Mexico - Best Tours & Trips 2019
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Stride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more
Impacted by Climate Change
- City Tour Campeche, Merida
- Cruise the lagoons and canals of Celestún
- View the Paseo de Montejo
- Visit Ek Balam, the colonial jewel of Izamal, Valladolid, Edzná, the Mayan Ruins of Uxmal, Chichén Itzá, Cancun
- Relax on the white sand beaches
- Sunset beach dinner
- Watch thousands of monarch butterflies surround you
- Tread off the beaten path on horseback to small towns
- Set your sights on impressive architecture in morelia's city centre
- Sample mexico city's vibrant nightlife
- Explore Mexico's amazing Yucatan Peninsula
- Revel in the beach vibe of Playa del Carmen
- Explore incredible Maya pyramids at Chichen Itza
- Discover the colonial history of charming Merida. Loaf around in leafy plazas, get cultural at a museum or just stroll the city streets which are alive with art and culture
- Swim in the crystal clear, azure water in the limestone cambers outside of Valladoliod.
- Bask in the tranquility and seclusion of the seaside town of Tulum, and explore the archeological site of Coba by bike
- An in-depth exploration of the highlights of the Mayan world
- Guided visits to the Mayan sites of Palenque, Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Tulum, Tikal and Xunantunich
- Colourful colonial cities of Antigua, San Cristobal de las Casas, Campeche and Merida
- Traditional communities in the Mexican highlands
- Two nights at beautiful Lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes
- Idyllic Caribbean waters in Mexico and Belize
- Exceptional opportunities for viewing dolphins, sea lions and whales in the wild.
- High-flying frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and squadrons of pelicans are your companions as you kayak past manta rays and brightly colored fish.
- The warm, crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez host a breath-taking array of tropical fish - perfect for snorkelling.
- Each winter endangered blue whales more than five times as long as your sea kayak migrate to these waters looking for tasty crustaceans.
- Encountering the largest animal on earth is a thrilling experience
- Fin, Humpback and Sei whales also frequent the area
- The Islands of Loreto Bay are high traffic areas only to whales, dolphins, and other marine lif.
- Boats are few and far between, and even other kayakers are seldom encountered.
- A few coves are popular lunch sites for passing boats or local fisherman, but otherwise you may feel as if you're alone in the wilderness.
- The Loreto Bay National Park Service assigns campsites on these islands, and only allows one group per site
- Barring mix-ups or weather emergencies, your tour will have the beach to yourself
- Discover the magical land of the Mayans on this guided tour
- Visit Chichen Itza, one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World
- See the city of Campeche that was once a fortified pirate haven
- Find the town of Ticul where native Mayans will show us their pottery work and reproductions of ancient Mayan figurines
- One of the trip highlights is snorkeling with friendly sea lions at Los Islotes, volcanic islets where playful sea lion pups dive off the rocks and pirouette below you. Other activities include hiking up colorful arroyos studded with tall cactus, snorkeling amongst hundreds of tropical fish, paddling below fantastic rock formations, and enjoying margaritas on the beach as the sun sets.
- Our motorized support boat carries all camping gear and the makings for fabulous meals prepared by your guides with a Mexican flair. Your kayaks are light and easy to paddle between camps while the accompanying motorboat provides an additional level of safety.
- Intense natural beauty, abundant wildlife, sunny weather and warm waters make Espiritu Santo Island a world-class sea kayaking destination. Join us and discover for yourself why Espiritu Santo Island is a paddler’s paradise!
- All tours include a snorkeling excursion with the sea lions of Los Islotes (weather dependent) as well as hotel included in the trip cost, and are motorboat-supported for easier paddling and lighter kayaks. Trip begins and ends in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
- Discover the best of Magdalena Bay and Cabo Pulmo in the comprehensive eight-day itinerary
- Camp on the beach, visit Espiritu Santo Island, and hike through Sierra de La Laguna Biosphere Reserve
- Visit Loreto
- Enjoy whale watching session
- Enjoy Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez
- Baja kayaking in the crown jewel of the Sea of Cortez: Carmen Island. Cliffs of red-hued basalt rising sharply out of the sea and the bold outlines of towering cacti provide the backdrop for paddling sea kayaks 60 miles on this little known, classic 9-day circumnavigation of Baja California’s Isla Carmen, the largest island in Loreto Bay National Marine Park in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California).
