Intrepid | Best of Mexico & Cuba

Cheers a glass to the vivacious beauty and fiery flavours of Mexico and Cuba. Discover the culture and landscapes of these fascinating countries – 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. Wander through Havana’s glittering colonial architecture, soak up the clear mountain air among Soroa’s vibrant mountain orchards, and admire Trinidad’s unrivalled ambience. Cuba's imminent political and cultural change makes it something to experience now before it evolves. From ruins to old cars to fragrant cigars and with plenty of salsa and mariachi in between, this trip has it all.

  • Highlights

    •  
    • A guided walking tour of  Old Havana sheds lights on the difference between the lives of city and rural life in Cuba
    • A visit to the Che Guevara mausoleum and museum allows you to learn about the iconic Cuban revolutionary in the right contextTrinidad is a real Cuban treat – step back in time on its old-world streets, then hit some fine palm-flanked beaches
    • Be dazzled by Mexico City's sprawling urban jungle
    • Try your hand at traditional dance moves with an informal salsa lesson
    • Wander among the ancient Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban
  • Pricing

      • Start Date
      • End Date
      • Price
      • Availability
      • Start Date:8 Apr 17
      • End Date:29 Apr 17
      • Price:$8,425
      • Availability:1 space
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:22 Apr 17
      • End Date:13 May 17
      • Price:$8,180
      • Availability:1 space
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:6 May 17
      • End Date:27 May 17
      • Price:$8,180
      • Availability:6 spaces
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:20 May 17
      • End Date:10 Jun 17
      • Price:$7,880
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:3 Jun 17
      • End Date:24 Jun 17
      • Price:$7,880
      • Availability:6 spaces
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:17 Jun 17
      • End Date:8 Jul 17
      • Price:$7,575
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:22 Jul 17
      • End Date:12 Aug 17
      • Price:$7,800
      • Availability:4 spaces
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:19 Aug 17
      • End Date:9 Sep 17
      • Price:$7,575
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:9 Sep 17
      • End Date:30 Sep 17
      • Price:$7,575
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:23 Sep 17
      • End Date:14 Oct 17
      • Price:$7,575
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:7 Oct 17
      • End Date:28 Oct 17
      • Price:$7,575
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:21 Oct 17
      • End Date:11 Nov 17
      • Price:$7,575
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:4 Nov 17
      • End Date:25 Nov 17
      • Price:$7,880
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:18 Nov 17
      • End Date:9 Dec 17
      • Price:$7,880
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:2 Dec 17
      • End Date:23 Dec 17
      • Price:$7,880
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:16 Dec 17
      • End Date:6 Jan 18
      • Price:$8,180
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:23 Dec 17
      • End Date:13 Jan 18
      • Price:$8,180
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:6 Jan 18
      • End Date:27 Jan 18
      • Price:$8,590
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:20 Jan 18
      • End Date:10 Feb 18
      • Price:$8,590
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:3 Feb 18
      • End Date:24 Feb 18
      • Price:$8,590
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:17 Feb 18
      • End Date:10 Mar 18
      • Price:$8,590
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:3 Mar 18
      • End Date:24 Mar 18
      • Price:$8,590
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:31 Mar 18
      • End Date:21 Apr 18
      • Price:$8,590
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:14 Apr 18
      • End Date:5 May 18
      • Price:$8,590
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:28 Apr 18
      • End Date:19 May 18
      • Price:$8,275
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:19 May 18
      • End Date:9 Jun 18
      • Price:$8,275
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:9 Jun 18
      • End Date:30 Jun 18
      • Price:$8,275
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:23 Jun 18
      • End Date:14 Jul 18
      • Price:$8,275
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:7 Jul 18
      • End Date:28 Jul 18
      • Price:$8,275
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:21 Jul 18
      • End Date:11 Aug 18
      • Price:$8,275
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:4 Aug 18
      • End Date:25 Aug 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:18 Aug 18
      • End Date:8 Sep 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:8 Sep 18
      • End Date:29 Sep 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:29 Sep 18
      • End Date:20 Oct 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:13 Oct 18
      • End Date:3 Nov 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:27 Oct 18
      • End Date:17 Nov 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:10 Nov 18
      • End Date:1 Dec 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:24 Nov 18
      • End Date:15 Dec 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:1 Dec 18
      • End Date:22 Dec 18
      • Price:$7,955
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
      • Start Date:8 Dec 18
      • End Date:29 Dec 18
      • Price:$8,275
      • Availability:7+ Available
      • Enquire Now
    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. 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. Generally the meeting is 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. Learn some dance moves from the locals, or try out your own to the music of a mariachi band. Ask your leader about where to find Aztec ruins in the city centre, or perhaps take the subway right through to one of the temples. If you'd rather venture out of the city, take a trip to the beautiful canals and gardens of Xochimilco, located 28 kilometres south of the city.

