Arrive into Cancun at the Mayan Riviera at (TBC) and be transferred directly to your airport hotel. All over Mexico history has left a legacy of majestic archaeological zones to mankind, some of which date back 3,000 years to the Mesoamerican civilizations. While touring the Yucatan peninsula you will learn more about the rituals, customs, traditions, architecture, and astronomy of this fascinating civilization and visit some of the most important sites. Take a taxi to Cancun’s hotel zone to explore the beach and the numerous shops and restaurants or simply enjoy the amenities of your hotel resting up for your next day's archaeological adventures.
GROUND TRANSPORT: Pick up from Cancun Int. Airport by the hotel’s shuttle service and transfer to your hotel (approx. 5 min. drive) - Please look for the driver with the “Courtyard by Marriott Cancun” sign.
You will start your exciting Yucatan tour at 8:00 a.m. with a two-hour-drive along the Mexican coast to the beautiful site of Tulum, one of the main cities that the Mayans built near the ocean. Currently it is a national park with an expanse of 644 hectares (1,590 acres). The ruins stretch 6 km (3.5 mi) along the coast, and the grounds include lodging facilities, a modern mall with Mayan-like architecture and designs, and several restaurants where you can enjoy the region's traditional cuisine. You will have time to have lunch before the drive continues directly to Chichen Itza (approx. 3 hrs away). Spend the afternoon/evening enjoying the tropical landscape surrounding your hotel and the view of the impressive Mayan ruins in the jungle.
GROUND TRANSPORT: Pick up from your hotel in Cancun at 8:00 a.m. for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to Tulum (approx. 2 hrs) and afterwards to your hotel in Chichen Itza (approx. 3 hrs drive).
TULUM TOUR: At the ruins of Tulum your private bilingual guide will await you to take you on an interesting tour of these Mayan ruins. Entrance fees included.
Today your private guide will pick you up at your hotel at 9:00 am and take you to explore the ruins of Chichen Itza, just steps from your hotel. Considered one of the most important capitals of the Mayan culture, here you can admire spectacular constructions such as El Castillo (The Castle) and the Kukulcan Temple, El Observatorio (The Observatory), the Caracol and the largest ball court discovered in the Mesoamerican region. Return around lunch time to the hotel and depart at 3:00 pm for your 1.5 hour-drive onwards to Merida. Founded upon the ruins of the Mayan city T’ho, which was constructed with white limestone and means "Face of Infinity," Merida is known today as the White City. It has beautiful and solidly built colonial buildings that house the city’s history, art, traditions and culture. Spend the evening enjoying this charming colonial town.
CHICHEN ITZA TOUR: 9:00 am departure from your hotel with expert bilingual guide for a half-day tour including entrance fees.
GROUND TRANSPORT: 3:00 pm pick up from Hotel in Chichen Itza for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to Merida (1.5 hour drive)
Free day to enjoy the many attractions Merida has to offer. No matter what day of the week you arrive in Merida, every day hosts an event for locals where you can participate and experience what the locals enjoy every week of the year. We recommend a visit of the Museum of Anthropology and the Street Sculptures on Paseo Montejo or just sit down in a café and soak in the atmosphere. The concierge at your hotel will be happy to make recommendations. You can also take part in one of our recommended day tours from Merida, like a visit to the Celestun National Park, the ruins of Uxmal and Kabah, or a Merida City Tour.
Depart from Merida at 10:00 am for a drive south to Campeche (approx. 2.5 hrs). Arrive at Campeche around lunch time. Enjoy a free afternoon/evening taking a walk along the Historic Center’s cobblestone streets, where you’ll see a wide variety of stores, restaurants, bars and cafes, or stroll down the beautiful 3.5 km (2 mi) boardwalk, which leads to a tourist walkway, parks and a bicycle track. Of course you can also take part in one of our optional excursions, please visit our Campeche Day Tours Page for more information. At night, don’t miss the fascinating light and sound show at the Fort of San Jose El Alto (Tue, Fri & Sat only).
