- Journey with the family in the footsteps of the Mayan civilisation: beaches, temples and historic cities of the Yucatan
- Stay in charming hotels
- Private visit to Tulum, the village of Acanceh, the city of Mayapan, a dip in the cenotes (sinkholes): all included in the itinerary
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IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MAYANS
YOUR TRIPIt begins with Caribbean comfort, in a typical waterfront casa nestled in Akumal Bay, on the Mayan Riviera. At the hotel you are greeted by large stretches of fine sandy beach, a turquoise sea and activities for everyone: snorkelling or diving (the coral reef is offshore), canoeing, horseriding... Next stop Valladolid, the flagship of New Spain and the beating heart of the Yucatan Peninsula. From your relaxed colonial posada (inn), you're up and running, exploring this vibrant and colourful corner of Mexico, especially the cenotes - large, clear water wells that are found throughout the region. The last stop is Tixkokob, a peaceful village in the region of Merida renowned for its local crafts, where your journey ends with experiencing the laidback vibes of a traditional hacienda. These magnificent estates, reminiscent of the great Sisal era (from the 17th to 19th centuries), are now beautifully restored. Comfort and refinement can be found inside and out: warm, colourful walls, beautiful swimming pools, hanging hammocks, intimate restaurants, and secret alcoves.
IN MEXICO, THE CHILDREN WILL LOVE...Looking for shade under palapas, large umbrellas of dried palms - beating mum and dad running up the stairs of Mayan temples - eating tortillas, grilled fish and chocolate sauce - taking in the transparent waters of the Caribbean Sea - looking out for turtles or even dolphins in the Sian Ka'a Biosphere Reserve - checking out the golden altarpieces of Mexican churches...
Flight to Cancun - Akumal (Riviera Maya)
Warm welcome at the airport, where you pick up your rental car and head to Akumal Bay on the Riviera Maya. Four-night stay just outside the village of Akumal, in an estate that is home to several villas divided into various apartments. Yours (two bedroom apartment) is facing the sea, a short walk from the beach. The decor is quite simple and comfortable - white walls, wood and palapas form a beautiful setting. Enjoy breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The beautiful beach is perfectly extended by the coral reef offshore.
Akumal (Riviera Maya)
A stone's throw from your hotel, on the beach, you can swim, paddle, or just relax. Diving and snorkelling are popular activities throughout the area due to the rich diversity of the underwater fauna. Green turtles use these areas to feed and reproduce. These are memorable encounters for both parents and children alike. And, if a geology outing is your thing, the caves of Aktunchen are just a few miles from the hotel. You could also head into the hinterland to do some cycling or horseriding - a bit of adventure to balance out all that relaxation. You can explore different cenotes - underground turquoise water holes thought to have been formed by the same meteorite that wiped out dinosaurs.
Included in the itinerary - a private site tour of Tulum, a wonderful combination of architecture and nature. The ancient Zama, 'city of dawn', originally had two functions: as a port and a ceremonial centre. The remains of this fortress dominate the sea from the top of the cliff - the view is amazing.
Optional - Tour of the Muyil Archaeological site and the Sian Ka 'an Reserve.
Akumal (Riviera Maya) Valladolid
Drive to Valladolid, a small town in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, with a colourful Mexican atmosphere. Two-night stay in a charming posada in the historic centre: a beautiful hotel with a pretty wooded garden and a small swimming pool to cool off. The spacious and comfortable rooms are extended by balconies with hammocks. A short tour around the city allows for the discovery of the church of San Cervacio o Gervasio, the Francisco Canton Rosado park or the Zaci cenote.
Optional - Visit Chichen Itza at sunrise.
Valladolid - Tixkokob
Continue westward to Tixkokob, in the Merida region, where you'll stay for four nights in a quiet, charming hacienda. Alternately you could stay on a small farm which produces Henequen (a species of agave used especially in the manufacture of rope) and also has a cattle ranch. The estate, which dates from 1891, has been completely renovated without losing anything of the charm of days gone by. It now houses guests in ten bedrooms with private terraces (complete with a hammock for a siesta), all facing the swimming pool and garden.
Your hacienda is an ideal base for exploring the area, alternating cultural discoveries with swimming in cenotes.
Must-see - Merida of course, its historic centre and restaurants - the Celestun bird sanctuary - the vital Izamal, a colonial treasure - the weavers making hammocks in Tixkokob - the Mayan archaeological site of Ake and its intriguing system of roads - the road of convents (but also monasteries, academies and missions) which today constitute the great colonial and baroque wealth of Mexico: Tecoh, Chumayel, Arachide...
Already in the itinerary - a busy day trip with private guide. First head for the Mayan village of Acanceh, which has both pre and post-conquistador history on display. The 18th-century church was built on the platform of the main Mayan pyramid, part of which is still intact. Not far from the village there are two temples, with frescoes which are considered to be among the most important in the area. Then visit Mayapan, the last Mayan city occupied after the decline of Chichen Itza, and therefore the last bastion of Mayan civilisation. The day ends with a dip in a cenote.
Tixkokob - Cancun - Return flight
Return your hired car to Cancun airport and catch your flight home. Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
A la carte
THE SITE OF MUYIL AND THE SIAN KA 'AN
RESERVE Dedicated to the lunar goddess Ixel, the Mayan city of Muyil once played a major trading role on the Yucatan peninsula: with jade, obsidian, chocolate, rubber... Walking trails allow you to familiarise yourself with the flora of the surrounding jungle. Then embark on a boat ride through the Muyil lagoon and canals in the heart of the Sian Ka 'an Reserve, with a visit to a little-known Mayan temple nestled in the heart of the reserve along the way. Last but not least, swim in an ancient Mayan canal and float in its translucent fresh water: a natural current can be felt in this surprising mangrove.
CHICHEN ITZA AT SUNRISE
In the early morning before the crowds arrive, a private visit to the largest and most famous archaeological site on the Yucatan Peninsula. Kukulkan's magnificent pyramid, El Castillo, is one of Mexico's best-known and most recognised archaeological sites. It is located here in this arid region because of the presence of natural wells, the cenotes. The groundwater spring gave it its name, Chi Chen ('near the well'). This sacred city was one of the largest Mayan centres in the region and throughout its history, which spanned almost a thousand years. The contributions of different peoples, the Mayans and Toltecs, have left their mark on this city. What is left, marked on the stone monuments, is the imprint of their vision of the world and Indeed the universe.
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