11 Day Mexico's Mayan & Aztec Illumination



Land Only


Air & Land

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Featured Hotels

Mexico's Mayan & Aztec Illumination
Krystal Grand Punta Cancun Cancun
Mayaland Hotel & Bungalows Chichen Itza
Hotel Casa del Balam Merida
Plaza Campeche Campeche
Hotel Villa Mercedes Palenque
Gran Hotel Diligencias Veracruz
Krystal Grand Reforma Mexico City

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2017 Dates & Prices
Dates Land Only Air & Land
Oct 16  (Sold Out) $2599 $2919*
Oct 30  (Sold Out) $2599 $2979*
Nov 13  (Sold Out) $2599 $2929*
Nov 27  (Sold Out) $2599 $2879*
$2299 $2629*
$2599 $2939*
$2449 $2829*

*Not Included:
Prices do not include optional tours and gratuities for guides/tour managers.

Additional Information:
Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers.

Accommodation Details:
Triple rooms consist of two double/queen beds for three persons; where available, a fee may be charged by the hotel for the addition of a cot/rollaway.

Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

Is This Trip Right for You?

This itinerary is active and will require walking over uneven surfaces or up and down steep slopes. This adventurous trip includes several early morning starts and full-day excursions. Some days require long transfers by shuttle bus. There is a significant amount of walking areas visited during your trip. This itinerary is designed for those who are interested in a faster-paced, adventure-filled experience. It is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking, sitting for extended periods of time, or who have heart conditions. Some of the most memorable sightseeing can only be accomplished on foot. The route and program may vary according to weather condition, season changes, and road conditions.

Extend Your Stay

Flight Details

Accommodation Details

  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights Miami-Cancun, Mexico City-Miami
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 10 nights accommodations
    • 1 night Cancun
    • 1 night Chichén Itzá
    • 2 nights Merida
    • 1 night Campeche
    • 2 nights Palenque
    • 1 night Veracruz
    • 2 nights Mexico City
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern motor coach
  • 22 meals: 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 6 dinners (including Welcome and Farewell dinners)
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Exploration of the Yucatan begins at Ek Balam, one of the largest Mayan ruins in Mexico
  • In magical Valladolid, stroll the picturesque square with its rows of colorful historic buildings
  • Tour the wondrous ancient ruins of Chichén Itzá, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • View the distinctive architecture of Merida at the ornate 15th century Casa Montejo
  • Enjoy hospitality, a home-cooked dinner and conversation with a local family in Merida
  • At the dramatic archaeological site of Uxmal, view the pyramids and temples from 600 AD
  • Watch weavers create pliable straw hats called jipijapas right before your eyes in Becal
  • Tour Campeche, a colonial city with baroque Spanish architecture and a walled historic district
  • Visit the astonishing soaring jungle swathed temples of Palenque, a national treasure!
  • In Villa Hermosa, visit the intriguing park with giant 12-feet Olmec heads from La Venta
  • At the romantic plaza in Veracruz see strolling jarochos, guitarists and marimba bands
  • Enjoy gorgeous views of the cathedral, beautiful churches and colonial buildings in Puebla
  • Enjoy all of the delights of buzzing Mexico City one of the most vivacious cities in Latin America

DAY 1, Monday - Depart for Mexico, Arrive in Cancun
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Cancun, Mexico's vivacious resort city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea known for its white sand beaches and energetic nightlife; transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax at the hotel's pools or, on the beautiful beaches. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Drink with your fellow travelers and Tour Manager at a briefing about the exciting discovery of Mexico that lies ahead
Overnight: Cancun

