Day 01 : Departure London Heathrow and Arrive Mexico City
Today you will board an overnight flight to Mexico City.
Arrive at Mexico City International Airport. Our representative will meet and greet you, and then transfer you to the selected hotel. Have the rest of the day at leisure, taking advantage of the hotel amenities or exploring the beautiful surroundings.
Overnight in Mexico City.
Day 02 : Mexico City – Teotihuacan – Mexico City
The tasty breakfast at the hotel is followed by a visit to the ‘Zocalo’ – the city’s main square – where you find the cathedral and presidential palace. The day continues arriving at the National Anthropology Museum, which houses a priceless collection of artifacts, some dating from 35,000 years ago. Enjoy a guided tour of this purpose-built facility featuring 11 sections dedicated to different eras and civilizations. 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. Scale models of pre-colonial cities offer an insight into the architectural feats of these ancient people despite the rudimentary technologies at their disposal. Having observed artifacts from the different civilizations that inhabited Mexico before the arrival of the Spaniards, it is now time to visit the remnants of one at the well-preserved ruins of Teotihuacan. Ancient Teotihuacan appears to have gone into decline in the sixth century but its influence on later civilizations such as the Aztecs cannot be doubted. Transport yourself 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, and be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this once vast city. At the end of the visit, there is some free time to explore the site and to climb one of the colossal pyramids to take in the panoramic views. We then return to the city, stopping 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 the day at leisure.
Overnight in Mexico City.
Day 03 : Mexico City – Tonantzintla – Puebla – Oaxaca
After a tasty breakfast at the hotel, head northwards through the highlands of the Sierra Mixteca, arriving at Santa Maria Tonantzintla, a temple painstakingly decorated by indigenous hands. Continue on, until you reach the colonial city, Puebla, at midday. Enjoy a panoramic tour taking in most of the city’s famous churches such as the cathedral, the imposing St Francis with its towering belfry, and St Dominic, visiting the latter to admire the gilded and sculpted Rosary Chapel. A short stroll through the picturesque city center allows you to appreciate the range of architectural styles, with a strong presence of baroque palaces, monasteries, and mansions. Local geological features are reflected in the widespread use of Cantera stone, a grey volcanic rock, as well as red brick and tiles. Enjoy a mouthwatering lunch before returning to Oaxaca. Check into your hotel upon arrival and enjoy the next two nights.
Overnight in Oaxaca.
Day 04 : Oaxaca – Monte Alban – Mitla – Tule – Oaxaca
Have breakfast at the hotel and head to Monte Alban, the ancient Zapotec capital, which is located on the summit of a mountain just a few kilometres west of Oaxaca. This archaeological site combines with colonial Oaxaca to constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Zapotec civilisation came to an end with the Spanish conquest in the 1520s, but we can gain an insight into it through this engineering feat standing 400 metres above the Oaxaca valley. The ruins of pyramids, temples, plazas and other residential structures all centre on the Main Square, a large open area on the artificially flattened mountaintop. From here, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the city and valleys below. The relics are in a remarkably good state and the ballgame court looks like it could still be used to practise sports.
Next, we make our way to Mitla, the ancient religious centre of the Zapotec culture, whose name translates to ‘place of rest’. Here you will find incredible geometric designs covering tombs and walls of the ancient site. Then we continue to the suburb of Santa Maria del Tule to admire the sacred Tule Tree, a 1,400 years old Montezuma cypress. The tree’s gnarled trunk has a circumference of 42 metres and a diameter of 14, making it the stoutest in the world. Return to Oaxaca with the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Oaxaca.
Day 05 : Oaxaca – Sumidero Canyon – San Cristobal De Las Casas
Depart Oaxaca early in the morning and enjoy a boxed breakfast on the road. Head to one of Mexico’s outstanding natural attractions, the Sumidero Canyon. This awe-inspiring gorge carved into the earth over millions of years by the River Grijalva has to be one of Mother Nature’s least celebrated masterpieces, making the visit more exciting. During a spectacular boat tour along the imposing canyon bed, you will be able to appreciate just how deep the ravine gorge is as you find yourself dwarfed by the sheer scale of its walls covered in thick vegetation. After the boat tour, continue until you reach San Cristobal de las Casas and check into your hotel.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Day 06 : San Cristobal – San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan – San Cristobal
After breakfast, we visit San Juan Chamula, which is famed for its whitewashed cathedral with colorful ornamentation and pine-scented, candlelit interior, where you can observe the rare 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 favoring 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, enjoy the afternoon at leisure. We recommend visiting the baroque church of Santo Domingo and the colorful art and food markets where you can admire traditional wear of the Mayan cultures that inhabit the region.
Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Day 07 : San Cristobal – Waterfalls – Palenque
After breakfast at the hotel, head northeast to see the beautiful waterfalls in Chiapas, perhaps some of the most stunning cascades on earth! Take a dip in one of the natural pools full of bright blue water and let this mesmerizing natural area impress you. Afterward, we continue the journey to the city of Palenque for check-in at your designated hotel.
Overnight in Palenque
Day 08 : Palenque – Campeche
Savour a delicious breakfast followed by a visit to the temples of Palenque. This archaeological site boasts some of the finest Mayan architecture, sculpture, roof comb, and bas-relief carvings. Enjoy a fascinating guided tour of the premises, admiring its beauty and gathering interesting information. In the impressive Temple of Inscriptions, which reaches almost 23 metres high, 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 nearly 60 square kilometres but archaeologists estimate that they have excavated only 5-10% of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. So far, more than 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. Afterwards, continue to Campeche for check-in at the hotel.
Overnight in Campeche.
Day 09 : Campeche – Uxmal – Merida
Today, after breakfast at the hotel, venture out on a panoramic tour of this historic coastal city, driving through the heart of the picturesque old town, with its pastel-colored colonial houses, colonnaded arcades, and bell-gabled churches. Alight and explore further by foot, seeing sights such as ramparts of the old city walls and St Francis’ Cathedral. Depart Campeche and visit the impressive archaeological site of Uxmal and enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which, as you approach, comes into view as it rises above the canopy of the jungle. Unlike other Mayan cities, Uxmal was devoured by the rainforest after the Spaniards had arrived. The most famous structure is the 35-meter-tall Pyramid of the Magician, towering over the remarkably well-preserved Nunnery Quadrangle with its ornately carved interior and exterior walls. 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 with the other three still unclaimed from the bush. Then we head to the beautiful colonial white city of Merida where we go on a panoramic tour along with Merida's highlights, admiring the Government Palace, City Hall, the Cathedral, Casa de Montejo, and a typical market.
Overnight in Merida
Day 10 : Merida – Chichen Itza – Cancun / Riviera Maya
Begin the day with breakfast at the hotel. From Merida, we head to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Head deep into the rainforests of the Yucatan peninsula in search of the legendary Maya city of Chichen Itza, which has been laboriously reclaimed from the jungle. Learn about the Maya and their civilization as you admire the scale and beauty of this ancient city. Behold the geometric perfection of the 25-meter-tall 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. Also extremely well-preserved are the Temple of the Warriors, the Ossuary, the Nunnery and adjacent Church, as well as the large observatory known as the Snail. Afterward, we make a final stop at Cenote Ik-Kil before arriving at Cancun or Riviera Maya where we drop you off at your selected hotel or at Cancun airport.