THE BEST OF YUCATAN A LA CARTE HACIENDAS

days
4

nights
3

countries
1

From

$756 USD

itinerary

itinerary

Circuit Map Route

Day 1

  • Departure to the archaeological site of Ek Balam.
  • Cenote visit and short tour to Valladolid, colonial city.
  • Chichen Itza visit, an archaeological site and one of the greatest capitals of the Mayan World.  
  • Visit and stay in the historical city of Merida.

Day 2 

Archaeological site of Uxmal and return to Merida.

Day 3

Tahdzibichen and Uayalceh haciendas. Free time in Yaal-Utzil and Peba cenotes.

day 1 (monday): CANCUN – EK BALAM – VALLADOLID – CHICHEN ITZA – MERIDA

Chichen Itza Mayan Site

Transfer from your hotel in Cancún, and head out to the “City of the Black Jaguar,” the archaeological site of Ek Balam, whose name means, “star jaguar”. It features impressive constructions nestled in the lush jungle, and most of them belong to the Late Classic Period (550-830 AD). In addition, it contains a series of mural paintings that reveal the technological and artistic development, as well as the material and cultural wealth, of the ancient Maya city. Ek Balam was the capital of the kingdom of Tah, which dominated the entire eastern part of the Peninsula of Yucatán between 600 and 850 AD. The combination of architectural styles of Ek Balam is unique in the Maya civilization, and its 45 structures are protected by two concentric walls. A magnificent arch gives access to a sacbé (sacred white path) that leads to the ceremonial center where members of high society resided. Here, you can find the Palacio Oval (Oval Palace), the Juego de Pelota (Ball Court), the Gemelas (Twin temples), and the Palacio de las Monjas (Nun’s Palace.) The grand Acropolis towers over the Plaza Norte (North Plaza), which contains the impressive tomb of ruler Ukit Kan Lek Tok’, where an offering with more than 7,000 objects was found. Its façade is beautifully decorated with magnificent masks, friezes and stone statues. Its 31 meters (100 feet) in height, 160 meters (525 feet) in length and a width of almost 70 meters (230 feet) make it the largest structure in the Peninsula of Yucatán. After a long walk, we will cool off in the crystalline waters of a cenote (natural sinkhole). These natural wonders were considered sacred places of life and death, and represented a vital source for the development of the Maya civilization.

We will then visit the colonial city of Valladolid. It was founded on May 28, 1543 on the remains of the ancient Maya settlement of Zací. It is the second most important city in the state of Yucatán, and has borne witness to two very significant chapters in the history of Mexico: the beginning of the Guerra de Castas (Caste War) in 1847, and the first spark of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. During the tour, you will be able to perceive the cultural fusion between the Maya and Spanish traditions in the Yucatán, and to enjoy the charming colonial style found in Valladolid’s Plaza Central (Main Square), the iglesia de San Servasio (St. Servatius Church), the Barrio del Sisal (Sisal Neighborhood) and the old Franciscan convento de San Bernardino de Siena (St. Bernardine of Siena Convent.)

Next is Chichén Itzá, the religious capital of the Itzá people. Its name means “at the mouth of the well of the Itzá”, and its greatest peak occurred during the Early Postclassic Period (950-1200 AD). In 1988, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Two distinct styles of architecture can be found within its constructions: Puuc (600-800 AD) and Maya-Toltec (800-1100 AD). The tour begins at the Castillo, or Templo de Kukulcán (Castle, or Temple of Kukulcán), world-famous for the light and shadow effect that occurs on its main staircase during the spring and autumn equinoxes, as well as during the winter and summer solstices. This is the most impressive and representative building in the site, and it was recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World on July 7, 2007. Later, we will go to the Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Sinkhole) and other main constructions, such as the Juego de Pelota (Ball Game), the Observatorio (Observatory), also known as the Caracol (Conch), the Templo de las Mil Columnas (Group of the Thousand Columns), and the Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors), among others.

