Spring Equinox, the shadow of a giant snake appears on Kukulkan’s
Pyramid. Templar Mayor. Join this once-a-year marvel of ancient
astronomy, culture and architecture on Mexico’s Yucatán
this travel opportunity to learn about architecture and astronomy
in the great Mayan ruins. More than 30 buildings stand at Chichén
Itzá, including the observatory in which Mayans became
the most astronomically advanced society of their time.
will stay in first-class historic hotels in the Yucátan
capital city of Mérida and the historic Maya ceremonial
city of Valladolid. Experience the lush tropical environment in
Balankanche Caves, the entrance to rituals of the Mayan underworld;
Río Lagartos National Park, a biosphere reserve sheltering
sea turtles and North America’s largest nesting ground for
Pink Flamingos; and Cenote Ik Kil, a sacred underground freshwater
1, Friday, March 16, 2007
to Merida and transfer to Hotel Casa del Balam in Mérida
Hotel Casa del Balam (The House of the Jaguar) is in the center
of Mérida (near the historical Santa Lucia Square) with
antique furnishings and a lush and relaxing tropical courtyard.
2, Saturday, March 17th breakfast and dinner provided
City Tour of Mérida
a tour of this bustling, cosmopolitan, Colonial town. See the
Casa de Montejo (residence of Mérida’s founder),
the Cathedral de San Ildefonso, the Museum of Archaeology in its
beautiful mansion, and the marketplace with its excellent shops
and vendors. Each night, the city hosts a free neighborhood event,
such as a concert, dance or art fair.
Short visit to nearby city of Izamal
is considered one of the prettiest of the small Colonial cities
in Mexico. The 16th Century monastery of St. Anthony de Padua
was built on and from the remains of a Maya pyramid devoted to
the god of the heavens.
will return to Mérida for free time to explore the city
historical center on your own.
at Hacienda Taye
at Hotel Casa del Balam – Mérida
3, Sunday, March 18th breakfast and lunch provided
Check out of hotel, visit Puuc (hilly) Route
the archaeological sites of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labna
The Uxmal Maya site is the largest site in the Puuc Highlands
and the finest example of Classic architecture (600-1,000 AD).
You will visit the Temple of the Magician, the Palace of the Governor,
and the Quadrangle of the Nunnery.
Kabah - The Codz-Poop (Palace of the Masks) features an intricate
stone facade of 250 Chac (Rain God) Masks. The monumental Kabah
Arch marks the processional route entrance to the ceremonial center
Visit to archaeological sites of Kabah, Sayil and Labna
Sayil has a Great Palace with more than 100 rooms occupied during
the Terminal Classic Period (900-1,000 AD).
• Labna features a monumental corbelled arch, the largest
and most ornate archway built by the Maya.
to the colonial city of Valladolid, originally a Mayan ceremonial
center which the Spanish conquered and renamed in honor of the
city where King Ferdinand and Isabella were married. It is quiet
and unblemished by large crowds of tourists – and the food
Check into El Mesón del Marqués Valladolid for overnight.
El Mesón del Marqués is a nearly 200-year-old gem
of colonial architecture with a wonderful pool and center courtyard.
The restaurant serves excellent regional specialties.
4, Monday, March 19th breakfast and lunch provided
Tour of Ek Balam archaeological site and observatory
Balam (Black Jaguar) was a vigorous Maya city for over 1,000 years
beginning in the Pre-Classic Period (about 100 BC). In its day,
the city was larger than Chichén Itzá, and its main
pyramid is slightly taller than the castle of Kukulcan. Those
who are eager to climb a pyramid will have that opportunity at
Ek Balam, though not at Chichén Itzá.
the city of Ek Balam was very large, fewer of its buildings have
been uncovered than at Chichén Itzá. When you visit,
some of the buildings may be undergoing active excavation and
restoration, bringing to light beautiful wall paintings and elegant
plaster sculptures. The pyramid – tomb of the ruler of Ek
Balam – is completely restored and is the only building
in the Mayan world to have pure white plaster sculptures. The
contents of the tomb have been transported to the Museum of Archaeology
in Mérida, which you will have toured on Saturday.
