Map of Mexico Unplugged including Mexico

Say hola to ancient cities, Aztec surprises and azure coastline

Explore the heart of Mexico's Aztec, Zapotec, Maya and Spanish cultures on this 15-day adventure. Discover ruins, visit pueblos and meet wonderful people on a tour that covers all the basics so you can get to exploring. Enjoy the relaxed shores of the Yucatan Peninsula, immerse yourself in pre-Hispanic culture in San Cristobal de las Casas and unravel the magnificent mystery of the ancient civilisations in Chichen Itza. With plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and hiking, this is the ideal introduction to one of Central America's most colourful and exciting destinations.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Mexico City, Mexico
Finish
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Destination
Mexico
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
QVRM
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Practice your bargaining skills, snap some photos and pick up traditional handicrafts at the markets in Mexico City and Puebla.

  • Visit the community of San Pedro Tlahuac, home to Nahuatl descendants who practice traditions like chinampa farming, fiestas and ancient ceremonies.

  • Escape the Mexican heat in the highlands of San Cristobal de las Casas and explore surrounding villages where traditional customs and roots are thriving.

  • Explore the stunning Mayan temples of Palenque dating back to AD600 and stroll through Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

  • Finish off your epic journey and recharge with a little beach time in the beachside hub of Playa del Carmen

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves some long days of travel by private and local transport, including one overnight bus. While this can be tiring, it's also a fantastic way to rub shoulders with the locals and get under the skin of a place.

  • Mexico's climate is sultry and tropical, so can get really hot and humid. Wear loose clothing and make sure you stay hydrated, especially while out on walking tours.

