On this 6-day tour through the southwest of Yucatan, you will see almost untouched Mayan sites from tourism such as Dzibanche, Kinichna, Kohonlich, Palenque, Yaxchilan and Calakmul, the rival city of Tikal. You will also see a bat volcano, a Spanish fort built to protect against pirates, and take a boat trip on the Bacalar lagoon, also called the 7 colors lagoon, during which you will also go swimming and snorkeling, and you'll see the oldest living creatures on earth (3.5 billion years) the stromatolites.
Kohunlich (Mayan for "Vally of the masks").
Kohunlich is a large archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. The site encompasses approximately (85 km2), surrounded by dense subtropical rainforest and contains almost 200 hills that have largely not yet been excavated. The city was elaborately planned and constructed, with an elevated platform and pyramids, citadels, courtyards and squares surrounded with palace platforms, all of which were designed for sewer drainage and led into a system of cisterns and a huge reservoir to collect rainwater. The city was settled from 200 BC but most of the structures were built in the early classical period from around 250 to 600 AD. The city appears to have served as a regional center and stopping point along the trade routes through southern Yucatán from Campeche and Rio Bec area to the west. The site is best known for its Temple of the Masks, an early classical pyramid whose central staircase is flanked by giant humanized stucco masks. The temple was built around AD 500. and is one of the oldest buildings in Kohunlich. After visiting Kohunlich, you will have lunch in a beautiful jungle restaurant before continuing straight to your hotel in Palenque.
Yaxchilan is an ancient Mayan city on the banks of the Usumacinta River in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. Yaxchilan was a major center, played a very important role in the classic era, and was the dominant force of the Usumacinta River area. It dominated sites as small as Bonampak and had a long rivalry with Piedras Negras in the north, and was even a competitor to Palenque with whom Yaxchilan went to war in 654. As with most Mayan cities, it was abandoned and later covered by jungle vegetation long before the Spanish arrived in the 1500s. The site contains impressive ruins, with palaces and temples arranged around a large square. It is so deep and remote in the jungle that you only have to drive down the border river to Guatemala, the Usumacinta river, for 45 minutes to get there. On the way back to your hotel in Palenque you'll have a stop at a small waterfall with a restaurant to refresh yourself and to have lunch
Palenque (Mayan for "near the wooden picket fence")
Palenque's name indicates a fortress or a fenced square. Legend has it that as early as 993 BC the first ruler was born, but the earliest traces of settlement point to the 4th century BC. Little is known about the beginnings of the city. but when the king K'uk 'B'alam entered the scene in AD 431, the small settlement had already matured into a city. This first known king continued to call himself Lord of Toktan. A title that other early kings should also use later on. The historical name of Palenque was probably Lakamha ’(in English for“ big water ”). In Palenque is also the tumb of the famous Maya astronaut and the red Queen. Afterward, you'll drive to the hotel in Xpijil, stopping at a restaurant for lunch on the way!
Calakmul (Maya for "city of two neighboring pyramids"
Calakmul is a Maya archaeological site in the state of Campeche, deep in the jungle of the larger Petén Basin region, just 35 kilometers from the border with Guatemala. Calakmul was one of the largest and most powerful ancient Maya cities ever discovered in the Maya lowlands. Calakmul was an important Maya power and administered a large area, which was characterized by the extensive distribution of its emblem, the snakehead, and was the seat of the snake kingdom, which ruled during most of the classical period, it had its heyday in the classical period 500 AD to 800 AD. The city existed for twelve centuries from (550 BC - 900 A.D.). Calakmul is remote and very beautiful, surrounded by a huge jungle, many monkeys, and over 230 species of birds. Calakmul is one of the most structured places in the Maya region, in the city, there are 117 stelae in pairs, both representing the rulers and their wives. After the visit, you will have lunch in a nice jungle restaurant and then drive back to your hotel in Xpujil!.
Dzibanche (Maya: writing on wood)
The name Dzibanche means "to write on wood" in the Maya language; the name comes from the carved wood lintels of the Temple of Lintels. During the early classical period of Mesoamerican chronology, the city could have been the seat of the Kaan ("snake") dynasty that later ruled from Calakmul in the southwest. Dzibanche seems to have been the capital of the Kaan Dynasty in the 5th and 6th centuries. The city center in Dzibanche with the government buildings shows that this was the center of social and economic activities for the local population. The main architectural complex of the city consists of a series of squares surrounded by large palaces and platforms, from which temples rose.
Cenote Azul (Blue Cenote)
Cenote Azul is an open cenote with a depth of 90 meters and a diameter of 360 meters, which consists of different rock formations. Here you can eat lunch and refresh yourself before going to the hotel in Bacalar.
Dinner at La Playita
Dinner in the spectacular restaurant La Playita, located right on the lagoon .. (optional).
Bacalar (lagoon of 7 colors)
The place Bacalar was founded in 475 by the Maya, the original name was Bakhalal and it was the first city to be occupied by the Conquistadores in 1543. The Spaniards named the city Salamanca de Bacalar. The Bacalar lagoon is a 55 km long and 2 km wide lagoon that is fed by many cenotes with fresh water that flows through a narrow channel into the Caribbean Sea. The lagoon has a water depth of only 1-2 meters, but on the shore, around the lagoon, there are various cenotes where it suddenly becomes up to 90 meters deep. The white sandy bottom gives the lagoon the effect of having 7 different shades of blue. The lagoon is one of the most unique freshwater lakes in the world. On a 1.5-hour boat trip you can see the stromatolites living in the lagoon, swimming, and snorkeling, with 3.5 million years the oldest living creatures on earth that only exist in 3 places on earth, in Africa, in Australia and here in Bacalar. They are also probably the largest living fossils with a length of 10 km and a height of over 3 meters. Many hectares of mangroves grow on the stromatolites and the stromatolites produce more air than a 10-hectare forest.
Fort San Felipe
The fort was built in 1723 to protect Bacalar from pirates who raided the place several times and robbed the women. There is only one narrow channel that leads from the sea into the lagoon and is located directly opposite the fort. Bacalar was also a safe haven to assemble convoys to safely cross the Atlantic into the old world.
See more photos in our gallery.
What is included?
- entrance fees
- Gua Gua ride
- 5 nights at hotels
What is not included?
- beverages at lunch
What to bring?
- bathing suit
- sun lotion
- bug spray
- closed shoes
- pocket money
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