Enjoy breath-taking scenery and an impressive list of anthropological sites as you to dig deep into Mexico’s fascinating ancient cultures. From the bustling metropolis of Mexico City to the electrifying blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, this tour opens your eyes to the vast diversity on offer on Mexico’s Northern Peninsular.
You’ll marvel at the spectacularly preserved artefacts of Mayan and Aztec Civilisation, displayed either in situ within remarkable pyramid complexes or in wonderfully presented museums.
End your tour with some heavenly relaxation at one of the Yucatan Peninsula’s premier beach resorts.
Tour Duration: 14 days
- Mexico City
- San Cristóbal de las Casas
- Playa de Mujeres
Day 1: Arrive in Ciudad de Mexico and be greeted by our ground representatives who will escort you to your hotel in the city. The rest of the evening is yours at leisure.
Day 2: One of the largest cities in the world is going to leave you amazed. Mexico City is the political, social and cultural center of the country and has many universities, museums, and monuments.
Start your guided tour with a visit of the presidential palace, the Zócalo and the cathedral. The Museo Nacional de Antropología is the most frequented museum in Mexico. It has 12 exhibition halls, each of which is dedicated to a different pre-Columbian civilization of Mexico and which total an area of nearly 80,000-m².
Discover the civilizations of the Olmec, Toltec, Aztecs and Maya, among many others. Continue the tour with a walk through the historic and picturesque Coyoacán - a southern suburb of Mexico City, meaning “place of coyotes”. Next, we’ll visit the Museo Frida Kahlo at Casa Azul (the blue house) and the simple house of exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.
Day 3: After breakfast, we’ll tour more of the city and observe the two basilicas dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, located directly next to each other. During a short walk you can visit the churches and the gardens behind it. A special highlight is the legendary cloak of the Virgin in the new, modern basilica.
After lunch, travel by coach to the huge pyramid complex of Teotihuacán. It was the first city in the “New World.” Built between 250 BC and 700 AD, its population, in its heyday, amounted to approximately 125,000 – 250,000 people in about 2,300 apartment complexes; at that time, it certainly was the largest metropolis on the American continent.
Day 4: After breakfast, check out and prepare to journey east. Continue by coach to the colonial city of Puebla. The most beautiful sights of Puebla are not far from the zócalo and within short walking distance.
A must is the cathedral and the Plaza de la Constitución – one of the most beautiful squares in Mexico. We'll continue with our transfer to the airport for our flights to Oaxaca and check in to our new hotel. Reconvene for dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 5: Today we will visit the world of the Zapotec and Mixtec at Monte Albán. The magnificently situated ruins on an artificially flattened hilltop are surrounded by a circle of terraces, houses, temples and tombs on the slopes of the hill. Here lived the common people. Visit the Museo Regional de Oaxaca located in the former Dominican monastery of the 16th century.
Among the most impressive finds are goldsmiths’ works from grave 7 (1250 - 1480 AD) of Monte Albán – outstanding masterworks of Mixtec artists. During a tour of the center of Oaxaca, you will experience one of the most beautiful colonial towns of Mexico. Situated in the Valle Central, Oaxaca is part of the tropics climatically, but owing to its altitude (1,500 m [4,900 ft.]), the mean annual temperature is a pleasant 21°C. Stroll the old cobbled streets, and do not neglect to visit – besides the magnificent church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán and the ever-bustling Zócalo – one of the many colorful markets.
Day 6: Between Oaxaca and Mitla lies the peaceful village of Santa María del Tule. Next to the small church in the center of the village, you visit the enormous ahuehuete tree, which has grown more than 36.2 m [119 ft.] round during its about 2,000 years’ lifetime. After lunch, enjoy a visit to a Mexican weaving mill. When you enter Teotitlán del Valle, you will notice freshly dyed wool threads everywhere – they are drying in the sun and waiting for further processing. The dyes are produced from natural substances.
The whole village has specialized in the manufacture of carpets, and every family, mostly of Zapotec origin, has its own style and master weavers. Visit the archaeological site of Mitla. The importance of this “place of the dead” is still not clear and shows how much knowledge has been lost in the course of history. The buildings were probably built entirely by the Zapotec. The Group of the Columns with the Patio of the Mosaics (Patio de las Grecas) is considered one of the highlights of pre-Columbian architecture in Mexico. Today the neighborhood of Mitla is marked by small picturesque markets where weavings and other articles are offered.
