MAYAN ARCHITECTURE

days
5

nights
4

COUNTRIES
1

From

$833 USD

itinerary

itinerary

Circuit Map Route

Day 1

  • Departure to Tulum archaeological site.
  • Kohunlich archaeological site visit.
  • Stay in Xpujil.

Day 2

  • Becán archaeological site visit
  • Misol Há waterfalls departure.
  • Stay in Palenque.

Day 3

  • Visit to Palenque, one of the most powerful cities of the Mayan world.
  • Campeche downtown tour.
  •  Stay in Campeche.

Day 4

  • Edzná archaeological site visit.
  • Stay in Merida.

Day 5

  • Chichén Itzá archaeological site visit, one of the greatest capitals of the Mayan World.
  • Valladolid panoramic tour.

Day 1(monday): CANCUN – TULUM – KOHUNLICH – CHICANNA – XPUJIL

Tulum Beach

Departure from Cancún to head out to the archaeological zone of Tulum. In the pre-Columbian era, the site was known as the port of Zamá, which means “morning” or “dawn”. Its current name is translated as “wall”, since it is protected by a wall on its landward side, and by the second largest reef in the world on its seaward side. Tulum is the only Maya city that was built on a cliff, and due to its strategic location, it was a vital hub for both the sea and land trade routes of the Maya civilization, so it became one of its main cities during the 13th and 14th centuries. Its buildings feature a style known as the East Coast, and most belong to the Late Post-Classic Period (1200-1539 AD). Among its most important constructions, you can find the Castillo (Castle), which was used as a lighthouse, the Templo del Dios Descendente (Temple of the Descending God) and the Templo de los Frescos (Temple of the Frescoes.) The archaeological site is located within an area that was declared a nature reserve in 2016, the only one along the Cancún-Tulum corridor.

We will continue our tour in the archaeological site and ceremonial center of Kohunlich, whose name comes from the English “cohune ridge”. It reached its peak during the Late Classic Period (550-830 AD). Its constructions feature the style known as Petén-Pixa’an, and include the Palacio de las Estelas (Palace of Stelae), the Acropolis, the Juego de Pelota (Ball Court), the Conjunto de los 27 Escalones (27 Steps Complex) and the Templo de los Mascarones (Temple of the Masks.) The latter contains a series of spectacularly adorned anthropomorphic sculptures that seem to correspond to historical figures that were bestowed with godlike attributes, which placed them at the center of the universe, and represent the power of the ruling class.

Our last stop will be at the Chicanná archaeological zone, whose name means “in the house of the serpent’s mouth”. The site reached its peak during the Late Classic Period (550-830 AD). Its architectural style, known as Río Bec, is characterized by the eclecticism of its constructions and in its type of decoration. Chicanná stands out for its masks with zoomorphic figures, and for harboring the largest number of buildings of the Río Bec style in very good condition.

Check-in at the hotel in the community of Xpujil.

Day 2 (Tuesday): XPUJIL – BECAN – PALENQUE

Checkout from the hotel, and head out to the archaeological site of Becán. This ancient city is quite unusual, since its main buildings are surrounded by a moat, which is why its name means “path or hollow space left by running water”, or “serpent’s path”. It served as the political capital of the area from the Late Classic to the Early Post-Classic Periods (550-1200 AD). Its Río Bec-style buildings feature magnificent decorations on its façades, large chessboard-shaped panels, and tall, slender towers on the sides of its main temples.

We will then transfer to one of the most beautiful natural sanctuaries in the area: the Cascada de Misol Há (waterfall). Nestled in the high jungle of Chiapas’ Mountain range, it cascades from a height of approximately 30 meters (98 feet), and forms a pool with crystal-clear waters where we can cool off. This beautiful site offers a harmonious combination of water and nature, and served as the backdrop for the famous “Predator” movie.

Transfer to Santo Domingo de Palenque, and check-in at the hotel.

Day 3 (WEDNESDAY): PALENQUE - CAMPECHE

Palenque

Very early checkout from the hotel, and head out to the archaeological site of Palenque. Located in the heart of the high jungle of Chiapas, it was the capital of the ancient kingdom of B’aakal. It developed one of the most powerful dynasties in the Maya civilization, and ruled over the mountains and plains that surrounded it. Initially known as Lakam Há, “place of the great waters,” it later changed to Otulún, which means “fortified houses”. In 1567, after its first visit by a European, Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada, the site was renamed Palenque, which means “fortification” in the Catalan language. It reached its heyday during the Late Classic Period (550-830 AD). The city was the seat of the powerful dynasty to which King Pakal belonged, and it rivaled other great capitals such as Calakmul, Tikal, Copan and Toniná. Within its main structures, we can distinguish its unique architectural style called Palencano; these include the Palacio (Palace), which contains the Observatorio (Observatory), the Acueducto (Aqueduct), the Templo de las Inscripciones (Temple of the Inscriptions), the tomb of the great Lord Pakal, the Juego de Pelota (Ball Court), and the temples of De la Cruz (of the Cross), De la Cruz Foliada (of the Foliated Cross), Del Sol (of the Sun), Del Jaguar (of the Jaguar) and Del Conde (of the Count.) The national park and archaeological zone of Palenque were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1987. We will then transfer to the capital of the state of Campeche.

Check-in at the hotel in San Francisco de Campeche, and free time.

DAY 4 (THURSDAY): CAMPECHE – UXMAL – MERIDA

Uxmal Mayan Ruins

Tour of the Centro Histórico (Historic Downtown District) of Campeche. The capital of the state was founded by the Spanish conquerors in 1540, and served as a base for the colonization of the rest of the peninsula. Due to its successful monopoly and marketing of dyewood, it became the target of attacks and looting by the most famous pirates of the 17th century. To protect the population, they built a fort around the city, and thanks to the preservation of its picturesque casco antiguo (old town), Campeche was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. We will visit pastel-colored colonial mansions, museums, the Fuerte de San Miguel (Fort of St. Michael), the Fuerte de San José (Fort of St. Joseph), the Catedral (Cathedral), the Plaza Independencia (Independence Square), the Baluarte de San Carlos (St. Charles’ Bastion) the Puerta de Tierra (Land Gate), the Iglesia de San Román (Church of St. Roman) and the traditional neighborhoods.

We will then head out 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.

Transfer to Mérida, and check-in at the hotel.

Day 5 (Friday): MERIDA – CHICHEN ITZA – CANCUN

Chichen Itza

Visit to 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.

We will now head out to one of the main archaeological sites of the Maya civilization, 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.

We will then enjoy a panoramic tour of 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.)

Transfer to Cancún, where we will drop you off at your place of lodging.

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