GROUND TRANSPORT: 10:00 am pick up from Hotel in Merida for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to Campeche (2.5 hour drive)
Today your private driver will pick you up at 9:00 am and take you to Mexico’s Chiapas region. You will arrive at your hotel in Palenque at approx. 2:00 pm. Palenque features amazing temples and structures dating back to Mexico’s Classic era (from 400-700 AD). In the ruins’ surrounding areas, you can go hiking amongst dense jungle vegetation while appreciating the abundance of plant and animal species that inhabit the Palenque National Park. Spend the late afternoon relaxing, sun bathing, swimming, hiking and much more... Please visit our Palenque Day Tours Page for some recommendations.
GROUND TRANSPORT: 9:00 am pick up from Hotel in Campeche for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to Palenque (approx. 5 hour drive) LODGING: 2 nights - 1 Deluxe Room - Hotel Villa Mercedes Palenque
At 8:00 am in the morning your private guide and driver will meet you at the hotel reception to visit the Mayan ruins of Palenque, a significant archaeological site, although to this day only a few of its 500 buildings have been excavated. We will discover some of the marvels left behind by the ancient empire: canalizations, pyramids, and administration buildings. You will stop at a restaurant where you can have lunch before the tour continues along a long and winding road across the tropical jungle of the Chiapas mountains to the Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls. Because of its abundant vegetation and its impressive waterfalls, which are formed from the water flow of the Tulija River, Agua Azul was declared a national park in 1980. Here you can appreciate an abundance of flora and fauna in a natural habitat full of mahogany, cedar and sapodilla trees, as well as birds, insects and small mammals. Arrive back to your hotel in Palenque around 7:00 pm and spend the evening relaxing to the sounds of the teeming jungle.
PALENQUE RUINS & WATERFALLS TOUR: 8:00 am departure from Hotel in Palenque for an all day Palenque ruins, Misol-Ha & Agua Azul waterfalls tour with expert bilingual guide, entrance fees and transportation. Duration approx. 11 hours.
Be picked up at your hotel at 10:00 am for your 4 hour drive to the lovely city of San Cristobal de las Casas. San Cristobal is a classic Spanish Colonial town with a lively and celebrated Indigenous heart. It is a city of cobblestone lanes, red tile roofs, opulent churches and small tree-filled plazas. Long, straight streets ramble up and down several rolling hills that spread outward from the city's main plaza. In contrast to the heat and humidity of the Yucatan region and Palenque, the city's cool mountain air (altitude is nearly 7,000 feet / 2,100 meters) is invigorating and refreshing. Enjoy a free afternoon/evening of strolling along the narrow streets, fine dining, or relaxing at one of the many charming pubs.
GROUND TRANSPORT: 10:00 am pick up from Hotel in Palenque for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to San Cristobal de las Casas (4 hour drive)
Free Day in San Cristobal de las Casas - Here you may choose to explore the city’s architectural sights, museums, and traditional barrios (neighborhoods) that trace their roots to the old custom of trades, candle makers, blacksmiths, carpenters and fireworks makers, giving each barrio a special magic in a colorful quilt-like quality; visit some of the many traditional Indigenous villages nearby; or take a tour to one of the natural highlights of the region like the impressive Sumidero canyon or the large caves at the Rancho Nuevo Ecological Reserve. For mores ideas of what this pretty town and its surrounding areas have to offer, please click here and visit our Recommended Tours Page.
Depart San Cristobal at 9:00 am for a panoramic drive to the Mexican/Guatemalan border and through the Guatemalan Highlands to Lake Atitlan. (Please note: Your private transporters will change at the border. Your Mexican driver will help with the border crossing formalities.) Arrive in the early evening into breathtaking Lake Atitlan, a deep-blue volcanic crater lake surrounded by three picture perfect volcanoes and the colorful Maya villages resting on its shores. Described as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world by late British author Aldous Huxley, it is definitely one of Guatemala’s most spectacular natural attractions. Spend the evening visiting the lake side village of Panajachel, or simply relax in your deluxe lake side hotel.
