Pirates, Maya & Day of Dead Festival

Mexico

All about the tour

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 with spectacular Maya ruins, colourful markets and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Beginning on Mexico’s Caribbean coast we travel along the eastern fringes of the Yucatan Peninsula, visiting the Maya ruins at Tulum and Kohunlich and the tranquil waters of Bacalar Lagoon, before heading for the lush jungles of the Petén Basin.

Itinerary

Cancún → Playa del Carmen → Tulum → Bacalar → Kohunlich → Becán → Chicanná → Calakmul → Puerta Calakmul → Chicanná → Edzná → Campeche → Pomuch → Uxmal → Campeche → Kabah → Loltún Caves → Mérida → Hacienda Sotuta de Peón → Mayapan → Mérida → Izamal → Yokdz

Day 1: 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.

Day 2: Playa del Carmen - Tulum - Bacalar

We head to the Mayan rock fortress of Tulum, one of the last cities to be built by the Maya. After our visit, we then continue on to the small and tranquil town of Bacalar, located on the edge of a beautiful lagoon.

Day 3: Bacalar

Bacalar was founded by the Maya, sacked by pirates and fortified by the Spanish. Today we have an opportunity to enjoy the picturesque waters of its lagoon, part of the world’s largest subterranean water cave system, on a boat trip, with time to snorkel.

Day 4: Bacalar - Kohunlich - Becán - Chicanná

We drive to Chetumal to discover the Mayan treasures at its Museo de la Cultura. We then explore the famed Pyramid of the Masks at Kohunlich and the ruins of Becán, the oldest architectural defence system in Mexico, before ending in Chicanná.

Day 5: Chicanná - Calakmul - Puerta Calakmul - Chicanná

The journey then takes us to the Maya archaeological site at Calakmul, shrouded in the ancient rain forest and home to howler monkeys and birds. We then visit Puerta Calakmul’s remarkable ‘Bat Cave’, the haunt of some five million bats!

Day 6: Chicanná - Edzná - Campeche

Close to Campeche lies the ancient ruins of Edzná, which can trace their early origins back to 400 BC. We will have the chance to climb the Pyramid of the Five Storeys staircase for beautiful views before reaching Campeche.

Day 7: Campeche

A tour of the UNESCO city takes in its narrow streets and colonial architecture before we pay a visit to the Museum of Mayan Architecture. The city is also home to the Fortress of San Miguel, which today houses the city’s archaeological museum.

Day 8: Campeche - Pomuch - Uxmal - Campeche

Today we will witness the Day of the Dead celebration, believed to be of Aztec origin, in Pomuch. The locals remove and clean the bones and skulls from the decorated ossuaries that line the town’s cemetery. We then visit the UNESCO site of Uxmal.

Day 9: Campeche - Kabah - Loltún Caves - Mérida

Departing Campeche, we head to the spectacular ruins at Kabah. We will walk an ancient Mayan road to the caves of Loltún to enter a subterranean world of stalactites, tree roots and rock paintings, before completing our journey on to Meridá.

Day 10: Mérida – Hacienda Sotuta de Peón - Mayapan - Mérida

Founded by the Spanish in 1542, Meridá is still the economic and cultural capital of the region. We’ll tour the city this morning before we depart for the 19th century Hacienda Sotuta de Peón and Mayan capital of Mayapan.

Day 11: Mérida - Izamal - Yokdzonot - Chichén Itzá

As we journey to Chichén Itzá, we will stop at the Gran Museo del Mundo, where Yucatan’s social history is laid out, Izamal, one of the oldest towns in Yucatán, and Yokdzonot Cenote, where we can swim amongst the ancient trees and blue/green waters.

Day 12: Chichén Itzá - Valladolid - Cancún

We meet an expert archaeological guide today at Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO site and one of the most important examples of Mayan-Toltec civilisation anywhere in the Yucatán. We then spend time exploring Valladolid before reaching the airport in Cancún.

