This is a trip jam-packed with culture, colour and authentic experiences while discovering the magic from Mexico City to the Yucatán Peninsula.
Begin your adventure in the pulsating Mexico City, a melting pot of history and culture where the ancient past and contemporary present blend uniquely as if with a foot in both worlds. From Mexico City, your tour continues with the beautiful city of Oaxaca. The city is both World Heritage listed and rich with cultural experiences including fine examples of archeological sites and a captivating colonial setting. As your discovery continues to San Cristobal de las Casas , you’ll find a marked contrast from the cities before and this city in the state of Chiapas, a highland community with a distinct and colourful indigenous Maya culture, plus an awe inspiring visit to the Sumidero Canyon.
Then onwards to Palenque to visit the incredible Mayan site, before reaching the Yucatan Peninsula that spans across three states and boasts ancient ruins, rainforests, underground caves, and traditional haciendas. Bordering Belize and Guatemala, the Yucatan Peninsula maintains its close Mayan ties.
Touring highlights includes the perks of a small group with a professional tour guide escort, authentic dining with highlight cuisine experiences, enriched cultural discoveries and the diversity of visits and stays in cities, and small towns. There is also the premium inclusion of two flights to ease the burden of long road travel; focusing on more time in your destinations rather than long stretches looking out a vehicle window.
As your discovery comes to a close, enjoy the relaxed pace of the Caribbean with your final two nights of stay at Playa del Carmen.
CONNECTS WITH >> Vivid Guatemala with the Day of the Dead Festival (due out end November 2019)
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
SIGHTSEEING & GUIDES
# valid for day one of the tour, or if you book pre tour hotel stay with us at the group hotel
## one group transfer at set time provided – any other transfer service incurs a fee
^ Includes the café food and drinks during stay at no additional charge and items to be collected from café. Exclusions – alcohol, room service, tipping and some items may be excluded at discretion of hotel.
Travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for joining this tour and is in addition to the package price.
PLUS TOURING BENEFITS
PRE TOUR STAY
Consider arriving a day before the tour starting date, or enjoy a stopover. You can relax and refresh after your flight. The cost of the additional night/s of stay applies. Ask our travel team about this option, and the additional costs.
Bienvenido a Mexico! Following check in at the group hotel, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Later this evening we meet for a welcome drink at the hotel with your tour guide, and fellow group members.
Built over Lake Texcoco and the famed Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, Mexico City is one of the most populous and vibrant modern cities in the world. Travellers to Mexico City find themselves in a melting pot of history and culture, where the ancient past and contemporary present blend to create a unique synergy with a foot in both worlds. Packed full of incredible museums, popular tourist attractions, award-winning restaurants, and endless possibilities for adventures, Mexico City is a world-class destination for visitors.
Meals: Welcome Drink
Today we uncover some of Mexico’s Mesoamerican, Colonial, and Revolutionary history, while exploring the historic centre of the capital. We visit the Palace of Fine Arts, the Zócalo area (the city’s hub) and the Palacio Nacional. We also enter the Cathedral and pay a visit to the Templo Mayor. We return to our hotel for some time at leisure. Later in the afternoon, we visit the National Museum of Anthropology and History, considered one of the world’s best museums, holding pieces and artefacts that tell the story of Mexico’s great civilizations.
Tonight, a wonderful welcome dinner for authentic Mexican cuisine served in a setting characteristic of Mexico; brightly coloured tiles, handmade furniture, stained glass windows, wall murals and large archways. Housed in a former convent, the restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in North America’s largest city. At all hours, Mariachis walk through the dining room serenading guests. The restaurant is rich with corn-based (maize) food—an indigenous ingredient that survived Spain’s 300 years in power, typically used in tamales, atole, and enchiladas.
Meals: Breakfast, Welcome Dinner
This morning we depart to the south of the city to visit Museo Frida Kahlo, otherwise knows as Casa Azul (Blue House) where the surrealist artist Frida Kahlo was born, grew up and later lived with her muralist husband Diego River. Fascinating not only for the collections and personal effects of the two great artists it contains, the museum also affords a window into the lifestyles of affluent Mexican bohemians during the first half of this century. We then visit Coyoacan, a traditional neighbourhood of pebbled streets, colonial churches, noisy little markets, coffee shops and quiet squares. We will visit the local market, and sample some local snacks such as Churros, Tostadas and Elotes.
