Swim with whale sharks and turtles, explore Mayan ruins and the natural wonders of the Yucatan, with relaxing beach time and charming haciendas stays

Personalised journeys from start to finish

Every trip helps support Conservation

Every detail taken care of

  • Personalised journeys from start to finish

  • Every trip helps support Conservation

  • Every detail taken care of

Itinerary highlights

  • Snorkel with turtles and seek out Mayan ruins in Tulum
  • Paddle in the waters of some magical cenotes
  • Swim alongside whale sharks off Holbox Island
  • Visit the wildlife-rich Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve
  • Enjoy a privately guided tour of Chichen Itza
  • Wander around the ancient ruins in Merida

What's included

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers
  • Private tours and experiences
  • Full support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
  • Our help with restaurant recommendations and reservations
  • Expert guides in each destination
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Designed to encapsulate the natural splendours of Yucatan, and to ensure that you immerse yourself through carefully curated activities, both inland and off the coast, while staying in enchanting haciendas, this luxury trip will most definitely enchant.

The dreamy seaside town of Tulum is your starting point, and you’ll have ample time to venture around its well-preserved ruins, as well as recline on one of its many idyllic beaches, with a margarita in hand.

During your time at this seaside spot, you’ll set off on secluded snorkelling and swimming experiences in the area of Yalku-ito, enjoy private tours of the ancient remnants and paddle in the Gran Cenote.

Holbox Island is next on the itinerary and will be a particular highlight for birdwatching enthusiasts given that it attracts a variety of migrating birds. Off the shore, you’ll get the special opportunity to snorkel alongside whale sharks.

You’ll then be transferred to Chiquila, and venture on a private boat safari around the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve – a wonderful haven of wildlife and endangered species.

Merida, the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, is another stop, where you’ll have a tour of the iconic Chichen Itza ruin, with a local guide, followed by a gourmet lunch at the renowned Hacienda Chichen. It’s in this area that you’ll also visit the lesser-known Mayan ruins of Dzibilchaltun and Tixkokob, a town famous for its hammock weaving, before experiencing a cultural tour of Merida

Continuing with a detailed look into the past, the trip will see that you witness the ruins of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, X-Lapak, Labna and the Loltún Caves, home to paintings from the Maya civilisation’s late pre-classic era.

 

 

Example trip itinerary

Days 1-4

Tulum

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Meet and greet at Cancun airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Tulum

Accommodation in Tulum

tulum-mexico
Three nights relaxing in Tulum Three nights relaxing in Tulum

Tulum is an idyllic and charming place to relax and enjoy sparkling warm ocean waters, sublime white beaches and Mayan archaeological ruins. Set on the coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula, Tulum is the site of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city and the perfect base for an array of aquatic activities.

Snorkelling and swimming with turtles in Yalku-ito and Akumal Bay Snorkelling and swimming with turtles in Yalku-ito and Akumal Bay

You'll be collected from your hotel to catch a boat with your guide to a secluded area known as Yalku-ito; a place where the freshwater that runs underneath the ground of the Yucatan Peninsula exits towards the ocean. Here, fresh and saltwater mixes creating a rare visual effect called the halocline and the temperature and combination of waters are known to attract fish in large schools.

This inlet has an important role for marine life because it acts as a nursery for fish, so lots of juveniles, new born fish and turtles hang around this area before adventuring to the outer reefs.

After spending some time here, the crew will take you to Akumal Bay to observe the sea life there and show you the difference between the two ecosystems, which despite being so near they're quite different from each other.

Private tour of Tulum Ruins Private tour of Tulum Ruins

Begin the day with a visit to the archaeological site of Tulum. This walled Mayan city was occupied during the Post-classic period, late in the history of the Mayas, and is famous for its unique architectural style and its beautiful setting, overlooking the turquoise Caribbean sea. Admire the sculpture on the buildings as you wander through this lovely site.

Swim in the Gran Cenote Swim in the Gran Cenote

With a circumference area of 202 meters, this cenote (a natural sinkhole that's very common in the Yucatan) is popular with families and first time cenote swimmers. You pass through well-kept gardens before descending a natural rock and wooden plank stairway to the wooden platforms and gardens below.

At the bottom of the stairs, first-timers tend to veer to the right where you'll find a shallow snorkelling area with a soft white sand bottom. With a snorkel mask, you can see the large stalactites up close.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Chiquila and Holbox Island

Days 4-6

Holbox Island

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Chiquila and Holbox Island

Accommodation in Holbox Island

Beach, Holbox Island, Mexico
Two days exploring Holbox Island Two days exploring Holbox Island

Spend your days here relaxing in the Caribbean castaway setting of Holbox Island - you can rent a golf buggy to explore, do some birdwatching (as the island is a proven sanctuary for migrating birds), fishing, kayaking, kitesurfing and sailing, or simply unwind at your hotel.

