Hidden Mexico

Get ready to discover the hidden side of Mexico’s breathtaking Yucatán peninsula on an outdoor adventure tour with The Nomadic Network that will get your adrenaline pumping! 

While most visitors flock to the popular coastal cities of Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen, our trip takes you off the beaten path to explore the region’s lesser-known gems that many have yet to hear about.

Interested in charming small towns, secluded cenotes (swimming holes), and off-the-beaten-path Mayan ruins like Ek Balam and the more famous Chichen Itza (also a must-see)? What about a boat tour through mangroves followed by indulging in seafood and a dip in the ocean on the coast? With the help of our local connections, we’re able to provide you with an authentic and safe experience that will immerse you in the Yucatán’s rich culture, history, and natural world.

Additionally, as one of the gastronomic centers of Mexico, the Yucatán boasts a cuisine that is often overlooked by tourists who stick to the resorts. Our expert guides will give you a deeper understanding of the region’s heritage, sharing the stories and traditions behind the dishes you’ll taste and we definitely eat well on this trip!

This is an exciting opportunity to see a side of Mexico that many travelers miss. Our journey will take you far from the typical tourist traps and allow you to truly dive into the hidden Mexico that few people get to see. 

If you’re seeking a more authentic and immersive travel experience, this is the trip for you.

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 and get checked into our hotel. In the evening, you’ll be welcomed with a group orientation dinner to indulge in some traditional Yucatecan dishes with your guide and fellow travelers. If you’re not too tired, you are free after dinner to go to some bars in the area. Our hotel is very centrally located and is walkable to many places.

Included meals: Dinner

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 15,000 residents. Its Spanish colonial architecture dates back to the 16th century, and is very photogenic! We’ll stop for lunch in the city’s most famous restaurant for traditional cuisine before continuing the short journey to Valladolid, which will serve as our home for the next 3 nights.

Included meals: Breakfast

In the morning, we’ll see an off-the-beaten path Mayan archeological site called Ek Balam where you will have the chance to climb to the top of the structures before cooling off in a nearby cenote. The cenote provides life vests and/or swimming tubes so you can relax and enjoy the refreshing water, or jump off the rim if you’re looking for an adrenaline boost. On the way back to Vallodolid, we’ll stop in a town famous across Mexico for its smoked meat. Typical to Mexico, these pork sausages all have different flavors that you can try. After returning to Valladolid, you’ll have some time to relax before we do a quick walking tour of the city during sunset. In the evening, we’ll grab some local snacks from the main square or you’re welcome to eat in one of Valladolid’s incredible restaurants during your free time.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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. The well-preserved pyramid here is absolutely a bucket-list item and if it isn’t on your list yet, it should be! Once we have seen a wonder of the world together, we’ll have another opportunity to cool off in a cenote afterward, followed by a buffet lunch of Yucatecan cuisine. On our way back to town, we’ll stop at Uayma, a town best known for its beautifully adorned 16th-century church. In the evening, the guide will arrange a dinner for those who want to eat together.

Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, we’ll leave Valladolid and switch up our surroundings from the city to the countryside, where we’ll experience the life and luxury of a Mexican hacienda. Haciendas were large landed estates or plantations that played a significant role in the country’s history and culture. Today, many of these haciendas have been restored and transformed into hotels and museums. Here, we have lunch, a swim, and time to relax. We have a lot of surprises in store for you today (more cenotes, anyone?)!

In the evening, we’ll return to the city of Merida where we will spend the next 4 nights.

Included meals: Breakfast

Today you’ll have 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, or you can relax in the hotel’s pool. In the evening, we’ll meet back up for a trip to some of our favorite bars in the city…hidden speakeasy, anyone?

Included meals: Breakfast

In the morning, we’ll explore a sprawling local market where our guide will bring us to all their favorite food stalls to sample an assortment of local goodies. 

Later, 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).  In the evening, the guide will arrange a group dinner for those who want to dine together.

Included meals: Breakfast

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! We have a seafood lunch on the beach, where you can take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico before we head back to the city. Upon return to Merida, we will end the day with our final farewell dinner as a group.

