AIA Tours: land

Maya Pyramids & Temples of Yucatan

Tour Dates: January 30 - February 7, 2021 (9 days)

Tour Leader(s): Ben Thomas ,

This exciting, 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.


Tour Prices per person (8 nights)
Double Occupancy (10-12 participants) $5,195
Double Occupancy (7-9 participants) $5,695
Single Supplement $685
Single room supplement will be charged when requested or required (limited availability).
With fewer than 7 participants, a small group surcharge may be added.

Maya Pyramids & Temples of Yucatan, AIA Tours, Archaeological Tour

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 30, 2021: Depart the U.S. on flights to Merida, Mexico
Sunday, January 31: Merida: City tour, The Great Museum of the Maya World | PM at leisure | Welcome dinner
Monday, February 1: Chichén Itzá | PM at leisure
Tuesday, February 2: Ek Balam | Chichén Itzá or PM at leisure
Wednesday, February 3: Izamal Convent | Kinich Kakmo | Uxmal
Thursday, February 4: Uxmal
Friday, February 5: Labna | Kaxil Kiuic
Saturday, February 6: Dzibilchaltun | Progreso | Merida | PM at leisure | Farewell dinner
Sunday, February 7: Fly home

View Detailed Itinerary

ITINERARY
(B)= Breakfast, (L)= Lunch, (D)= Dinner

 

Saturday, January 30, 2021: Depart the U.S. on flights to Merida, Mexico
Arrive at Merida International Airport (MID) and transfer to our hotel. Overnight at the 4-star InterContinental Presidente Merida for two nights.

Sunday, January 31: Merida: City tour, The Great Museum of the Maya World | PM at leisure | Welcome dinner
This morning 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, February 1: Ek Balam | Chichén Itzá | PM at leisure
Depart Merida for 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, drive to Chichén Itzá and check-in to our hotel for some time at leisure. Overnight at the 3-star Hotel Villas Arqueologicas Chichén Itzá for two nights. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, February 2: Chichén Itzá | PM at leisure
A short walk to the site of Chichén Itzá 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 you may choose to join us to visit out-of-the-way parts of the site, or enjoy time on your own to visit the bookstores and gift shops or spend a relaxing afternoon on the hotel grounds. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, February 3: 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 5-star Hacienda Uxmal for three nights. (B,L,D)

Thursday, February 4: 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, February 5: Labna | Kaxil Kiuic | Uxmal
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 in Uxmal for a relaxing evening and dinner. (B,L,D)

Saturday, February 6: 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 4-star InterContinental Presidente Merida. (B,L,D)

Sunday, February 7: Fly home
Transfer to Merida International Airport (MID) for flights home. (B)


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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