Day 1 : USA / Merida
Fly/arrive to Merida. The group will meet for dinner and orientation at our boutique hotel: Piedra de Agua (52) 999 924 2300
This Merida hotel, which is housed in a property built in 1845 and protected by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, blends Old-World sensibilities with modern-day amenities for a truly memorable stay.
Day 2 : Historic District
Mérida was founded in 1542 by Montejo y León ("el Mozo") and named after the town of Mérida in Extremadura, Spain. It was built on the site of an ancient Maya city whose name T'hó (City of Five Hills) made reference to the 5 pyramids in the area.
Today Merida is a quiet paradise. The peacefulness of the town and the beauty of its streets make it a place of elegance and contrast amid its colonial houses, Mayan ruins, and architecture. Its food, layered with exquisite gastronomic heritage, will take over your taste buds. The Plaza Mayor is a vibrant meeting place where locals gather to talk while enjoying traditional drinks.
As described in Lonely Planet: “Since the Spanish conquest, Mérida has been the cultural capital of the entire Yucatán Peninsula. A delightful blend of provincial and cosmopolitan, it is a town steeped in colonial history. It's a great place to explore, with narrow streets, broad central plazas and the region’s best museums. It’s also a perfect place from which to kick off your adventure into the rest of Yucatán state.“
We start the day with a visit to Cathedral of San Ildefonso & the main square after which we drive to the Grand Museum of the Maya World.
After a morning of exploring we will lunch at one of Merida’s great restaurants: Hacienda de Teya.
Day 3 : Traditional Life
We start the day with a drive to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, an ancient Maya city. It was one of the largest Mayan cities and was often referred to in the later literature as a mythical city. Archaeologists believe that this ancient Mayan city may have had the most diverse population in the ancient Maya. It displays a great variety of architectural styles with researchers believe are because of the diverse population from different cultures that inhabited this ancient city.
This is one of the most visited Archaeological sites in Mexico with more than a million visitors every year.
Next we head to the traditional village of Izamal. Called the City of Hills and located right in the middle of the Yucatán Peninsula, Izamal may be the oldest city in Yucatán. Izamal was conquered by the Spaniards, and the monks in their eagerness to convert the Indians to Catholicism gave the city its religious distinction. To this day, Izamal’s people are very devoted to the Immaculate Virgin.
Izamal is a jewel of a colonial city, with almost all the buildings painted an egg-yolk yellow. Cobblestone streets and colonial lampposts complete the scenery. Clean, peaceful and quaint, this is a great town to stroll through. There are Maya pyramids, colonial-style buildings, parks and plazas, horses and buggies, and lots of people-watching. We will enjoy a traditional Yucatan lunch in Izamal at Kinich Izamal.
After our visit to this delightful town we will continue on to see a Guayabera factory (traditional shirts).
Day 4 : Native Artistry
We start the day with a cooking class. First we will head to the local market to buy the ingredients and then we will prepare special Yucatec cuisine to enjoy for lunch.
After lunch (and maybe a siesta) we will visit the Folk Art Museum. The works on display were really well done and great examples of the art and craft of both the Yucatan and Oaxaca. Upstairs are several rooms showing textiles and clothing, papier mache, pottery, trees of life, etc. Each section is accompanied by a description of the work and where it is from.
Day 5 : Folk Art
Today we pack up and move on to visit the traditional village of Ticul and there, Roger Juarez an exceptional potter.
Next, we head to the village of Mani. We will see some great examples of textile handicrafts for which this town is famous.
Lunch is at a local favorite restaurant TutulXui, a restaurant known for its delicious poc-chuc (a baked pork dish) and other authentic Yucatecan cuisine.
Day 6 : Hacienda
Between 1901 1nd 1916 Yucatan was the world’s largest producer of natural sisal. The wealth this generated helped to pull the region out of the economic downswing it was in due to what was called the “War of the Castes” that lasted from 1847–1901. The war began with the revolt of native Maya people against the European-descended population. The Yucatecos as the descendants were called had long held political and economic control of the region.
Sotuta de Peon is one of the few sisal producers that still exist today. To tour the installations and watch the current production is an unforgettable experience. Our stay will allow us to see close-up the whole process of growing, harvesting and producing this world class natural product.
We will also have the pleasure of swimming in one of the cenotes that dot this living Hacienda.
Day 7 : Ancient Maya
Uxmal is the most important Puuc ceremonial center and an architectural masterpiece. Florencio will wow us with his extensive knowledge of the history of this site.
After out visit to Uxmal we go a short distance to the village of Muna (after having a pit barbecue lunch at El Paso.) This village is on the top of the highest hill in Yucatán, from which you can observe the beautiful Maya jungle, with the magnificent pyramid of Uxmal in the background! In this village we will also see their beautiful carved gourds with Maya themes.
Day 8 : Flamingo Biosphere
We leave the fabulous Hacienda today and head toward the Gulf of Mexico for a change of pace. We will stroll on the beach in Celestun before boarding a boat to ride out to see the amazing sight of thousands of pink flamingos. This is an area set aside as a reserve to help protect the flocks of birds.
Back on land we will lunch at a beach front restaurant after which we will continue on to the village of Becal. This village is known for their unique panama hats…we will enter a cave to see how they are made!
We end the day at our hotel (Castelmar) and dinner at a great restaurant: Marganzo.
Day 9 : Campeche
Today we will explore the beautiful world heritage city of Campeche. Included are visits to the grand Maya Stele Museum, the Casa de Artsanias and lastly the old Fort Historic Museum. It is a full morning and we will be ready to sit and enjoy lunch (and maybe a margarita) at the Palapa del Tio Fito.
Day 10 : Campeche
Today you can take a breather and have the morning free to wander around the town. For anyone interested we will offer a drive to a nice beach where we can spend the morning relaxing. Probably a massage can be arranged! We will bid farewell to Mexico with a festive dinner in the evening.
Day 11 : Campeche/USA
The itinerary is subject to change. Thank you for traveling with Milagros para Ti and Academic Tours Oaxaca.
Some interesting sites for background reading: https://yucatanliving.com/history/the-ghosts-of-mani