Yucatan, Mexico

We’re thrilled to host our newest Mexico event! Join us for an 11-day, 10-night adventure traveling on Mexico’s Tren Maya! The trip will take you to the colonial cities of Valladolid, Mérida, and Campeche, along with the Mayan archaeological sites of Chichen-Itza, Uxmal, Edzna, and Palenque!

palenque pyramids on tren maya tour

11 Day Pyramid Tour with Culture + Nature in Mexico on Tren Maya

Explore the Yucatán peninsula, Campeche, and Chiapas in Mexico for 11 days on the new Tren Maya! Experience Mayan pyramids and ruins, world-class food, subterranean cenote swimming holes, vibrant and safe colonial cities, and jungle waterfalls.

Travel at 99mph (160kph) across the Mexican Yucatán on the new Tren Maya! Our trip includes all train travel, accommodations, archeological site entries, and more. All you have to do is show up at Cancún International Airport and let us take care of the rest.

What is the trip Itinerary?

Day 1: Cancún Airport to Valladolid by train (1 hour). Afternoon city tour.

Day 2: Bike to nearby cenotes, stay in Vallodolid.

Day 3: Train to Campeche (4 hours). Afternoon city tour or botanical gardens.

Day 4: Stay in Campeche, go on morning self-guided tour of Edzna pyramids.

Day 5: Train to Palenque (4 hours), free time in afternoon.

Day 6: Palenque ruins tour (UNESCO Wold Heritage Site), museum, jungle walk.

Day 7: Nature tour to Palenque blue waterfalls and swimming holes.

Day 8: Morning train to Mérida (4hrs). Afternoon colonial city walking tour.

Day 9: Morning tour to Uxmal (UNESCO Wold Heritage Site) with local guide. Return to city and enjoy for afternoon.

Day 10: Train to Chichén-Itzá Mayan temples (UNESCO Wold Heritage Site, one of Seven Wonders of the World), explore ruins with local guide and stay nearby.

Day 11: Train to Cancún Airport with transfers home or head to the beach on your own!

cenete tour yucatan alcohol free valladolid

What will this Tren Maya Yucatán & Palenque tour include?

Train transportation to and from Cancún International Airport on Mexico’s brand new Tren Maya

10 nights accommodation

Transport to and from accommodation and Tren Maya stations to all activities and archeological sites

One day bicycle rental

Two colonial city walking tours with local guides in Valladolid and Mérida

Campeche Botanical Gardens entry

Campeche trolley tour

Entrance to two cenote swimming holes

Small group of like-minded, active individuals

Three included group meals + food and restaurant recommendations from Carrie + Zach

Entrance and transport to a guided tour of Chichen-Itza, one of the Wonders of the Wold near Valladolid

Entrance and transport to Edzna archaeological site

Entrance to Palenque archaeological site with local guide

Entrance and transport to a guided tour of Uxmal Archaeological Zone near Mérida

One-hour Spanish crash course

Bilingual guide(s)

A small group of like-minded individuals who are interested in traveling with intention. As always, this experience is alcohol and substance-free, supportive of sobriety and recovery in all its forms, and a safe space to share about your healing journey. We believe that all of us are recovering from something. The only reason we are able to do this work is because we walked the difficult but worthwhile path from substance abuse to sobriety. Although you don’t have to be sober in real life to attend, you do need to be willing to maintain sobriety from all recreational substances throughout the entire trip.

This will not be a yoga retreat as we normally offer. We are expanding our offerings and trying something new! While there will still be a group traveling together, we won’t be eating every meal together or having daily yoga classes. There will be opportunities to do yoga at local studios or in your own time, and an optional morning meditation at our accommodation each day.

If this is too much or you don’t have the time off, check out our 6 day trips!

palenque waterfalls

Where does this Mexico trip go?

