In Mexico, we have selected a variety of accommodations ranging from charming bed and breakfasts to comfortable city hotels with all of the modern conveniences. In general, we use small, family-run accommodations that are locally owned and characteristic of each area instead of luxury chain resorts. For more information, check out our Mexico lodging page or click on the bed icons next to each day of the tour itinerary to view pictures of our standard hotels and lodges.
Meals are included on most of our Mexico excursions. We have tried to balance
flexibility and convenience regarding meal options. For this reason, we include
meals on all of our tour days when you are traveling off the beaten path where
restaurant choices are limited. In the major cities where there are a wide variety
of restaurants, we generally do not include meals to allow our travelers the
flexibility of choosing their own food preferences. Your tour leader will recommend
some great restaurant options and will usually offer to join any group members
who would like to go out to eat together. Your hotel will also provide a light
continental breakfast on these days. Included meals are listed in parentheses
next to the tour itinerary on each tour page. An estimated meal budget can also
be found under Personal Budgeting to the right of the itinerary on the tour
All of our tour leaders are exceptional! They are fluent in English and Spanish. They are from the local areas where they guide and are among the very best guides available in each region. Our tour leaders treat our travelers like friends, showing visitors both the major highlights and the local treasures.
Our Mexico tours utilize a variety of transportation including private vans, comfortable tourist buses, ferries, flights, etc. We use a mix of private and public transportation to provide travelers with the safest and most efficient transportation in each area. Each tour itinerary page has a description of the transportation included on that tour. If you have additional questions, just ask!
Mexico is world renowned for its cuisine. The abundance of regional dishes
including fresh meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, cheeses, wines and liquors
makes it an epicurean paradise. Mexican food is hard to sum up in a few sentences,
but one thing's for sure - it is always full of flavor! Exotic salsas and sauces
such as mole add spice and depth to a variety of Mexican dishes.
The majority of Mexican cuisine is based on Mayan and Aztec traditions along with influences from the Spanish conquistadors. Popular dishes today include tacos, burritos, tamales, quesadillas and chocolate. Due to Mexico's varying climate and the ethnic differences around the country, each region has created their own special cuisine. For example, in the coastal states (Yucatan, Campeche and Veracruz), the emphasis is on fresh seafood (shrimp, crab, squid, octopus, redfish and snapper).
In Mexico, the climate varies according to altitude and season. Coastal areas and lowlands are hot and steamy with high humidity, while the central areas are temperate even in winter. The climate of the inland highlands is mostly mild, but sharp changes in temperature can occur between day and night. The cold lands (tierra fría) lie above 2000m (6600ft). Rainfall varies greatly from region to region. Only the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the state of Chiapas in the far south receive any appreciable amount of rain during the year, with the wet season running between June and September. All other areas have mild rainy seasons, while the northern and central areas of the central plateau are dry and arid. There is some snow in the north in winter. The dry season runs from October to May.
Despite regional differences in weather, the best time to visit Mexico is mid-September through mid-May, though some parts still have a fair amount of rain in October and November. (It rains the most during the summer, but usually not often enough to spoil a vacation.) The Gulf of Mexico region is susceptible to hurricanes late July through early November. April and May are the hottest months; June through September tend to be the wettest. Please keep in mind that the busiest travel season is usually during the holidays and spring break, mainly from December through April.
Yes and no. Our Baja Sea Kayak and Turtle Adventure tour is a great choice for families with school-aged children who have an interest in nature and wildlife. Our Highlights of Chiapas tour is also a great option for kids that enjoy history and nature. Some of our other Mexico tours include multi-day treks, so they are generally recommended only for kids age 12 and above. Please inquire with your Trip Planner as to what trip would be most appropriate for you and your family.
Our Family Travel Page has some helpful hints for making the most of your family vacation. We realize that you know your kids best so we will be happy to answer all of your questions and try to give you the most accurate impression of what to expect. However, please remember that these are adventure tours and flexibility is essential!
To make family tours easier, we often recommend having a private group and guide, though families with well-behaved children are welcome on our group departures as well. We have special private tour rates for families. Please ask your Trip Planner if you are interested.
Our Mexico tours tend to attract all ages. The more adventurous tours tend
to attract a slightly younger group (mostly 20s-40s), but we've also had active
70 year olds do great on these trips, so don't let age discourage you if you
are fit and healthy. Expect a wide range of ages and ask your Trip Planner if
you are curious about the demographics for a particular departure.
Groups on our Mexico tours tend to be small with travelers from around the world, predominantly the US and the UK. Most of our groups are composed of adults (of all ages), though private groups of families with children are not uncommon.
