Day 1 Mexico City
On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel where you will meet your fellow travellers and Tour Director (T.D.) for a welcome briefing. Welcome dinner is included tonight in a traditional restaurant.
Overnight at Royal Reforma hotel
Day 2 Mexico City
Today you will start with a half-day tour of the city including the Zocalo Cathedral, National Palace and murals of Diego Rivera. You will also take a guided tour of the world-famous Anthropological Museum.
Day 3 Mexico City
La Roma foodie tour. Become a Mexican food expert in under four hours. Explore amazing tastes, sights and sounds of the culinary avant-garde Colonia Roma. Seek out traditional ‘mom and pop’ specialty food shops, ethnic eateries and charming neighbourhood restaurants. So go ahead and feel good about indulging your taste buds it’s fuel for the body and replenishment for the soul. We can guarantee that you’ll walk away with new gastronomic knowledge, a happy smile and a satisfied appetite.
Day 4 Mexico City
Xochimilco culinary experience. Discover mysteries of the ancient Aztec city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan with an early morning nature experience in back channels of Xochimilco. Enjoy bird watching and learn all about the intriguing Axolotl salamander, a rare amphibian with unique regeneration abilities that is on the verge of extinction, and support the conservation efforts for this incredible creature.
Today’s highlights include Bird watching experience in the back channels of Xochimilco with an expert naturalist guide. With your participation, you will be supporting efforts to save the Axolotl from extinction and learn all about this intriguing endemic species. You’ll visit the Chinampas and learn the history of these garden islands and about the preservation efforts to protect them. Lastly, enjoy a traditional lunch experience with produce grown on the chinampas.
Day 5 Mexico City/Puebla
Today you will have a half-day sightseeing tour of the famous Teotihuacan Pyramids, ‘where men become gods’. You will have the opportunity to climb the amazing Pyramids as well as visit the place of Quetzal-Butterfly, the Feather Snake Temple and the Avenue of the Dead. After the tour transfer overland to your hotel in Puebla.
Overnight at Colonial de Puebla
Day 6 Puebla
Spend a half-day taking in the sites of Puebla City which sits at the foot of the Popocatepetl volcano. Founded in 1531, Puebla retains its authenticity, as you’ll notice on your guided tour of the historical Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roam the Zócalo (city centre), home to beautiful colonial architecture, including more than 70 churches and thousands of buildings, many adorned with painted Talavera azulejos (ceramic tile).
Day 7 Puebla/Oaxaca
After breakfast, we drive towards Oaxaca, another one of Mexico’s World Heritage cities. With appealing cultural and culinary scenes and a beautiful colonial core of lovely, tree-shaded streets, Oaxaca is one of Mexico´s most captivating cities. Artists and artisans alike are inspired by the area’s creative atmosphere, indigenous traditions and bright, clear light. Oaxaca has top-class museums, charming inns, fascinating markets and its own subtle version of Mexican cuisine. The city boasts beautiful sights such as the main square, the ancient Cathedral or the vast and impressive Convento de Santo Domingo.
Overnight at Hotel Oaxaca Real
Day 8 Oaxaca
Free day to relax and explore Oaxaca on your own. Once you have explored the gorgeous centre of Oaxaca, turn your attention to the many towns and villages surrounding the city, each with their own speciality handcraft and weekly markets.
Day 9 Oaxaca
Visit Monte Alban, Teotitlán del Valle and enjoy a mezcal tasting. Monte Alban – a World Heritage Site – is spectacularly situated on a mountain 400 metres above the Oaxaca Valley. Monte Alban is the greatest of the Zapotec cities, and it came to dominate the cultural, religious, and economic life of the region. It is also a triumph of engineering; the mountain top was levelled to allow for the creation of the ceremonial site. We will explore the Gran Plaza, the Ball Court, the Observatory, the Palace, and other beautiful structures.
The next stop is Teotitlán del Valle. This deeply Zapotec community is famous for its rugs woven on hand-operated looms. While visiting the town, whose church lies on visible remains of a Zapotec temple, you will meet a family of weavers. They will show you how the wool is processed and how they make a vast variety of colours using natural dyes such as cochineal, violet and pomegranate. On the way back, you will also make a stop at a local Mezcal Distillery to learn all about it and of course, if you like, to taste some delicious Mezcal. The producers will take you step-by-step through the process of mezcal production.
