Questions?

the

Exploring

with The Great Courses

 Mayan World

All accomodations and meals as outlined in the itinerary


Tours guided by Edwin Barnhardt


Fully vetted program that meets COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Silver Packages Include:

Prices from $4,995

Gold Packages Include: 

Prices from $5,995

Download Brochure


All accomodations and meals as outlined in the itinerary


Tours guided by a skilled archaeologist 


Fully vetted program that meets COVID-19 health and safety protocols

All accomodations and meals as outlined in the itinerary

Tours guided by Dr. Edwin Barnhardt

Fully vetted program that meets COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Edwin Barnhart, Ph.D.

Silver Package

Departures in: January and March

Gold Package 

Departures in: January and March


'In my own experience as an explorer, it’s almost always the case that the locals knew where lost places were all along. The discoverer is just the first person to ask the right questions.'


Explore the Maya World with renowned archaeologist, Director of the Maya Exploration Center and Great Courses professor, Dr. Edwin Barnhart. The Great Courses come to life in this nine-day, eight-night journey where you are invited to step beyond the computer screen to the home of the Maya in the Yucatán. Uncover the hidden past, the stunning landscapes, and the beauty of the Maya people themselves. Take an adventure of a lifetime as you walk the footsteps of the Maya. Experience firsthand how the Maya continue to thrive as you meet with many of the artisans, scholars, and spiritual leaders that were featured in your course. Learn about their religious traditions, art and music, every-day food and fine dining, and talk to a broad range of experts on Maya architecture, religion, history, religion, and culture. Witness traditions that have been maintained for more than 500 years–and explore the key role that the ancient Maya played in paving the way for democracy. Plunge into refreshing cenotes, navigate ancient walkways, and ascend the pyramids that have captured the imagination for generations. See for yourself why there is always something new to discover about the Maya world.

Your 9-Day 8-Night Wondrium Journeys adventure of a lifetime begins here!

Gold -package departures will be led by Dr. Edwin Barnhart, Director of the Maya Exploration Center and contributor to The Great Courses. Barnhart holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and has over 20 years of experience in North, Central, and South America as an archaeologist, explorer, and instructor. In 1994, Dr. Barnhart discovered the ancient city of Maax Na (Spider-Monkey House), a major center of the Classic Maya period in northwestern Belize. In 1998, he was invited by the Mexican government to direct the Palenque Mapping Project, a three-year effort to survey and map the unknown sections of Palenque's ruins. The resultant map has been celebrated as one of the most detailed and accurate ever made of a Maya ruin. In 2003, Dr. Barnhart became the Director of Maya Exploration Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of ancient Maya civilization. The center leads study abroad courses for college students and tours for the public in the ruins of the ancient Americas, among its other research and educational activities. Dr. Barnhart has taught archaeology and anthropology at Southwest Texas State University, and currently teaches University of Texas travel courses for college professors, on ancient Andean and Mesoamerican astronomy, mathematics, and culture. Over the last 10 years, he has appeared multiple times on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and Japanese NHK Public Television. Dr. Barnhart has published over a dozen papers and given presentations at eight international conferences.

Take a trip to the Celestún biosphere, a wetland reserve spanning some 150,000 acres that’s famous for the thousands of flamingos that flock there.

Gather for traditional Maya and Mexican cuisine including rich hot chocolate, hot tortillas, fresh avocadoes, and spicy salsas in fine restaurants, markets, and homes.

Be among the first to enter the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá before the park–one of the Seven Wonders of the World–is opened to other tourists. Then return at nightfall for a spectacle of light and sound. 

Trace the influence of the Maya alongside your expert guide with visits to some of the most iconic sites, like Chichen Itzá as well as lesser-known ruins, like Mayapan–once the urban center of the Maya empire.



Meet with local artisans like master ceramicist Patricia Martin and the fastidious hatmakers at Artesanias Lool Jipi D’Chari, who carry on and perfect centuries-old traditions. Witness their handiwork firsthand in their workshops, galleries, and even an “artisanal cave.” Observe their masterful mix of color using natural dyes and the exquisite attention to detail.

