Expanded Mini Yucatan

 

 

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- Expanded Mini Yucatan Tour -

A great  7 day/6 night archaeological, cultural and natural history journey to some of the most impressive and beautiful Maya sites of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula and the Caribbean Coast. 

Begins and ends in Cancun.

 A physically active program including light hiking, 2-4 hours per day on undulating trails, climbing old, uneven steps at some ruins.

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Day 1 – Arrival at Cancun-Valladolid - Upon arrival you will be met by a representative of our ground operations partner, Halach Winik.  Afterwards your group will transfer to your hotel in Valladolid. Look forward to a journey through majestic, unspoiled landscapes and magnificent archaeological sites. After an evening orientation in the gardens of the hotel, your tour guide will give a short briefing about the excursion routine. Afterwards, a welcome dinner at the Hotel Meson del Marquez. (D)

 

Valladolid Hotels

 

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Day 2 – Ek Balam - Dzitnup-Chichén Itza - Today starts with breakfast at the hotel then a transfer for your tour of Ek Balam, “Black Jaguar". Its origin dates from the year 400 BC, in the Preclassic period and its splendor developed between 600 and 900 AC in the late classic.  The ornamentation here is very peculiar and a great variety of features exists on the front of the buildings.  The facades are of carved stone or shaped polychrome stucco or of a mixture of both elements. The archaeologists deduce that it was an important city, by the great dimensions of its buildings and because it was protected by three walls, two of them surrounding the central part where the most important constructions are found.

 

               

The walls allow for four entrances which are culminations of an equal number of "sacbes" or raised roadbeds. These causeways divide in the direction of all four cardinal points.  Ek Balam's central part has two squares. In the major one there can be seen the twin pyramids and a habitational building.  There same one finds the Acropolis, which is the greater one of the structures. The Acropolis is formed by several levels of constructions and terraces.  After your Ek Balam tour and lunch you will go off the beaten track you will visit the Dzitnup well (cenote), a natural wonder of the underwater natural hydraulic system of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Your tour will continue to Hotel Mayaland Chichén Itza for dinner and overnight accommodations.  (B,L,D)

 

                Hotels Yucatan

 

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Day 3 – Chichén Itza - Uxmal - After breakfast you'll head to the archaeological ceremonial center of Chichén ltzá. The tour will arrive early in the morning to Chichén Itzá to explore the majestic legacy of the ancient Mayans.    Chichén-Itza is undoubtedly the best-know of the Maya cities.  Built around 500 A.D., Chichén-Itza belongs to the Late Classis and Early Preclassic periods.  The name Chichén Itza is derived from the Mayan language: "Chi" - mouth, "Chen" - well and "Itza" - the tribe that inhabited the area.

       

The architectural characteristics of Chichén Itza and that have a direct relationship with. The Mayan Toltec style are the ball court,  "El Castillo", the group of 1,000 columns "El Tzompantli", El Edificio de las Aguilas", the temple of the warriors, and the market. All of these buildings have the same decoration motives found in Tula. The most frequent representations are warriors and Quetzalcoatl. The cult of the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl in Tula and Kukulcán in Mayan, was very important. The largest Ball Court in Mesoamerica is found in Chichén Itza. The pyramid known as "El Castillo" is surely the place where the ceremony of the descent of Kukulcán was held. The pyramid has special astronomical layout so that a game of light and shadow is formed. On March 21st the body of the serpent metaphorically descends from the temple on top of the pyramid and arrives at the heads at the foot of the staircase. Excavations in the interior show that there is a smaller "Castillo" in its interior.

In the temple of the warriors there is a temple on the top where the entrance columns are typically Toltec. Another one of the buildings that has a Toltec seal without is the "Muro de los Craneos". These buildings were destined to be the mausoleums of the tying up the years. Every 52 years the ancient Mayans and other cultures would tie up a sheaf of years to end a cycle. Another important building is "El Caracol", an astronomical observatory.