Our journey then continues to the peaceful waters of the Xochimilco Canals, a sense of calmness will set upon you. Enjoy a relaxing, scenic journey through these ancient waters on a traditional pre-Hispanic boat past vibrant floating gardens. Little floating kitchens offer traditional Mexican food – and of course we’ll try the local specialties during our boat ride.
Today we say goodbye to Mexico City and fly to Oaxaca, another of Mexico’s World Heritage cities. We have a private transfer to Mexico City Airport, to meet our flight to Oaxaca. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel.
With appealing cultural and culinary scenes and a beautiful colonial core of lovely, tree-shaded streets, Oaxaca is one of Mexico´s most captivating cities. Artists and artisans alike are inspired by the area’s creative atmosphere, indigenous traditions and bright, clear light. Oaxaca has top-class museums, fascinating markets and its own subtle version of Mexican cuisine. The city boasts beautiful sights such as the main square (Zócalo), the ancient Cathedral, and all of them connected by a charming pedestrian street overlooked by rich colonial buildings.
After breakfast, we head out to explore Monte Alban, a significant pre-Columbian archaeological site, a world heritage site and inhabited across 1500 years by the Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs. We return to Oaxaca City where will enjoy a traditional lunch at a local restaurant. You have the afternoon to enjoy this picturesque city.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
As one of Mexico’s iconic destinations, we’ve dedicated a day at leisure to explore more of beautiful Oaxaca at your leisure.
This morning we head to Teotitlan del Valle. This deeply Zapotec community is famous for its rugs woven on hand-operated looms. We meet a family of weavers and are educated on their tradition of weaving. We will also make a stop at a local Mezcal distillery, to learn all about it and of course, if you like, to taste some mezcal, fondly referred to by as ‘the elixir of the gods’. After the mezcal tastings, you will appreciate the wide-ranging and distinct tastes of the spirit. Our third visit of the day is Mitla: The name Mitla is derived from the Nahuatl word "Mictlan", which means "Place of the Dead". Archaeological evidence indicates that the site was actually inhabited as early as 900 BC. Later, enjoy a local traditional restaurant. After lunch, we continue on to reach Tehuantepec for our overnight stay.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Today we travel from Tehuantepec to San Cristobal de las Casas. En route we will explore Cañon del Sumidero. The Sumidero Canyon is a national park located just outside of the capital of Chiapas State, Tuxtla Gutierrez. This large canyon’s cliffs rise some 900 metres above sea level. We make our way by boat through the canyon along the Grijalva River for a boat ride, just short of a few hours, which extends across the states of Chiapas and Tabasco and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The canyon is home to a plethora of wildlife, including crocodiles, monkeys and marine birds and your guide will be one hand to help you spot them. There are also a number of unusual rock formations to observe as you jet along this blue green river and take in the view of this natural phenomenon. After the canyon, it’s not too far by road to reach San Cristóbal de las Casas (about 65km).
San Cristóbal De Las Casas is a great spot to head out and find a local meal and take in the atmosphere of this charming town in Chiapas state.
After breakfast, we will enjoy a city tour of the cobbled streets. San Cristobal is characterised by its peaceful and welcoming atmosphere, coupled with an artistic and bohemian flair. The colonial streets and alleyways lined with red-roof tiles and white-washed walls beg wanderers to explore and discover the nooks and crannies; alleyways open up into picturesque arcades and plazas showing off their authentic colonial architecture and hosting churches, museums, cafés, restaurants and artisan workshops, among other delights. The extensive market has some good handicrafts for sale and plenty of interesting foodstuffs on offer!