     

    Day - 3

    Location: Mexico City - Head to Puebla in a private minivan. Along the way, you'll stop at Teotihuacan, about 50 kilometres northeast of Mexico City. Here you'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’ with your local guide and see the clues to what life was like here nearly 2,000 years ago. Continue to Puebla, a town of palpable colonial heritage despite rapid development. You'll visit the local markets, where some excellent hand-paint tiles are available. To finish off a busy day, perhaps sample some mole Poblano, a local specialty that's famous across Mexico. You can even try cooking it yourself in an optional cooking class.

     

    Day - 4

    Location: Puebla/Oaxaca - Take a minibus 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 you'll travel up a nearby hill to see the ancient Zapotec ruins 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. With the help of your local guide, you will explore the remnants of plazas, tombs, palaces and temples that make up this intriguing site. Return to Oaxaca for the afternoon and enjoy some free time. Season depending, a folkloric ballet performance is a great optional activity while you're here. There's also the Santo Domingo Cultural Centre which is worth a visit.

     

    Day - 6

    Location: Oaxaca - Drive south towards the Pacific coast on your way to Tehuantepec. En route you'll stop to see the Tule Tree, a massive Montezuma cypress generally regarded as one of the most stunning trees in the world. You'll also visit a Mezcal factory to learn the backstory of this heady Mexican drop, which you may have sampled by now. Another stopover on today's drive is Mitla, an important Zapotec archaeological site that was originally built as a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Continue then to Tehuantepec, where you'll spend the night.

     

    Day - 7

    Location: San Cristobal de las Casas - Continue driving east into the state of Chiapas. On the way you will visit Sumidero Canyon, a gorgeous, 800-metre-deep canyon carved out by the Sumidero River. It's roughly as old as the Grand Canyon. Continue to San Cristobal de las Casas. Stretch your legs, 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.

     

    Day - 8

    Location: San Cristobal de las Casas - Take a tour around the Mayan villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan today. 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, you'll learn more about these mostly Mayan communities.

     

    Day - 9

    Location: Palenque - Say goodbye to San Cristobal de Las Casas as you head for Palenque. Enjoy some free time exploring the town when you arrive. Notes: Due to increased activity by the Zapatista movement in the region around Palenque, some changes to your itinerary may be necessary for your safety. The Zapatistas have recently been targeting tourists in order to draw attention to their cause. As a result, some transport to and from Palenque may need to be rerouted, which means longer travel times of up to 9 hours. Some activities, including visits to the Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls, will be unavailable until this situation is resolved. Alternative activities will be organised as required and explained to you by your tour leader at the welcome meeting. Currently there are no safety issues within the city of Palenque itself, or at the nearby Mayan archaeological site. We’re constantly monitoring this situation to ensure the safety of our passengers and leaders.

     

    Day - 10

    Location: Merida - Today you will visit the ruins 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.

     

    Day - 11

    Location: Merida - Pack your swimmers today as you drive north towards the Gulf of Mexico. On the way there you'll be stopping at the beach, so take the opportunity for a refreshing dip. Continue to Campeche where you'll spend the night. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city and visit the San Miguel Fort and museum. Campeche is a charming Spanish colonial harbour town, a UNESCO World Heritage site complete with walls and fortifications. Many of the buildings have been restored, and as a result the townscape is quite a sight.

     

    Day - 12

    Location: Playa del Carmen - Head for the ancient ruins of Uxmal this morning. 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 visit the mystical Pyramid of the Magician, comprising five super-imposed temples. Continue to Merida and take a tour of this 'white city'. See its many dazzling colonial buildings and learn more about the Mayan heritage of the town.