GROUND TRANSPORT: 9:00 am pick up from Hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to the Mexican/Guatemalan border at La Mesilla and onwards to Lake Atitlan (approx. 8 hour drive) – Please note your private transporters will change at the border. Your Mexican driver will help with the border crossing formalities. Your new driver will await you on the Guatemalan side with a Tropical Discovery sign and your name on it.
Take a private boat tour to some of the many lake side villages around Lake Atitlan. Your lanchero (boat driver) will pick you up from your hotel and take you by boat to two of the Indigenous villages along the shore of the lake. We recommend visiting Santiago de Atitlan, San Juan La Laguna, or San Antonio Palopo. Your guide will share many insights on local customs and traditions with you. Enjoy the spectacular scenery the lake has to offer and learn more about the villagers, whose traditional costumes still vary from one village to the other, as well as their history. Should you like to go for a swim we can stop at Playa Dorada close to the village of San Pedro or take you to the hot springs close to St. Catarina Palopo. We recommend having lunch in Santiago Atitlan at the Restaurante El Pescador or, on your way back, at the beautiful Hotel Casa Palopo in St. Catarina Palopo. For an idea of what this amazing lake has to offer, please click here
VILLAGES BOAT TOUR: Your lanchero (boat driver) will pick you up from your hotel at 9:00 am and take you by two of the Indian villages along the shore of the lake. Includes private boat, driver & fuel.
Enjoy breakfast overlooking breathtaking Lake Atitlan. Be picked up at hotel at 11:00 am for your private transfer to Antigua. On the way, we could stop at Iximche, the late Post-Classic Maya ruins ruled by the Kaqchikel in the 15th century until its burning by the Spanish in 1526. A quick stop for lunch or coffee at the lovely café Katuk is always a nice option. Arrive in Antigua in the early afternoon and enjoy your afternoon of shopping and sight seeing, and a romantic evening nestled amongst volcanoes and colonial splendor. * RECOMMENDATION: Should this day be a Thursday or Sunday you can also opt for a detour to visit the mystical city of Chichicastenango. The city is located at 2500 meters above sea level and is famous for its market on Thursdays & Sundays. Spats of traditionally dressed villagers in a kaleidoscope of colors come to sell their very colorful textiles, fruits, vegetables and flowers here.
GROUND TRANSPORT: 11:00 am pick up from Hotel in Atitlan for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to Antigua (3 hour drive); optional stop at Iximche
Free day to tour the magical colonial village of La Antigua. To get a first impression we recommend a private 3 hour guided walking tour of La Antigua, with an expert guide who will share with you the many wonders of this city, once the third most important Spanish colony in the Americas & home to more than 30 monastic orders, stunning monasteries, convents and cathedrals from the Spanish colonial days. The tour consists of an informative walk behind the walls of this colonial capital, focusing on cultural trends, city history, restoration efforts and the city today. However, there are also a lot of other activities to choose from. Just have a look at our Tours from Antigua page for some ideas on how to spend your perfect vacations.
Pick up at 8:00 am from your hotel in Antigua and departure in private air conditioned mini bus for breathtaking Rio Dulce on the Caribbean coast (5 hr drive approx.) Optional stop en route to visit the famous Quirigua Ruins, where you will see the largest Stele in the Mayan World - a true marvel and a must visit. Make a quick stop for lunch or a snack and arrive in Rio Dulce and at your lake side hotel in the early afternoon. Spend the late afternoon relaxing, sun bathing, kayaking, swimming, water biking and much more... For more on what to do in the breathtaking Caribbean coast of Rio Dulce, please click here and visit our Recommended Tours Page.
GROUND TRANSPORT: 8:00 am pick up from hotel for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to Rio Dulce (5hr drive approx) – optional stop at Quirigua
After a hearty breakfast, our "lanchero" (boat driver) will pick you up at 9:00 am to take you on a cruise through the Rio Dulce canals and lagoons for a closer view of this region's impressive water flora and fauna. Closer to the Caribbean coast, you will go through the amazing Rio Dulce canyon, a truly awe inspiring experience. Later arrive at the Caribbean coast of Guatemala and its celebrated town of Livingston, a lively Afro-Caribbean town populated by mostly Garifuna blacks whose origin and culture stems from escaped West African slaves. This town feels more like Jamaica than any town in Guatemala, where brightly colored houses are common and reggae melodies mixed with Latin sounds are heard throughout. Tour this charming town, have lunch at the Tucan Dugu restaurant or any of the many other side walk cafes & restaurants. Return in the late afternoon to enjoy an evening dinner, have some fun and relax under the Caribbean stars. (Tour Time: 5-7 hours approx.)
