Mexico Unplugged

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Mexico Unplugged

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Description

Explore the heart of Mexico’s Aztec, Zapotec, Maya and Spanish cultures on this 15-day cultural adventure discovering ruins, visiting pueblos and meeting the wonderful local people. Travel through the bustling metropolis of Mexico City, wind up on the relaxed shores of the Yucatan Peninsula, and unravel the magnificent mystery of the ancient civilisation in Oaxaca, Puebla, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque and Merida along the way. With plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and hiking, this is the ideal introduction to one of Central America’s most colourful and exciting destinations.

Trip Name
Mexico Unplugged
Last Updated
2019-12-10
Days
15
Capacity
16
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 Mexico City and Puebla.
  • Eat your way through arty Oaxaca at its many market vendors and authentic restaurants – mole poblano and mezcal for dinner? Delicioso!
  • Escape the Mexican heat in the highlands of San Cristobal de las Casas. This old-world town is surrounded by indigenous villages that have retained their traditional customs and roots.
  • Chichen Itza is one the New Seven Wonders of the World. It's not hard to see why – strolling around the ancient Maya ruins feels pretty wondrous.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Mexico City
Bienvenidos a Mexico City! This is one of the world's largest urban centres, a bustling metropolis of different eras, offering a huge variety of museums, galleries and architectural delights, along with pumping nightlife and unparalleled street food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you arrive early, perhaps head to the Zocalo – the massive central square – and check out the Aztec ruins and colonial architecture nearby. There are also plenty of parks, plazas and gardens to relax in and adjust to the Mexican way of life.
Day 2 - Mexico City
Wake up in Mexico City, ready for a leader-led walk to orientate yourself to the city, as well as to explore its historic centre. Pass by the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace, Bellas Artes, Paseo de la reforma and more. After exploring the main historic sights of Mexico’s capital, you sure would have worked up an appetite. For lunch, sample some authentic soft corn tacos from two different vendors – some of the best you’ll ever taste. The rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish. Art fans will want to check out the Frida Kahlo Museum, otherwise you may want to visit the famous religious icon of Virgen de Guadalupe. In the evening, why not join the Mexican Night Out Urban Adventure tour, where you can get among Mexico's Holy Trinity of entertainment: Cantinas, Mariachi and Lucha Libre wrestling. Sip some tequila at a cantina, shuffle and sway to Mariachi music and watch masked wrestlers dive, fly, writhe, and grandstand for the audience for a truly loco night out. For more information, head to urbanadventures.com/destination/Mexico-City-tours.
Day 3 - Puebla
Enjoy free time for a final exploration of Mexico City. Your group will head to the bus station in the late afternoon to catch a local bus to Puebla (approximately 2.5 hours), and if you're the grazing type, please make sure you bring some snacks along for the journey. The local buses in Mexico aren't the colourful school buses seen in other areas of Central America – most are comfortable, coach-style vehicles equipped with bathrooms. The air conditioning will be blasted often, so don't forget to bring a jacket too. On arrival in Puebla, your leader will take you out for an orientation walk and run through some common Spanish phrases to help you make the most of the days ahead. This will come in handy with an evening visit to La Pasita bar, where you’ll have the opportunity to taste pasita – a sweet liqueur made of raisins in one of Puebla’s most famous bar. Salud!
Day 4 - Puebla
