Turtles, Temples and Flamingos: A Yucatan Adventure
Explore secret cenotes, ancient ruins and diverse wildlife whilst staying in the beautiful beaches and cultural cities of the Yucatan Peninsula
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Completely private tours of Rio Secreto, Mayan ruins, Cenote Xocempich, Merida, Celestun Biosphere Reserve and the Puuc Route
- Private tour options in Cancun
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Meet and greet airport service
- Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
Settle into the rhythm of Mexican life with a few days in Playa del Carmen. Here you’ll uncover a magical world of underground caves and tropical marine life as you swim beside turtles and manta rays in calm, turquoise waters. Then begin your cultural experience with a private visit to Tulum archaeological site and the Coba Mayan ruins.
From here, head to the colourful city of Izamal where one of the Seven New Wonders of the World awaits: Chichen Itza, before spending an afternoon swimming, snorkelling and relaxing in a secret cenote – which you’ll have all to yourself.
A few days in Merida offers further cultural and wildlife encounters as you visit the Celestun Biosphere Reserve and a collection of Mayan ruins along the Puuc Route, while a luxury night’s stay at a beachfront hotel rounds off this ten-day holiday perfectly.
Example Trip Itinerary
Playa del Carmen
Your guide will greet you off your flight and assist you with getting through the airport for your transfer onwards into the country.
Private transfer from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen hotel
Accommodation in Playa del Carmen
- 65 rooms
- Tennis courts
- Three swimming pools
- Fitness centre
- Observation tower
- Four restaurants
- Wine cellar
A fabulously luxurious and secluded resort along the coast between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, this hotel enjoys a 25-acre jungle preserve fronted by the equally pristine sands of Maroma beach. Well known for its exceptionally attentive service, its palapa-style interiors, modern suites and manicured gardens are complemented by a huge range of facilities from a full spa to three swimming pools and four restaurants. Benefiting from its equidistant location between the two busiest towns along the Riviera Maya also means you are well placed for getting to local archaeological sites, going on shopping trips and innumerable adventure activities, all overseen from the refined privacy of this resort.
- 41 rooms
- Swimming Pool
- Scuba Diving
- Horseback Riding
Also set 7 miles out of town on a secluded stretch of beach, the Viceroy’s exquisite forty-one, individual palapa-style villas gives you that extra dose of privacy and pampering. Furthermore every villa benefits from its own plunge pool, private terrace, hammock, sitting area and the usual five-star amenities. The services, space and seclusion grow with the six categories of villa you can opt for, and the staff remain conscientiously attentive to your every need. A large menu of activities are available as well as a full spa for further indulgence.
- 164 villas (8 categories ranging from 1 bed to 3 beds)
- 3 Restaurants
- Pool Bar
- Tapas § cocktail bar
- Golf club
Maintaining both its worldwide standards in luxury and signature Asian style, Banyan Tree has folded its elegant villas into a gated resort entwined in the Mayakoba coastal ecosystem of mangroves, lagoons and dunes. The setting is spectacular and its eight categories of villas, ranging from the one bedroom garden pool villa right up to the 3-bedroom townhouse adds a great element of choice this remarkably well-equipped resort, not to mention an extra element of seclusion. Dining here is also a delight with options of in-villa dining, a romantic ‘floating dinner’ on the Ixchel boat that drifts on the Mayakoba lagoon, then there’s private dining for groups in the La Cava wine cellar and chilling out at the pool bar, Mojitos at La Copa bar, followed by either Mexican, Mediterranean or Thai cuisine. With its own El Cameleon golf course, full spa and a range of local and regional activities, you are well connected to the treasures of the area too.
- 128 suites
- Infinity pools
- Two Restaurants
- Championship golf course
A resort with flair, seclusion and serious style: it’s not hard to see why Rosewood Mayakoba is one of the World’s Top 100 Hotels (according to Conde Nast). This 1,600-acre luxury resort enclave along the coastline, just north of Playa del Carmen (4 miles) and south of Cancun (35 miles), is built along a serene Caribbean lagoon and you arrive to your suite’s own private dock via a luxury boat or by golf buggy. Each of these luxurious and cutting-edge suites is self-contained for privacy and enjoy their own rooftop sundeck, plunge pool, terraces and boat dock. With a couple of infinity pools, powder-white beaches to swim in, golf, and full-spa to spoil you, the hotel is also well placed to explore the natural and archaeological wonders of the Mayan Riviera. The service is outstanding, as is the food, making this possibly the best hotel in Playa del Carmen if not on this entire stretch of coastline. The hotel is also lauded for its actions in sustainable tourism and social responsibility, having helped build a local school that provides education to over 200 students.
