Wild Mexico: Escape to the Yucatán Peninsula
Free-dive in freshwater lagoons, kayak a canal and live your beach dreams with a three-day escape on a tiny wildlife island
Wild Mexico: Escape to the Yucatán Peninsula
About your trip
From tequila tastings to street art and snorkeling an underwater kingdom, this adventure to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula comes more packed than your average taco.
Saddle up as we cycle through ancient empires and discover the bucket-list pyramids of Uxmal and Chichén Itzá. We’ll explore the world’s largest underwater cave system in Tulum and wander between pastel stucco in grand old Mayan towns. And our grand finale? The idyllic sleepy fishing island of Holbox, with its miles of hidden beaches and flamingo-shrouded sandbars.
For mystical ruins, spicy street food and palapa-thatched beach bars, step right this way. The magic of Quintana Roo awaits.
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Local transport
- Most meals included
- Max 14 travellers per group
- ATOL protected
- Private airport transfers
Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
DAY BY DAY
Day 01 COCKTAILS IN CANCÚN
Flashpackers, welcome to Mexico! A private transfer awaits to whisk you to your hotel. A textbook tropical paradise, Cancún is a Mayan Riviera gem, with powdery white beaches and emerald oceans that are typical of the Quintana Roo region, alongside natural delights such as Nichupté Lagoon – a vast mangrove area that’s home to crocodiles, iguanas, leopard frogs and more. Cancún’s beaches have drawn spring breakers for decades but we’ll be skipping the touristy Hotel Zone in favour of downtown, where the locals hang out. This bustling district is teeming with restaurants, leafy parks and waterfront avenues. Take a mosey around the nearby streets before we meet at the hotel in the early evening. We’ll toast Cancún’s pirate history with a few drinks before heading onwards for a welcome meal. Get to know your fellow Flashpackers and guide over your first taste of Cancún cuisine in the balmy city heat.
Day 02 CYCLING SIGHTS AND TULUM RUINS
We’ll drive two hours south down the Yucatán Peninsula today to Tulum, a chic beachside town that’s steeped in Mayan culture. A day-long bike ride awaits, as we pedal past colourful posadas, palapa-roofed juice stalls and cafés framed by bougainvillea. Further out, we’ll cycle to the Tulum Ruins, an ancient Mayan city sprawled across the clifftops by the Caribbean Sea. This walled fortress was once the most powerful empire in the land. Explore pyramids dating back to the 13th Century, keeping an eye out for iguanas and spider monkeys that hang out in the pre-Columbian walls. Our adventure then continues to a local neighbourhood that’s filled with street art. Cycle around murals adorned with serpents and mythical gods to absorb the legacy of the past. Then, if we have time, we’ll pop over to a nearby cenote, for a cooling swim in a freshwater lagoon before heading back to the hotel.
Day 03 WILD SWIM AN UNDERWATER KINGDOM
Today we’ll explore some of the local cenotes of Tulum. It’s brimming with remnants of the long-lost past, from prehistoric sloth remains to Mayan war shrines, along with a rich ecosystem of fauna and tropical fish. See the bright sunlight streaking through the water as you snorkel through hidden caverns and underwater rock formations as we explore a range of local cenotes. To top off a magical day we’ll dine back at the hotel and join the bartender with a private tequila tasting.
Day 04 LAGUNA BACALAR AND TURQUOISE WATERS
This morning, we travel three hours south down to Laguna Bacalar. Alive with pirate history, this freshwater lake sits off the sleepy fishing town of Bacalar, one of the oldest communities in Quintana Roo. After checking into our hotel, we’ll venture into an area of mysterious lagoons, with inviting cool waters waiting to be explored. Prepare to explore these enchanting blue lagoons by kayak, immersing yourself in a region steeped in pirate history. Come evening, we’ll watch the sunset over the lagoon, before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Day 05 EXPLORE THE STREETS OF MERIDA
Get set to cut across the Yucatán Peninsula today, in a four-hour journey north to our hotel near the state capital of Mérida, the cultural heartland of the Yucatán. Upon arrival, you’ll have a chance to settle into your new surroundings and explore the city at your own leisurely pace. Uncover the city’s vibrant colonial and ancient heritage, observing how these contrasting influences play out to enchanting effect. In the evening, we’ll head out to absorb the city sights together, before making our way to a local restaurant for dinner and cocktails. Mexico offers one of the finest world cuisines, and food in Merida is no exception to the rule.
Day 06 MAYAN PYRAMIDS
Today we’ll drive 2 hours to the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These archaeological ruins spread across 150 acres of grassland savannah, creating an Aladdin’s Cave of pre-Columbian wonders. We’ll take a good look around, admiring fabled buildings such as the majestic Governor’s Palace, the House of the Turtles, the Quadrangle of the Nuns and the Pyramid of the Magician, which towers more than 90 feet in the air. We’ll pop by a local hacienda for lunch, before heading back to the hotel to unwind. The afternoon is yours to do as you please. Kick back with your fellow Flashpackers, it’s time to relax – you deserve it.
