Discover Mexico's incredible history and culture from Mexico City to Playa Del Carmen.

Discover the heart of Mexico's Aztec, Zapotec, Mayan and Spanish cultures on this two-week journey spanning ruins, pueblos and beaches. Travel through the mad metropolis of Mexico City to the relaxed beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula, and unravel the magnificent mystery of the ancient Maya civilisation along the way. With plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and hiking, this is the ideal introduction to one of Latin America's most colourful and exciting destinations.


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

Why you'll love this trip

  • You've never seen true colour until you've been to a Mexican market. Practice your bargaining skills, snap some photos and pick up traditional handicrafts at the markets in multiple destinations

  • Eat your way through arty Oaxaca. Mole, mezcal and chocolate for dinner? Delicioso!

  • Escape the Mexican heat in San Cristobal de las Casas. This old-world town is surrounded by ancient tribal villages that have retained their traditional customs and roots

  • Discover the colonial history of charming Merida. Loaf around in leafy plazas, get cultural at a museum or work your salsa shimmy with a friendly local

  • Chichen Itza is one the New Seven Wonders of the World. It's not hard to see why - strolling around the ancient Mayan ruins feels pretty wondrous

  • Splash around, sun-bake and play on Playa del Carmen's white sandy beaches

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 stay hydrated, especially while out on walking tours.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 06 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 05 January 2019

