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15 Days Scenic Mexico Escape: Uncover The History And Culture

Created with Sketch. Mexico
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Duration

15D/14N

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

Unlimited

Languages

English, Espanol

Overview

With its rich legacy of Aztec, Mayan and Spanish Colonial architecture, Mexico is perhaps unsurprisingly home to more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country in the Americas.

On this epic journey which travels from Mexico City in the Central Highlands through the rainforests of Chiapas to the coastline of the Yucatan, we’ll not only have ample opportunities to visit several of these sites (some well-known, others less so) but also to experience the incredible diversity of landscapes, climate and peoples of this fascinating southern half of the country. A world away from the tourist resorts of Acapulco and Cancun lies a Mexico that is all too often unseen and that is richer in traditional culture than many of its smaller Central American neighbours.

With more time than on many of our other trips factored in for rest, relaxation and personal exploration, this trip will also serve as a great holiday for those seeking some sun, sea and sand in combination with a highly rewarding travel experience. So come for the best of both worlds! Mexico has it all in abundance.

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Itinerary

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Tour starts in Mexico City

The tour starts this evening in Mexico’s bustling capital. Rooms will be available from early afternoon for anyone arriving before the time. Day at leisure.

Mexico City

One could easily spend a week or more exploring the many sights in and around Mexico’s capital so by its very nature our time spent here cannot be fully comprehensive. However we aim today to provide a good introduction to the city and the country by first visiting the excellent Museo Nacional de Antropologia, home to one of the largest Mesoamerican collections anywhere in the world and which will provide an important context for many of the places we will visit later on in the trip. We’ll also visit the vast expanse of the iconic Zocalo, and take a tour through the heart of the city’s colonial past, taking in the stunning facades of the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Mexico City - Oaxaca

Our journey today will take us through magnificent Mexican countryside to the picturesque city of Oaxaca. Our actual driving time will be about 6hrs but will be broken up with a visit to the charming historic city centre of Puebla, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to more than 70 churches and thousands of colonial buildings.

Oaxaca

This morning we’ll head out to see one of the region’s most significant pre-Columbian ruins, Monte Alban, otherwise known in indigenous languages as ‘At the Foot of the Sky’ or ‘Sacred Mountain.’ This partially excavated site is characterised by several hundred terraces and a dozen clusters of mounded architecture. Later we’ll return to Oaxaca for a guided tour around this stunning city that is home to several impressive colonial buildings including the cathedral, the Templo del Carmen Alto and the Templo de Santo Domingo.

Oaxaca - Tehuantepec

After a visit this morning to the nearby Teotitlan del Valle, which is admired locally for its textiles we’ll head into the foothills of the Sierra Madre to discover the well-preserved Zapotec archaeological ruins of Mitla, renowned for its geometric mosaics. We’ll then continue down towards the Pacific coast and the town of Tehuantepec which will provide us with our night stop.

Tehuantepec – San Cristobal de las Casas

Heading into the state of Chiapas we’ll make for the Sumidero Canyon to take a wonderful boat trip through the majestic rock walls of the canyon towering thousands of feet above the water. We hope to catch glimpses of the local wildlife such as crocodiles, spider monkeys, cormorants and herons. On our return to the dock we’ll continue into the highlands, finally arriving at the beautiful town of San Cristobal de las Casas.

San Cristobal de las Casas

This morning we’ll visit the nearby local indigenous towns of San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantan, which are famous for their unusual religious traditions, including drinking copious amounts of Coca Cola in an attempt to ward off evil spirits! Please note that in these towns photography inside the churches and of any religious parades is strictly forbidden. In the afternoon we’ll return to San Cristobal where the rest of the day will be free to relax and enjoy the surrounds of this enduringly popular destination.

San Cristobal de las Casas – Las Guacamayas

Eschewing the more commonly taken direct route to Palenque we instead opt to take the so-called Frontier Highway which runs along the border with Guatemala. This route will take us along rough roads into the rainforest to access the ecotourism project of Las Guacamayas, established by local villagers and which benefits from a remote jungle location. This will be our base for the next two nights.

Las Guacamayas

With a full day in the jungle, there will be time for early morning boat rides along the Lacantun and Tzendales Rivers, both of which lie within the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, and which offer great wildlife spotting opportunities. In the afternoon we’ll also be able to go for a hike through the forest to see the flora of this protected zone as well as an area where parrots often come to feed. Las Guacamayas is a special place that offers a good insight into the natural wonders of Chiapas and is a project we are proud to support.

Las Guacamayas – Corozal

This morning we’ll make for one of the least visited and most impressive Mayan sites – Yaxchilan – renowned for its incredible setting and ornamental facades. In the afternoon a boat ride takes us along the Usumacinta River, the natural border between Mexico and Guatemala, as the calls of large troops of howler monkey remind us just how far from modern civilization we are. We return back up the river to our overnight cabins close to our embarkation point.

Corozal - Palenque

After breakfast we’ll make for Bonampak – the fascinating and well-guarded secret of the Lacandón forest. These ruins are famous for the astonishing paintings inside the Templo de las Pinturas, with vivid depictions of battles and bizarre rituals unmatched in the Mayan world. After time to take in these magnificent surroundings, we’ll head on to Palenque, aiming to arrive at our hotel in the afternoon.

Palenque – Campeche

Early in the morning we head for the archaeological site of Palenque - one of the most spectacular Mayan sites anywhere in Mexico. Engulfed by jungle and occupying a high escarpment on the northern edge of the Chiapas Highlands, these captivating ruins span nearly a thousand years of history. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city once lay at the heart of the Mayan empire and its revered Templo de las Inscripciones is considered one of the most important burial sites ever discovered in the Americas. After a comprehensive visit, a six hour drive takes us finally into the Yucatan peninsula. Here we’ll spend the night in the wonderfully preserved Baroque city of Campeche that was built by the Spanish to protect their ports from pirates such as Francis Drake. With two forts and part of its old defensive walls still intact, Campeche contains some superb examples of 17th and 18th century Spanish military architecture, whilst its main plaza is a great place to soak up the rich ambience of modern life.

Campeche - Merida

Our drive through the Yucatan this morning will take us to Uxmal to visit the stunningly preserved ruins of one of the finest Mayan cities ever built. Once one of the largest cities on the Yucatan Peninsula, Uxmal can boast the spectacular setting of the Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be one of the finest examples of classical Mayan architecture anywhere. It is also home to the mystical Pyramid of the Magician, a 38 metre high structure that is in fact five superimposed temples. This afternoon we’ll continue on to Merida, the cultural hub of the Yucatan Peninsula, blessed with some very impressive colonial architecture.

Merida - Chichen Itza - Merida

To avoid the inevitable but understandable crowds, we’ll have an early start as we make for Chichen Itza, one of the most awe-inspiring attractions in Latin America. This pre-Columbian city is famed for the intricately designed Castillo pyramid where human sacrifices were made. Later there will be an opportunity to stop at a picturesque cenote (sinkhole) for a quick swim before returning to Merida for our last night. The afternoon will be free to explore the city, however in the evening we will regroup to head out for our final night in Mexico.

Tour ends in Merida

The tour officially ends after breakfast but those on the suggested group flights will have the morning free before being transferred to Merida airport for their onward flights.

Included/Excluded

  • Stay -
  • 2 Nights Mexico City
  • 2 Nights Oaxaca
  • 1 Night Tehuantepec
  • 2 Nights San Cristobal de las Casas
  • 2 Nights Las Guacamayas
  • 1 Night Corozal
  • 1 Night Palenque
  • 1 Night Campeche
  • 2 Nights Merida
  • Meal - Daily Breakfast
  • All transfers
  • Accommodation for 14 nights with breakfast
  • Guided tours
  • All entrance tickets
  • Airport transfers
  • anything not included in Inclusions

Durations

Multi day

Languages

English
Espanol

Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Mexico
Created with Sketch.
₹14001
from ₹201000 ₹186999

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