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.
Tour Mexico's impressive Metropolitan Cathedral.
Discover Teotihuacan ruins known as Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon.
Visit Oaxaca archaeological site of Monte Alban.
Dive into Playa del Carmen's azure waters and pure white-sand beaches.
Arrive at Mexico City, Benito Juarez International Airport, and be transferred to your hotel. A complimentary transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details at least 14 days before your travel date to organize your 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. You'll meet your leader and other members of your 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. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in Mexico City, pick from the following optional activities and contact us for current excursion pricing.
Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) (Closed every Monday)
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 as you please. 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. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in Mexico City, pick from the following optional activities and contact us for current excursion pricing.
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)
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)
Leaving the hotel at 8 am and visiting the Teotihuacan ruins, about 50 km northeast of Mexico City (a 1.5-hour drive). Discover the amazing ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. This was once one of the biggest cities in the world. Stroll down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’ and see the clues to what life was like here nearly 2000 years ago. Continue to Oaxaca (5 hours) learn some Spanish phrases from your leader on the way. This beautiful colonial city is known for its cuisine and lively art scene, a great location to browse for traditional Mexican handicrafts, with descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec selling an array of bright woven blankets and shawls. Upon arrival, your leader will take you on a short walk around the hotel to help orientate you, and to point out useful services such as bus stops or ATMs.
Teotihuacan - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Oaxaca has much to offer travelers that take a full-day tour of the city and its surrounds, including lunch at a local family’s home. Be ready at 8 am for your local guide will take you to the Mitla ruins, which were once the religious center for the Zapotec. Sip on the famous, tequila-like local liquor, mezcal, at a mezcal factory and visit the Tule Tree, a 1500-year-old tree over 11 meters in immense girth. Return to the hotel at about 8 pm and, the evening is free to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy Oaxaca’s nightlife.
Mitla - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Oaxaca - Guided full-day tour including the Tule Tree, a Mezcal distillery, and lunch in a Zapoteca family home
Today is a free day to explore Oaxaca, with a range of optional activities to consider. Perhaps pay a visit to the archaeological site of Monte Alban. The Zapotec civilization began construction of this city around 200 BC, and Olmecs and Mixtecs have inhabited it at different times. Have your camera ready to go, because up here, get an amazing view across the three legs of the valley of Oaxaca. Or check out Hierve el Agua: a group of stunning natural rock formations and mineral pools perched high in the hills overlooking the surrounding countryside. Hierve el Agua is known for its ‘petrified’ waterfalls, where many years ago, the water calcified over the rock faces, and now, they resemble frozen waterfalls. Otherwise, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the streets and take the opportunity to feast on some regional delicacies. Season depending, a folkloric ballet performance is also a great optional activity. The Santo Domingo Cultural Centre is also worth a visit. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in Oaxaca, pick from the following optional activities and contact us for current excursion pricing.
Oaxaca - Folkloric ballet (seasonal)
Oaxaca - Cooking Class
Oaxaca - Monte Alban archaeological site (entrance fee)
Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre (entrance fee)
Hierve el Agua - Petrified waterfalls (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Depart Oaxaca for the airport at approximately 5.30 am, then take the 8 am flight to Tuxtla airport (1.5 hours) before driving to the charming city of San Cristobal de las Casas (approximately 1 hour). Once in 'San Cris', as it's known, take a walk and soak up the strong old-world atmosphere of this town, which is due in no small part to the grand Spanish colonial architecture, prominent indigenous cultures, and winding cobblestone streets. Your leader will help orientate you with a walk around the hotel, then your day is free to venture further into the city.
San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led orientation walk
Day 7: San Juan Chamula | San Cristobal de las Casas
This morning, your leader will take you on a walking tour of the city, passing impressive cathedrals, green plazas, and countless museums. Next, head to the nearby Maya village of San Juan Chamula (30 minutes drive). Settle in the highlands which, this village serves as marketplaces and religious ceremonial centers for the indigenous folk who live in the surrounding hills. The local people have retained their traditional way of life and can often be seen wearing their own distinctive, colorful clothes. Journey another 15 minutes to visit the next town of Zinacantan. As you explore with your leader, we'll learn more about these mostly Maya communities. Later, during the free time back in San Cris, perhaps rent a bike to explore the town further. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in San Cristobal, pick from the following optional activities and contact us for current excursion pricing.