Travel beyond the comfort of your living room for the ultimate field trip with celebrated archaeologist Dr. Ed Barnhart. [Gold package only] Meet Dr. Barhart's lifelong friends in the Yucatán and learn firsthand how ancient traditions have survived 

and thrived.

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

HOTEL   


GOLD: Casa Lucia     |     SILVER: Hotel Casa del Balam     |     MEALS: D, R

Saturday, Day 1

Bienvenidos a Mexico!

Arrive this afternoon in Mérida, the capitol of the State of Yucatán and gather for a welcome lecture, dinner, and reception at the award-winning Rosas y Xocolate, offering modern twists on Mexican classics in a Maya-inspired mansion.

Start the day with a guided visit of the “Great Museum of the Maya World,” a world-class collection of Maya artifacts in a modern building designed to resemble the sacred ceiba tree. Then, trace the history of the Maya along the walls of the elegant Palace of the Governors, which houses the executive government offices for the region. After lunch as a group, continue to Merida’s historic city center to view the bustling Zocaló or plaza, stately Cathedral, and colonial buildings. Tonight, experience the warmth and hospitality of dinner in a family home.

HOTEL   


GOLD: Casa Lucia     |     SILVER: Hotel Casa del Balam     |    MEALS: B, L, D

Sunday, Day 2

Museum and Murals

in Merida

HOTEL   


GOLD: Lodge at Uxmal     |     SILVER: Hacienda Uxmal Plantation     |     MEALS: B, L

Monday, Day 3

Flocks of Flamingos,

Hieroglyphics,

and Hats

Depart after breakfast for the fishing village of Celestún, home to secluded beaches and the Celestún Biosphere Reserve. Enjoy a boat ride on a salt-water lagoon awash with pink flamingos and explore the mangrove forest that provides critical habitat for hundreds of species of birds, fish, and alligators. Those who choose can enjoy a swim in the open water. After lunch, continue to Bécal and the subterranean workshop of the Artesanias Lool Jipi D’Chari, which offers a natural cooling system and perfect conditions for the artisans. Here, you will meet with the enterprising family that has been producing traditional “jipipjapas” (often called panama hats) hats for more than 50 years. Learn how the long, flexible leaves are split, dried, and dyed using local plants, along with the arduous process for shaping the iconic style. On arrival in Uxmal, try your hand at writing your name in hieroglyphics and learn about efforts to keep this language alive, before dinner on your own in the ancient Maya city.

HOTEL   


GOLD: Lodge at Uxmal     |     SILVER: Hacienda Uxmal Plantation     |     MEALS: B, L

Step out of your hotel and step back in time as you spend the morning in the ancient Maya city of Uxmal, a World Heritage city recognized as one of the most important archaeological sites in Maya culture and a model of urban planning. Abandoned by its inhabitants more than 1,000 years ago, Uxmal once served as a critical political and administrative center with as many as 20,000 inhabitants. Your expert guide will reveal how the complex ceremonial structures reflect the social and economic structure of late Maya society, a keen industry of astronomy, and a profound religious connection. Those who choose can climb the Great Pyramid for a birds-eye view of this vast city. Later, visit with world-class artisan Patricia Martin and observe her flawless technique, capturing Maya history in exquisite pottery reproductions. Return to Uxmal this afternoon to learn about the significance of chocolate to the Maya, a walk through the botanical gardens where cacao is cultivated, and a hands-on experience crafting the perfect hot chocolate.