There are many Mayan villages near San Cristóbal and today we visit San Juan Chamula. This is a fascinating typical native town, where the people still keep their traditions, language, customs, beliefs as well as their social structures and arriving here you feel that you have stepped back five hundred years in time. We visit its church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. A simple white church with turquoise‐coloured trim, you find the pagan beliefs of the indigenous Mayan people intermingled with the Catholic faith. Stepping into the dimly lit church you see families in colourful costume huddled in small groups on the floor, praying behind an assortment of candles. The church is illuminated by the soft glow of hundreds of candles. The scene of old customs is by no means a tourist presentation – it’s authentic and every day life for the people of San Juan Chamula.
Continuing, we then visit San Lorenzo Zinacantán a town known for its traditional textiles and majority indigenous population. We will visit a local family, where you will have the chance to learn how to make tortillas.
We leave San Cristobal behind and start traveling north towards Palenque. On the way we’ll stop to look the pretty Misol Há waterfal. Surrounded by lush green vegetation it feels like a waterfall deep in the jungle, despite being easily accessible by road. Film buffs may spot that Misol Há was the waterfall that Arnold Schwarzenegger jumps from in the 1987 film, Predator. You will have the chance to walk along a path underneath the waterfall to feel its power and get soaked by its spray. Next you will be driven onto the waterfalls of Agua Azul. From Agua Azul, we carry on by road to reach Palenque for our overnight stay.
his morning we have a guided tour of the impressive Mayan site of Palenque. The jungle-covered complex is one of the most famous in Mexico and is located in the low hills of Chiapas. The pyramids, sanctuaries and temples are probably the finest surviving examples of Mayan buildings. In the afternoon, we drive to Villahermosato board a plane and fly to the colonial City of Merida, the “White City of Merida”. The city flourished following the conquest and the 19th century homes designed in French style contribute to the attractive appearance of the historical centre.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
From Merida we travel by road for about one hour and a half to reach the fascinating Mayan ruins of Uxmal. Uxmal dates back to the late classic period, having been built by the Xiu tribe. The site is dominated by the Pyramid of the Magician and the Nunnery Quadrangle which consists of long buildings with elaborately carved façades. There are remnants of a ball court used in ritual games that sometimes ended in sacrifice.
Our journey then continues and takes us to Hacienda Sotuta de Peon, where you will experience the history of the “green Gold”. This Hacienda gives a true glimpse of what was once a fully operational Henequen Hacienda in the grand style and tradition of this period. We will enjoy a traditional lunch at this historical place. In the afternoon, we will return to Merida, and we gather for a highlight dinner. Dinner tonight is in the heart of downtown Mérida and the visit is a magical journey through the history of Mexican gastronomy, where you can discover the authentic smells and flavours of the perfect fusion of two cultures.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Highlight Dinner
After breakfast, we tour of the historical centre of the city of Mérida. The city was founded in 1542 by the son of Conquistador Francisco Montejo, who was from Mérida in Spain, and gave this capital city of Yucatán state its name. Starting in the main square of the city (Zócalo), we explore the oldest Cathedral in the Americas, Government House with paintings by Fernando Castro and the Municipal Palace. Then, we drive down Paseo de Montejo, the main thoroughfare into the city, modelled on the Champs- Elysees and lined with trees and large colonial houses, once the city homes of rich Hacienda owners.
We then continue to Izamal, once a Maya settlement meaning ‘Place of the God of Medicine’. It is now a ‘pueblo mágico’ or ‘magic town’. The town, in which every building is painted yellow and white, is known for the 16th Century Franciscan monastery that was built upon the base of a huge Maya pyramid. As you explore the monastery you will learn about the Maya written history that was burnt just after the monastery was constructed. Lunch today is included at a local traditional restaurant. Afterwards, we continue to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Chichen Itza for an overnight stay close to the archaeological site.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Early at sunrise you will enjoy a unique visit to Chichen Itza! Exploring the ancient Maya city along with your expert guide prior to its opening is an unforgettable experience. This site is world renowned for the sophistication of its structures and the high level of astronomical and engineering accomplishments. The site comes alive with the expert interpretation of your guide adding colour and contour to the sprawling site. We return to the hotel for a nice breakfast and some time at leisure before departing to Playa del Carmen.
After settling in, your guide will give you a quick overview of Playa del Carmen, just before the Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant. Tonight, farewell your guide.
Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Today is kept at leisure, explore Playa del Carmen on your own for some shopping and enjoy some quality time at the beautiful Caribbean beach. (no guide assistance, no transportation included today)
Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Departure Farewell Mexico. Services come to an end after hotel check out. See our GETTING THERE page for details/options for hotel to airport transfers. Want to continue your travels – this tour connects with our tour of Guatemala.
Itineraries may be subject to change, due to circumstances outside of our control. If there is any itinerary change prior to departure of significance, we aim to inform you prior to travel. Itinerary changes while on tour will be informed by your tour leader/guide while on tour.
Nights of Stay
San Cristóbal De Las Casas
Playa del Carmen
Hotels may be subject to change, due to circumstances outside of our control. Should this occur, a hotel of a similar standard will be provided. Where images provided of hotel rooms on our website they are indicative of the room but may not be the room of stay.
HOTEL HISTÓRICO CENTRAL, MEXICO CITY
Enjoy a 4 star stay at one of Mexico City’s top-rated hotels (as per Trip Advisor scores). The hotel is in a historic building with a contemporary and comfortable interior. Reflecting the timeless ambience of a beautifully restored 300-year-old building, located in the centre of downtown Mexico City.
HOTEL NANA VIDA BOUTIQUE, OAXACA
NaNa Vida Hotel Boutique, a superior 3 star hotel is a place where culture, art and flavours of Oaxaca live together, in a privileged location just steps away from restaurants and bars. A variety of exclusive rooms are arranged around the central courtyard. Inside the rooms are beautifully appointed with each having its own unique display of local art, and therefore a different feel.
HOTEL CALLI, TEHUANTEPEC
A 3 star hotel that provides adequate accommodation for an overnight stop travelling from Oaxaca to San Cristóbal de las Casas. The hotel also provides a restaurant and lobby bar. Tehuantepec has limited tourist hotel options and the hotel options in this town are of a lesser standard than usual compared to our regular touring inclusions.
HOTEL CASA MEXICANA, SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS
A 4 star colonial style hotel, Hotel Casa Mexicana is located in the beautiful mountainous and colonial city of San Cristóbal. It is centrally located within walking distance of many historical sites and close to shops and restaurants. The hotel has a charming central garden. The 55 rooms have wooden floors and are overlooking the garden. Each room has flat-screen cable TV, a telephone and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Los Magueyes restaurant serves international and Mexican cuisine, while La Cucaracha bar offers Mexican and typical Yucatán dishes.
Wi Fi: Free
HOTEL LA ALDEA DEL HALACH HUINIC, PALENQUE
A 4 star hotel, surrounded by extensive tropical gardens at the entrance to the National Park of Palenque, in the extraordinary heart of the Lacandon jungle. There are a total of 34 spacious and comfortable rooms, each with its own terrace and hammock overlooking the beautiful gardens. It offers a swimming pool, a Mexican restaurant, surrounded by lush gardens.
Wi Fi: Free
CASA DEL BALAM, MERIDA
A superior 3 star hotel centrally located, and one of Merida’s oldest and most renowned hotels, and one of the remaining art deco houses in the city. The interior courtyard adds to the charm. Rooms are spacious and bright and double paned windows that help reduce the city's noise.
HOTEL CHICHEN ITZA, CHICHÉN ITZÁ
Just two kilometres from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza, the Hotel Chichen Itza is a 3 star property on the edge of town, with manicured grounds adjacent to a lush, tropical environment.
HM PLAYA DEL CARMEN, PLAYA DEL CARMEN
A 4 star hotel located in Playa del Carmen, next to Fifth Avenue and just a ten-minute stroll to the beach, the HM Playa del Carmen offers an authentic Mexican atmosphere. The hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the heart of Playa del Carmen, where you’ll find all the main shops and a host of quality restaurants.
Note: Twin share rooms cannot be guaranteed double beds and may only be single bed configuration.
Hotel descriptions are taken from the hotel website and edited to suit our page.
Arrive to: Mexico City, Mexico
Depart from: Playa del Carmen, Mexico (from Cancun International Airport)
You must hold a valid passport with a minimum of six months validity from your return date to your home country. Ensure you have at least two blank pages in your passport.
