Mexico

Mexico is an intoxicating land of archaeological treasures, vibrant cities, vivacious culture and welcoming locals. With jungles, mountains, beaches, reefs and caves to explore – and museums, cafés, bars and markets to visit – any time spent in Mexico will never be long enough.

Mexico Tours & Travel

Top deals in Mexico

Departing Days Price AUD
28 Nov 2014 Real Food Adventure - Mexico 8 $1395
10 Jan 2015 Real Food Adventure - Mexico 9 $1480

All our Mexico trips

Mexico Unplugged

15 days from
USD $1,190
CAD $1,195
AUD $1,255
EUR €820
GBP £735
NZD $1,420
ZAR R11,430
CHF FR1,015

Adventure through Central America's vivacious Mexico on an enthralling journey from the beats of buzzing Mexico City...

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Real Food Adventure - Mexico

8 days from
USD $1,325
CAD $1,345
EUR €1,000
GBP £835
NZD $1,655
ZAR R12,690
CHF FR1,230
AUD $1,395

Take a culinary journey through Mexico, tasting the flavours of Oaxaca, Puebla and Mexico City. From markets through...

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Mayan Encounter

17 days from
USD $1,205
CAD $1,225
AUD $1,270
EUR €880
GBP £750
NZD $1,505
ZAR R11,565
CHF FR1,090

Enjoy a liberal dose of sun, fun and history on this amazing Mayan Encounter tour. Visit beautiful Belize, the...

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Explore Mexico & Guatemala

13 days from
USD $1,195
CAD $1,215
AUD $1,260
EUR €875
GBP £755
NZD $1,495
ZAR R11,470
CHF FR1,080

From the sandy playground of Mexico's Cancun to charismatic Antigua, this tour of Mexico and Guatemala is choc-full...

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Mayan Highlights

25 days from

Discover the wonders of the Mayan ruins on a dramatic tour through Mexico; see the archaeological sites on the way to...

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Central American Adventure

32 days from

Ruins, volcanoes and beachside playgrounds await on this awesome Central American adventure, journeying through...

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Ultimate Central America

58 days from

This captivating adventure through Central America travels through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua,...

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Best of Central America

44 days from

Have the ultimate Central American adventure on this classic tour from Mexico to Panama. Enjoy beaches, volcanoes,...

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Central America Encompassed

31 days from
USD $2,260
CAD $2,285
AUD $2,375
EUR €1,605
GBP £1,420
NZD $2,815
ZAR R21,630
CHF FR1,980

An adventure tour through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala reveals the captivating history of Mayan civilisation and...

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Central America Explorer

46 days from
USD $3,295
CAD $3,350
AUD $3,480
EUR €2,420
GBP £2,080
NZD $4,125
ZAR R31,675
CHF FR2,985

Escape on a Central American odyssey through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and marvel...

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Mexico City to Panama City

55 days from
USD $4,065
CAD $4,405
AUD $4,320
EUR €2,975
GBP £2,400
NZD $4,825
ZAR R43,225
CHF FR3,595

Jump onboard this exciting Central American trip that takes you from the vibrancy of Mexico City through the hearts...

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Mexico City: Day of the Dead

5 days from
USD $750
CAD $775
AUD $760
EUR €520
GBP £440
NZD $845
ZAR R7,605
CHF FR635

Become a part of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City. Attend a Halloween costume party, admire the skull...

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Real Food Adventure - Mexico

9 days from
USD $1,465
CAD $1,510
AUD $1,480
EUR €1,030
GBP £855
NZD $1,645
ZAR R14,790
CHF FR1,245

Take a culinary journey through Mexico, tasting the flavours of Oaxaca, Puebla and Mexico City. From markets through...

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Mexico and Cuba

22 days from
USD $4,485
CAD $4,630
AUD $4,540
EUR €3,125
GBP £2,625
NZD $5,055
ZAR R45,445
CHF FR3,780

Embark on an adventure through Mexico and Cuba that spends time in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Palenque, Havana, Trinidad...

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Best of Mexico - Independent Journey

15 days from
USD $5,652
CAD $5,832
AUD $5,720
EUR €3,935
GBP £3,305
NZD $6,370
ZAR R57,255
CHF FR4,765

Marketplaces, waterfalls, Maya ruins – there's a wealth of excitement and beauty to be found in Mexico. Savour it all...

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Best of Mexico

15 days from
USD $2,430
CAD $2,585
AUD $2,685
EUR €1,865
GBP £1,605
NZD $3,185
ZAR R24,440
CHF FR2,300

Marketplaces, waterfalls, Maya ruins – there's a wealth of excitement and beauty to be found in Mexico. Savour it all...

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Land of the Maya

23 days from
USD $4,040
CAD $4,300
AUD $4,465
EUR €3,105
GBP £2,670
NZD $5,295
ZAR R40,640
CHF FR3,830

Travel from Mexico to Guatemala via Belize for an essential education in Central American culture. Explore ancient...

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Mexico trip reviews

Our Mexico trips score an average of 4.47 out of 5 based on 224 reviews in the last year.

Explore Mexico & Guatemala, June 2014

Mexico Unplugged, June 2014

Articles on Mexico

Move over Mexico: 7 awesome foods from Central America

Posted on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 by Louise Burton

Move over Mexico, your neighbours have some pretty sensational tastebud pleasers of their own.

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How to live through Day of the Dead

Posted on Sun, 20 Jul 2014 by Rebecca Swink

These top travel tips will help you survive the deathly trip of a lifetime at Day of the Dead festival in Mexico.

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How to make a spicy Mexican pumpkin seed sauce

Posted on Mon, 9 Jun 2014 by Sue Elliot

Pumpkin seeds are an important source of protein and good essential oils, but did you know they have long been a staple of Mexican cuisine? Intrepid Foodie Thomasina Miers shares a delicious recipe based on a traditional Mexican blend of pumpkin seeds and chilli.

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How do two Masterchef mates survive Mexico

Posted on Fri, 6 Jun 2014 by Sue Elliot

Masterchef mates Andy and Ben travelled on Intrepid's Real Food Adventure Mexico through the country's foodie hot spots to bring you these tasty videos.

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Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Mexico, you may find yourself travelling by:

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Mexico you may find yourself staying in a:

About Mexico

At a glance

Trips Available: 18
Capital city: Mexico City (population 8.7 million)
Population: 113.7 million
Language: Spanish
Currency: MXN
Time zone: (GMT-06:00) Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey - New
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)
Dialing code: +52

Best time to visit Mexico

Mexico is generally most pleasant in the cool, dry season between September and June. July and August can be very hot and humid, but perfect for swimming, snorkelling and lazing on the beach. It is, however, the busiest months for travel as this is the time of the North American school holidays. Highland areas such as Chiapas and Oaxaca tend to be cooler year round, with cold nights.

Mexico weather chart

Culture and customs

Local weaving
Mexico lays claim to one of the richest and most historic cultures in the world. Characterised by strong regional identity, locals are affiliated directly to the region they hail from with each region having its own unique customs, cuisine and even language dialect. Despite this, national identity is still strong with all Mexicans sharing common bonds over their love of sport, dance, food and religion. With most of the country belonging to the Roman Catholic religion, religious festivals and celebrations are plentiful in Mexico. Parades, street fairs and parties held in honour of local saints are commonplace, and offer travellers the chance to witness the customs and rituals of this vibrant culture.

Eating and drinking

Spices & herbs

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savoring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

From the diverse fare on offer in Oaxaca and the regional Yucatecan cuisine of Merida, to the sizzling street food of Mexico City, there’s a wealth of culinary options to choose from.

Things to try in Mexico

1. Tamales

The origins of the tamale date back centuries to the Mesoamerican period. This simple dish of corn dough wrapped in a plantain leaf and steamed or boiled is often dressed up with the addition of meat and mole (sauce). Don’t forget to remove the leaf before eating.

2. Ceviche

Although not originally native to Mexico, ceviche has been served in Mexico for centuries. Best tried in coastal areas where the seafood is freshest, this light dish features shrimp, octopus or squid along with lime, onion, chilli and avocado.

3. Huevos Motulenos

This hearty breakfast favourite hails from the Yucatan area and consists of eggs, cheese, beans, tortillas and salsa.

4. Tostada de Pata

This melange of pork, beans, cheese, salsa and onions served on a toasted tortilla is a quick, tasty and cheap snack and is easily found around Mexico.

