Aztecs & Mayas
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See the magic of Mexico with this 10-day guaranteed departure tour during which you’ll discover a fascinating mix of ancient civilisations, breath-taking natural beauty and charming colonial cities. Explore the magnificent metropolis of Mexico City, then head to the mystical Mayan cities and Aztec ruins of the south. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Sumidero Canyon, learn about indigenous culture in Chiapas, lose yourself in the timelessness of Merida and savour the delights of Puebla. This unforgettable journey showcases the best Mexico has to offer.
Mexico City: This enormous capital city maintains its colonial charm while offering a vibrant and eclectic atmosphere.
Teotihuacan: Behold the vast scale of this well-preserved ancient city dominated by the 2,000-year-old Pyramid of the Sun.
Puebla: Visit the majestic historical centre that concentrates the largest number of 18th-century colonial buildings and explore its stunning Cathedral.
Sumidero Canyon: The 1,000-metre-high vertical walls of this verdant beauty are a truly awe-inspiring sight.
Campeche: The walled old town of this colonial city is colourfully pristine and has been meticulously restored.
Uxmal: The Pyramid of the Magician – a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site – rises high above the jungle canopy.
Merida: Yucatan’s ‘White City’ is famed for its 19th-century tree-lined boulevards.
Celestun: See pink flamingos in the wild on a trip to the beautiful Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve.
Chichen Itza: Uncover the mysteries of Maya civilisation at this ancient archaeological site dominated by the imposing Temple of Kukulkan.
- Operated with local English & Spanish speaking licensed guide on a shared basis
- 9 nights’ accommodation
- 9 breakfasts,
- 2 lunches on day 9 and 10
- Air-conditioned transportation on a shared basis
- Airport arrival transfer from Mexico City International airport to selected hotel on shared basis
- Departure Transfer to Hotel in Cancun or Riviera or Cancun airport on shared basis
ENTRANCE FEES AND ACTIVITIES:
- All entrance fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary: Mexico City tour on day 2, Anthropological Museum on day 2, Teotihuacan on day 2, Basilica de Guadalupe on day 2, Tonantzintla on day 3, Puebla tour on day 3, Cholula on day 3, Sumidero boat trip on day 4, San Juan Chamula and Zinacatan on day 5, Agua Azul or Misol-Ha waterfalls on day 6, Palenque ruins on day 7, Campeche city tour on day 8, Uxmal on day 8, panoramic tour in Merida on day 8, Celestun BT on day 9 and Chichen Itza on day 10.
- Meet & Greet on day 1
- Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals if not stated explicitly in the programme
- Optional tours
- International and domestic flight tickets or Mexican visa fees and local taxes
- Gratuities for drivers and guides
- In San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán, photographs or video are prohibited within the temples, of traditional authorities, processions and rituals
- Please consider your flight Mexico City / Tuxtla Gutierrez arriving latest 13:00 hrs in order take part in the Sumidero Canyon boat tour. For arrivals after 13:00 hrs the transfer to San Cristobal will be offered (you will not take part in the Sumidero boat tour). Airfare is not included in the package.
- Please note that during transfers between zones there will be no guide service
- Late drop off at the airport. Estimated arrival time at Cancun is 18.30 hrs. So please book the departing flight accordingly (or book additional night in Cancun)
- Local conditions prevalent at the time of travel may result in modifications to the tour contents without prior notice.
What do I need to bring?
Comfortable and light clothing is the most suitable for travelling in Mexico. However, the climate in Chiapas can be wet and cold, especially in winter, therefore we recommend to bring warm clothes, a raincoat and umbrella. Visitors should not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts or skimpy clothing when visiting temples, religious or official buildings. Sun protection, sunglasses, a hat and mosquito repellent can be very useful during your stay.
Day 1-3 Mexico City
- Standard Hotel Category = Majestic or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Geneve or similar 4*
Day 4-5 San Cristobal
- Standard Hotel Category = Mansión del Valle or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Casa Vieja or similar 4*
Day 6 Palenque
- Standard Hotel Category = Mision Palenque or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category =Chan Kah or similar 4*
Day 7 Campeche
- Standard Hotel Category = Plaza Colonial or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Plaza Campeche or similar 4*
Day 8-9 Merida
- Standard Hotel Category = Mision Panamericana or similar 3*
- Superior Hotel Category = Mision de Fray Diego or similar 4*
- Once ordered, this tour cannot be cancelled or refund or amended at any circumstances.
