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Mexico: Secrets Of The Yucatan Peninsula (Day of the Dead)

Group Tour

12 Days From C$5,451

Overview

Mexico’s el Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) provides a chance for families to welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives. A macabre and fascinating mix of Mesoamerican ritual, Spanish culture and European dogma, its origins go back nearly 3,000 years, to the pre-Columbian rituals of the Aztecs and the Nahua people of Central Mexico.

This remarkable journey takes us through a land steeped in these ancient traditions, where the reminders of Spanish expansion share the landscape ...
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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

11 x Breakfasts
11 x Lunches
7 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use a minibus and a boat for exploring Bacalar lagoon.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

2 nights x Premium
9 nights x Superior

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in three to four star hotels throughout. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Mexico: Secrets Of The Yucatan Peninsula (Day of the Dead)
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN CANCÚN - PLAYA DEL CARMEN

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN CANCÚN - PLAYA DEL CARMEN

The tour starts at Cancun airport this evening where we will be met and driven to the hotel in Playa del Carmen, situated along Mexico’s Caribbean coast. It should take around an hour and a half to cover the 70 kilometre journey and on arrival we will be transferred to our hotel for the evening.

HM Playa del Carmen or similar

DAY 2: PLAYA DEL CARMEN - TULUM - BACALAR

DAY 2: PLAYA DEL CARMEN - TULUM - BACALAR

Departing after breakfast this morning we head first for the Mayan rock fortress of Tulum, whose ruins occupy the tall cliffs that lie along the eastern fringes of the Yucatán Peninsula. One of the last cities to be built by the Maya, Tulum’s remains include the imposing pyramid shrine of El Castillo, as well as the Temple of the Frescoes and the Temple of the Descending God. After our visit we then continue on to the small and tranquil town of Bacalar, located on the edge of a beautiful lagoon.

Hotel Tuparenda or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: BACALAR

DAY 3: BACALAR

Founded by the Maya, sacked by pirates and fortified by the Spanish, Bacalar was declared a “Pueblo Mágico” by the Mexican government in 2006. Today we have an opportunity to enjoy the picturesque waters of its lagoon on a boat trip. Teeming with freshwater fish and home to some of the oldest living organisms on the planet, it forms part of the world’s largest subterranean water cave system and there will be some free time for snorkelling before we head back to shore.

Hotel Tuparenda or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: BACALAR - KOHUNLICH - BECÁN - CHICANNÁ

DAY 4: BACALAR - KOHUNLICH - BECÁN - CHICANNÁ

The day begins with a short drive on to the town of Chetumal, where a visit to its Museo de la Cultura provides an opportunity to discover one of the finest collections of Mayan culture in the region. Moving on to the pre-Columbian Maya site at Kohunlich we’ll then discover the famed Pyramid of the Masks, before continuing on to the ruins of Becán and the oldest architectural defence system in Mexico. Our day’s journey ends in nearby Chicanná, where we will spend the next two nights.

Chicanná Ecovillage Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: CHICANNÁ - CALAKMUL - PUERTA CALAKMUL - CHICANNÁ

DAY 5: CHICANNÁ - CALAKMUL - PUERTA CALAKMUL - CHICANNÁ

We’ll head out today towards the lush jungles of the Petén Basin, close to the Guatemalan border. Our destination is the Maya archaeological site at Calakmul, once one of the most powerful cities in the region. Shrouded in ancient rain forest, the ruins today are home to howler monkeys, birds and even the occasional jaguar and from its pyramid summit the views across the surrounding jungles are magnificent. Continuing on to Puerta Calakmul we then visit its remarkable ‘Bat Cave’, the haunt of some five million bats!

Chicanná Ecovillage Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: CHICANNÁ - EDZNÁ - CAMPECHE

DAY 6: CHICANNÁ - EDZNÁ - CAMPECHE

Amongst the northwestern landscapes of Campeche lie the ancient ruins of Edzná, which can trace their early origins back to 400 BC. Lying at the crossroads of trade and cultural influence, its magnificent Great Plaza houses the stunning setting of the Pyramid of the Five Storeys, whose grand central staircase of 65 steps provides access to some truly spectacular views across the ruins. Following the visit, we then continue on to the city of Campeche, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Castelmar Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: CAMPECHE

DAY 7: CAMPECHE

The walled city of Campeche was founded by the Spanish in 1540 and its imposing colonial ramparts, built to protect the city from pirates, still encircle the old town. A tour of the city today takes in its rambling narrow streets and colonial architecture, before we pay a visit to the Museum of Mayan Architecture at the Baluarte de la Soledad. Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the city is also home to the imposing bastion of the Fortress of San Miguel, which today houses the city’s archaeological museum.

Castelmar Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8: CAMPECHE - POMUCH - UXMAL - CAMPECHE

DAY 8: CAMPECHE - POMUCH - UXMAL - CAMPECHE

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a celebration that goes back millennia, many believe to the Aztec festivals surrounding Mictecacihuatl, the queen of the underworld. In the town of Pomuch these traditions are kept alive by the locals, who remove and clean the bones and skulls from the decorated ossuaries that line the town’s cemetery. After passing through Hecelchakán and Becál, we then find ourselves amongst the spectacular UNESCO treasures of Uxmal, one of the most important Maya sites in the Americas.