- While visitors frequent the southern tip of Isla Carmen, the northern part of the island is a place few humans will ever set foot. On this unique paddle, you'll have a chance to snorkel with brilliant king angelfish and lobster, watch plunge-diving blue-footed booties, and search for 60-foot whale sharks – the world’s largest fish.
- You'll even find a historic element on this wildlife and nature tour. Mid-way around the island, you'll make a brief stop at Salinas Bay to visit an abandoned 19th century salt mine and coral chapel.
- A two-day paddle rounding the island’s remote north shore leads to Balandra Bay, where you can hike an arroyo into the island’s desert interior past saguaro-like cardon cactus and wild figs in the company of desert iguanas and big-horned sheep.
- From your tented camps in sheltered coves, watch vermillion skies as they illuminate the banded layers of the Sierra de la Giganta range, the plume of a whale lingering in the still air, and leaping manta rays flopping back into the glassy water as guides dish out margaritas and tasty chili rellenos.
Exceptional opportunities for viewing dolphins, sea lions and whales in the wild
- High-flying frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and squadrons of pelicans are your companions as you kayak past manta rays and brightly colored fish
- The warm, crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez host a breathtaking array of tropical fish - perfect for snorkeling.
- Each winter endangered blue whales more than five times as long as your sea kayak migrate to these waters looking for tasty crustaceans
- Encountering the largest animal on earth is a thrilling experience. Fin, Humpback and Sei whales also frequent the area.
- Have a chance to see giant blue whales swim by, or fin whales or orcas
- Explore La Paz
- Visit the beautiful Sea of Cortez island has dozens of long beaches of golden sand, perfect for beach combing.
- Discover Isla San José
- Explore our Sea of Cortez kayaking tours feature encounters with blue & fin whales in the wild and secluded camping on remote desert islands. To prepare for your day of Baja kayaking, you'll find yoga or pilates to be an ideal addition to a blissful Baja vacation. All tours are suitable for beginners.
- See the islands of the Sea of Cortez contain striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters.
- The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers the perfect blend of kayaking, hiking and snorkelling.
- Watch abundant wildlife, massive whales, sunny weather and warm, crystalline waters make the Sea of Cortez in Loreto Bay National Marine Park or Espiritu Santo National Park the best winter adventure destinations in North America and Mexico.
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Top Mexico Experiences
Exploring the vast complex of Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, where ancient people created a sophisticated civilization.
Wandering the Zocalo -- the colonial-era central square in Mexico City – an impressive historic and architectural landmark in the heart of a huge, sprawling city.
Watching for whales and dolphins on a small-chip cruise in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California).
Feasting on freshly caught lobster or a fish taco in a seaside village along Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Taking the train through Copper Canyon.
Shopping at the public markets in Oaxaca for crafts, souvenirs, and local culinary specialties.
Lingering over coffee or a margarita at an outdoor café in the village of San Miguel de Allende.
Practicing your Spanish as you stroll through a small village, conversing with the locals (with hand gestures, if necessary).
Climbing the extraordinary Mayan ruins at Tulum, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, and the mysterious ancient pyramids near Mexico City.
Discovering the exotic rainforests and indigenous cultures of Chiapas in far southern Mexico.
Stopping at a roadside stand to buy some grilled Mexican chicken served with fresh tortillas – an unforgettable culinary experience.
Mexico Trip Reviews
419 Mexico Tour Reviews - Summary 97% Recommend
Mexico Tours and Travel Guide
Mexico Attractions & Landmarks Guide
More Americans visit Mexico than any other country. And no wonder. It’s close by with warm weather and delicious food, and offers a wide variety of attractions: everything from Mayan ruins to golden-sand beaches, cobbled colonial-era villages to vibrant cities, atmospheric haciendas to seaside resorts – as well as good value and friendly people. America’s southern neighbor is worthy of multiple tours – diverse, affordable, and easy to reach.
Stretching from the far northern Sonoran deserts to the far southern Chiapas rainforests, and from the deep blue Pacific Coast in the west to the turquoise Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea in the east – with innumerable cultural, artistic, historic, and culinary treasures in between -- Mexico offers a lifetime of memorable travel experiences.