Tuesday, Day 4

People Preserved through

Pottery and Ruins

HOTEL   


GOLD: Mayaland     |     SILVER: Mayaland     |     MEALS: B, L, D

Depart this morning for Santa Elena, a small town with a rich history. Continuously inhabited by the Maya for more than 1,500 years, Santa Elena provides the perfect backdrop to observe the juxtaposition between thousand-year-old traditions and contemporary living. Your host, Don Hernan Perera Novera, will welcome you into his adobe home and demonstrate how sisal fiber is extracted from the henequin plant to make rope for hammocks. Don Hernan’s spirt, strength, and resolve are put in context with a visit to Mani, where 16th-century missionaries destroyed thousands of books and statues in an effort to eradicate these traditions. But Don Hernan and the artisans you will meet on your journey are a testament to the power of Maya traditions and faith. Savor these culinary traditions with a group lunch at Tutul-Xiu before continuing to Mayapan, which formed in an alliance with Uxmal and Chichén Itzá, before becoming the capital of the Yucatan. Here you will learn about the history of representational government among the Maya and see evidence of the elaborate social hierarchy in the settlement. Arrive this afternoon in Chichén Itzá, once the urban center of the Maya empire, and enjoy dinner as a group in the hotel.

Wednesday, Day 5

Living Traditions

HOTEL   


GOLD: Mayaland     |     SILVER: Mayaland     |     MEALS: B, L, 

Start the day with early morning access to the brilliant ruins of Chichén Itzá, the dazzling ancient city that once centered the Maya empire in Central America. Ascend the stepped pyramids, enter the temples, and walk along the columned arcades before the grounds are open to the public. After breakfast at the hotel, plunge into the Ik-Kil cenote, believed to be an entry to the underworld, where Maya gods would visit. Learn about the ancient offerings and rituals performed here and the artifacts that have been found on-site. Ik-Kil is one of Mexico’s most beautiful sinkholes, with light entering from above and illuminating the waterfalls and vines that hang overhead like a curtain. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Chichén Itzá on your own.

Thursday, Day 6

Morning at Chichén Itzá



GOLD: Mayaland     |     SILVER: Mayaland     |     MEALS: B,

HOTEL   

Enjoy a morning lecture about the Sacred Geometry of the Maya. Then visit Valladolid, named one of Mexico’s magic cities because of its special significance to the country’s rich heritage. Spend the afternoon touring Valladolid’s vibrant markets, colorful streets, and colonial buildings, with time on your own for lunch. Gather with the group this evening for a final visit to Chichén Itzá and a spectacular light and sound show.

Friday, Day 7

A Visit to Valladolid


GOLD: Casa Lucia     |     SILVER: Hotel Casa del Balam     |     MEALS: B, D, R

HOTEL   

Depart Chichén Itzá this morning for the colorful and charming Yellow City of Izamal, painted yellow in honor of the Maya sun god. Tour the city’s rich history, which includes pre-Colombian, Colonial and modern threads. Those who choose can climb the 10-story pyramid in the city center for expansive views and walk through the Convent of St. Anthony of Padua, constructed in 1561 atop a destroyed Maya temple. The Convent is one of the oldest Catholic monasteries in the Americas and its vast outdoor atrium–designed as a Christian teaching tool for the Maya–is the second largest in the world (after the Vatican). Return to Merida this afternoon where you will have time to explore the markets on your own before joining together for a final dinner and reception. After, gather in the zócalo, or central square, to observe a spirited game of Pok-Ta-Pok, a sacred, sacrificial ball game that originated more than 4,000 years ago – in which the winners were sacrificed.


Saturday, Day 8

The Sun Shines on Izamal

Depart after breakfast for individual flights home.

MEALS             B

Sunday, Day 9

Adiós

Saturday, Day 1

Bienvenidos a Mexico!

Arrive this afternoon in Merida, the capitol of the State of Yucatan and gather for a welcome lecture, dinner and reception at the award-winning Rosas y Xocolate, offering modern twists on Mexican classics in a Maya- inspired mansion.


Hotel:

Gold: Casa Lucia

Silver: Hotel Casa del Balam

Meals: D, R

Sunday, Day 2

Museum and Murals in Merida

Start the day with a guided visit of the “Great Museum of the Maya World,” a world-class collection of Maya artifacts in a modern building designed to resemble the sacred ceiba tree. Then, trace the history of the Maya along the walls of the elegant Palace of the Governors, which houses the executive government offices for the region. After lunch as a group, continue to Merida’s historic city center to view the bustling zocalo or plaza, stately cathedral, and colonial buildings. Tonight, experience the warmth and hospitality of dinner in a family home.