Puebla is a rapidly growing city featuring many well-maintained churches and buildings from the colonial period, and today is free for you to discover the city at your leisure. Though there are enough churches to visit a different one every day for a year, two of the best examples are Santa Domingo Church and the Rosary Chapel, located in town. Further afield lies the Great Pyramid of Cholula, containing over 8 kilometres (5 miles) of tunnels, with the enormous Popocatepetl Volcano serving as a backdrop. In town, Puebla also has plenty of markets where you can brush up on your bargaining skills or pick up some local handicrafts. In the evening, why not try some mole poblano, a native Puebla dish that's famous all over Mexico? Perhaps you could even try making it yourself during an optional cooking class.
Day 5 - Oaxaca
Journey by local bus to Oaxaca, arriving after approximately 5 hours. Oaxaca (pronounced ‘wuh-haa-ka’) is a beautiful, old colonial town full of graceful arcades and colourful markets. You'll find Zapotec and Mixtec influences around the city as ancestors have populated this region for thousands of years. Your leader will take you on a quick orientation walk to show you the ropes then the next couple of days are free for you to explore. The city is known for its arts scene, particularly its folk and fine art, but you'll also discover a grungier side to Oaxaca including some incredible examples of street art. Walk the narrow, cobbled streets, or maybe sit back in one of the squares, sipping mezcal and watching the world go by.
Day 6 - Oaxaca
There's an opportunity today to visit the spectacular temples of Monte Alban just outside of Oaxaca. Monte Alban was inhabited for 1500 years by the Olmec, Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, and this World Heritage site is an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre, with terraces, dams, canals and pyramids carved out of the mountain. Alternatively, why not take a day tour out to Mitla Ruins, relax at the mineral springs and calcified waterfalls of Hierve el Agua, and stop by a local mezcal distillery. In the evening, if you've any energy left, you could have a go at plating up some delicious local fare during a cooking class, or just head out for some food with your fellow travellers and enjoy the town's lively atmosphere.
Day 7 - Oaxaca / Overnight Bus
Use today to take part in whatever optional activities you couldn't fit in yesterday, or enjoy a relaxed day in town instead, strolling the pretty streets and people-watching with a tejate (cinnamon chocolate flavoured drink) in hand. This evening the group will take a first-class overnight bus to the highland town of San Cristobal de las Casas – a journey of approximately 13 hours. There'll be a toilet, reclining seats and plenty of leg room, as well as air conditioning, so be sure to bring a jacket on board. Please keep in mind that though the bus is comfortable, the road from Oaxaca to San Cristobal has some very winding sections, and if you suffer from motion sickness, this is the time to have your medication handy.
Day 8 - San Cristobal de las Casas
The bus will arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas early this morning. Leave your luggage at the hotel and begin exploring this highland town, hidden in green Chiapas valley surrounded by pine trees. Your leader will take you on a tour around town and point out all the important places, then the rest of the day is free for your own adventure. Take in the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, and soak up the old-world feel mixed with strong, pre-Hispanic roots. Stroll through the market, chat with the locals and maybe buy some of the colourful weavings they are known for, before grabbing a drink and some food with your fellow travellers.
Day 9 - San Cristobal de las Casas
The villages surrounding San Cristobal are home to the indigenous Tzotzil and Tzeltal communities, who still maintain a strong sense of tradition both in dress and custom. Today you'll visit the village of San Juan Chamula with your leader, home to the fascinating Iglesia de San Juan. This church, with its pine-covered floor and air thick with incense, is often frequented by shaman who come to carry out cleansings using firewater and ancient prayer. Please understand that there is a strict ban on cameras inside the church. Outside, the town of San Juan Chamula is alive with colourful markets that sell local handicrafts and great street food. Otherwise, your leader can help organise a boating trip in the Sumidero Canyon, which is as old and impressive as the Grand Canyon, or a canyoning adventure through El Chorreadero. Once you've returned to San Cristobal, why not hit up a local cafe for an elote: a traditional highland corn snack and the perfect treat after a big day.
