From beach to jungle to beach again, explore the ruins, waters and jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula on this eight-day adventure.

Adventure across the Yucatan Peninsula from paradisiacal beaches to the dense jungle. Lose yourself among ancient Maya ruins and bustling street markets before finding yourself in clear coastal waters and turquoise lagoons. Learn about the Maya culture in colonial Merida and explore their lost cities then take the plunge in Bacalar, a laid-back lake town famous for its ever-changing shades of blue water. Thousands of years of history mixed with a modern, laid-back lifestyle means Mexico, and the Yucatan in particular, should be high on everyone’s bucket list.

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Terms & Conditions

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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover the lost Maya city of Chichen Itza, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World

  • Sip margaritas and try local specialties in Merida, Yucatan’s charming colonial capital

  • Dip your toe in warm oceans, deep blue cenotes and expansive lagoons

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.

  • There are a few long days of travel, as you'll be covering a lot of ground. You will, however, make stops at interesting locations to break up the longer drives.

  • 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.

  • Due to increased activity by the Zapatista movement in the region around Palenque, some changes to your itinerary may be necessary for your safety.

Itinerary

Bienvenido, amigos! Meet your leader and fellow travellers at 6 pm before tucking into some Mexican magic for dinner. Playa del Carmen is popular resort town famed for its coral reef and sparkling warm waters, so feel free to arrive early and kick back with a book, take a stroll along the white sands or go for a dip before the welcome meeting.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Depart early by private minivan towards Merida, learning some Spanish from your leader on the way and stopping 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 and dominated by the Temple of Kukulkan, or El Castillo, a Mesoamerican step-pyramid. Continue on to Merida, where your leader will take you on an orientation walk upon arrival. Founded in 1542, Merida is the capital of the Yucatan region and retains so much of its old-world charm. Wander the streets and take in the colonial buildings, learn about the town’s Maya heritage and don’t forget to visit Mercado 60, a buzzing food market with international and local fare, margaritas and live music.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
  • Merida - Orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take today to explore the many sights of Merida. Your leader will have some good recommendations and there are several museums including the Regional Museum of Yucatan, located in the stunning Palacio Canton. Chill out in the shady Plaza Grande, surrounded by the 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, the State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo, or stroll through the outdoor markets selling hammocks, Maya replicas and mouth-watering local food including cochinita pibil, a Yucatan specialty. There’s also the option of visiting the Celestun Bird Sanctuary where, depending on the season, you can catch a flamboyance of flamingos painting pink streaks across the landscape. 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 live music and dancing.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Celestun Bird Sanctuary (Entrance and Transport) - MXN1035
  • Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. shared transport and guide) - MXN810
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll transfer five hours to Calakmul by private vehicle and have dinner at the hotel. There’s no town centre in Calakmul as it’s a remote archaeological site located deep in the jungle.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Visit the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve to explore the incredible Maya site. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is part of the largest area of tropical forest after the Amazon and played an important role in the region’s history for over 1200 years. The well-preserved structures are surrounded by thick jungle teeming with exotic creatures and you’ll have time to explore this lost city for yourself once the tour finishes.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Calakmul Biosphere Reserve - Archaeological site (Entrance fee & Transport)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Transfer 2.5 hours to the laid-back town of Bacalar. Stop at Cenote Azul on the way, a beautiful fresh-water rockpool, and swim in the perfect blue water while marvelling at the stalactites and stalagmites. Or are they stalagmites and stalactites? Continue to Bacalar, also known as the Lake of Seven Colours thanks to the various stunning shades of blue it adopts throughout the day. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk around town then the evening is free for you to do as you wish. Cerveza, anyone?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cenote Azul - Natural rock pool with option to swim (Entrance fee & Transport)
  • Bacalar - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free morning relaxing around the lake before taking a taxi to the bus station to board a public bus to Tulum. Keep working on that Spanish with the locals, then take an orientation walk with your leader on arrival. This is your last evening so maybe plan a farewell dinner with your group at one of Tulum’s many bars or restaurants, and there may also be time to fit in a visit to another cenote or Tulum’s Maya ruins.
Included Activities
  • Tulum - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh water rock pool (Entrance fee with snorkelling gear included) - MXN350
  • Tulum - Archaeological Site (Entrance fee) - MXN65
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your trips ends this morning after breakfast, but that’s no reason to stop exploring. Tulum is famous for its crystal water, snorkeling and diving, ancient ruins and general magnificence, so no-one can blame you for wanting to stick around for a few more days.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

4 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
  • Merida - Orientation walk
  • Calakmul Biosphere Reserve - Archaeological site (Entrance fee & Transport)
  • Cenote Azul - Natural rock pool with option to swim (Entrance fee & Transport)
  • Bacalar - Orientation walk
  • Tulum - Orientation walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
3. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

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.