Castelmar Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: CAMPECHE - KABAH - LOLTÚN CAVES - MÉRIDA

DAY 9: CAMPECHE - KABAH - LOLTÚN CAVES - MÉRIDA

Departing Campeche today we headfirst for the spectacular ruins at Kabah, lying amongst the Puuc region of western Yucatán. At nearby Labná we then take a walk along one of the ancient sacbés (Mayan roads) that once connected the site with Kabah and Uxmal, before travelling on to the caves of Loltún. Entering a fascinating subterranean world of stalactites, tree roots and rock paintings, we have a chance to explore a little something of the largest cave system in northern Yucatán before completing our journey on to Meridá.

Casa del Balam or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: MÉRIDA – HACIENDA SOTUTA DE PEÓN - MAYAPAN - MÉRIDA

DAY 10: MÉRIDA – HACIENDA SOTUTA DE PEÓN - MAYAPAN - MÉRIDA

The colonial capital of the Yucatán, Meridá was founded by the Spanish in 1542. Still the economic and cultural capital of the region, its narrow streets and engaging colonial architecture affords it a look of fading European grandeur. We’ll take a tour of the city this morning before we depart for the historic Hacienda Sotuta de Peón, built by the henequen barons of the late 19th century. From here it is then just a short drive to Mayapan, the last great capital of the Mayan civilisation.

Casa del Balam or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11: MÉRIDA - IZAMAL - YOKDZONOT - CHICHÉN ITZÁ

DAY 11: MÉRIDA - IZAMAL - YOKDZONOT - CHICHÉN ITZÁ

Before departing Mérida we’ll pay a visit this morning to the Gran Museo del Mundo, where the rich social history of the Yucatán is laid out in six impressive halls. Heading on to the “City of Hills” we then visit Izamal, one of the oldest towns in the Yucatán and a place of pilgrimage since Maya times. Our final stop before we get to Chichén Itzá will be at Yokdzonot Cenote, where there will an opportunity to swim amongst the ancient trees and blue/green waters.

Mayaland Hotel & Bungalows or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: CHICHÉN ITZÁ - VALLADOLID - TOUR ENDS IN CANCÚN

DAY 12: CHICHÉN ITZÁ - VALLADOLID - TOUR ENDS IN CANCÚN

In the company of an expert archaeological guide, today we pay a visit to one of the greatest Mayan cities ever built. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chichén Itzá can lay claim to being one of the most important examples of Mayan-Toltec civilisation anywhere in the Yucatán. Driving on to Valladolid from here we then spend some time exploring its bustling market and the former covent of San Bernardino de Siena, before finishing our day and our journey back at the airport in Cancún.

Breakfast, Lunch

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

Superior

Superior

Superior

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Events

The Day of The Dead

Dating back to pre-Colombian times, this annual celebration of the memory of deceased loved ones is certainly one of Mexico’s most joyful and colourful festivals. With an emphasis on food, drink, music and decoration, this event also offers families the opportunity for ‘cleaning the bones’ of their dearly departed. Experiencing the Day of the Dead festivities is a highlight of Mexico and something that appears on many people’s bucket lists.

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Swim in the Yokdzonot Cenote

With over 6000 cenotes (swimmable sinkholes) in Mexico, we have carefully handpicked one that allows our clients to experience the unique nature and well-loved experiences of the country whilst benefitting the local communities. The Yokdzonot Cenote is a beautiful attraction that was only made possible by a group of visionary women from the rural community of Yokdzonot, who transformed the town’s abandoned Maya cenote into an ecotourism destination. The goal was to create a sustainable and communally-owned source of employment to replace their poorly-paid agricultural labour. The group of women spent two years clearing the cenote’s surroundings to create green spaces, trails and gardens until it was ready to open its doors in 2007 as a wellness and eco-adventure centre. As well as the star attraction, the cenote, the centre also provides biking and hiking routes, rappelling, zip-lining, camping, and a restaurant open 365 days of the year. Today it continues to be managed and run by 17 members of the community under the cooperative Zaaz Koolen Haá. As well as providing a more rewarding income for its employees, earnings from the project also go towards the use of the surrounding communal land.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 2203 London Gatwick (LGW) 11:20 Cancun Airport (CUN) 15:20
BA 2202 Cancun Airport (CUN) 17:35 London Gatwick (LGW) 09:05

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Mexico.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

NB. Please note that as of January 2016 US policy (subject to change) has stated that anyone wishing to travel to or via the USA must have a biometric passport. In addition, anyone who has travelled to several countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen or Somalia since March 2011, is required to apply for a US visa (rather than just an ESTA). If you are affected by this, the process is fairly straightforward and you can read more about it here:-
www.wildfrontierstravel.com/us-visa .

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Mexico City

You can easily spend several days here exploring the waterways of Xochimilico, the murals of Diego Rivera, the houses where Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky once lived or the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at nearby Teotihuacan. Allow 2-3 days.

Northern Mexico

If you have more time at your disposal then we have a tailormade department who could help you plan a trip to Baja California and the Copper Canyon on the western side of the country. Allow 7 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Being such a diverse country, ranging from the Atlantic to the Pacific and comprising deserts, mountains and rainforest, it is possible to visit Mexico year-round. However, the rainy/hurricane season tends to be between June and October and the dry season between November to May. The most popular time for visiting is between December and April due to little rain and cooler temperatures. November is generally considered amongst the best months for travelling due to there being fewer visitors and drier weather, as well as the world-famous Day of the Dead Festival.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, however, please note roads in Mexico are of mixed quality so come prepared for some smooth rides as well as some bumpy ones.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.
On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you {wild-miles} Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

MEXICO HORSE RIDE VIDEO

A great little film illustrating just how much fun we had on our recent adventure in Mexico.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP