Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Highlights of Mexico tour
Chichen Itza Mexico City Highlights of Mexico Trip
Palenque Playa del Carmen Highlights of Mexico Trip

Highlights of Mexico

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
96%
Travel Style: 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. Full on
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
9 days
From: $ 1,440 $ 160 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Palenque - Arguably the most enchanting of the ancient Maya ruins, set in dense jungle
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - A beautiful highland colonial market town, surrounded by modern day Maya villages
  • Chichen Itza - One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and an astounding display of grand Maya-Toltec architecture
  • Sumidero Canyon - A towering gorge, snaking through the Chiapas state
  • Roberto Barrios - A little known series of falls near Palenque, the perfect place for a swim in naturally formed pools

Short Description

A perfect introduction to Mexico starting off in the capital, journeying through the country's natural and archaeological highlights, and ending up at the beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen. Along the way, explore the pyramids of Teotihuacan, the incredible Maya sites of Palenque and Chichen Itza, as well as the colonial market town of San Cristobal, before finishing at the coast for some well-earned relaxation time.

Chichen Itza - Discover the infamous ancient ruins of one of the new Seven Wonders of the World

San Cristobal de las Casas - Walk through the colourful markets of this well preserved colonial town

Roberto Barrios waterfalls - Swim in the naturally formed pools and stunning series of falls near Palenque.

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.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Mexico City
End City Playa del Carmen Hotel
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Itinerary

Day 1 Join trip in Mexico City

Check-in at our hotel in Mexico City. Modern day Mexico City was built on top of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan by the Spaniards, after their conquest of the city. Today this busy, lively city boasts a wealth of historical buildings, museums and markets. Tomorrow we'll have a day exploring the Teotihuacan pyramids and the downtown area of the city , but there is so much to do in Mexico City that it's well worth considering booking a night here before your tour starts. The Anthropology Museum is a particular highlight worthy of an extra day.

Meals Provided : None

Day 2 Visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids; city tour of Mexico City

On our first day in Mexico City we will drive out to the mysterious pyramids of Teotihuacan. Although abandoned thirteen centuries ago, they are still an unbelievable sight. Once the largest city in the Americas with perhaps 100,000 inhabitants, its influence continued through Middle America, and Maya craftsmen borrowed its decorative motifs and building designs. Centuries later the Aztecs revered Teotihuacan as 'the Place of the Gods'. Returning to the downtown area, we have time for a city tour of the huge Zocalo (main square) area, the cathedral and the National Palace with its murals of the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera, depicting Mexican Independence. Many of these key sights were build on top of Tenochtitlan, the old Aztec capital.

Meals Provided : None

Day 3 Fly to Tuxtla Airport; boat trip through the Sumidero Canyon en route to San Cristobal

This morning we fly to Tuxtla airport, in the state of Chiapas, and set off for the spectacular Sumidero Canyon, a unique rift 41km long and up to 1000m deep, cut by the Rio Grijalva. This is the spot where, allegedly, in the 16th century, some 1000 Chiapa peoples committed suicide rather than submit to Spanish rule. We take a trip on a speed boat to fully appreciate the towering gorge, before driving up a scenic mountain road to San Cristobal de las Casas, the small colonial and indigenous town located high in the tree-lined Chiapas range. At 2210m above sea level, it can get quite cold at night!

Meals Provided : None

Day 4 Visit nearby indigenous villages; free afternoon to explore San Cristobal

Setting out northwest of San Cristobal, we drive to the traditional villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan to discover a completely different side to Mexico. These two villages are strongly indigenous, and practice an interesting blend of Catholicism and traditional Maya beliefs', which is evident from a visit to the local churches. After exploring the villages we head back to San Cristobal for free time to spend wandering around the shops, squares and markets of the small town. Indigenous groups from the surrounding hills fill the town and marketplace with their colourful dress, including the distinctive Tzotzil people who still retain much of their Maya customs and language. They are noted for their bright textiles and weavings in bold designs, and this is the place to barter for some colourful souvenirs. This afternoon you may wish to visit the Na Bolom, the House of the Jaguar, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Lacandon tribe and displays many of their artefacts, or the Kakaw museum where you can learn about the history and production of chocolate in the area.

Meals Provided : None

Day 5 Travel to Palenque via the Roberto Barrios waterfalls

Leaving the highlands, the road is slow and winding, but there are scenic views as we descend to the jungles of Palenque. We'll be driving via the town of Villahermosa, planning to bathe at the waterfalls of Roberto Barrios before driving onto our hotel. The river at Roberto Barrios tumbles over a series of limestone hills, forming a number of natural pools with overhangs, caves and numerous waterfalls to swim under.

Meals Provided : None

Day 6 Discover the important Maya site of Palenque; continue by bus to Campeche

One of the highlights of our trip is today's guided visit to the famous jungle ruins of Palenque, a fascinating and important Maya site. Once the choking forest was cleared, the ruins revealed the tomb of the high priest Pakal, his body adorned with a marvellous jade death mask - one of the most prized relics of the Maya culture, discovered only in 1952. The entire site, shrouded by the steamy rainforest, has an aura of deep mystery. After our visit we continue to the stunningly well-preserved colonial city of Campeche, which we explore on foot. This UNESCO Heritage city was constantly sieged by pirates and is thus the only walled city in Mexico It is almost so well maintained that it feels like a storybook town, and we will wander the walled ramparts, narrow cobblestoned roads, boulevard and pastel coloured buildings this afternoon. Beyond the walls of the old city, there is a bustling coastal town, with frenetic market activity, an inviting waterfront and old fishing docks to walk around.

Meals Provided : None

Day 7 Visit the ancient Maya city of Uxmal and drive to Merida

The next stop on our journey is the ancient site of Uxmal. Encircled by hills, Uxmal is expansive in its design with majestic palaces and pyramids. Long geometrical friezes rank among the most splendid examples of ancient American Art. The incredible Pyramid of the Magician and the beautiful Governor's Palace are two of the finest examples of Maya art anywhere. Later in the day we drive to Merida, famed for its beautiful Spanish-Moorish style architecture, where we have time to wander along the narrow streets watching the horse-drawn carriages rattle past. Alternatively there is an option to visit the Mundo Maya Museum, with its interesting displays and artefacts from the Maya culture.

Meals Provided : None

Day 8 Explore Chichen Itza and head to Playa del Carmen

This morning we drive to Chichen Itza. Founded in AD432, re-founded in 987 and conquered by the Toltecs in the 10th century, the culture of the Maya and the Toltec gradually fused. The pyramids, palaces, temples and ball court (where death was the penalty for defeat) are adorned with astonishing sculptures. Under the pressure of the civil war, the great monuments deteriorated and the Maya civilisation collapsed. Chichen Itza remains one of the most outstanding sites in the Americas. After a lengthy visit we drive to our final hotel in Playa del Carmen.

Meals Provided : None

Day 9 Trip ends in Playa del Carmen

The trip ends this morning in Playa del Carmen. For those who wish to stay longer, we can arrange post-tour accommodation in Playa del Carmen at our conveniently located hotel, just 1 block from the beach.

Meals Provided : None

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 1,440
Price Per Day: $ 160 per day
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Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Oct-11-2019Oct-19-2019$ 1,560Yes7 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-08-2019Nov-16-2019$ 1,440Yes5 Spaces Left Reserve
Dec-15-2019Dec-23-2019$ 1,520Yes15 Spaces Left Reserve
Feb-21-2020Feb-29-2020$ 1,530Yes9 Spaces Left Reserve
May-15-2020May-23-2020$ 1,530Yes16 Spaces Left Reserve
Oct-02-2020Oct-10-2020$ 1,530No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-06-2020Nov-14-2020$ 1,530No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-20-2020Nov-28-2020$ 1,530No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Dec-18-2020Dec-26-2020$ 1,530No18 Spaces Left Reserve

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Explore!.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Stride Featured in

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73 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

96%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 55
Great 11
Average 3
Disappointing 3
Terrible 1
Value
4.5
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.3
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

Highlights of Mexico

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Company Reviews

Trip of a lifetime seeing the Arctic in a week

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I travelled as a solo traveller and was relieved to find that about half the boat was also solo travellers. It was a great adventure - on a ferry board for a week with the most amazing panoramic views around us every day. We were regularly out on smaller boats to see the bird cliffs up close, or to go onto land to walk around. We saw lots of amazing wildlife including walrus, blue whales, beluga whales, endless species of birds, and of course Polar Bears! The week went by too quickly. It was a great mix of wildlife and landscapes. Each day there was a different guide giving a presentation of everything from the biology of a polar bear, to the fauna found in the arctic circle. You could join in for as little or as much as you wanted. Definitely recommended.
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Super good tour guide, but the itinerary was rushed

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Junk on Halong Bay, Homestay in Mekong Delta. Hoi An Our tour guide, Long, was excellent and did a super job of mixing history and political context with what we were seeing. He went out of his way to add to the tour, actually taking us to favorite restaurant on his night off. The children loved him and we enjoyed his professionalism and his personal narrative of Vietnam. I felt that the itinerary was very rushed for a family tour. I understand the non family tour is longer and actually that would have been better for the family too. In particular a very busy day in Hue followed a mostly sleepless night on the train. We could have done with more time in Hue, or different activities. Hue was a bad day as the kite making was dull, crowded, and hot, then we didn't get to fly kites as we had not made them. In the end we had little time at the Citadel as we had to transfer into a small bus to navigate the streets.
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Excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.

Pleasant surprise experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation4.0
Meals5.0
It is hard to say because each outing was a pleasant surprise. The best experience was a workshop on feltmaking in Kazbegi town Georgia) where, as a group, we made the felt from scratch and created our own design. A great opportunity to discover a local craft. It is also an excellent example how this diverse group got along like a house on fire. In Armenia my fqvourite outing was the walk along the Garni river gorge with a local guide. The scenery was breathtaking.
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Details

Guides

Explore Tour Leader, Driver(s), Local Guide(s)

Age Notes

Min. Age: 14

Trip ID#:

explore_new-MXS

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