  • Try to learn as many Spanish words as you can before the trip. In many of the destinations we visit, local people are reserved and/or do not speak English. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2022 itinerary
Bienvenidos a Mexico City! This is one of the world's largest urban centres, a bustling metropolis with so many influences, offering a huge variety of museums, galleries and architectural delights, along with pumping nightlife and unparalleled street food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you arrive early, perhaps head to the Zocalo – the massive central square – and check out the Aztec ruins and colonial architecture nearby. There are also plenty of parks, plazas and gardens to relax in and adjust to the Mexican way of life.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) (entrance fee) (Closed Mondays) - MXN70
  • Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology (entrance fee) (Closed Mondays) - MXN85
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Please note that this trip can be partnered with other adventures into a ‘combo’, which means that some of your fellow travellers may carry on to further destinations at the end of this tour. If you’d like to spend more time in Central America, have a look at the combos that include this trip’s itinerary, such as Discover Mexico & Cuba (QVBAC) or Central America Encompassed (QVRYC).
Wake up in Mexico City, ready for a leader-led walk to orientate yourself to the city. Pass by the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace, Bellas Artes, Paseo de la reforma and more. After exploring the main sights of Mexico’s capital, you sure would have worked up an appetite. For lunch, join your local leader on a ‘taco crawl’ around town to taste Mexico City’s delicious street-food staple, tacos al pastor, among plenty other delicious treats. After eating your way around the city, the rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish. In the evening you could visit the famous Plaza Garibaldi or sip cocktails with your fellow travellers in one of the many trendy bars in the city, whatever takes your fancy.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - Leader-led Taco Crawl
  • Mexico City - Leader-led orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum (entrance fee) - MXN250
  • Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral (entrance fee) - Free
  • Mexico City - Torre Latino 360° Lookout (entrance fee) - MXN130
  • Mexico City - Diego Rivera Murals in the Mural Museum (Entrance Fee) - Free
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Special Information
Due to high demand, tickets for the Frida Kahlo Museum may not be available to book locally. We recommend booking online at least one month in advance in order to secure your place. Please visit www.museofridakahlo.org.mx to purchase your ticket.
Start the day with a visit to the community of San Pedro Tlahuac, home to Nahuatl descendants who keep their way of life alive. The community practices traditions from pre-Columbian times, including chinampa farming, fiestas and ancient ceremonies. After an included lunch, your group will head to the bus station in the late afternoon to catch a local bus to Puebla, and if you're the grazing type, make sure you bring some snacks along for the journey. The local buses in Mexico aren't the colourful school buses seen in other areas of Central America – most are comfortable, coach-style vehicles equipped with bathrooms. The air conditioning will be blasted often, so don't forget to bring a jacket. On arrival in Puebla, your leader will take you out for an orientation walk and run through some handy Spanish phrases to help you make the most of the days ahead. Put your newly learnt Spanish skills to the test with an evening visit to La Pasita bar, where you’ll have the opportunity to taste pasita – a sweet liqueur made of raisins in one of Puebla’s most famous bars. Salud!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Puebla - Visit to La Pasita Bar
  • Tlahuac - Community Visit
Optional Activities
  • Puebla - Lucha Libre Show (Mondays only) from - MXN350
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 2.5 hours.
Puebla is a rapidly growing city featuring many well-maintained churches and buildings from the colonial period. Today is free for you to discover the city at your leisure. Though there are enough churches to visit a different one every day for a year, two of the best examples are Santa Domingo Church and the Rosary Chapel, located in town. Further afield lies the Great Pyramid of Cholula, containing over eight kilometres (five miles) of tunnels, with the enormous Popocatepetl Volcano serving as a backdrop. In town, Puebla also has plenty of markets where you can brush up on your bargaining skills or pick up some local handicrafts.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Puebla - Santo Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel (entrance fee) - MXN20
  • Puebla - San Pedro Art Museum (entrance fee) - MXN40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we journey by local bus to Oaxaca. Oaxaca (pronounced ‘wuh-haa-ka’) is a beautiful, old colonial town full of graceful arcades and colourful markets. You'll find Zapotec and Mixtec influences around the city as ancestors have populated this region for thousands of years. Your leader will take you on a quick orientation walk to show you the ropes then the next couple of days are free for you to explore. The city is known for its arts scene, particularly its folk and fine art, but you'll also discover a grungier side to Oaxaca and some incredible examples of street art. Walk the narrow, cobblestone streets, or maybe sit back in one of the squares, sipping mezcal and watching the world go by.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oaxaca - Leader-led orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 5 hours.
There's an opportunity today to visit the spectacular temples of Monte Alban just outside of Oaxaca. Monte Alban was inhabited for 1500 years by the Olmec, Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, and this World Heritage site is an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre, with terraces, dams, canals and pyramids carved out of the mountain. Alternatively, why not take a day tour out to Mitla Ruins, visit a traditional weaving arts town, and stop by a local mezcal distillery. In the evening, if you've any energy left, you could head out for dinner with your fellow travellers and enjoy the town's lively atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Oaxaca - Monte Alban archaeological site (entrance fee) - MXN85
  • Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre (entrance fee) - MXN85
  • Oaxaca – Mitla, Teotitlan weaving town & mezcal distillery - MXN850
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Use today to take part in any optional activities you couldn't fit in yesterday, you could have a go at plating up some delicious local fare during a cooking class or enjoy a relaxed day in town at your leisure. This evening the group will take an overnight bus to the highland town of San Cristobal de las Casas. Reclining seats and toilet are available on the bus. The bus is air conditioned, so be sure to bring a jacket on board. Please keep in mind that though the bus is comfortable, the road from Oaxaca to San Cristobal has some very winding sections, so if you suffer from motion sickness this is the time to have your medication handy.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Oaxaca - Cooking class - MXN1200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Travelling by bus around Central America is the easiest and best way to get around, however petty thefts happen from time to time, especially during overnight journeys. Thieves search through sleeping passengers’ unattended luggage in search of cameras, money and credit cards. During overnight bus journeys, it is safest to carry all your valuable belongings close to you at all times and out of the reach of anyone throughout the journey (not in the overhead compartments). Your group leader would have completed this journey multiple times, so take their advice, and if you have any issues, do not hesitate to ask them.

