M&R Tours Blog

June 6, 2010

Mexico Family Journey

DAY 01: SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS
Arrival to San Cristobal and transfer to Hotel
San Cristobal de las Casas is a characteristically indigenous Chiapaneca town nestled in the heart of the jungle highlands. The only way to reach San Cristobal is via a two-hour drive from Tuxtla Gutierrez. En route, the tropical heat and plant life prevalent in Tuxtla Gutierrez gradually give way to the nippy mountain air and pine forests that surround San Cristobal, where days are sunny and warm, and nights may be chilly. Amber, the translucent stone derived from fossilized coniferous resin, is plentiful in the region, and attractive shops in town display creative jewellery fashioned out of silver and the ancient rock.
Half-day excursion to Sumidero Canyon including a boat ride. 
 We will drive to the town of Chiapa de Corzo, located 70km west of San Cristobal, on the Grijalva river. From here a motorboat will take us through the magnificent Sumidero Canyon, nearly a kilometer deep and 14km long, carved out by the Grijalva river over millions of years. As we navigate between towering sheer rock walls and along beautiful caves and waterfalls, we can see a variety of unusual plants, as well as many animals and birds, including monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, herons, and kingfishers. Back in Chiapa de Corzo, we have time for a walk through this pleasant colonial town, founded by the conquistador Diego de Mazariegos in 1528 around a giant Ceiba tree sacred to the Indians. We can also admire the somewhat curious fountain, La Pila, built in the Moorish style.
Overnight San Cristobal
DAY 02: SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS
Breakfast at Hotel
Half-day City tour and visit to Indian villages (San Juan Chamula & Zinacantan). We will explore on foot the colonial city center of San Cristobal de las Casas. We will visit the cathedral, on the north side of the pretty main square, with its lavish interior and gold-encrusted pulpit. We then walk a few blocks to the impressive 16th-century Dominican church Templo de Santo Domingo, with its intricate pink façade and gilded Baroque interior. Time to browse the handicraft market in front of the church, where Tzotzil Indians from the surrounding hills come to trade. We then drive 10km into the Chiapas highlands, to the Tzotzil Indian villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. The Tzotzils descend from the ancient Maya and maintain some unique customs, costumes and beliefs. We will visit the beautiful white church in San Juan Chamula. The candles, incense and chanting worshippers make a powerful impression. We then drive to the nearby village of Zinacantan, with its pretty church and handicraft market.
Overnight San Cristobal
DAY 03: SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS/PALENQUE
Breakfast at Hotel
Transfer to Palenque
Visit to  Agua Azul waterfall and Palenque archaeological site.
We will visit Agua Azul, where over 500 cascades thunder into turquoise pools surrounded by jungle.
In the foothills of the Tumbala mountains, the ancient Maya site of Palenque sits on a ledge overlooking the swampy plains that stretch northward all the way to the Gulf coast. Palenque was at its height between 500 and 700 A.D., when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta river. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.
It was the flood plain of the Usumacinta river that most likely provided Palenque’s inhabitants with the resources to construct their extraordinary city. Blessed with the highest average rainfall in Mexico, this fertile alluvial plain could have been successfully farmed with raised beds, and would have produced a harvest that not only could sustain a large workforce but would also have provided an abundance that could be traded along the Usumacinta. It seems that the gods were as enchanted with Palenque as today’s visitors.
Overnight  Palenque
DAY 04: PALENQUE/MERIDA
Breakfast at Hotel
Transfer to Airport for flight to Merida.
Arrival at Merida and transfer to Hotel.
Built more than 450 years ago on the site of T’ho, an ancient Mayan city, Merida is the social and economic center, as well as the capital, of the state of Yucatan.
Merida’s downtown area features a large, tree-shaded central square. The city’s main boulevard, Paseo Montejo, is home to impressive European-style mansions whose pastel shades and elaborate trim are reminiscent of lavishly iced wedding cakes.
Though a bustling city of about 700,000, Merida retains its colonial charm and has a laid-back tempo that delights visitors. It makes a good base from which to explore the Mayan archaeological sites of Chichen-Itza and Uxmal. Pink flamingo sanctuaries and swim able crystal-clear cenotes (sinkholes) are some of the natural attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula that are easily accessible from Merida.
Half Day Guided Visit to Merida City
In this tour will be visited the very historic places and the newer ones. The tour starts at downtown visiting the main square, the governors palace & the history chamber, “Montejo” house, the San Ildefonso Cathedral (the oldest in America’s mainland); continuing north trough the 60th street and its important buildings: the “Tercera Orden” church, Hidalgo Park, Motherhood park, José Peón Contreras theater, Yucatán University, Santa Lucía Park and Church, Santa Ana park and Church; arrival to the main avenue the “Paseo Montejo” to appreciate the French style buildings like the “Cantón” Palace, the twin houses and more. At the end of “Paseo Montejo” we will visit the Motherland monument. After that we will visit the modern residential zone of the city, the Itzimná quarter, the Pérez Ponce Avenue, the Justo Sierra statue, the Cupules avenue, the “parque de las Américas”, the Colón avenue. After that the tour will start to go back to the downtown, visiting on the way back the “Santa Isabel” church, the San Juan arch, the San Juan church and park, the “Monjas” church and the “Lucas de Gálvez” market. If the city tour is made in the evening it can end at one of the many cultural events held every night in downtown.
Overnight Merida
DAY 05: MERIDA
Breakfast at Hotel
Cenotes of Abala & Kankirische Tour.
Without a doubt, today you will experience something completely different by visiting the crystal clear waters of Maya Cenotes (fresh water sink-holes), to find yourself immersed suddenly in a magical world of a beauty that seems unreal, surrounded by enigmatic and unique stone formations of stalactites and stalagmites.  Considered by most to be the highlight of their visit to the Yucatan. We invite you to live it to believe it.