CARIBBEAN TOUR: Rio Dulce Canyons, Canals & Livingston - Pick up from hotel at 9:00 am - Price includes private boat with driver and fuel
Pick up at 10:00 am at hotel in private air conditioned mini van for ground transfer to the mystical region of Peten (picturesque 3.5 hr drive.) Be transported directly to your lake side deluxe eco lodge for relaxing afternoon lake side, swimming, sun bathing, kayaking, etc. You may also opt for an afternoon visit to the charming town of Flores (approx. 45 min. from your hotel), a tour of the romantic ruins of Yaxha, a hike in the jungle, or one of the many other possible Activities the Peten region has to offer. Please visit our Recommended Tours Page for more details. Spend the evening relaxing to the sounds of the teeming Peten Jungle and Lake Peten Itza. Rest up and get ready for an awe inspiring day of archaeology.
GROUND TRANSPORT: 10:00 am pick up from hotel in Rio Dulce for private ground transfer to La Lancha on Lake Peten Itza (3.5 hr drive.)
LODGING: 2 nights - 1 Rainforest Casita with continental breakfast - La Lancha Resort
After breakfast, your private guide and transport will pick you up at your hotel at 9:00 am and take you to explore Tikal, one of the largest and most magnificent Mayan archaeological cities in existence, which in its heyday (c. 700 AD,) was the capital of a vast Mayan empire. Your expert guide will share many insights on this Mayan city and provide a feel for the mysteries of this ancient culture. Have lunch in the midst of Mayan ruins and breathtaking flora and fauna; return in the late afternoon and spend the evening relaxing lake side, or opt for a visit & possibly dinner in the lovely town of Flores, the capital of the Peten region.
TIKAL TOUR: 9:00 am departure from Hotel in Peten for Tikal ruins with expert guide for an all day guided tour, complete with lunch (without beverages), entrance fees and transportation.
Today your hotel transporters will take you around 8:30 am to Flores Airport for your 11:25 am flight to Cancun. Your private driver will pick you up from Cancun Airport at 2:15 pm to take you to Mexico’s Mayan Riviera on Yucatan’s Caribbean Coast where turquoise-blue water and white-sand beaches await. During your stay in this tropical paradise, you can do water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, parachuting, and sailing, or other activities. Enjoy your free afternoon at the beach and prepare for a spectacular sunset with a fresh fruit juice or a cocktail in your hand.
GROUND TRANSPORT: Your private transporters will take you around 8:30 am to Flores Airport; approx. 45 min drive.
AIR TRANSPORT: Take the 11:25 am TACA flight from Flores to Cancun; approx. 1:50 hr flight time
GROUND TRANSPORT: Pick up from Cancun Airport at 2:15 pm for private transfer in deluxe air conditioned mini van or SUV to the Mayan Riviera; approx. 1 hr drive
LODGING: 3 nights - 1 standard double room - Hotel Azul Fives
Azul Fives Hotel, is strategically located in Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya, Mexico, just 35 minutes south of Cancun International Airport. This enviable location allows guests to experience the charming restaurants, shops and local attractions of downtown Playa del Carmen located just 10-minutes away. Warm, semi-tropical weather with an annual average temperature of 26ºC is one of the features that has made the Riviera Maya one of the most famous destinations worldwide. Playa del Carmen has all the services one can expect from a Caribbean destination: Gourmet restaurants offering local and international cuisine, cultural activities, shopping, and first-class sports facilities. La Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), the main pedestrian walkway, provides an abundance of dining and fun options, making it a favorite spot for meeting, after you've enjoyed the beach and jungle trips, with a nightlife that goes on until dawn.
