Travel from picturesque Playa del Carmen through to tranquil Tulum on a Yucatan adventure to remember

Whisk yourself away to a slice of Mexican paradise on this adventure, taking you to sunny beaches, lush forests, lost ruins and colonial townships along the way. Discover the culture and the history of the Maya at the temples of Chichen Itza, Xel-ha and Coba; take a dip in the turquoise waters in the cave at Xkeken; sunbake on the beach by Tulum and watch the flamingos paint the sky pink at the Celestun Bird Sanctuary as you experience the best that the Yucatan region has to offer.


Start
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Finish
Tulum, Mexico
Country
Mexico
Style
Comfort
Theme
Family
Code
QMFA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Explore Mexico's amazing Yucatan Peninsula

  • Revel in the beach vibe of Playa del Carmen

  • Explore incredible Maya pyramids at Chichen Itza

  • Discover the colonial history of charming Merida. Loaf around in leafy

  • plazas, get cultural at a museum or just stroll the city streets which are alive with art and culture.

  • Swim in the crystal clear, azure water in the limestone cambers outside of Valladoliod.

  • Bask in the tranquility and seclusion of the seaside town of Tulum, and explore the archeological site of Coba by bike

Is this trip right for you?

  • Mexico's climate is sultry and tropical, so can get really hot and humid. Wear loose clothing and always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours.

  • Try to learn as many Spanish words as you can. Locals are very friendly, but also shy, so you'll need to make plenty of effort to break the ice. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.

Itinerary

Welcome to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Today is an arrival day while all the families in the group fly in from around the world. While the adventure formally begins tomorrow, tonight you’re encouraged to attend a pre-trip meeting with your leader and other members of the group. More details on this meeting can be found at hotel reception. After saying a quick hello to your group, consider going out for an optional dinner at a nearby restaurant.

If you’ve arrived early and have some time to kill, there’s plenty to see and do in Playa del Carmen. Consider spending some time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving into underground caverns or strolling along the white sandy beaches. For an adventure further afield, consider taking a ferry across to Cozumel and enjoying some of the famous reef diving it has to offer.
Accommodation
  • Hacienda Paradise Boutique Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel - USD28
  • Playa del Carmen - Dos Ojos Cenote snorkelling entrance fee - MXN200
  • Playa del Carmen - Bike rental (per day) - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Begin travelling towards Merida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yutacan. En route, take a stop off at Chichen Itza, possibly the most famous Maya temple site in all of Mexico. Marvel at the temple of Kukulkan standing high over the ruins, then explore the nearby ‘ball court’. Disputes were typically settled here by way of a ball game that only used the elbows, hips and wrists – stone carvings depicting violence suggest that it wasn’t a casual or friendly sport. After a guided tour of the site, get back on the bus and continue to Merida.

Merida has a rich Maya and colonial heritage, serving as a bridge between two very different cultures. The city’s focal point is the Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortress-like Merida Cathedral and the white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden; both colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Maya temples. Once you check in to the hotel, explore this colourful city at your own pace.
Accommodation
  • Mision de Fray Diego or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chichen Itza Ruins - Entrance & Guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After waking up and enjoying your breakfast, head out on a half day tour of Sotuta de Peon. Built in the late 1800s, this large estate or hacienda is a restoration project of a landmark located deep in the heart of what was once an ancient henequen plantation. You’ll get a true glimpse into the historical practices, styles and traditions of this period before heading back to Merida for the afternoon.

With a free afternoon at your disposal, perhaps consider visiting the impressive Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan or strolling the city streets to soak in the arts and culture. Spend some time relaxing in the green and shady Plaza Grande with the 16th-century cathedral sitting on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the other.
Accommodation
  • Mision de Fray Diego or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Merida - Hacienda Sotuta de Peon half-day tour
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Guided city tour - USD15
  • Merida - Contemporary Art Museum - USD5
  • Merida - Dzibilchaltun Ruins tour - USD70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
In the morning travel west to the coast before taking a boat ride to visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary and Biosphere reserve, home to vast flocks of flamingos, herons and more than 200 different bird species. Near the extensive beaches lined with coconut trees, you’re likely to be able to witness the magnificent sight of thousands of flamingos painting a pink streak across the landscape.

Once you return to Merida, you’ll have some free time to relax. Perhaps take a swim in the hotel pool or embark on one last walk around the town.
Accommodation
  • Mision de Fray Diego or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Merida - Celestun Biosphere Reserve tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Say farewell to Merida and continue on to Valladolid, a cosy city with plenty of influence, beauty and hospitality. On the way, stop off at the Xkeken Tourstation and Jungle Park, a spacious limestone chamber with a shimmering turquoise pool. The water is easily accessible (not to mention beautiful) and offers great a great place to hide from the heat, along with excellent swimming and snorkelling opportunities. Intricate stalactites hang from the ceilings, interspersed with piercing rays of sunlight creating a one of a kind aesthetic you’ll never forget.

After drying off and travelling onwards, arriving in Valladolid. Once you’ve checked into the hotel, enjoy a guided walking tour around the town’s charming colonial era churches and architecture.
Accommodation
  • Meson del Marques or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Valladolid - Walking tour
  • Valladolid - Xkeken Tourstation and Jungle Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a short drive towards the beautiful coastal town of Tulum – a place of gorgeous seas, blindingly bright sand and ancient ruins. Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya and stood at the height of its progress during the 13th and 15th centuries. It offers a perfect combination of total relaxation, tranquillity and seclusion, yet you can easily run out of time just by engaging with the interesting activities in the area.

Once you check in to your hotel, the day is yours for exploration. Either spend some time catching the sun by the hotel pool, check out the impressive ancient ruins of Xel-Ha Tulum or go for a swim in the pristine waters at the beach.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Posada 06 or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tulum - Bike rental (per day) - USD10
  • Tulum - Archaeological site visit - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel outside of Tulum and head towards Coba, the highest archaeological site in the Yucatan region. These huge ruins sit within thick jungle next to two lagoons, and were believed to have been significantly important to the Maya who resided here. The design and purpose of the settlement was very different from other Maya cities, mainly because it housed various settlements in a single area. Once arriving at Coba, we take a leisurely bike ride around the ruins, learning more about ancient Maya culture along the way. The ride takes 1.5hours.

Heading back to our hotel its time to relax, swim, shop and eat some delicious food before the trip comes to an end tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Posada 06 or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tulum – Coba Archaeological site bike tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today marks the final day of this Mexico adventure and you’re free to depart with your family at any time. If you want another day by the beach, consider booking additional accommodation. Alternatively, the airport in Cancun is a 2-hour drive away and we can pre-book a departure transfer for you and your family.
Accommodation
  • Hostel Posada 06 or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Minivan

Accommodation

Hotels (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Chichen Itza Ruins - Entrance & Guided tour
  • Merida - Hacienda Sotuta de Peon half-day tour
  • Merida - Celestun Biosphere Reserve tour
  • Valladolid - Walking tour
  • Valladolid - Xkeken Tourstation and Jungle Park
  • Tulum – Coba Archaeological site bike tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 4.
A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at the time of travel.

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.