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Nat Geo Day Tour: Exploring the Underworld and Mayan Culture
Activities

Nat Geo Day Tour: Exploring the Underworld and Mayan Culture

When you imagine the ancient Mayans peering into mysteriously deep and limpid underground pools, it's easy to see how they came to believe these cenotes were windows to the underworld. This National Geographic Day Tour is a journey into the deepest aspects of Mayan culture, bridging the gap between the tempting beauty of the cenotes the region is so famous for, and the significance they hold in local tradition. You'll begin the day with a descent into either Abuelo or Zoi Che cenote, where you can choose to enjoy a cooling dip. These water-filled caverns offer a tangible connection to the Mayan way of life. Your National Geographic-trained guide will explain how the fresh water of cenotes was crucial for the survival of Mayan settlements, especially given the scarcity of rivers and lakes in the Yucatan. As well as their spiritual status, the guide will also describe the Mayan concept of the underworld, or Xibalba, and it's nine layered structure which is reflected in many of Mexico's Mayan pyramids. Next, you'll take a guided stroll along the Mayan Path of Xibalba where thirteen representations of Mayan gods punctuate the route, and your guide will unravel their stories on the way. National Geographic guests will have private access to the park's recently discovered fifth cenote, steeped in the aura of the ancient world. After your exploration of the connection between cenotes and Mayan culture and beliefs, it's time to relax over a traditional homemade local lunch, a homage to the region's culinary heritage.

free cancellation
Available in:

es, en 

Nat Geo Day Tour: Unveiling the Importance of Cancun’s Reef Restoration
Excursions & day trips

Nat Geo Day Tour: Unveiling the Importance of Cancun’s Reef Restoration

Explore the wonders of the Mesoamerican Reef System on this exclusive National Geographic Day Tour. Led by marine specialists, you will have the unique opportunity to snorkel and witness the impact of humanity on the reef and see coral bleaching. This is followed by an insightful talk on actionable steps for reef restoration.Setting sail when the waters are at their calmest, you'll venture to two different reefs, each affected by bleaching due to global warming, water pollution, and microplastics. Visit the reef known as “El Meco”, which boasts the youngest corals, making it a particularly special attraction.The boats used for the tour are certified by Blue Flag for sustainable tourism, ensuring your voyage aligns with eco-conscious practices. Along the way, you'll also get to know the local fauna and savour samples of traditional snacks including Kibi.During this tour, you will be inspired to protect these marine ecosystems, which is the aim of the National Geographic-sponsored Pristine Seas project. This project has carried out expeditions to Banco Chinchorro, a significant part of the Mesoamerican Reef System. This project's work underscores the importance of safeguarding marine environments from human influence while protecting the last wild places in our oceans.By joining this tour, you will engage with the vital importance of preserving and protecting the precious Mesoamerican Reef System. See for yourself the marvels of the ocean and gain a profound understanding of coral reefs and their critical role in the biosphere.

free cancellation
Available in:

es, en 

Chichen Itza & Maya Village Tour with a Traditional Lunch
Activities

Chichen Itza & Maya Village Tour with a Traditional Lunch

The jewel in the Yucatán crown, Chichen Itza is an archaeological site brimming with ancient Maya ruins, temples and pyramids. An early morning start awaits as you traverse deep into the Yucatán peninsula to tour the site. You'll also journey into the Mayan underworld at a cenote and visit a traditional Maya village. Lunch is included, too.

free cancellation
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de, en, fr, nl, no, +1  pl

Guided Tour of Tulum and Visit to a Modern Maya Community
Excursions & day trips

Guided Tour of Tulum and Visit to a Modern Maya Community

Exploring ancient ruins and swimming in underground caves make this an action-packed morning of adventure. A guided tour of one of Mexico's most important historical sites is followed by a visit to a traditional Mayan community. What's more, you'll get the chance to take a refreshing dip in a cenote too.

free cancellation
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de, en, fr, nl, pl 

Holbox Island Boat and Buggy Tour from Chiquila
Excursions & day trips

Holbox Island Boat and Buggy Tour from Chiquila

Holbox Island offers 36km of pristine white beaches washed by emerald green seas. On this exclusive TUI excursion, you'll tour spots like Isla Pasion and Punta Mosquito on a private boat, enjoy lunch at a five-star eco resort and more. And there's also golf buggy tour of the island to look forward to.

free cancellation
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de, es, en, fr, nl, +1  pl

Tulum Tour with Nopalitos Lagoon and Lunch
Activities

Tulum Tour with Nopalitos Lagoon and Lunch

This adults-only tour has a healthy fifty-fifty mix of culture and chilling out time. You'll firstly explore the Maya ruins of Tulum, the only site by the sea, then while away the remaining hours at the exclusive Nopalito lagoon, where you can relax and try out some paddleboarding and kayaking.

