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Mexico City - Playa del Carmen - Example 15 Day Tour
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Discover Mexico's culture and scenery on a journey from Mexico City to Playa del Carmen. Visit the spectacular Chichen Itza ruins to learn about Maya history and culture, and the indigenous communities in the lovely San Cristobal de las Casas. Indulge in a feast of delectable local cuisine while developing your own cooking talents. Snorkel in the clear Caribbean waters, relax on white-sand beaches, and browse through vibrant markets. Explore waterfalls and mountains, as well as a plethora of museums, churches, and archaeological sites that offer you a taste of Mexico's rich cultural legacy.
Oaxaca CityMexico CityMezcalIzmal Ruins - Yellow CityHierve el Agua Rock Pools, OaxacaCenotes Water PoolTulum BeachChichen Itza - Mayan RuinsOaxaca Cooking IngredientsTulum Ruins Beach
  • Tour Mexico's impressive Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Discover Teotihuacan ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and of the Moon
  • Visit the Oaxaca archaeological site of Monte Alban
  • Dive into Playa del Carmen's azure waters and pure white-sand beaches
Places Visited
  • Central America & Mexico
  • Mexico
  • Chiapas
  • Izamal
  • Mérida
  • Mexico City
  • Oaxaca
  • Palenque
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Quintana Roo
  • San Cristobal de las Casas
  • State of Mexico
  • Yucatan
  • Yucatan Peninsula
Activity Level: Easy Active
Moderately active but not overly strenuous. This level includes activities like casual cycling, yoga, or excursions/activities that typically last 3-5 hours total each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City

Arrive at Mexico City, Benito Juarez International Airport, and be transferred to the hotel. A complimentary transfer is included with the trip. Please ensure to provide the flight details at least 14 days before the travel date to organize the transfer service. Settle in and, if you have time, take a stroll to get a feel for this vibrant and rapidly growing capital where the ancient and modern collide. Meet your leader and other members of the group this evening for a welcome meeting at 6 pm; the place of the meeting can be found at the hotel reception. This meeting will be followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant. 

Included Activities
Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer

Optional Activities
Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) (Closed every Monday)

Day 2: Mexico City

Enjoy a guided city tour of Mexico City. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace, and Museum of Anthropology. After that, the day is yours to spend. The Leon Trotsky and Frida Kahlo (La Casa Azul) museums are two popular sights worth checking as an optional activity. Trotsky, having come off second-best to Stalin in the race to the helm during the Soviet era, was expelled and found refuge in Mexico City, where he was eventually murdered, while Frida Kahlo is perhaps the most renowned Mexican artist in history. Both of which can be reached by Uber. Otherwise, the colorful Xochimilco gardens and canals are especially fun on weekends. 

Included Activities
Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology (entrance fee) (Closed Mondays)
Mexico City - Leader-led City Tour of Historic Center
Mexico City - Diego Rivera Murals in the National Palace (entrance fee)
Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral (entrance fee)

Optional Activities
Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum (entrance fee)
Mexico City - Leon Trotsky Museum (entrance fee)
Mexico City - Boat ride through Floating Gardens of Xochimilco (Approx. per boat per hour)

Day 3: Puebla

Today, depart from Mexico City and travel to the Teotihuacan ruins, which were once one of the largest cities in the world. Visit the incredible remains known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, which dominate the skyline, with a local guide. Take a stroll down "The Avenue of the Dead" to discover hints about life in this area over 2000 years ago. Continue on to Puebla while picking up some helpful Spanish words from your guide. Join the guide on an orientation walk when you arrive in Puebla to become oriented and tour the central area of the city, which has been superbly conserved. The culinary scene of Puebla is renowned, and the guide will have advice on where to eat the best regional delicacies this evening.

Included Activities
Teotihuacan - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk

Day 4-6: Oaxaca

Leave Puebla behind and continue on to Oaxaca. This charming city is well-known for its colonial architecture, delectable cuisine, and vibrant art scene, but it's also a terrific spot to look through traditional Mexican handicrafts. Zapotec and Mixtec ancestors sell a variety of vibrantly colored woven blankets and shawls here. The leader will lead you on a brief walk to assist you get settled and will point out helpful amenities like bus stops and ATMs.

Oaxaca, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a lot to offer tourists. You'll want to spend the entire day exploring the city and its surroundings. Set out this morning with your commander, stopping first at the Zapotec people's former holy center, the Mitla archaeological ruins. The famed Tule Tree, a 1500-year-old Montezuma cypress with one of the biggest circumferences in the world and a circumference of 36 meters, is the next stop on the itinerary. Today's lunch will be served by a local Zapotecan family, where you may sample regional cuisine and discover more about the indigenous Zapotec way of life. When you get back to the hotel this evening, you might want to go out and take advantage of Oaxaca's nightlife.

H2ave the day off today to explore Oaxaca at your own pace and take part in a variety of alternative activities. A hands-on cooking session might be just what you're looking for to sample the renowned food of Oaxaca. Visit Monte Alban's archaeological site instead, maybe. This city was built by the Zapotec civilization approximately 200 BC, and Olmecs and Mixtecs both lived there at various points. Have the camera ready since the vista from this vantage point over the three legs of the Oaxaca Valley is breathtaking. Otherwise, savor the laid-back vibe of the streets and take advantage of the chance to gorge on some local specialties. A folkloric ballet performance, depending on the season, is a fantastic extra. A visit to the Santo Domingo Cultural Center is also highly recommended.

