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TNN’s Yucatan Tour

September 2 - September 10, 2023

This itinerary will take us away from the tourist centers of Tulum and Playa del Carmen into the real Yucatán. We’ll explore the food and cocktail scene in Mérida, gaze at unique Mayan ruins, wander through colorful towns, and swim in cenotes (swimming holes) devoid of the influencers you see on Instagram. This route will really highlight one of the most interesting and culturally rich areas of Mexico, far away from the tourist crowd.

The Yucatan peninsula is famed for its coastal cities of Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen. Millions of tourists visit there each year. But there’s so much more to the region than those resort towns.

On this trip, we’re taking you into the heart of the Yucatan, the state that bears the peninsula’s name, to showcase all the incredible food, out-of-the-way cenotes, and lesser visited Mayan ruins. This tour utilizes our connections and experience to construct an itinerary that showcases the unique people and culture of the Yucatan.

One of the gastronomic centers of Mexico, this is a tour that focuses on food and out-of-the-way villages to showcase a region that is often overlooked by travelers. We’re really excited about this tour as we’re going to go to some really exciting places and we have a lot of interesting surprises planned for you.

If you’re the kind of person who wants a more authentic and nuanced travel experience, this tour is for you.

Options

Twin Share Room, Single Room

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To reserve your spot on a tour, a 40% deposit is required. This deposit is 100% refundable for 30 days. See our terms and conditions for more on our refund policy.

Tour Itinerary

Arriving in Yucatan’s vibrant capital, Merida, your trip officially kicks off! Depending on your arrival time, you’ll have the day to explore on your own. In the evening, you’ll be welcomed with a group orientation dinner to meet your guide and fellow travelers and get excited about the week ahead.

Today, we will make our way to Valladolid in our private van. On the way, we will spend a few hours in Yucatan’s yellow city, Izamal. Izamal is one of Mexico’s 121 Pueblo Mágicos – communities that have maintained their original architecture, traditions, history, or culture over time. Izamal is a fully-yellow, small colonial city with less than 15K residents. Its Spanish colonial architecture dates back to the 16th century. We’ll stop for lunch in the city’s most famous restaurant for traditional Yucatan cuisine before continuing the journey to Valladolid, which will serve as our home for the next 3 nights.

In the morning, we’ll see an off-the-beaten path Mayan archeological site called Ek Balam before cooling off in a nearby cenote. On the way back to Vallodolid, we’ll stop in a town famous across Mexico for its smoked meat. After returning to Valladolid, we will do a quick walking tour of the city before relaxing in the afternoon. In the evening, the guide will arrange an optional group dinner.

Today, we will go to the famous site of Chichén Itzá. While Chichén Itzá is Mexico’s most visited archeological site, we’ll get here as early as possible in order to avoid the crowds. We’ll have another opportunity to cool off in a cenote afterward, followed by a buffet lunch of Mexican cuisine. Afterward, we’ll stop at Uayma, a town best known for its beautifully adorned 16th-century church. In the evening, the guide will arrange an optional group dinner.

This morning, we’ll leave Vallavolid and switch up our surroundings from the city to the countryside, where we’ll experience the life and luxury of a Mexican hacienda. We have a lot of surprises in store for your here.

We’ll return to Merida in the morning and give you the day off to relax or explore on your own. Our guide will provide you with suggestions on how to spend the day depending on what you’re looking for. In the evening, we’ll meet back up to a trip to some of our favorite bars in the city and a group dinner.

In the morning, we’ll do a historical walk of the city. Merida is known to be one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico. From grand monuments and historic buildings to colorful streets and charming cafes, there is so much to do and see in “La Ciudad Blanca” (The White City). Later, we’ll explore a sprawling food market where our guide will bring us to all their favorite food stalls to sample an assortment of local goodies. In the evening, the guide will arrange an optional group dinner.

Today, we leave Merida to visit the Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve, one of the richest ecological reserves in species, dunes, and mangroves. The highlight of our time here will be a boat tour through its lush mangroves. You’ll see plenty of wildlife along the way and, hopefully, be treated to a visit with hundreds of pink flamingos! Upon return to Merida, we will end the day with our final dinner as a group.

Today, our tour ends. We’ll be around to help anyone getting to the airport or that has questions about staying longer.

Tour Essentials

Accommodation

Accommodation are 2 or 3 star hotels that all come with private bathrooms. If you book a twin share room and are traveling solo, you’ll be paired with someone of the same gender.