Day 1 : ARRIVAL MEXICO CITY
After your plane lands at Mexico City International Airport, our tour representative will meet and greet you before assisting you with the shared transfer to your hotel. Once you are checked in, you can spend the rest of this first day at leisure. If you can’t wait to start exploring, hit the streets and start becoming acquainted with the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. Alternately, if you want to put your feet up after the flight, you can stay at the hotel relaxing and taking advantage of all the available services. In any case, make sure you get enough rest for tomorrow your adventure begins.
Overnight in Mexico City.
Day 2 : MEXICO CITY – TEOTIHUACAN – MEXICO CITY (100 Km – 2 hrs)
After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will be waiting for you at the hotel at 8.00 hrs to take you to visit the ‘Zocalo’ – the city’s main square. Here you’ll find the cathedral and presidential palace. Later, visit the National Anthropology Museum, which houses a priceless collection of artefacts, some of which are 35,000 years old. Enjoy a guided tour of this facility featuring 11 sections dedicated to different eras and civilisations. Perhaps the most famous exhibit is the Aztec sun stone, but Olmec sculptures and Mayan murals have not lost their beauty after all these centuries. The scale models of pre-colonial cities are also fascinating. After the museum, continue with a visit to the well-preserved ruins of Teotihuacan, an ancient civilisation that seems to have gone into decline in the sixth century but had a large influence on later civilisations such as the Aztecs. Then travel back in time as you stroll along the Avenue of the Dead towards the imposing 2,000-year-old Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest in the world. At the end of the visit, you’ll have some free time to explore the site and climb one of the colossal pyramids to take in the views from the top. Lunch is not included. Then return to the city and stop at the famous Guadalupe shrine to visit both the old and new basilicas. . In the evening, return to the hotel and have the rest of day at leisure.
Overnight in Mexico City
Day 3 : MEXICO CITY – TONANTZINTLA – CHOLULA & PUEBLA – MEXICO CITY (370km – 5.30 hrs)
Wake up to breakfast at the hotel before your guide picks you up to take you on a full-day adventure beginning in Santa María Tonantzintla. Visit its Baroque church, which has a noteworthy talaveresque façade and a beautiful interior decorated with polychrome. Continue then to the archaeological area of Cholula, which features the largest pyramidal basement in the Americas. Its roof is made of 49 domes that cover the seven bodies of the temple and two lateral chapels. You’ll then be transferred to the ‘City of Angels’, Puebla, where you’ll have free time for lunch (not included). Visit the majestic historic centre, which concentrates the largest number of 18th-century colonial buildings. Walk into its Cathedral to admire its interior and contemplate its front facade and towers, considered the highest in Mexico. Continue to the Chapel of the Rosary, added onto the Santo Domingo church in the 17th century. Its vibrant interior features polychrome and gold leaf decorations. Now is the time to buy some souvenirs (typical sweets or objects from Talavera). You’ll be dropped off back in Mexico at dusk.
Overnight in Mexico City
Day 4 : CIUDAD DE MEXICO – TUXTLA GUTIERREZ – SUMIDERO CANYON – SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS (70km – 2 hrs)
Today breakfast at the hotel is followed by a transfer to Mexico City Airport, where you’ll catch a flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez (airfare not included). You should land at Tuxtla Gutierrez Airport at 13:00 at the latest. There a tour representative will meet and greet you before taking you to the Sumidero Canyon, one of Mexico’s most outstanding natural attractions. This spectacular gorge carved into the earth over millions of years by the River Grijalva has to be one of Mother Nature’s least celebrated masterpieces. This makes visiting it even more exciting. During a two-hour boat tour along the imposing canyon bed, you will be able to appreciate just how deep this ravine gorge is. Find yourself dwarfed by the sheer scale of its high walls, which are covered in a thick coat of vegetation. Admire the beautiful wildlife, including crocodiles, monkeys and birds, and the wide range of flora in the surrounding rainforests. After the boat ride, continue to San Cristobal de las Casas, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel late in the afternoon.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Day 5 : SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS– SAN JUAN CHAMULA AND ZINACANTAN – SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS (30km – 1.5 hrs)
After breakfast, head out to visit San Juan Chamula, famed for its whitewashed cathedral with colourful ornamentation and pine-scented, candlelit interior. Here you can observe the religious rituals that the locals perform. The town is almost entirely inhabited by Tzotzil Maya, who apart from speaking their own language also have distinctive clothing, with the men wearing tunics called ‘chujes’ and the women favouring blouses known as’ huipils’. Chamula is renowned for the quality of its weavers and the local shops and markets offer a great variety. Upon your return to San Cristobal, spend the afternoon at leisure. We recommend visiting the baroque church of Santo Domingo as well as its colourful art and food markets, where you can admire the clothes of the Maya cultures that inhabit the region.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Day 6 : SAN CRISTOBAL – WATERFALLS – PALENQUE (230km – 5.5 hrs)
We will collect you from the hotel early in the morning ready to begin your trip to Palenque. Enjoy your breakfast en route as we begin travelling north-east towards the beautiful waterfalls in Chiapas, perhaps some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world! Don’t forget your swimsuit today, as you will have the opportunity to take a dip in one of the natural pools full of bright blue water. This fascinating area of natural beauty is a wonderful place to relax and refresh yourself. After spending some time admiring the waterfalls and swimming in the water, we will continue our journey to the city of Palenque, where we will arrive in the afternoon. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at your leisure in Palenque.
