Mexico-Unplugged


  • Route: Mexico City to Playa del Carmen
  • Length: 15 days
  • Transport: Bus, Metro, Overnight bus
  • Accommodation: Hotel (13 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)

Discover the heart of Mexico's Aztec, Zapotec, Mayan and Spanish cultures on this two-week journey of ruins, pueblos and beaches. Travel from the mad metropolis of Mexico City to the relaxed beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula and unravel the magnificent mystery of the ancient Mexican civilizations along the way. With plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and hiking this is the ideal introduction to one of Latin America's most colourful and exciting nations.

trip-grade

 

Basic

Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.

countries-visited

Mexico

Mexico Beach Blue

Mexico is a country full of culture and history.

Home to the Aztec empire that ruled through three different centuries, the architecture left behind is nothing short of magical. The best places to see Aztec ruins are Palenque, Teotihuacan or Mexico city the Aztec capital and also the modern capital. The city has a diverse feel to it and the temples and palaces are a world away from the lively nightlife. It gives the feeling of a new adventure every day. On Lake Xochimilco, the landscape of the capital can be explored on a Tarajinera boat. 

Mexico is a country rich in taste and is most famous export comes from the city of Tequila. Made from the blue algave plant, the drink has protected geographical status, so only true Tequila comes from this region. Foodwise Mexico is known for it's fire; the spicy Jalapeno pepper was originated in Mexico, and is used in many dishes. But also the sweet taste of chocolate was another treasure of ancient Mexico. Cacao beans were used as a currency in Mesoamerican times. 

There are many types of Mexican music, from traditional folk to Latin Alternative. Influence from other cultures, has created a diverse sound. Instruments used in traditional music use a range of stringed and wind instruments.

One more of Mexico's icons is the cactus, this is one of over 30,000 plants in the country. The wildlife in Mexico is amazing. There are over a thousand species of birds including the beautiful Quetzal and with mammals such as lynx, wolves, snakes and crocodiles.

daily-itin

 

Days 1-3 Mexico City/ Teotihuacan

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mexico.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Modern meets ancient in Mexico City - the world's fastest growing urban centre. Although crowded and smoggy, the former Aztec capital offers a great variety of impressive museums, galleries and architecture. Head to the city centre and see Aztec ruins or take the subway right through one of the temples. If you prefer to get out of the city and escape the crowds, take a day-trip to the canals and gardens of Xochimilco. In the evenings, explore Mexico's exciting night life. Learn some dance moves from the locals, or try out your own to the music of a mariachi band.

The following morning your leader will take you on an orientation tour of the city, followed by a free afternoon. On our last day here we will take an optional day trip to Teotihuacan.

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. This was once the country's biggest ancient city 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 AD 500, when its influence extended down to Guatemala and as far north as present-day Texas. With the help of a local guide we 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. We will also visit Virgen de Guadalupe, the city’s major religious landmark.

Optional Activities

  • Governor's National Palace and Diego Rivera murals - Free
  • Bosque de Chapultepec & Natural History Museum - USD5
  • Soccer match - USD15
  • Mariachis Garibaldi Square - Free
  • Museum of Anthropology - USD5
  • Frida Kahlo museum - MXN105
  • Palace of Fine Arts (Bellas Artes) - USD4
  • Metropolitan Cathedral - Free
  • Archaeological Site and Museum of Templo Mayor - USD5
  • Floating Gardens of Xochimilco and boat tour - USD30
  • Teotihuacan Ruins - USD25

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nts)

Days 4-5 Puebla

 

This morning we take taxis to Mexico City's bus station and catch a local bus (approx 2.5 hours) to Puebla. Please make sure you bring bottled water and snacks for the journey. This afternoon and tomorrow are at your leisure to discover Puebla.

Although a rapidly growing city, Puebla has managed to combine modern development with its colonial past and there are plenty of well-maintained churches and colonial buildings to admire. Head to the markets to brush up on your bargaining skills and take some fantastic photos. This is a great place to pick up hand-painted tiles and other handicrafts. If you're looking for something more active, go for a hike near one of the area's looming volcanoes. After a day sightseeing and shopping, why not try some mouth-watering mole Poblano, a dish that is famous all over Mexico and that originated in Puebla, or try your hand at making it yourself at an optional cooking class.

