Hidden Gems

Mexico

Mexico is undoubtedly the ideal destination for those looking for a vacation destination full of adventure, breathtaking natural landscapes, and of course, discovering a bit of the fascinating ancient Mayan culture. This vacation trip through Chiapas and Campeche will allow you to experience the varying cultures and the most contrasting landscapes of this beautiful Central American country. Explore impressive Mayan ruins off the beaten path, tour nature reserves full of the most exuberant biodiversity, enjoy the most beautiful waterfalls in its wildlife sanctuaries, experience firsthand the traditional indigenous culture in its colorful magic towns, and savor the exquisite traditional Mexican cuisine.

El Chiflon Waterfall

Yaxchilan Mayan Ruins

El Sumidero Canyon

Campeche

Highlights

Mayan ruins of Calakmul, Palenque, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Balamku, and Tonina. El Sumidero Canyon. Waterfalls of El Chiflon, Agua Azul, and Misol-ha. Colonial towns of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Campeche and Chiapa de Corzo. And, the Lancandon jungle. 

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival

Arrive at the Tuxtla Gutierrez international airport where you will meet your private driver and transfer to Chiapa de Corzo, one of the most dazzling colonial towns in Mexico, where you will rest for the night.

Day 2. El Sumidero Canyon

The first tour on this Mexico adventure will take you to explore the many enchanting buildings and places scattered around the magic town of Chiapa de Corzo, a beautiful colonial city full of tradition and culture. Framed with the warmth of its people, this charming town is one of the most beautiful cities in the State of Chiapas. Distinguished by its exquisite cuisine with very peculiar flavors that will delight your palate, it’s worth trying the typical sweets and of course, its traditional corn drink called “Pozol”. Enjoy its rich craftsmanship and the color of its beautiful regional costumes.

Afterward, we will embark on a motorboat ride through the Sumidero Canyon where you will enjoy the gorgeous views of its majestic rock walls towering thousands of feet over the river. The spectacular views from the river will not be the only attraction of this visit, you will have many opportunities to enjoy the exuberant wildlife of the place and spot several species of birds like cormorants and herons, spider monkeys, and even crocodiles. After the exciting boat tour, we will return to the dock and continue to the quaint town of San Cristobal de las Casas.

Day 3. Waterfalls El Chiflon

We will go ahead today to one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the state of Chiapas, El Chiflon Waterfalls. You will surely enjoy this natural wonderland with relatively flat pathways that lead to several viewpoints from where you can admire views from different angles, each one more impressive than the last of the series of five cascades that fall into an insanely blue pool. Let yourself be impressed by the imposing beauty of the highest waterfall out of these five, known as the Bridal Veil which is 120 meters high. By the end of the tour, you will be driven back to your hotel to rest.

Day 4: San Cristobal de las Casas

Today you will have a free day to self-discover the beautiful magic town of San Cristobal de las Casas, one of the most visited places in Chiapas state. Explore its beautiful colonial historic center, its nearby indigenous villages, a visit perfect to see how the traditional textiles are made and have a closer sight of the local culture and its traditions. Its higher altitude, its green, and lush surroundings provide this charming town with delightful weather, perfect to take a break from the heat of the rest of the country and enjoy a pleasant bike ride or horseback riding.

Day 5: Tonina & Agua Azul waterfalls

After breakfast, we will depart San Cristobal to reach the Maya site of Tonina, known locally as the Place of the Celestial Captives. This pre-Columbian archeological site is well-known for its many pyramids and terraces, although it’s not that heavily visited like the other Mayan ruins throughout Mexico, so you can take your time and explore its many temples and sculptures and enjoy the place and with luck, might be only for yourself.

A refreshing visit to Agua Azul waterfalls will follow the morning visit to the Mayan site. During this visit, you will be enjoying the exuberant natural surroundings and relax for an hour or two looking up this series of waterfalls that create several turquoise natural pools where you will be able to take a revivifying swim in an incredible natural environment where you can also take fantastic photos to share. After the stimulating stop, we will continue to your accommodation in Palenque to spend the night.

Day 6. Montes Azules Reserve

In the morning we’ll continue to the ecotourism center of Las Guacamayas, the perfect place amidst the jungle to explore Chiapa’s natural wonders. Upon arrival, we will enjoy a boat ride on the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve river, this natural reserve is located in the region known as Selva Lacandona, the most biologically diverse center in North America. 

During the tour, you will be able to admire the beautiful landscape and the local fauna such as monkeys, iguanas, herons, kingfishers, crocodiles, and hopefully also jaguars, otters, and tapirs among many other species. Historical and archeological remains found within the area indicate that the Mayans inhabited what is today the Montes Azules Biological Reserve. After the natural adventure, we will return to the lodge to rest for the night.

Day 7. Lacandon Jungle

We begin the day by leaving the Ecotourism Center of Las Guacamayas and continue to Yaxchilan where you will take a walking tour through the Lacandon Jungle. Here your expert guide will show you the exuberant flora and fauna of the area that contains 341 bird species, certainly a treat for bird lovers. With the most biodiversity of plants and animals in all of Mexico, this area will delight you with wonderful landscapes, rivers, and lakes in the middle of the tropical jungle. Your guide will take you back to your accommodation to rest for the night.

Day 8. Mayan Ruins of Yaxchilan

Our journey today will take us to the Mayan ruins of Yaxchilan, you will explore its central area with more than 120 structures, the Great Square, the Grand, and the Small Acropolis. Located along the Usumacinta River, this site will be a completely different visit from the famous Mayan sites that are always crowded. Your private guide, an expert birder will show you the extended biodiversity of this site located in the middle of a lush jungle.

