US$2,400 per person (*double occupancy, land only)
Meals Included: Breakfast (daily) and either Lunch or Dinner (as indicated)
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 exploration we will lunch at one of Merida’s great home style restaurants: Maiz, Canela, & Cilantro.
Day 3 : Greatest Maya Kingdom
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 Valladolid. Its colonial buildings include 16th-century Convent of San Bernardino of Siena, with an ornate wooden altarpiece, and baroque-style San Gervasio Cathedral. We will visit the Casa de los Venados has Mexican folk art and furnishings and The New Museum of Traditional Mexican clothing.
Day 4 : Traditional Life
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 Los Mestizos.
After our visit to this delightful town we will continue on to see a Guayabera factory (traditional shirts).
And then on to 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 : Flamingo Biosphere
Today we pack up and depart to Hacienda Sotuta de Peon. But first we will head to the flamingo reserve in Celestun where we will board boats to head out to the reserve.
After a festive lunch at a beach-side restaurant we will move and check into the elegant Hacienda ending the day with dinner at their fine restaurant.
Day 6 : Hacienda Life
Between 1901 and 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 Puuc
Today we head back to Merida but first we will visit Kabah, a beautiful Maya kingdom. Just for the quality of its monuments, Kabah - a word that means "lord of the powerful hand" - can be considered one of the most important settlements in the Puuc area. Although only some of its structures have been explored, such as the Palace and the Codz Poop, these are of such complexity that they indicate that Kabah was a city comparable to Uxmal, with which it is linked by a sacbé , "path", of 18 km in length.
From Kabah we will make a stop at Ticul where we will meet Roger Juarez, an exceptional potter of ancient Maya vases.
Our farewell luncheon will be at one of Merida’s best restaurants: Hacienda de teya.
Day 8 : Merida/USA
Departure day, Transportation to airport.
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