation’s interior towards the border with Guatemala, where you’ll visit the Mayan site of Xunantunich. The journey to this former ceremonial spot is a bit of an adventure as you take a hand cranked ferry across the Mopan River. This is a truly charming way to begin a visit of one of the smaller Mayan sites you’ll witness during the tour. As well as taking in the main ruins, which include the second tallest structure in Belize, El Castillo, you’ll also be able to enjoy views over the jungle landscapes of Belize and neighbouring Guatemala from the elevated position. Following the border crossing into Guatemala, the journey continues to your hotel. Approx. journey time: 7 hours, 218 miles. Stay: Camino Real Tikal (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 4: Tikal National Park Today is undoubtedly the highlight of the tour as the entire day is spent at one of the America’s largest Mayan sites – the UNESCO-listed Tikal. Set deep within the jungle of the Tikal National Park, this is an expansive site with approximately 3000 buildings, including temples and palaces, which are set out over 6 square miles. A knowledgeable guide will enlighten you as to how it developed from a small village into one of the most important pre-Columbian cities, home to an estimated 90,000 Mayan Indians in the 8th and 9th Centuries. You will stop for lunch during your time here. Stay: Camino Real Tikal (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Tikal National Park to Palenque This morning, travel west to reach the riverside archaeological site of Yaxchilan. Reaching the ruins is part of today’s adventure as you will take a 30 minute narrow-boat ride along the Usumacinta River, which marks the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Once the border crossing procedures are completed you’ll be able to explore this beautiful site, which has a real off-the-beaten-track quality. Yaxchilan means ‘green rocks’ and these moss-covered structures appear to have been swallowed up by the jungle. With a guide you’ll explore the complex of plazas and temples which feature beautifully-preserved stone lintels, relief carvings and hieroglyphs. After leaving the ruins by boat, continue by road to the town of Palenque. Approx. journey time: 7 hours, 190 miles. Stay: Villa Mercedes (or similar). B, L.

Day 6: Palenque to Campeche A visit to the pre-Hispanic city of Palenque is the focus today. Another set of ruins seemingly engulfed by the Central American jungle, Palenque dates back to the 3rd Century BC. The city reached its height in the late 8th Century AD before being completely abandoned to the encroaching jungle. Although not as expansive as the site at Tikal, these ruins are some of the most beautiful and elegant that you’ll see on the journey through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. During the guided tour there will be a visit to the astronomic observatory, which it is believed was once used for stargazing and making astronomic predictions. This afternoon, continue on to the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and the fortified port town of Campeche. The city is a colonial gem and it’s home to narrow cobbled streets lined with vibrantly-painted houses. Parts of the historic city wall still stand, as do a number of bastions and two colonial forts which overlook the city and the Gulf of Mexico coastline. The evening here is free to explore independently and perhaps find a charming restaurant for dinner. Approx. journey time: 5 hours, 223 miles. Stay: Ocean View Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 7: Campeche to Mérida This morning, travel to Mérida, visiting the pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal en route. Here you’ll witness a different style of architecture – the late-Mayan, ‘Puuc’ style buildings with their smooth, almost rounded walls. Stop for lunch in Uxmal before continuing the journey to the city of Mérida. This evening, enjoy free time in the region’s cultural capital, exploring the enchanting historic colonial centre. Perhaps seek out a fantastic restaurant where you can enjoy dinner and a bar or two and celebrate the final night of your tour, and spend some time soaking up the atmosphere in the city’s main square. Approx. journey time: 4 hours, 140 miles. Stay: Casa del Balam Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 8: Mérida to UK The tour comes to a conclusion at the most famous and popular Mayan site of them all – Chichen Itza. Believed by many to be the most important of the region’s pre-Hispanic cities, this is a fitting end to your exploration of the relics of the Mayan civilisation. Arrive here first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive, and spend your time discovering the ruins of this breathtaking sight. You’ll then travel onward to Cancun where you will catch your flight to the UK, arriving the following day. B.


Stay longer

Mayan Riviera Beaches 3 nights

Featuring some of the best beaches in Mexico, the Mayan Riviera is the perfect spot for a post tour break.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

If you are prepared to travel but are short on time, this itinerary offers a comprehensive exploration of the Yucatan Peninsula’s most iconic sights.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)

• Average group size of 10 guests

• A maximum of 16 guests.

What to expect

• Up to 7 hours a day is spent travelling to the next amazing destination. You should be prepared for extensive travel but it is well worth making this unique journey

• Active days exploring ruins, some of which are set over expansive areas

• Border crossings can be lengthy and waiting times can vary so patience and understanding is required
• A departure tax of approx. 900 Mexican Pesos (US$65) per person is payable locally in cash upon re-entering Mexico from Guatemala.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £335

Is this for you?

If you are prepared to travel but are short on time, this itinerary offers a comprehensive exploration of the Yucatan Peninsula’s most iconic sights.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)

• Average group size of 12 guests

• A maximum of 16 guests.

What to expect

• Up to 7 hours a day is spent travelling to the next amazing destination

• Active days exploring ruins, with some set over expansive areas

• Border crossings can be lengthy and waiting times can vary so patience is required

• A departure tax of approx. US$65 per person is payable locally in cash upon re-entering Mexico from Guatemala. This will be collected by your guide at the start of the tour.

Accommodation on tour

There’s a mix of locally-owned and run haciendas and hotels ideally situated for sightseeing. In Tulum you will spend a night at the all-inclusive Dreams Tulum which is ideally located for a morning visit to the coastal ruins. The Camino Real Tikal sits in a stunning position between a lake and the forest, just a short drive from Tikal National Park; while the hotel in Palenque is just minutes by road from the jungle-clad ruins.

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

Apr 19; May 17; Jun 14; Sep 13; Oct 04, 24; Nov 14

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently

• All specified flights.

Tour dates

2018 Mar 24; Apr 28;  Oct 27; Nov 24

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently

• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £1245 per person.

Mayan Explorer

Why Kuoni?

The opportunity to travel between the Mayan archaeological sites and cities of the Yucatan Peninsula as part of a small group with a knowledgeable local tour leader is a special one. While the distances between destinations may be long, you will have the chance to gain local insight as you travel. And with an average group size of just 10 guests there will be plenty of time to have one-to-one time with the tour leader. 

Why Kuoni?

The opportunity to travel between the Mayan archaeological sites and cities of the Yucatan Peninsula as part of a small group with a knowledgeable local tour leader is a special one. As you make your way between destinations you will have the chance to gain local insight as you travel. And with an average group size of just 12 guests there will be plenty of time to have one-to-one time with the tour leader.

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Escorted Tours 2018