- 29 rooms
- 2 swimming pools
- Day Spa
For those that prefer a more intimate and ‘natural’ stay along the Mayan Riviera, than Esencia’s private fifty-acre beachfront boutique hotels offers up a wonderful alternative to the resorts that pepper this coastline. The Escencia channels the luxury of simplicity with palapa-style villas and white-washed rooms adorned with plantation shutters, arched orchids, oriental furniture, all the mod cons, elegant open gardens and beach area, and cultivates a general and genuinely palpable warmth to the entire property.
- 23 rooms
- Rooftop Pool
A trendy, in-town option (just a couple of blocks away from the Fifth Avenue), BE Playa is a great option for those wanting to be nearer the action. Partnering with a number of stylish beach clubs, guests can enjoy this as well as the hotel’s rooftop pool and bar. Its rooms are quirky and modern, and the junior suites come with their own Jacuzzi and balcony. The hotel restaurant is popular with a young local crowd, serving some excellent sushi and Asian cuisine.
One of the most serenely beautiful coastal areas of Mexico and a great place to switch off and enjoy the tranquil, tropical surroundings. Your travel designer can recommend and arrange activities to fill your time here.
The recent discovery of Río Secreto, previously known as Pool Tunich, has brought much excitement to Quintana Roo. This system of caves, formed over centuries by an underground river is by far the longest partially flooded cave in the Yucatan Peninsula, but what makes Río Secreto even more special is the fact that it is semi-sunken. Most caves found in the Yucatan are underwater, and if you want to explore them, you must receive specialized training in cave diving. That requires lots of practice and study, as well as a hefty investment in diver certification and dive gear. Río Secreto has over twelve kilometers of semi-sunken cave mapped out with fifteen natural outlets located in different areas.
Today you will explore the fine white and wide beaches of Akumal. The calm and turquoise waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling with sea turtles seen during the day. This gem of the caribbean has three beautiful bays: half Moon Bay, Greater Akumal Bay, and Aventuras Akumal Bay. All of them are great for snorkeling, kayaking and swimming. Then continue with a visit to the archaeological site of Tulum. This walled Maya city was occupied during the Postclassic period, late in the history of the Mayas, and is famous for its unique architectural style and beautiful setting overlooking the turquoise Caribbean sea. Admire the sculpture on the buildings as you wander through this lovely site.
You will be collected from your hotel and transferred out to Akumal Bay to observe and snorkel with the colourful sea life. This is an exciting activity for experienced snorkelers or confident swimmers.
Your private guide will meet you at your hotel in Tulum and you will be privately transferred to see the impressive archaeological site of Tulum.
Private Transfer to Izamal with Tour of Coba Mayan Ruins
Accommodation in Izamal
- Six air conditioned bedrooms with en-suites
- Living & dining room
- Swimming pool in rear courtyard
- Rooftop lounge
- Terrace with lily pond
- Fully staffed and equipped kitchen
‘Casa de Los Artistas’ translates as ‘The Artists’ House’. The name could not be more appropriate for this zesty and colourful retreat. If you’re looking for an immersive and authentic stay, right at the heart of a typical Yucatecan town, then Casa de Los Artistas is perfect. Just a block away from Izamal’s cathedral, you’ll be lead through a modest entrance to find this gem. Although traditional in colonial design painted the same distinctive bright yellow that the town flaunts, marbled floors, a courtyard and terrace with scattered cactuses and palm trees, Casa de Los Artistas spans over three levels, has a lovely sun-drenched pool and rooftop lounge area. Relax in your own space, as each of the six individually decorated bedrooms have en-suites and there are plenty of delightful living spaces to choose from.
- Four air conditioned suites with private baths
- Swimming pool
- Large living and dining areas with a fully equipped kitchen
- Garden and terrace
- The kitchen is fully equipped and the rental comes with cooking staff. (breakfast is included, other meals can be at your request)
Meticulous wooden carvings and wall paintings dominate the design of Casa de Madera. Recently restored, this private villa charms with its original colonial architecture and new spacious bedrooms. Secluded in a residential neighbourhood, yet within easy reach of the city of Izamal and grand archeological sites, the villa is perfectly located. At the end of a touring day, unwind in your own oasis: cross the tranquil lily pond to take a dip in the pool, have a local dish whipped up for you, or simply laze on the terrace overlooking the gardens. Casa de Madera is well equipped and can cater to your needs. The villa is large enough and comfortable for a family or group with four suites, big living areas and a staffed kitchen.