Transport

During the trip, we’ll travel via private bus throught the region.

Meals

Daily breakfast, two lunches, and three dinners are included. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice. Alcohol is not included.

Sustainability

We aim to offer as sustainable an experience as we can. Trash is recycled whenever possible and we avoid mass tourism activities that cause harm to the environment and/or do not benefit local communities.

Small Groups

This tour requires a minimum of 10 participants and has a maximum of 15 participants in order to ensure the best small group tour experience. With such a small group, you’ll be able to enjoy unique, rewarding activities that would not be accessible with more people.

Expert guides

Your tour will be led by a licensed and local expert guide. Our guides are always on hand, every day of the trip, to provide additional information, create spontaneous activities, join the group for non-included activities and meals, and to ensure that the trip is as memorable, fun, and informative as possible.

What's Included

What’s Included

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation between destinations with private driver
  • All activities and entrance fees listed above
  • All included meals listed above
  • Local guides during activities
  • Expert tour leader throughout the trip

What’s Not Included

  • Flights to/from Mexico
  • Passport/visa fees
  • Meals and activities not mentioned
  • Travel insurance (which is required)
  • Optional activities not listed

FAQ

What are your COVID policies?
This tour is currently open to all travelers. We will closely monitor any new policies and comply with any new restrictions or requirements needed. If the rules change, we’ll let you know.

What about COVID testing?
Should COVID testing be required as a condition of entry or exit, we will help you find testing locations, though you are responsible for the cost of the COVID test and for booking your own tests.

What is the age range of people on this tour?
Our tours see people from 22 to 75. They really run the gambit. In the past, the average age on this tour is about 40. As we’ve found age is only a number, the variety in ages has never been detrimental to the group dynamics!

Is there a lot of walking?
All our tours have lots of walking tours involved that last between 2-3 hours each. While there is no strenuous hiking involved on this tour, you should be prepared to be on your feet a lot.

Tell me about your guides.
Our expert tour leaders are fully licensed guides. They’ll be responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the trip, handling all of the local logistics, and dealing with any unforeseen situations that may arise. Our tour leaders are always on hand, every day of the trip, to provide additional information, create spontaneous activities, join the group for non-included activities and meals, and ensure that the trip is as memorable, fun, and informative as possible. During the course of the trip, we’ll also use other guides for some of our day tours.

Will I have any time to myself?
Of course! We hate tours that book every minute of your day. While we will be busy, there will also be plenty of time for you to explore on your own. Travel is about adventure and discovery, so we emphasize that on our tours. We want you to see stuff that interests you specifically.

What am I going to do during the listed “free time”?
Our guides will be on hand to give you suggestions, help you decide what to do, and be around. If you want to go off on your own, we get that. We want you to explore and break out of your comfort zone! Our guides are here to help and, after you join the tour, you’ll be sent a list of potential activities you can do on your own.

How many spots can I purchase at once?
Reservations on the tour are limited to a maximum of two per person to ensure that everyone who wants to gets a chance to go.

What kind of rooms are we staying in?
We will be staying in 2 star hotels the entire trip.

Is airfare provided?
No, you’ll be responsible for your own airfare to and from the tour.

Will I need travel insurance?
Yes, all guests will be required to have travel insurance for the duration of the trip. We’ll be asking for proof before departure. If you don’t have it, you won’t be able to continue on the tour.

Is there an age requirement?
You must be at least 18 years old.

Will I need to fill out any release forms?
Yes, you’ll be required to fill out and sign a liability waiver releasing us from any and all liability related to the tour.

What about visas?
If you require a visa to enter any of these destinations, you’ll need to get that in advance at your own expense. We do not offer any help in this area.

What if I change my mind? What is your refund policy?
We understand plans change. Deposits are refundable up to 30 days after purchase. They can be transferred once in a calendar year to another tour. (You have to do so within 90 days.) Balance payments are due 31 days after purchase. Cancelations made between 90 – 60 days before the tour start date: 50% refund of the balance amount (the deposit is not included in the refund). Cancelations made between 59 – 0 days before the tour start date: 0% refund of the balance amount.

Is there a waiting list?
People sometimes rush to secure a spot but don’t always get the time off work and might need to cancel. If you’d like to be added to a waiting list, please email us at [email protected]

I still have questions. Can I contact you?
Of course! Our email is [email protected]

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