Experience the colour and richness of one of Latin Americas' most iconic countries. Discover ancient civilisations, colonial legacies, natural wonders and modern vitality. Beginning in vibrant Mexico City, with its remnants of Spanish rule and its world-class museums, this wonderful tour journeys south to Pacific shores then north and east to the Gulf of Mexico’s blue Atlantic waters. Gaze in awe at astonishing relics of three millennia of history, discover startling wonders of nature, and meet the local people that have shaped one of the world’s most enthralling nations. Expect a holiday flavoured with the spices of Mexican cuisine - with a shot of tequila thrown in. It's “Viva, Mexico” all the way.
Explore Mexico City’s heart, including vast Zócalo square and green Chapultepec Park
Visit fascinating museums and the Aztec Floating Gardens
Take a cruise on Lake Texcoco
Gaze in awe at Teotihuacán’s pyramid complex and ancient ruins
Explore colonial Puebla
Discover Oaxaca’s ruins on their high plateau
Visit the extraordinary botanical gardens at the Zapotitlán salt flats
See the astonishing, 2,000-year-old ‘Tule Tree’ and discover Mitla - the "place of the dead"
Visit a mezcal distillery
Take a dip in the Pacific Ocean
Meet indigenous Mixtec and Zapotec Indians in Tehauntepec
Enjoy a boat ride through stunning Sumidero – Mexico’s "grand canyon"
Two nights in the colourful Highland town of San Cristóbal
Discover Mayan culture in Chamula and Zinacantán
See Palenque's Mayan ruins in their jungle setting
Visit the beautiful Robert Barrios cascades
The baroque, UNESCO-listed city of Campeche
Stay in the heart of colonial Mérida, capital of the Yucatán peninsula
Discover Uxmal’s Mayan temples
Visit a hot-sauce factory
Breath-taking Chichen Itza – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
Board an evening flight west to the Mexican capital, the world’s largest Spanish-speaking city, for a three-night stay.
Arriving in Mexico City, you'll meet your tour manager and transfer to your first hotel. Rest and relax after your journey, and familiarise yourself with your immediate surroundings. This evening, join your tour manager for a Welcome Dinner at a celebrated traditional restaurant and enjoy your first taste of Mexican cuisine and the opportunity to get to know some of your fellow travellers.
The first of your included tours introduces the wonders of the Mexican capital, one of the most historic cities in The Americas, and a bewildering metropolis where the ancient and ultra-modern sit happily side by side. Built on the site of the Mexica city of Tenochtitlan, once the centre of the Aztec civilisation, the city was also the capital of New Spain, following the Spanish conquest of 1521. Highlights of your fascinating day will include the sight of the vast Plaza del Zócalo, the monumental Presidential Palace and the city’s great cathedral. A visit to the Museo del Templo Mayor, with its impressive array of Aztec artefacts, sets the scene for the days to come, while respite from the city’s buzz and bustle comes in the form of verdant Chapultepec Park, which surrounds the castle where the country’s last foreign ruler, Emperor Maximilian I, once lived.
A morning visit to Mexico City’s world-class Anthropology Museum introduces the various civilisations that have inhabited Central America over the centuries, and brings to life the everyday world, rituals and extraordinary human achievements of the Olmec, Maya and Aztec. After a break for an included lunch, you'll visit the ancient Aztec "floating gardens" of Xochimilco, on Lake Texcoco. Enjoy a boat tour accompanied by the strains of a traditional mariachi band, and crown a wonderful day with a visit to the renowned Dolores Olmedo Patiño museum to see its impressive collection of Mexican paintings.
After breakfast, you'll leave your first hotel and board our coach for the journey to Puebla. After a stop at the old and new basilicas dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe – both among the most important Catholic shrines in the Americas – you'll head northeast of the city to the ancient complex at Teotihuacan. One of the ancient world’s most important settlements, where around 250,000 people once lived, this extraordinary site is home to the monumental Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon, which rises at the end of the kilometre-long Avenue of the Dead. Climb the steps of a pyramid for a sense of the site's 3,000 years of history. From here you'll continue to colonial Puebla, perhaps Mexico’s most Spanish city, with its hand-painted tiles and beautiful central plaza.
Heading south into the Mexican heartland, today, you’ll visit the astonishing botanical gardens that stand amid the unspoilt landscape of the Zapotitlán salt marshes. See the towering cacti, tropical agaves and exotic flora, before heading ever higher into the sierra, past Monte Albán and the ruins of some ancient Zapotec and Mixtec settlements. This evening, you’ll arrive in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico's centre of indigenous culture and traditional cuisine, for a two-night stay.
