Tulum

Mexico Magic

13 days
from
£2,639
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
FNO
Way to Travel:
Family Group
Activity:
New Family Holidays
Min age:
8
Group size:
6–15

Discover the magic of Mexico on this culture and nature filled family adventure!

From the sacred Mayan temples of Chichen Itza, to the crystal clear beaches of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico is a country full of natural wonders, colourful traditions and magical surprises. This trip showcases a wonderful variety of Yucatán's cultural and natural highlights; visit the colourful town Vallodolid, swim in the enchanting Cenote Ik-kil, explore colonial Merida, enjoy a Mexican cooking class and learn about the history of chocolate making in Uxmal. Navigate through the mangroves of the Sian Kaán Biosphere Reserve and explore the winding canals of the UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve of Celestun, home to a colony of pink flamingos. We also spend time with a small Mayan community in the jungle wonderland of Punta Laguna before being captivated by the most beautiful Mayan archaeological site, Tulum. Finally we head to the stunning beaches of Playa del Carmen for some leisure time, the perfect ending to a jam packed family adventure. 

Highlights

  • Visit Mayan sites of Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Tulum
  • Learn how to make Mexican classics in a cooking class for all the family
  • Explore the colourful towns of Vallodid and colonial Merida
  • Discover the history of chocolate making in Izamal
  • Navigate the waterways of Sian Kaán Biosphere Reserve and the UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve of Celestun
  • Traditional Mayan community and jungle wonderland of Punta Laguna
  • Idyllic Caribbean waters in Playa del Carmen

Key information

  • 11 nights in comfortable hotels with swimming pools, all en suite
  • 10 days cultural and natural activities
  • Group normally 6 to 15, plus local leader. Min age 8 yrs
  • Travel by minibus and bus

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner included
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London; fly to Cancun

    Those on the group flights normally arrive in Cancun in the afternoon. After meeting your tour leader you will be transferred (approx. 30 min) to our hotel located downtown where we stay overnight.

    Hotel Adhara Hacienda Cancun or similar

     

  • Day 2

    Visit the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Morelos; transfer to colonial Valladolid

    This morning after breakfast your tour leader will conduct the main group briefing before leaving our hotel in Cancun and travelling south (approx. 40 min) to the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Morelos. Here you will have the chance to enjoy the beautiful beach and have lunch next to the Caribbean Sea. In the afternoon we transfer (approx. 2 hrs 30 min) to the colonial town of Valladolid, where we stay for the next 2 nights.

    Hotel Meson del Marques or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Visit the famous Mayan temple city of Chichen Itza; swim in the fresh-water pool at Cenote Ik-kil

    In the morning we take a short drive (approx. 55 min) to the most well-known Mayan temple city, Chichen Itza, which served as the political and economic centre of the Mayan civilisation. Here we are able to explore its numerous structures that can still be seen today including the pyramid of Kukulkan, the Temple of Chac Mool, the Hall of the Thousand Pillars and the Playing Field of the Prisoners. The pyramid of Kukulkan was the last of the Mayan temples and is arguably considered the greatest.

    After visiting ancient Chichen Itza, we head (approx. 10 min) to Cenote Ik-kil, one of Yucatan's most enchanting freshwater underground pools. Here you can opt to take a refreshing swim in the cool water or simply admire this natural wonder before enjoying a buffet lunch (not included).

    In the afternoon we transfer (approx. 45 min) back for our final night stay in Valladolid.

    Hotel Meson del Marques or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit Valladolid’s local market; cooking class in the colourful town of Izamal; visit the traditional village of Tixkokob; transfer to Merida

    This morning after breakfast we visit Valladolid's vibrant local market where there is the chance to taste different fruits and discover other exotic local produce. Leaving Valladolid, we transfer (approx. 1 hrs 30 min) to Izamal, a former Mayan settlement meaning 'Place of the God of Medicine.' Today it is considered a magic town, where every building is painted yellow and white and is well-known for the 16th Century Franciscan monastery that was built upon the base of a Mayan pyramid. In Izamal we will roll up our sleeves and take part in a cooking class to prepare our lunch consisting of Mexican favourites guacamole, salsa and a surprise lunch speciality.