Day 7: Today we will fly from Oaxaca to Tuxla Gutiérrez and we'll enjoy dinner together this evening.
Day 8: Start for a boat trip through the magnificent Sumidero Canyon. It leads you through the deep gorge carved by the Río Grijalva. Its steep bluffs, rising up to 1,000 m [3,280 ft.], remind us of Nordic fjords. High waterfalls and rocks copiously overgrown with fern and moss captivate us by their diversity.
The Sumidero National Park features tropical vegetation and exotic animals such as little alligators, toucans, pelicans, and herons. Afterwards, enjoy a tour to San Cristóbal de las Casas , which offers a pleasant climate to its visitors. From the Zócalo, you walk through the historic center to the Cathedral and to the most beautiful building of San Cristóbal, the church Iglesia del Convento Santo Domingo.
Day 9: Visit to the Indian village of Chamula – the ceremonial center of the Chamula and Zinacantán. In the church Catholic and Mayan rituals combine in fascinating ways. The church has no seating; the floor is covered with pine needles and straw. Zinacantán means “place of bats” and is a Nahuatl name that dates back to the times of the Conquista.
Visit the mighty colonial church and get to know the descendants of the Mayas as a dynamic and self-confident community – more than 99 % of the Tzotzil continue to use their indigenous language. After the short tour of the town, you are guest in the small weaving mill of three sisters. Relishing freshly cooked tortillas, you learn more about life in Zinacantán and the art of weaving from the three committed women. The afternoon is free to enjoy at leisure.
Day 10: Visit the waterfall of Misol-Ha, about 50 km [30 mi.] southwest of Palenque. Over a steep rock face, the water falls about 30 m [c. 100 ft.] into a pool surrounded by dense jungle, where you can swim at your own risk. The vegetation, the play of shadows created by the high treetops, and the many unfamiliar sounds of the jungle are a mystic experience.
Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Day 11: From the village of Palenque, you will reach the most beautiful ruined site in all of Mexico. Founded around 300 BC, Palenque flourished in the 7th and 8th centuries AD. All buildings that are still visible date from this period, e.g., the “Temple of Inscriptions” with more than 620 hieroglyphs that tell King Pacal’s history, the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Sun, and the North Temple with its stucco remains and military scenes. The city of Campeche is surrounded by a wall that was necessary to defend the rich city against pirates.
On a tour you will visit the narrow streets of the major port city with its restored colonial buildings, the Zócalo and the Cathedral of La Concepción. Go back to the era of the Spanish conquistadores.
Day 12: Immerse in the history of the late Classic Maya period. The name Uxmal means “built three times.” Built around 600 to 950 AD, the meaning of many buildings has not yet been fully unraveled. The site impresses the visitors with decorated façades, vast terraces, squares, columns, and archways.
After, continue for a trip to the colonial capital of Yucatán – Mérida. Founded in 1542, Mérida is the economic and cultural capital of Yucatán up to the present day. The town impresses the visitor with colonial charm, narrow streets, and romantic horse-drawn carriages. The influence of Spain and France can be noticed all over the city. The Champs-Elysées, for example, became a model for the Paseo de Montejo. On your tour, you will see the cathedral, the Palacio Municipal, and the Casa de Montejo, the house where the founder of the city was born.
Day 13: Today, we head towards the Carribean coast and the resort of Cancun. In the morning, we’ll stop at one of the most visited of Mayan Temples, Chichén Itzá. To date, only about 30 of the many buildings buried and overgrown by the jungle have been uncovered and restored. “El Castillo,” the most impressive building (30 m [98 ft.] high), rises far beyond the site. The observatory was used by the Maya, among other things, for observing Venus and its orbit.
Day 14: Enjoy the facilities of the resort until check-out time at noon. You will be transported back to Cancun International Airport for your flights home. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking if you would like to extend your stay in Cancun.
Included in this tour:
- International Return Airfare from London Heathrow Airport [LHR] to Mexico City [MEX] and return from Cancun International [CUN] to London Heathrow Airport [LHR].
- Air tickets for domestic flights: From Tuxtla Gutierrez [TGZ] to Oaxaca [OAX].
- Return Airport transfers in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle
- All accommodation as stated
- Daily guided walking or panoramic tours, as stated on itinerary
- Transportation in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle
- Meals as detailed in the itinerary.
- Experienced English speaking tour guides.
- All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary.
Group departure available on 27th April 2018.