Mexico and Cuba Itinerary

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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Mexico and Cuba.
Traijinera boats, Mexico

Church, Mexico

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

havana local man by blue door

Vinales rock mural, Cuba

playa del carmen, palms on beach, mexico

Days 1-3 Mexico City

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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Day 4 Puebla

Travel by minibus to Puebla and explore a city that has successfully combined modern developments with its colonial past. 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.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 5-6 Oaxaca

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 and be dazed by the range of architectural delights. Otherwise, relax like a local with a mezcal 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).
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 7 Tehuantepec

See the widest tree in the world – the Tule Tree – and stop by a mezcal factory to see how this famed spirit made and at the Mitla ruins on the way to Tehuantepec.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 8-9 San Cristobal de las Casas

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 and, during free time, perhaps rent a bike to explore the town further or venture to the Sumidero Canyon to get in touch with nature.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 10-11 Palenque

Head out on a waterfall excursion like no other. See Misol-ha – a fast-moving waterfall where water plunges 35 metres and crashes 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. The next day, tour the impressive Palenque ruins – a Maya masterpiece.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 12 Campeche

Take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico before continuing on to the fortified colonial town of Campeche.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 13 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 Yucatecan food. Influenced by the Maya culture, this cheesy, spicy and meaty cuisine is some of the best in Mexico.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 14 Playa del Carmen

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 game (combatants were only allowed to hit the ball using their elbows, hips and wrists, and losing meant a player's head). In Playa del Carmen, spend time at the beach, exploring the aqua-blue waters with a snorkel.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 15 Havana

Fly to the sultry capital of Cuba. The best way to see Havana's colonial buildings, elegant plazas, vintage cars and cigar-smoking musicians is by foot. Visit the Plaza de la Revolucion and pass giant monuments of the legendary Che Guevara and Jose Marti. The striking baroque facade of the Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana is a must-see.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 16-17 Soroa/Vinales

Tour the Cuban orchid gardens of Soroa en route to Vinales. One of Cuba's most attractive areas, the fertile valleys and distinctive limestone 'pincushion' hills surrounding Vinales are well worth exploring on a walking tour. Get into the groove with an introductory group salsa lesson and be welcomed on a homestay with a friendly local family.
ACCOM: Homestay - 2

Days 18-19 Trinidad

Take time to explore Trinidad's Spanish-style churches, and then head to Playa Ancon, a white, sandy beach where many hours slip lazily by. Alternatively, why not snorkel over Cuba's colourful underwater world or hire a bike for a relaxing pedal around town. Enjoy an Afro-Cuban folklore dance and music show then practise newly learned salsa moves at one of Trinidad's famous music venues.
ACCOM: Homestay - 2

Day 20 Cienfuegos

Journey to the port city Cubans call 'La Perla del Sur' (The Pearl of the South). Stop by the Palacio del Valle, the architectural pride of Cienfuegos. For a local pick-me-up, why not try a Cuban coffee? It's served strong, black and super sweet.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 21-22 Havana

Stop in at Santa Clara to visit the Mausoleo Che Guevara and learn about the legend and life of this famous revolutionary. Back in Havana, there is time for a final night of revelry. Anyone for some salsa?
ACCOM: Hotel - 1