    After lunch, we drive (approx. 1 hour) to the traditional Mayan village of Tixkokob. Here we will see how local families still practise the age-old tradition of hammock weaving as well as visiting a local bakery before transferring (approx. 45 min) in the late afternoon to Merida, the White City, our base for the next 2 nights.

    Hotel Caribe or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Explore the mangroves and flamingos of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of Celestun

    Drive (approx. 1 hrs 30 min) to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reserve of Celestun. Boarding speedy motorboats, we navigate the winding canals and discover this immense mangrove and wetlands complex including a visit to the permanent colony of Pink flamingos who call this beautiful area home. Returning to the dock, we head to the town of Celestun for a delicious treat of local seafood delights in the shade of our thatched roof restaurant located on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.

    After lunch there is free time to enjoy the beach before returning to Merida (approx. 1 hrs 45 min) where the rest of the afternoon is free to do as you please.

    Hotel Caribe Merida or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Explore historic Merida; continue to Uxmal to learn everything about chocolate

    After breakfast, we go on a historic city tour of Merida, considered the cultural capital of the entire Yucatán Peninsula and referred to as the White City because of all its white painted buildings and the use of limestone bricks and tiles that decorate much of the exteriors. The tour includes seeing colonial architecture, churches and other monuments of Yucatán's thriving state capital before finishing with a 'Calesa' ride (horse carriage ride).

    We then transfer (approx. 1 hr 15 min) to Uxmal, where we visit the Choco Story Museum to learn everything about chocolate! Our visit to the museum includes a demonstration on how chocolate was prepared using an ancestral recipe, the chance to learn about the making of ceramics, experiencing a Mayan ceremony and of course tasting a freshly made chocolate beverage.

    The rest of the afternoon is free to relax or perhaps enjoy our hotel swimming pool in Uxmal.

    Hacienda Uxmal Plantation & Museum or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Explore the Mayan temples of Uxmal and go on a scavenger hunt before a traditional lunch.

    This morning we take a guided tour of another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the famous Mayan temples of Uxmal. Considered a true highlight of the Yucatán, this classic 10th Century Mayan site is one of the most complex and impressive expressions of Puuc architecture. Accompanied by an expert guide, the Mayan mysteries of the region with be revealed to us as we learn about its engineering, architecture and society.

    After our tour, we can participate in a fun scavenger hunt that requires us to search for a variety of clues that will draw on all that we have learned so far in this magical region of Mexico. To succeed, we will need a combination of intellectual acuity, mental fortitude, physical prowess and of course, creativity! 

    Following the scavenger hunt and having worked up an appetite, there is the chance to have a traditional Yucatecan meal at a local Mayan family restaurant. Here we have the option to order a gastronomic gem of the Yucatán Peninsula: slowly cooked pork (Cochinita Pibil) or chicken (Pollo Pibil) with achiote paste wrapped up in banana leaves, a classic meal!

    The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy at your leisure.

    Hacienda Uxmal Plantation & Museum or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Cross the Yucatan Peninsula to Punta Laguna, a small community and jungle wonderland; late afternoon arrival in Playa del Carmen

    Following breakfast, we bid farewell to Uxmal and travel (approx. 3 hrs and 30 min) across the Yucatán Peninsula to the natural protected area of Punta Laguna; home to a small Mayan community along with 500 spider monkeys and a few howler monkeys. Covered in lush vegetation, this ancient jungle is inhabited by a vast variety of trees including a sacred 700-year-old Pitch tree where traditional Mayan blessings are conducted. Today, the small Mayan community that lives here consists of around 30 families that organise different activities such as hiking, bird watching, monkey watching, zip-lining and rappelling. Punta Laguna is a wonderful example of how local people can manage tourism whilst still retaining complete respect and conviction to protect their natural and cultural heritage.

    After our visit to Punta Laguna, including a picnic lunch, we transfer (approx. 2 hours) to Playa del Carmen arriving in the late afternoon. Playa del Carmen will be our base for the last four nights of the tour.

    Hotel Wyndham Garden or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Morning visit to Sian Kaán Biosphere Reserve; afternoon visit to Mayan site of Tulum; return to Playa del Carmen

    This morning we will drive (approx. 1 hr and 30 min) to visit the Sian Kaán biosphere reserve. Meaning 'origin of the sky' in Mayan, this special biosphere reserve is made up of a large water system, marshes, mangroves and a virgin tropical forest. Upon arrival at the reserve, we take a short hike through the jungle to the Muyil Maya temple, before walking along a wooden pathway by the water's edge to board a boat and continue our tour. Accompanied by an expert guide, we will explore the reserve by water including discovering a cenote (sinkhole) that lies underneath the surface. During our visit, there is also the chance to swim in the clear waterways or float along the 'lazy river'. After arriving back on dry land, we take a short drive (approx. 30 min) on to Tulum. 