Immerse yourself in the world of two of Mexico’s most important indigenous peoples, today. See the fascinating artefactsin the city's Cultural Museum, stroll through the colourful market and relax in the splendid surroundings of a celebrated restaurant overlooking Oaxaca’s bustling main square, where an included lunch will be servedy. Later, enjoy a second evening in this delightful town.
On a thoroughly enjoyable, contrasting day spent journeying towards the Pacific Ocean, you’ll take in the strange sight of the gigantic, 2,000-year-old Tule Tree, in ancient churchyard of the village of Tule, and visit the archaeological site of Mitla, where the Place of the Dead and ruins of the Patio of the Mosaics reflect the lost glories of the Zapotec people. You'll also visit a traditional mezcal distillery to learn the secrets of this twice-distilled spirit, made from the heart of the agave plant and that rivals tequila as the national spirit. There'll be the chance to stroll along the sands of the Pacific shore – or even take a dip in the ocean – before you spend the night in the friendly, quintessentially Mexican town of Tehauatepec.
Head inland, and north and east, once more, today. Enjoy a boat trip through the fjord-like gorge of the Sumidero Canyon, carved over millennia by the Rio Grijalva, and lined with high cliffs and plunging waterfalls. A protected National Park, the canyon is home to rich vegetation and a number of rare species, including toucans, pelicans and freshwater alligators. Later this afternoon you’ll arrive in the delightful, colourful market town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the southern state of Chiapas, for a two-night stay.
Spend today relaxing in San Cristóbal. Enjoy a walking tour of the central Zócalo, with its historic streets and beautiful church of Santo Domingo, followed by an included lunch of regional dishes in a traditional Chiapas-style restaurant. This afternoon, visit the Indian village of Chamula, sacred to both Mayan and Catholic traditions, and meet some of the indigenous inhabitants of the Maya community at Zinacantán, including traditional weavers at their mills.
Another fascinating day sees you head through the sub-tropical jungle north to the Tabasco state capital of Villahermosa, past coffee plantations, before turning south and heading back across the border of Chiapas to the village of Palenque. During the trip you'll see the tumbling waterfalls of the Roberto Barrios cascades, with their turquoise blue waters and natural bathing pools, before entering the world of the ancient Maya and spending the night in Palenque, gateway to some of Mexico’s most memorable ruins.
Dating from the Seventh and Eighth Centuries, the jungle-surrounded pyramids, temples and Grand Palace of Palenque are among the finest of all Mayan remains. The Temple of the Inscriptions, with its ancient hieroglyphs, and the Temple of the Sun, are especially memorable. After an exciting early morning visit to the site, you'll have an included lunch in the town, and then return to the coach to travel to the walled port-city of Campeche, to spend the evening in this once-vital trading centre of the Conquistadors.
Your final full-day's touring takes you east towards the Yucatán peninsula, calling first at Uxmal, where excavations amid the terraces and squares of the site are slowly unveiling yet more wonders of the ancient Mayan culture. This afternoon, you’ll pay a visit to a small, traditional producer of chilli sauce, to see how peppers and spices are turned into the piquant salsas that accompanies many of the regional dishes. You'll spend your final night in charming Mérida, the Yucatecan capital. A Spanish-Franco colonial masterpiece with a romantic mix of narrow streets and sweeping boulevards, Mérida is the perfect place to end your Mexican tour. This evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner in the city's historic heart.
Saving the very best till last, today begins with a journey east to the extraordinary Mayan site of Chichen Itza. One of the Seven New Wonders of the World the site is a remarkable collection of 30 or so buildings recovered from the surrounding jungle. See the monumental El Castillo pyramid, the snail-shell-like El Caracol and the remarkable observatory used by the Maya to track the orbit of Venus. After a truly fascinating last morning, make your way to the airport, bid farewell to your Mexican hosts, and board the aircraft for the flight home via Mexico City.
Arrive back in the UK, at the end of a wonderful tour of Mexican.
12 nights’ bed-and-breakfast accommodation in Mexico City (3 nights), Puebla (1), Oaxaca (2), Tehuantepec (1), San Cristóbal (2), Palenque (1), Campeche (1) and Mérida (1), plus two nights on the aircraft
Welcome and Farewell dinners
Return flights to Mexico City (returning from Cancun via Mexico City)
Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
With more than 35 years’ tour-operating experience, Newmarket Holidays can provide escorted tours, river cruises, cruise holidays and resort-based stays that combine superb value for money and the highest standards of customer care. Having won Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company six years running at the British Travels Awards, the company has become one of the largest and most respected independently owned tour operators in the UK.
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