Best of Mexico Trip Notes

Best of Mexico

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 29 Sep 2016
Best of Mexico
Trip code: QVKD
Validity: 01 May 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Cheers a margarita glass to the vivacious beauty and fiery flavours of Mexico. Discover the culture and landscapes of this fascinating country on a trip that takes you from Mexico City to Play del Carmen – with a spattering of enticing stops along the way. Discover Maya history and culture at the incredible Chichen Itza ruins, and visit traditional communities in the charming San Cristobal de las Casas. Indulge in a feast of delicious local food, with a chance to learn some cooking skills of your own. And snorkel in the brilliant Caribbean waters, laze on white sands and stroll through lively marketplaces. Waterfalls and volcanoes await you, and a host of museums, churches and archaeological sites give you a taste of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017: The itinerary of this trip will change from 1 February 2017. In order to improve our trips we regularly review feedback from past travellers and our local operations team. As a result of that process, in 2017 we’ll make the following changes to this itinerary: Puebla will be a stop en-route to Oaxaca. We will fly from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas (enabling us to drop an overnight stop in Tehuantepec) and We will remove the overnight stop in Campeche. These changes will enable us to spend more time in highlight destinations, including Mexico City, Oaxaca and Playa del Carmen. The overall itinerary will look like this: Day 1 Mexico City Day 2 Mexico City Day 3 Teotihuacan / Mexico City Day 4 Puebla / Oaxaca Day 5 Oaxaca Day 6 Oaxaca Day 7 San Cristobal de las Casas Day 8 San Cristobal de las Casas Day 9 Palenque Day 10 Palenque Ruins / Merida Day 11 Merida Day 12 Chichen Itza / Playa del Carmen Day 13 Playa del Carmen Day 14 Tulum / Playa del Carmen Day 15 Playa del Carmen
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesWhat to take
Why we love itMeals introductionClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryTransportTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerMoney mattersA couple of rules
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesSafetyThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesJoining pointFeedback
Group sizeFinish point
Is this trip right for you?
- Some included activities, such as guided tours of archaeological sites, can be quite strenuous. Be sure to bring suitably sturdy footwear.
- There are a few long days of travel, as you'll be covering a lot of ground. You will, however, make stops at interesting locations to break up the longer drives.
- The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours. There will of course be plenty of chances to swim!
- It's a good idea to learn as many Spanish words as you can. Locals are very friendly, but can be shy, so you'll need to make an effort to break the ice. It's a great way to show respect and involve yourself in their culture.
- Due to increased activity by the Zapatista movement in the region around Palenque, some changes to your itinerary may be necessary for your safety.
Why we love it
- This is one of our most comprehensive adventures in Mexico, rich in historical and cultural highlights
- Get up close and personal with the country's diverse heritage, from the magnificent Aztec temples of Teotihuacan to the brightly-dressed Maya folk of the hills of San Cristobal
- There's something for everyone on this trip, whether you're a history buff, nature-lover or Epicurean
- Compare Mexico City's heady street-food scene to the subtler fare found in Oaxaca
- Your adventure culminates in rest and relaxation. The white sands and azure waters of Playa Del Carmen are the perfect excuse to extend your stay in Mexico