Day 10 - Palenque
Travel along a windy road by private vehicle to Palenque (approximately 6 hours), stopping en route at the Agua Azul waterfall for a refreshing swim. Once you've arrived in Palenque, the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. Situated in a steamy jungle, Palenque is a central town located close to the nearby Maya ruins of the same name, which you'll have a chance to check out tomorrow.
Day 11 - Palenque Ruins / Merida
Today you have the chance to visit the Palenque archaeological zone. Situated on a hilltop, the ruins date back to AD600 and are some of the most impressive Maya relics in Mexico. As you walk among the temples (closed-toe shoes recommended), 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, and you can opt to take a guided tour of the ruins or through the surrounding jungle on your own Indiana Jones-style adventure. This afternoon, travel by private vehicle to the historic town of Merida (approximately 8 hours), the capital of the Yucatan region.
Day 12 - Merida
Founded in 1542 on the site of Tho (an ancient Maya city), the colonial city of Merida retains much of its old-world charm thanks primarily to its people and architecture. Take a wander through Old Town, strolling the buzzing streets and visiting the city's museums. It's also worth walking down the mansion-lined Paseo de Montejo for an insight into the city's 19th-century wealth accumulated from harvesting the henequen plant. Spend some time hanging in the Plaza Grande: a green, shady square enclosed by a 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, the State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo, and check out the outdoor markets where you can stock up on hammocks or sample some local food specialities, like the seriously spicy El Yucateco hot sauce.
Day 13 - Merida
Today you can choose to visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal, which lie just 1 hour's drive from Merida, on an optional tour which includes transport and a local guide. Not much is known about the site, but it's thought that the city was constructed around AD700, was home to around 25,000 people and once dominated the region along with Chichen Itza. Much of the site is decorated with masks of Chac, the rain god, and important buildings include the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor's Palace, the House of the Tortoises and the Ball Court. Alternatively, you can choose to visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary, which is home to vast flocks of flamingos, herons and over 200 different bird species. In the evening, why not join in some dancing with Merida's locals. The town's streets are transformed into an open-air dance floor every Sunday, with salsa and merengue bands providing the tunes.
Day 14 - Chichen Itza / Playa del Carmen
Travel to Playa del Carmen by private vehicle, stopping en route for an included visit to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza (this first leg will take about two hours). 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 and 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 three hours). Blessed with azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun that also has bit of a party atmosphere. After a quick orientation walk, pick a place to kick back with a margarita and watch the sun go down.
Day 15 - Playa del Carmen
There are no activities planned for the final day, but if you're lucky enough to have the time to spend a couple of extra nights in Playa del Carmen, make the most of it by snorkelling in the famous cenotes, strolling along the white sands or, for an adventure further afield, take a ferry across to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving. If you wish to spend more time in Playa del Carmen, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
17-12-201931-12-2019AUD $ 1,815-
21-12-201904-01-2020AUD $ 1,880-
24-12-201907-01-2020AUD $ 1,815-
28-12-201911-01-2020AUD $ 1,900-
31-12-201914-01-2020AUD $ 1,865-
04-01-202018-01-2020AUD $ 2,080-
11-01-202025-01-2020AUD $ 2,135-
18-01-202001-02-2020AUD $ 2,040-
25-01-202008-02-2020AUD $ 2,135-
01-02-202015-02-2020AUD $ 2,135-
08-02-202022-02-2020AUD $ 2,060-
15-02-202029-02-2020AUD $ 2,135-
18-02-202003-03-2020AUD $ 1,980-
22-02-202007-03-2020AUD $ 2,060-
29-02-202014-03-2020AUD $ 2,020-