Well-publicized incidents of gang-related violence along some northern border towns and certain resort areas (such as Acapulco) have deterred some travelers from visiting Mexico, but the vast majority of the country’s regions are safe. Reputable tour operators know to avoid problem areas, so there’s no need to deprive yourself of visiting some of North America’s most alluring attractions. Here are some highlights:
Visiting Mexico City
While this is one of the world’s largest cities, Mexico City has a manageably sized historic center that draws travelers to its Spanish-colonial architecture, museums, cathedrals, cafes and restaurants. The huge square known as the Zocalo is the heart of it all. North of the city you can visit the Teotihuacán Pyramids, which date from 300 BC, predating the Aztecs by a millennium The Pyramid of the Sun there (flanked by the Pyramid of the Moon), is one of the world’s largest pyramids. Teotihuacán, once one of the world’s largest cities in its own right, is Mexico’s most visited archeological site.
The Yucatan Peninsula
The Yucatan is a big, diverse peninsula that sticks up like a giant thumb into the Gulf of Mexico and also borders the Caribbean Sea. The peninsula is the site of multiple Mayan ruins, any of which are worth seeing. But the jewel in the crown is the huge complex at Chichen Itza, where you can view some 18 structures that date from around 600 AD and display a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy hundreds of years before Europeans did. The giant Pyramid Kukulcan is the star of the show: at sunset on the spring and fall equinoxes, shadows on the pyramid’s steps resemble a snake descending from top to bottom. You can also see the ball fields where games were played resulting in the sacrifice of the losing team captain – or perhaps, according to new theories, the winning team captain.
Another ancient highlight is Tulum, a smaller Mayan complex where the tropical heat is mitigated by its splendid location right on the Caribbean. Near Tulum are other ruins set deep in the rainforest. The coastline north of Tulum has been dubbed the Mayan Riviera, culminating in the popular and sometimes rowdy resort town of Cancun. Along the way lies the quieter, pretty beach town of Playa del Carmen.
Touring Central Mexico
Here you’ll find some of the most charming cities and villages in the country. Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, is known for its colonial architecture, attractive plazas, huge public market, moderate temperatures and mariachi bands. San Miguel de Allende is a mountainous colonial-era village with cobbled streets, striking architecture, and an arts scene that has attracted a steady stream of expats drawn to its beauty, culture, and, again, moderate temperatures.
The Pacific Coast
Mexico’s lengthy Pacific coastline encompasses the west coast of the 750-mile-long Baja California peninsula in the far north and leads south all the way to Guatemala. The golden-sand beaches here are some of the most beautiful in the world, and you can have your choice of small fishing villages or the more developed and popular resort towns such as Mazatlan, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, and Puerto Vallarta. Many are loaded with unspoiled charm, while others offer luxury accommodations -- and most are wonderful places to relax after a heavy round of touring.
Baja California, with the resort town of Cabo San Lucas at its tip, is an ideal place to take a small-ship cruise in search of whales and other marine mammals in the Sea of Cortez. Separated from the ocean by the peninsula, the calm sea waters are good for swimming, Scuba diving, and snorkeling.
The Gulf of Mexico Coast
The port city of Veracruz isn’t as widely visited as many Pacific coast resorts, but it has an interesting history (with Spanish, native Mexican, and African-Caribbean influences), some notable architecture, a long promenade for strolling the waterfront, Latin America’s largest aquarium, a big annual Carnaval celebration, good seafood, and some decent beaches.
Colonial History in Oaxaca
Located about 300 miles south of Mexico City, Oaxaca is one of the finest examples of Spanish colonial cities in the country, with exceptional architecture and a rich cultural tradition that features native Mexican as well as Spanish influences. Two big public markets are excellent places to buy crafts and try some of the local food specialties, while various ancient archeological sites dot the region.
This state in far southern Mexico is wild and untamed in spots, a place to take guided rainforest hikes but also to visit Spanish colonial towns and encounter a number of indigenous cultures. It’s home to the Palenque archeological site, one of the finest ancient Mayan ruins in the country, dating back two millennia or more.
All Mexico tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all Mexico trips.