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Discover the beaches, Mayan temples and colourful villages of the Yucatan Peninsula by bike. After Cozumel Island we visit the colonial towns of Merida and Valladolid and cycle through colourful Mayan villages on quiet roads with chances to swim from beautiful beaches. Finally we explore Tulum and relax.
Explore Tour Leader
8 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 15 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our journey begins in Playa del Carmen. Located on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort town known for coral reefs and palm-fringed beaches. There is a good range of international flight options into nearby Cancun.
The Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7.30pm for the welcome meeting followed by the chance to go out for dinner for those interested. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Cancún International Airport (CUN), which is 45 minutes away. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Hotel Maria la Bonita (or similar)
This morning we catch a ferry for the short journey across to Cozumel Island where we start today's ride. Each year the island hosts an 'iron man' event and we plan to cycle a similar route at a much more sedate pace! You will have time firstly to familiarise yourself with your bike and make any necessary adjustments. Once everybody is comfortable we will start our route, with the first 15km/9.3 miles on paved road as we cross the island from west to east where we will try to stop for a fresh coconut water at a bar on the beach. We cycle with the sea by our side as we make our way down the island. Our final kilometres/miles brings us to the Bob Marley bar and museum where we can relax in hammocks and have a swim. We return to the ferry port by vehicle with the option to cycle if timings and daylight allow.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 40 kilometres/24.90 miles (flat, paved roads) with an optional additional 30 km/18.60 miles.
Early this morning we leave Playa del Carmen and drive inland (2 hours) to Chichen Itza. Founded in AD432 and conquered by the Toltecs in the 10th century, the culture of the Maya and the Toltec gradually fused. Chichen Itza is one of the most outstanding archaeological sites in the Americas and we visit the site with a local guide before enjoying some free time to explore further. Founded in AD432 the city is believed to have reached its zenith during the Terminal Classic Period (800-1000AD) and remarkable sculptures adorn the pyramids, palaces, temples and ball court (where death was the penalty for defeat). We drive a short distance to Yokdzonot Cenote where we have free time to enjoy a refreshing swim and lunch (not included). Cenotes are natural pools formed in limestone and used by the ancient Mayan culture as a source of fresh water. Finally we drive (1.5hrs) to Merida and commence our introduction by bike on a 10km/6.20 miles cycle around the city. Please note that depending on arrival time and sunset hours, it may be better to move this ride to the early morning of day 5 - your tour leader will advise. Famed for its beautiful Spanish-Moorish style architecture, Merida was founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo and the city was built over the ruins of a Mayan city. Trade with Europe during the Spanish colonial rule brought the city great wealth that is now reflected in the many grand mansions, churches and plazas that lend the city a faded elegance and more of a European feel than elsewhere in Mexico. Merida is now the capital of the state of Yucatan and is also known as the 'White City'.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 10 kilometres/ 6.20 miles (flat, paved roads).
Hotel del Gobernador (or similar)
We start the day with a drive to Dzilam Bravo that should take around 1.5 hours. En route we plan to stop at Dzilam Gonzalez to see an unrestored archeological site in the main square. Today's cycle ride takes us up to the Yucatan north coast as we ride alongside the Caribbean, past small fishing villages until we reach the palm-fringed sands of San Crisanto Beach. You may like to have a dip in the sea before we help in the preparation of our seafood lunch, including shrimp ceviche and fish. While at the beach you will also be able to learn a little about some of the exotic local drinks and your Tour Leader will show how to make drinks such as Michelada, Chelada or Red Eyes. Later this afternoon we return to Merida by bus. At night we visit a local house or local restaurant to try a typical food and local experience called Taquisa (Tacos party).
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 30 kilometres/18.60 miles (flat, paved roads).
This morning we bid farewell to Merida with a short early drive to Tixpehual where we start today's cycle. Depending on arrival time and sunset on day 2 we may have a early morning dawn ride around Merida this morning before breakfast. We ride through several interesting little villages to Ake. We finish cycling here and drive to the colonial backwater of Izamal. Following the Spanish conquest a colonial city was founded atop what was an important Mayan ceremonial site which became a focal point of the Spanish attempts to convert locals to Catholicism dominated by a 16th century Franciscan Monastery. After exploring the site we try local dishes such as salbutes, panuchos and empanadas for lunch. In the afternoon there may be time to see the local handicraft workshops (if open) before we drive (1.5hrs) to colonial Valladolid where we spend the next 2 nights.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 25 kilometres/15.50 miles (flat, paved and dirt roads).
