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Mexico Unplugged

From £875 for 15 days
Trip Overview
Discover the heart of Mexico's Aztec, Zapotec, Mayan and Spanish cultures on this two-week journey spanning ruins, pueblos and beaches. Arrive in Mexico and travel through the mad metropolis of Mexico City to the relaxed beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula, and unravel the magnificent mystery of the ancient Mexican civilisations 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 destinations.
Essential Info
Starts: Mexico City
Ends: Playa del Carmen
Ages: Min 15
Theme: Discovery
Trip Code: IQVRM
Countries visited: Mexico
What's Included

Meals

No meals included

Transport

Local bus,overnight bus,private minivan,metro

Accommodation

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

Trip Highlights
-You've never seen true colour until you've been to a Mexican market. Practice your bargaining skills, snap some photos and pick up traditional handicrafts at the markets in multiple destinations
-Eat your way through arty Oaxaca. Mole, mezcal and chocolate for dinner? Delicioso!
-Escape the Mexican heat in San Cristobal de las Casas. This old-world town is surrounded by ancient tribal villages that have retained their traditional customs and roots
-Discover the colonial history of charming Merida. Loaf around in leafy plazas, get cultural at a museum or work your salsa shimmy with a friendly local
-Chichen Itza is one the New Seven Wonders of the World. It's not hard to see why - strolling around the ancient Mayan ruins feels pretty wondrous
-Away from the thumping nightlife of Cancun, splash around, sun-bake and play on Playa del Carmen's white sandy beaches
Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Direction
Price GBP
Availability
10th December 2016
24th December 2016
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£1,125pp 
G
 
Limited
31st December 2016
14th January 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£1,150pp 
G
 
Limited
7th January 2017
21st January 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£945pp 
G
 
Good
14th January 2017
28th January 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£945pp 
G
 
Good
21st January 2017
4th February 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£945pp 
G
 
Good
24th January 2017
7th February 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£945pp 
G
 
Good
28th January 2017
11th February 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£945pp 
G
 
Good
4th February 2017
18th February 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£945pp 
G
 
Good
11th February 2017
25th February 2017
Mexico City - Playa del Carmen
£945pp 
G
 
Good
Show more dates
Itinerary & Notes
 
Day 1 - Mexico City
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mexico. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask 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 - one of the world's largest urban centres. Although crowded and smoggy, D.F. (Distrito Federal) offers a great variety of museums, galleries and architecture, along with exciting nightlife and delicious street food. If you arrive into the city early, head to the Zocalo, the city's huge central square, to see Aztec ruins and colonial architecture. Perhaps relax in one of the many parks, plazas or gardens or take an Urban Adventure with an expert local guide.

Additional Activities

Mexico City Markets and Food Tour - Urban Adventures
41 USD
Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide)
50 USD
Mexico City - Templo Mayor (Archaeological Site and Museum)
5 USD
Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Bellas Artes)
5 USD
Mexico City - Museum of Anthropology
6 USD
Mexico City - Bosque de Chapultepec & Natural History Museum
5 USD
Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum
140 MXN
Mexico City - Estadio Azteca football match (ticket price depends on the game)
30 USD
Mexico City - Mariachis in Garibaldi Square (entry is free, price to hire a band for 2-3 songs)
8 USD
Mexico City - Floating Gardens of Xochimilco and boat tour
45 USD
Mexico City - Torre Latino 360° lookout
5 USD
Day 2 - Mexico City
This morning your leader will take you on an orientation walk around the city, followed by a free afternoon. If you like art, the Frida Kahlo Museum is a must-see. Another fascinating activities is a boat tour through the canal district of Xochimilco. Alternatively, you can choose to take an optional day trip to the archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan, 50 kilometres out of the city. A local guide will lead you down 'The Avenue of the Dead', pointing out the historic Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. You'll also visit the religious landmark of the Virgen de Guadalupe.