     

    Day - 13

    Location: Playa del Carmen - Enjoy free time exploring the many sights of Merida. The Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan and the shady Plaza Grande are both good places to start. At the latter you will find the 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo. The outdoor market is essential, with an array of hammocks and Mayan replicas for sale. Here you can sample some local fare, including the dish cochinita pibil ('little pig') or the mind-blowingly spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. Ask your guide for some more recommendations.

     

    Day - 14

    Location: Tulum / Playa del Carmen - Chichen Itza is your 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. Here you can spend your time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along white sands. In the evenings, kick back and watch the waves with a margarita. It's possible to take a ferry from here across to Cozumel for some reef diving too.

     

    Day - 15

    Location: Playa del Carmen / Havana - Bienvenido a Cuba! After collecting your luggage, please continue walking through the main arrivals hall of the airport. An Intrepid representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. In the evening, at approximately 7 pm, you will meet your local guide and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. The briefing is generally followed by an optional group dinner.

     

    Day - 16

    Location: Soroa - Enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana, a perfect first taste of the city. Your local guide will show you the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park. Later you'll make the drive to Soroa, a lush enclave nestled in a beautiful valley. You'll stop in for lunch and to tour the orchid garden there. Continue to lovely Vinales, where tobacco and sugarcane fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape. The scenery here is some of the most picturesque in Cuba. There are many ways to take it all in, including cycling, hiking through tobacco fields and hiking to mountain caves (all optional activities).

     

    Day - 17

    Location: Vinales - Vinales is a small and charming rural village. It's probably the easiest place to mingle with locals in Cuba, who are very sociable. Many of them love nothing better than to drink rum and dance the night away. There are only three bars in this town, so you probably won't find yourself getting lost! A walking tour and informal salsa lesson are included today. Use your free time to take up some local activities. There are some excellent optional day trips too, like a beach excursion to Cayo Jutias, or visiting the Santo Tomas cave complex (one of the biggest in all of the Americas). The Cueva del Indio cave walk and boat trip is recommended.

     

    Day - 18

    Location: Cienfuegos - A short drive will take you to Cienfuegos today. This is the gem of the south, a seaside town of relaxing streets and dazzling buildings that strike a beautiful pose by the water. You will enjoy a guided exploration of Palacio del Valle, which is Cienfuegos' architectural pride and joy. Learn more about its history as you take in the beauty of its intricate carvings of Venetian alabaster. If you haven't done so already, perhaps try some Cuban coffee while you're here – it's served black, strong and super sweet.

     

    Day - 19

    Location: Trinidad - Today you will board the bus and head to Trinidad. There's no doubt it's one of Cuba's loveliest destinations, a great place to wander around, with almost every scene offering a photo opportunity. Watch as locals casually smoke their huge cigars on the doorsteps of their homes, and hear the old Chevrolets rumbling by. Kick things off by strolling along the cobbled streets and marvelling at some of the colourful colonial architecture on display (this town was put on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1988 for good reason).

     

    Day - 20

    Location: Trinidad - Enjoy a day of free time. There are some great Spanish-style churches to see, and nearby is the Valle de los Ingenios, where sugar plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. For some seaside fun, head down to Playa Ancon and stroll its long stretches of white sand. You can go for a snorkel too. Just be careful when you're in the water, as sea urchins can be a problem here. Back on the land, you can go horse-riding, cycling or hiking. If you rent a bicycle, be careful on the cobblestones, and remember your bike will be of the vintage variety. The trekking is great in the Sierra del Escambray, the local mountains. A folklore dance and music show in one of the open-air venues is highly recommended – a great chance to immerse yourself in Cuba's African, French and Spanish-influenced music and dance culture.

     

    Day - 21

    Location: Havana - On your way back to Havana, you'll stop in at Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. In the museum you can get a rare insight into the legacy of the revolutionary leader, with some interesting ephemera and artefacts on display – letters, firearms, even medical devices. Upon arrival in Havana, prepare for a final night of celebrations. There will be dinner and salsa dancing in the evening.

     

    Day - 22

    Location: Havana - Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Check-out time is 10 am.

     

    Best of Mexico & Cuba
*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.
HLO Ref# 5277