Day 10 Oaxaca/San Cristobal
Fly to Tuxtla and transfer overland to the township of San Cristobal via the Sumidero Canyon. You’ll have a chance to see the canyon from the viewpoints above before descending to the floor of the canyon and taking a two-hour boat ride along the river. Enjoy close up views of the canyon walls towering 800m overhead; keep your eyes peeled for the occasional crocodile! Overnight in one of Mexico’s most beautiful colonial cities.
Overnight at Casa Mexicana
Day 11 San Cristobal
Today is the big day and you will learn all about the day of dead festivities which take place between today and tomorrow.
Morning city tour of San Cristobal de las Casas and its colonial streets. Then visit the villages of San Juan Chamula & Zinacantan to watch the preparations for the night. In Zinacantan visit the traditional back-strap weavers and sample handmade tortillas and the local home-brewed fire-water as well as the cemetery.
In San Juan Chamula, the Tzotzil Maya practice some fascinating religious rituals that blend pre-Hispanic traditions with Catholicism. You will visit the church in the centre of town, where there are no pews and no altar. Instead, worshippers kneel on the floor, lighting candles and chanting. Later in the afternoon travel to Romerillo, a tiny Indian village in the mountains not far from San Cristobal. Here, locals put large crosses and decorate them with flowers, as they believe that these crosses will protect the souls.
Day 12 San Cristobal/Palenque
Leave San Cristobal behind and start travelling north towards Palenque. On the way, stop to look at the famous Agua Azul falls (Bluewater in Spanish). Agua Azul is a group of beautiful waterfalls that create wonderful natural ponds. Then visit Misol-Ha waterfall, which is the meeting point for the waters of the river Tzaconeja. From a crashing 30 meters, its falls come plummeting down in what is one of the most impressive images of Chiapas.
Overnight at Chan-Kah Resort Village
Day 13 Palenque/Mérida
Depart this morning on a guided tour of the impressive Mayan site of Palenque. The jungle-covered complex is one of the most famous in Mexico and is located in the low hills of Chiapas. The pyramids, sanctuaries and temples, with their sculptured wall-panels and roofs, are remarkably well preserved and are probably the finest surviving examples of Mayan buildings. In the afternoon, we drive to Villahermosa, to board a plane and fly to the Colonial city of Merida.
Overnight at Caribe Merida
Day 14 Mérida
Our guide will give us a tour of the historical center of the city of Mérida. The city was founded in 1542. Start in the main square of the city (Zócalo), exploring the oldest Cathedral in the Americas, the Government House with paintings by Fernando Castro and the Municipal Palace.
Afterwards, we will head to the fascinating Mayan ruins of Uxmal (‘three times built’). As a World Heritage site, Uxmal is one of the best restored and maintained ruins in the Yucatan, and certainly one of the most magnificent. After the tour, return to your hotel.
Day 15 Mérida
Today you will have a free day to explore Merida on your own. Alternatively, you can participate in an optional activity such as a cooking class, visit Celestun or Rio Lagartos Biospheres, or take a tour of a traditional working hacienda.
Day 16 Mérida/Chichen-Itza
Today we will start with a visit to the traditional Maya village of Tixkokob to see how local families still practise the age-old tradition of hammock weaving. Our second visit today is Izamal, once a Maya is now a ‘pueblo mágico’. Izamal likely had a pyramid much larger than the Castillo at Chichen Itzá. We then continue for a refreshing dip in the Cenote Yokzonote before arriving at your hotel close to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Chichen Itza.
Overnight at Piste (5 min drive to Chichen Itza)
Day 17 Chichen-Itza/Cancun
Early this morning, you will be met by your guide to explore the the magnificent ruins of Chichen Itza, set in a dense jungle. Chichen Itza is the most famous Mayan temple city, served as the political and economic centre of the Mayan civilisation. Its various structures -the pyramid of Kukulkan, the Temple of Chac Mool, the Hall of the Thousand Pillars, and the Playing Field of the Prisoners – can still be seen today and are demonstrative of an extraordinary commitment to architectural space and composition. The pyramid itself was the last, and arguably the greatest, of all Mayan temples. At the end of the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel in Cancun.
Overnight at Adhara Hacienda Cancun
Day 18 Cancun
Transfer to Cancun airport for your flight back home or continue with our optional extension trip to Cuba or Central America.