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, our tour ends. We’ll be around to help anyone get to the airport or answer questions about staying longer in Merida.

Included meals: Breakfast

Book A Tour

Tour Essentials


We stay in two cities, Merida and Valladolid, and we base ourselves from just one hotel during our time in each. These are comfortable historic hotels that come with breakfast, private bathrooms, and air conditioning units. The hotels also have pools to cool off in.


During the trip, we’ll travel throughout the region via a private sprinter van and dedicated driver.


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


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

Small Groups

This tour will have 6-10 travelers on it so we can provide a great small group tour experience. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy unique, rewarding activities that would not be accessible with more people.

Expert guides

You will be led by an expert tour leader who will always be around to provide extra information, create spontaneous experiences, join the group for all of activities and meals and ensure that the trip is as informative, fun and memorable as possible! You will also have excellent licensed, local guides for walking tours, activities and excursions.

What’s Included

What’s Included

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation with private driver
  • Activities and entrance fees listed
  • All included meals listed
  • 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 listed
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Optional activities not listed


“I love The Nomadic Network tours because they are off the beaten path, tend to attract all ages of free spirited, fun, and adventurous people. I met a lot of solo travelers which was inspiring.”

– Dave, Oaxaca

“We had a fabulous time on our Oaxaca trip. The local tour leaders were friendly, organized and so knowledgeable! We got a great sense of Oaxacan food, drink, culture and art from the diverse activities and adventures we had.”

– Caedmon, Oaxaca

“Taking a Nomadic Network tour is like having a friend show you around one of their favorite cities. You don’t feel like a tourist as you dig into the local culture.”

– Scott & Dana, Oaxaca

“I fell in love with the friendly, quaint city of Oaxaca. Our small-sized group of 14 strolled and shopped in town, viewed majestic ruins, feasted on local art and murals, danced in the lively Zocalo, and frequented local establishments for scrumptious food and drink. Our Nomadic Network tour was a truly authentic and intimate experience!”

– Phyllis, Oaxaca

“As a solo traveler I’d never been interested in taking a group trip but when I saw TNN was doing a tour in Oaxaca, I knew it would be different from the typical tour. Every activity was curated to really connect with locals, the culture, food, mezcal, and adventure. I felt like I was traveling with a bunch of friends and it was one of my most memorable trips!”

– Vanessa, Oaxaca

“Our Nomadic Network tour to Oaxaca was a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience!! The team did a fantastic job of curating great food & cultural experiences that were very unique to the Oaxaca region! In addition, our hotel was right across from a lovely park in the heart of Oaxaca city – making it very convenient for exploring the city.”

– Eric, Oaxaca


Currently, there are no visa requirements to enter Mexico if you are a US or Canadian citizen, but you do need a passport that has at least 6 months validity. Upon arrival in Mexico, immigration will stamp your passport with a tourist visa that typically allows for a 180-day stay (some airports will provide a printed slip instead). There is nothing you need to do ahead of time for this. While it is unlikely you’ll be asked, some immigration officers will ask to see a return ticket or proof of onward travel upon entry.

Please note that we do not offer visa assistance. It is your responsibility to determine what entry requirements might be necessary based on your nationality.

Fly into and out of Mérida International Airport (MID).

  • On the first day, our orientation meeting generally takes place in the evening, around 6pm. It’s best to arrive by the afternoon so you have enough time to get settled in before we meet up. 
  • On the last day, you can depart at any time. We’ll have breakfast available for you and the rest of the day is yours to explore. You are always welcome to extend your stay if you so choose, just let us know what your plans before and after the tour will be.

No. Before the start of the tour, we’ll send you specific information on how to get to the hotel via public transportation, taxi, or Uber. However, if you’d like a private transfer, we can book them for you for an added fee.

The weather in the Yucatan is generally hot and humid throughout the year. In the spring and fall, temperatures generally range from high 70°s to high 90°s F (around 25-32° C). It is quite sunny during the day. Rainfall is slightly more common during the fall season.

We will send you a packing list ahead of time to help you prepare. We recommend loose, comfortable clothing that is breathable in the heat. A lot of sunscreen is always recommended.