This experience will start at the Tren Maya Station in the Yucatán near Cancún International Airport. This is where your guides will meet you and commence the adventure. From there the train will take you on just a 1-hour journey to Valladolid, a small and peaceful colonial city. Nights one and two will be spent at a hotel or Airbnb in the city. On day two we will explore the area by bicycle, riding on a popular and safe bike path that loops by three of Yucatan’s famous cenote subterranean swimming holes.

campeche old town

On day three we will board the Tren Maya to Campeche, a lovely and slow little city on the western Yucatán Carribean coast, in the state of Campeche. Campeche state is the safest state in Mexico and the people are extremely friendly. There are some amazing restaurants in the city along with a lot of cool pirate history. The whole old town area is inside of an old wall that kept the pirates out, and it’s a lot of fun just to walk the streets or the oceanside malecon.

Day four we will spend at the same hotel in Campeche. We will go on a van tour out to Edzna Archeaological Zone which is a less-visited but very impressive pyramid complex. We will stay there until lunch time (it gets hot midday!) when we will head back to Campeche. The afternoon is open for either taking a trolley tour of the city and/or exploring the Botanical Gardens which have a beautiful collection of palms.

The morning of day five we will board the train again and continue south to the edge of the jungle. The next stop (and our furthest destination) is Palenque in the state of Chiapas, at the end of the train line. We will arrive in the afternoon so we will spend the rest of the day relaxing and preparing for the second half of the trip. Just near Palenque is where the jungle gets thicker and more hilly. The land there is really magical. Palenque has some good taco shops and places to shop, along with several really good ice cream places to take the edge off of the hot afternoons.

Day six is one that we cannot wait for. We will take a quick van ride over to the ruins of Palenque, our absolute favorite archaeological site in Mexico. The site is a massive Mayan city complex that is still mostly unearthed. The old-growth jungle around the site is full of monkeys, tropical birds, and other beautiful creatures. It’s truly a magical place that we cannot wait to show everyone.

Day seven is another day of tours, this time to the out-of-this-world turquoise waterfalls of Roberto Barrios or Agua Azul. The drive is about an hour by van through some nice scenery. These are some of the prettiest swimming holes we’ve ever found (swimming hole connoisseurs here). In the afternoon we will head back to Palenque town and relax, preparing to get back on the Tren Maya in the morning.

palenque waterfalls tren maya

The morning of day 8 we will start back north on the Tren Maya. Our next stop is Mérida (approx. 4hrs), a larger, very safe, colonial city that is the center of modern Yucatán culture. In the afternoon we will explore the city with a colonial walking tour.

Day 9 will be our second day in Mérida, exploring the amazing city and taking a day trip to the ruins of Uxmal, another large site of Mayan pyramids. We will return from the ruins in the afternoon so everyone can enjoy the beautiful city, eating local food, walking city streets, shopping, or taking a yoga class!

chichin itza tour tren maya


Day 10 we will take a short ( under 1 hour) train ride to the world wonder of Chichen-Itza, a giant Mayan archaeological site. We will spend the day there on a tour with a local guide, then spend the night at a hotel or similar Airbnb nearby the ruins.

On the 11th morning we will board the Tren Maya for the last time, taking the two-hour ride back to Cancún Airport where the trip will conclude. From here you are welcome to return home or continue onwards on your own to beach destinations in Quintana Roo.

What is Tren Maya?

Tren Maya is a large-scale project in Mexico, a new railway network spanning approximately 1,500 miles in the Yucatán Peninsula. The project was proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador as a means to boost tourism, stimulate economic development, and address social and environmental concerns in the region. The railway connects major tourist destinations, archaeological sites, and cities, promoting connectivity and fostering economic growth.

The project faced criticism and controversy from the start, with concerns raised about its environmental impact, potential displacement of indigenous communities, and the lack of comprehensive consultation with local stakeholders. However, now that the project has been constructed, the high-speed electric train is by far the most sustainable and easy way to get around the Yucatan and surrounding states.

What is there to eat in Yucatán, Mexico?

food tour merida tren maya

We’ve kept the price low by not including all the food on this trip. This allows you to experience the great food of Mexico in whatever way you would like. We will provide three group meals along with lists in each destination of our favorite places to eat. These recommendations will be for plant-based or meat eaters. Food can range in price from $2 to $15+ per meal, depending on how local or extravagant you go. Tacos and local food are quite cheap, while western flavors can be more expensive. The cities we’ll be visiting have many plant-based restaurants that are very good. Check out our post on what it’s like being vegan in Mexico.

Guided by Carrie and Zach of Bigger Life Adventures!

zach and carrie bigger life adventures mexico

We have spent many months of our lives traveling all over Mexico. After our wedding in 2013 we got in our old car with our old dog and drove from California to the tip of the Baja Peninsula. The fun we had on that adventure started what is no doubt a life-long love for Mexico; the people, the food, the beauty, the language, the history!

In the time since we gone on many Mexico adventures. In 2022 we drove in our Prius from our home in Arizona to Oaxaca, Mexico and back, a trip of over 5000 miles! It was maybe our greatest journey yet, with never-ending new things to discover! We climbed the highest mountain in Mexico (Pico de Orizaba 18,500ft) and ate amazing food the whole way!

We host many Mexico events and are so excited to add this one! We’ve taken people all over the USA, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Thailand. Mexico is always one of our favorite countries to show to travelers!

Read more about Carrie & Zach’s background and qualifications!

tour mexico tren maya chichen-itza

How’s the weather in Yucatán and Palenque?

In each state we’ll visit the weather is usually pretty warm, with the winter months being a really nice escape from the North American winter. Winter is also pretty dry, which is good because when it rains, it rains hard. Temperatures range from 65-90F and it can sometimes be humid.

Is the Yucatán safe?

mexico travel tour yucatan valladolid

Yucatán, Mexico is one of the safest destinations for international tourists in all of the Americas. Mérida is regularly featured as one of the friendliest cities of its size in the world and statistics show it is safer for travelers than most United States cities.  Here is a crime comparison between Mérida and San Diego, CA. showing that you are almost twice as likely to experience a crime in San Diego compared to Mérida.

Merida mexico yucatan tour tren maya

In this article from 2019, Mérida is ranked as the second-safest city in the Americas, behind only Quebec City in Canada. You can walk around town at any time of day or night, alone, and no one will bother you there.

Mérida has maintained safety throughout Mexico’s drug war because many affluent people in Mexico send their children to university in Mérida. Powerful politicians, ultra-rich CEOs, and top cartel families all send their kids to school in Mérida. None of these people want problems there, so the city and all of Yucatan have maintained a more relaxed atmosphere than other parts of the country. This safety ripples out to the entire Yucatan penninsula, making it a great destination for first-time Mexico travelers.

Is Palenque safe?

While some remote areas in Chiapas state have occasional issues and an interesting history of rebellion against the Mexican government, the area we will visit (Palenque) is safe and very touristy.

The economic and safety situation in most of Mexico has improved, even in the time that we have been traveling there. There are increasing numbers of Mexican families that are entering the middle class, and this means more money for travel. While Mexico does continue to have conflict in specific regions, the US media makes it seem as if the whole country is at war, which is far from true. We’ve found that almost 100% of the time when tourists experience trouble in Mexico, alcohol or drugs or involved. Since this is a substance-free group trip, that won’t be a problem for us!

Who can come on this tour from Cancún to Palenque?

street art mexico

We pride ourselves on being inclusive to all. However, international travel, heat, physical activities, and other factors do influence who is going to have a good time on this trip. There are a few things that are required to come on this trip:

You must be willing to try new things. This is not a “vacation” but an opportunity to break out of our normal routines.

You must be willing to try to speak Spanish, even if that is just two or three words. We’ll include a 1-hour Spanish crash course on this tour but a good traveler would spend some time on Duolingo or studying before arrival. Luckily almost everyone speaks a little English, most quite good. We just feel it is respectful to at least try to speak the local language and people appreciate it.

You must be willing to spend the trip alcohol-free. This is what makes our trips really special and different from many others. We believe that time spent traveling should be healthy for our mind, body, and spirit. Even if you drink alcohol in normal life, it is good for everyone to take some time off. You will get to see Mexico in a different way than the average tourist, from beyond the haze of the cantina.

You must be willing to accept that Mexico is a developing county and try to not let the little things bother you. It is the imperfections that create the beauty, and Mexico really shows us this truth.

You must have a valid passport and understand the entry requirements for your country of origin.

We also require that attendees purchase travel insurance for the length of their stay with us. We recommend World Nomads for this service. It will run you $50-100 per person and is really worth the money in case of an emergency.

campeche tour on tren maya

Optional Yucatán tour add-ons:

Bee tour in a cenote with samples of Mayan honey.

beer tour valladolid mexico tren maya

Ask us about other add-ons! There isn’t a lot of open time in the schedule, but I’m sure you could fit something!

Massages and yoga classes are available in the cities. We will send out options for this when you book!

If you don’t have the time off for this grand 10 day adventure, then check out our 6 day trips that still pack in loads of fun! We also offer yoga retreats with tons of additional activities like surfing, hiking, backpacking, and more!

Post-adventure options for MORE ADVENTURE!

After the train trip, you can either return home from Cancún Airport or continue onwards on the train (or bus, rental car, etc.) to the beautiful Mexican beaches in Quintana Roo such as Playa del Carmen, Holbox, Cozumel, Tulum, Bacalar, Belize, Guatemala or other Central American destinations!

Transportation to and from Cancún International Airport on Mexico’s brand new Tren Maya

Ten nights accommodation in hotel or Airbnb similar to photos

Transport to and from accommodation to Tren Maya stations

One day bicycle rental

Two colonial city walking tours with local guides in Valladolid and Mérida

Campeche city trolley car tour

Campeche Botanical Gardens entrance

Entrance to two cenote swimming holes

Day tour to waterfalls and swimming holes near Palenque

Small group of like-minded, active individuals

Three included group meals

Food and restaurant recommendations for each location

Entrance and transport to Chichen-Itza, one of the Wonders of the Wold near Valladolid. Local guide included

Entrance and transport to Uxmal Archaeological Zone near Mérida. Local guide included

Entrance and transport to Palenque ruins. Local guide included

Entrance and transport to Edzna Archaeological site

Bilingual guide(s) that come on the journey with you

One hour Spanish crash course

A fun group of like-minded people down to experience Mexico alcohol free!

Not included:

Other meals. Local food is delicious and affordable and we will provide you with suggestions.

Additional tours

Flights in and out of Cancun, Mexico

Yoga classes

Tuesday, February 4

  • 9:00 am - 10:00 am

    Ride Tren Maya to Valladolid

  • 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

    Colonial Valladolid walking tour

  • 12:30 pm

    Welcome lunch at local restaurant

  • 1:00 pm

    Check-in to hotel or Airbnb in Valladolid

  • 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    Mayan Bee Experience add-on or free time

  • 6:30 pm

    Dinner on own

Wednesday, Feburary 5

  • 7:30 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 8:30 am - 2:00 pm

    Guided bike trip to cenote swimming holes

  • 12:00 pm

    Lunch on own

  • 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

    Free time to enjoy colonial Valladolid

  • 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    Spanish crash course at hotel

  • 6:30 pm

    Dinner on own

Thursday, February 6

  • 7:30 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 10:00 am

    Train to Campeche

  • 12:00 pm

    Arrive in Campeche, check-in to hotel

  • 1:00 pm

    Lunch on own.

  • 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    Explore old town, trolley tour

  • 6:30 pm

    Dinner on own

Friday, February 7

  • 7:30 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 8:30 am

    Leave for tour of Edzna Pyramids

  • 1:00 pm

    Return to Campeche, lunch on own

  • 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Botanical Gardens

  • 6:30 pm

    Dinner on own

Saturday, February 8

  • 7:30 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 9:00 am

    Train to Palenque town

  • 12:00 pm

    Arrive in Palenque

  • 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    Free time to relax or enjoy town

  • 6:30 pm

    Dinner on own

Sunday, February 9

  • 7:30 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 8:30 am - 2:00 pm

    Tour to Palenque Archaeological zone

  • 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    Free time to relax

  • 6:30 pm

    Dinner on own

Monday, February 10

  • 7:30 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Tour to Palenque waterfalls

  • 6:30 pm

    Group dinner in Palenque town

Tuesday, February 11

  • 7:00 am - 8:00 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 8:30 am

    Pick up time for trip to Uxmal Pyramids

  • 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Enjoy Uxmal archaeological site

  • 12:30 pm

    Return to Mérida

  • 1:30 pm

    Lunch on own, time to explore city

  • 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

    Dinner on own

  • 7:30 pm

    Explore city at night on own or with friends!

