The Western Yucatán


Delve into the mysteries of the Maya of the Western Yucatán Peninsula, explore thriving Mérida, and relax at the beach in Celestún on Mexico’s stunning Gulf Coast.


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Mexico: The Western Yucatan

January 23 – February 1, 2025

Inquire about custom dates and itineraries to suit your group of family and friends.

This trip to Mexico’s western Yucatán Peninsula will give you the opportunity to explore Mérida’s rich Maya and colonial culture.  Mérida is known for its vibrant art scene and beautifully restored Spanish colonial architecture.

We’ll also spend a few days exploring Maya ruins:  Mayapan and Uxmal, considered two of the most important sites; and Kabah, Sayil, and Labna, smaller sites but architecturally and culturally important — and with few tourists.

Finally, we’ll have three nights and two full days to relax on the beach in Celestún, a fishing village on the Gulf Coast.

Day 1

Arrival in Mérida

Arrive in Mérida and check in to our hotel in time to meet in the hotel lobby by 6:00 pm.  From there we’ll head out to our orientation  dinner.  Meals included: dinner.

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Day 2


Today we will take a walking food tour of Mérida to give us a sense of the wide variety of food here and help us get a sense of the historic center:  its museums, architecture, & art.  In addition to great food, we’ll pass by the Parque de Santa Lucia, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Museo Palacio de la Música, Catedral de Mérida, and Museo Casa Montejo.   Meals included: breakfast & lunch.

Merida cathedral

Day 3


What do you want to explore today?  It’s up to you.  Perhaps you want to return to some of the sites we saw on our walking tour.  Or explore Mérida’s vibrant art scene.  Or take in the wonders of the Grand Museum of the Mayan Word of Mérida.  Meals included: breakfast.

Museo Maya de Merida dia

Day 4

Transfer to the Puuc region

We’ll leave our hotel at 8:30 am in order to arrive at Hacienda Ake by 10:00 am.  The Hacienda is a former hennequen processing facility and rope factory.  Then we’ll tour the Aké ruins, an archeological site built in 350 BC surrounded by protective walls, a grand plaza, and various sacbes that once lead to Izamal.  After a stop for lunch we’ll proceed to Hacienda Maria Elena where we’ll stay for three nights.  You’ll have time for a refreshing dip in the pool before dinner.  Meals included: breakfast.

Pickled Onion pool

 Museo Maya de Merida dia[/caption]

Day 5

Puuc region

Today, we’ll explore Mayapan with our local guide. Mayapan was the political and cultural capital of the Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula during the Late Post-Classic period from the 1220s until the 1440s.   Meals included: breakfast.

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Day 6

Puuc region

Taking advantage of being in the heart of the Maya ruins known as the Ruta Puuc (the route of the hills), today our local guide will show us the sites of Kabah, Sayil, and Labna. These are small, lightly touristed sites and we have a good chance of being the only tourists there.  Meals included: breakfast.

Uxmal Pyramid of the Magician

Day 7

Transfer to Celestún

Today, we’ll explore Uxmal with our local guide.  An ancient Maya city of the classical period, Uxmal is considered one of the most important sites of Maya culture in Mexico, along with Palenque, Chechen Itza, and Calakmul.  After a stop in Muna for lunch, we’ll head on to Celestún and check into our hotel in time to relax on the beach and watch the sun set.  Meals included: breakfast.

Palacio Sayil


Day 8


There are two options today.  For the birders/naturalists among us a canoe tour through the Celestún Biosphere Reserve — they’ll pick you up at the hotel at 5:10 am.  If you want to sleep in, there will be a motorboat tour down the coast and then up the mouth of the Rio Celestún .  The boat will pick you up on the beach in front of the hotel at 9:30 am.  Meals included: none.

Celestun beach

Day 9


No activities scheduled today.  Take the opportunity to relax by the pool or on the beach, do some beachcombing, or take a walk into the fishing village.  Meals included: none.

Celestun flamingos

Day 10

Flights home

We’ll depart Celestún at 9:30 am in order to arrive at Mérida International Airport by 11:00 am for flights home.  Meals included: none.

Activity Level


Activities are generally not strenuous; however, we expect guests to enjoy two hours or more of walking, are sure-footed on rough surfaces, and walk up and down stairs without assistance. In rural and small-town settings, unpaved roads and pathways will be common with some short sections of rough trail, which we expect that guests can traverse with no more than a companion’s hand to steady them. Historic city centers are frequently more accessible by foot than a vehicle, and sometimes your motorcoach can’t drop you off at the hotel and site entrances. Due to the structure of some buildings, facilities for the disabled may be limited.

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