Travel to Río Lagartos National Park – Pink Flamingo
Lagartos National Park is a national park that shelters sea turtles
and Mexico’s largest nesting ground for Pink Flamingos.
On our boat tour of the park, you will see numerous other exotic
birds and animals and bathe in the park’s precious white
and pink muds. The mud from Río Lagartos is exported all
over the world for beauty products. Lunch en route.
El Mesón del Marqués Valladolid
5, Tuesday, March 20th breakfast and lunch provided
Visit to Balankanche Caves (Sacred Caves of the Mayas)
Balankanche Caves are the Sacred Caves of the Maya, the entrance
to the Maya underworld, and the site of secret rituals.
and swimming at Cenote Ik Kil
Yucatán Peninsula is supported by a coral reef, and in
certain places pieces of the reef have disappeared into the sea.
These places are called cenotes and many of them are beautiful,
tropical, underground gardens. You can descend to this sacred
cenote by rock staircase and enjoy a refreshing swim in its clear
freshwater. Cenote Ik Kil is hailed as the most beautiful on the
El Mesón del Marqués Valladolid
6, Wednesday, March 21st breakfast provided
Morning: Check out of hotel and transfer to Chichén Itzá
– Hotel Mayaland
Mayaland is a 100-acre botanical garden with three pools and palapas,
traditional cottages roofed with palm fronds, for guests. There
are also three restaurants serving Yucatán specialties.
In one restaurant a company of Mexican folkloric dancers –
Las Palapas – perform at mealtimes. The homemade tortillas
and the view of the observatory at Chichén Itzá
make this hotel a tour highlight.
tour of Chichén Itzá
Itzá is the centerpiece to your tropical adventure. It
was a large and important mercantile and ceremonial city that
flourished during the Classic Period (300-900 A.D.). For those
travelers who have dreamed of seeing the famed serpent descend
the Castle of Kukulcan, this may be one of your last chances!
Chichén Itzá was a fairly large city with outlying
settlements many kilometers away from what we now know as the
city’s center. The northern settlements have never been
open to the public. But, in 2009, the Mexican government will
close the city’s center and the Castle of Kukulcan to preserve
it from further wear and tear. They will then open this other
area for the first time.
Itzá was abandoned by the Maya and re-inhabited by the
Toltecs around 1,000 A.D. While the central area features a pure
Maya architectural style, the vivid decorations near the ball
court exhibit a combination of Maya-Toltec styles. We will visit
the Observatory, El Caracol (The Snail), Temple of the Warriors,
the Sacred Ball Court, and, of course, the Castle of Kukulcan.
The castle served as a ceremonial calendar that marks each spring
and fall equinox with the shadow of a giant serpent descending
the pyramid and disappearing at sunset in the direction of the
sacred cenote. On your visit to this incredibly complex and ancient
city, you can learn many of the castle’s secrets and better
understand its night sky.
Viewing of the serpent descending the castle
Evening Sound and Light Show
7, Thursday, March 22nd breakfast and dinner provided
Check out of hotel, transfer to Coba and Cancun
Visit to Cobá, a city built around four lakes, that dates
back to the Classic Period (600-900 A.D.). The Nohoch Mul Pyramid
has 120 steps and is considered the tallest pyramid in Mexico.
Conjunto Macanxoc houses magnificent examples of stelae, large
stone slabs with carved figures.
Check into Hotel Fiesta American Condesa Cancún
beachfront hotel features cascading waterfalls, distinctive architectural
design and lush tropical foliage. Enjoy a relaxing swim in the
Caribbean Sea or jump into the resort’s free-form freshwater
Day 8, Friday, March 23rd breakfast provided
Morning: Free time at the Beach
to Cancún Airport for flight homeLand price for 8 day program:
estimated at $275 per person, double occupancy, per day.
Pre and Post travel programs available upon request.
call Milatours at (800) 367 – 7378 for details.