Another free day to enjoy the Mayan Riviera with its splendid beaches and the pool and amenities of your deluxe hotel. The friendly and knowledgeable staff of your hotel can help you organize a variety of water sports or excursions, for example to one of the incredible natural aquatic theme parks this region offers its visitors, like Xel-Ha. Meaning "place where water is born," Xel-Ha is one of the most magical spots of the Riviera Maya. It is an incredible "natural aquarium" where the ocean combines with the freshwater currents of springs and underground rivers, forming a fascinating ecosystem. This stunning creation of nature is surrounded by thick jungle, caves, cenotes, and even a couple of small archaeological sites, a snorkeling paradise. The park is the perfect habitat for all forms of flora, fauna, and marine life.
Last free morning to enjoy the many wonders of this region or buy some presents for the beloved ones at home. Your private driver will pick you up at (TBC) for your 1-hour-drive to Cancun International Airport for your departure flight home.
GROUND TRANSPORT: Your private driver will pick you up at (TBC) and take you to Cancun International Airport (1 hr drive approx.).
• All Taxes • Ground transfers in air-conditioned vehicle • Domestic flights, accommodation, tours and meals as per itinerary
• International flights • Passport and visa fees • All items not specifically shown as included in package • Travel & cancellation insurance (highly recommended, please click here for more info. • Gratuities (recommended 10% for transporters)
• Prices nor availability or rooms or booking are guaranteed until payment is received • Payments accepted via Wire Transfer, Check or Credit Card • A deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking. The balance is due 45 days prior to arrival date (60 days for Christmas/New Year and Easter reservations) • Cancellations must be made in writing 45 days prior to arrival date (60 days for Christmas/New Year and Easter reservations) for full refund, subject to any cancellation fees that may be charged by the hotel and the administrative fee identified herein below. If cancellations are not made in writing within 45 days (60 days for Christmas/New Year and Easter reservations), penalties may be equal to the total invoiced amount (hotel terms will apply.) • All cancellations received at any time will be charged a minimum $100 US administrative fee • Airline tickets are non-refundable once deposit is received (airline terms apply)
• Prices based on low season rates. Final pricing details provided upon booking • Please note all our tours are private; we can customize this tour to meet your specific choice of hotels, tours of interest, number of days, budget, etc • Tropical Discovery is a Bonded Florida Seller of Travel (Reg. #ST35634) and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Please find below extensive information on the areas you will be visiting on this tour. By clicking on each of the links or the images, you will arrive at a new page with loads of additional information to help you familiarize yourself with the area and its amenities.
Day 1 – CANCUN / RIVIERA MAYA
The Mayan Riviera, located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, offers the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea, top-notch tourist resorts, white-sand beaches, marvelous ecological reserves and ancient Mayan ruins, e.g. Tulum. During your stay, you can do water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, parachuting, or sailing, or you can visit one of the main tourist destinations like Cancun and Playa del Carmen for some shopping and nightlife.
Considered one of the most important capitals of Mayan culture, at Chichen Itza you can admire spectacular constructions such as El Castillo (The Castle) and the Kukulcan Temple, El Observatorio (The Observatory), the Caracol and the largest ball court discovered in the Mesoamerican region. There is also the Sagrado sinkhole, which is 30 meters (100 feet) wide in diameter. Most Chichen Itza hotels are just steps away from the archaeological site and make it easy to imagine what life must have been like for the first discoverers coming to this breathtaking region.
Founded upon the ruins of the Mayan city T’ho, which was constructed with white limestone and means "Face of Infinity," Merida is known today as the White City. It has beautiful and solidly built colonial buildings that house the city’s history, art, traditions, and culture. With Merida as your base you can also explore the natural beauty of the Celestun National Park or visit one of the amazing archaeological sites of the Mayas not far away.
Surrounded by major archaeological zones and colonial villages Campeche is an excellent destination to discover history, traditions and exciting adventures. The city itself offers its visitors vivid reminders of its history, like a giant wall that once protected the city from pirate attacks in the 17th and 18th centuries and nine bulwarks and fortifications, as well as some interesting museums. You can take a walk along the Historic Center’s cobblestone streets, where you’ll see a wide variety of stores, restaurants, bars and cafes.
