Intrepid | Best of Mexico

Cheers a margarita glass to the vivacious beauty and fiery flavours of Mexico. Discover the culture and landscapes of this fascinating country on a trip that takes you from Mexico City to Play del Carmen – with a spattering of enticing stops along the way. Discover Maya history and culture at the incredible Chichen Itza ruins, and visit traditional communities in the charming San Cristobal de las Casas. Indulge in a feast of delicious local food, with a chance to learn some cooking skills of your own. And snorkel in the brilliant Caribbean waters, laze on white sands and stroll through lively marketplaces. Waterfalls and volcanoes await you, and a host of museums, churches and archaeological sites give you a taste of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage.

  • Highlights

    • Compare Mexico City's heady street-food scene to the subtler fare found in Oaxaca
    • Get up close and personal with the country's diverse heritage, from the magnificent Aztec temples of Teotihuacan to the brightly-dressed Maya folk of the hills of San Cristobal
    • There's something for everyone on this trip, whether you're a history buff, nature-lover or Epicurean
    • This is one of our most comprehensive adventures in Mexico, rich in historical and cultural highlights
    • Your adventure culminates in rest and relaxation. The white sands and azure waters of Playa Del Carmen are the perfect excuse to extend your stay in Mexico
  • Pricing

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      • Start Date:31 Dec 16
      • End Date:14 Jan 17
      • Price:$4,560
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • End Date:28 Jan 17
      • Price:$6,090
      • Availability:3 spaces
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      • End Date:11 Feb 17
      • Price:$5,750
      • Availability:6 spaces
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      • End Date:18 Feb 17
      • Price:$5,750
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      • End Date:4 Mar 17
      • Price:$5,920
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      • End Date:8 Apr 17
      • Price:$6,445
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      • End Date:22 Apr 17
      • Price:$6,090
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      • End Date:6 May 17
      • Price:$5,970
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      • End Date:20 May 17
      • Price:$5,970
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      • End Date:3 Jun 17
      • Price:$5,750
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      • End Date:17 Jun 17
      • Price:$5,530
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      • Price:$5,530
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      • Price:$5,530
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      • End Date:5 Aug 17
      • Price:$5,640
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      • End Date:2 Sep 17
      • Price:$5,530
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      • End Date:23 Sep 17
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      • Price:$5,970
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      • End Date:4 Nov 17
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      • End Date:18 Nov 17
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      • End Date:2 Dec 17
      • Price:$5,750
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      • End Date:16 Dec 17
      • Price:$5,750
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      • End Date:30 Dec 17
      • Price:$5,750
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      • End Date:6 Jan 18
      • Price:$5,970
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      • End Date:13 Jan 18
      • Price:$5,530
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      • End Date:20 Jan 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • End Date:3 Feb 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • End Date:17 Feb 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • End Date:3 Mar 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • End Date:17 Mar 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • Start Date:31 Mar 18
      • End Date:14 Apr 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • End Date:28 Apr 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • End Date:12 May 18
      • Price:$6,270
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      • End Date:19 May 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • End Date:2 Jun 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • End Date:23 Jun 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • End Date:7 Jul 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • End Date:21 Jul 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • End Date:4 Aug 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • End Date:18 Aug 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • End Date:1 Sep 18
      • Price:$6,035
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      • Start Date:8 Sep 18
      • End Date:22 Sep 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • Start Date:29 Sep 18
      • End Date:13 Oct 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • Start Date:13 Oct 18
      • End Date:27 Oct 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • End Date:10 Nov 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • End Date:24 Nov 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • End Date:8 Dec 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • End Date:15 Dec 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • End Date:22 Dec 18
      • Price:$5,805
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      • Start Date:22 Dec 18
      • End Date:5 Jan 19
      • Price:$5,805
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    Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
  • Itinerary

    Day - 1

    Location: Mexico City - Arrive at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport and be transferred to your hotel. Your arrival transfer must be pre-booked. Please ensure you provide your arrival flight details at least 15 days before the start of the trip. Settle in and, if you have time, take a stroll to get a feel for this vibrant and rapidly growing capital where the ancient and modern collide. In the evening, usually around 7 pm, you will meet your leader and other members of your group for a pre-trip meeting. The exact time and place of the meeting can be found at the hotel reception. This meeting will be followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.

