Days
12
Price from
$5,492USD

From the contemporary glamour of buzzing Mexico City to the laid-back resort town of Playa del Carmen, visit the mysterious archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan, the winding tunnels beneath the Piramide Tepanapa and the ceremonial site of Chichen Itza. Learn about the country’s rich Mayan and Aztec roots while dining on regional specialities, shopping for handmade crafts at colourful markets and relaxing on pristine white-sand beaches on this independent trip through Mexico.

Independent Journeys

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Start
Mexico City, Mexico
Finish
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Country
Mexico
Style
Independent Journeys
Code
PSMEJ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 4

Why we love this trip

  • Navigate Mexico City's vibrant neighbourhoods

  • Visit the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at the archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan

  • Explore tombs, plazas and palaces at Monte Alban

  • Relax on the beach in Tulum

Itinerary

On arrival at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport, you will be transferred to the hotel in the heart of the downtown area.

In the evening you will meet your tour leader for a pre-tour briefing. You'll be accompanied by the same leader throughout your tour.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Mexico City is an exciting mix of modern cosmopolitan glamour with remnants from both its ancient and colonial history. Situated in the middle of a vast valley, this energetic metropolis, with a population exceeding 20 million, is one of the largest cities in the world. There is a saying that if it happens in Mexico, it happens in Mexico City!

Following a city tour, you will have a free afternoon to discover the city's myriad of neighbourhoods and historic buildings.
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals
  • Mexico City - Museum of Anthropology
  • Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Mexico City - City Tour
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - Leon Trotsky Museum - MXN40
  • Mexico City - Mariachis in Garibaldi Square (entry is free, price to hire a band for 2-3 songs) - USD8
  • Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum - MXN140
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will travel by private minivan to Teotihuacan, en route to Puebla.

Located 50 kilometres northeast of Mexico City are the 'must-see' archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan - the site of the massive Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon which dominate the skyline of the complex.
This was once the country's biggest ancient cities, and capital of the Aztec people, who ruled over the largest empire in the pre-Hispanic era. Guarded by mountains, this magnificent city is thought to have been founded early in the 1st century AD and reached its peak around 500 AD, when its influence extended down to Guatemala and as far north as present-day Texas. With the help of a local guide, you will have time to stroll down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’, uncover its many wonders and imagine what life must have been like nearly 2000 years ago.

Puebla has managed to maintain its colonial heritage despite rapid growth and development. There are a plethora of churches and colonial buildings that remain a testament to its proud history. You will spend time at the local markets, a great place to hunt down hand-painted tiles and other handicrafts, take colourful photos and try your hand at bargaining. To finish off a busy day, perhaps refuel with the local specialty, mole Poblano, a dish famous across Mexico. You may prefer to learn how to cook this famed dish for yourself at an optional cooking class.
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, embark on a guided tour of Puebla and nearby Cholula. A highlight is a visit to the Piramide Tepanapa, the world's largest pyramids. In prehispanic days, the temple complex was an important religious centre. If you climb to the Catholic church atop the structure, wonderful views can be enjoyed over Cholula and the active Popo volcano.

Included Activities
  • Puebla - Santo Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel
  • Puebla - City Tour
Optional Activities
  • Puebla - Cooking class - USD85
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will travel to the colonial city of Oaxaca. If you're interested in purchasing traditional Mexican handicrafts, this is the place! Descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians sell an array of bright woven blankets and shawls.

Oaxaca has a vibrant art scene, and is famous for its colourful markets and its relaxed, laid-back feel. It is also a great place to try out some regional delicacies, from ‘mole’ sauces and banana leaf-wrapped ‘tamales’ to the baked chilli and lime grasshoppers. These are sold by the little old ladies at the markets, with each of them declaring that their creation is the best.
If the frenzy of finding a bargain becomes too much, chill out in one of the many laid-back cafés and soak up the ambiance by observing everyday life passing by.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will drive the short distance up a nearby hill to the ancient Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban, which looks out across the three legs of the valley of Oaxaca. The Zapotec civilisation began construction of this city around 200 BC and it reached its peak during the period between 300 and 700 AD, when the population was estimated to be around 25,000.

Monte Alban exercised political, economic and ideological control over the local communities and surrounding regions that include the peaks of three mountain ranges that converge in this valley. With the help of your local guide, you will have plenty of time to explore the remnants of plazas, tombs, palaces and temples that make up this fascinating site.

We return to Oaxaca for the afternoon, which is free for you to explore at your leisure.
Included Activities
  • Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins (entrance fee)
Optional Activities
  • Oaxaca - Folkloric ballet (seasonal) - USD10
  • Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre - USD8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take an included flight to Merida.

Merida was a centre for Mayan culture long before the arrival of the conquistadors. Today Merida is a bustling city with much of its colonial influence intact. You will have plenty of time to explore the many sights and your guide will be able to recommend a number of sightseeing options, including the impressive Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan, the shady Plaza Grande, replete with a 16th century Cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace, and Casa Mantejo on the others.

The outdoor market is another must-visit, with an array of hammocks and mayan replicas for sale, as well as a selection of enticing local specialties, including ochinita pibil or the brain-numbingly spicy el yucateco.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning we head into the ancient ruins of Uxmal to view the amazing Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be the finest example of classic Mayan architecture, and the mystical Pyramid of the Magician, which consists of 5 super-imposed temples.
Included Activities
  • Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. transport and guide)
  • Merida - Guided city tour
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Celestun Bird Sanctuary (entrance and transport) - USD50
  • Merida - Contemporary Art Museum - USD5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Chichen Itza is arguably the most famous Mayan site in Mexico. Its name came from the deep, natural well known as a ‘cenote’ (sinkhole containing groundwater) located near the centre of the site, which was used during the city's heyday as a place for human sacrifices to appease the Mayan rain god Chaac!

The magnificent Temple of Kukulkan stands over the ruins and not far from the temple is the ‘Ball Court’, where it is believed many disputes were settled in a game with combatants hitting a ball by using only their elbows, hips and wrists. Stone carvings depict the violence of the play around the ball court walls, suggesting it was not such a casual sport. Following a guided tour of the site, you will continue to Tulum.
Included Activities
  • Chichen Itza - Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, head out on a guided tour of the ruins of Tulum. This ancient Maya city was once an important traditing 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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Tulum this morning and transfer to the nearby resort town of Playa del Carmen. Playa, as it is affectionately known, offers plenty of activity without the thumping party atmosphere of Cancun. The afternoon is free for you to do as you wish. Perhaps head to the town's white sandy beaches, where you can enjoy a swim, read a book at a beachside bar or take a stroll among the trendy holidaymakers lining the shore. In the evening, why not head out with the group to reflect on your experiences and indulge in one final meal?

Optional Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Cenote Ikil - USD6
  • Playa del Carmen - Bike rental (per day) - USD10
  • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel - USD28
  • Playa del Carmen - Dos Ojos Cenote snorkelling tour - USD80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the final day and you will be able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts

Transport

Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights)

Included Activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals
  • Mexico City - Museum of Anthropology
  • Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Mexico City - City Tour
  • Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide)
  • Puebla - Santo Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel
  • Puebla - City Tour
  • Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins (entrance fee)
  • Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. transport and guide)
  • Merida - Guided city tour
  • Chichen Itza - Entrance

Dates & availability

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Essential Trip Information

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