Day 1 Mexico City
Arrive at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport and be transferred to your hotel. Settle in and, if you have time, take a stroll to get a feel for this vibrant and rapidly growing capital where the ancient and modern collide. In the evening, usually around 7 pm, you will meet your leader and other members of your group for a pre-trip meeting. The exact time and place of the meeting can be found at the hotel reception. Generally the meeting is followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Mexico City
    Enjoy a guided city tour. You'll visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace and Museum of Anthropology. After that, the day is yours to spend as you please. Learn some dance moves from the locals, or try out your own to the music of a mariachi band. Ask your leader about where to find Aztec ruins in the city centre, or perhaps take the subway right through to one of the temples. If you'd rather venture out of the city, take a trip to the beautiful canals and gardens of Xochimilco, located 28 kilometres south of the city.
    Included Activities
    • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals
    • Mexico City - Museum of Anthropology
    • Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral
    • Mexico City - City Tour
      Optional Activities
      • Mexico City - Leon Trotsky Museum - MXN40
      • Mexico City - Mariachis in Garibaldi Square (entry is free, price to hire a band for 2-3 songs) - USD8
      • Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum - MXN140
        Hotel (1 nt)
        1 breakfast
        Day 3 Teotihuacan – Puebla
        Head to Puebla in a private minivan. Along the way, you'll stop at Teotihuacan, about 50 kilometres northeast of Mexico City. Here you'll discover the amazing Aztec ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon which dominate the skyline. This was once the Aztec capital, and one of the biggest cities in the world. Stroll down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’ with your local guide and see the clues to what life was like here nearly 2,000 years ago. Continue to Puebla, a town of palpable colonial heritage despite rapid development. You'll visit the local markets, where some excellent hand-paint tiles are available. To finish off a busy day, perhaps sample some mole Poblano, a local specialty that's famous across Mexico. You can even try cooking it yourself in an optional cooking class.
        Included Activities
        • Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide)
        • Puebla - Santo Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel
        • Puebla - City Tour
          Optional Activities
          • Puebla - Cooking class - USD85
            Hotel (1 nt)
            1 breakfast
            Day 4 Oaxaca
            Take a minibus to Oaxaca, the beautiful colonial city known for its cuisine and lively art scene. It's also a great place to browse for traditional Mexican handicrafts, with descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians selling an array of bright woven blankets and shawls. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the streets and take the opportunity to feast on some regional delicacies. From the delicious banana-leaf-wrapped ‘tomales’ to the spicy baked chilli and lime grasshoppers, there's no shortage of unique and delicious fare, usually sold by the lovely old ladies of the markets.
            Hotel (1 nt)
            1 breakfast
            Day 5 Monte Alban – Oaxaca
            Today you'll travel up a nearby hill to see the ancient Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban. The Zapotec civilisation began construction of this city around 200 BC, and Olmecs and Mixtecs have inhabited it at different times. Have your camera ready to go, because up here you can get an amazing view across the three legs of the valley of Oaxaca. With the help of your local guide, you will explore the remnants of plazas, tombs, palaces and temples that make up this intriguing site. Return to Oaxaca for the afternoon and enjoy some free time. Season depending, a folkloric ballet performance is a great optional activity while you're here. There's also the Santo Domingo Cultural Centre which is worth a visit.
            Included Activities
            • Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins (entrance fee)
              Optional Activities
              • Oaxaca - Folkloric ballet (seasonal) - USD10
              • Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre - USD8
                Hotel (1 nt)
                1 breakfast
                Day 6 Tehuantepec
                Drive south towards the Pacific coast on your way to Tehuantepec. En route you'll stop to see the Tule Tree, a massive Montezuma cypress generally regarded as one of the most stunning trees in the world. You'll also visit a Mezcal factory to learn the backstory of this heady Mexican drop, which you may have sampled by now. Another stopover on today's drive is Mitla, an important Zapotec archaeological site that was originally built as a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Continue then to Tehuantepec, where you'll spend the night.
                Included Activities
                • Oaxaca - Mitla ruins visit
                • Oaxaca - Mezcal Factory
                • Oaxaca - Tule Tree
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 7 San Cristobal de las Casas
                  Continue driving east into the state of Chiapas. On the way you will visit Sumidero Canyon, a gorgeous, 800-metre-deep canyon carved out by the Sumidero River. It's roughly as old as the Grand Canyon. Continue to San Cristobal de las Casas. Stretch your legs, take a walk and soak up the strong old-world atmosphere of this town, which is due in no small part to the grand Spanish colonial architecture, prominent indigenous cultures and winding cobblestone streets.
                  Included Activities
                  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 8 San Cristobal de las Casas
                    Take a tour around the Mayan villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan today. Nestled in the highlands, these villages serve as marketplaces and religious ceremonial centres for the indigenous folk who live in the surrounding hills. The local people have retained their traditional way of life and can often be seen wearing their own distinctive, colourful costumes. As you explore these villages with a guide, you'll learn more about these mostly Mayan communities.
                    Included Activities
                    • San Cristobal de las Casas - Mayan villages tour inc. San Juan Chamula
                      Optional Activities
                      • San Cristobal de las Casas - Lagunas de Montebello - USD35
                      • San Cristobal - Bicycle rental (per hour) - USD30
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 9 Palenque
                        Say goodbye to San Cristobal de Las Casas as you head for Palenque. Enjoy some free time exploring the town when you arrive.