San Cristobal de Las Casas - Leader-led City Tour
San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)
Zinacantan - Maya Church (entrance fee)
San Cristobal de las Casas - Bicycle rental (per hour)
The rest of your 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. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in San Cristobal, pick from the following optional activities and contact us for current excursion pricing.
San Cristobal de las Casas - Na Bolom Museum
San Cristobal de las Casas - Jade Museum
Sumidero Canyon - Boat Excursion (entrance and transport)
Say goodbye to San Cristobal de Las Casas as you head for Palenque and its surrounding jungle. It will be an early start to minimize the chance of hitting road closures that are common in the area. There will be a stop or two to stretch your legs before arriving (4-5 hours) at the low and wide Agua Azul Waterfalls, which flow slowly over limestone rocks. There's time for lunch and a quick dip, so remember to pack your swimsuit! Otherwise, enjoy a scenic stroll around the beautiful surroundings before continuing to Palenque (1.5-2 hours). A group dinner is included tonight.
At 8 am this morning, drive 30 minutes to visit the archaeological site of Palenque. Located on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle, these are some of the most astounding Maya ruins in the region, dating back as far as AD600. Some of the ruins remain unexcavated and hidden in the surrounding forest. Enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the site and keep an ear out for the strange calls of howler monkeys as you explore this lost city. At about 11 am, take a 3-hour drive to the lunch stop. Enjoy the chance to stretch your legs as there is another 4-5 hours' drive before reaching Merida at about 8 pm, the capital of the Yucatan region.
Merida - Leader-led orientation walk
Palenque - Archaeological site (Guide, Transport & Entrance fee)
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, you'll 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 and contact us for current excursion pricing.
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 12: Izamal
In the afternoon, transfer by private vehicle to Izamal, a small city 1 hour’s drive from Merida. Izamal is an important pre-Columbian Maya site. Your leader will take you for a guided walking tour of the city, including a visit to the Convento de San Antonio de Padua, a Spanish monastery built on the site of a destroyed Maya temple in 1561. Grab the opportunity to spend a lazy afternoon people-watching and soaking it all in.
Izamal - Convento de San Antonio de Padua (Entrance)
Depart early, for the first stop today is Chichen Itza, an hour drive from Izamal. One of the most famous Maya sites in Mexico. Witness the marvelous Temple of Kukulkan standing over the ruins and, not far from the temple, is the 'ball court", where many disputes are known to have been settled by way of a ball game that employed only the elbows, hips, and wrists. Stone carvings depicting violence suggest it was not such a casual sport. Following a guided tour of the site, we'll continue to the resort town of Playa del Carmen (2 hours).
Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Take today to enjoy Playa del Carmen as you see fit. Kick back with a book, stroll along the white sands, or snorkel in crystal-clear waters. Blessed with azure waters, powdery beaches, and an almost European feel. Playa del Carmen is a popular resort town famed for its coral reefs. For adventures further afield, take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving, or perhaps check out the Tulum ruins, an ancient Maya city protected against invaders by a high wall and situated on a cliff overlooking a white sandy beach. In the evening, settle on the beachside and watch the world go by with a margarita in your hand, or take advantage of the famous nightlife and let your salty hair down. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in Playa del Carmen, pick from the following optional activities and contact us for current excursion pricing.
Tulum - Archaeological Site (entrance fee, no guide)
Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh Water Rock Pool (entrance fee with snorkeling gear & life jacket included)
Playa del Carmen - Bicycle Rental (per day)
Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip Ticket)
Day 15: Playa del Carmen | Return Home
Enjoy your breakfast and the white sand beaches of Playa del Carmen before going back home.
Apologies for the inconvenience. Prices for not yet published. Below per person rate based on previous season. Contact us to confirm upcoming season pricing.
Prices for are estimated based on inflation. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired departure date.
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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.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!