Up close with whale sharks
Snorkel with whale sharks Snorkel with whale sharks

Enjoy one of the best marine wildlife experiences in Mexico. A private boat and crew will be waiting to take you to the location where the whale sharks have been spotted. Once you arrive, you'll be given a safety briefing and rules for swimming with these amazing creatures, before getting into the water to swim with them.

The tour can last three to five hours and the whale shark season is from May to September.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Chiquila

 
Private boat safari to the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve Private boat safari to the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

The Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 60,347 hectares and is home to 580 different species: 58 species of mammals, 356 species of birds, 95 species of amphibians and reptiles and a record of 71 species of fish. Some are specially protected species to be endangered, and some are endemic to the Yucatan Peninsula. Here, you'll embark on a boat safari to spot the wildlife with expert guides, before your transfer to your chosen hotel or hacienda.

Days 6-8

Hacienda San Jose

Haciendas around Merida

chichen-itza-sunset-mexico
Privately guided tour of Chichen Itza Privately guided tour of Chichen Itza

Possibly the most famous Mayan ruin in all of Mexico, your expert local guide will bring the pre-Colombian history of the country to life and Mayan heritage of sites such as this.

Lunch at Hacienda Chichen Lunch at Hacienda Chichen

Your guide will drop you off at the charming Hacienda Chichen for a gourmet lunch.

Swimming in a cenote Swimming in a cenote

Your guide will bring you to a local cenote (a naturally occurring, fresh water borehole that is quite common on the Yucatan Peninsula) for a refreshing dip in the waters.

Dzibilchaltun tour Dzibilchaltun tour

Your guide will make a stop at the lesser known Mayan ruins of Dzibilchaltun. Though small in comparison to sites like Chichen Itza, it holds a certain charm thanks to its compact size and crystal clear cenote for swimming. Your guide will show you around the complex, detailing its ancient and colonial history, stopping at the Temple of the Seven Dolls (Templo de las Siete Muñecas), and there's an air-conditioned museum on the premises that houses Mayan and Catholic artefacts from the site.

Tixkokob tour Tixkokob tour

Tixkokob (meaning place of poisonous snakes in Mayan) is famous within the Yucatan area for high-quality hammock weaving. Your private tour will stop here and your guide will point out the best shops for a purchase, should you like.

Cultural tour of Merida Cultural tour of Merida

Your expert local guide will escort you around the city to see the cultural landmarks and historical heritage, which has shaped Merida. Bringing history and architecture to life, your guide will help you explore the city's past to present in a comprehensive tour.

Lunch at Hacienda Xcanatun Lunch at Hacienda Xcanatun

You'll be brought to the glamorous and historical Hacienda Xcanatun for a gourmet lunch at the Casa de Piedra restaurant.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your Hacienda in the Merida area

Days 8-10

Around Merida

Haciendas around Merida

Uxmal tour Uxmal tour

Today, your private guide will meet you at your hotel and drive you to some of the region’s best ancient Mayan sites and archaeological ruins of Uxmal.

Kabah tour Kabah tour

Explore the archaeological ruins of Kabah, just to the south of the Uxmal complex. Your guide will fill you in on all the history behind each site, helping to bring alive the legends, myths and theories, while you enjoy the spectacular jungle setting and marvel at the wonders of Mexico’s sophisticated pre-Colombian civilisation.

Kabah is famous for its ornate Temple to Chaac, the Rain God of the Maya, with a facade covered in repetitious masks of Chaac. The site also has a number of other palaces, low stone buildings, and step-pyramid temples.

Sayil tour Sayil tour

This archaeological site is just further south of Kabah, and is a complex that stands on a causeway. Its most famous feature is the Great Palace with 90 bedrooms, and the El Mirador Pyramid.

X-Lapak X-Lapak

Your next stop along the route is X-Lapak located between Sayil and Labná. It's a somewhat small complex of some 14 mounds, a nine-room palace with intricate facades, and three pyramids. This site is less developed and more like the ruins as they were before re-discovery, but still well preserved.

Labna Labna

Also just south of Uxmal is Labna, which is also a UNESCO-protected site. Your guide will bring to life the vestiges of the Palace, the Arch, El Mirador and the many bas-reliefs that Labna is well known for.

Loltún Caves Loltún Caves

Next stop will be the Loltún Caves just south of the town of Oxkutzcab, which contain paintings from the Maya civilisation's late pre-classic era. An extensive cave that goes on for two kilometers, evidence of human habitation has been found in the form of tools, engravings, paintings and even mammoth bones.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Merida airport

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Haciendas, Beaches and the Wildlife of the Yucatan

10-Day Example Trip
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