Hotel:

Gold: Casa Lucia

Silver: Hotel Casa del Balam

Meals: B, L, D

Monday, Day 3

Flocks of Flamingos, Hieroglyphics, 

and Hats

Depart after breakfast for the fishing village of Celestún, home to secluded beaches and the Celestún Biosphere Reserve. Enjoy a boat ride on a salt-water lagoon awash with pink flamingoes and explore the mangrove forest that provides critical habitat for hundreds of species of birds, fish, and alligators. Those who choose can enjoy a swim in the open water. After lunch, continue to Bécal and the subterranean workshop of the Artesanias Lool Jipi D’Chari, which offers a natural cooling system and perfect conditions for the artisans. Here, you will meet with the enterprising family that has been producing traditional “jipipjapas” (often called panama hats) hats for more than 50 years. Learn how the long, flexible leaves are split, dried, and dyed using local plants, along with the arduous process for shaping the iconic style. On arrival in Uxmal, try your hand at writing your name in hieroglyphics and learn about efforts to keep this language alive, before dinner on your own in the ancient Maya city.


Hotel:

Gold: Lodge at Uxmal

Silver: Hacienda Uxmal Plantation

Meals: B, L

Tuesday, Day 4

People Preserved through Pottery 

and Ruins

Step out of your hotel and step back in time as you spend the morning in the ancient Maya city of Uxmal, a World Heritage city recognized as one of the most important archaeological sites in Maya culture and a model of urban planning. Abandoned by its inhabitants more than 1,000 years ago, Uxmal once served as a critical political and administrative center with as many as 20,000 inhabitants. Your expert guide will reveal how the complex ceremonial structures reflect the social and economic structure of late Maya society, a keen industry of astronomy, and a profound religious connection.Those who choose can climb the Great Pyramid for a birds-eye view of this vast city. Later, visit with world-class artisan Patricia Martin and observe her flawless technique, capturing Maya history in exquisite pottery reproductions. Return to Uxmal this afternoon to learn about the significance of chocolate to the Maya, a walk through the botanical gardens where cacao is cultivated, and a hands-on experience crafting the perfect hot chocolate.


Hotel:

Gold: Lodge at Uxmal

Silver: Hacienda Uxmal Plantatio

Meals: B, L

Wednesday, Day 5

Living Traditions

Depart this morning for the Santa Elena, a small town with a rich history. Continuously inhabited by the Maya for more than 1,500 years, Santa Elena provides the perfect backdrop to observe the juxtaposition between thousand-year-old traditions and contemporary living. Your host, Don Hernan Perera Novera will welcome you into his adobe home and demonstrate how sisal fiber is extracted from the henequin plant to make rope for hammocks. Don Hernan’s spirt, strength and resolve are put in context with a visit to Mani, where sixteenth-century missionaries destroyed thousands of books and statues in an effort to eradicate these traditions. But Don Hernan and the artisans you will meet on your journey are a testament to the power of Maya traditions and faith. Savor these culinary traditions with a group lunch at Tutul-Xiu before continuing to Mayapan, which formed in an alliance with Uxmal and Chichén Itzá, before becoming the capital of the Yucatan. Here you will learn about the history of representational government among the Maya and see evidence of the elaborate social hierarchy in the settlement. Arrive this afternoon in Chichén Itzá, once the urban center of the Maya empire and enjoy dinner as a group in the hotel.


Hotel:

Gold: Mayaland 

Silver: Mayaland

Meals: B, L, D

Thursday, Day 6

Morning at Chichén Itzá

Start the day with early morning access to the brilliant ruins of Chichén Itzá, the dazzling ancient city that once centered the Maya empire in Central America. Ascend the stepped pyramids, enter the temples, and walk along the columned arcades before the grounds are open to the public. After breakfast at the hotel, plunge into the Ik-Kil cenote, believed to be an entry to the underworld, where Maya gods would visit. Learn about the ancient offerings and rituals performed here and the artifacts that have been found on site. Ik-Kil is one of Mexico’s most beautiful sinkholes, with light entering from above and illuminating the waterfalls and vines that hang overhead like a curtain. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Chichén Itzá on your own.


