Chiapas to Yucatan
Day 1 Tuxtla Gutierrez - San Cristobal de las Casas
Arrive Tuxtla Gutierrez. We will then transfer via the spectacular Sumidero Canyon to San Cristobal.
En route, the tropical heat and plant life prevalent in Tuxtla Gutierrez gradually give way to the nippy mountain air and pine forests that surround San Cristobal, where days are sunny and warm, and nights may be chilly. Amber, the translucent stone derived from fossilized coniferous resin, is plentiful in the region, and attractive shops in town display creative jewellery fashioned out of silver and the ancient rock.
Day 2 San Cristobel de las Casas (B)
Enjoy the tranquillity of this small Spanish built town situated in a pine-clad valley and surrounded by distinctly mysterious Indian villages which we will visit. These villages are colourful and they all have their special cults – the churches are quite different as they blend Catholic with their own ancient religions.
We will explore on foot the colonial city center of San Cristobal de las Casas. We will visit the cathedral, on the north side of the pretty main square, with its lavish interior and gold-encrusted pulpit. We then walk a few blocks to the impressive 16th-century Dominican church Templo de Santo Domingo, with its intricate pink façade and gilded Baroque interior. Time to browse the handicraft market in front of the church, where Tzotzil Indians from the surrounding hills come to trade. We then drive 10km into the Chiapas highlands, to the Tzotzil Indian villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. The Tzotzils descend from the ancient Maya and maintain some unique customs, costumes and beliefs. We will visit the beautiful white church in San Juan Chamula. The candles, incense and chanting worshippers make a powerful impression.We then drive to the nearby village of Zinacantan, with its pretty church and handicraft market.
Day 3 San Cristobal de las Casas-Palenque (B)
Depart from your hotel by bus through to Palenque with its remarkable Mayan temples in the midst of emerald green rain forest.
In the foothills of the Tumbala mountains, the ancient Maya site of Palenque sits on a ledge overlooking the swampy plains that stretch northward all the way to the Gulf coast. Palenque was at its height between 500 and 700 A.D., when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta river. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.
The Mayan ruins of Palenque were hidden from the modern world until the late 1700s when Mayan hunters told a Spanish priest about the great stone palaces that lay in the jungle. The priest's report and those of other early Spanish explorers helped to unearth one of the most amazing Mayan sites in Mexico
It was the flood plain of the Usumacinta river that most likely provided Palenque's inhabitants with the resources to construct their extraordinary city. Blessed with the highest average rainfall in Mexico, this fertile alluvial plain could have been successfully farmed with raised beds, and would have produced a harvest that not only could sustain a large workforce but would also have provided an abundance that could be traded along the Usumacinta. It seems that the gods were as enchanted with Palenque as today's visitors
We take the afternoon to enjoy the ruins – they defy description – impressive to say the very least and set in pristine rainforest.
This is one of those days you will never forget.
Day 4 Palenque - Merida (B)
You will be transferred to the bus station for a days comfortable bus journey across the Yucatan to Merida . On arrival you will be transferred to the hotel
Merida - known as the 'White City" due to the large amount of limestone and white paint used, was a centre for Mayan culture long before the Conquistadors arrived.
These days Merida is a bustling, colonial city and there is plenty to see and do. Enjoy the ambience of this friendly town, marimba bands plus the famous mariachi bands.
Day 5 Merida –Chichen Itza –Playa del Carmen (B,L)
Take the morning bus to Chichen Itza to visit the most famous of all the Mayan Temples.
Chichen Itza, founded in 432 AD. Here we find some of the finest examples of Mayan temples, pyramids, ballcourts, plus the only observatory to be found on the Yucatan.
Chichen Itza is arguably the most famous Mayan site in Mexico. and derives its name from the deep, naturally occurring well, located near the centre of the site. During the hey-day of this city, this well was used for human sacrifice! But it is the astounding and unique architecture - a result of the invasion by the Toltecs people - that makes this site so incredible.Later today continue on to Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen- the former sleepy coastal village has a charm and laid back lifestyle all of its own and a lovely beach .
Day 6 Playa del Carmen (B)
Day at leisure to relax on the beach or options available for trips to Cozumel Island or the archaeological ruins of Tulum and the underground cenotes
Day 7 Playa del Carmen - Cancun (B)
You will be transferred to Cancun airport for your flight departure
NB Itinerary available in reverse
Dates & Prices
Prices Per Person NZ$
3 Star 4 Star