Your guide will lead you through its beautiful and highly ornamented temples and pyramids, exploring its luxurious palaces clustered along the grand plaza. Here you will observe some of the best-conserved carvings in the Mayan world, stelae, alters, lintels, and mural paintings, some Yaxchilan not only will it fulfill your expectations, but you will also be surprised by learning its history through the remains of this impressive and ancient Mayan site in a surprising natural landscape. By the end of the tour, we will go back to your accommodation so you can rest and relax.

Day 9. Bonampak Mayan Ruins

This morning we will visit Bonampak, a Mayan site famous for its vivid frescoes and some of the finest murals found in the pre-colonial Americas. Your guide will lead you to explore this intriguing Mayan site whose name means “Painted Walls” in a Maya dialect and for a good reason, its engraved and sculpted stelae and its detailed and colorful floor-to-ceiling murals document the political dynamics, war practices, and ritual life of this Mesoamerican civilization. You will also discover through its murals the role of music and dance as integral to the ceremonial life of the ancient Mayan civilization.

After this historic and cultural visit, we will look for some refreshment of the tropical heat, and continue to the Misol-Ha Waterfall. Amidst lush, green vegetation, we will discover this beautiful cascade of 35-meter height falling into an almost circular pool. You will be able to swim in the designated areas and explore the cave behind the falls, undoubtedly an exceptional stop to reinvigorate and enjoy the beautiful tropical vegetation that surrounds the place. To end the day, we will travel to Palenque to spend the night.

Day 10. Palenque

After having breakfast we will tour the Mayan city of Palenque, nestled deep in the jungle, this massive complex spread over 15 square kilometers of which only the central area has been excavated. An expert will guide you through the history, traditions, ceremonial rituals, and spirituality of the Mayan civilization. Explore the impressive architecture of Palenque ruins and its most memorable and famous structures such as the palace’s tower, constructed in such a way that the priests and Maya royalty could watch the sunset during the winter solstice.  

Nearby the Mayan site, we will find The Aluxes Eco Park, a wildlife sanctuary that rescues and breeds very endangered species. We will visit this amazing place to enjoy its lush green vegetation and learn about the important work they do for Palenque’s wildlife. During this visit, we will have close encounters with the beautiful fauna of the area and explore the alluring place that is home and refuge to mammals, butterflies, birds, and reptiles, and experience several fun activities for the whole family. You could even watch how a huge adult crocodile is fed or meet a lovely baby of this species. Either way, our visit will support the vital work of the Eco Park Aluxes, afterwards, you will be driven back to your hotel to rest from this exciting adventure day.

Day 11. Balamku

This morning we will go to the Mayan site of Balamku, reaching this site is rather easy, with the entrance placed just off the highway, it does not require a long drive like other sites. We will explore this Mayan archeological site, certainly worth visiting. Despite being small, the visit to its highlights will give us big rewards.  

The Jaguar’s Temple holds the largest surviving painted stucco frieze in the Mayan World, is 16.8 meters long, only the view of the famous Four Kings Frieze, its artistry and symbolism make the trip worthwhile. We will explore the buildings in the Central Group, stroll back through the Southern Group, and finally, we will have a peek at the Northern Group, this area has not yet been excavated. Your private transport will take you later to your accommodation in Calakmul.

Day 12. Calakmul reserve and ruins

Today we will visit the “City of the Two Adjacent Pyramids”: Calakmul, one of the most structure-rich sites within the Maya region. The whole site is over 70 square kilometers though only a section is open to the public and while we travel through time climbing its structures we will become ecologically aware of the vast and exuberant landscapes around us, a green and immense savanna extends hundreds of kilometers far beyond our sight. The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve that surrounds the ruins is the largest tropical forest reserve in the Mexican Southeast and is part of the second most biodiverse place in América. With over 230 species of birds and biodiversity that includes Jaguars, spider and howler monkeys, crocodiles, tapirs, deer, turkeys, and ocelots, this is certainly the perfect spot for birders and nature lovers.

In the evening we will go for another adventure in the Calakmul reserve, now we will visit the Bat Cave. If we arrive in time, we can experience on first hand a swarm of bats circling to the sky. We will wait for this natural show with enough anticipation high above the entrance of the cave and observe how as the sun begins to fall, single bats and birds of prey start to emerge circling skyward, until there are millions of harmless bats swirling out of the cave, flying right by you and spiraling toward the sky. This is a thrilling one of a kind experience you should not miss, after the adventure of the night we will drive you back to your hotel to rest from an exciting day.

Day 13. Transfer to Campeche

After breakfast, your private transportation will pick you up to leave the Calakmul area and reach Campeche where we’ll take you to your hotel to get settled and can rest.

Day 14. Campeche Self-discovery

Today you will have a final free day in your adventure through Chiapas and Campeche, you will have the chance to explore the colonial city of Campeche by yourself, discover a picturesque and colorful walled city full of history and traditions. Taste its delicious traditional dishes and explore its beautiful restored colonial buildings, its well-preserved mansions placed in cobblestone streets. Walk along the peaceful pier of this coastal city and discover the beauty of its old fishing docks.

Day 15. Return home

This is the final day of your Mexico Adventure and we will drive you to the international airport of Campeche or Villahermosa for your departure flight. Nevertheless, if you want to explore a little more of Mexico, get in contact with us, we will be more than happy to help you with the planning.

Expenses included

15 days & 14 nights

From $3,500 per guest

Private transportation, door to door service

 14 nights hotel accommodation: hoteles selected according to your wishes and priorities

Local certified onsite guides

All park entrance fees

 2 traditional Mexican lunches

Daily breakfast

Taxes

Price varies by group size

Not included: flights, travel insurance and other expenses than indicated

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