If you’re short on time but want to delve into the Yucatan, this wide-ranging itinerary in one of Mexico’s most fascinating regions is an authentic alternative to the mainstream. Snorkel Caribbean reefs and laze on beautiful white-sand beaches. Enter the world of the ancient Maya at Chichén Itzá and the incredible jungle ruins of Palenque. Your experienced CEO will reveal the region’s hidden gems, taking the hassle out of travel so you can focus on ancient ruins and vibrant sites—or revel in a tranquil sunset cruise off Playa del Carmen.
Chichén Itzá guided tour. Mérida orientation walk. Palenque guided tour. Beach time in Bacalar and Playa del Carmen.
Soak up true Mexican culture, marvel at the beauty of Palenque, relax on world-class beaches
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Public bus, private van.
Hotels (9 nts).
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
Finishing Point Hotel
For any post-tour accommodation you have the option of booking at either Playa del Carmen or Cancun.
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). You must be able to carry your luggage to our accommodations and should be prepared to load it on and off of transportation, as porters are usually not on hand. A good size daypack is also essential.
- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and memory cards
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars (optional)
- Cover for backpacks
- Concealable money belt
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- Sun hat
- 2 pair of shorts
- 1 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/Sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Insect Repellent
- Pocketknife (optional)
- First-aid kit
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
While US dollars may be accepted at the more popular locations such as Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Mexican pesos
are more widely accepted and best to use throughout the duration of the tour. Withdrawing from an ATM will offer you the best exchange rate. A small emergency fund in US Dollars is a good idea to have in the event that you are having difficulty withdrawing money from a local ATM.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 50USD (or equivalent).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Depending on the exchange rate departure tax is approximately $48 USD per person. This tax is sometimes included in the price of your ticket, contact your airline to confirm.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
City tour $10
Celestún Bird Sanctuary $45 (includes transport, guide, lunch and entrance) 9am to 5pm
Dzibilchaltun Ruins tour $25 (includes transport, guide and entrance) 9am to 3pm
Cenotes Tour $18 via public transport, $30 via private transport (includes transport, entrance, guide and trolleys) 9am to 4pm
Uxmal and Kabah guided tour $30 (includes transport, guide, lunch, entrance) 9am to 6pm
Uxmal light and sound tour $30 (includes transport and dinner) Entrance of $15 not included. 1pm to 9pm
Yaxchilan/Bonampak tour (includes entrance, transport guide and lunch) $70 – 7am to 7pm – Motion sickness pills advised.
Palenque 2.5 hours jungle walk (includes guide) $20
Riverside BBQ (includes transport, entrance to private property, BBQ lunch, BYOD) $20
Playa del Carmen:
Snorkel rental $15
Ferry to Cozumel $25 roundtrip
Tulum transport and ruins entrance $10-40
Diving course $350
Scuba diving (for already certified divers) $50-120
Bicycle rental $25 day
Horseback riding $50
Dos Ojos Cenote Snorkeling Tour $50
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD360-470 for meals not included.
0 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 0 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: MYP, ID: 22763
Day 1 Cancún
There are no planned activities until the evening welcome meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Cancún/Mérida
After a guided tour of the fantastic ruins at Chichén Itzá, continue on to Mérida for an orientation walk to get acquainted with the city.
With museums, plazas, beautiful architecture, open markets and outdoor cafés, there is plenty to keep you busy here.
Chichén Itzá Guided Tour
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s), 196km)
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 124km)
Day 3 Mérida
Opt to visit ruins of Uxmal, ride the PUUC Route, go bird-watching in Celestún, hit the beach in Progreso, visit cenotes in the nearby town of Cuzamá, or walk around town and soak in all of the history this city has to offer.
Day 4 Mérida/Palenque
Travel day to Palenque in the lush dense jungle of Chiapas.
First-class bus (9.00-10.00 hours, 540km)
Day 5 Palenque
Take a guided tour of the ruins of Palenque. Later, choose from one of the many optional activities in the area.
Palenque Ruins Guided Tour
Day 6 Palenque/Bacalar
Transfer to Bacalar and spend time on the beach looking out at the crystal-clear lake.
Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours, 487km)
Day 7 Bacalar
Opt to kayak around the lagoon or explore the nearby fortress.
Day 8 Bacalar/Playa del Carmen
Head to Playa del Carmen, located on the beach just a 45-min drive south of Cancún. Enjoy some nightlife, buy last minute souvenirs and relax and swim in the Caribbean.
There is the opportunity for snorkelling and diving, as well as long stretches of sandy beaches which are perfect for walking and relaxing after a hectic day.
Just off the coast is the island of Cozumel, renowned for its world-class diving. Take the ferry from Playa del Carmen (30-75 minutes depending on the boat) across the turquoise waters and explore the town and the reefs of the island.
For a final dose of ruins, Tulúm is just a 45-min drive south of Playa.
First-class bus (4.00-5.00 hours, 275km)
Day 9 Playa del Carmen
Enjoy a free to explore the Mayan ruins of Tulúm, visit one of the many cenotes or the diving mecca of Cozumel.
Day 10 Playa del Carmen
Depart at any time.