Map of Yucatan Peninsula Adventure including Mexico

Ancient ruins, colourful cities and natural wonders in eastern Mexico.

From tropical beaches and colourful old cities to spectacular ancient ruins, the Yucatan Peninsula’s draws are many and varied. Learn more about the lives of mysterious civilisations at the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza and Uxmal; try traditional cuisine and get cultured in the likes of Merida and Campeche; and bathe in the crystal clear waters of hidden cenotes and pristine beaches.

Thousands of years of history mixed with a modern, laidback lifestyle means Mexico, and the Yucatan in particular, should be high on everyone’s bucket list.


Start
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Finish
Tulum, Mexico
Destination
Mexico
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
QBSY
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Kick back and relax in the lakeside town of Bacalar, known for its deep blue cenote and aquamarine lagoon.

  • Escape the crowds and take a refreshing dip at Yaxunah, a lesser-known cenote in the heart of the Yucatan managed by the local Maya community.

  • Travel to Sian Kaʼan Biosphere Reserve, where you’ll explore the Maya site of Muyil. Unlike many of Mexico’s well-known ruins, most of these ancient temples are shaded by lush forest.

  • Experience Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Your tour of the ancient ruins includes a visit to the nearby Piste community and a traditional lunch.

  • Sip zingy margaritas, munch on local cuisine and soak up as much culture and history as you can in Merida, Yucatan’s charismatic capital.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Some included activities, such as guided tours of archaeological sites, can be quite strenuous. Be sure to bring suitably sturdy footwear.

  • The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours. There will of course be plenty of chances to swim!

  • It's a good idea to learn as many Spanish words as you can. Locals are very friendly, but can be shy, so you'll need to make an effort to break the ice. It's a great way to show respect and involve yourself in their culture.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2020 itinerary
Hola! Welcome to Playa del Carmen, a popular resort town famed for its coral reef and sparkling warm waters. You’ll meet your leader and fellow travellers at an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, why not spend the day lounging on the beach with a good book? Once the introductions are out of the way, experience your first Mexican meal of the trip at an optional dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Depart early, travelling by private vehicle towards Merida, learning some Spanish phrases from your leader on the way. You’ll stop at Chichen Itza, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, for a guided tour. This is perhaps the most famous Maya site in Mexico, dominated by the Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo), a Mesoamerican step-pyramid. After your tour, visit the local Piste community, a short drive from the archaeological site. You’ll spend time with the locals – perhaps trying out some of your Spanish – while sampling traditional Yucatecan cuisine.

Upon arrival in Merida – the charming capital of the Yucatan region – get your bearings on an orientation walk with your leader. Wander the centuries-old streets and take in the grand buildings, learn about the town’s Maya heritage and swing by Mercado 60: a buzzing food market with great margaritas and live music.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
  • Piste - Traditional Maya Family Lunch
  • Merida - Leader-led orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 4.5 hours.
Today you will have the chance to take a cooling dip in one of the region’s lesser-known cenotes: Yaxunah. By visiting this sparkling natural pool you’ll be supporting the local Mayan community.

The rest of the day is free for you to explore the many sights of Merida. You could visit the Regional Museum of Yucatan, located within the pretty Palacio Canton; chill out in the shady Plaza Grande, admiring the 16th-century cathedral; or seek out slow-roasted, citrus-marinated pork dish and Yucatan speciality, cochinita pibil. Alternatively, you could take a trip to Rio Lagartos to spot flamingos and other wildlife among the mangroves – ask your leader for more recommendations.

Merida is a people-pleaser when it comes to nightlife and has something for all tastes, whether you’re after a low-key bar, cultural show or some live music and dancing. But be warned: there is an early start tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Merida - Yaxunah Cenote
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Regional Museum of Yucatan - MXN60
  • Merida – Rio Lagartos (entrance and transport) - MXN1300
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave the city of Merida behind at around 8 am and drive to one of Mexico's best-preserved Maya sites, Uxmal. Spend two hours exploring the ruins with your leader – see the impressive so-called Pyramid of the Magician, marvel at the decorative details of the Governor’s Palace and take the opportunity to climb one of the pyramids for astounding views of the surrounding area. You’ll tuck into an included lunch in nearby Santa Elena, before travelling to the coast to spend the night in Campeche, a seaside town with photogenic streets lined with multi-coloured low-rise buildings. Your leader will take you out for a short orientation walk before leaving you to explore and dine as you wish – you’ll find good seafood almost anywhere, and other decent restaurants at Portales de San Martin.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Campeche - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Merida - Uxmal Ruins (Entrance Fee)
Optional Activities
  • Campeche - San Miguel Fort (Entrance Fee) - MXN60
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 3.5 hours.
Rise and shine for the long cross-peninsular drive to Bacalar today. Bacalar is said to be the first settlement of the Itza tribe, who would go on to create Chichen Itza. Today it’s a quiet spot to sit back, relax and take in the surrounding nature. Once you're there, take a short leader-led orientation walk to get your bearings, followed by a free afternoon and evening to relax after a long travel day. Cerveza, anyone?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bacalar - Leader-led orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 7.5 hours.
Today, take some time to chill out in relaxed riverside Bacalcar. You’ll have a free day to do as you please. Perhaps a relax on the banks of the lake or a swim are in order? Bacalar is known for its Lake of Seven Colours – thanks to the various stunning shades of blue it adopts throughout the day. There’s also the option to visit Cenote Azul today: a beautiful fresh water rockpool, perfect for swimming. The sparkling blue water and stalactites and stalagmites in the cave are a sight to behold.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cenote Azul - Natural rock pool with option to swim (Entrance fee & Transport) - MXN25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free morning relaxing around Balacar’s lake before heading in a private vehicle towards Tulum. Not far from town, you will stop for a couple of hours at the underrated Muyil ruins, within the Sian Kaʼan Biosphere Reserve, where you can also sail or swim in the clear fresh waters of a Mayan canal lined with mangroves. A short drive later, you’ll arrive in Tulum for your final stop. Take an orientation walk with your leader to learn your way around. There may be time to fit in a visit to another cenote or Tulum’s Maya ruins, or otherwise, find a bar to keep working on that Spanish with the locals. Later, you might like to share an optional final meal with the group to say farewell and ‘salud’ to Mexico.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Muyil - Archaeological site (Entrance fee)
  • Muyil - River Boat Tour
  • Tulum - Leader-led orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh Water Rock Pool (entrance fee with snorkelling gear & life jacket included) - MXN550
  • Tulum - Archaeological Site (entrance fee, no guide) - MXN85
  • Tulum- Bike rental - MXN250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 3 hours.
After breakfast, there are no activities planned for the day, but that’s no reason to stop exploring. Tulum is famous for its turquoise water, snorkelling spots, ancient ruins and general magnificence, so no-one can blame you for wanting to stick around for a few more days. If you would like to spend some more time in Tulum, let us know in advance and we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
  • Piste - Traditional Maya Family Lunch
  • Merida - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Merida - Yaxunah Cenote
  • Campeche - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Merida - Uxmal Ruins (Entrance Fee)
  • Bacalar - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Muyil - Archaeological site (Entrance fee)
  • Muyil - River Boat Tour
  • Tulum - Leader-led orientation walk

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Yucatan Peninsula Adventure trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1 in Playa del Carmen. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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