Pre Columbian 18 Days
Arrive into Mexico City airport and transfer to your hotel of choice. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure
Get orientated early, so you can get more out of your vacation! You will be advised of your pick up time from your hotel and your Mexico City tour includes a visit to the Museum of Anthropology, one of the finest archaeology museums in the world. This tour will also take you to the Chapultepec Park, the main avenues, residential areas and monuments. You will enjoy the many attractions of the Main Square (Zocalo), such as the cathedral, the National Palace with Diego Rivera’s amazing murals and numerous shops and restaurants. Return to your hotel and the rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.
Today your cultural experience continues on to the Teotihuacán Pyramids and the Guadalupe Shrine. The tour also includes a visit to the Three Cultures Plaza, an interesting site that features 3 architectural samples of three different historical times in Mexico; the archaeological ruins of Tlatelolco Ceremonial Centre, a church built by the Spaniards in the 16th century and the impressive Foreign Affairs Ministry Building. Continue to the Guadalupe Shrine, this is one of the most sacred places for Mexicans and Latin Americans, where the Guadalupe Virgin is visited by some 10 million people a year. You will then continue on to Teotihuacán, Mexico’s largest fully excavated archaeological site with some of its highest pyramids; the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. This ceremonial centre is an important Aztec religious site, where they worshipped their gods with rituals and human sacrifices. Return to your hotel and the rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure
Today your full day tour takes you to Puebla, a colonial city east of Mexico City. This is the meeting point of the Eastern Sierra and the Central Highlands making it possible to see the peaks of the highest volcanoes in Mexico; the Popocatepeti (The Smoking Mountain) and the Ixtaccihuati (The Sleeping Women). Puebla is popular for its delicate cuisine, beautiful arts and crafts, ceramics, including the world famous “Talavera” patterned pottery and its 365 church domes; one for every day of the year. Churches built during the colonial period over ancient Mesoamerican ceremonial centres to stop Indians worshipping their gods. Visit the main square, the magnificent Cathedral, main avenues and monuments. You then continue on to Cholula Ruins and explore the biggest pyramid in old Mesoamerica through its narrow tunnels. The pyramid is underground and the splendid Virgin de los Remedios Church is built on top. Return to your hotel and enjoy an evening at your leisure.
Today your tour heads south of Mexico City to Cuernavaca, a fine colonial city considered the City of Eternal Spring, because of its wonderful sunny days and warm weather all year round. Then we continue on to Taxco, the silver capital of the world. Enjoy a full day browsing the winding cobblestone streets for artifacts of silver, gold, brass and copper in the artisans’ workshops. A guided visit to the Santa Prisca Church is included, one of the richest and best examples of the Mexican ‘churriguresque’ architecture style of the 16th century. Return to your hotel and enjoy an evening at your leisure.
Check out and transfer to Mexico City airport for your flight to Oaxaca. On arrival in Oaxaca, transfer to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.
Get orientated early, so you can get more out of your vacation! The Colonial heart of the city is immaculate. Your tour takes you to the ex-convent of Santo Domingo, which is a 16th century monastery. It is one of Mexico’s most ornate churches. Attached to the church is a museum, housing pre-Columbian artifacts including the famed contents of Tomb 7 from Monte Alban (the richest burial tomb in the western hemisphere) The Zocalo (central square) is surrounded by grand old trees with Spanish colonnades, restaurants and outdoor cafes. The cathedral, built in 1549, with a baroque façade, has a century old wooden clock which was a gift from the King of Spain. Return to your hotel and the rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.
You will enjoy your morning tour to Mitla as you travel 64 km’s east of Oaxaca City to one of Mexico’s finest examples of intricate stone masonary. Mitla, a fascinating ceremonial centre founded by the Zapotecs, was greatly influenced by their successors, the Mixtecs. Also see the massive ancient Ahuehuete Cypress tree that has the largest girth of any tree on earth. It is said to be some 2000 years old. Although it is only 42m tall, the tree has a diameter of 58m. Return to your hotel and the rest of the afternoon and evening are at your leisure.