     

    Day - 2

    Location: Mexico City - Enjoy a guided city tour. You'll visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace and Museum of Anthropology. After that, the day is yours to spend as you please. There are enough activities to do in Mexico City to keep you busy all day. Some of the most popular activities in Mexico City (apart from the ones included in this trip) are: La Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo Museum) - for a deeper understanding of this renowned Mexican artist. Bear in mind that queues can be long to enter this museum, particularly on weekends. An Uber taxi from your hotel to the museum should cost approximately MXN 160. Closer to your hotel (about 1km) you'll find Plaza Garibaldi, where for about MXN 200 you can get a Mariachi band to perform for you! Anahuacalli Museum - In the 1930's Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo's set in motion the plan to "give back" to Mexico two museums: The first one, La Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo Museum) and second one Anahacalli which hosts more than 50 thousand Pre-Hispanic pieces collected by Diego Rivera. Leon Trotsky Museum - Having come second best to Stalin on the race to the helm of the Soviet Union, Trotski was expelled and found refuge in Mexico City - where he was eventually murdered. The entrance fee includes free guided tours in English. Ask about it at the ticket box. An Uber taxi from your hotel to the museum should cost you approximately MXN 100. If you prefer to get out of the city and escape the crowds, take a trip to the canals and gardens of Xochimilco. An Uber taxi should cost about MXN 300 to get there.

     

    Day - 3

    Location: Teotihuacan/Mexico City - Today we vist Teotihuacan, about 50 kilometres northeast of Mexico City. Here we'll discover the amazing Aztec ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon which dominate the skyline. This was once the Aztec capital, and one of the biggest cities in the world. Stroll down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’  and see the clues to what life was like here nearly 2,000 years ago. We return to Mexico City for one last night in town.

     

    Day - 4

    Location: Puebla/Oaxaca - Today we travel by private vehicle to Oaxaca. On route, we'll stop in Puebla, a town of palpable colonial heritage despite rapid development. Time permitting you'll have a chance to visit the local markets, where some excellent hand-paint tiles are available. Continue on to Oaxaca, the beautiful colonial city known for its cuisine and lively art scene. It's also a great place to browse for traditional Mexican handicrafts, with descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians selling an array of bright woven blankets and shawls. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the streets and take the opportunity to feast on some regional delicacies. From the delicious banana-leaf-wrapped ‘tomales’ to the spicy baked chilli and lime grasshoppers, there's no shortage of unique and delicious fare, usually sold by the lovely old ladies of the markets.

     

    Day - 5

    Location: Oaxaca - Today we'll take on a city tour of Oaxaca which includes a visit to Santo Domingo Church, Zocalo, and local art and craft galleries. The plan is to arrive to the colourful 20 de Noviembre market in time for lunch, where you can search through the many local restaurants for whatever you feel like – perhaps focus on the famous grilled meats hall. In the afternoon we'll visit the nearby village of Teotitlán del Valle. The settlement is famous for its weaving, particularly of colourful rugs. Here you'll visit a workshop and see a weaving demonstration. Finish up at an artisanal mescaleria for a taste of some of the best mescal in the area. Salud!

     

    Day - 6

    Location: Oaxaca - today is a free day for you to explore Oaxaca at will. Perhaps you want pay a visit to the archaeological site of Monte Alban. The Zapotec civilisation began construction of this city around 200 BC, and Olmecs and Mixtecs have inhabited it at different times. Have your camera ready to go, because up here you can get an amazing view across the three legs of the valley of Oaxaca. Season depending, a folkloric ballet performance is a also a great optional activity. There's also the Santo Domingo Cultural Centre which is worth a visit.

     

    Day - 7

    Location: San Cristobal de las Casas - Today we fly from Oaxaca to Tuxla Gutierrez and continue by private vehicle to San Cristobal de las Casas (1.5 hr drive) Once in "SanCris" take a walk and soak up the strong old-world atmosphere of this town, which is due in no small part to the grand Spanish colonial architecture, prominent indigenous cultures and winding cobblestone streets. Time permitting you may want to visit Sumidero Canyon, a gorgeous, 800-metre-deep canyon carved out by the Sumidero River. It's roughly as old as the Grand Canyon!