Additional Activities

Mexican Night Out: Cantinas, Mariachi & Lucha Libre - Urban Adventures
58 USD
Day 3 - Puebla
This morning and most of the afternoon are free to continue exploring Mexico City. Later in the afternoon, take taxis to the bus station and catch a local bus to Puebla (approx 2.5 hours). Please make sure you bring bottled water and snacks for the journey. Local buses in Mexico aren’t the colourful school buses you’ll see in other areas of Central America. Most of the buses we use in Mexico are comfortable coach-style vehicles, with a bathroom and seats for all passengers. Local buses tend to blast the air conditioning so remember to pack a jacket in case you get cold.
Day 4 - Puebla
Today is free to discover Puebla at your leisure. Although a rapidly growing city, Puebla features many well-maintained colonial churches and buildings. Two good examples are the Santa Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel. Head to the markets to brush up on your bargaining skills and pick up some hand-painted tiles or 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 mole Poblano, a dish native to Puebla and famous all over Mexico? You could even try making it yourself during an optional cooking class.

Additional Activities

Puebla - Visit to Cholula
15 USD
Puebla - Cooking class
85 USD
Puebla - Lucha Libre show (ticket price depends on seating area)
15 USD
Puebla - Museum of Art
5 USD
Day 5 - Oaxaca
Today travel by local bus to Oaxaca (approx five hours). You'll have two full free days here. Your leader will provide ideas for activities and help you to make the most of your time. A beautiful old colonial town, Oaxaca is full of graceful arcades and colourful markets. The markets are populated by descendents of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians selling colourful woven blankets and shawls. Oaxaca is also known for its arts scene, including folk art, fine art and dance. Explore the narrow, cobbled streets or simply sit in the square drinking mezcal as the world goes by. Your hotel is within walking distance of Oaxaca's nightlife hot spots.
Day 6 - 7 - Oaxaca/Overnight Bus
Spend the next two days exploring Oaxaca. Perhaps visit the spectacular mountain top temples of Monte Alban just outside the city. Monte Alban was inhabited for 1,500 years by the Olmec, Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, and is an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre. The settlement's terraces, dams, canals and pyramids were literally carved out of the mountain. Alternatively, you could take a day tour out to the nearby Mitla Ruins, the mineral springs of Hierve el Agua and a mezcal distillery. Back in town, why not whip up something delicious at a cooking class? On the evening of Day 7, take a first-class overnight bus to San Cristobal del las Casas (approx 13 hours in total). First-class buses in Mexico are quite comfortable. They are equipped with toilets and reclining seats with plenty of leg room. They are always air-conditioned, so make sure you take a light jumper with you as it may get cold on board.

Additional Activities

Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins (entrance fee)
10 USD
Oaxaca - Full-day tour inc. Mitla Ruins, Hierve el Agua and mezcal distillery
45 USD
Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre
8 USD
Oaxaca - Cooking class
80 USD
Day 8 - 9 - San Cristobal de las Casas
Arrive into San Cristobal early in the morning. Check-in at the hotel isn't usually until midday, so if you can't check in on arrival, leave your luggage and start exploring San Cristobal. Today and tomorrow are at your leisure. As always, your group leader will help you arrange to take part in optional activities. With its winding cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, San Cristobal de las Casas maintains an old-world feel mixed with strong pre-hispanic roots. The surrounding villages are home to Tzotzil and Tzeltal groups who maintain their tribal origins through their traditional costumes and customs. You might like to explore the villages by 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 chickens. If you visit, please be aware of a strict ban on cameras as the local people maintain their traditional customs. There are also markets selling colourful handicrafts. Another option is a day trip to Sumidero Canyon. Back in town, wander to a local cafe and try an 'elote', a traditional highland corn snack.

