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 holiday deals in Mexico

Departing Days Price USD
5 Sep 2015 Mexico Unplugged 15 $1060
6 Sep 2015 Best of Mexico 15 $2934
12 Sep 2015 Mexico Unplugged 15 $1168
19 Sep 2015 Central America Encompassed 31 $2349
26 Sep 2015 Mexico Unplugged 15 $1192

All our Mexico trips

DAYS
15
FROM
USD $2,960
CAD $3,055
AUD $2,995
EUR €2,060
GBP £1,730
NZD $3,335
ZAR R29,980
CHF FR2,495
Travel through Oaxaca, San Cristobal and Lacanja in search of Mexico’s lost Maya city.
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9
FROM
USD $1,359
CAD $1,399
AUD $1,372
EUR €927
GBP £792
NZD $1,530
ZAR R13,738
CHF FR1,120
Take a culinary journey through Mexico, tasting the flavours of Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico City and the south-west coast....
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15
FROM
USD $1,060
CAD $1,092
AUD $1,104
EUR €728
GBP £616
NZD $1,192
ZAR R10,720
CHF FR880
Adventure through Central America's vivacious Mexico on an enthralling journey from the beats of buzzing Mexico City...
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13
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USD $1,360
CAD $1,420
AUD $1,395
EUR €905
GBP £805
NZD $1,550
ZAR R13,950
CHF FR1,095
Sun, fun, creatures and culture. This intoxicating adventure through the heart of Central America covers the best of...
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17
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USD $1,143
CAD $1,177
AUD $1,190
EUR €786
GBP £667
NZD $1,283
ZAR R11,572
CHF FR956
Enjoy a liberal dose of sun, fun and history on this amazing Mayan Encounter tour. Visit beautiful Belize, the...
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USD $1,088
CAD $1,120
AUD $1,100
EUR €748
GBP £632
NZD $1,224
ZAR R11,000
CHF FR904
From the sandy playground of Mexico's Cancun to charismatic Antigua, this tour of Mexico and Guatemala is choc-full...
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25
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USD $2,308
CAD $2,380
AUD $2,335
EUR €1,593
GBP £1,350
NZD $2,601
ZAR R23,382
CHF FR1,926
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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USD $2,261
CAD $2,333
AUD $2,380
EUR €1,572
GBP £1,321
NZD $2,550
ZAR R22,916
CHF FR1,904
Ruins, volcanoes and beachside playgrounds await on this awesome Central American adventure, journeying through...
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58
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USD $5,130
CAD $5,555
AUD $5,450
EUR €3,535
GBP £3,145
NZD $6,070
ZAR R54,570
CHF FR4,245
This captivating adventure through Central America travels through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua,...
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44
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USD $3,860
CAD $3,985
AUD $3,905
EUR €2,585
GBP £2,255
NZD $4,345
ZAR R39,090
CHF FR3,125
Have the ultimate Central American adventure on this classic tour from Mexico to Panama. Enjoy beaches, volcanoes,...
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31
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USD $2,214
CAD $2,286
AUD $2,331
EUR €1,548
GBP £1,296
NZD $2,497
ZAR R22,432
CHF FR1,867
An adventure tour through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala reveals the captivating history of Mayan civilisation and...
DAYS
46
FROM
USD $3,636
CAD $3,753
AUD $3,676
EUR €2,434
GBP £2,124
NZD $4,099
ZAR R36,832
CHF FR2,947
Escape on a Central American odyssey through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and marvel...
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52
FROM
USD $5,780
CAD $6,260
AUD $6,196
EUR €4,226
GBP £3,510
NZD $6,849
ZAR R61,425
CHF FR5,110
Travel along the spine of North America and the centre of Mexico on a tour that takes you from the mountainous climes...
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5
FROM
Become a part of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City. Join a street party, admire colourful altars and...

Mexico trip reviews

Our Mexico trips score an average of 4.58 out of 5 based on 454 reviews in the last year.

Real Food Adventure - Mexico, August 2015

Mayan Encounter, July 2015

Articles on Mexico

“We’re going deep into the jungle…expect surprises” – why you can’t afford to miss this epic Mexico expedition

Posted on Fri, 5 Jun 2015

How to get off the beaten track, off the beaten track. (That's not a typo).

Read more

Mexico misguided: how a local leader can enhance your trip

Posted on Fri, 15 May 2015

When you’ve traveled in a region before, it can be tempting to think there’s little to be gained from group travel and a local leader. How wrong I was.

Read more

Trip or treat? Our spookiest adventures from around the world

Posted on Thu, 30 Oct 2014

With Halloween fast approaching, things are getting spooky at Intrepid. Here are some of our spookiest trips from around the world.

Read more

Move over Mexico: 7 awesome foods from Central America

Posted on Fri, 12 Sep 2014

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

Read more

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

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, savouring 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 colourful 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 flavours 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 colourful 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 colourful 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 colourful 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 colourful 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

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
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

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