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Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: arrive merida

Streets of Merida close for bikes on SundaysStreets of Merida close for bikes on Sundays

Depending on arrival time,  get out and begin exploring some of the city. In the evening, gather with the other trip participants for fun getting to know each other. 

Meals
Dinner
Lodging
Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)

Day 2: market tour and cooking class

Check many items off your treasure hunt list at the marketCheck many items off your treasure hunt list at the market

Go on a local treasure hunt today! Start by exploring the local food market and find foods that are on your treasure checklist. Then, cook and enjoy a meal together. Later, explore local craft markets and share your finds with each other. Enjoy watching (or join in on) a possible salsa experience (depending on performance schedules available closer to the trip date). 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)

Day 3: mayapan ancient ruins, bike ride and swimming

No crowds at the ruins of MayapanNo crowds at the ruins of Mayapan

Today begins with a visit to Mayapan, an incredible archeological site located in central Yucatan where you'll explore and learn about the architecture of the Maya in the Late Post-Classic period. The Maya were masters of math, astronomy, and architecture. Visit the Temple of Kukulcan and the Observatory, which are similar to Chichen-Itza, but on a smaller scale and much less visited. From here, hop on your bikes and ride 3 miles towards the amazing cenote Nomozon to refresh in its crystal clear waters. Here, begin a special expedition, much like in the days of Stevens and Catherwood, who explored Yucatan in the 1840’s. Become explorers for the day, learning about ancient Maya rituals and meanings in nature. Returning to Merida, the evening is at your leisure. There are wonderful music and dance events in the streets of Merida to enjoy!

Meals
Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
Lodging
Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)

Day 4: celestun, flamingos, birds, boat and the beach

Your lunchtime viewYour lunchtime view

Today, experience nature at its finest by visiting the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, a large coastal wetland and wildlife refuge. Join locals belonging to a local cooperative who will take you in canoes and kayaks to explore ecosystems including mangroves, coastal areas, lagoons, and beaches. During the winter months, this region attracts the second largest greater flamingo population in America. In addition to the flamingos, this is an ideal region for bird watching in general. After your boat and nature excursion, head to the beach to have a seafood lunch in a small palapa on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The evening in Merida is free; a great option is to watch the “Vaqueria,” a traditional and colorful dance of Yucatan, in the central plaza!

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)

Day 5: puuc hills, cacao museum, uxmal

The impressive ruins of UxmalThe impressive ruins of Uxmal

Say goodbye to Merida and begin your journey to the Puuc Hills, land of the Classic Era Maya. Settle into the Lodge at Uxmal and enjoy a pollo pibil lunch in a Maya hut before relaxing and swimming in the hotel pool. In the late afternoon, visit the Cacao Museum to learn about the ancient Maya and their ceremonial use of the plant. At night, experience the Uxmal Light and Sound show.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
The Lodge at Uxmal

Day 6: uxmal site

An early morning visit avoids the rushAn early morning visit avoids the rush

Visit the site of Uxmal this morning, when it is cool and less crowded. Explore some of the nooks and crannies of this ancient Maya ruin before departing to visit a modern Maya community where you'll spend the afternoon with families. Return to Merida in the late afternoon.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Hotel Casa del Balam

Day 7: sotuta de peon, izamal

Lots of options for swimmingLots of options for swimming

Begin the day with a journey to explore a living plantation where sisal fiber is stripped from the agave plant to make twine and rope. These plantations in Yucatan supplied the entire rope industry, particularly important in ship building, until the early 1900's. Try your hand at making rope to see how it was done “back in the day.” Ride a mule cart, the traditional mode for transporting the fibers and ropes. The mule cart will carry you to a refreshing cenote, where you’ll enjoy a swim in a cave. These water-filled sinkholes carry special significance to the Maya.

Later, visit the Golden City of Izamal to learn about its history and tour this charming town. See how the Spanish built directly on top of the former Mayan cities. It is a strong visual of one of the greatest clashes of culture in world history. After touring, settle into a favorite traditional Yucatecan restaurant, Kinich, to eat some of the best traditional Yucatecan cuisine on the Peninsula. Cochinita pibil, queso relleno, and papadzules are some famed dishes. Return to Merida, where your last evening is free to explore and to say goodbye to your favorite places.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Hotel Casa del Balam

Day 8: depart for home

Say goodbye to Merida and the Yucatan. Transfer to the airport and depart for home. 

Meals
Breakfast

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$2,050
Ages 12+ cost: $3,095 per person Ages 7-12 cost: $2,050 when sharing with 2 full paying adults The land cost published is for the stated group departure and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described in the full itinerary. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates. Custom & private adventures are available as well, and the final cost of a custom trip will be based on the activities selected, trip duration, accommodations, etc. Developing an initial custom trip itinerary is a service we provide to all clients at no cost. If after development of the initial itinerary you request additional development but are not ready to make a deposit, a trip planning fee may apply.
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

Duration:
8 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

From the Bird's Word Blog

Flight Of The Butterflies: The Monarch Migration

Birds aren't the only winged creatures that migrate; butterflies fit into this category as well. The most spectacular example of this is the annual Monarch Butterfly migration. …

The Ruins at Mayapan
The Ruins at Mayapan
Amazing fruit found in the markets
Amazing fruit found in the markets
Swim in a cenote
Swim in a cenote
Beautiful colonial architecture of Izamal
Beautiful colonial architecture of Izamal
The Maya ruins at Uxmal
The Maya ruins at Uxmal
The beautiful people of the Yucatan
The beautiful people of the Yucatan (Photo: )

Yucatan Family Adventure

A family friendly adventure in the Maya world

overview

Your family will enjoy this active and engaging experience in the Yucatan that takes you away from the crowds of the other nearby beaches and resorts. Your family will enjoy a variety of activities learning to cook, not Mexican food but the food of the Yucatan, biking, hiking, canoeing and swimming in cenotes just as the early explorers of this region. Learn how the Mayas lived years ago and walk in their footsteps. Enjoy colonial architecture, and local wildlife all while you spend some good quality time with your family.