Optional Activities

  • Cholula visit - USD15
  • Puebla - Cooking class - USD55
  • Puebla - Lucha libre - USD8

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

Days 6-7 Oaxaca/Overnight Bus

 

Today we travel by local bus (approx. 5 hours) to Oaxaca. We have two free days here and your group leader will assist you to make the most of your free time in this fascinating city.

A beautiful old colonial town, Oaxaca is full of graceful arcades and colourful markets largely populated by descendents of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians, who come here to sell their colourful woven blankets and shawls. Oaxaca is also known for its well-respected arts scene, including folk art, fine art and dance. Explore the markets and narrow, cobbled streets or simply sit in the square drinking the local mescal and tequila, and watch life go by.

Outside the city the spectacular mountain top temples of Monte Alban are just a short distance away.

Monte Alban was inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of cultures (Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs) and it is an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre. The terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Alban were literally carved out of the mountain.

Our hotel is within walking distance to some of Oaxaca's nightlife hot spots, so that you can make the most of it.

The following evening we take a first class bus (approx. 13 hours) to San Cristobal del las Casas. First class buses in Mexico can be quite comfortable. They are equipped with seats that recline and have more leg room than regular buses. They usually make a quick toilet stop every 4 to 5 hours, however they normally also have a toilet at the rear of the bus, which you may use in case of an emergency. They are all air conditioned, so make sure you take a light jumper with you as it may get a bit cold on board.

Optional Activities

  • Cultural Museum and Garden, Oaxaca - USD6.00
  • Folkloric ballet (seasonal), Oaxaca - USD10.00
  • Monte Alban Ruins, Oaxaca - USD10.00

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nts), Overnight bus (1 nt)

Days 8-9 San Cristobal de las Casas

 

We arrive in San Cristobal early in the morning. Check in at the hotel is usually not until midday, so if we can't check in upon arrival, we will be able to leave our luggage and start exploring San Cristobal straight away. The remainder of today and tomorrow are at your leisure and, as always, your group leader will assist you arrange the many optional activities.

With winding cobblestone streets and colonial Spanish architecture, San Cristobal de las Casas maintains a lovely old-world feel mixed with strong indigenous roots. The surrounding villages are populated with Tzotzil and Tzeltal Indians who maintain their tribal origins through their varied traditional costumes and customs. There is time here to explore the villages, perhaps by horseback or mountain bike. If you take a day trip to San Juan Chamula, make sure to visit the church. The floor is covered with pine needles and the air is heavy with incense. Shamans come here to carry out cleansings with firewater, ancient prayer and sometimes chickens. There are also markets with colourful handicrafts for sale. Take the opportunity to go for an optional horse ride in the mountains or a day trip to Sumidero Canyon. Back in town, go for a stroll and try to spot the cafe with the most locals in it for a taste of the traditional 'elote', a corn cob which makes a common snack in the highlands of Chiapas.

Optional Activities

  • Sumidero Canyon, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD25.00
  • Villages tour, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD12.00
  • Bicycle rental (per hour), San Cristobal de las Casas - USD30.00
  • Lagunas de Montebello, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD30.00
  • Mountain bike tour, San Cristobal de las Casas - USD20.00

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

Days 10-12 Palenque/ Overnight Bus

 

Today we travel on a windy road by local bus to Palenque (approx. 6 hours) The afternoon is at your leisure to take part in any of the optional activities in town.

The following day we visit the ruins of Palenque.

Palenque is situated on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle and is home to possibly the most impressive series of Mayan ruins, which date back at AD600. Whilst walking amongst the ruins it is often possible to hear the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle, giving an added dimension to this magnificent site. The temples are superb relics of Mayan culture and there are many ruins here still un-excavated and hidden in the surrounding forest.

Nearby are the Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls, perfect for cooling off after the heat of the temples.

