Highlights of Mexico

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An amazing cultural odyssey discovering Mexico's diverse and rich cultural past

Details

Duration: 13 Days
Starts in: Mexico
Group Size: 2-4

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Arrive Mexico City

Meet and greet with a local representative and transfer to your hotel. Mexico City, with a population of over 22 million, sprawls across some 2000sqkm. It is a giant cosmopolitan city, encompassing everything from colonial palaces to slums, and quiet plazas and parks juxtapose the unending stream of traffic. The sheer size of Mexico City is most definitely worth experiencing, and it will certainly leave you with a lasting impression. Overnight: Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City or similar

City tour & Museum of Anthropology

Get to know one of the world´s biggest and most exciting cities! Enjoy a guided visit in the historical centre, listed by UNESCO as World Heritage. This interesting tour will include “The Zocalo”, the heart of the city, where you will visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, one of the oldest and largest of the Americas, and (if open) the National Palace, home of the famous murals of Diego Rivera (visit is subject to opening hours and governmental activities; entrance can be prohibited for tourists on certain days). You will also see the ruins of the Templo Mayor (entrance to temple not included), one of the most important temples of the Aztecs in their ancient capital city of Tenochtitlan. Next, we drive down the beautiful Paseo de la Reforma Avenue to arrive at Chapultepec Park. In pre-Hispanic times a summer residence for the noble class of the Aztecs, now it is Mexico City’s largest park and one of the largest city parks in the world. We will visit the Museum of Anthropology. This museum is considered to be among the world’s finest of its kind. Here you will admire the famous Aztec calendar stone, models of Tenochtitlán, a fascinating market place diorama, giant stone Olmec heads from the jungles of Tabasco and Veracruz, among many other interesting treasures. Overnight: Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City or similar

Pyramids of Teotihuacán

Discover Teotihuacán, ‘the place where gods were created’. Teotihuacan is one of the most impressive archaeological sites of the country. It is assumed that the city may have counted 200,000 inhabitants during its period of prosperity. In those years, Teotihuacán was the biggest city of the American continent and one of the biggest of the world. Until its inhabitants abandoned the city around the 8th century, Teotihuacan was probably the most significant and civilized cultural centre of ancient Mexico. During this guided excursion you will encounter the magic and mystery of Teotihuacan. Admire (and climb?) the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. Walk down the Avenue of the Dead, visit the Temple of Quetzalcoatl with its unique stone sculptures of plumed serpents, the Temple of the Butterflies, and the Fortresses. Before arriving back at your hotel, we make a stop at the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a pilgrimage place for millions of Mexicans and people from all around the world. Overnight: Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City or similar

Mexico City to Puebla and Oaxaca

Today we leave Mexico City behind. We are heading west towards Puebla, Mexico’s fourth largest city, passing the photogenic, snow-capped volcanoes Popocatépetl (Smoking Mountain, 5464m) and Iztaccíhuatl (Sleeping Lady, 5230m). A visit is planned to Santa Maria Tonantzintla with its gorgeous temple decorated by indigenous people. In Puebla, also known as the “City of Angels”, we will visit the extraordinary Rosary Chapel, the Cathedral, the main square and its beautiful historical centre. Continue to Oaxaca, one of the most colorful colonial towns of Mexico and, just like Puebla, listed as World Heritage. Overnight: Hotel Mision de los Angeles or similar. Transport times: Mexico City - Puebla (2.5hrs/150km), Puebla - Oaxaca (4.5hrs/350km)

Monte Alban & Mitla

Visit Monte Alban, built on a mountain top flattened by the Zapotecs. We will find here cultural traces from different civilizations, such as the Olmecs, Mixtecs and Zapotecs. We will then continue to Mitla, one of the most enigmatic sacred places of the region, especially famous for its mosaics. The village had great importance as a burial site and is also a great place to buy your crafts. En route we will make a stop at the famous Tule tree. Return to Oaxaca and experience the beauty of this city, with wonderful crafts, typical gastronomy, and sights such as the Cathedral, the magnificent Santo Domingo church, the Museum of Gold, and the colorful “20 de Noviembre” market. Overnight: Hotel Mision de los Angeles or similar

Boat ride in the Sumidero Canyon, onto San Cristobal De Las Cases

In the early morning (around 04:00am) we will depart to the beautiful state of Chiapas. Today’s highlight will be a boat ride through the Sumidero Canyon, which measures a thousand meters at its highest point. Admire the beautiful rock formations and enjoy the abundant wildlife that lives on the shores of the Grijalva river (crocodiles, spider monkeys, and many different species of birds). Afterwards, you will pass through the historically important town Chiapa de Corzo, on our way to San Cristobal de las Casas. Overnight: Hotel Casa Vieja or similar Transport times: Oaxaca - Sumidero Canyon (8hrs-550km), Sumidero Canyon - San Cristobal De Las Cases (2hrs-90km)