- One bedroom
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Living area
- Patio and back garden
- Plunge pool
Enjoy colonial privacy at this charming private villa: Casa Azul. Based in the Izamal area, this property perfectly blends homely comforts with the first-class luxuries of a top hotel. Featuring a master bedroom, living area, fully equipped kitchen and a plunge pool, Casa Azul provides you with all the necessary amenities – plus extra indulgences to enjoy. However, intrigue lies out in the garden where the remains of a Maya Pyramid are found. Rest, relax and dine al fresco in this fascinating garden when you’re not discovering the local archaeological sites or the one-block away Franciscan convent.
Spend the next few days in the "Yellow City", or the "City of Three Cultures", Izamal. This picturesque, ancient city is a living Mayan town with an intriguing blend of Maya, Spanish and modern cultures. Visit Maya artisans’ homes and workshops with one of our expert local guides, take a traditional horse carriage ride down the 'calles', wander through the impressive atrium and interiors of the Monastery and tour the mezcal distillery.
Today you will visit the impressive sights of Chichen Itza and Cenote Xocempich while travelling from Merida to Tulum.
The first stop shall take place approximately two hours into the journey at the ancient and internationally renowned archaeological site Castillo. This striking pyramid, built by the Maya, is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. During the morning you will also visit other main constructions plus the Sacred Cenote where many sacrificial offerings have been discovered.
A twenty minute drive from Chichen Itza is Xocempich where a private cenote is based on the ruins of an age-old ranch.The afternoon will be spent here with the cenote all to yourself. You will have the chance to relax, swim and snorkel in the clear turquoise waters. Lunch will be served below the grand old trees in a fête champêtre style.
Your driver will then transfer you to your hotel in Tulum which will take approximately two hours.
Enjoy a traditionally prepared lunch in the grounds of the Xocempich cenote.
Private transfer from Izamal to Merida
Accommodation in Mérida
- 17 rooms
- Swimming Pool
- Fitness Centre
- Gourmet Chocolate Shop
- Tequila Lobby Bar
- Partnered with a Private Beach Club (45 minutes drive away)
This brightly-hued boutique hotel in the heart of the city is a great modern option for those after both a good location and contemporary vibe. Contained within the typical façade of two colonial mansions, the decor reflects a different era if not a fusion of both, renovated to today’s standards and in a design-led style. The rooms are colourful, simple and urban with a clever blend of textures and amenities to hand (flat screen TVs, iPod docks, WiFi and L’Occitane bath products). Incorporating rose oil and cacao into much of the products used in its excellent Spa, a central courtyard swimming pool, gourmet chocolate shop and partnered with a good beach club, if you fancy a day at the coast, Rosas is a surprisingly original option for your stay in Merida.
- 18 rooms
- iPod docks, WiFi
- 2 Swimming Pools
- Full Spa
- Wine Cellar
- Tropical Gardens
Located just outside the city on the road to the Gulf coast, this lovely hacienda has estate-sized grounds lending not only a charming historic character but space and seclusion. It’s also within easy reach of both the city and beach too. Its cavernous eighteen rooms are very spacious, as are its ample patios, surrounding tropical gardens and pool area. Decorated in the rural hacienda style of the affluent Old World, heavy and dark handmade furniture, gilt frames, tall shutters, intricate tiled floors and stone pillared archways are prominent, successfully transporting you back to this magnificent era. The staff are immensely helpful and warm, the spa is well-equipped with a large menu of treatments and the atmosphere is delightfully peaceful.
- Seven rooms
- Private villa with three bedrooms
- Flat screen TVs, WiFi, A/C, ceiling fans, iPod docks
- Swimming pool
- Wine and tequila bar
This hotels scores points for both its location, being positioned right in Merida’s UNESCO-protected old quarter, and its elegantly stylish Old World décor. Housed in a 19th-century colonial mansion and reflecting all the opulence employed in the furnishings by that era’s sisal barons, Casa Lecanda is nothing short of stepping into a period that so shaped this city, and its ample patios and courtyards provide a wonderfully spacious sanctuary in this closely packed neighborhood. Its seven rooms have been fitted with the modern amenities yet keep hold of the mansion’s original style of hospitality. The staff are warm and welcoming, and there’s a fantastic choice of local to more regional activities to choose from.
