Uncover the highlights of Mexico with this classic tour! From atmospheric Mexico City to the cobbled pathways of San Cristobal, the Mayan ruins of Palenque, Uxmal and Chichen Itza, delve deep into the ancient history and heritage of this vibrant nation. With sumptuous stays in restored haciendas, days spent exploring the lush countryside, forests and cenotes, and sun-worship on pristine beaches, experience diversity of Mexico first-hand.
Mexico City, the nation’s capital, is vibrant, colorful and full of character. Fascinating museums rub shoulders with beautiful churches while theme parks co-exist harmoniously with long-standing academic institutions in this sprawling city.
Mexico City’s Highlights & Hidden Gems Set off from your hotel on this discovery tour of the nation’s capital. Start your exploration at the historic city center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site that reflects seven centuries of the country’s rich past. Stroll across the Zocalo, or main square, dating back to Aztec times, now lined with government offices on one side while boutiques and hotels take up the other side. If you are lucky, you might get to watch a free Aztec dance performance or a concert here. Amble over to the National Palace with its facade of red volcanic rock housing a collection of murals by famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Marvel at the architectural magnificence of the Metropolitan Cathedral that sits on a sacred Aztec site as you stroll past it accompanied by your local expert. Drive down the expansive Reforma Boulevard that bisects the sprawling city bordered on either side by tall buildings. Stop to click photographs at the Independence Monument, a victory column on a roundabout on the avenue before you walk into the rolling green space that makes up Chapultepec Park. Enjoy stunning views of Chapultepec Castle, the erstwhile abode of emperors and heads of state, and the upscale residential neighborhood around it before returning to your hotel. (Half Day; Fitness Level: Easy. Please note that the National Palace is closed on Mondays. It may also be closed on other days for official events without prior notice, being the main office of the President. Do carry sunscreen, wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for the season.)
Tlatelolco, Teotihuacan, and Basilica of Guadalupe Excursion Head out from your hotel in the morning, accompanied by your local expert, to visit the iconic landmarks of the city. Start at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, or the square of three cultures in Tlatelolco, which houses the remains of Aztec temples. Take in the sight of ancient ruins co-existing harmoniously adjacent to the Catholic church of Santiago de Tlatelolco and a modern housing complex. Drive on to the Basilica of Guadalupe to explore both the old and new basilicas. Get a glimpse of the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe housed in the new basilica. In the afternoon, drive on to the sprawling UNESCO World Heritage site of Teotihuacan on the outskirts of the city. Wander around this spectacular archaeological site, stopping by the impressive Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, Quetzalpapalot Palace with its murals, and the Avenue of the Dead as your guide points out their unique features. Explore these ancient ruins to your heart’s content before starting back on the journey to your hotel. (Full Day; Fitness Level: Easy. Please bring sunscreen and be sure to dress in comfortable clothes and footwear in keeping with the season.)
With its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture and cobbled pathways, San Cristobal de las Casas transports you to a forgotten era. Located in the state of Chiapas and nestled cozily in the Central highland valley, the city is set high above sea level.
A Walk through San Cristóbal de las Casas Discover the charming highland town of San Cristóbal de las Casas with its ornate colonial architecture and colorful local life on this walk through the city. Sitting in the lap of the Mexican Sierra Madre ranges, find out why this Mayan town is the cultural capital of Chiapas from your English speaking guide. Amble through cobblestone alleyways, flanked by pretty homes with red tiled roofs and wrought iron balconies with flowering pots. Visit the grand San Cristóbal Cathedral with its golden yellow façade at the Parque Central, dedicated to Saint Christopher, the patron of the city. Walk over to yet another example of ornate baroque architecture, the Santo Domingo church and former convent. Stop by the large open-air crafts market of the church with its colorful stalls of local Mayan artifacts before heading back to your hotel. (Half Day; Time of Day: Morning; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy; Note: Please wear light clothes & comfortable walking shoes. Please bring sun hat, shades, sunscreen, mosquito repellent.)
Trip to Mayan Villages of San Juan Chamula & Zinacantan Experience a living and breathing Mayan culture in the charming little villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan on this day trip to the outskirts of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Following breakfast at your hotel, drive down to the village of San Juan Chamula in the company of your English speaking guide. Ride past colorful flower farms as you head to the Iglesia de San Juan at Chamula and marvel at the religio-cultural intermingling of the indigenous community who speak the local Tzotzil language. If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to watch the local shaman leading the congregation in prayer, blending ancient Mayan chants and rituals. Drive over to the village of Zinacantan and discover the intricate art of weaving colorful Mayan textiles worn by the local community. Watch village women work the loom, creating the brightly designed traditional costumes of the region. Drive back to your hotel, carrying Mayan memories from your trip. (Half Day; Time of Day: Morning; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy. Please bring sun hat, shades, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, light clothes and comfortable walking shoes.)
Palenque is an erstwhile Mayan city that is known for its spectacular and well-preserved temples. Set in the midst of a jungle, surrounded by mahogany, cedar, and sapodilla trees, the ancient ruins at this UNESCO-listed site make for a breathtaking scene.
