Enjoy this seven-day self-drive tour...
Enjoy this seven-day self-drive tour...
Enjoy this seven-day self-drive tour around the Yucatan Peninsula. Have the freedom to choose what you see and when you see it in your own vehicle. Keep our recommended itinerary in mind to see some incredible sites around the peninsula that many travellers to the region never see.
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Enjoy this seven-day self-drive tour around the Yucatan Peninsula. Have the freedom to choose what you see and when you see it in your own vehicle. Keep our recommended itinerary in mind to see some incredible sites around the peninsula that many travellers to the region never see. The archaeological sites and natural wonders of Mexico will leave you breathless.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL CANCUN
Upon arrival to the airport CUN please watch out for an Airport Rep with a sign showing your names. Collect your car upon arrival to the Cancun airport and then drive to your selected hotel. Overnight in Cancun.
Accommodation: Standard 4* Adhara or similar on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 2: CANCUN / RIVIERA MAYA - EK BALAM - CENOTE XCANCHE - CHICHEN ITZA (240km – 3 hrs)
Begin your day with a delightful breakfast at the hotel. Then, we suggest you first visit the archaeological site of Ek’ Balam, which in the Mayan language means ‘Black Jaguar’. See the Central Square and its ceremonial structures. Admire the main pyramid, known as the Acropolis, and enjoy the views over this complex boasting some 45 structures. It is one of the most impressive Maya ruins, featuring a royal entrance with a remarkably well-preserved stucco fresco surrounded by the open jaws and fangs of a jaguar. Then, hop on two wheels and enjoy a short bike ride to the beautiful X’Canche cenote for a swim. Continue to Chichen Itza and check into your hotel. Overnight in Chichen Itza Villas Arqueologicas or similar Standard 3* hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 3: CHICHEN ITZA - IZAMAL - MERIDA (130km – 2 hrs)
In the morning, head deep into the rainforests of the Yucatan peninsula in search of the legendary Maya city of Chichen Itza, which has been laboriously reclaimed from the jungle. Learn about the Maya and their civilisation as you admire the scale and detail of this ancient city. Behold the geometric perfection of the 25-metre-tall Temple of Kukulkan, popularly known as El Castillo (‘the Castle’), which was built both as a representation of the mystical Maya calendar and to reflect the optical illusion of a serpent snaking its way up or down the pyramid during the spring and autumn equinoxes. Admire the Great Ball Court, the largest of 13 discovered at the site, see the haunting Skull Platform, where the heads of human sacrifice victims and prisoners of war were impaled, and also the Sacred Cenote, where sacrifice victims were dumped. Also extremely well-preserved are the Temple of the Warriors, the Ossuary, the Nunnery and adjacent Church, and the large observatory known as the Snail. Continue on to Izamal, whose Mayan name means ‘Heavenly Dew’. In the centre, see the Convent of St Anthony of Padua, which stands on a former Maya pyramid. Izamal is known as the ‘Yellow City’ due to the yellow and cream hues of its buildings. Afterwards, head to the beautiful colonial town of Merida. Yucatan’s ‘White City’ is famed for the elegant tree-lined boulevards from the 19th century.
Overnight in Merida Casa del Balam or similar Standard 3,5* hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 4: MERIDA - CELESTUN - UXMAL (230km – 3.5 hrs)
After breakfast, you can go from Merida to Celestun. The Celestun biosphere is an incredible spot where you can book a boat trip through the mangroves and spot colonies of wild flamingos, painting a pink hue over the water. Enjoy this incredible natural environment. Perhaps stop at one of the palapas – thatched-roofed restaurants – for some of the tastiest and freshest seafood in the country. In the evening, arrive to Uxmal for your overnight stay.
Overnight in Uxmal Resort Maya or similar Standard 4* hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 5: UXMAL - VALLADOLID (230km – 3.25 hrs)
Indulge in a delicious breakfast and, in the early morning, visit the archaeological site Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which as you approach, comes into view as it rises above the canopy of the jungle. Unlike other Mayan cities, Uxmal was devoured by the rainforest after the Spaniards had arrived. The most famous structure is the 35-metre-tall Pyramid of the Magician, towering over the remarkably well-preserved Nunnery Quadrangle with its ornately carved interior and exterior walls. Across the central plaza, just beyond the ballgame court, you can find the Governor’s Palace with its elaborately decorated roof. At the southern end of the main complex see the Great Pyramid, of which only one side has been excavated with the other three still unclaimed from the bush. Afterwards, drive to the colonial town of Valladolid, one of Mexico’s ‘magical towns’, which was founded in 1543 and showcases mesmerising architecture. Take your time to discover its highlights, like the Cathedral of San Gervasio, the town’s central park, the collonaded municipal palace and the verdant Zaci cenote.
Overnight in Valladolid Meson del Marques or similar Standard 3,5* Hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 6: VALLADOLID - RIA LAGARTOS - COBA - TULUM (320km – 4 hrs)
After a tasty breakfast at the hotel, you can start by exploring the colourful Ria Lagartos nature reserve, known for birdwatching and flamingo spotting. Then we recommend continuing south to the Coba archaeological site. It is estimated that Coba contains over 6,000 constructions, but only a select few have been uncovered. This site may have been the largest population of all Mayan cities. After your visit, continue to the beachside site of Tulum.
Overnight in Tulum Hip Hotel or similar Standard 4* on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 7: TULUM - RIVIERA MAYA / CANCUN (130km – 1.75 hrs)
In the morning, take advantage and visit the archaeological site of Tulum. The ruins are situated on a 12-metre-tall cliff along the Caribbean Sea. It is a relatively small site and allows you to take a refreshing dip in the crystalline water. After your last look into the Mayan ancient world you will head to Playa del Carmen or Cancun Airport to drop off the vehicle. Return procedure and exact designated area will be adviced by rent a car company when you pick up the car on arrival day.
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