Discover the delights of Mexico, travelling from the glittering coasts into the country's heart

The modern rubs up against the ancient in Mexico, and you’ll get to experience both contemporary and historic attractions in this tour. Begin with the sun-drenched beaches of Playa del Carmen and travel through colourful, colonial towns like San Cristobal de las Casas on your way to the buzzing metropolis that is Mexico City.


Start
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Finish
Mexico City, Mexico
Destination
Mexico
Style
Original
Code
QBSM
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Relax with a cocktail on one of Playa del Carmen’s beaches, where sand as fine as powdered sugar meets glittering azure sea

  • Wonder at the grand ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, a vast complex full of crumbling temples and pyramids

  • Discover the culinary paradise of Oaxaca, where you can slurp warm, thick mole (a rich sauce often served over rice) and sample the edible plants and flowers that the indigenous Zapotec people have eaten for centuries.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Some included activities, such as guided tours of archaeological sites, can be strenuous. Be sure to bring comfortable and sturdy footwear.

  • There are a few long days of travel, as you'll be covering a lot of ground. So be prepared for some driving. You will, however, make stops at interesting locations along your way to break things up.

  • The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours.

Itinerary

Welcome to paradise! After meeting your tour leader and travel group at a 6 pm welcome meeting, see what’s on offer during a short orientation walk with your group leader. Choose whether you’d like to ease into your Mexican adventure with an optional group dinner or begin exploring on your own. The bars and beaches of this coastal playground are yours for the taking. Don’t despair if you’re not a techno-head, you’ll find bars specialising in everything from rock and roll to retro pop along the shore.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today, you can do as you please. The spectacular ruins of Chichen Itza are just a few hours away, so maybe to spend the day taking in the vestiges of the grand Maya city. The complicated geometric design manipulates light and sound in strange ways, so if you decide to visit make sure you stop and listen for strange echoes and watch for serpentine shadows. Or perhaps you’d prefer to spend the day with you shoes off and feet buried in the powdery sands of one of Playa’s beaches?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee & Transport) - Free
  • Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh water rock pool (Entrance fee with snorkelling gear included) - MXN350
  • Playa del Carmen - Bicycle rental (per day) - MXN250
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Rise and shine! At 8 am, you’ll drive to Cancun airport, learning some Spanish on the way with an informal lesson from the group leader. After a 1.5-hour flight and another private transfer, you’ll arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas in the early afternoon. A colonial town filled with vibrant art, it’s hard not to be joyful with this bold colour palate as your backdrop—from the warm yellow hue of the town’s eponymous cathedral to the bright blue of the sky on clear days. Get to know the area on a leader-led tour of the city, then use the late afternoon and evening how you wish.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led city tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a 30-minute local bus ride to the nearby Maya village of San Juan Chamula, where unique cultural customs prevail over the conventions of non-indigenous Mexico. This independence is exemplified in the central church where, if the timing is right, you can witness a ceremony that blends ancient Maya spirituality and animism with a heavy dollop of Catholicism. You might see the locals drinking pox, a traditional ceremonial liquor sometimes served from a horn. This ritual alcohol has only recently become available for purchase outside insular Maya communities. If you’re curious, why not use part of your free evening back in town to sample some of this smoky spirit at a bar—enlightenment not guaranteed.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maya village - San Juan Chamula
Optional Activities
  • Sumidero Canyon - Boat Excursion (Entrance & Transport) - USD30
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Jade Museum - USD5
  • San Cristobal de las casas - Bicycle rental (per hour) - USD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The culinary paradise of Oaxaca awaits after a full-day of public bus travel. You'll take a taxi to the bus station in the morning, then spend 9 hours on board. A great time to crack a book or take a nap. Stretch your legs with an orientation walk once you arrive and the rest is up to you. Oaxaca is famous for many unique regional dishes, and you should feel free to let your nose lead the way. Tamales de rajas (chilli and tomato tamales) are a good place to start, a delicious hand-held meal that’s been a staple in the area for thousands of years.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oaxaca - Orientation walk
  • Oaxaca - Leader-led market visit
Meals Included
  • Lunch
You’ve got an entire day to check out Oaxaca and the surrounding points of interest. You could start in the centre of town, with the widest tree in the world. The Tule Tree is over 2000 years old and spotting faces and figures in the knotty trunk is a local pastime. If you choose to visit this ancient behemoth you might find it sparks a desire to learn more about the rich history of the area. If that’s the case, why not take a cheap bus trip to the ruins of Mitla—an archaeological site that was first inhabited by the Zapotecs and subsequently the Mixtecs before the Spanish arrived.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Oaxaca - Tule Tree - Free
  • Oaxaca - Teotitlan del Valle visit - USD8
  • Oaxaca - Cooking class - USD85
  • Oaxaca - Mitla Ruins (Entrance) - MXN46
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
An early start is necessary to get the most out of the journey to Mexico City. The 5-hour drive will be broken up with a quick stop to check out Puebla, a charming city where locally produced blue floral tiles adorn many of the walls. Next up is Teotihuacan, a sprawling ancient complex with wide streets and gigantic pyramids. A guided tour will help you to understand the geometric and spiritual influence behind the old-world city’s design. A 1-hour drive will see you arrive in Mexico City in the evening, where you might want to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Teotihuacan - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today your leader will show you around the historic city centre. Visit Zocalo Square, a prominent central meeting place since Aztec times, and soak up the sound of rapid fire Spanish and booming drums that fill the vast space. The dome-topped Palacio de Bellas Artes is the next must-see attraction. Within the stark white marble palace you will find walls painted by the likes of Diego Rivera. You can spend the afternoon doing whatever takes your fancy in the heart of Mexico. Why not sit down lunch at a fonda (family restaurant)? You can usually grab a typically delicious three course meal for less than AUD 5.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - Leader-led city tour of Historic center
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum (Cheaper for students, pensioners & on weekdays. Closed Mondays) - MXN200
  • Mexico City - Boat ride through Floating Gardens of Xochimilco (Approx. per boat per hour) - MXN350
  • Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology (Closed Mondays) - MXN70
  • Mexico City Markets and Food Tour - Urban Adventures - USD39
  • Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) (Closed Mondays) - MXN60
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Adios to those who are ending their journey here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

4 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Local bus, Taxi, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Playa del Carmen - Orientation walk
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led city tour
  • Maya village - San Juan Chamula
  • Oaxaca - Orientation walk
  • Oaxaca - Leader-led market visit
  • Teotihuacan - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
  • Mexico City - Leader-led city tour of Historic center

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
3. For the included internal flight ticket, please provide your full name exactly as per passport, at the time of booking or at least 45 days prior to travel.
4. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

Essential trip information

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