Day 1: Merida – Uxmal (L)
Set out from your Merida hotel by minivan to Uxmal, located about 48 miles (78 km) away. Upon arrival, tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site with your guide, who will enlighten your small group about the distinctive architectonic style and decorative design of the buildings.
Explore the archaeological site, which is uniquely situated amid hills in the Puuc (Mayan for ‘mountain range’) region. This architectural marvel, reaching 115 feet (35 meters) skyward, is renowned for its precise construction and unrivaled beauty.
Visit the Nunnery Quadrangle and admire its magnificent friezes depicting owls, serpents and the Mayan rain god Chac. Learn about the significance of the façades and lower walls of its four buildings, each set at a different level around Uxmal's central plaza.
See the Governor's Palace, a rectangular residence covering an area of more than 3,940 square feet (1,200 square meters), whose frieze reveals the image of Chac more than 100 times. Discover the astronomical alignment of its central doorway, and take a peek at the double-headed jaguar throne nearby.
After your tour, enjoy lunch at Hacienda Uxmal, followed by an afternoon at leisure. Relax at your hotel with full access to the swimming pools and botanical gardens. Take a dip or sunbathe on a lounge chair, or take a walk on the nature trail to the Old Hacienda.
In the evening, head back to the archeological site for the Uxmal Sound and Light Show, staged nightly in the Nunnery Quadrangle. This superb setting under the stars includes music, dialogue and illumination of Uxmal’s temples and pyramids – an unforgettable spectacle on the history and legends of the ancient Mayan city, including its rise and fall.
Overnight: Hacienda Uxmal Hotel in Uxmal
Day 2: Uxmal – Merida (B)
After breakfast, either visit the archaeological park again on your own or take an optional guided tour of the Mayan city of Kabah – just a 20-minute drive from Uxmal. The Puuc-style buildings of Kabah date to the 9th century, and the city was abandoned around 1200 AD.
If you choose this option, follow your guide through the archeological site to the famous Palace of Masks, whose façade is covered with hundreds of stone masks depicting the rain god Chac. You’ll also view the ceremonial arch, considered the entrance to the sacbé – a Mayan causeway linking Kabah with Uxmal via a 16-foot (5-meter) wide raised walkway.
Back at your hotel, relax during the afternoon before return transport to Merida.