Included Activities
Oaxaca - Leader-led orientation walk
Mitla - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Oaxaca - Zapotecan home-cooked lunch
Oaxaca - Tule Tree

Day 7: Salina Cruz

  • 1 Breakfast
Buckle in and take in the ever-changing scenery of the Oaxaca region as today is a travel day. Salina Cruz, a city on the Pacific coast, is where you're going. Stops will be made along the way to allow you to pick up local snacks and fruit as you travel. Take a walk down the beach when you first arrive at Salina Cruz to stretch your legs.

Day 8-9: San Cristobal de las Casas

The rest of the time in San Cristobal de las Casas is free to explore on your own. Visit the Na Bolom Museum: a small museum and research center which was the home of anthropologist and photographer Gertrude Duby-Blom and her archaeologist husband, Frans Blom. While Frans explored Mayan sites all over Chiapas, Trudy studied, photographed, and fought to protect the scattered Lacandon people. Today, the house provides free accommodation to Lacandon people who make their way to San Cristobal for work, studies, or medical reasons. Alternatively, you may want to visit the amber (jade) museum, which displays and sells beautifully carved items and insect-embedded pieces, or venture to the Sumidero Canyon to get a dose of nature. 

The guide will accompany you on a walking tour of the city this morning, passing imposing churches, lush plazas, and several museums. Next, proceed to San Juan Chamula, a nearby Maya settlement. This community, which is tucked away in the mountains, houses the indigenous populations who reside in the nearby hills and acts as their marketplace and center for religious celebrations. The local population has maintained their traditional way of life, and they frequently dress in their own distinctive, vibrant attire. Drive a little distance to Zincantan, the next town. Discover more about these primarily Maya communities when you go on explorations with the leader. Consider renting a bike to further explore the town later, when you have some spare time back in San Cris.

Included Activities
Sumidero Canyon - Boat Excursion (entrance and transport)
San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led orientation walk
Zinacantan - Maya Church (entrance fee)
San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)
    Optional Activities
    San Cristobal de Las Casas - Bicycle rental (per hour) - MXN400
    San Cristobal de las Casas - Na Bolom Museum - MXN70
    San Cristobal de las Casas - Jade Museum - MXN65

    Day 10-11: Palenque

    Bid San Cristobal de Las Casas adieu and make your way to Palenque and the jungle that surrounds it. To reduce the possibility of running into localized road restrictions, an early start will be made. Before you reach the low and wide Agua Azul Waterfalls, which flow slowly over limestone rocks, there will be a few stops where you can stretch your legs. Remember to bring your swimsuit because there will be time for lunch and a brief dip! Otherwise, take a leisurely stroll through the stunning surroundings before traveling on to Palenque. There will be a group meal tonight.

    Included Activities
    Agua Azul - Waterfall Visit

    Day 12-13: Merida

    Today is a free day to explore the many sights of Merida. Perhaps visit some of the museums, including the impressive Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan, and stroll the city streets which are alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the 16th-century cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace, and Casa Mantejo on the other. The outdoor market is another essential visit, with an array of hammocks and Mayan replicas for sale, plus a selection of enticing local cuisine, including the dish cochinita pibil ('little pig') or the incredibly spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. If you can't visit enough Maya sites, you may want to head for the ancient ruins of Uxmal. Here, visit the amazing Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be the best example of classic Maya architecture. You may choose to travel west out to the coast to take a boat ride and visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve. Here, near extensive beaches lined with coconut trees, see a variety of coastal birds. Depending on the season (usually November to March), you may be able to witness the magnificent sight of thousands of flamingos painting a pink streak across the landscape. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in Merida, pick from the following optional activities.

    Optional Activities
    Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. shared transport and guide)
    Merida - Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay Contemporary Art Museum (entrance fee) - Free
    Merida - Celestun Bird Sanctuary (entrance and transport)

    Day 14: Playa del Carmen

    The most well-known Maya site in Mexico, Chichen Itza, should be the first stop today. Overlooking the ruins is the magnificent Temple of Kukulkan, and not far from the temple is the "ball court," where it is said that many disagreements were decided using a game of ball that required only the elbows, hips, and wrists. Stone carvings that show violence imply that it was not a light activity. Enjoy a special lunch with a local family in Piste after a tour of the location with a guide. Enjoy a traditional Pibil feast prepared by the family using techniques they have honed over many generations of underground barbecues. Finally, proceed to the well-known beachfront community of Playa del Carmen, where you could like to join the company for a farewell meal.

    Included Activities
    Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
    Chichen Itza - Home-cooked pibil lunch

    Day 15: Playa del Carmen

    Free to leave the accommodation whenever you like because there are no organized activities today. If you choose to stay in Playa del Carmen longer.

    Optional Activities
    Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip Ticket) - MXN500
    Tulum - Archaeological Site (entrance fee, no guide) - MXN90
    Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh Water Rock Pool (entrance fee with snorkeling gear & life jacket included) - MXN550


    San Cristobal de las Casas - Hotels

    Palenque - Hotels

    Oaxaca - Hotels

    Mexico City - Hotels

    Puebla - Hotels

    Playa del Carmen - Hotels

    Mérida - Hotels

    Dates & Prices

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    For the included internal flight ticket, please provide your full name exactly as per your passport at the time of booking or at least 45 days prior to travel. Airline luggage restrictions will apply.

    A single supplement is available if you prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
    • 14 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
    • 14 Nights Accommodations
    • 9 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
    • Accommodations as listed
    • Ground transportation as listed
    • Activities as listed
    • Meals as listed
    • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
    • Gratuities
    • Travel Insurance
    • Personal Expenses
    • Flight costs (please request a quote)
    • Additional excursions during free time
    • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
    • For those traveling internationally with Intrepid: emergency evacuation and medical insurance are mandatory, and comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. See here for more details


    When to Go

    Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
    Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
    Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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    This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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