Tonight’s travel time approximately 13 hours.
The bus will arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas early this morning. Leave your luggage at the hotel and begin exploring this highland town, hidden in green Chiapas valley surrounded by pine trees. Your leader will take you on a tour around town and point out all the important places. Then you'll visit the village of San Juan Chamula, home to the fascinating Iglesia de San Juan. This church, with its pine-covered floor and air thick with incense, is often frequented by shamans who come to carry out cleansings using firewater and ancient prayer. Please note that there is a strict ban on cameras inside the church. Outside, the village is alive with colourful markets that sell local handicrafts and great street food. We’ll also stop by the town of Zinacantan to explore another local church. Your visit to Zinacatan church will reveal a fascinating mixture of Christian and Mayan religion, which helps you understand some of the local culture in this region. The rest of the day is free for your own adventure. Stroll through the market, chat with the locals and maybe buy some of the colourful weavings they are known for, before grabbing a drink and some food with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Cristobal de Las Casas - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Zinacatan Church - Visit
  • San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)
Optional Activities
  • San Cristobal de Las Casas - Amber Museum (entrance fee) - MXN30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There’s no alarm clock needed this morning as today is yours to explore San Cristobal de las Casas at your own leisure. Perhaps, take in the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, and soak up the old-world feel mixed with strong, pre-Hispanic roots. Or try something more active and ask your leader to help organise an optional boating trip in the Sumidero Canyon, which is as old and impressive as the Grand Canyon (at your own expense).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sumidero Canyon - Boat Excursion (entrance and transport) - MXN565
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel along a windy road by private vehicle to Palenque, stopping en route at the beautiful Agua Azul cascades and Misol-Ha waterfall for a refreshing swim. Once you've arrived in Palenque, the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. Situated in a steamy jungle, Palenque is a central town close to the nearby Maya ruins of the same name, which you'll have a chance to check out tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agua Azul - Waterfall Visit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
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 Lacanja to Palenque to avoid this activity – more so to bypass long traffic delays than any real danger.
Today you visit the Palenque archaeological zone. The stunning Mayan temples of Palenque are quite rightly considered a must-see during any trip to Chiapas, or indeed Mexico. Situated on a hilltop, the ruins date back to AD600 and are some of the most impressive Maya relics in Mexico. As you walk among the temples (closed-toe shoes recommended), listen out for the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle. There are many ruins which are still un-excavated and remain hidden in the forest, and you can opt to take a guided tour of the ruins or through the surrounding jungle on your own Indiana Jones-style adventure. This afternoon, travel by private vehicle to the historic town of Merida, the capital of the Yucatan region.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Palenque - Palenque Ruins (entrance fee)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Today’s travel time is approximately 8 hours.
Founded in 1542 on the site of Tho (an ancient Maya city), the colonial city of Merida retains much of its old-world charm thanks primarily to its people and architecture. Take an orientation walk with your leader, then enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Maybe take an optional trip to the Merida Contemporary Art Museum for an interesting perspective on contemporary life in the city. Or perhaps just spend some time wandering the Plaza Grande: a green, shady square enclosed by a 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, the State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo. Or head to the outdoor markets where you can find local specialities like the seriously spicy El Yucateco hot sauce.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Merida - Leader-led orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay Contemporary Art Museum (entrance fee) - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you can choose to visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal, a 1-hour drive from Merida, on an optional tour which includes transport and a local guide. It's thought that the city was constructed around AD700, was home to around 25,000 people and once dominated the region along with Chichen Itza. Much of the site is decorated with masks of Chac, the rain god, and important buildings include the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor's Palace, the House of the Tortoises and the Ball Court. Alternatively, you could choose to take an optional guided tour to Las Coloradas – the incredible pink lagoon that’s home to flocks of flamingos.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. shared transport and guide) - MXN1400
  • Merida - Las Coloradas Flamingo Tour (inc. shared transport and guide) - MXN1300
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel to Playa del Carmen by private vehicle, stopping en route for an included visit to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza. Named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza contains both Toltec and Mayan ruins lying alongside each other. The famous El Castillo pyramid dominates the site and there is also a large ball court where games used to be held. Nearby, excavations of the Well of Sacrifice revealed treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones. The group will spend a few hours at Chichen Itza before continuing on to Playa del Carmen. After a quick orientation walk around Playa del Carmen with your local guide, pick a place to kick back with a margarita and watch the sun go down.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)
  • Playa del Carmen - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 5 hours.
There are no activities planned for the final day of this tour. If you have time in Playa del Carmen before moving on to your next destination, you may choose to embark on optional tour to Dos Ojos Cenote, and take a dip at the incredible turquoise freshwater swimming hole, or jump on a local ferry to explore the nearby island of Cozumel. If you wish to spend more time in Playa del Carmen, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh Water Rock Pool (entrance fee with snorkelling gear & life jacket included) - MXN550
  • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip Ticket) - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

2 lunches

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, local bus, Overnight public bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights), Overnight bus (1 night)

Included activities

  • Mexico City - Leader-led Taco Crawl
  • Mexico City - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Puebla - Visit to La Pasita Bar
  • Tlahuac - Community Visit
  • Oaxaca - Leader-led orientation walk
  • San Cristobal de Las Casas - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Zinacatan Church - Visit
  • San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)
  • Agua Azul - Waterfall Visit
  • Palenque - Palenque Ruins (entrance fee)
  • Merida - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (entrance fee, no guide)
  • Playa del Carmen - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Mexico Unplugged trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 7 (Overnight bus) where you will be in shared accommodation. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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