Hotel:

Gold: Mayaland 

Silver: Mayaland

Meals: B, L

Friday, Day 7

A Visit to Valladolid

Enjoy a morning lecture about the Sacred Geometry of the Maya. Then visit Valladolid, named one of Mexico’s magic cities because of its special significance to the country’s rich heritage. Spend the afternoon touring Valladolid’s vibrant markets, its colorful streets, and colonial buildings, with time on your own for lunch.  Gather with the group this evening for a final visit to Chichén Itzá and a spectacular light and sound show. 


Hotel:

Gold: Mayaland 

Silver: Mayaland

Meals: B

Saturday, Day 8

The Sun Shines on Izamal

Depart Chichén Itzá this morning for the colorful and charming Yellow City of Izamal, painted yellow in honor of the Maya sun god. Tour the city’s rich history, which includes pre-Colombian, Colonial and modern threads. Those who choose can climb the ten-story pyramid in the city center for expansive views and walk through the Convent of St. Anthony of Padua, constructed in 1561 atop a destroyed Maya temple. The Convent is one of the oldest Catholic monasteries in the Americas and its vast outdoor atrium – designed as a Christian teaching tool for the Maya – is the second largest in the world (after the Vatican). Return to Merida this afternoon where you will have time to explore the markets on your own before joining together for a final dinner and reception. After, gather in the zócalo, or central square, to observe a spirited game of Pok-Ta-Pok, a sacred, sacrificial ball game that originated more than 4,000 years ago – in which the winners were sacrificed.


Hotel:

Gold: Casa Lucia

Silver: Hotel Casa del Balam

Meals: B, D, R

Book SILVER

Depart after breakfast for individual flights home.


Meals: B

Chichén Itza

Uxmal

Meridia

Mayaland Hotel and Bungalows is located in the heart of over 1,000 acres of natural and landscaped grounds, with an exclusive private entrance to Chichén Itzá, making it the world’s first resort within an ancient site. The hotel’s spacious air-conditioned rooms feature private balconies overlooking the property’s manicured grounds, gardens, and outdoor pools. Rooms include en suite bathrooms with hand-tiled ceramic, stone, and local marble. The property is the most awarded resort in the Yucatan and has been named one of the world’s top hotels by National Geographic and Conde Nast Traveler magazines. Four on-site restaurants offer authentic Maya cuisine.

The Hacienda Uxmal Plantation is located a short walk from the Uxmal Pyramids and Temples. Comfortable rooms feature a blend of traditional Maya and Spanish décor with a terrace overlooking two outdoor pools and tropical gardens. Rooms include air conditioning and en suite bathrooms with hand tiled ceramic and marble accents and complimentary toiletries. The expansive property is a working plantation, with miles of fruit trees and trails to explore on-site, making the property the world’s first hotel hacienda.

The Lodge at Uxmal is perfectly situated just footsteps from the Uxmal Archeological Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of Yucatan Hill Country. The hotel’s décor is inspired by the architecture of the Maya and the lodge is built with local materials. Comfortable rooms feature canopy beds, en-suite bathrooms, hand-tiled ceramics, and stained-glass windows. Each room has a private terrace with a rocking chair and hammock. The property houses five bungalows, two outdoor pools, and beautifully manicured gardens. 

Casa Lucia is a boutique hotel in the historic center of Merida, surrounded by picturesque historical buildings and in walking distance of many attractions, including the Cathedral. The hotel is situated around a charming courtyard with beautiful landscaping, hammocks, and an outdoor pool. Air-conditioned rooms are spacious and combine classic elegance with modern furnishings.