03-03-202017-03-2020AUD $ 1,814-
07-03-202021-03-2020AUD $ 1,945-
14-03-202028-03-2020AUD $ 1,910-
21-03-202004-04-2020AUD $ 1,910-
24-03-202007-04-2020AUD $ 1,910-
28-03-202011-04-2020AUD $ 1,985-
04-04-202018-04-2020AUD $ 2,075-
07-04-202021-04-2020AUD $ 1,945-
11-04-202025-04-2020AUD $ 2,020-
14-04-202028-04-2020AUD $ 1,910-
18-04-202002-05-2020AUD $ 1,910-
21-04-202005-05-2020AUD $ 1,840-
25-04-202009-05-2020AUD $ 1,840-
02-05-202016-05-2020AUD $ 1,840-
09-05-202023-05-2020AUD $ 1,840-
16-05-202030-05-2020AUD $ 1,840-
23-05-202006-06-2020AUD $ 1,840-
06-06-202020-06-2020AUD $ 1,785-
13-06-202027-06-2020AUD $ 1,785-
20-06-202004-07-2020AUD $ 1,785-
27-06-202011-07-2020AUD $ 1,785-
04-07-202018-07-2020AUD $ 1,785-
11-07-202025-07-2020AUD $ 1,785-
18-07-202001-08-2020AUD $ 1,785-
25-07-202008-08-2020AUD $ 1,785-
01-08-202015-08-2020AUD $ 1,840-
08-08-202022-08-2020AUD $ 1,840-
15-08-202029-08-2020AUD $ 1,840-
22-08-202005-09-2020AUD $ 1,840-
05-09-202019-09-2020AUD $ 1,840-
12-09-202026-09-2020AUD $ 1,840-
19-09-202003-10-2020AUD $ 1,840-
26-09-202010-10-2020AUD $ 1,840-
03-10-202017-10-2020AUD $ 1,910-
10-10-202024-10-2020AUD $ 1,910-
13-10-202027-10-2020AUD $ 1,910-
17-10-202031-10-2020AUD $ 1,910-
24-10-202007-11-2020AUD $ 1,910-
31-10-202014-11-2020AUD $ 1,965-
03-11-202017-11-2020AUD $ 1,910-
07-11-202021-11-2020AUD $ 1,910-
10-11-202024-11-2020AUD $ 1,910-
14-11-202028-11-2020AUD $ 1,910-
17-11-202001-12-2020AUD $ 1,980-
21-11-202005-12-2020AUD $ 1,980-
28-11-202012-12-2020AUD $ 1,980-
05-12-202019-12-2020AUD $ 1,980-
08-12-202022-12-2020AUD $ 1,980-
12-12-202026-12-2020AUD $ 1,980-
15-12-202029-12-2020AUD $ 1,980-
19-12-202002-01-2021AUD $ 1,980-
22-12-202005-01-2021AUD $ 1,980-
26-12-202009-01-2021AUD $ 2,020-
29-12-202012-01-2021AUD $ 2,020-
02-01-202116-01-2021AUD $ 1,840-
05-01-202119-01-2021AUD $ 1,840-
09-01-202123-01-2021AUD $ 1,840-
16-01-202130-01-2021AUD $ 1,840-
23-01-202106-02-2021AUD $ 1,840-
26-01-202109-02-2021AUD $ 1,840-
30-01-202113-02-2021AUD $ 1,840-
06-02-202120-02-2021AUD $ 1,840-
13-02-202127-02-2021AUD $ 1,840-
16-02-202102-03-2021AUD $ 1,840-
20-02-202106-03-2021AUD $ 1,840-
27-02-202113-03-2021AUD $ 1,840-
02-03-202116-03-2021AUD $ 1,785-
06-03-202120-03-2021AUD $ 1,785-
13-03-202127-03-2021AUD $ 1,785-
20-03-202103-04-2021AUD $ 1,785-
23-03-202106-04-2021AUD $ 1,785-
27-03-202110-04-2021AUD $ 1,785-
03-04-202117-04-2021AUD $ 1,785-
06-04-202120-04-2021AUD $ 1,785-
10-04-202124-04-2021AUD $ 1,785-
17-04-202101-05-2021AUD $ 1,785-
20-04-202104-05-2021AUD $ 1,785-
24-04-202108-05-2021AUD $ 1,785-
01-05-202115-05-2021AUD $ 1,785-
08-05-202122-05-2021AUD $ 1,785-
15-05-202129-05-2021AUD $ 1,785-
22-05-202105-06-2021AUD $ 1,785-
05-06-202119-06-2021AUD $ 1,785-
12-06-202126-06-2021AUD $ 1,785-
19-06-202103-07-2021AUD $ 1,785-
26-06-202110-07-2021AUD $ 1,785-
03-07-202117-07-2021AUD $ 1,785-
10-07-202124-07-2021AUD $ 1,785-
17-07-202131-07-2021AUD $ 1,785-
24-07-202107-08-2021AUD $ 1,785-
31-07-202114-08-2021AUD $ 1,785-
07-08-202121-08-2021AUD $ 1,785-
14-08-202128-08-2021AUD $ 1,785-
21-08-202104-09-2021AUD $ 1,785-
04-09-202118-09-2021AUD $ 1,785-
11-09-202125-09-2021AUD $ 1,785-
18-09-202102-10-2021AUD $ 1,785-
25-09-202109-10-2021AUD $ 1,785-
02-10-202116-10-2021AUD $ 1,785-
09-10-202123-10-2021AUD $ 1,785-
12-10-202126-10-2021AUD $ 1,785-
16-10-202130-10-2021AUD $ 1,785-
23-10-202106-11-2021AUD $ 1,785-
30-10-202113-11-2021AUD $ 1,785-
02-11-202116-11-2021AUD $ 1,785-
06-11-202120-11-2021AUD $ 1,785-
09-11-202123-11-2021AUD $ 1,785-
13-11-202127-11-2021AUD $ 1,785-
16-11-202130-11-2021AUD $ 1,785-
20-11-202104-12-2021AUD $ 1,785-
27-11-202111-12-2021AUD $ 1,785-
04-12-202118-12-2021AUD $ 1,785-
07-12-202121-12-2021AUD $ 1,785-
11-12-202125-12-2021AUD $ 1,785-
14-12-202128-12-2021AUD $ 1,785-
18-12-202101-01-2022AUD $ 1,785-
21-12-202104-01-2022AUD $ 1,785-
25-12-202108-01-2022AUD $ 1,785-
28-12-202111-01-2022AUD $ 1,785-

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights),Overnight bus (1 night)

Meals introduction

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.

Transport

Private vehicle,Public bus,Local bus,Overnight public bus,Taxi

Included activities

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

Optional activities

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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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