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

Your family will enjoy this active and engaging experience in the Yucatan that takes you away from the crowds of the other nearby beaches and resorts. Your family will enjoy a variety of activities learning to cook, not Mexican food but the food of the Yucatan, biking, hiking, canoeing and swimming in cenotes just as the early explorers of this region. Learn how the Mayas lived years ago and walk in their footsteps. Enjoy colonial architecture, and local wildlife all while you spend some good quality time with your family.

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: arrive merida
    Streets of Merida close for bikes on SundaysStreets of Merida close for bikes on Sundays

    Depending on arrival time,  get out and begin exploring some of the city. In the evening, gather with the other trip participants for fun getting to know each other. 

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: market tour and cooking class
    Check many items off your treasure hunt list at the marketCheck many items off your treasure hunt list at the market

    Go on a local treasure hunt today! Start by exploring the local food market and find foods that are on your treasure checklist. Then, cook and enjoy a meal together. Later, explore local craft markets and share your finds with each other. Enjoy watching (or join in on) a possible salsa experience (depending on performance schedules available closer to the trip date). 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: mayapan ancient ruins, bike ride and swimming
    No crowds at the ruins of MayapanNo crowds at the ruins of Mayapan

    Today begins with a visit to Mayapan, an incredible archeological site located in central Yucatan where you'll explore and learn about the architecture of the Maya in the Late Post-Classic period. The Maya were masters of math, astronomy, and architecture. Visit the Temple of Kukulcan and the Observatory, which are similar to Chichen-Itza, but on a smaller scale and much less visited. From here, hop on your bikes and ride 3 miles towards the amazing cenote Nomozon to refresh in its crystal clear waters. Here, begin a special expedition, much like in the days of Stevens and Catherwood, who explored Yucatan in the 1840’s. Become explorers for the day, learning about ancient Maya rituals and meanings in nature. Returning to Merida, the evening is at your leisure. There are wonderful music and dance events in the streets of Merida to enjoy!

    Meals
    Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: celestun, flamingos, birds, boat and the beach
    Your lunchtime viewYour lunchtime view

    Today, experience nature at its finest by visiting the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, a large coastal wetland and wildlife refuge. Join locals belonging to a local cooperative who will take you in canoes and kayaks to explore ecosystems including mangroves, coastal areas, lagoons, and beaches. During the winter months, this region attracts the second largest greater flamingo population in America. In addition to the flamingos, this is an ideal region for bird watching in general. After your boat and nature excursion, head to the beach to have a seafood lunch in a small palapa on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The evening in Merida is free; a great option is to watch the “Vaqueria,” a traditional and colorful dance of Yucatan, in the central plaza!

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Casa del Balam (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: puuc hills, cacao museum, uxmal
    The impressive ruins of UxmalThe impressive ruins of Uxmal

    Say goodbye to Merida and begin your journey to the Puuc Hills, land of the Classic Era Maya. Settle into the Lodge at Uxmal and enjoy a pollo pibil lunch in a Maya hut before relaxing and swimming in the hotel pool. In the late afternoon, visit the Cacao Museum to learn about the ancient Maya and their ceremonial use of the plant. At night, experience the Uxmal Light and Sound show.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    The Lodge at Uxmal
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: uxmal site
    An early morning visit avoids the rushAn early morning visit avoids the rush

    Visit the site of Uxmal this morning, when it is cool and less crowded. Explore some of the nooks and crannies of this ancient Maya ruin before departing to visit a modern Maya community where you'll spend the afternoon with families. Return to Merida in the late afternoon.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Casa del Balam
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: sotuta de peon, izamal
    Lots of options for swimmingLots of options for swimming

    Begin the day with a journey to explore a living plantation where sisal fiber is stripped from the agave plant to make twine and rope. These plantations in Yucatan supplied the entire rope industry, particularly important in ship building, until the early 1900's. Try your hand at making rope to see how it was done “back in the day.” Ride a mule cart, the traditional mode for transporting the fibers and ropes. The mule cart will carry you to a refreshing cenote, where you’ll enjoy a swim in a cave. These water-filled sinkholes carry special significance to the Maya.

    Later, visit the Golden City of Izamal to learn about its history and tour this charming town. See how the Spanish built directly on top of the former Mayan cities. It is a strong visual of one of the greatest clashes of culture in world history. After touring, settle into a favorite traditional Yucatecan restaurant, Kinich, to eat some of the best traditional Yucatecan cuisine on the Peninsula. Cochinita pibil, queso relleno, and papadzules are some famed dishes. Return to Merida, where your last evening is free to explore and to say goodbye to your favorite places.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Casa del Balam
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: depart for home

    Say goodbye to Merida and the Yucatan. Transfer to the airport and depart for home. 

    Meals
    Breakfast

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$2,050
Ages 12+ cost: $3,095 per person Ages 7-12 cost: $2,050 when sharing with 2 full paying adults The land cost published is for the stated group departure and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described in the full itinerary. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates. Custom & private adventures are available as well, and the final cost of a custom trip will be based on the activities selected, trip duration, accommodations, etc. Developing an initial custom trip itinerary is a service we provide to all clients at no cost. If after development of the initial itinerary you request additional development but are not ready to make a deposit, a trip planning fee may apply.
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

Duration:
8 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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