You will be picked up at 9AM from your hotel for a private tour of the historic center of Merida (3-4 hours) including the main plaza (zocalo), markets, museum of Canton Palace, the Cathedral, the Monumento a la Patria (Monument to the Fatherland) and Paseo Montejo, based on French boulevards. In the afternoon, your guide will advise you on where best to buy locally made souvenirs and artisan products in the city.
Enjoy time in Merida, seen as the capital of Yucatan Peninsula, where a lot of its economic and cultural activities take place, not to mention being the most sophisticated base from which to explore all the ruins along the Puuc route.
Today you will explore the fascinating Celestún, a nature preserve on the Yucatán’s gulf coast. A boat excursion takes you deep inside the estuary and bordering mangrove forests where you will find American flamingos and dozens of other bird species. You will get the chance to swim in a natural spring and visit the town of Celestún, an authentic fishing village, practically frozen in time. Then enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at a local beachside restaurant. Best of all you’ll have plenty of time for relaxing on the beach.
The Puuc Route (or Ruta Puuc), is the name given to a collection of Mayan ruin sites about halfway between the cities of Merida and Campeche in the Yucatan Peninsula. Your private guide and vehicle will collect you from your hotel and take you to a selection of sites along this route, providing private tours at each complete with historical background and cultural insights.
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. They will fill you in on all the history behind each site, helping to bring alive the legends, myths and theories, whilst you enjoy their spectacular jungle setting and marvel at the wonders of Mexico’s sophisticated pre-Colombian civilisation. Private transfer back to Merida at the end of the day.
Your private guide will take you to the archaeological ruins of Kabah, just to the south of the Uxmal complex. They will fill you in on all the history behind each site, helping to bring alive the legends, myths and theories, whilst you enjoy their 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, whose facade is covered with repetitious masks of Chaac. The site also has a number of other palaces, low stone buildings, and step-pyramid temples.
Xocnaceh produced cattle and henequen, the “green gold” that brought tremendous wealth to the Yucatán in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At Xocnaceh you’ll meet the hacienda caretaker, who describes the medicinal properties of the plants that surround his house. After a refreshing dip in the old irrigation tank, lunch is served in the ruined hacienda church. You will be returned to your hotel or hacienda at the end of the day's tour.
Private transfer from Merida to Cancun
Accommodation in Cancun
- 274 rooms
- 6 Restaurants, 3 Infinity Pools, 2 Beaches, 3 Lounges,
- Gym, Free WiFi
- NIZUC Spa by ESPA (30,000 sq ft)
- Child and teen facilities
Firmly on everyone’s ‘hot list’ this year, and tucked into a secluded area north of Playa del Carmen, approaching Cancun (15-minutes from the airport too) in Punta Nizuc, this resort feels a world away from the busy hotel strip just to the north of it. NIZUC’s architect Alejandro Escudero has designed a hotel that is open and airy (with 109 pools no less) as opposed to building up, like many of the high rise business hotels have done further up the coastline. This has a more positive and easing effect on you, where you feel more connected to the ocean, space and nature surrounding the hotel. Combining sophisticated and organic furnishings throughout, it’s informal yet intrinsically elegant. The resort’s collection of spacious suites come with the expected level of modern amenities and luxury with outdoor verandas and most come with sweeping ocean views too. As well three infinity pools, NIZUC spreads its service onto two swimmable white-sanded beaches, offering plenty of water based activities too. Six restaurants spoil you for choice in terms of where to dine every day; the Chef’s Table, Mediterranean at Terra Nostra, Far Eastern delicacies at Indochine, contemporary Mexican at Ramona’s, surf and turf at La Punta Grill, refreshing Peruvian creations at Ni, and substantial breakfasts at Café La Playa. Apart from eating, there is the all-important and vast NIZUC ESPA Spa where you should also treat yourself to their extensive and first class menu of experiences. Choose from another boundless menu, the activities one, for cultural excursions, active pursuits and events.
Enjoy the beautiful Caribbean sun and sand and take in Cancun's night-life and dining opportunities during your time here.
Private transfer from your Cancun hotel to Cancun International airport
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Turtles, Temples and Flamingos: A Yucatan Adventure
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.