Overnight Merida
DAY 06: MERIDA
Breakfast at Hotel
Mayan Day Trip.
The Maya have a history of about 3,000 years in the Yucatan Peninsula. Today we will Visit some nearby Mayan spots as:
Ticul 100 km south of the state capital city of Mérida.
Ticul has long been known for the red pottery produced there. In modern times, it is known for its production of shoes as well. Over half the population still speaks the Maya language as their first tongue, although Spanish is also understood. The pork dish poc-chuc is a well known local specialty.
Santa Elena, a Maya village along the Ruta Puuc (hilly route) in the southern part of Yucatan state in Mexico. Here you will see a typical functional oval-shaped Maya home constructed of stone and stucco with a roof of palapa (palm fronds). The traditional Maya house is a single room with rounded corners, no windows, and one central door built to face east.
Calcehtok Caves
Also known as Actun Spukil, these are very large caves. The name is derived from the Mayan words CAL (neck), CEH (deer), and TOK (stone). These caves have a complicated series of tunnels making it obligatory to use a guide. Within the caves there is a great amount of pre-Hispanic findings like intact plates, quartz hammers, arrow tips, stone sculptures, obsidian knives, human burials sites and holtuns (stone cisterns for water collection). Within the chambers you will see natural formations that resemble different objects such as waterfalls, elephants, faces, animals, etc. Around the Calcehtok area there are about 30 caves and it is suspected that they connect.
Overnight Merida
DAY 07: MERIDA
Breakfast at Hotel
Tour to Dzinitun
This site is oriented towards eco-tourism and land / species conservation.  The basic plan takes about 3 hours, and you will have ample time to explore the area: ride along a magnificent mangrove canal on an electric-propelled boat (to avoid water pollution) or take a kayak instead.  There are long stretches of trails along the wetlands and numerous bird watching posts.  For the last leg of the trip (1 km), ride a mountain bike along flamingo feeding grounds.   
After the visit, you may continue to the coastal town of Celestun to enjoy the beach.
Overnight Merida
DAY 08: MERIDA/CANCUN
Breakfast at Hotel
Transfer to Cancun
30 years ago Cancun was no more than a sand bar, clinging to Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Only in the 70s the government saw the appeal of the area’s shimmering turquoise waters and sparkling white sand, largely untouched since the mysterious decline of the Mayan empire around the 13th century. Today, Cancun is an exciting beach destination and gateway to the Mundo Maya, or Maya World. Enjoy the magnificent beaches, crystal-clear waters and elegant hotels, as well as the breathtaking nearby Mayan ruins, exotic wildlife, and colonial towns. And some of the best diving and snorkeling can be found here!
Full-day excursion to Chichen-Itza archaeological site on route.
We will drive to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, located 120km east of Merida. Chichen Itza – one of the New 7 Wonders of the World – is the best restored of Yucatan’s Mayan sites. We will explore the magnificent ruins set in a dense jungle, including the Pyramid of Kukulcan – its height and striking geometric design dominating the whole site, the Great Ball Court – the largest and most impressive in Mesoamerica, the Sacred Cenote – a natural well used for human sacrifice, and many other beautiful temples.
Arrival at Cancun and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight Cancun
DAY 09: CANCUN
Breakfast at Hotel
Full Day Excursion to Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres is a charming island located 7 km from the Cancun Hotel Zone. The island features one of the best beaches on the Caribbean, great snorkeling, and a historical picturesque town. Isla Mujeres is a great place for Mexican shopping as there are plenty of small shops (most with fixed prices) and everything is within walking distance. Snorkel in crystal clear waters at one of more than a half-a-dozen reefs or sunbathe and relax on an expansive white sandy beach.
Overnight Cancun
DAY 10: CANCUN
Breakfast at Hotel
Jungle Tour Excursion.
You will drive your Jetski on a breathtaking ride across the Nichupte Lagoon, finding yourself in a winding mangrove maze, surrounded by the calls of exotic birds. No need to worry, a guide will lead the way. On your way out of the mangroves, you start to notice the subtle transition from the emerald green of the lagoon to the turquoise shades of the Caribbean. You will continue to speed your way to the living coral reefs at Punta Nizuc where some amazing snorkeling awaits.
Overnight Cancun
DAY 11: CANCUN
Breakfast at Hotel
Full Day excursión to Xcaret Park.
Xcaret is a majestic park by the sea that features unique activities, where you have fun while discovering the natural and cultural richness of Mexico. Among its great treasures, you will find underground rivers, a Butterfly Pavilion, a beach, inlets and you will enjoy one of the most amazing water activities swimming with dolphins, you may also do scuba, sea trek and snorkeling. At evening after a wonderful day at the park , relax enjoying one of the best shows ever representing the best of the colored and full of happiness Mexican Culture and Traditions.
Overnight Cancun
DAY 12: CANCUN
Breakfast at Hotel
Maya Encounter: today you will visit an authentic Mayan community, observe its habits and walk with them through the rainforest, also you’ll learn about local flora and fauna. This is a magnificent option for understanding this sapient civilization and its incredible history.
The moment for the adventure starts with a fantastic zip line excursion over flying a gorgeous “cenote” (natural sinkholes), descending on rappel to one of them and taking a refreshing dip in its crystal waters. At the end of these activities nothing like a delicious typical meal, elaborated by Mayan women.
Overnight Cancun
DAY 13: CANCUN
Breakfast at Hotel
Free Day to enjoy the beach
Overnight Cancun
DAY 14: CANCUN
Breakfast at Hotel
Transfer to Airport
END OF SERVICES 

 

Contact us for conditions, price & availability  info@m-rtours.com  or  +54 114951 5968                                                                

               www.m-rtours.com                          

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