This voyage takes in tropical rainforests, world-class canyons, millenia-old Mayan treasures and newly-crowned 'world wonder' Chichén Itzá.
Depart on your scheduled flight to Mexico City. On arrival transfer to your hotel for a three-night stay
Mexico City is the oldest and one of the most beautiful cities in the Americas. It was established over 1,000 years ago in a mountain setting 7,000ft above sea level. You will embark on an included city sightseeing tour, visiting the vast Zocalo, the city’s main square and the spectacular National Palace. From there you will enjoy a drive down the Paseo de la Reforma to Chapultepec Park, site of the ill-fated Emperor Maximilian’s castle. In the afternoon you will visit the world-famous National Anthropological Museum.
Depart for your drive north to Teotihuacan to see the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, the Street of the Dead and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl – all magnificent examples of pre-Aztec architecture. You will enjoy an included guided walk around the site as well as free time to explore the area at your leisure and make your own discoveries. You will also explore the Temple of Butterflies before returning to your hotel.
After breakfast you will depart for the colonial city of Oaxaca for a two-night stay. En route you will stop for a tour of the colonial city of Puebla.
Oaxaca is a diverse city that was founded in 1521. It is home to ancient ruins, noble churches, colonial architecture and a vibrant mix of cultures. This morning you will visit the amazing archaeological ruins at Monte Alban, the ancient capital of the Zapotec people. This incredible site stands on a flattened hilltop, 400 metres above the surrounding valley and offers a fascinating insight into the culture of the Mesoamerican people. This afternoon there is a walking tour of Oaxaca’s main sights, including the Baroque Santo Domingo Church. Then you will visit the famous Benito Juarez Market, packed with delights such as clothes, flowers, fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and other enticing treats. Then you will travel on to the historic centre of the city, with its selection of colonial buildings, cathedral and central squares. You will return to your Oaxaca hotel at the end of the day.
You leave Oaxaca this morning to experience a fascinating journey to Tehuantepec where you are to stay overnight. You will visit the Tule Tree, one of the world’s most extraordinary natural sites. This unique and gigantic tree is 130ft high, over 170ft in diameter, weighs 509 tons and is approximately 2,000 years old. Your next stop is the archaeological site at Mitla, a former Zapotec ceremonial centre whose name translates as ‘Place of the Dead’.
Here, the buildings are decorated with incredible stone mosaics. You will also see the ruins of four magnificent palaces from the Mixtec and Zapotec civilisations.
You will leave Tehuantepec after breakfast for the journey to San Cristobal, where you will stay for the next two nights, enjoying a spectacular boat journey through the Sumidero Canyon en route. With cliffs towering up to 2,500ft above you, this canyon was created by the Rio Grijalva and boasts dramatic scenery and magnificent wildlife.
The former capital of the state of Chiapas, San Cristobal is a delightful market town. As you wander around the colonial streets and whitewashed alleyways you will see local Mayan people dressed in their traditional colourful outfits. On our included tour this morning you will visit Indian communities at San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. Later today there will be free time when you can enjoy a little shopping or browsing in the many artisan shops.
Today you visit the stunning Agua Azul waterfalls. The turquoise waters thunder into pools 100ft below. You will continue to Palenque for an overnight stay.
One of the most beautiful Mayan ceremonial complexes is your destination today. Set in a rainforest clearance, the ancient site of Palenque guards many secrets still unearthed by archaeologists. You will see the 20ft high Temple of the Inscriptions, home to one of the only crypts inside a pyramid in Mexico. After leaving Palenque, you will continue to Campeche for an overnight stay.
This morning we travel to the ancient city of Mérida, home to the cultural centre of the Mayan people, for a two-night stay. En route, we will pay a visit to the historical Mayan ruins at Uxmal, considered to be one of the most beautiful pre-Hispanic sites on the American continent. Here you will enjoy spectacular views over the Nunnery, the Governor’s Palace, the Grand Pyramid and the Pyramid of the Wizard.
Today, join our included sightseeing tour of the archaeological wonders of Chichén Itzá, one of the most visited sites in Mexico. In 2007 Chichén Itzá was crowned as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a global online vote. Across the site, many fine stone buildings remain including the Pyramid of Kukulkan with its 365 steps – one for every day of the year, the Temple of the Warriors and the Ball Court.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Mexico City and then on to the UK.
Arrival in the UK.