Overnight in Palenque.
Day 7 : PALENQUE – CAMPECHE (360km – 4.5 hrs)
Today’s breakfast will be followed by a visit to the Temples of Palenque. This archaeological site boasts some of the finest examples of Mayan architecture, including sculptures, roof combs and bas-relief carvings. Enjoy a fascinating guided tour of the premises, admiring its beauty and learning interesting information. The impressive Temple of Inscriptions, which reaches a height of almost 23 metres, is where the tomb of the Maya ruler was found and excavated in the early 1950s. In its heyday, Palenque was a sprawling city-state that spanned almost 60 square kilometres. However, archaeologists estimate that they have excavated only 5-10% of this UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. So far, over 200 structures have been unearthed, with the Temple of the Inscriptions, the Palace, the Temple of the Count and the Temple of the Cross being the most prominent. At the end of the tour, continue to Campeche and check-in at the hotel.
Overnight in Campeche
Day 8 : CAMPECHE – UXMAL – MERIDA (250km – 3.5 hrs)
Today, after breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a panoramic tour of this historic coastal city, driving through the heart of the picturesque old town with its colonial houses, arcades and churches. Alight and explore further on foot, visiting sights such as the old city walls and St Francis’ Cathedral. Leave Campeche and visit the impressive archaeological site of Uxmal and enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, which rises in to view above the canopy of the jungle as you approach. Unlike other Maya cities, Uxmal was engulfed by the rainforest after the Spanish arrived. The most famous structure is the 35-metre Pyramid of the Magician, which towers over the remarkably well-preserved Nunnery Quadrangle. Across the central plaza, just beyond the ballgame court, is the Governor’s Palace with its elaborately decorated roof. At the southern end of the main complex is the Great Pyramid, of which only one side has been excavated. Then, visit the beautiful white colonial city of Merida, where we will take a panoramic tour of its most prominent sites including the residential area, the monument to the homeland and Montejo Avenue.
Overnight in Merida.
Day 9 : MERIDA – CELESTUN BOAT – MERIDA (215 KM – 3 hrs)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then prepare for a day enjoying the beach and stunning scenery in a fishing village located approximately two hours away from Mérida. Upon arrival, observe the natural beauty of the surroundings, particularly the virgin beaches, which are ideal for swimming, and spot the beautiful pink flamingos that inhabit this region. Flamingos can be seen all year round, although they are less frequently spotted during the months of September and October due to the rains. Take a boat ride through the mangrove to observe the extraordinary exotic flora and fauna of the region. Then, enjoy some free time on the beach to relax, swim or sunbathe. Later, we will take you to a typical seafront restaurant for a traditional lunch (included). After eating, return to Merida and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.
Overnight in Merida.
Day 10 : MERIDA – CHICHEN ITZA – CANCUN / RIVIERA MAYA (315km – 4 hrs)
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel, then head deep into the rainforests of the Yucatan peninsula in search of the legendary Maya city of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Learn about the Maya and their civilisation as you admire the scale and beauty of this ancient city. Behold the geometric perfection of the 25-metre Temple of Kukulkan, popularly known as El Castillo (‘the Castle’). This temple was built both as a representation of the mystical Maya calendar and to reflect the optical illusion of a serpent snaking its way up or down the pyramid during the spring and autumn equinoxes. Admire the Great Ball Court, the largest of 13 discovered at the site; see the haunting Skull Platform, where the heads of human sacrifice victims and prisoners of war were impaled; and the Sacred Cenote, where sacrifice victims were dumped. Enjoy lunch at a typical restaurant. Continue to Cancun or Riviera Maya where we will drop you off at your selected hotel or at Cancun Airport. Late drop-off at the airport; estimated arrival time at Cancun is 18:30.