Yes and no. Our Copper Canyon tours and our Chiapas Adventure tour tend to attract the largest and most diverse groups, so these are usually great choices for solo travelers. Many of our other Mexico tours tend to depart with very small groups (sometimes only one couple or family) so a single traveler might feel out of place. If you have a particular tour or departure date in mind, please ask your Trip Planner for recommendations. Solo travelers should also take a look at our exclusive Solo Traveler Departures.
Tour rates do not include international flights. We find that it is usually less expensive for travelers to book these separately, and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you. Alternatively, we can help you arrange these flights with an airfare consolidator who specializes in South American flights.
We can arrange an airport transfer for you or you can take a local taxi. Taxis are usually less expensive, though some travelers prefer the convenience of having someone waiting for them at the airport when they arrive, especially after an exhausting flight. Please let us know your preference!
Tips are not required on any of our tours. However, it is customary in Latin America to offer a small tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely, though some travelers report that ~$2-$10/ day for your guide and ~$1-$3/ day for your driver is common. Other travelers opt to bring small gifts from their home to give to service providers along the way.
Absolutely! We offer select trip discounts periodically throughout the year. Check out our Travel Discounts page for the latest offers and on-going discounts.
You can book your Mexico tour at any time. For most departures, 2-3 months
notice is fine, though tours around the holidays may fill up 5-6 months in advance.
We usually recommend that you wait to book your international flights until
after your tour is confirmed. The sooner that we arrange your tour, the sooner
that you can take advantage of flight deals as they become available.
We are often able to accommodate last minute travelers as well (some even departing in less than one week!!), so give us a call and we will do our best! For last-minute reservations, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first choice tour may not be available for your selected dates, but your trip coordinator can probably recommend some other similar options that would be equally interesting! Many lodges will not hold spaces less than 30 days before departure so for last-minute bookings, you may be asked to send your registration form and trip payment in right away to secure your spaces.
YES. Please contact us if you are not able to travel on the set departure dates listed on-line. Most tours can be arranged on alternative departure dates for a minimum of two travelers as long as lodges/ hotels are available.
Absolutely! Extra days can be arranged in most areas if desired. Let us know
how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate
You will receive a detailed packing list after you book your tour. Bring long sleeves and a fleece/ sweater for cool highland evenings and plenty of comfortable, breathable clothes for hot jungle days and time at the beach. Good walking shoes, insect repellant and sun protection are also a must.
Though we have not had any safety concerns on our tours, crime can be a serious problem throughout certain parts of Mexico. Travelers should follow the advice of hotel staff and tour leaders as well as taking common sense precautions. Hotels can store your valuables in a safe if desired. That said, most travelers visit Mexico without incident. Check out the US State Department travel advisories on-line for the latest information at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html.
The tap water is generally not safe to drink in Mexico. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, and restaurants. Don't forget to use bottled water when brushing your teeth as well! Ice is not always made with boiled/ bottled water. Order your beverages without ice ("sin hielo") or ask your tour leader if the ice is safe in a particular restaurant.
No immunizations are currently required for visiting Mexico. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. For the most current information, please consult your doctor and/or check out the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/.
All travelers will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after they depart Mexico. Most travelers do not need a visa for Mexico. Visas are not currently required for citizens of the following countries: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Israel and many other countries. Entry requirements in Latin America change with surprising frequency. It is each traveler's responsibility to check with your Mexican consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
The local currency is the Mexican Peso (MXP). For the most up-to-date exchange rates, please check out a currency converter like http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/.
Most travelers bring a small amount of local currency with them and withdraw from ATMs as they need it along they way. ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities. Travelers can withdraw local currency at fair exchange rates using an ATM. Traveler's checks are fine, but they can be more difficult to exchange and you will usually receive a poorer rate or be charged an additional fee.
Credit cards are accepted in most major cities and large shopping areas. In more remote areas there may be difficulties using credit cards, so you do not want to solely rely on them for financial transactions. It is best to have local currency on hand when traveling to more small towns or remote areas.
Please check with your cell phone provider. Each company is different and they can give you the most up-to-date information.
Most of Mexico, including the states of Jalisco, Colima, and Oaxaca, is in the Central Time zone, 6 hours behind GMT. (Mexico uses daylight savings time in the summer.) Northern Baja California is on Pacific Time, 8 hours behind GMT. Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Nayarit are on Mountain Time, 7 hours behind GMT. Quintana Roo is on Eastern Time, 5 hours behind GMT.
Daylight Saving Time begins in the spring and ends in the fall. Daylight Saving Time is not observed in the State of Sonora (the City of Nogales, etc.), as it remains on Mountain Standard Time throughout the year.
Electricity in Mexico is 110 volts, the same as the US. Visitors from outside of the US should bring an adapter. Plugs are either two flat prongs or two flat prongs with an additional round grounding pin.
Absolutely!!! We work with a company called TravelGuard that provides reasonably
priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation,
lost bags, etc. Please check out our Once You're Booked
page for more information.