A Visit to the Cascades and Waterfalls of Palenque Get off to an early start as you set out in the morning to discover the lovely Cascada de Roberto Barrios and the Misol-Ha waterfalls Accompanied by your English speaking guide, drive down to the lush forested valleys of Chiapas, passing by a verdant landscape rich with birds and wildlife. Soak in the spectacular sight of the Roberto Barrios cascades, where a local tropical river forms a series of waterfalls and captive basins as it flows down the Chiapas valley. Later, visit the Misol-Há, not too far away, where an equally magnificent waterfall plunges down to a wide pool. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters, surrounded by a cool green curtain of tropical trees and lush undergrowth before you drive back to your hotel in Palenque. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning, starting approximately at 0500 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Moderate; Note: Please bring sun hat, shades, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, light clothes, comfortable shoes, bathing suit & towel.)
Exploring the Ruins of Palenque Early morning, set out for the picturesque archaeological site of Palenque, nestled on the slopes of Chiapas’ mountains in southern Mexico. Beginning at the museum, get an overview of the area, browse a collection of relics showcasing the Mayan lifestyle, and learn their history in relation to the cosmos! Past the ecological park and Sombrillas waterfalls near the entrance, explore the magnificent ruins of this ancient Mayan city enveloped by the lush Lacandón jungle. Visit the expansive complex featuring Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Cross, and Temple of the Inscriptions among the highlights. Also, the Palace with a tower and the North Group with a ball court and numerous tombs make up the other attractions. Marvel at the lofty pyramids and their fascinating Maya architecture that boasts impressive sculptures, elaborate epigraphs, ornate chambers, and well-preserved floral murals. Navigating these ruins amid sounds of howler monkeys, expect to spot toucans, scarlet macaws, and parrots gracing the forest canopy. (Half Day; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Moderate; Notes: Bring mosquito repellent, sunscreen, wear light clothes and comfortable walking shoes).
Merida, the capital city of Yucatan, is a delightful melting pot of varied cultures. The narrow streets contrasted by the expansive plazas are reminiscent of the city’s Spanish colonial past.
A Walk through Colonial Mérida Explore the rich cultural heritage of Mérida on this leisurely walk through the fascinating capital city of the Mexican state of Yucatán. Also the largest city of the Yucatán, Mérida is a vibrant amalgamation of ancient Mayan culture and a Spanish colonial history. Discover the marriage of civilizations in the grand architecture lining the city’s historic town square or the Plaza de la Independencia. Admire the impressive early colonial Cathedral of Mérida and its neighboring church, the striking white Iglesia de la Tercera Orden. Walk over to the Hidalgo Square, dropping by the colonial monuments of the Governor’s Palace, Montejo House, and Boulevard. Discover the vibrant heart of Mérida at the city’s local market hall before returning to your hotel. (Half Day; Time of Day: Morning; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy; Note: Please carry sun hat, shades, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, light clothes & comfortable walking shoes).
In the Company of Pink Flamingos at Celestún After an early breakfast at your hotel, drive west of Mérida and spend a leisurely day attuning yourself with the beautiful natural landscape of the pretty little fishing village of Celestún. Explore the beautiful natural lagoon of Celestún, which lies along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Take a laid-back boat ride to the gorgeous Celestún Biosphere Reserve, home to the famous pink flamingo and other coastal birds such as storks, herons, and pelicans. Spot flocks of flamingos getting their fill of saltwater shrimp which give these graceful birds their distinctive pink shade. Take a leisurely walk through the lush mangrove forests, with its crystal clear sweet water. Relish a delicious luncheon at a local inn before heading back to your hotel. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Moderate; Meals included: Lunch: Note: Please wear light clothes & comfortable shoes. Please carry sun hat, shades, sunscreen & mosquito repellent.)
Chichen Itza, located on the Yucatan Peninsula, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Testimony to the genius of the Mayan-Toltec civilization, these stunning ruins tower over the surrounding jungle
Day Trip to the Ruins of Chichen Itza and Izamal from Merida Drive from your hotel in Merida to the ancient city of Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, which used to be one of the largest Mayan cities from 600 AD to 1200 AD. Marvel at the sophisticated Mesoamerican architecture as you visit the majestic El Castillo pyramid, and walk around the temples, the Great Ball Court and La Iglesia. Journey on to Hacienda Selva Maya, a restaurant built on the remains of an old cattle ranch in Valladolid. Stroll around the impressive colonial property, and stop at a massive freshwater cenote (water-filled natural sinkhole) called Saamal, with a man-made waterfall cascading into it. Walk down a rustic system of stairs and platforms to dive into the cool, turquoise waters for a magical swim. Get ready to tickle your palate with a tasty lunch, serving local and regional delicacies. Next, visit the magical colonial city and UNESCO World Heritage site of Izamal also known as the Yellow City. Founded in the 4th century by the Mayan religious leader Itzamna, it is one of the oldest cities in the Yucatan peninsula and was later used by Spanish conquerors as a religious base. Step back in time as you observe the colonial architecture, plazas and arcades, horse-drawn calesas (carriages), cobblestone streets, and the vibrant yellow color of the buildings here. Visit the archaeological site in the center of town, the spectacular Franciscan Convent of San Antonio de Padua and some of the pyramids nestled among houses. (Duration: Full day; Please note that this includes road transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle, certified English-speaking guide, entrance fees, and lunch. Bring a swimsuit, towel, an extra set of clothes, biodegradable sunscreen and mosquito repellent, and comfortable shoes.)
Pristine beaches and turquoise waters promise you the ultimate tropical vacation at picture-postcard-perfect Isla Holbox. Tucked into the Yum Balam Biosphere Reserve on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, this beautiful island is slightly off the beaten path.
Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.
Accommodation in one double room for 14 days / 13 nights
Meals as indicated
Flights mentioned below on Economy Class unless otherwise specified: