When you imagine the ancient Mayans peering into mysteriously deep and limpid underground pools, it's easy to see how they came to believe these cenotes were windows to the underworld. This National Geographic Day Tour is a journey into the deepest aspects of Mayan culture, bridging the gap between the tempting beauty of the cenotes the region is so famous for, and the significance they hold in local tradition. You'll begin the day with a descent into either Abuelo or Zoi Che cenote, where you can choose to enjoy a cooling dip. These water-filled caverns offer a tangible connection to the Mayan way of life. Your National Geographic-trained guide will explain how the fresh water of cenotes was crucial for the survival of Mayan settlements, especially given the scarcity of rivers and lakes in the Yucatan. As well as their spiritual status, the guide will also describe the Mayan concept of the underworld, or Xibalba, and it's nine layered structure which is reflected in many of Mexico's Mayan pyramids. Next, you'll take a guided stroll along the Mayan Path of Xibalba where thirteen representations of Mayan gods punctuate the route, and your guide will unravel their stories on the way. National Geographic guests will have private access to the park's recently discovered fifth cenote, steeped in the aura of the ancient world. After your exploration of the connection between cenotes and Mayan culture and beliefs, it's time to relax over a traditional homemade local lunch, a homage to the region's culinary heritage.
Join a seasoned birdwatching specialist on this National Geographic Day Tour, which takes you on a special journey along the Caminito del Rey – Spain's unique gorge path and once the world's most dangerous trail. The exploration unfolds within the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Natural Area, a sanctuary renowned for housing diverse bird species. You'll receive an introduction to the site and the measures taken to protect its biodiversity. As you traverse this striking landscape, keep your binoculars ready (these will be provided for you) to spot birds from over twenty families, including golden eagles and griffon vultures which can be seen gliding through the gorge. You will also find out about the history of Caminito del Rey, a path originally built for maintenance workers and now meticulously refurbished for public use. What makes this tour unique is the combination of an incredible hiking tour with the expertise of your guide. With qualifications in Ornithology and Herpetology, your knowledgeable companion will provide insights into the area's natural wonders and its intriguing past. This tour is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Embrace the heart-pounding beauty of soaring raptors, the delicate charm of botanical treasures, and the enthralling narrative of this iconic gorge. Capture these moments with your binoculars as you embark on a one-of-a-kind day tour.