Day 07 A DAY OF BUCKET-LIST HITS
We’ll make an early start to beat the crowds Chichén Itzá, a two-hour drive south. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this was once of the most powerful empires in Mayan culture. Don’t miss the Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo), with its serpentine design and corners facing cardinal directions that people used to navigate by. Stand in the right spot and you’ll be able to hear your whistle echoing off the pyramid walls. Other must-sees include the Temple of the Warriors, the El Caracol observatory and the ball court where Mayans once held rituals. Then it’s onto to Valladolid, a lovely Mayan city filled with pastel stucco and elegant colonnades.
Day 08 ESCAPE TO AN ISLAND HIDEAWAY
Today we’re heading for some R&R on Holbox, a tiny traffic-free island that sits lightyears away from the hustle of modern life. We’ll drive 90 minutes to the port town of Chiquilá and then take a half-hour ferry ride across the lagoon to our island haven, a protected nature reserve with flamingos and pelicans nesting off the palm-fringed coastline. A small fishing community, Holbox is right off the tourist radar and life here is delightfully unhurried. We’ll lunch at our hotel before moseying around the island. The entire place is just 25 miles long and people travel by bike, dune buggies or gulf carts. Pass by colourful thatched homes, stalls heaped with fruit and beaches with free-standing hammocks. Come evening, we’ll head to a nearby bar for delicious sunset cocktails. Settle in and watch the sky turn purple over a rum cocktail or three.
Day 09 SLOW LIVIN’ ON SANDY BEACHES
A day of freedom stretches ahead today. We’re on island time now, so wake up late and enjoy a lazy breakfast. Soak up rays on the beach or wander through the warm surf, flip-flops in hand. Drift around the sandy streets, pausing at boutiques and pavement cafés for a freshly squeezed fruit juice (or jugs of margaritas – this is a holiday, after all). As night draws in, join your fellow Flashpackers for beers and live music in the local town square. Holbox is surprisingly lively at night. Locals gather in courtyard restaurants, where the local catch translates into fish empanadas, octopus cerviche and Holbox-style lobster. Grab a coconut cocktail – harvested from fruit lying just moments away – and salute the starry island night.
Day 10 BOAT TRIPPING AND SUNSET COCKTAILS
For our last day in Eden, we’ll take a private boat trip around the shimmering emerald province, passing hidden coves and tiny uninhabited islands. We’ll sail over to Cabo Catoche, or a nearby island, to dive into the crystal clear waters for a morning of snorkelling. Encounter a rich abundance of marine wildlife that surrounds the Yucatan, from schools of sailfish to lush thickets of coral. The weather and waters can never be guaranteed, so if the weather gods are not in your favour, your guide will arrange an alternative activity. Back at the hotel, we’ll gather at sunset for a special farewell meal. Raise a toast to the Yucatán peninsula and hit the bars of Holbox for our final night in Mexico.
Day 11 Y’ALL GONNA MISS YUCATÁN
Ah, Flashpackers. This is our last day in the marvellous Mayan Riviera. We’ll take you back to Cancún International Airport via a ferry ride back to Chiquilá and a two-hour drive. Remember, you can always check out other Flash Pack escapes in the region, including our Colombian getaway and our break-out to Brazil. Wherever you head to next, ride high from one helluva adventure. You’ve been wild swimming in some of the world’s most remote and beautiful freshwater lagoons, and kayaked Laguna Bacalar, passing rare stromatolites, a pirate canal and a 17th Century fort. You’ve cycled around beachfront Tulum, with street art, street food and cliffside Mayan ruins. You’ve been dazzled by the Mayan empires of Uxmal and Chichén Itzá and you’ve learnt the secrets of Yucatán cooking, topped off with an secret island escape. Flashpackers, it’s fair to say you’ve lived a million lives in this past fortnight alone.
OUR FAVOURITE HOTELS
Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.
Holbox Dream, Holbox
Thatched bungalows, each with a private terrace hammock, stretch across the tropical grounds on the tiny island of Holbox. There’s a pool, a spa and alfresco dining.
Racho Encantado, Bacalar
A lovely hotel just moments from Bacalar, one of Mexico’s “Magic Towns”, with airy balcony rooms, a pool and a lakeside Mayan restaurant.
El Mesón del Marqués, Valladolid
A colonnaded restaurant with à la carte Yucatecan dishes steals the show in this warm and welcoming hotel, situated in the centre of charming Valladolid
Fly into and out of Cancún International Airport (CUN).
Please try to arrive in Cancun before 4pm, although we will arrange an airport transfer for you at whichever time you arrive.
On the final day, try to make sure your flight does not leave before 2pm. This is because the trip finishes a few hours away and we only have one group transfer on this day back to Cancun.
Your guide will be with you throughout the trip, including your experience of wild swimming in Tulum, where they’ll give safety briefings, unearth quieter spots and share local myths behind each of the caves
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh
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