Geography and environment

Iguana
Mexico shares land borders with the United States, Belize and Guatemala, and has extensive coastline that runs along the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Featuring a wide variety of natural environments, Mexico is home to tracts of tropical rainforests, vast areas of low-lying plains and desert, volcanic mountains and temperate beaches and lagoons. Its capital and major cities are typically built up, busy and lively – with a vast network of public transport, highways and roads. Rural areas, on the other hand, are distinctly less developed, with small-scale housing, unsealed roads and rustic farms.

History and government

Palenque

Early History

People have been living in Mexico for more than 13,000 years. Mesoamericans occupied the area early on, with archaeological evidence pointing towards Mesoamericans leading a hunter-gatherer existence. Maize farming is thought to have become commonplace by 1500 BC, which led to the farming of other commodities as well. A variety of cultures contributed to the early history of Mexico, with the Olmec, Toltec, Maya, Teotihuacan and Aztecs all bringing unique cultural, religious and artistic styles to the region, with the Mayan and Aztec Empires having the greatest (and most enduring) impact on the region.

Mayan society can be traced back to 300 BC, while the Aztecs enjoyed prosperity from 1325 to around 1521 AD. Many ancient ruins and constructions from these periods are still standing all throughout Mexico, and can be visited and viewed today. By the 16th century, the Spanish had arrived in Mexico and what followed was a period of colonialism that lasted nearly 300 years.

During this time, Mexico was seen as a part of ‘New Spain’ along with Cuba and Puerto Rico. This was not a particularly good time for Mexicans who (under colonial law) were generally not allowed to travel outside of Mexico and were denied access to education. Mexico achieved independence from the Spaniards after the War of Independence (1810-1821) but peace was short lived as two decades later the Mexican-American War brought more confrontation and armed conflict to parts of Mexico.

Recent History

Mexico’s Revolution of 1910 - 1921 was a period of instability, marked by political turmoil and bloodshed. More recently, Mexico has enjoyed an economic resurgence after decades of economic hardship, which lasted from the 1970s to the mid 1990s. The earthquake of 1985 didn’t help matters, with wide-scale damage and loss of life compounding the economic problems and political uncertainty of Mexico. Currently, Mexico is benefiting from a period of improved economic conditions, although the gap between the wages earned by Mexicans and their northern neighbours continues to widen. Mexico is now operating in a free market economy and the growth of tourism, agriculture and industry has ensured an improved economy for the country, although financial inequality still exists within.

Top Picks

Snorkelling Ruins

Top 10 Memorable Moments of Mexico

1. Ramble Among the Ruins

A visit to the famed ruins of Chichen Itza reveals history, ancient architecture and wildlife in equal measures. Walk through the complex and hear jungle animal calls as colorful birds fly among the canopy. This is a stirring experience to treasure.

2. Bittersweet Bites

The cult of chocolate is well and truly alive in Oaxaca! The flavors here are simply phenomenal and unlike mass-produced chocolate in the Western world. Spiced with chilli, cinnamon and cloves, you won’t soon forget the taste of Oaxacan chocolate.

3. Sunshine and Snorkelling

Mexico’s Caribbean coastline showcases expanses of clear blue water, white sand beaches, vibrant reefs and plenty of sunshine. Snorkelling over colorful fish and sun-lit coral is simply unforgettable.

4. Mountain Majesty

The cooler climate and fresh mountain air of San Cristobal de las Casas provides some respite from the city heat. Chilling out in this relaxed and visually stunning area is a magical Mexican moment.

5. Bus Buddies

Catching a local bus in Mexico is a never-ending source of amusement. Overcome the language barrier and make friends with local commuters to pass the time.

6. Tequila!

No visit to Mexico is complete without downing a little bit of the national drink. While you may not remember every detail the morning after, good times and memorable holiday snapshots are guaranteed when tequila’s involved.

7. Volcanic Splendour

Mexico’s volcanic landscapes are photo-worthy and awe-inspiring. Hiking past rocky escarpments and surreal scenery is a rewarding travel experience to remember.

8. Village People

Sharing smiles and laughs with locals while strolling through the rural villages of Mexico is a life affirming and touching experience to cherish.

9. Mariachi Melodies

Sway to the unique sounds of Mexico’s mariachi music in the streets and cafes of Mexico. The rhythms and beats will live in your heart for years to come.