Lunch will be served at the Ik Kil, a typical restaurant, then continue to Uxmal and arrive early in the afternoon. Dinner at the Hotel Hacienda Uxmal, then drive to the ceremonial center of Uxmal to attend The Light and Sound Spectacle considered the most beautiful in the Mayan area. Accommodations will also be at Hotel Hacienda Uxmal. (B,L,D) 

 

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Day 4 - Uxmal-Kabah-Labna-Merida - Today, after breakfast your tour Uxmal, considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Maya cities. Due to its relatively good state of preservation and the quality of the Pu'uc-style stone mosaic decorations, this is one of the best-know and most frequently visited of the Mayan sites. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name Uxmal means “three times constructed". Uxmal is located 78 Km. to the Southwest of Merida, immediately after the mountain chain Pu'uc that runs for the Southwest. According to investigations the first inhabitants of Uxmal arrived around 800 B.C. It is possible that many of the current buildings belong to this period, but the excavations could not verify it.

 

 

 

During the Early Classic Period (200-600 B.C.) Uxmal acquired typical attributes of the region and other sites; it shared the style called Pu'uc, as well as an architecture known as typical Chenes of Campeche's north zone.  In the Late Classic Period, Uxmal created its own architectural style known as Delayed Pu'uc, this style is characterized for including motives with serpents.  During the years 700 to 1000 B.C. Uxmal was dominating economically and politically a vast territory of the region, not only had it implemented a complex system of agriculture, but it also developed barters with other regions, principally obsidian and basalt. It was in this period when the Xiu came to this area. This group brought new ideological elements that were reflected in the architecture and decoration of sculptures. An excellent element was the adoration to Kukulcán or Quetzalcoatl.   The most impressive structures are: The House of the Magician or of the Dwarf. It is one of the most extensive and high structures. Its name comes from a Mayan legend known as the "legend of the dwarf" of "Uxmal".  After this array of ancient archaeology you will visit the small but beautiful sites of Kabah and Labná on the way to Mérida.

Kabah is well-known for its most impressive structure, Codz-Poop (Palace of the Masks), whose facade is adorned with 400 masks.  The word Kabah has been interpreted as “Man of the strong or powerful hand ". The city was always in the Mayan's conscience, even after the Spanish conquest and it is mentioned in the ancient texts of Chumayel's Chilam Balam; for this reason it is supposed that it was a place of importance similar to Uxmal.  It is distinguished by a long occupation, its strategic location and for the quality of the carved stones that embellish and give meaning to their constructions. Kabah has a small town with a central temple that marks the entrance to the city. From this place, the building concentration is increased until ending in the great arch of entry to the monumental area.

         

The arch at Labná has become one of the main images used when wishing to portray something "Mayan". It is located at the foot of El Mirador, and is on the opposite side of the city to where tourists enter the site.  Measuring about 42 feet wide and standing 20 feet high, the arch shows one of the definitive architectural "fingerprints" of this people... namely the Mayan or Corbelled Archway. The arch once served as the entrance to the city and has a small room on one side where a guard on sentry might find shelter from the elements. Both sides of the arch are richly carved in the classic Pu'uc style.

  

The Main Facade (the one that faces towards the interior of the city) is decorated in a style that is similar to the Nunnery Quadrangle in Uxmal. That is, in each of the small doorways that acted as guard houses have a sculpture over it called a Xanil Nah, which was essentially a stone representation of a the thatched roof hut that the Maya used as living quarters. These stone huts are overlapping a cross-hatched "X" design similar to overlapping long parallel poles in an "X" pattern to signify a house, or in this case, the arch, as having a special function. This face also has a Chac mask on the north-west corner of the frieze.  Either side of the doorway on the External Facade has two square spiraling Muyal or "Cloud" scrolls marking this building as a community or cloud house, thereby welcoming visitors into the city. Between the cloud symbols are the stone columns that are said to represent petrified trees.

