Archaeology is a fundamental part of any visit to Mexico. Due to its rich history, the country presents a myriad of architectural and cultural legacies with traces of settlements that flourished more than 3,000 years ago. You will discover the customs, traditions and history of many ancient cultures such as the Mixtec and Zapotec in the Pacific area; the Totonac and Olmec towards the Gulf; and the Paquime civilisation in the northern region, making it an ideal destination for lovers of the past and the Prehispanic life in Latin America. We advise you to enjoy the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, one of the richest parts of the territory. This is why archaeology in Mexico is one of the most interesting attractions for travellers that arrive at this wonderful destination looking to find out more about the history and traditions and culture of one of America’s richest cultures.
|Day 1 -2||Arrive Palenque. Visit to the archaeological site of Palenque|
|Day 3||Visit Uxmal archaeological site. Overnight in Merida|
|Day 4||Visit Chichen Itza & Cenote tour – overnight in Tulum|
|Day 5||Half day Tulum archaeological site|
|Day 6||Full-day Xcaret Plus ecological theme park|
|Day 7||Depart from Cancun Airport|
Day 1: Arrival Palenque
In the foothills of the Tumbala mountains, the ancient Maya site of Palenque sits on a ledge overlooking the swampy plains that stretch northward all the way to the Gulf coast. Palenque was at its height between 500 and 700 A.D., w hen its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta river. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.
It was the flood plain of the Usumacinta river that most likely provided Palenque’s inhabitants with the resources to construct their extraordinary city. Blessed with the highest average rainfall in Mexico, this fertile alluvial plain could have been successfully farmed with raised beds, and would have produced a harvest that not only could sustain a large workforce but would also have provided an abundance that could be traded along the Usumacinta. It seems that the gods were as enchanted with Palenque as today’s visitors.
Day 2: Visit Palenque archaeological site to Campeche
We will visit the archaeological site of Palenque, a World Heritage Site, located 7km outside of the town of Palenque. Palenque flourished between AD600 and 800, when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta river. The site, surrounded by rainforest where toucans and howler monkeys live, is made up of some 500 buildings spread over 15 sq km, of which only a few have been excavated. We will explore the magnificent ruins, including the Temple of the Inscriptions – the tallest and most stately of Palenque’s buildings, the Temple of the Sun – crowned with a prominent roof comb, The Palace – with its maze of corridors and rooms, and many other beautiful buildings.
Day 3: Visit Uxmal archaeological site to Merida
On the way to Merida, we will visit the archaeological site of Uxmal, a World Heritage Site, located 80km south of Merida. Its architecture is characterized by low horizontal palaces set around courtyards, decorated with a profusion of symbolic motifs and sculptures depicting the long-nosed rain god Chaac. We will explore the magnificent buildings, including the House of the Magician – which dominates the site, the Nunnery, and the House of Turtles.
Day 4: Full-day Chichen-Itza archaeological site to Tulum
We will drive to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, located 120km east of Merida. Chichen Itza – one of the New 7 Wonders of the World – is the best restored of Yucatan’s Mayan sites. We will explore the magnificent ruins set in a dense jungle, including the Pyramid of Kukulcan – its height and striking geometric design dominating the whole site, the Great Ball Court – the largest and most impressive in Mesoamerica, the Sacred Cenote – a natural well used for human sacrifice, and many other beautiful temples. From Chichen Itza we head to the white sandy beaches of the Riviera Maya (approx. 3 ½ hour drive). Pick-up hotel Merida. Drop-off hotel Riviera Maya. Approx. duration 10 hours. Includes lunch.
Day 5: Half-day Tulum archaeological site
We will drive to the archaeological site of Tulum, it is the only walled city the Maya built and the only one by the edge of the ocean. When the Spanish first came upon the site in 1518, they recorded that it was as large as Seville. We will explore the ruins, including the Castle, a beautiful pyramid perched on the edge of a cliff high above the pearl-white beaches below. From here one can see most of the ancient city, as well as a magnificent view of the Caribbean coastline.
Day 6: Full-day Xcaret Plus ecological Theme park and evening show
We will drive to Xcaret, 1 hour south of Cancun. This large theme park was built around the ruins of Pole, a Maya coastal settlement. We can float down the clear waters of the two naturally illuminated subterranean rivers that cross the park (life vest provided). A definite highlight! We can swim with dolphins in a saltwater pool (not included), or admire the park’s animal collection including bats, butterflies and turtles, as well as pumas and jaguars, which are kept on two big islands. We can also visit a recreated Maya village, go snorkeling in one of the lagoons (equipment to be rented on the spot), or simply relax at the beach. Pick-up/drop-off hotel. Approx. duration 10 hours.
Day 7: Depart Tulum
This morning you will be transferred after breakfast from your hotel to the airport in Cancun. Your Mayan Adventure itinerary concludes here.
- Arrival & departures transfers in all cities
- All tours as mentioned in itinerary
- 5 nights accommodation in 3*Hotels – Breakfast included
- Price based on two adults travelling together.
- International and internal flights
- Items of personal nature
- Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
- Tips to Drivers, guides and Porters
Travel Just 4U has competitive South America Flights to get you to the starting point of your chosen Holiday. Contact one of our Travel Consultants for a full quotation including airfares, stopovers and any additional travel you wish to organize.