Many UK holidaymakers who visit Mexico will hit the stunning beaches and lively towns that surround Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

They will spend days lazing on beaches and relaxing, for many this is what Mexico is all about.  It very much is, and for those who want to just relax there is no place better.  However, for those who enjoy action and adventure, this area of Mexico is perhaps not so on the map.  The reality though, is vastly different and that is where thoroughly exploring the Yucatan peninsula provides a Mexican holiday that delights culture vultures and adrenaline junkies alike.  Below is just a sample of what can be explored, all of which combines perfectly with a few nights’ straight relaxation on the beach either after or before.

Day 1: Arrive in Cancun, transfer to Chichen Itza

When you arrive at Cancun International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide and privately transferred to your hacienda. Settle in, stroll the grounds, and acclimatize to the warm Yucatan climate.

Day 2: Visit Chichen Itza, Cenote Ik-Kil, Merida

Embark on an early morning exploration of Chichen Itza ruins taking a privately guided tour with an expert guide. This site is world renowned for the sophistication of its structures and the high level of astronomical and engineering accomplishments. The site comes alive with the expert interpretation of your guide, adding colour and contour to the sprawling site.

As the mid-day heat comes in, head to Cenote Ik-Kil where you can opt for a refreshing swim. Cenotes are somewhat of a signature of the Yucatan, these natural bathing spots are formed where sinkholes are formed as the bedrock erodes below the water level.  Crystal clear refreshing water provides the ideal place to escape the afternoon heat.

After, continue to Merida, the colonial capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, where you can settle into your hotel.

Day 3: Biking excursion to Homun, visit Acanceh

Head to Acanceh village for an off-the-beaten-path biking expedition, away from the typical tourist route. Your adventure begins with a two-hour bike ride towards Homun village.

On arrival, you will explore this rustic setting and discover the natural beauty of Homun’s cenotes, enjoying a refreshing swim and time to relax.

After, ride your bike back to Acanceh where a private car will be waiting to take you on to Merida.

Day 4: Loltún Caverns and Uxmal

Traverse the underground cave system at Loltún where a local guide will take the lead, explaining the history and pointing out the important stalagmites, stalactites, cave paintings, fossils and Maya hand-prints found there.

After, your guide will drive you to the ancient Maya city of Uxmal to view the amazing Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be the finest example of classic Maya architecture. Uxmal is also home to the Pyramid of the Magician, a towering pyramid wrapped in mystery. Listen to your guide as they reveal the myth behind this stunning ancient ruin.

Day 5: Coba archaeological site and Maya cenote, transfer to Tulum

On your way to the magical Mexican Caribbean, visit Valladolid, the former colonial capital of the Yucatan Peninsula. Explore its charming city centre which has a wonderfully preserved small plaza and fine architecture.

After, your journey continues toward Coba, an archaeological site in the Riviera Maya. Coba is amongst the largest Maya city ruins in the Yucatan region, surrounded by lush rain forests teeming with wildlife.

After, your day’s adventure continues at Coba, one of the largest archaeological sites in the Rivera Maya. Take a guided tour of the site, stopping to climb its great pyramid and discovering more about its rich history from your expert guide.

The next stop is one of the Yucatan’s recently discovered cenotes deep in the jungle. Enjoy the chance to swim and relax around the refreshing waters before continuing to your ocean-front accommodation. Enjoy a tranquil evening back at your hotel at leisure.

Day 6: Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Today, explore the incredible Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, one of Mexico’s most important protected area and home to a large variety of animals including crocodiles, dolphins, turtles, and more than 300 species of birds.

Arriving at Sian Kaán, start the tour on foot, taking a short hike through the jungle to the Muyil Maya temple, before walking along a wooden pathway by the water’s edge. The next part of the adventure will be by boat. Along with your expert guide, explore the reserve by water, discovering a cenote that lies underneath the surface, as well as looking out for animal life swimming past or hiding in the trees. There will be a chance to swim in the clear waterways or float along the ‘lazy river’.

After, head back to your charming accommodation for some free time to relax on the white sands of the Caribbean Sea.

Day 7: Tulum archaeological site

Meet your guide for a private tour of Tulum’s famous beach-side ruins.  Enjoy the spectacular views over the Caribbean Sea and explore the temples honouring the gods of the wind and rain. As you traverse the archaeological site, learn about Maya history and cosmology from your expert guide who will lead you in your exploration. You will also have a chance to swim in the Caribbean waters and look up at Tulum’s iconic “Castillo” from below.

Day 8: Departure day

As your adventure comes to an end, you will be privately transported to Cancun International Airport from where you will catch your flight home.  Of course should you wish to relax some more on the coast, the Riviera Maya is a short journey away.

This trip is just a suggestion of how to explore the region, contact us directly for a whole range of tailormade trips.