Afterwards you will enjoy lunch at Hacienda Ochil and early arrival to Mérida for dinner and lodging at the Hotel Castellano Merida. (B, L, D)

 

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Day 5 – Merida-Izamal-Coba - After breakfast, the group will get in a coach and see the sights of the splendid city of Mérida with its colonial French style residences. Drive down Paseo Montejo, one of the most beautiful avenues in Mexico, visit beautiful parks, the beautiful Palacio Canton Museum and old Spanish missions. You will afterwards head onto The Old Spanish Trail to the city of Izamal and visit the famous monastery there.  Izamal, known as the city of hills, the yellow city, or the city of three cultures, Izamal may be the oldest city in the Yucatán. It has in its urban zone several archaeological vestiges located on the edges of the colonial center.  With almost every colonial building painted egg-ylok yellow Izamal has a quaint and distinctive look. You will visit the Monastery and the narrow streets riding in a calesas (horse and buggy carts) taxi down cobble-stoned streets.   You will have lunch in route and arrive in Playa del Carmen early in the afternoon for dinner and overnight accommodations. (B, L, D)

 

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Day 6 - Coba – Tulum - Akumal - Today, after breakfast, both Coba and Tulum are on the itinerary.  Coba, which will be toured by bike, is located around five small lakes. A series of elevated stone and plaster roads called "sacbes" radiate from the central site to various smaller sites near and far. Some of these causeways go east to the Caribbean coast and the longest runs over 100 km to the west to the site of Yaxuna. The site contains several large temple pyramids, the tallest, known as Nohoch Mul, being 42 meters in height.  Coba is estimated to have had some 50,000 inhabitants (and possibly significantly more) at its peak of civilization, and the built up area extends over some 80 square km. The site was occupied by a sizable agricultural population by the 1st century. The bulk of Coba's major construction seems to have been made in the middle and late Classic period, about 500 to 900, with most of the dated hieroglyphic inscriptions from the 7th century. However Coba remained an important site in the Post-Classic era and new temples were built and old ones kept in repair until at least the 14th century, possibly as late as the arrival of the Spanish.

 

    

 

Famed for its remarkable position on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and its wall paintings (similar to those found in Mayan codices, or folded bark paper books), Tulum was an important city and port in the century before the Spanish conquest.  This site offers some of the finest examples of monumental paintings and religious architecture in the Mayan world.  In Maya, Tulum means "Wall", and the city was christened thus in the early 1900's because it is a walled city and one of the very few the ancients ever built. Research suggests it was called Zama or "to dawn" in its day, which is appropriate given the east-facing location on the Caribbean.  Tulum is the most visited of the Maya sites in the Yucatán, and not because of its proximity to Cancun. Although the ruins are structurally less impressive than Chichén Itzá or Uxmal and much less extensive, they have the azure Caribbean as a backdrop - a startling contrast and heaven for the photographer or artist. Because the area is small and there is comparatively little climbing involved, you can gain a fair appreciation of Tulum in a couple of hours.

 

       

 

The layout of the site is unusually structural, with parallel streets surrounded by walls originally five meters high and seven meters deep. Most of the walls can still be seen, indeed the present day entrance to the ruins is as it was in ancient times, through a gate on western side of the fortifications.  After your day of touring, which includes lunch, you will continue to Cancun for dinner and overnight accommodations. (B,L,D)

 

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Day 7 - Transfer to Cancun Airport - Transfer to the airport for international departure.  (B)

 

End of Service

 2017 Tour Pricing, Double Occupancy, Standard Accommodations

Two persons - $2,535 per person; Four persons - $1,755 per person; Six or more persons - $1,495 per person

Single supplement (with a minimum of two persons on tour) - $455 per person

International airfares ARE NOT INCLUDED in any of our tour packages.

PLEASE NOTE - This tour is not a "day tour" or "seat in bus" tour.  This tour is a quality, escorted tour designed for a minimum of 2 persons.  Upon request we can quote this same tour with "economy" or "Deluxe" accommodations.

ALSO, the prices presented are generally higher during Holiday weekends, spring break, etc. when travel schedules are dictated higher demand.

Discounted United Airlines airfares are available with group packages!

This Tour Includes:  

·        Services of a professional archaeological guide.  

·        Hotels and lodges, hotel taxes service charges, and tips for baggage handling.

·        Breakfasts (B), Lunches (L) and Dinners (D) as detailed in the tour itinerary.

·        Carefully maintained air-conditioned motor coach; maximum 10 tour members per vehicle; experienced driver. 

·        All entrance fees to parks and archaeological sites are included in the program.

·        Complete program of sightseeing and cultural events as described.  

Please Note:  

·        Other accommodations could be substituted for like kind and quality based upon availability.

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