Transfer to Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán, and check-in at the hotel.

day 2 (tuesday): MERIDA – UXMAL – KABAH – MERIDA

Uxmal Ancient Mayan City

Transfer to the spectacular archaeological zone of Uxmal, whose name means “built three times”. This beautiful Maya city, which belongs to the Classic Period (250-950 AD), was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Xiu. It controlled the northern Maya communities, and became the political and economic capital of the Puuc region. Among its constructions, featuring the architectural style also known as Puuc, are the Cuadrángulo de las Monjas (Nun´s Quadrangle), the Juego de Pelota (Ball Court), the Palomar (House of the Pigeons), the Casa de la Vieja (Old Woman´s House), and the Casa de las Tortugas (House of Turtles.) Its most outstanding building, for its unique elliptical structure and its 35 meters (115 feet) in height, is the Pirámide del Adivino (Pyramid of the Magician or Soothsayer.) The Casa del Gobernador (Governor’s Palace), however, is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Mesoamerica. Its façade was exquisitely decorated with highly detailed mosaic sculptures, with thousands of perfectly polished small stones that form complex designs, including masks of the rain god Chaac, serpents and astrological symbols. Uxmal was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 7, 1996. It is one of the main archaeological sites of the Maya civilization, along with Chichén Itzá and Tikal, in Guatemala.

We will now visit the magnificent archaeological zone of Kabah, which is found just 23 kilometers (14 miles) southeast of Uxmal. Its name means “the powerful hand”, and it belongs to the Late Classic Period (550-950 AD). The site is considered the second-largest religious center of the Puuc style for its sacred white roads, called sacbeob, and for its magnificent constructions. Among them, we find the Palacio (Palace), the Gran Pirámide (Great Pyramid), and a building known as Manos Rojas (Red Hands). Also noteworthy, are the monumental arch at the entrance of the road that used to reach all the way to Uxmal, and the impressive Codz Pop, also known as the Palacio de los Mascarones (Temple of the Masks), which is decorated with more than 250 images of the rain god, Chaac, carved in stone throughout its façade. Like Uxmal, its heyday was around the year 800 AD, and it also was abandoned in the 11th century.

Return to the hotel in Mérida.

day 3 (wednesday): MERIDA – HACIENDAS AND CONVENTS

Antiguas Haciendas de Yucatan

Tour of a group of beautiful sites that tell the story of another golden era of the Peninsula of Yucatán. We will visit Hacienda San Antonio Tahdzibichén, where we will learn about the plantation owners that produced henequen (Agave fourcroydes), the “green gold” of Yucatán. We will then head out to the famous Hacienda Uayalceh, whose distinct architectural styles can be seen in its ancient vestiges and beautiful constructions, where time seems to stand still. Afterwards, we will visit the Yaal-Utzil and Peba cenotes (natural sinkholes), unique natural treasures immersed in the greenery.

We will then move on to the town of Maní to enjoy its delightful local gastronomy. Later, we will visit the former convento de San Miguel Arcángel (Convent of St. Michael the Archangel) that served as the first school of evangelization and hospital in the New Spain. It features one of the largest and best-preserved open chapels in the area. Here, one of the most violent chapters of the Inquisition took place, and in in 1562, the tragic burning of the vast majority of Maya codices was carried out as a supposed auto-da-fé under the orders of Fray Diego de Landa. Later, we will make a brief stop at the ex convento de San Pedro y San Pablo in the town of Teabo (former Convent and Parish of St. Peter and St. Paul) in Teabo, or at some other convent along the way.

Return to the hotel in Mérida.

day 4 (thursday): MERIDA - CANCUN

Tour of the capital of the state of Yucatán. Founded on January 6, 1542, Mérida was built on the ancient Maya city of Ichcaanziho, also known as T’Hó. As a testament to its different historical eras, among its most magnificent and elegant constructions you can find the Casa de Montejo (Montejo House), the Catedral de San Ildefonso (St. Ildefonso Cathedral)–the first one built in the continental Americas—and the Palacio de Gobierno (Presidential Palace), all located around the famous Plaza Grande (Large, or main, Square), as well as the impressive Teatro Peón Contreras (Peón Contreras Theater.) During the panoramic tour of Paseo de Montejo (Montejo Boulevard))—one of the most important avenues in Mexico—we will be able to see the Casas Gemelas (Twin Houses), the Palacio Cantón (Cantón Palace) and the Monumento a la Patria (Monument to the Homeland.) Mérida was named the American Capital of Culture in 2000 and later in 2017.

Checkout from the hotel, and return to Cancún, where we will drop you off at your place of lodging.

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