A luxury cultural Escape to Merida

If you think that all there is to Mexico is Spring Break in Tijuana, it’s time to think again. Ancient Maya temples, flamingo-filled lakes and rejuvenating spa treatments? Popping across the border has never been so exciting. A country packed full of culture, skip Cancun’s sandy beaches and discover a whole other side to the Yucatan Peninsula. On this enriching five-night trip, we’ll have you taking in all the sights as well as leaving some time for a spot of pampering at the spa. Stroll past grand colonial buildings in Merida, climb atop the Great Pyramid at Uxmal, get in touch with nature at Celestun – and see a side of Chichen Itza that few get to see. Intrigued? You should be.

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Merida 101

From the grand Zócalo to the intricate Monument of the Homeland and the towering Catedral de San Ildefonso, nowhere does culture quite like Merida. The capital of the Yucatan, this charming city marks the beginning of your Mexican discovery. An intimate sanctuary in the heart of Merida, unwind in the tropical gardens and mosaiced courtyards of Casa Lecanda, your home for the night, before setting out on a private tour of the city’s historical centre in the afternoon. Strolling through narrow streets and across grand plazas, you’ll get a real sense of the rich colonial history that has shaped Mexico’s past, present and continues to shape its future.

Tomorrow, you’ll get a taste of another side of Merida’s culture – its cuisine. Roll up your sleeves as your private Yucatan chef shares with you the generations-old culinary secrets that lie behind real Mexican cooking. You’ll then get the chance to put what you’ve been told to practice as you prepare traditional dishes such as Cochinita Pibil and Salbutes. Naturally, a taste test will also be required…it would be rude not to after all.

Step Back in Time

Framed by pastel painted buildings and a backdrop of colonial heritage, Valladolid is a charming town that, together with townspeople in traditional dress, offers a glimpse of authentic Yucatan. Staying at Coqui Coqui, set atop a traditional perfumery, you’ll also get familiar with the tropical aromas that embody the scent of this beguiling region. Elegant in its simplicity, think frangipani-scented courtyards, a tropical garden spa and the most decadent roll-top bath you could imagine.

It’s an early start tomorrow as you wake up before dawn for something which is, quite simply, unmissable. Just a short drive away lies the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, famous for its ancient Maya ruins. Mystical at the best of times, the ruins are made all the more magical as you watch the sun slowly creep up over them. With the sun now bearing down overhead, you’ll learn all about ancient Maya cosmology and religion as you visit the Temple of the Warriors and unearth the eerie rituals central to sacrificial drownings that took place at the Sacred Cenote. Master architects, you’ll also discover the ingenious Maya design of the iconic Castillo which creates a serpentine illusion at times of Equinox.

…and Spa

Mexico is not only famous for its rich culture and ancient traditions though, but also its world class spas. With that in mind, you’ll spend your final three nights indulging in a spot of pampering – and what pampering this is. Decadence to the highest degree, Chable Resort & Spa is easily one of Mexico’s best spa retreats. Indulge in one of their unique spa journeys, tantalisingly named ‘Fountain of Youth’ (yes please), ‘Tree of Life’ and ‘Heaven on Earth’, and you’re sure to feel any stresses simply melt away.

From this luxurious oasis in the gardens of the Yucatan, you’ll venture out on a private tour of Celestun Biosphere Reserve where, by the shores of the large saltwater lagoon, a flock of over 2,000 flamingos eagerly await their Instagram appearance and natural cenote springs bubble below the lake surface. It’s a magical place for a swim before returning to Chable for a volcanic mud wrap. Tomorrow, we’ve got one final cultural treat for you as we take you on a private tour of the Uxmal & Kabah archaeological sites. Ancient complexes that pay testament to Maya scientific ingenuity, take in the temples and the palaces before climbing atop the Great Pyramid where you’ll be awestruck by the impressive views over the ancient city. Back down on earth, discover the secrets of the round-edge Pyramid of the Magician. Why is it magic you ask? Clap your hands and see. It would be telling to say more…

Five days, countless spa treatments and centuries worth of history and tradition later, it’s time to return home. We’re pretty confident though that the cultural charm of Mexico will have captured your heart and have you coming back for more soon.

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