     

    Day - 8

    Location: San Cristobal de las Casas - Take a tour around the Mayan villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. Nestled in the highlands, these villages serve as marketplaces and religious ceremonial centres for the indigenous folk who live in the surrounding hills. The local people have retained their traditional way of life and can often be seen wearing their own distinctive, colourful costumes. As you explore these villages with a guide, we'll learn more about these mostly Mayan communities. The rest of the time in SanCris is free for you to explore town. You may want to pay a visit to the Na Bolom Museum, a small museum/research centre which was the home of anthropologist and photographer Gertrude Duby-Blom and her archaeologist husband Frans Blom. While Frans explored Mayan sites all over Chiapas, Trudy studied, photographed and fought to protect the scattered Lacandon people. Today, apart from a hotel and a museum, the house provides free accommodation to Lacandon people that make their way to San Cristobal for work, studies or medical reasons. Alternatively, you may want to visit the amber (jade) museum, which displays and sells beautifully carved items and insect-embedded pieces.

     

    Day - 9

    Location: Palenque - Say goodbye to San Cristobal de Las Casas as you head for Palenque. On the way we'll visit Misol-ha – a fast-moving waterfall where water plunges 35 m, crashing into the pool below. Later, make tracks to the low and wide Agua Azul, which flows slowly over limestone rocks. Remember to pack your swimsuit for a quick dip in the afternoon. Otherwise, take a stroll around the beautiful surrounding area. Once in Palenque, enjoy some free time exploring the town. The local Zapatista movement in the region around Palenque has been quite active in recent months, occasionally holding protests or blocking roads. Our local operations team is constantly monitoring this situation to ensure the safety of our passengers and leaders. In some cases we might need to use an alternative route from San Cristobal to Palenque to avoid this activity - more so to bypass long traffic delays than any real danger. It's also possible that the Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls will not be accessible at the time we are scheduled to visit.

     

    Day - 10

    Location: Palenque/Merida - Today, early in the morning you will visit the archaeological site of Palenque. Located on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle, these are some of the most astounding Mayan ruins in the region, dating back as far as AD 600. Some of the ruins remain unexcavated and are hidden in the surrounding forest. Enjoy a guided tour of the site. As you explore this lost city keep an ear out for the strange calls of howler monkeys reverberating through the jungle. In the early afternoon we drive north to Merida (approximately 7 hours).

     

    Day - 11

    Location: Merida - In the morning, travel west out to the coast before taking a boat ride and visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve (approximately 1.5 hours). Here, near extensive beaches lined with coconut trees, you’ll likely be able to witness the magnificent sight of thousands of flamingos painting a pink streak across the landscape. In the afternoon there’ll be some time to explore the many sights of Merida. Perhaps visit some of the museums, including the impressive Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan, and stroll the city streets which are alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the 16th-century cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the other. For a taste of Merida's 19th-century glory, go for a walk along the mansion-lined Paseo de Montejo. The outdoor market is another essential visit, with an array of hammocks and Mayan replicas for sale, plus a selection of enticing local cuisine, including the dish cochinita pibil ('little pig') or the mind-blowingly spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. If you can't visit enough Mayan sites, you may want to head for the ancient ruins of Uxmal. Here you'll visit the amazing Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be the best example of classic Mayan architecture. You'll also see the mystical Pyramid of the Magician, comprising five super-imposed temples

     

    Day - 12

    Location: Chichen Itza/Playa del Carmen - Chichen Itza is our first stop today. This is possibly the most famous Mayan site in Mexico. You'll see the marvellous Temple of Kukulkan standing over the ruins. Not far from the temple is the ‘ball court’, where many disputes are known to have been settled by way of a ball game that employed only the elbows, hips and wrists. Stone carvings depicting violence suggest it was not such a casual sport. Following a guided tour of the site, continue to the resort town of Playa del Carmen.

     

    Day - 13

    Location: Tulum/Playa del Carmen - Today we spend the day exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. Travel out to ruins of Tulum (approximately 1 hour). This ancient Maya city was once an important trading port, protected against invaders by a high wall. Situated on a cliff overlooking a white sandy beach, it offers wonderful views and photo opportunities. Wander around the ruins with your guide, learning about the castle, temple and other structures within. On the way back to Playa del Carman, we'll stop at a hidden cenote for a refreshing swim. These stunning natural sinkholes are filled with crystal clear fresh water and make for a memorable dip.

     

    Day - 14

    Location: Playa del Carmen - Today is a free day for you to continue exploring the Riviera Maya or simply relax at the beach sipping a Margarita or two.

     

    Day - 15

    Location: Playa del Carmen - There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart the accommodation at any time.

     

    Best of Mexico
*Terms and Conditions
Offer subject to availability at time of booking. Prices are per person share twin based on best available tour price, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and are based on cash or cheque. Tour deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions may apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry.
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