                        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. It's also possible that the Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls will not be accessible at the time we are scheduled to visit.
                        Included Activities
                        • Palenque - Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 10 Palenque
                          Today you will visit the ruins of Palenque. Located on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle, these are some of the most astounding Mayan ruins in the region, dating back as far as AD 600. Some of the ruins remain unexcavated and are hidden in the surrounding forest. Enjoy a guided tour of the site. As you explore this lost city keep an ear out for the strange calls of howler monkeys reverberating through the jungle.
                          Included Activities
                          • Palenque - Archaeological site guided tour
                            Optional Activities
                            • Palenque - Jungle Trail tour - USD15
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 11 Campeche
                              Pack your swimmers today as you drive north towards the Gulf of Mexico. On the way there you'll be stopping at the beach, so take the opportunity for a refreshing dip. Continue to Campeche where you'll spend the night. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city and visit the San Miguel Fort and museum. Campeche is a charming Spanish colonial harbour town, a UNESCO World Heritage site complete with walls and fortifications. Many of the buildings have been restored, and as a result the townscape is quite a sight.
                              Included Activities
                              • Campeche - San Miguel Fort
                              • Campeche - City Tour
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 12 Merida
                                Head for the ancient ruins of Uxmal this morning. Here you'll visit the amazing Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be the best example of classic Mayan architecture. You'll also visit the mystical Pyramid of the Magician, comprising five super-imposed temples. Continue to Merida and take a tour of this 'white city'. See its many dazzling colonial buildings and learn more about the Mayan heritage of the town.
                                Included Activities
                                • Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. transport and guide)
                                • Merida - Guided city tour
                                  Optional Activities
                                  • Merida - Celestun Bird Sanctuary (entrance and transport) - USD50
                                  • Merida - Contemporary Art Museum - USD5
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Day 13 Merida
                                    Enjoy free time exploring the many sights of Merida. The Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan and the shady Plaza Grande are both good places to start. At the latter you will find the 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo. The outdoor market is essential, with an array of hammocks and Mayan replicas for sale. Here you can sample some local fare, including the dish cochinita pibil ('little pig') or the mind-blowingly spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. Ask your guide for some more recommendations.
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Day 14 Playa del Carmen
                                    Chichen Itza is your first stop today. This is possibly the most famous Mayan site in Mexico. You'll see the marvellous Temple of Kukulkan standing over the ruins. Not far from the temple is the ‘ball court’, where many disputes are known to have been settled by way of a ball game that employed only the elbows, hips and wrists. Stone carvings depicting violence suggest it was not such a casual sport. Following a guided tour of the site, continue to the resort town of Playa del Carmen. Here you can spend your time snorkelling among the mangroves, diving in underground caverns or strolling along white sands. In the evenings, kick back and watch the waves with a margarita. It's possible to take a ferry from here across to Cozumel for some reef diving too.
                                    Included Activities
                                    • Chichen Itza - Entrance
                                      Hotel (1 nt)
                                      1 breakfast
                                      Day 15 Playa del Carmen
                                      There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart the accommodation at any time. But to make the most of what Playa has to offer, extending your stay is highly recommended.
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Playa del Carmen - Cenote Ikil - USD6
                                      • Playa del Carmen - Bike rental (per day) - USD10
                                      • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel - USD28
                                      • Playa del Carmen - Dos Ojos Cenote snorkelling tour - USD80
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Itinerary disclaimer
                                        ITINERARY CHANGES 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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! 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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                                        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.
                                        Physical rating

