Journey through the history of the Yucatan from the formidable Mayan civilisation to the Spanish influence, staying in haciendas from the height of the 'green gold' era.Beyond the glittering beaches Mexico's Yucatan peninsula contains UNESCO protected ancient sites, towns dating back to the Spanish conquest and unique cenotes - limestone sinkholes, not to mention celebrated food, drink and natural beauty. This tried and tested self drive experience takes you to both well known and lesser known archaeological sites, colonial towns, 16th Century convents & restored haciendas.
Fly from the U.K. to Cancun
Meet and greet is provided at Cancun International Airport from your flight today, with a 20 minute private transfer provided to the Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World collection set on 500 yards of white sandy beach. With just 90 ocean facing suites, the emphasis is on tranquillity and wellness and the impressive all-inclusive plan consists of many unexpected inclusions.
INCLUDES : Dinner
Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita
Today you can enjoy all the amenities at the acclaimed Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, including the private beach, award winning restaurants, relaxing lounges, a large fresh water pool & a Thalasso therapy pool. All the while, taking in the ambiance and sampling some local produce.
INCLUDES : All-Inclusive
Cancun to San Jose Cholul via Ek Balam, Valladolid and Izamal
Collect the car first thing, heading inland your first Mayan ruins to discover are Ek Balam just over 2 hours drive, where you’ll find abandoned temples and plazas covered in vegetation and climb the main pyramid for a view of the surrounding jungle. Observe the colonial architecture at the town of Valladolid before visiting fascinating Izamal which was known as the city of the hills to the Mayan civilisation, the Spanish constructed a Franciscan monastery which stands in the centre to this day amongst the many golden yellow buildings this quiet town is well known for.
Your accommodation is Hacienda San Jose Cholul for 1 night - A historic plantation house, built in the 17th Century oozing charm, beautiful gardens, a tranquil outdoor pool and wonderful restaurant
Total driving distance today 350 km
The route of cloisters takes you to Temozon via Dzibilchltun plus cenote Xlacah
Dzibilchltun’s key structure is the Temple of the seven dolls or Temple of the Sun, crafted specifically for the equinox where the Mayan sun god would show its feathers of fire through the temple gates. A small museum helps explain the site and the traditions of the people. Nearby is an opportunity to take a dip in a cenote – Xlacah is 50m deep and contained over 30,000 objects. There will then be time for some lunch and a chance to explore Merida briefly, or head straight to the hacienda to enjoy the beautiful setting.
Your accommodation is Hacienda for Temozon 2 nights - Once the main producer of sisal fibres, this impressively restored hacienda is now a luxurious place to stay, with stunning architecture, a spa within an underground cavern and fabulous outdoor pool
Total driving distance today 140 km
The convent route takes you Tecoh, Mayapan, Mani & Loltun Caves
At Tecoh you will find an incredible combination of history, culture and natural beauty, where a 16th Century convent and church were constructed over the remains of a Mayan pyramid, step inside the church to view beautiful paintings by the celebrated artist Miguel Cabrera. Discover the Mayapan archaeological site, founded around 1,000 AD, significant as this was the last big Mayan civilization thriving before before the Spanish came. At the village of Mani the convent is quite simply the most beautiful one in this region. We recommend you allow 1 ½ hours for a tour of the Loltun Caves, part of the huge system that covers a lot of the southern Yucatan with excellent chambers of stalactites, stalagmites, not to mention petro glyphs & rupestrian paintings. After this return to the lovely hacienda to relax.
Total driving distance today 190 km
Experience the magical and mystical Uxmal and Kabah's Palace Of Masks
Uxmal (meaning three times built) is arguably the best Mayan site and is certainly majestic, hi-lights include the great pyramid, house of the pigeons and the pyramid of the magician (noting the fascinating legend about a dwarf!) and intricate carvings. A Mayan stone road known as a sacbé linked Uxmal with Kabah where you can observe the amazing Palace Of Masks a façade of 250 faces of the Mayan rain god.
Your accommodation is Hacienda Uayamon for 1 night - Once one of the most important haciendas in the Campeche area in the 19th century, now a sumptuous mansion, the renowned restaurant is located within the original walls and serves fresh regional cuisine
Total driving distance today 240 km
Two delightful cities featuring classic colonial architecture
The Mayan city of Edzna once rivalled Chichen Itza and Uxmal in terms of size and wealth, its ‘Building of the Five Stories is one of the largest and elaborate of all Mayan buildings. Nearby is the fortified city of Campeche on the Gulf of Mexico, a trading stronghold for the Spanish Empire, its old city is a remarkable museum piece of the colonial era with picturesque cobbled streets and coloured houses. On to Merida, known as the White City due to the many whitewashed facades, the cultural centre of the Yucatan, founded in 1542 at what was once a Mayan city of Ti Oh. Merida had a golden age during the henequen cactus boom when the sisal agave was known as green gold, producing the best rope in the world. The zocalo (main square) is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere and consider an informal tour by horse-drawn cart.
Your accommodation is Hacienda Misne for 1 night - just 15 minutes from the historic centre of Merida, this informal hacienda dates back to the 18th Century and is a tropical oasis with authentic colonial features
Total driving distance today 280 km
The iconic Mayan site completes this amazing journey
The extraordinary archaeological site of Chichen Itza is world famous and one of the new seven wonders of the world, meaning the Entrance to the Wizard’s Well, its sacred cenote represented the most important place of worship and the stunning pyramid Castillo de Kukulcan is rich in cosmological symbolism. Amongst the many notable sections is the Great Ball Court with incredible acoustics. A remarkable place to end your adventure through the diverse attractions of the Yucatan.
2 ½ hour drive to the Caribbean coast, if you are ending your stay in Mexico at this point return the car to the rental office close to Cancun airport ahead of the flight back to the U.K. Alternatively continue your experience at a stay at a beachfront hotel, our travel consultants can discuss the options available, from informal all-inclusive resorts to secluded boutique retreats.
Total driving distance today 320 km
All prices shown represent a from price per person based on low season travel unless otherwise stated.
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