No trip to Oaxaca is complete without visiting this ancient site on your morning tour. Built on a hilltop flattened by the Zapotec Indians more than 2500 years ago, this site has revealed 5 distinct periods of occupation. The expansive ruins consists of a great central plaza surrounded by buildings, temples, an observatory, ball courts, and burial tombs. Stone carvings on vertical stone slabs date back to 700AD. The view from Monte Alban is spectacular and the site is also appealing to non-archaeological buffs. Return to your hotel and the rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.
Check out and transfer to Oaxaca airport for your flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez. Your flight into Tuxtla Gutierrez must arrive before 12 noon. On arrival you will be met and greeted by your guide and driver who will then transfer you to Cahuare dock, located at Grijalva’s riverside for an exhilarating motor boat trip along the Sumidero Canyon. This is one of the most amazing sights of the Chiapas. You will then continue on to San Cristobal de la Casas and check into the Ciudad Real Centro Historico. The evening is at your leisure to explore the local area.
You will start your day with a city tour of San Cristobal de la Casas with time to appreciate the main churches and colonial buildings of this fine city. Afterwards we visit the Indian towns of San Juan Chamula and Zinacatan where the locals speak ancient Mayan. Here the local speaking guide will share their knowledge of this fascinating culture for you to understand the lifestyle of these native people. From here you will visit town square, churches and admire their beautiful multi coloured embroideries and local arts and crafts. Return to your hotel in San Cristobal de la Casas for an evening at your leisure.
Today we will depart from San Cristobal de la Casas and make our way to Palenque. En route you will visit the Agua Azul Waterfalls, their singular beauty is in its blue turquoise waters. Keep your bathers handy when you pack as this is a fantastic place to swim and relax. Next we make our way to Misol Ha, another beautiful waterfall before continuing on to Palenque. On arrival, check into the Ciudad Real Palenque. Rest of the evening is at your leisure.
You will be sure to enjoy this deep jungle experience as the tour makes its way to Bonampak and Yaxchilan. Deep in the jungle this archaeological site of Bonampak offers great frescoes representing everyday life of the Maya people. The tour is conducted by an original Lacandon guide who will share with you his vast knowledge. Continue on towards Frontera Corosal and travel in a small boat on the Usumacinta River to Yaxchilan. This site is famous for its fortifications of exquisite beauty. Return to your hotel in Palenque for an evening at your leisure.
This morning you will check out of your hotel before your visit to the archaeological site of Palenque, famous world wide because of its great buildings scattered in exuberant jungle vegetation that makes it look more beautiful. The guided visit is conducted along the main constructions such as “The Palace”, “The Inscription’s Temple” with Pakal’s Tomb and then inside The Jaguar Temple. From Palenque you will then transfer to Villahermosa airport for your departing flight to Merida. Your departing flight from Villahermosa must NOT be booked before 17.00. On arrival transfer to your hotel in Merida for a late check in.
Today you will explore Merida, the capital of the Yucatan which is also known as the ‘white city’ for the colour of the quarry stone with which it was built. See the buildings, the city square, the monument of the Americas, the Cathedral and the wide boulevards with 19th century mansions, a reminder of times when wealthy Europeans lived in this city. Your tour also includes a visit to the arts and crafts market before returning to your hotel. Rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure to further explore this fabulous city.
Our journey continues to the ancient cities of Uxmal and Kabah. Uxmal means ‘thrice built’ and this Mayan city is one of the greatest showpieces of Mayan architecture and artistic refinement uncovered so far. The whole site has been expertly restored, to reveal a massive city with giant pyramids and temples piercing through thick jungle. This is a truly magnificent experience. A local lunch is included before returning to your hotel for an evening at your leisure.
Today you will be on your way to the mighty Chichen Itza. The capital of the ancient Maya; a civilization archaeologists consider one of the most advanced in the Americas. This mysterious city was an important ceremonial centre and is actually two cities, one built and ruled by the Mayans in the 6th-10th centuries and the other rebuilt and ruled by the Toltecs after 1000AD. See the magnificent pyramid of Kukulcan which is mathematically perfect and in direct alignment with the stars; the temple of the warriors, the Ball Court, the Observatory, the Nunnery and the Sacred Well. Your tour includes local guide, air conditioned transport, entrance fees and lunch. Return to your hotel in Merida for an evening at your leisure.
Depending on your flight time, you may have the chance for some last minute shopping before your transfer back to Merida airport for your departing flight or continue on with a transfer to Cancun or Playa del Carmen for an optional beach add on.