Although not far apart, Misol-ha and Agua Azul waterfalls could hardly be more different. Misol-ha is 35 metres high and falls in a long drop to a pool below. Here it is possible to walk underneath the falling water to the cataracts on the other side. Agua Azul on the other hand is low and wide, with multiple, smaller cascades falling over limestone. The river here runs for miles and is a spectacular blue colour from the minerals in the limestone. Take a dip in the turquoise pools, but be sure to follow local advice on where to swim, as the current in some areas is very strong.

On our last evening here we transfer to the bus station and board an overnight bus to Merida.

Optional Activities

  • Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls, Palenque National Park - USD6.00
  • Volcano climb, Palenque National Park - USD25.00
  • Palenque ruins entrance fee, Palenque National Park - USD9.00
  • Guided Jungle hike, Palenque National Park - USD15.00
  • Bicycle rental (per hour), Palenque National Park - USD6.00
  • Boat trip to Santiago de Atitlan and San Pedro, Palenque National Park - USD14.00
  • Bonampak Ruins, Palenque National Park - USD20.00
  • Bonampak Camping, Palenque National Park - USD73.00

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts), Overnight Bus (1 nt)

Days 13 Merida

Early this morning we arrive into La Ciudad Blanca (the White City) of Merida.

Founded in 1542, Merida still retains much of its old-world charm with a well-preserved Old Town, wonderful museums and city streets alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the twin-towered 16th century Cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the others. For a taste of Merida's 19th century glory go for a walk along the mansion lined Paseo de Montejo. Mornings are the best time to visit the outdoor markets and you can stock up on hammocks and Maya replicas. It's a great place to try out the local food specialities, like cochinita pibil or the head-blowingly spicy el yucateco.

Merida is also the gateway to the Maya ruins of Uxmal and there is an opportunity to visit these impressive ruins. Little is known about the site's origins but it is thought the city was founded around AD500. Much of the site is decorated with masks of the rain god Chac. This is no great surprise as the area has a lack of natural water supplies and the city relied on rain water.

The local people from Merida are very relaxed and they like dancing! Every Sunday some of the roads are turned into an open air dance floor with a variety of Salsa and Merengue bands.

Optional Activities

  • Uxmal Ruins tour, Merida - USD40.00
  • Celestún Bird Sanctuary, Merida - USD35.00
  • City tour, Merida - USD10.00
  • Cenotes Tour, Merida - USD30.00
  • Contemporary Art Museum, Merida - USD5.00
  • Dzibilchaltun Ruins tour, Merida - USD70.00
  • Flamingos tour, Merida - USD20.00

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nts)

Days 14-15 Chichen Itza/Playa del Carmen

 

We travel to Playa del Carmen, stopping enroute for an optional visit to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza (approx. 2.5 hours), recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

One of the most impressive Mayan sites, Chichen Itza contains both Toltec and Mayan ruins lying alongside each other. The famous El Castillo pyramid houses a huge staircase to a crypt that is guarded by a jaguar statue. The crypt houses a throne in the shape of a jaguar, painted red and inlaid with eyes and spots of pure jade. The site also has the largest ball court where games used to be held, the losing players in which would not have escaped with their heads. The games are depicted in carvings on the walls. Nearby, excavations of the well of sacrifice offered up treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones.

We have about 2-3 hours to spend at Chichen Itza before we travel onwards to Playa (approx. 3.5 hours).

With azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but without the party atmosphere. Spend your time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along the white sands. In the evenings kick back and watch the waves with a margarita. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

In order to make the most of what Playa has to offer, we strongly recommend that you extend your stay in Playa del Carmen for one or two extra days. Please contact us if you need us to assist you with additional accommodation. If you can afford a few extra days in Playa, you may want to spend time snorkelling among the mangroves or strolling along the white sands. For adventures further afield take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving.

Optional Activities

  • Chichen Itza ruins, Chichen Itza - USD9.00
  • Cenote Ikil, Playa del Carmen - USD5.00
  • Bicycle rental (per day), Playa del Carmen - USD16.00
  • Dos Ojos Cenote snorkelling tour, Playa del Carmen - USD35.00
  • Xcaret, Playa del Carmen - USD75.00
  • Ferry to Cozumel, Playa del Carmen - USD12.00
  • Xel-Ha Water park, Playa del Carmen - USD79.00

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

  • Single Supplement

what-else

 

Itinerary Disclaimer

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. 

Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.

included

There are no activities included in this itinerary. For a list of optional activities available, please refer to the day-to-day itinerary.

optional-extras

 

A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Imaginative Traveller nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Imaginative Traveller. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.

money

 

Money Exchange

The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN).

With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.

It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.

VERY IMPORTANT:

US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.

Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Tipping

If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Imaginative Traveller destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.

Restaurants: Tipping is not expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. In more up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-12% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio or cubiertos.

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2 per person per day for local guides.

Porters (if applicable): While on the Inca Trail, we suggest PEN80-120 for all porters, assistants and cook.

Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$1-2 per day is generally appropriate.

Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$1-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Departure Tax

Please allow US$22 for international departure tax.

other-important-information

HURRICANE SEASON:

Please note hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Imaginative Traveller monitors situations as they arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

Group-Size

Maximum of 16 travellers per group.

your-fellow-trav

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

Accommodation

 

Hotel (12 nts), Overnight bus (2 nts)

Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

If you've purchased pre- or post-trip accommodation you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

meals

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

Meals

No meals included

Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

USD 300.00

transport

Bus, Overnight bus, Metro

Our overnight buses have reclinable seats - usually more comfortable than your average economy plane seats. You may be offered a simple dinner on board or stop at a service station to buy snacks and drinks. Before boarding an overnight bus, it's always a good idea to have music, a book, water, snacks and warm clothing ready.

group-leader

All Imaginative Traveller group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Imaginative Traveller endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Imaginative Traveller we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

joining-point

Hotel Mallorca

Serapio Rendón 119, Colonia San Rafael

Mexico City

6470

MEXICO

Phone: +52 55 5566 4833

Fax: +52 55 5566 1789

Join-point-instruct

The easiest and most convenient way to get from the airport to your hotel is by taxi. On your left as you exit customs you will find “Transporte Terrestre” - you will need to purchase your ticket from the named “Sitio 300”. Rates are fixed and a ride to Hotel Mallorca should cost you approximately US$15. You should avoid taking taxis from outside the airport.

Arriv-complications

We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.

If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.

No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.

finishing-point

Hotel Cocodrilo

Corner of Ave 10 and Calle 10

Playa del Carmen

MEXICO

Phone: 52 9848730262

Finish-point-instruc

If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.

If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.

emergency

 

Emergency Contact

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the local ground representative Viaventure can be reached on +502 5778 4052 or + 502 5207 4914

We also have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked. Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

Emergency Funds

Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.

visa-information

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

MEXICO:

Australia: Not required

Belgium: Not required

Canada: Not required

Germany: Not required

Ireland: Not required

Netherlands: Not required

New Zealand: Not required

South Africa: Yes - in advance

Switzerland: Not required

United Kingdom: Not required

USA: Not required

Issues

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

what-to-take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

WARM CLOTHING:

Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.

WATER BOTTLE:

Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day

IMAGES FROM HOME:

During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.

fitness

 

Health

All Imaginative Traveller travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Imaginative Traveller reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

DENGUE FEVER:

Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

WHO REPORTS:

The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.

safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Imaginative Traveller itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:

While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:

Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

SEAT BELTS:

Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

FIRE PRECAUTIONS:

Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

LIFE JACKETS:

While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

WATER SAFETY:

Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

HORSE RIDING:

Horse riding is an option available to groups on this trip. Please note however that horse riding is usually not covered by your travel insurance and helmets are not always available. If riding without a helmet is a concern then you should bring our own.

travel-insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

Please go to our website for more information:

www.imaginative-traveller.com/travel-insurance

 
responsible-travel

 

At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.

Responsible Travel is twofold. It's about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.

Our Aims

  • It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
  • We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
  • Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.

Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.

Rules

 

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Imaginative Traveller travellers. Imaginative Traveller's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Carbon

Carbon Offset C02-e 125.00 kgs per pax.

 

give-us-your-feedback

 

Your feedback is important to us and to our tour guides and helps shape the quality of our trips. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Imaginative Traveller. Just go to http://on.fb.me/16wYISa for our easy to fill out form. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

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