DAY 1 SAT. ARRIVAL TO CANCUN. Meet at Cancun International Airport. Transfer to Valladolid, a Spanish Colonial jewel located 2 hours away. Overnight in Valladolid.
DAY 2 SUN. EK BALAM & CHICHEN ITZA. Ten miles due North from Valladolid, Ek Balam is a small site with some of the best preserved stucco reliefs, some of which with the original colors still visible. When the crowds coming from Cancun are about to leave, arrive Chichen Itza entering the site through the “back” gate located in its Eastern side. A site in the transition from the Classic to the Post Classic, Chiche Itza is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and its El Castillo Pyramids is probably the best known icon of the Ancient Maya. Later in the day, transfer to Merida for overnight. (B.L.)
DAY 3 MON. MERIDA. Merida is Yucatan State Capital and Yucatan Peninsula largest city. These facts don’t make it loose the charm of its Spanish Colonial heritage in the downtown and the French influence mansions built during the XIX Century in the Paseo Montejo. One of these mansions is known as Canton Palace and it hosts an outstanding Museum of Archaeology that will be visited this morning. Afternoon transfer to Uxmal for overnight. Taking a Light & Sound Show that begins at 7PM is an option. (B.L.)
DAY 4 TUE. UXMAL & PUUC ROUTE SITES. Uxmal and its neighbor sites, that share an architectural style called Puuc are all together, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the morning visit to Uxmal itself. In the afternoon, visit the nearby sites of Labna, Sayil and Kabah. Overnight in Uxmal. (B.L.)
DAY 5 WED. EDZNA & BALAMKU. Morning visit to Edzna Archaeological Site. The “5 Story” Pyramids is the northernmost Maya building that shows the Peten architectural style. Heading south, Balamku is en route and, like Ek Balam, it shows wonderful stucco reliefs in an earlier pyramid that was covered by a later one, with enough care to protect this work of art. Overnight at Chicanna. (B.L.)
DAY 6 THU. CALAKMUL & CHICANNA. Calakmul was one of the 2 most powerful kingdoms during the Classic Maya and the site clearly shows it. Its rival was Tikal and its sphere of influence reached as far as Caracol is modern Belize and Quirigua in the Guatemala Caribbean Plains. Getting there is half the fun because it takes aprox 1 hour each way, driving through the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, a sanctuary of the area’s wildlife. Calakmul is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Very close to the hotel is Chicanna Archaeological Site, visiting it is a good introduction to the sites that will be visited the following day. Overnight at Chicanna. (B.L.)
DAY 7 FRI. RIO BEC SITES. A very well defined architectural style from the Late Classic Maya, the Rio Bec Style sites, of which Chicanna is an example of, have very decorated buildings: Xpuhil, with fake pyramids, Becan a fortified with moat and Kohunlich with maks, will be visited today. Overnight at Chetumal. (B.L.)
DAY 8 SAT. CHETUMAL & OXTANKAH. The Maya Culture Museum of Chetumal is a wonderful place to lean about the ancient Maya. Oktankah, a few miles north from Chetumal following the bay road, is a good example of a Maya site destroyed by the Spanish Conquistadores by building a church using the old pyramid’s materials. Afternoon transfer to Coba for overnight. (B.L.)
DAY 9 SUN. COBA AND TULUM. Morning visit to Coba with the most impressive Classic Maya pyramids in Northern Yucatan, and in the afternoon and always with many visitors, Tulum is located right by the sea, it is great to see a Maya pyramid with the emerald blue Caribbean behind. Overnight in Cancun. (B.L.)
DAY 10 MON. DEPARTURE FROM CANCUN. Transfer to Cancun International Airport.
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