As a woman, there is nothing super out of the ordinary to be concerned about. When it comes to safety, don’t wear flashy jewelry, try to stay in pairs or groups (especially at night), and use common sense.

Mexico uses standard North American plug outlets (Plug Types “A” and “B”), so if you’re coming from the US or Canada, you won’t need an adapter.

As for electricity, most mobile phones, laptops, and other devices can handle all types of voltage when charging. The standard voltage in Mexico is 127v/60Hz. Check your chargers to see if they say 110 – 220V. If that range is listed on the charger, you will not have any problems charging your device while on the tour. You won’t need a converter, only the plug adapter (if you’re joining from a country other than the US or Canada).

The cell service in the cities in which we are based (Merida and Valladolid) is very strong; however, during the day we will travel to areas that may have no service at all, so prepare to be out of pocket for several hours at a time. Hotels will have good WiFi as well as most cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Most US cell service providers now include Canada and Mexico in their plans, but if yours does not, you can consider activating the international plan from your network at home, purchasing a local SIM card upon arrival or purchasing an e-sim online.

We stay in two cities, Merida and Valladolid, and we base ourselves from just one hotel during our time in each city. These are comfortable historic hotels that all come with breakfast, private bathrooms, a private pool for guests, and air conditioning units. in each room. The hotels also have pools to cool off in.

Twin share rooms:

  • If you are traveling solo, you’ll be paired with someone of the same gender in a room with two full beds.
  • If you book two spots, you’ll get the entire room for you and your travel partner. 

Private rooms:

If you’d like to get your own private room, you can add that option at checkout for $250 USD. There are a maximum of 16 single rooms available. Private rooms run on a first come, first served basis.

We can book additional nights for you at the hotel prior to or after the tour as long as you let us know 30 days in advance (the earlier the better). As soon as you provide us with the dates, we will confirm availability with the hotel and provide you with payment instructions.

This tour requires a pretty high level of physical activity. The trip involves somewhat long days, journeys by van (with stops), walking tours in hot temperatures, and early morning wake-ups. We visit a few cenotes (sunken swimming holes), which might require jumping into and climbing out of the water using ropes or rickety ladders. We will also have opportunities to climb the pyramids at the archeological sites which require light hiking. You should be prepared to be on your feet a lot. If you have mobility issues, this might not be the tour for you.

Daily breakfast, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners are included. You can refer to the itinerary to see which ones. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice. Alcohol is not included and can be purchased separately.

No. The hotel will provide you with a water bottle each day and you can easily purchase additional bottles at any convenience store. At restaurants, you may ask for “ , we will provide you with drinking water throughout the trip. Agua de casa (filtered water) by the glass is available widely to use to refill your water bottle.

You should budget an average of $25-35 USD per day for all your extra needs. Most of your expenses are covered in your trip price, but you will need cash for non-included meals and any additional purchases (laundry service, snacks, etc.) as well as activities you do on your own. Certainly bring more money if you plan to shop!

Yes, you will be able to withdraw cash in Mexico. We recommend using ATMs which are available in cities and will dispense Mexican pesos. However, please check with your home bank as many banks charge foreign transaction fees every time you withdraw money from an ATM overseas. Learn how to avoid paying extra fees here.

If using an ATM machine is not an option, the second-best method is to simply bring US dollars in cash that you can exchange at money exchange booths or banks located all over the country.

Tips for local guides and included meals are already taken care of. 

Generally, tipping in Mexico is not as common as in the West, but in some cases it is expected. Here’s a general guideline:

  • Restaurants and bars: 15%
  • Hotel staff: 20 pesos if someone helps you with luggage or anything else
  • Local guide: At the end of the trip, we recommend that everyone gives about $50 USD as a tip each to both the local guide and bus driver. We’ll collect this on the last day and give it to our guide before we say goodbye.

Find our general FAQ here to get any of your other questions answered.

Book A Tour

Book with confidence. Your deposit is 100% refundable for 30 days after your booking is made, as long as it’s 60 days prior to departure, so you don’t lose out in case your plans change.