Hotel Casa del Balam is a distinguished hotel located in the historic center of Mérida, a short walk from the Cathedral and Plaza Grande. Transformed from a family home, the property retains the original façade. The property features a business center, spa, complementary WiFi, and outdoor pool. Rooms are spacious and well-lit, with double-paned windows to reduce ambient noise. The hotel is decorated in a traditional colonial style, with dark woods, rocking chairs, wrought iron accessories, and exquisite details.

CHICHÉN ITZA

UXMAL

MERIDA

    City                       Hotel                          Nights 

    City                      Hotel                          Nights 

GOLD

Chichén Itzá             Mayaland                             3

Chichén Itzá             Mayaland                             3

                          Merida                      Casa Lucia                           

Chichén Itzá             Mayaland                             3

Uxmal                       Hacienda Uxmal                  2

                          Merida                      Hotel Casa del Balam         

SILVER

Silver          $4,995         For single room add $750

Gold           $5,995          For single room add $1,250

RATES

Chichén Itzá              Mayaland                            3

Uxmal                        Hacienda Uxmal                 2

Silver                 Merida                      Hotel Casa del Balam         

Chichén Itzá             Mayaland                             3

Uxmal                       The Lodge at Uxmal            2

About Your Hotel

Gold                  Merida                      Casa Lucia                           

Tier               City                    Hotel                        Nights 

MERIDA


Casa Lucia is a boutique hotel in the historic center of Merida, surrounded by picturesque historical buildings and in walking distance to many attractions, including the cathedral. The hotel is situated around a charming courtyard with beautiful landscaping, hammocks, and an outdoor pool. Air-conditioned rooms are spacious and combine classic elegance with modern furnishings.


Hotel Casa del Balam is a distinguished hotel located in the historic center of Merida, a short walk from the Cathedral and Plaza Grande. Transformed from a family home, the property retains the original façade. The property features a business center, spa, complementary WiFi, and outdoor pool. Rooms are spacious and well-lit, with double-paned windows to reduce ambient noise. The hotel is decorated in a traditional colonial style, with dark woods, rocking chairs, wrought iron accessories, and exquisite details, including marble floors from Italy, Moorish arches, and a beautiful hand-carved stone fountain in a central garden. The owner’s love of art is reflected in the exceptional antiquities and pre-Columbian artifacts that decorate the hotel.


























UXMAL


The Lodge at Uxmal is perfectly situated footsteps from the Uxmal Archeological Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of Yucatan Hill Country. The hotel’s décor is inspired by the architecture of the Maya and the lodge is built with local materials. Comfortable rooms feature canopy beds, en suite bathrooms, hand-tiled ceramics, and stained-glass windows. Each room has a private terrace with a rocking chair and hammock. The property houses five bungalows, two outdoor pools, and beautifully manicured gardens. Surrounded by tropical vegetation, the property is home to many native birds and offers views of the top of the Pyramid of the Magician rising above the jungle canopy.



The Hacienda Uxmal Plantation is located a short walk from the Uxmal Pyramids and Temples. Comfortable rooms feature a blend of traditional Maya and Spanish décor with a terrace overlooking two outdoor pools and tropical gardens. Rooms include air conditioning and en suite bathrooms with hand tiled ceramic and marble accents and complimentary toiletries. The expansive property is a working plantation, with miles of fruit trees and trails to explore on site, making the property the world’s first hotel hacienda.

























CHICHÉN ITZA


Mayaland Hotel and Bungalows is located in the heart of over 1,000 acres of natural and landscaped grounds, with an exclusive private entrance to Chichén Itzá, making it the world’s first resort within an ancient site. The hotel’s spacious air-conditioned rooms feature private balconies overlooking the property’s manicured grounds, gardens, and outdoor pools. Rooms include en suite bathrooms with hand-tiled ceramic, stone, and local marble. The property is the most-awarded resort in the Yucatan and has been named one of the world’s top hotels by National Geographic and Conde Nast Traveler magazines. Four on-site restaurants offer authentic Maya cuisine.

Copyright 2021   |   Terms & Conditions