KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Siesta Tours, an operator here that specializes
in escorted group tours to Mexico's colonial cities, launched the
Treasures of Yucatan program, a six-night tour of the city of
Merida, the capital of the state of Yucatan.
Scheduled for March 8 to 14, the program was designed to allow
clients time to visit the Yucatan's cultural and archaeological
sites while experiencing Merida, a city that has been described as
the most European of Mexico's colonial cities.
Merida's monopoly on the world sisal market during World War I
enabled it to claim more millionaires per capita than any other
city in the world. The Belle Epoch mansions that line the Paseo
Montejo, often referred to as the Champs Elysees of Mexico, are
evidence of the city's history of wealth and leisure.
According to Marion Bayer, founder and director of Siesta Tours,
"Everything about our program is planned so participants can enjoy
the hospitality and fine dining that Merida offers. All meals are
taken al fresco. We'll dine at sidewalk cafes, patio and garden
restaurants, on verandas and balconies. Our pace is slow and easy
so we can savor the flavor of colonial Mexico while enjoying the
diversity of attractions."
Clients will stay at the Hotel Casa del Balam, a five-star hotel
located across from the Opera House in the heart of the historic
The Casa del Balam features a swimming pool, a patio restaurant,
elevators and central air conditioning with individual controls in
Bayer said one of the trip's high points is a day trip to the
Mayan site of Uxmal, considered to be the most impressive of the
pre-Columbian archaeological sites in North America.
Other day-trip sites include the Celestun Biosphere Reserve,
which is a national park/ecological preserve and the winter home to
thousands of American flamingos, and the Maya/Spanish-colonial town
of Izamal, the site of both the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan and
the largest monastery in the Americas.
Activities include a horse-drawn carriage ride along Paseo
Montejo, a visit to a restored 19th-century hacienda, attendance at
several open-air concerts and a performance of regional folk
One of the highlights is a free day to enjoy Merida en Domingo,
a daylong festival held in the main plaza every Sunday.
The tour is priced at $1,595 per person, double ($1,825,
single). The land-only price is $1,095, double, and $1,325, single.
The tour is limited to 25 participants. Commission on the plan is
The tour includes air fare from Houston to Merida on
Continental; hotel accommodations; most meals; ground
transportation; admission to all sites and attractions; gratuities,
and the services of a tour guide.
For information or reservations, call (800) 679-2746 or visit
the Web at www.siestatours.com.