free cancellation
Available in:

en 

Coba Maya Ruins Tour with Lunch and Cenote Swim
Excursions & day trips

Coba Maya Ruins Tour with Lunch and Cenote Swim

A journey deep into the Yucatán jungle to discover the ancient Maya city of Coba. You'll learn about their enigmatic culture, see the Great Pyramid, meet local villagers and swim in a sacred cenote

free cancellation
Available in:

de, da, en, fi, fr, +4  nl, no, pl, sv

Tulum, Cenote Swim, Turtle Snorkelling & Beach Club Combo Tour
Activities

Tulum, Cenote Swim, Turtle Snorkelling & Beach Club Combo Tour

Exploring Mexico just got a whole lot easier. On this full day adventure, you'll tick off no less than four different activities. Start with a guided visit of the archaeological site of Tulum, then head to a cenote for a swim. Next, it's off to Akumal for a spot of snorkelling. Round off your day with lunch at a beach club. Carmen, one of our expert local guides, says, ‘The most photographed structure in the archaeological site is the Castillo, which is perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The Castillo might be the most famous, but there are plenty of other ancient Mayan ruins to explore, such as the Temple of the Descending God and the Temple of the Frescoes.'The marvels of the Mayan culture will be revealed on your guided tour around Tulum. You'll learn about it's past as a walled city, and its former role as a trading hub. After the tour you'll have free time to explore at your leisure. Next, prepare to be dazzled by colours at an ancient Mayan cenote, a natural cave with a freshwater pool fed by underground water sources and considered sacred by the Mayans.After a cooling swim, we'll head for the picturesque seaside community of Akumal, known for its laid-back atmosphere, natural beauty, and abundant marine life. With its intriguing underwater world, Akumal offers one of the best snorkelling experiences in the Riviera Maya. Encounter an array of tropical fish, corals, and perhaps even sea turtles. To complete your day, unwind and indulge in a tasty meal at a nearby beach club.

free cancellation
Available in:

es, en 

Chichen Itza Private Tour with Transport and Local Guide
Excursions & day trips

Chichen Itza Private Tour with Transport and Local Guide

The ancient ruins of Chichen Itza are one of Mexico's must-visits. This exclusive experience lets you see the site before the crowds arrive and tour the complex with an expert guide. Then, delve into the depths of the Mayan underworld with a cenote swim and visit a traditional Maya village for lunch.

free cancellation
Available in:

de, es, en, fr, nl 

Sian Ka’an Reserve Tour with Boat Trip and Maya Village Visit
Activities

Sian Ka’an Reserve Tour with Boat Trip and Maya Village Visit

The ancient Maya called it ‘Where the Sky Begins' – and there's definitely a touch of heaven to Sian Ka'an. Its mangroves, coral reefs, wildlife and archaeological sites mean that it's both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve, placing in the champions' league of natural parks.

free cancellation
Available in:

de, es, en, fr, nl, +1  pl

Aventuras Mayas Jungle Park with Mexican Lunch
Activities

Aventuras Mayas Jungle Park with Mexican Lunch

If you're all about action and adventure, a day of fun-filled thrills awaits at Aventuras Mayas Jungle Park. Speed through the jungle by ATV, fly through the treetops by zipwire and abseil into a cenote to swim in one of these impressive underground chambers. And when it's time for a break, there's a tasty Mexican buffet on offer.

free cancellation
Available in:

es, en 

Guided Tour of Ek' Balam and Valladolid with Cenote and Lunch
Excursions & day trips

Guided Tour of Ek' Balam and Valladolid with Cenote and Lunch

Get a close-up look at Maya history and traditions on this off-the-beaten-track tour. You'll visit the ancient Maya city of Ek' Balam – the most recent to be opened to the public – as well as Yalcoba to swim in the cenote and a stop in Valladolid. Francesca, one of our expert local guides, says, ‘Archaeologists only began uncovering Ek' Balam in 1985, and they're still digging away today. It's a more complete site than many others, and you can still imagine daily life in the Maya town going on around you as you explore. But the main reason I enjoy Ek' Balam is that there are so few visitors.'We'll start the adventure with a guided visit of Ek' Balam, which translates as ‘Black Jaguar.' The site has more than 40 structures and its walls formed a maze, while the main pyramid, known as the Acropolis, has a well-preserved entrance surrounded by the open jaws and fangs of a jaguar. It's bigger than even El Castillo at Chichen Itzá. Best of all, you can climb to the top – which few Maya sites allow.Afterwards, we'll head to Yalcoba where you can try your hand at chocolate-making and learn how to craft obsidian at a workshop. After a tequila and mezcal tasting you'll have time to enjoy the crystalline cenote, then tuck into a tasty buffet lunch of typical regional dishes. Lastly, we'll have a quick stop in central Valladolid, a city known for its art and architecture and a picture-perfect medley of colourful colonial buildings and historic churches.

