AIA Tours: land

Maya Pyramids & Temples of Yucatan

Tour Dates: January 11-19, 2020 (9 days)

Tour Leader(s): Jeff Karl Kowalski ,

This luxurious, nine-day holiday provides the best-paced itinerary available to see the sun-drenched Yucatan peninsula’s ancient sites, traditional Maya villages, and colonial architecture. Maya art and architecture abound, with visits to Chichén Itzá, Ek Balam, Uxmal, Dzibilchaltun, and more: iconic as well as off-the-beaten-path sites with soaring pyramids, distinctive temple complexes, and wonderful sculpture. There is free time to bird watch, shop for crafts, or relax, reflect, and enjoy our excellent accommodations. Enjoy two luxurious nights at the Mayaland Hotel (next to Chichén Itzá) and three at the Hacienda Uxmal (next to Uxmal). Maximum of just 12 guests.

“I have always been fascinated with the Maya and their life and Jeff had the answers to every question. I liked everything about the tour, very well organized...” - Emile, Washington

“Jeff Kowalski’s presentations on the art and architecture of the ancient Maya pulled us into their world.” - Irene, Texas


Tour Prices per person (8 nights)
Double Occupancy (10-12 participants) $4,995
Double Occupancy (7-9 participants) $5,495
Single Supplement $695
Single room supplement will be charged when requested or required (limited availability).
With fewer than 7 participants, a small group surcharge may be added.

Black spiny tailed iguana at Chichen Itzá © Ken Thomas

Great Museum of the Maya World © J. Magno

Uxmal © Art Enyedy

Bonampak site © Art Enyedy

Ek Balam Pyramid © Art Enyedy

Itinerary


Saturday, January 11, 2020: Depart the U.S. on flights to Merida, Mexico
Sunday, January 12: Merida: City tour, The Great Museum of the Maya World | PM at leisure | Welcome dinner
Monday, January 13: Chichén Itzá | PM at leisure
Tuesday, January 14: Ek Balam | Chichén Itzá or PM at leisure
Wednesday, January 15: Izamal Convent | Kinich Kakmo | Uxmal
Thursday, January 16: Uxmal
Friday, January 17: Labna | Kaxil Kiuic
Saturday, January 18: Dzibilchaltun | Progreso | Merida | PM at leisure | Farewell dinner
Sunday, January 19: Fly home

View Detailed Itinerary

Saturday, January 11, 2020: Depart the U.S. on flights to Merida, Mexico
Arrive at Merida International Airport (MID) and transfer to our hotel. Overnight at the Presidente InterContinental Villa Mercedes Merida for two nights.
Sunday, January 12: Merida: City tour, The Great Museum of the Maya World | PM at leisure | Welcome dinner
Today we will take a city tour and then visit Merida’s anthropology museum, The Great Museum of the Maya World, housing artifacts from many of the sites we shall visit. After lunch and an introductory lecture, the afternoon is at leisure to shop for handicrafts, visit the marketplace, or relax. Gather tonight for a welcome dinner. (B,L,D)
Monday, January 13: Chichén Itzá | PM at leisure
Depart Merida for Chichén Itzá, a drive of about an hour and a half. A short walk to the site from our hotel takes us back 1,000 years as we gaze at spectacular 9th-century temples and pyramids. We will see all the site’s highlights, including the Sacred Well, Ballcourt, Castillo, Observatory, High Priest’s Grave, and Nunnery. After lunch, visit out-of-the-way parts of the site, or enjoy free time to visit the bookstores and gift shops, or spend a relaxing afternoon on the hotel grounds. Overnight at the Mayaland Hotel for two nights. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, January 14: Ek Balam | Chichén Itzá or PM at leisure
Drive to Ek Balam, a small site with spectacular, mythological creatures sculpted in the full round and then hidden 1,200 years ago by the Maya themselves, only to be re-discovered recently by archaeologists. There will be an opportunity to visit the cenote and take a swim. Caves and cenotes (sinkholes with groundwater) were (and are) very important openings to the Maya underworld, the abode of the rain gods and places of worship. After lunch, return to Chichén Itzá for more time exploring the site, or to our hotel for time at leisure. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, January 15: Izamal Convent | Kinich Kakmo | Uxmal
Drive to Uxmal, stopping along the way for lunch and to visit Izamal and its Convent. In Izamal, the Spanish conquistadors built their church atop a Maya pyramid. This was the home of the infamous Diego de Landa, who burned all the Maya books that he could gather. Climb to the top of Kinich Kakmo, the largest pyramid (in volume) in all Maya land. Continue on to Uxmal and check in to our hotel. Overnight at the Hacienda Uxmal for three nights. (B,L,D)
Thursday, January 16: Uxmal
Uxmal is the capital of the Puuc region, on the western side of the Peninsula—a unique sub-area within the greater Maya zone with its own brand of architecture and mosaic-stone decoration. Uxmal’s “Governor’s Palace” was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite buildings. Spend a full day exploring the site, and there will be an optional light and sound show after dark. (B,L,D)
Friday, January 17: Labna | Kaxil Kiuic
We spend today in the Puuc region, visiting two sites that are remote and little-visited: Labna, with its famous arch; and Kaxil Kiuic, which was a Maya city of 5,000-8,000 people whose ruins comprise the oldest known settlement in the region. The Puuc area was first settled by the Maya in approximately 500 B.C. and became home to a series of impressive city-states. The Labna-Kiuic Regional Archaeological Project is a joint Mexican-U.S. research program being carried out in the Puuc region under the co-direction of Millsaps College, Mexico’s National Institute of Archaeology and History, and Davidson College. In 2013, the AIA bestowed its Best Practices in Site Preservation Award upon project co-director George Bey for his work at Kaxil Kiuic. Return to our hotel for a relaxing evening and dinner. (B,L,D)
Saturday, January 18: Dzibilchaltun | Progreso | Merida | PM at leisure | Farewell dinner
Depart Uxmal for a visit to Dzibilchaltun, a 2,000-year-old site with a famous astronomical alignment. Highlights include the Temple of the Seven Dolls and a cenote. Enjoy a seafood lunch on the beach in the port city of Progreso, with the sea breeze blowing through the open-air restaurant. Return to Merida, where we will have some free time to explore independently, do some last-minute shopping, or relax before our farewell dinner. Overnight at the Presidente InterContinental Villa Mercedes Merida. (B,L,D)
Sunday, January 19: Fly home
Transfer to Merida International Airport (MID) for flights home.


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

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