Days 1-3: Mexico City
Arrive Mexico City, set in a highland basin surrounded by towering mountains, Mexico City is like a vast living museum covering 3,000 years of human cultural achievement.
Explore the city on a full day tour visiting the main plaza (Zocalo) built over an Aztec temple complex, the National Palace with the famed mural paintings by Diego Rivera, and the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest church in Latin America. Also see the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, noted for its murals and stain glass. Continue to the Museum of Anthropology, with a collection of pre-Hispanic art representing the most important of the Mexican cultures, including those of the Aztec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Toltec and Mayan civilisations.
Spend the following day with your personal local guide to Teotihuacan and Sun and Moon Pyramids. The ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, often referred to as the City of the Gods preserves the remains one of the most important civilizations of Mesoamerica. Walk along the ‘Avenue of the Dead’ to the Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest pyramid in the world. Also see the smaller Pyramid of the Moon and the impressive Temple of Quetzalcoatl. On the way back to your hotel head to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most visited religious site in Latin America.
Days 4-6: Oaxaca
Fly to Oaxaca, an attractive and colourful city. The streets in the historic centre are lined with superb examples of Spanish colonial architecture.
Spend a full day with your local guide exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site of Monte Albán, one of Mexico’s most spectacular archaeological sites with wonderful 360-degree views over the city, valleys and distant mountains.
Embark on the Tule Tree & Mitla excursion which takes you to the Mesoamerican site of Mitla featuring exquisite architecture and stone mosaics. Continue to the ancient Tule tree, approximately 2,000 years old and claimed to be one of the largest trees on earth.
Days 7-8: San Cristobal
Fly to Tuxtla Gutierrez, where you will be transferred to the port and taken on a boat trip down the Grijalva River to see the impressive Sumidero Canyon. Continue to the highland colonial town of San Cristobal de las Casas, with its cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs and opulent churches.
Start the following day with a guided walking tour to the colourful market and the colonial centre before driving to the surrounding indigenous villages each with their own distinct style of custom, regional dress and of worship. Spend the night in San Cristobal.
Days 9-10: Palenque
Drive to Palenque via Tonina, a pre-Columbian archaeological site and ruined city of the Maya civilization located in what is now the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Visit the ruins of Palenque, situated on the fringe of the Chiapas jungle. The fascinating Mayan ruins you see here today date from the empire’s peak in the 7th century and represent only a small percentage of the spectacular complex of palaces, temples and terraces still to be excavated.
Days 11-12: Merida
Drive to Villahermosa and fly to Merida, the capital city of Yucatan State, and known as the ‘White City’ because of the extensive use of white limestone. It is a lively and friendly city and on most evenings there are Mariachi bands playing and other cultural events taking place at the various plazas around the city.
Tour to ancient Mayan ruins of Uxmal, one of the first sights to be seen as you enter the ruins is the House of the Fortune-teller, a magnificent oval temple standing 39m high. Visit the Nuns’ Quadrangle, the House of Governers and the House of the Turtles before continuing on to the smaller ruined city of Kabah, the most important regional city after Uxmal.
Days 13-14: Chichen Itza and Riviera Maya
Drive from Merida to Chichen Itza, the most spectacular Mayan ceremonial centres. Admire the Temple of Kukulcan, the Red Jaguar Throne, the Temple of Tigers, the Ball Court and the Observatory. After the tour continue by road to the Riviera Maya, a stretch of Caribbean coastline on Mexico’s northeastern Yucatan Peninsula.
Spend the following day at leisure at the Riviera Maya.
Day 15: Cancun
Transfer from your hotel to Cancun Airport. This is where your tour ends. You may wish to add on some additional time in Cancun or visit Central America.