Wednesday, February 12

  • 7:00 am - 9:00 am

    Local breakfast on own

  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Train to Mérida

  • 1:00 pm

    Check-in to hotel or Airbnb

  • 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

    Lunch on own

  • 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

    Mérida colonial city walking tour

  • 6:30 pm

    Dinner on own

Thursday, February 13

  • 7:00 am - 9:00 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 10:00 am - 11:00 am

    Train to Chichen-Itza

  • 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

    Enjoy Chichen-Itza with guide.

  • 6:00 pm

    Arrive at local hotel or Airbnb

  • 6:30 pm

    Final group dinner

Friday, February 14

  • 7:30 am

    Breakfast on own

  • 9:30 am

    Board Train to Cancun Airport

Accommodations will be in quality, well rated hotels or Airbnbs in safe neighborhoods that are walkable or a short taxi to city centers. Rooms may or may not be exactly what is pictured but will be of similar value and style. The group will usually be together but could be split depending on availability.

There are two options when you book:

Solo traveler (single or double bed):

$2450 USD per person early bird until June 1, 2024 when the price will go up by $100.

Two travelers sharing a bed (king or queen bed):

$4700 USD per couple early bird until June 1, 2024 when the price will go up by $200.

We will make attempts to put couples into private rooms but do not guarantee it depending on availability.

The deposit paid here reserves your spot on this trip. Full price bookings help to fund our discounted recovery scholarships. 1 recovery scholarship is still available for this tour. After the deposit, your remaining balance will be due in 2 equal payments, the first by October 1, and the second by December 1, 2024.

Payment plans are available if you can’t afford the whole deposit right now. Just send us a message and we can try to work something out.

Arrive at Cancún International Airport where the train trip will begin.

US Passport or proof of US residency is required for return travel to the US. No visa is required for entry into Mexico for US citizens. If you live outside of the USA, please check your visa requirements.

No vaccination or covid test is required for border crossing. Please don’t arrive sick.

Yucatan is a very safe, touristy state in Mexico. Zach and I have traveled extensively in the region. If you haven’t been to Mexico before you can trust in our competency and Spanish speaking abilities as guides! Please let us know if you have any questions!

Travel booking option:

Since I get a lot of requests for assistance anyway, I decided to offer a new flight booking service for all my retreat guests and friends!
You provide me with your desired travel dates and airports and I will find you the cheapest, best flights possible and book them for you for just a $50 add-on fee.*
I’m a pretty good “travel hacker” thanks to years of experience. We can do this together via Zoom to confirm everything or I’ll make sure to triple check everything with you before booking!
This benefits YOU if online flight searching stresses you out or you just don’t find it fun.
It benefits Zach and I because I book most of our travel using our credit card points. We have a lot of travel planned this year so we need as many points as possible. You’ll reimburse me and I’ll get the frequent flyer miles to fund my own travel habit!
Could be a win win for all of us?

***after flight is booked you are responsible to handle all flight related issues manage any changes made by the airline which are out of our control.****

First time back-to Mexico in over 25 years and still a beautiful as I remembered . The people I’ve met, the experiences we’ve enjoyed together will stay with me the rest of my life . Thank you Carrie and Zach for hosting a perfect retreat with great music , food , yoga and entertainment.
Thanks Bigger Life Adventures!
-Tod, 2022

Carrie and Zach are incredible! My wife and I attended the retreat in Baja this year and it was truly so special. From morning yoga and meditation, to ziplining, surfing and the delicious food they provided- everything was perfect. I felt so safe and supported in the community they helped create for the long weekend. Definitely recommend booking a trip with these guys !!
-Kelly, 2021



Since all retreat deposits and payments are used to secure venues, activities, and supplies, and since canceled spots require extra time and energy to re-fill, all deposits and payments are non refundable. In emergency situations, you may or may not be offered a credit for a future retreat or event, based on the decision of our team. Cancellations due to fear of travel are not transferable or refundable. Cancellations less than 1 month before your retreat are not refundable or transferable. We recommend travel insurance to protect your investment in the event you must cancel.