    Upon arrival in Tulum, there is the opportunity to have lunch before we visit the archaeological site of Tulum (meaning wall in Mayan). Whilst Tulum is not the largest of Mayan archaeological sites, it is considered to one of the most beautiful due to its striking location; set on 15-metre high cliffs above the sea. Also known as Zama, or city of dawn, Tulum was the only Mayan archaeological site to be in use at the time of the Spanish conquest.

    After visiting Tulum we transfer (approx.1 hour) back to our hotel in Playa del Carmen.

    Hotel Wyndham Garden or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Morning orientation walk of Playa del Carmen; rest of the day at leisure

    This morning following breakfast, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Playa del Carmen, considered one of Quintana Roo's trendiest beachside cities. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy at leisure. Your leader will also be able to advise locally of optional activities available.

    Hotel Wyndham Garden or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Free day in Playa de Carmen; farewell dinner

    Today is a free day for you to relax, swim in the pool or enjoy the Caribbean beach. As our hotel is centrally located in Playa del Carmen, all services can be found close by and the beach is within walking distance. This evening we will meet for a farewell dinner.

    Hotel Wyndham Garden or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Afternoon transfer to Cancun Airport; fly to London

    For those passengers on the group flight, you will be transferred to Cancun Airport in the early afternoon to check in for your flight back to London that departs late in the afternoon.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Arrive London

    Those on the group flight arrive back in London during the morning.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Mexico

Holders of British, Australian, New Zealand, US, Canadian and most EU passports do not require visas for Mexico.
However, please note that if flying via the USA, you will have to clear immigration during transit. In this case, you will be required to get an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) prior to flying if travelling via the USA under the Visa Waiver Scheme (as is the case for most UK citizens). Please see www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information.

Vaccinations

Mexico

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a .

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner are included.

Breakfast generally consist of buffets, American and western style breakfast dishes. Meals vary in price from around $15-20 USD for lunch and $15-30 USD dinner. A beer costs on average $3-5 USD.

There is a lot more to Mexican cuisine than fajitas and tacos and we have the opportunity to discover the wealth of dishes on offer. In Izamal we attend a cooking class, where we learn to cook salsas, guacamole and a special traditional lunch dish. We also visit a Mexican local market in Valladolid where we can taste the exotic fruit and local produce on offer. Throughout the trip there will plenty of opportunity to try traditional Yucatán and Mexican dishes.

Weather

On the coast there is little variation in temperatures between the seasons. These are likely to be 28C to 33C average daytime maximum and 18C to 23C night time minimum. The heat and humidity are moderated by sea breezes, but inland it is likely to be quite humid between May and October. The wet season is from June to October, when it normally rains on average one day in three. The rains tend to be short and heavy, alternating with pleasant clear spells. During the other months rain is much less likely, but there is the chance of an occasional storm at almost any time.

Merida

Is this trip for you?

This trip is a cultural family adventure rated activity level 1- Leisurely.

Whilst this trip is not particularly demanding, there are a couple long drives, guided visits to temples and walks around towns and cities. This trip has a strong focus on cultural and natural highlights of the area combined with ample time to relax and enjoy the beach or hotel swimming pools. Being in the tropics, most of the region is hot and humid, particularly during the summer months and inland - drinking plenty of water and dressing in loose cotton clothing is advised.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

3-Star Comfortable Hotels

Please be advised that the below accommodation listed in each location are the standard hotels used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

We use a mix of 3-star hotels during our trip chosen for comfort and convenience. All hotels have en suite facilities and offer free Wi-Fi. Most hotels also have swimming pools.

Cancun- Hotel Adhara Hacienda Cancun

Valladolid- Hotel Meson del Marques

Merida - Hotel Caribe

Uxmal- Hacienda Uxmal Plantation & Museum

Playa del Carmen- Hotel Wyndham Garden

Single supplements are available upon request.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 0208 772 3936