Additional Activities

San Cristobal de las Casas - Mayan villages tour inc. San Juan Chamula
20 USD
San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
30 USD
San Cristobal de las Casas - Mountain bike tour
40 USD
San Cristobal de las Casas - Amber (Jade) Museum
20 MXN
San Cristobal de las Casas - Jade Museum
5 USD
San Cristobal de las Casas - Museum of Typical Costumes
4 USD
San Cristobal de las Casas - El Chorreadero canyoning
1250 MXN
Day 10 - Palenque
Today travel along a windy road by private minivan to Palenque (approx 6 hours). Once you've arrived, the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. Situated in hot jungle, Palenque is the jumping off point to the nearby Mayan ruins of the same name. You'll have tomorrow to check them out. Notes: The local Zapatista movement in the region around Palenque has been quite active in recent months, occasionally holding protests or blocking roads. Our local operations team is constantly monitoring this situation to ensure the safety of our passengers and leaders. In some cases we might need to use an alternative route from San Cristobal to Palenque to avoid this activity - more so to bypass long traffic delays than any real danger.
Day 11 - Palenque/Overnight Bus
Today you have the chance to visit the ruins of Palenque. Situated on a hilltop, the ruins date back to 600 AD and are some of the most impressive Mayan relics in Mexico. As you walk among the temples, listen out for the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle. There are many ruins which are still un-excavated and remain hidden in the forest. You can opt to take a guided tour of the ruins or through the surrounding jungle. This evening, transfer to the bus station and board an overnight bus to Merida. The journey should take around eight to nine hours in total.

Additional Activities

Palenque - Guided tour of Palenque Ruins
60 USD
Palenque - Jungle Trail tour
15 USD
Day 12 - 13 - Merida
Early this morning arrive into the historic town of Merida. Founded in 1542, Merida still retains much of its old-world charm. Wander through the Old Town, check out some museums and stroll the city streets, which are alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the 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, where you can stock up on hammocks and Mayan replicas. This is also a great place to sample local food specialities, such as 'cochinita pibil' or the extremely spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. Merida is the gateway to the Maya ruins of Uxmal. A tour of the ruins includes transport and a local guide. Little is known about the site's origins but it is thought the city was founded around 500 AD. Much of the site is decorated with masks of the rain god Chac. You can also visit a nearby bird sanctuary or a variety of other ruins. Merida's locals love dancing. Every Sunday the town's streets are transformed into an open-air dance floor, with salsa and merengue bands providing the music.

Additional Activities

Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. transport and guide)
111 MXN
Merida - Cuzama cenotes tour (inc. transport and guide)
45 USD
Merida - Celestun Bird Sanctuary (entrance and transport)
50 USD
Merida - Guided city tour
15 USD
Merida - Dzibilchaltun Ruins tour
70 USD
Merida - Contemporary Art Museum
5 USD
Day 14 - Chichen Itza/Playa del Carmen
Travel to Playa del Carmen by private minivan, stopping en route for an included visit to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza (this first leg will take about two hours). Recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza contains both Toltec and Mayan ruins lying alongside each other. The famous El Castillo pyramid dominates the site. There is also a large ball court where games used to be held. Nearby, excavations of the Well of Sacrifice offered up treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones. The group will spend 2-3 hours at Chichen Itza before continuing on to Playa (approx 3 hours). Blessed with azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but with less of a party atmosphere. On your last night of the trip, kick back with a margarita and watch the sunset.

Additional Activities

Chichen Itza - Entrance
Included in Price
Chichen Itza - Guided tour
80 USD
Day 15 - Playa del Carmen
Today your adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. In order to make the most of what Playa del Carmen has to offer, however, we strongly recommend that you extend your stay for a few extra days. Please contact us if you need us assistance booking additional accommodation. Spend your time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along the white sands. For an adventure further afield, take a ferry across to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving. Perhaps take an Urban Adventure with an expert local guide.

Additional Activities

Playa del Carmen - Dos Ojos Cenote snorkelling tour
80 USD
Playa del Carmen - Bike rental (per day)
10 USD
Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel
28 USD
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