free cancellation
Available in:

en 

Things to do in Riviera Maya

The Mexican haven of Riviera Maya, known for its spectacular white-sand beaches and clear waters, is also famous for its cultural, natural and archaeological treasures. So, it comes as no surprise that every year, millions of tourists choose this corner of the planet to enjoy their dream holiday. With majestic Maya sites, wonderful natural reserves, impressive cenotes and colourful coral reefs, this Caribbean retreat is ideal for every type of traveller.

The best things to see and do in Riviera Maya:

1.) Explore Holbox Island At just 40km long and 2km wide, the tiny island of Holbox is a favourite amongst tourists visiting Riviera Maya. Located within the Yum Balam Ecological Reserve, there's plenty of tours visiting this slice of paradise, where the main mode of transport is by golf cart. Make sure to stop by some of its spectacular beaches, such as Punta Mosquito and Passion Island.

2.) Visit the archaeological site of Coba Nestled in the Mexican jungle, the ancient Maya city of Coba is one of the best-preserved sites in the region, though not as well-known as the likes of Chichen Itza or Tulum. With many of its buildings constructed between 500 and 900 AD, nowadays the most prominent area in the complex is the huge Nohoch Mul pyramid, standing at over 40 metres high – the views from its summit across the jungle is unparalleled.

3.) Grab panoramic photos at the ruins of Tulum Perched on a hill overlooking the Caribbean, the archaeological site of Tulum is undoubtedly one of the prettiest places in Mexico. With plenty of tours on offer, take the opportunity to walk amongst impressive structures with centuries of history, like the El Castillo pyramid or the Temple of the Frescoes. Many tours combine a visit to these ruins with other exciting experiences, such as the chance to swim in an authentic cenote or snorkel along the Akumal coast.

4.) Discover Chichen Itza Visiting Chichen Itza, the most famous Maya city in Mexico, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so much so, the site has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. One of the site’s most enthralling phenomena is at the Temple of Kukulkan, where, during the equinoxes, thousands gather to watch a play of light and shadow that creates the illusion of a serpent descending the pyramid’s steps.

5.) Have fun at an adventure park Adventure-seekers and nature-lovers are in luck in Riviera Maya, with plenty of eco-parks to explore, and if you have time, the more you visit, the better. Slide down natural waterslides in the area at Xel-Ha, zipline through the jungle at Xplor, scuba dive in an underground river at Xcaret, or swim in a cenote at the Maya Adventure park. All parks offer a wide range of attractions, so fun and excitement are more than guaranteed.

6.) Enjoy a boat or catamaran excursion No trip to Riviera Maya would be complete without enjoying a catamaran cruise along its spectacular coast. Climb aboard and breathe in the sea breeze as you top up your tan and admire the views. Many boat trips offer stops at different points for swimming, diving, or water sports. A very popular option, especially for couples, are the evening cruises, with the added bonus of a sizzling sunset.

Plan your visit to Riviera Maya

What is the best time to travel to Riviera Maya?

The climate in Riviera Maya is warm and humid, with an average annual temperature of around 26°C. The best time to travel to the Mexican Caribbean is from December to April, which coincides with the dry season. During this period, temperatures range between 23°C and 27°C. Although Riviera Maya welcomes tourists all year round, the rainy season, which runs from May to November, has a higher risk of occasional tropical storms and even hurricanes.

How many days are needed to visit Riviera Maya?

Riviera Maya is one of the most idyllic destinations in the Mexican Caribbean. If, in addition to relaxing on its wonderful beaches, you want to have time to visit the cultural attractions of the area, such as the archaeological sites of Chichen Itzá or Cobá, enjoy the adventure parks, or go on an excursion to the neighbouring islands, ideally you should stay at least 10 days.

What are the best beaches in Riviera Maya?

In Riviera Maya, there are countless wonderful beaches. One of the most spectacular is Playa Paraíso, located very close to the ruins of Tulum. Another great option is Akumal Beach, a place chosen by many species of turtles to lay their eggs between April and October. On the other hand, the beaches of Punta Allen, located in the Ka'an natural reserve, are practically untouched. For those looking for a party and a good atmosphere, Mamitas Beach in Playa del Carmen never disappoints.