Eco Hotel Quinta Regia (or similar)
We leave early today with a drive (2 hrs) north to the coastal town of Rio Lagartos where we start our ride. Our ride ends near the little village of Las Coloradas home to the remarkable pink lagoons where locals harvest massive quantities of sea salt. The colours derive from specific unicellular algae called 'dunaliella salina' that has pink and red pigments. This algae is the base of nutrition for birds such as flamingos and spoonbill herons and is usually found in places with large concentrations of salt. From here a short drive brings us to a secluded beach where you have a chance to swim. Another short drive takes us to the fisherman's village of Rio Lagartos for a seafood lunch (not included) (vegetarian options available). We then take to the waters for a short boat excursion seeking out local birdlife. Finally we plan to learn all about tequila and you will have a chance to try some before returning by bus to our hotel in Valladolid. In the case of bad weather the Tour Leader may need to alter today's itinerary.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 23 kilometres/14.30 miles (flat, paved roads and compacted sand paths).
We bid farewell to Valladolid this morning as we head east to the Caribbean coast. First we drive (1hr) to Xiulub village where we start our cycle ride via small interesting villages on a secluded road amidst thick vegetation to the Mayan ruins of Coba. On our unguided visit of Coba you will have time to explore the site and see one of the tallest Mayan temple in the region looming above. After lunch (not included) we continue by bus to our hotel in Tulum.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 35 kilometres/27.80 miles (flat, paved roads).
El Mestizo (or similar)
After breakfast we visit the Mayan site of Tulum with a local guide. The ruins of Tulum enjoy a dramatic setting perched atop a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters and white sand beach below. The city was guarded by a watch tower and thick ramparts which reflect the late Mayan period that Tulum dates back to, when there was increasingly enmity between Mayan city-states. The rest of the day is left free and you may choose to kick back and relax on the beaches of Tulum or even revisit the ruins to see them in a different light. There is also the option to visit Punta Laguna Natural Reserve.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Tulum.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Cancún International Airport (CUN), which is a 1.5 to 2 hour drive away.
Total distance : 228 kilometres
Mexico is a vast country whose weather varies by season and region. The optimum time to travel is generally between December and April when rainfall is at a minimum. Temperatures are coolest between December and February and temperatures start to rise from March and the hottest months are May, June and July. The rainy season runs from May until October when humidity and temperatures are highest. The rains tend to be intense and short, clearing the humidity before building up again. The Caribbean coast can be affected by hurricane season between June and November. Please bear in mind that at altitude the temperatures can drop considerably at night and sudden changes can occur at any time.
2 Pin Flat
Roman Catholic, Protestant
Spanish is the official language, but around 50 languages/dialects are also spoken by the indigenous peoples of Mexico.
When cycling: quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts, lightweight wind and water proof jacket and warmer breathable layers where local conditions require. General: Pack layers of clothing, essentially for mild or hot weather depending on the time of the year.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to tours that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
During this trip we use a mid-range comfortable accommodation that offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. At the hotel in Tulum you may experience some noise from the road, but we like this hotel for the excellent service, the pool, great breakfast and proximity to Tulum centre.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Mexico: Citizens from UK, New Zealand, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada require a Mexican Tourist Card to enter. This is obtained on arrival if flying into Mexico City Benito Juarez Airport or Cancun International. Some airlines may give this to you at the check-in desk. Once you receive the tourist card you must keep this on you until you exit Mexico. If entering by another port - you will have to apply for this in advance online - website - https://www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/en/solicitud.html Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. USA: If your flights pass through the USA, even if only in transit, you will require either a visa or an ESTA (an e-visa). Please read on for more information. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ESTA under certain conditions. This applies if you enter the country by sea or by air, and this must be done online via https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. You must have a biometric passport to apply for an ESTA. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. You should also be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Cuba since the 12th of January 2021, you will not be eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. Your ESTA application will ask for Point of Contact information. Please note that if you're only transiting through the USA then this is not required. If you're visiting or staying in the USA on an Explore trip, then our USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. Entry requirements for the USA can change regularly, therefore, please ensure you have the most up to date information before you travel by checking the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.