10. To Market, To Market

Witness Latin America’s time honoured commercial traditions unfold at Mexico’s well-patronised markets. Hear the banter of stallholders, smell the fragrant scent of sizzling meat and admire the colorful array of wares on offer.

Shopping

Colourful textiles rugs blankets local handmade

Travellers will be delighted with the range of good quality shopping available in Mexico. As usual, the markets offer some of the most cost-effective and fun ways to shop, although Mexico’s cities also showcase some excellent boutiques and galleries for more costly purchases.

It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in Mexico

1. Tiles, Ceramics and Earthenware

Mexico has a longstanding tradition in creating good quality pottery. Hit the artisan markets for colorful pots, vases and jugs. Don’t forget to pack carefully.

2. Bright Textiles

Woven textiles can be found almost everywhere in Mexico. Hand-woven rugs, blankets, scarves and ponchos are a great reminder of your time in Mexico.

3. Jewellery

The silver in Mexico is among the world's best. Rings, necklaces and bracelets featuring bold Aztec designs are popular choices.

4. Lucha Libre Masks

This Mexican wrestling phenomenon is growing in popularity worldwide, so grab a colorful wrestling mask - it’s a great souvenir for kids (and big kids) at home.

Festivals and Events in Mexico

Independence Day

Festivities for Mexico’s Independence Day usually kick off the night before, with large, spirited crowds gathering in the streets. The next day, patriotism hits a yearly high with street parades, marching bands, military displays and concerts.

Autumn Equinox

Equinoxes were highly significant to the Mayan people, and today crowds still gather at Chichen Itza to witness the sunlight and shadows play tricks on this ancient relic. During the autumn (and spring) equinox, the sun moves across Chichen Itza, illuminating parts of the temple to reveal the moving body of a snake. Not seen on any other days, this natural spectacle draws thousands of pilgrims.

Day of the Dead

This annual festival may seem morbid to some, but think of the Day of the Dead as a celebration of life and ancestry. Mexico stops for two days of street fiestas, graveyard picnics, papier-mache skeletons, candlelit vigils and rituals in honour of deceased relatives and ancestors. This moving and atmospheric festival with ancient roots reveals much about Mexico's culture and religion – don’t miss it!

FAQs on Mexico

Tipping is expected in most parts of Mexico. Service workers typically earn a low wage and rely on tips to earn a decent living. Add 10-15% to restaurant bills (if service charge is not already included), and leave a few dollars or pesos for housekeepers, porters, bartenders and guides.
Internet access is easily found in Mexico’s large cities, metropolitan areas and places frequented by tourists, but less so in more remote areas.
Mobile phone coverage is good in Mexico, especially in large cities. Coverage may not be available in more remote areas, especially if travelling in mountainous regions. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your mobile carrier before you leave home if you wish to use your mobile while in Mexico.
It's likely that you will encounter different types of toilets while travelling in Mexico. Western-style flushable toilets are commonly found in high-end resorts, hotels and restaurants, while squat toilets are common in rural areas and homes. Be prepared by carrying your own supply of toilet paper and soap, as these aren't always provided.
Short trip on public transport = 3 pesos
Street food snack = 10-15 pesos
Bottle of beer = 20-25 pesos
Meal in mid-range restaurant = 50-100 pesos
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Mexico. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in tourist shopping areas and large hotels, but are less commonly accepted by smaller vendors, in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option in Mexico.
ATMs are common in large cities and tourist hot spots like Cancun and Mexico City, and can be found in and near shopping centres and hotels. ATMs are less common in rural areas and smaller towns, so you're advised to prepare for this by having enough cash before travelling out of the city.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Feb 4 Constitution Day
Mar 19 Birthday of Benito Juarez
Mar 28 Maunday Thursday
Mar 29 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla
Sep 16 Independence Day
Oct 12 Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day)
Nov 2 Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Nov 18 Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution of 1910
Dec 12 Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. In addition to these holidays, there are many local holidays also observed regionally throughout Mexico. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Mexico/public-holidays
MEXICO:
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

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Mexico Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Mexico

1. Be considerate of Mexico’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Like Water for ChocolateLaura Esquivel
Oh Mexico!Lucy Neville
Mexico: Biography of PowerEnrique Krauze
First Stop in the New WorldDavid Lida
Rain of GoldVictor E Villasenor