See 'VISA' information in our MORE INFORMATION section below.
HOTEL CHECK IN /CHECK OUT TIMES
Consider the hotel check in time on arrival and the hotel check out time on departure.
Early check in or late check out can be requested but without payment cannot be guaranteed.
On request we provide airfare quotes. If joining the tour from outside Australia, it is usually more economical that you make your own flight arrangements or use a travel agent from within your country of residence. Feel free to seek advice with us about booking your flight arrangements.
We meet all flight arrivals to Mexico City International (MEX) (Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez) airport on day one of the tour, or if you book pre tour hotel stay with us at the group hotel
There are a maximum of two group transfers from Playa del Carmen to Cancun International Airport (CUN). One to meet the flight departing for the connecting tour to Guatemala, and one that meets a set nominated departure flight.
Any other transfer service incurs a fee
Read on for other key trip information that you should know before you decide on joining the group.
If this trip seems right for you then we encourage you to book early and secure your place with a deposit. It’s a small group tour and space is limited. Also, many services on this tour must be booked well in advance. To ensure your place, please check trip availability at your earliest convenience.
You will enjoy this group experience with a maximum of 14 travellers. This is a Solos Only tour.
You are welcome to join with a friend, but couples do not join this tour.
THE PACE [3 out of 5]
There 1,2 and 3 night stays throughout the itinerary. The 2 and 3 night stays help to provide a more relaxed pace. It’s our goal to provide a small group experience with all the conveniences of being fully escorted while also providing the option to have some time to yourself to make your own discoveries.
Mexico is a vast country and it’s why we opt for the premium inclusion of two flights with this itinerary, avoiding some long distance drivers that detract from your discovery.
Fit to Travel Holiday Requirements
Visit our Travel Fitness page for more information about the Tour Pace guide.
Travellers of 70 years or over will be required to return a Fit to Travel form that is completed by their doctor. See the MORE INFORMATION section below for more details about fitness requirements.
ABOUT THE MEALS
It’s regular that our trips include welcome dinners and farewell dinners for our groups. In addition, we include other group dining experiences to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefit of travelling and dining as a group. There’s nothing better than to share a meal with new friends and discuss the day’s adventures.
This is a private group tour with a professional bi-lingual (English and Spanish) tour guide escorting the group from day 1 to day 14 of the tour. The final days of the tour do not include this service as they are at your leisure in Playa del Carmen
The tour guides are exceptionally knowledgeable and will share with you’re the history and culture of their country. Tipping the guide and driver is customary.
The role of your GROUP TOUR GUIDE is to lead the group, take charge of all the trip logistics on tour, and of course, make sure the trip runs as smoothly as possible so ultimately you have the best possible experience. From time to time, as is the nature of travel, ‘hiccups’ can occur, such as unexpected delays to due to traffic congestion, unexpected weather conditions that make a change of plans necessary, and many other things that go hand in hand with travel. In these circumstances your group leader will do their utmost to make the best possible alternative plans – please be ready to accept that these situations are out of the control of anyone and trust in your group leader to assist as best as possible.
We use comfortable touring vans for each destination. There is also a small boat ride on one of the day excursions in Mexico.
LUGGAGE INFORMATION AND RESTRICTIONS
For airline luggage restrictions refer to your ticket details. Please note that the maximum luggage weight for touring may be less than the airline maximum limit.
Maximum of one piece for checked luggage up to 20kg per person and 1 small hand luggage piece maximum of 10kgs.
Luggage is limited to one medium size suitcase per person, the sum of its length/width and depth not to exceed 125cm plus an overnight bag (airline bag size) which may be carried on board the vehicle. If your luggage exceeds this limit, we ask that you make alternative arrangements for the excess to be forwarded to the termination point of your tour. We suggest you have wheels on your suitcase, as there are certain places where assistance is not available.
For airline luggage restrictions, refer to your ticket terms.
I had a great time learning about the Mayan history and seeing some fabulous sights.Carole, 54 years Melbourne, Victoria
The most amazing places I've ever seen, highly recommend itChris, NSW
''The 19 days was magnificent.''Eddie, 62 years, Brisbane, QLD