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What's included

Accommodation

11 nights' accommodation (three to four star hotels)

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner (typically in local restaurants where viable)

Guided tours

Full services of a Tour Leader with local guides and drivers

Sightseeing, excursions and activities as per the itinerary

Transport

All transport (minibus)

Support

24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through our office)

Entrance tickets

All entrance fees as per the itinerary

Not Included

International flights

Meals not mentioned

Optional tours and activities

Personal expenses

Highlights

Travel through the Yucatan Peninsula stopping at Mayan ruins

Witness the cleaning of the dead at the Day of The Dead festivities

Visit the spectacular Mayan sites of Uxmal, Tulum, and Chichén Itzá

Snorkel in the natural beauty of Bacalar Lagoon

Marvel at the colonial elegance of Campeche and Meridá

Explore the subterranean world of Loltún Caves

Book

Our reviews
Trustpilot

Gabriel Carvajal

Mexico

My cousin and I attended the first Mexico soccer games of the 2018 World Cup and World of Discoveries was excellent. The lodging accommodations were great and centrally located. The personnel were wonderful. Thank you Tim for taking care of all our request. I was very surprised to received a message at 3 am informing me that our car was outside waiting to transfer us to the airport. That is the level of service that we received from World of Discoveries. Great company that made our trip even more memorable since it was absolutely hassle free.

Michael Morcos

Australia

The team at World of Discoveries were awesome. Didn’t put a foot wrong at all, the tours great, the people even better. Alex who followed us around everywhere was fantastic and the organisation by Varya was exceptional. Everything was made easy and extremely helpful 24/7, I don’t think they slept the whole time. Thank you, my dad and myself loved it

Steve Giannoress

Australia

Traveled to Russia for the world Cup 2018 with Angelo. Alex and myself with World of Discoveries. They were exceptional in every way, I want to thank Varya , Alex Tati and there team for there support and service during our trip there in Russia. I highly recommend anyone that wants to travel with Discovery to Russia or Balkans to use the great service of the above people, contact Varya to book you in now. Thanks again guys, well done and we all look forward to catching up again in the near future.

Andrew Weifler

Australia

I decided to use the Tour Service of the World Cup after some extensive research into the tour alternatives. These guys seemed to differentiate its tour Service by providing a more culturally based service with a healthy dose of Football and Fun. My experience was that it as well run ie they delivered on their promises. They have a health mix of local staff and Australian staff. The Russian staff had a great empathy for the challenges for us Aussies traveling in a country where you had no language skills they bridged that gap with there wonderful help. I know there are many alternative tours but this one certainly lived up to its name. I felt I discovered part of Russia but there’s plenty more to go!’ Overall just a great experience

William Watt

Australia

I am a Sydney-based journalist who travelled to the 2018 World Cup with World of Discoveries. Following is my review of that fabulous experience ... What a trip ... the World Cup, five cities, amazing camaraderie, and great tour leadership against the background of one of the globe’s most amazing countries ... Russia. My World Cup tour with World of Discoveries was one of the great experiences of my travel life. The World of Discoveries team provided a wonderful platform with an itinerary both practical and flexible. The local tours in each of the venue cities - Moscow, Kazan, Samara, Sochi and St Petersburg were informative and, importantly, fun. Considering the accommodation pressures created by the huge influx of Cup tourists, the hotels selected by World of Discoveries were more than adequate. Special mention goes to the Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky In St Petersburg. The tour leadership provided by the company was both expert and considerate. Importantly each traveller’s individual enjoyment and safety appeared to be the paramount consideration. This World Cup holiday was meant to be a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for me but I am now planning for the next Cup. Bring on 2022 in Qatar!

Linh Taylor

Australia

We had such a wonderful time traveling with World of Discoveries. We were there for the World Cup in addition to touring. The company did an amazing job at communicating before, during and after. We felt very safe and taken care of our entire stay. We would highly recommend the company.