                                        Included activities
                                        Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
                                        Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals
                                        Mexico City - Museum of Anthropology
                                        Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral
                                        Mexico City - City Tour
                                        Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide)
                                        Puebla - Santo Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel
                                        Puebla - City Tour
                                        Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins (entrance fee)
                                        Oaxaca - Mitla ruins visit
                                        Oaxaca - Mezcal Factory
                                        Oaxaca - Tule Tree
                                        San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
                                        San Cristobal de las Casas - Mayan villages tour inc. San Juan Chamula
                                        Palenque - Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls
                                        Palenque - Archaeological site guided tour
                                        Campeche - San Miguel Fort
                                        Campeche - City Tour
                                        Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. transport and guide)
                                        Merida - Guided city tour
                                        Chichen Itza - Entrance
                                        Important notes
                                        1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
                                        2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

                                        Group size
                                        Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                        Your fellow travellers
                                        GROUP TRAVEL
                                        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.

                                        SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                                        Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                                        SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
                                        A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
                                        Hotel (14nt)
                                        The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                                        Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings 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-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
                                        Meals introduction
                                        There are some simple breakfasts included on this trip which are comprised simply of bread, butter, jam, coffee / tea and juice (or similar).
                                        14 breakfasts
                                        Private minivan

                                        There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. Windy roads, rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.
                                        Money matters
                                        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 USD100 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:
                                        USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.

                                        SPENDING MONEY:
                                        When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                        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 Intrepid destinations.

                                        The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                                        Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                                        Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest USD2-USD4 per passenger per day.

                                        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 suggest USD1-USD2 per day for drivers.

                                        Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD2-USD4 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.

                                        In total, we recommend you budget approx USD5-USD10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                                        Mexico: Please allow USD25 for international departure tax from Mexico. This is sometimes included in your international airfare.

                                        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.

                                        EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                                        We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
                                        Group leader
                                        All Intrepid 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. Intrepid 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 Intrepid 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.
                                        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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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 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 Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid 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 Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                                        For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:


                                        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 or on the floor 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 your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide 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.
                                        Joining point
                                        Hotel Century Zona Rosa
                                        Liverpool No. 152, Cuauhtémoc
                                        Zona Rosa
                                        Mexico City
                                        C.P. 06600
                                        Phone: 01 55 5726 9911
                                        Finish point
                                        Hacienda Paradise Boutique Hotel
                                        Avenida 10 Nte. entre 20 y 22 S/N
                                        Playa del Carmen
                                        Phone: +52 984 873 1397
                                        Emergency contact
                                        In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local ground representative for Central America and Mexico, Viaventure, can be reached on +502 5778 4100 or +502 5778 4052

                                        For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

                                        For general contact details please use the following page:

                                        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.
                                        Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                        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
                                        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, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                                        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.

                                        Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


                                        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.
                                        Climate and seasonal information
                                        HURRICANE SEASON:
                                        Please note hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors situations as they arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
                                        All Intrepid 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, Intrepid Travel 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.

                                        YELLOW FEVER:
                                        A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

                                        It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

                                        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.

                                        Zika Virus:

                                        “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in parts of Central and South America. This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull).
                                        In addition to the risk mentioned above WHO have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
                                        In line with the above, Intrepid recommends all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America.
                                        At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus.
                                        More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links:
                                        World Health Organisation:”
                                        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 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.

                                        A couple of 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 Intrepid travellers. Intrepid'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.

                                        Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                        Responsible Travel
                                        We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.


                                        Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

                                        The Intrepid Foundation
                                        Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                                        The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                                        The Intrepid Foundation currently supports Casaito in Guatemala - Central America:
                                        * CasaSito provides educational opportunities in rural areas of Guatemala for children living in poverty. Guatemala has a very high level of illiteracy, particularly in rural areas which lack schools and educational resources. Our support is for their scholarship program, helping keep children in school.

                                        After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.