Say hola to an enthralling adventure from Mexico City to Playa Del Carmen.

Explore the heart of Mexico's Aztec, Zapotec, Maya and Spanish cultures on this 15-day cultural adventure discovering ruins, visiting pueblos and meeting the wonderful local people. Travel through the bustling metropolis of Mexico City, wind up on the relaxed shores of the Yucatan Peninsula, and unravel the magnificent mystery of the ancient civilisation in Oaxaca, Puebla, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque and Merida along the way. 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.


Start
Mexico, 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

  • 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 Mexico City and Puebla.

  • Eat your way through arty Oaxaca at its many market vendors and authentic restaurants – mole poblano and mezcal for dinner? Delicioso!

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

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

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 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Bienvenidos a Mexico City! This is one of the world's largest urban centres, a bustling metropolis of different eras, 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) (Closed Mondays) - MXN60
  • Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology (Closed Mondays) - MXN70
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, as well as to explore its historic centre. Pass by the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace, Bellas Artes, Paseo de la reforma and more. After exploring the main historic sights of Mexico’s capital, you sure would have worked up an appetite. For lunch, sample some authentic soft corn tacos from two different vendors – some of the best you’ll ever taste. The rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish. Art fans will want to check out the Frida Kahlo Museum, otherwise you may want to visit the famous religious icon of Virgen de Guadalupe. In the evening, why not join the Mexican Night Out Urban Adventure tour, where 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. For more information, head to urbanadventures.com/destination/Mexico-City-tours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - Taco crawl
  • Mexico City - Leader-led city tour of Historic center
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - Mexican Night Out: Cantinas, Mariachi & Lucha Libre - Urban Adventures - USD60
  • Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum (Cheaper for students, pensioners & on weekdays. Closed Mondays) - MXN200
  • Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral - MXN20
  • Mexico City - Torre Latino 360° Lookout - MXN100
  • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals - Free
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Enjoy free time for a final exploration of Mexico City. Your group will head to the bus station in the late afternoon to catch a local bus to Puebla (approximately 2.5 hours), and if you're the grazing type, please 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 too. On arrival 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. This will come in handy 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 bar. Salud!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Puebla - La Pasita Bar
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 over 8 kilometres (5 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. 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 - MXN275
  • Puebla - Cooking class - MXN1270
  • Puebla - Lucha Libre show (ticket price depends on seating area) - MXN205
  • Puebla - Museum of Art - MXN70
  • Mexico City - Original Markets & Street Food Tour - Urban Adventures - USD45
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Journey by local bus to Oaxaca, arriving after approximately 5 hours. 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 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 - Leader-led 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 Mitla Ruins, relax at the mineral springs and calcified waterfalls of Hierve el Agua, and stop by 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 lively atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Monte Alban - Archaeological site (Entrance fee) - MXN95
  • Oaxaca - Full-day tour inc. Mitla Ruins, Hierve el Agua and mezcal distillery - MXN600
  • Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre - MXN65
  • Oaxaca - Cooking class - MXN1130
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 with a tejate (cinnamon chocolate flavoured drink) in hand. 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 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, 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
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. These people are not only an annoyance, they are also unfortunately extremely talented. They wait for passengers to be asleep to skilfully search through 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.
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 the rest of the day is free for your own adventure. 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 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 city tour
Optional Activities
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Amber (Jade) Museum - MXN30
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Museum of Typical Costumes - MXN40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The villages surrounding San Cristobal are home to the indigenous Tzotzil and Tzeltal communities, who still maintain a strong sense of tradition both in dress 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 great street food. Otherwise, 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 Cristobal, 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 Church (Entrance Fee)
  • Maya village - Zinacantan church (Entrance fee)
Optional Activities
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Mountain bike tour - MXN600
  • 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 (approximately 6 hours), stopping en route at the Agua Azul 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 located 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 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 Lacanja 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 Palenque archaeological zone. 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 (approximately 8 hours), the capital of the Yucatan region.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Palenque - Palenque Ruins (Entrance and Transport)
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 people and architecture. Take a wander through Old Town, strolling the buzzing streets and visiting the city's museums. It's also worth walking 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 - Leader-led orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Merida - Guided city tour - MXN318
  • Merida - Contemporary Art Museum - MXN65
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you can choose to visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal, which lie just 1 hour's drive from Merida, on an optional tour which includes 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 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 can 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 (Entrance, Guide & Transport) - MXN530
  • 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 - Leader-led orientation walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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. 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 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

1 lunch

Transport

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

Accommodation

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

Included activities

  • Mexico City - Taco crawl
  • Mexico City - Leader-led city tour of Historic center
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Puebla - La Pasita Bar
  • Oaxaca - Leader-led orientation walk
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led city tour
  • Maya village - San Juan Chamula Church (Entrance Fee)
  • Maya village - Zinacantan church (Entrance fee)
  • Agua Azul waterfall - Visit with option to swim (Entrance fee)
  • Palenque - Palenque Ruins (Entrance and Transport)
  • Merida - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Chichen Itza Ruins - Entrance Fee
  • Playa del Carmen - Leader-led 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 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.

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.

View Essential Trip Information

Reviews