San Cristobal De Las Cases

Take a stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of San Cristobal, one of Mexico’s best-preserved colonial towns, full of brightly painted houses and beautiful churches. With its laid-back, bohemian atmosphere, you can spend hours browsing the shops and artisans’ markets. Full day at leisure. Alternatively, take an optional trip to San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantan. These two indigenous villages, located in the highlands of Chiapas, are full of mystic traditions and famous for their unique textiles. Overnight: Hotel Casa Vieja or similar

Agua Azul waterfalls, onto Palenque

On the way to Palenque we will visit the waterfalls of Agua Azul. The turquoise color, which makes these waterfalls so unique, comes from the high level of mineral content of the water. Enjoy the surrounding jungle environment and go for a swim (if time permits it). Afterwards we will continue our way through lush jungle with Palenque as today’s final destination. Overnight: Hotel Chan-Kah or similar Transport times: San Cristobal De Las Cases - Agua Azul waterfalls (3.5hrs - 160km), Agua Azul waterfalls - Palenque (1.5hrs - 70km)

Palenque archaeological site, to coastal town of Campeche

Visit the archaeological zone of Palenque, surrounded by jungle, and one of the most important sites of the Maya World. It was inside the Pyramid of the Inscriptions where King Pakal’s sarcophagus and its carved gravestone were found. Enjoy the impressive structures as well as the breathtaking natural environment of this World Heritage Site. After this visit, we head to the coastal town of Campeche. Campeche’s prosperity as a thriving port town made it a frequent target for attacks by pirates. Following the worst attack, in 1663, impressive defensive walls were built around the town. Upon arrival you will enjoy a panoramic tour through the city. Overnight: Hotel Del Mar or similar Transport times: Palenque - Campeche (5hrs - 360km)

Uxmal Maya archaeological site, the 'white city' of Merida

On the way to Merida we will visit Uxmal (meaning “built three times"), located in the Puuc region. Uxmal, also listed as World Heritage, is considered one of the Maya cities that is most representative of the Puuc style, the region's dominant architectural style. Explore the Magician Pyramid, the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor’s palace and the ballgame court. After this visit you will proceed to Merida, “The White City”, to enjoy a panoramic tour, including Montejo Avenue, the monument to Motherland, the main square, the cathedral and government palace. Overnight: El Conquistador or similar Transport times: Campeche - Uxmal (2hrs - 170km), Uxmal - Merida (1.5hrs - 85km)

Chichen Itza, onto Cancun

At the end of the Early Classic Period, around the year 600 AD, Chichen Itza was one of the largest and most prominent Maya cities. Nowadays, Chichen Itza is undoubtedly the best-preserved Maya site on the Yucatan peninsula, and it was recently declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Various different architectural styles are seen in Chichen Itza. Most famous landmarks are the Temple of Kukulkan (“El Castillo”), the Ballgame Court, the Platform of the Skulls, the Temple of the Jaguar, the Observatory, the One Thousand Columns, and the Sacred Cenote. Then we drive on to the Cenote (sinkhole) of Ik-Kil which is arguably one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico. The water level is about 26 metres below ground level. The cenote is open to the sky and there is a carved stairway down to a swimming platform. After a refreshing swim we will continue to Cancun for your overnight accommodation. Overnight: Hotel Krystal Cancun Transport times: Merida - Chichen Itza (2hrs - 125km), Chichen Itza - Cancun (3hrs - 225km)

Cancun

Enjoy free time relaxing on Cancun’s beautiful beaches or visit to the Regional Museum of Anthropology and History to learn more about the history of the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula, or a stroll along the tree-lined Avenida Tulum. Overnight: Hotel Krystal Cancun

Trip concludes in Cancun

The trip arrangements end after breakfast at your hotel.

Additional Information

This extraordinary touring adventure encompasses the highlights of Mexico’s diverse and rich cultural past. Discover a fascinating history going back thousands of years through the Mayan, Aztec and Olmec cultures that have left Mexico with a rich heritage of stunning archaeological sites. The Mayan culture is immediately apparent near Mexico City where we view the huge Sun and Moon pyramids at Teotihuacan. We travel on to Oaxaca to discover the cultural ancestry of the Zapotec people and spend time in the rarefied climes of San Cristobal de la Casas and the magnificent Sumidoro Canyon. From there we visit the stunning jungle ruins of Palenque, with its dramatic Mayan step pyramid architecture and Chichen Itza, recently declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Complete this remarkable journey on one of the most famous beach resort cities in the world, Cancun.

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