The ruins at Palenque were explored during the 19th century. Among the most important structures at the site are: The Palace, which has a notable tower that rises above the complex; The Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Cross and Temple of the Foliated Cross, which surround the Plaza del Sol; and the Temple of the Inscriptions. Not far away from Palenque you can visit the waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol-Ha, two important natural tourist attractions. There are also a couple of other archaeological sites just a few hours away, hidden in the evergreen jungle.
Images & Additional Info.:
Palenque, Mexico Archaeology, NaturePalenque is one of the most important Mayan archaeological zones and a must-see destination on your visit to Mexico’s southern region. Located in the southern s... >>
Day 8 & 9 - SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS
San Cristobal de las Casas is considered to be the most original and beautiful city in the state of Chiapas. It has a colonial feel that has been preserved over the centuries in its historical and artistic architecture. However, not too far away from the city itself, you can also find places of exceptional natural beauty like the Sumidero Canyon and the Montebello National Park, as well as the authentic Indian villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán where the inhabitants’ customs and traditions have not changed for centuries.
In Lake Atitlan, a deep-blue volcanic crater lake surrounded by three picture perfect volcanoes and the colorful Maya villages resting on its shores, you will experience a magic felt in no other place. Relax, get a massage, meditate, shop, enjoy nature, or for the more adventurous, hike one of the volcanoes, scuba dive, swim, kayak, mountain bike... and much more. Please see below information on what to do and see.
Here you will have the opportunity to visit one of the most magnificent colonial cities in all the Americas. Simply relax at side walk cafés, shop at the Indian markets, enjoy the cities many historical ruins and monuments, visit its museums, enjoy fabulous cuisine & experience Mayan and Guatemalan culture. The more adventurous may opt to take a day to deep sea fish the nearby Pacific, hike a local active volcano, mountain bike or others.
Be prepared to experience blissful nature and adventure, where water sports, river canyon tours, hot springs, Caribbean towns and air, local cuisine, and many fun activities await. You of course may simply opt for plenty of relaxion under the hot Caribbean sun. Better yet, why not a bit of both…
Here you will experience the greatest of Mayan archaeological wonders at the Tikal National Park, nestled deep in the Peten jungle. This region also boasts the largest protected tropical forest area in Central America, whose area's amazing fauna and flora, lakes, rivers, lagoons and caves, will absolutely amaze you.
The Mayan Riviera, located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, offers the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea, top-notch tourist resorts, white-sand beaches, marvelous ecological reserves and ancient Mayan ruins, e.g. Tulum and Coba. During your stay, you can do water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, parachuting, or sailing, or you can visit one of the main tourist destinations like Cancun and Playa del Carmen for some shopping and nightlife.
These regions are characterized by tropical fauna and flora at its best, but this also means warm and humid, so dress accordingly. May to October are considered to be the rainy season, but even during these months the rain is usually short-lived and gives way to the Central American sun within a few hours. Tropical flora and fauna can be enjoyed all year long and temperatures are usually in the 80s (high 20's Celsius).
Please make sure to bring the following: Mosquito repellent - Sunscreen - Hiking boots or good pair of tennis shoes - Rain gear - Bathing Suites - Rash guard for the water-sports people - Sun glasses
San Cristobal, Lake Atitlan & Antigua:
They call Guatemala the "land of eternal spring", which fits these regions perfectly. At 1700 meters above sea level, the temperature is just right. The days remain in the mid to upper 70's (mid 20's Celsius) with evenings becoming cooler dropping into the 60's (15 Celsius.) Bring a sweater or jacket for the evenings.
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Discover Mexico & Guatemala Tour: Cancun, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Merida, Campeche, Palenque, San Cristobal, Lake Atitlan, Antigua, Rio Dulce, Tikal and Mayan Riviera package Private 21 Day / 20 Night itinerary .
Please note: Information on this sheet is believed to be correct but not guaranteed