Bienvenidos a Mexico City! This is one of the world's largest urban centres, a melting pot of modern and ancient offering a huge variety of museums, galleries and architectural delights, along with thumping nightlife and unparalleled street food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you arrive early then perhaps head to the Zocalo – the massive central square – and check out the Aztec ruins and colonial architecture. There are also plenty of parks, smaller plazas and gardens to relax in and adjust to your new life in Mexico.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - Templo Mayor (Archaeological Site and Museum) (Closed Mondays) - MXN70
  • Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) (Closed Mondays) - MXN60
  • Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology (Closed Mondays) - MXN70
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be checking your passport details, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may be continuing on longer itineraries – Discover Mexico & Cuba (QVBAC) or Central America Encompassed (QVRYC) to name a few. Please contact our sales team if you wish to book or know more information on these longer combination trips.
After sleeping off last night's tacos, your leader will take you on a walk around town and point out the metro, ATMs and other need-to-knows. The rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish. Art fans have to check out the Frida Kahlo Museum, while history buffs may want to take an optional trip to the archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan. The ruins are located 50 km out of the city and a local guide will lead you down the 'Avenue of the Dead', pointing out the famous Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon, and there'll also be time to visit the Virgen de Guadalupe. In the evening, why not join the Mexican Night Out Urban Adventure, in which you can get among Mexico's Holy Trinity of entertainment: Cantinas, Mariachi and Lucha Libre wrestling. Sip some tequila at a cantina, shuffle and sway to Mariachi music and watch masked wrestlers dive, fly, writhe, and grandstand for the audience for a truly loco night out.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Mexican Night Out: Cantinas, Mariachi & Lucha Libre - Urban Adventures - USD59
  • Teotihuacan - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport) - USD80
  • 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 - Metropolitan Cathedral - MXN20
  • Mexico City - Torre Latino 360° Lookout - MXN100
  • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy free time for a final exploration of Mexico City. The group will head to the bus station in the late afternoon to catch a local bus to Puebla (approx. 2.5 hours), and if you're the grazing type, please make sure you bring some snacks along for the journey as well as some bottled water. The local buses in Mexico aren't the colourful school buses seen in other areas of Central America – most are comfortable, coach-style vehicles equpiped with bathrooms. The air conditioning will be blasted often, so don't forget to bring a jacket too. On arriving in Puebla, your leader will take you out for an orientation walk and run through some common Spanish phrases to help you make the most of the days ahead.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Puebla - Orientation walk
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City Markets and Food Tour - Urban Adventures - USD39
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Puebla is a rapidly growing city featuring many well-maintained churches and buildings from the colonial period, and 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 five miles of tunnels and ancient history with the enormous Popocatepetl Volcano serving as a backdrop. Puebla also has plenty of markets where you can brush up on your bargaining skills or pick up some local handicrafts. In the evening, why not try some mole poblano, a native Puebla dish that's famous all over Mexico. Perhaps you could even try making it yourself during an optional cooking class.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Puebla - Santo Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel - Free
  • Puebla - Visit to Cholula - USD20
  • Puebla - Cooking class - USD92
  • Puebla - Lucha Libre show (ticket price depends on seating area) - USD15
  • Puebla - Museum of Art - USD5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Journey by local bus to Oaxaca, arriving after approximately five hours. Oaxaca is a beautiful, old colonial town full of graceful arcades and colourful markets, in which you'll find the Zapotec and Mixtec people whose ancestors have populated this region for thousands of years. As always, 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 including some incredible examples of street art. Walk the narrow, cobbled 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 - Orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 the nearby Mitla Ruins, the mineral springs of Hierve el Agua and a local mezcal distillery. In the evening, if you've any energy left, you could have a go at plating up some delicious local fare during a cooking class, or just head out for some food with your fellow travellers and enjoy the town's atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins (Entrance fee) - USD5
  • Oaxaca - Full-day tour inc. Mitla Ruins, Hierve el Agua and mezcal distillery - USD45
  • Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre - USD5
  • Oaxaca - Cooking class - USD85
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Use today to take part in whatever optional activities you couldn't fit in yesterday, or enjoy a relaxed day in town instead, strolling the pretty streets and people-watching from local cafes. This evening the group will take a first-class overnight bus to the highland town of San Cristobal de las Casas, a journey of approximately 13 hours. There'll be a toilet, reclining seats and plenty of leg room, as well as air conditioning so be sure to bring a jumper on board. Please keep in mind that though the bus is comfortable, the road from Oaxaca to San Cristobal has some very winding sections and if you suffer from motion sickness, this is the time to have your medication handy.
Accommodation
  • Overnight bus (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Petty thefts happen from time to time during overnight bus journeys. These opportunistic individuals are not only an annoyance, they are also unfortunately extremely talented. They wait for passengers to be asleep to skilfully search through carry-on luggage in search of cameras, money and credit cards. During overnight bus journeys, it is safest to carry all your valuable belongings in the main luggage compartment which remains locked and out of the reach of anyone throughout the journey.
The bus will arrive in San Cristobal early this morning. Leave your luggage at the hotel and begin exploring San Cris, a small town hidden in green valley surrounded by pine trees. Your leader will take you on a tour around town and point out all the important facilities, then the rest of the day is free for your own exploration. Take in the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, and soak up the old-world feel mixed with strong, pre-Hispanic roots. Stroll through the market, chat with the locals and maybe buy some of the colourful weavings the highland town is known for, before grabbing a drink and some food with your travel buds if you're up for it.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led city tour
Optional Activities
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Amber (Jade) Museum - MXN30
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Jade Museum - USD5
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Museum of Typical Costumes - USD3
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The villages surrounding San Cris are home to the Tzotzil and Tzeltal peoples, who still maintain a strong sense of tradition both in costume and custom. Today you'll visit the village of San Juan Chamula with your leader, home to the fascinating Iglesia de San Juan. This church, with its pine-covered floor and air thick with incense, is often frequented by shaman who come to carry out cleansings using firewater and ancient prayer. Please understand that there is a strict ban on cameras inside the church. Outside, the town of San Juan Chamula is alive with colourful markets that sell local handicrafts and delicious street food. If this visit doesn't appeal, your leader can help organise a boating trip in the Sumidero Canyon, which is as old and impressive as the Grand Canyon, or a canyoning adventure through El Chorreadero. Once you've returned to San Cris, why not hit up a local cafe for an 'elote', a traditional highland corn snack and the perfect treat after a big day. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maya village - San Juan Chamula
Optional Activities
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - El Chorreadero canyoning - MXN1400
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Mountain bike tour - USD45
  • Sumidero Canyon - Boat Excursion (Entrance & Transport) - USD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel along a windy road by private vehicle to Palenque (approx 6 hours) today, stopping en route at the Agua Azul waterfall for a refreshing swim. Once you've arrived, the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. Situated in a hot jungle, Palenque is the jumping off point 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 with option to swim (Entrance fee)
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 San Cristobal to Palenque to avoid this activity - more so to bypass long traffic delays than any real danger.
Today you have the chance to visit the ruins of Palenque. Situated on a hilltop, the ruins date back to 600 AD and are some of the most impressive Mayan 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. This afternoon, travel by private vehicle to the historic town of Merida (approximately 8 hours), the capital of the Yucatan region. 