DAY 2, Tuesday - Mayan Ruins: Ek Balam, Magical Valladolid, and Chichén Itzá
The exploration of the Yucatan Peninsula begins at Ek Balam, one of the largest Mayan ruins in Mexico, where you can see the extraordinary wonders of Mayan culture from thousands of years ago. The well-preserved ruins of the ancient town are accented by elaborate statues and grand architecture. View the 96-foot tall Acropolis that once served as the temple for the ancient Mayan village; the huge monster at the entrance is said to be guarding the underworld. Continue to Valladolid, first capital of the Yucatan, perhaps the most magical city in Mexico. After lunch at a charming restaurant, stroll the picturesque central square, a spectacular colonial gem, with its rows of colorful historic buildings. Stop to see your first huge water-filled cenote (sink hole) - you’ll see more in the surrounding areas! Then on to Chichén Itzá, undoubtedly one of the "Seven Wonders of the World." Tonight, a festive Welcome Dinner with traditional Mexican cuisine
Overnight: Chichén Itzá
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3, Wednesday - Wondrous Chichén Itzá, The "White City" of Merida
Today, a visit to the astonishing ruins of Chichén Itzá, considered the most famous and most spectacular of Mexico’s Mayan sites. This magnificent metropolis, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the principle ceremonial center of the Yucatan. Learn about the fascinating history of Chichén Itzá and the unusual beliefs and rituals that defined this ancient Mayan civilization. The entire site is dominated by the towering walls of the dramatic Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo with its 365 steps—one built for each day of the year. After a lunch of local favorites, on to Mérida, one of the country's loveliest colonial cities for a walking tour that begins at the Plaza Grande. The rest of the day is at leisure
Overnight: Merida
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Thursday - Explore Merida, Home Hosted Dinner
Merida has been the cultural capital of the entire Yucatan Peninsula since its conquest by the Spanish. The exploration of the city begins at the Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortress like Merida Cathedral and the white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Mayan temples. See the glories of the city’s distinctive architecture as you arrive at the Central Plaza dominated by the ornate 15th century Casa Montejo, a former family mansion. Walk to the local gathering place at centralized Palacio de Gobierno; view the remarkable collection of murals depicting the conquest of the Yucatan. Time to wander on your own. Later, meet a local family in their home, share a delectable home-cooked dinner and hear about local customs and the daily life in Merida and Mexico
Overnight: Merida
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5, Friday - Uxmal Pyramids, Historic Campeche
At the dramatic archaeological site of Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, view the pyramids and temples that date back to 600 AD. Superb examples of Puuc style architecture can be seen at the terraced Governor's Palace with its 20,000 intricately carved stones that create an image of fine lace. Here, you also view the majestic Pyramid of the Magician and the four rectangular buildings of the Nunnery Quadrangle, before proceeding to the nearby crafts town of Becal. In this center of the panama hat industry, watch as weavers create pliable straw hats called jipijapas right before your eyes! Stop at a restaurant for lunch before the walking tour of Campeche, a colonial-era harbor city with baroque Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets and a walled historic district. At the main plaza of this UNESCO World Heritage city view multi-colored Andalusian-influenced homes. In the evening, sample delicious Mexican and Spanish flavors at one of the town's select restaurant
Overnight: Campeche
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6, Saturday - Palenque's Gardens
On the drive from Campeche to Palenque the scenery changes from the flatness of the Yucatan to rolling hills and mountains with tropical flora at every turn. Upon arrival in the town of Palenque the afternoon is yours for personal pursuits. Settle in at the hotel, enjoy the many delightful amenities and get ready for tomorrow’s fascinating discoveries. Dinner this evening is a gastronomic experience in pre-Hispanic fusion cuisine that will take you on a journey of friendship and culinary culture
Overnight: Palenque
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Sunday - Palenque, a National Treasure
One of the highlights of your Mexican journey is surely today's visit to the soaring jungle swathed temples of Palenque, a national treasure! Abandoned for unknown reasons, the vast, mysterious and enchanting ruined city of Palenque is one of the most beautiful Mayan city-states in the world, declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. On your tour, see the highlights of this mystical site -- the Temple of the Cross Group, Temple of Inscriptions and the Grand Palace -- while you listen to sounds of howler monkeys in the distance. It was here that archaeologists also discovered a carved coffin with a mysterious figure resembling an astronaut in his spaceship! Today, Palenque is filled with hundreds of ruined buildings, huge stones and stucco pyramids with intricate carvings and hieroglyphs. Visit the treasure filled museum before returning to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon is yours for independent explorations. Dinner together tonight caps an amazing day
