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Mexico and Cuba Overview
Embark on an adventure through Mexico and Cuba that spends time in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Palenque, Havana, Trinidad and more.
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31
Experience the incredible sights of Mexico and Cuba on an Intrepid comfort journey
Get a good dose of fun, sun, history and culture on this three-week journey through Mexico and Cuba. Become immersed in the mesmerising mayhem of Mexico City, taste the distinctive foods on offer in Oaxaca's traditional markets, gaze in awe out over the pyramids of Palenque and live it up in the hedonistic haven of Playa del Carmen. Then catch a flight over to Cuba and get a taste of history strolling through Havana's tumble-down buildings, learning about the country's renegade spirit and settling down by a plaza cafe to watch sleepy Trinidad stir into motion. Teeming with stunning natural scenery and brimming with history, this Mexico and Cuba adventure serves up fun and fascination in equal measure.
What's included in this trip
Mexico and Cuba SummaryAdd to Shortlist
On arrival in Mexico, head to the heart of the downtown area to settle in. Meet the team and grab a delicious dinner of spicy tacos, cheesy quesadillas and traditional arroz con frijoles negro (black beans and rice). Check out the must-see archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan, home to the two giant pyramids – Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. Stroll down the Avenue of the Dead with a local guide to uncover the site's many wonders and to better understand the way life was lived nearly 2000 years ago. Then visit the major religious landmark Virgen de Guadalupe before spending some free time feeling the rhythm of Mexico City’s streets.
Travel by minibus to Puebla and explore a city that has successfully combined modern developments with its colonial past. Take the time to intimately explore this Mexican township. Head to the market and bargain for local arts and crafts, or take an optional hike to a nearby volcano. If the food of Mexico has already seduced you, why not learn a few new cooking skills at a traditional cooking class and try to master the local dish mole poblano, which originated in Puebla and is famous all over Mexico.
Explore the colourful markets, exciting architecture and flavoursome cuisine of Oaxaca. Bargain with the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians who sell colourful woven blankets and shawls, or wander the streets, dazed by the range of architectural delights. Otherwise, relax like a local with a mescal or tequila in hand while sitting in the shady central square, El Zovalo. Be sure to visit Monte Alban, a mountain site that was inhabited for 1,500 years by a succession of cultures (Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs).
Discover the old-world charm of San Cristobal de las Casas on this journey into a more traditional part of Mexico. Explore cobbled streets dotted with local shop fronts, which are run by friendly indigenous locals. Be introduced to this colonial city on a village walking tour, passing impressive cathedrals, green plazas and countless museums and cafes. Learn more about the tradition, culture and history of these mainly Mayan communities. During free time, perhaps rent a bike to explore the town further or venture to the Sumidero Canyon to get in touch with nature.
Head out on a waterfall excursion like no other. See Misol-ha – a high, fast-moving waterfall where water plunges 35 m, crashing into the pool below. Later, make tracks to the low and wide Agua Azul, which flows slowly over limestone rocks. Remember to pack your swimsuit for a quick dip in the afternoon. Otherwise, hike around the beautiful surrounding area.
Visit some impressive Maya ruins in the jungled hilltops of Palenque. Dating back to AD600, many of the ruins are stil hidden within the surrounding forest, and due to a low number of visiting tourists, the sites are often seemingly empty. Listen carefully and you might hear the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle. In the evening, get comfy on a overnight bus to Merida.
Spend the day exploring Merida’s well-preserved old town. As well as being the capital of Yucatan state, Merida is the cultural capital of the entire peninsula. Today is free to choose your own adventure: relax in a sunny central cafe, meander museums or walk around the plaza Grande, checking out cathedrals, 16th-century houses and its municipal cultural centre. There is a lot to see and do, but be sure to stop, take a breather and try some unique Yacatecan food. Influenced by the Maya culture, this cheesy, spicy and meaty cusine is some of the best in Mexico.
Explore Chichen Itza, arguably the most famous, and by far the most visited, Maya site in Mexico. With a local guide, see the El Castillo pyramid, where human sacrifices were made to appease the Maya rain god Chac, and learn about the ball courts, where disputes were settled during a sporting game that only allowed combatants to hit the ball using their elbows, hips and wrists, and the risk of losing could mean a player's head. In Playa del Carmen, spend time at the beach, exploring the aqua-blue waters with a snorkel.
With music in the air, crumbling colonial buildings, iconic 50s cars and a unique and often chequered history, Havana always rolls to its own fabulous beat.
Nestled in a lush valley, Soroa has an abundance of natural beauty and is known for its trekking, cycling waterfalls and orchard garden. Surrounded by a unique karst valley, tobacco plantations and atmospheric caves, Vinales is a peaceful, charming town with some of Cuba's most welcoming people.
Colourful houses, cobblestone streets, wonderful people, great food and breathtaking vistas over cerulean seas make Trinidad a firm favourite among visitors.
A delightful city referred to as the 'Pearl of the South', Cienfuegos was designed beautifully by the French but emits a definite Caribbean vibe.
Havana has a tenacity that has seen it through 500 years of ups and downs, along with an infectious love of music, food and life in general.
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