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Palenque - Palenque Ruins (Entrance and Transport)
Optional Activities
  • Palenque - Jungle Trail tour - USD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 architecture. Check-in to your hotel then take a wander through Old Town, strolling the buzzing streets and visiting the city's museums. It's also worth walking up, or down, the mansion-lined Paseo de Montejo for an insight into the city's 19th-century wealth accumulated from harvesting the henequen plant. Spend some time hanging in the Plaza Grande, a green, shady square enclosed by a 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, the State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo, and check out the outdoor markets where you can stock up on hammocks or sample some local food specialities like the seriously spicy El Yucateco hot sauce.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Merida - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Guided city tour - USD24
  • Merida - Contemporary Art Museum - USD5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you can choose to visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal, which lie just an hour's drive from Merida, on an optional tour including transport and a local guide. Not much is known about the site, but it's thought that the city was constructed around AD700, was home to 25,000 or so 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. You can also choose to visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary, which is home to vast flocks of flamingos, herons and over 200 different bird species. In the evening, why not join in some dancing with Merida's locals. The town's streets are transformed into an open-air dance floor every Sunday, with salsa and merengue bands providing the tunes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Dzibilchaltun Ruins tour - USD70
  • Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. shared transport and guide) - MXN810
  • Merida - Celestun Bird Sanctuary (Entrance and Transport) - MXN1035
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 (this first leg will take about two hours). 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 offered up treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones. The group will spend 2-3 hours at Chichen Itza before continuing on to Playa (approx three hours). Blessed with azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun that also has bit of a party atmosphere. After a quick orientation walk, pick a place to kick back with a margarita and watch the sun go down.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chichen Itza Ruins - Entrance Fee
  • Playa del Carmen - Orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your adventure ends today. There are no activities planned for the final day, but if you're lucky enough to have the time to spend a couple of extra nights in Playa del Carmen, make the most of it by snorkelling in the famous cenotes, strolling along the white sands or, for an adventure further afield, take a ferry across to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving. 
Optional Activities
  • Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh water rock pool (Entrance fee with snorkelling gear included) - MXN350
  • Playa del Carmen - Bicycle rental (per day) - MXN250
  • Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip) - MXN326
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

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

Accommodation

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

Included activities

  • Mexico City - Orientation walk
  • Puebla - Orientation walk
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Oaxaca - Orientation walk
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led city tour
  • Maya village - San Juan Chamula
  • Agua Azul waterfall - Visit with option to swim (Entrance fee)
  • Palenque - Palenque Ruins (Entrance and Transport)
  • Merida - Orientation walk
  • Chichen Itza Ruins - Entrance Fee
  • Playa del Carmen - Orientation walk

Dates & availability

Trip search is 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.

Prices may change, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

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) with exception of Day 7 (Overnight Bus) where you would be in shared accommodation.
3. 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

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.

Reviews

Our Mexico Unplugged trips score an average of 4.69 out of 5 based on 332 reviews in the last year.

Mexico Unplugged, September 2018

Liam Byrne

Mexico Unplugged, September 2018

Francisco Zurita