Overnight: Palenque
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Monday - Villa Hermosa's La Venta Park, Romantic Veracruz
The visit today is to Villa Hermosa’s intriguing outdoor La Venta park where you view the displayed giant Olmec heads from the settlement of La Venta. Enter through a zoo, devoted to animals from Tabasco and other nearby regions that include jaguars, ocelots and many species of vivid birds including scarlet macaws and toucans. The Olmecs, known as the first civilization in Mexico, are believed to be descendants of Africans. It has been proposed that people from Europe, Africa and Asia may have lived in this "new world" before it was even discovered by Columbus in 1492. After lunch, continue your journey to romantic Veracruz. At the vibrant plaza, the oldest in Mexico, don’t be surprised to see serenading guitarists and marimba bands
Overnight: Veracruz
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Tuesday - Puebla, México City
Departing the lowlands of the Gulf coast, begin the drive towards Mexico City following the Camino Real once used by early Conquistadors to transport silver and other treasures from the Aztec capital to Spain. En route you may view the astonishing sight of the towering snow-capped volcanoes of Pico de Orizaba, Popocatepetl and Iztaccíhuatl. Arrive in the picturesque Centro Historico de Puebla. Admire gorgeous views of the stunning cathedral, a wealth of beautiful churches, and more than 1,000 colonial buildings adorned with azulejos (painted ceramic tiles) for which the city is famous. With a long culinary history, you can expect a great lunch in Puebla. After the visit, it's on to buzzing Mexico City, a city with a storied history dating from pre-Hispanic to colonial-era and now one of the most contemporary and vivacious cities in Latin America
Overnight: Mexico City
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10, Wednesday - Mexico City
The tour of the capital starts at Teotihuacán, the impressive archaeological site that was once the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. Visit the Jaguar Temple before continuing to the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon and the Avenue of the Dead flanked by temples and palaces. After lunch, view the nine famous murals of Mexico’s great artist, Diego Rivera inside the grand National Palace that depicts Mexican civilization from the arrival of Quetzalcóatl (the Aztec plumed serpent god) to the post-revolutionary period. Then, view the monumental iconic Catedral Metropolitana before driving along elegant Reforma Boulevard with its historic monuments to the National Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park, a vast wooded area that was a royal preserve of the ancient Aztecs. Learn more of the archaeological treasures of pre-Hispanic civilizations before returning to the hotel. At tonight’s gala Farewell Dinner, bid Adios to your newfound friends -- share wonderful memories of the journey together through Mexico
Overnight: Mexico City
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11, Thursday - Depart Mexico
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
  • Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week

Mexico's Mayan & Aztec Illumination, March 2017
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Our trip was just great, very informative, we enjoyed every moment. The (Pyramids) temples as they call them were a new experience for us, the food was different then we are use to ,but good, the accommodations were a joy, the weather can not be beat in Mexico . Anyhow we did stay a extra 4 nights in Mexico City and enjoyed even more of this fantastic City and culture, I bet we did enjoyed the City more than our fellow travelers because we had more time …..the tour guide was tremendous a great help to everyone and so courteous and friendly, We had the opportunity to do the “Copper Canyon “tour last year also with Bonifacio as our tour guide and had the same great experience, we certainly would recommend Gate 1 to anyone for a Mexican experience .

Josiane D. Ontario, Canada
Mexico's Mayan & Aztec Illumination, March 2017
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10 out of 10. Wonderful. More than I expected. All tour guides were good. Your guide was exceptional among the exception managers I have had. Very well done.

Gerald C. Lilburn, GA
Mexico's Mayan & Aztec Illumination, March 2017
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The tour guide, Bacho, was excellent. Hotel accommodations were fine, food was excellent at all locations. I thought the tour was well worth the money and would recommend it to other people interested in the archaeology of Mexico.

Douglas B. Winona, MO