About THE MAGIC MEXICO ESCORTED TOUR
See the magic of Mexico with this 10-day tour offering an intriguing mix of ancient civilisations, breathtaking natural beauty and charming colonial cities.
Explore the magnificent metropolis of Mexico City, then head south to uncover mystical Mayan cities as well as the ruins of Zapotec and pre-Aztec cities.
Be humbled by the jaw-dropping scale of the Sumidero Canyon, learn about indigenous culture in Chiapas and lose yourself in the timelessness of graceful Merida.
Savour the delights of picturesque Puebla. This promises to be an unforgettable journey, which showcases some of the best of Mexico.
-Mexico City: This enormous, bustling capital city maintains its colonial charm and offers a vibrant and eclectic atmosphere.
-Teotihuacan: Behold the vast scale of this well-preserved ancient city dominated by the 2,000-year-old Pyramid of the Sun.
-Monte Alban: Visit the ruins in the Oaxaca Valley of the hilltop capital of the Zapotec civilisation.
-Sumidero Canyon: The 1,000-metre-high vertical walls of this verdant gorge are a truly awe-inspiring sight.
-Campeche: The walled old town of this colonial city is colourfully pristine and has been meticulously restored.
-Uxmal: The Pyramid of the Magician in this UNESCO World Heritage Site rises above the jungle canopy.
-Merida: Yucatan’s ‘White City’ is famed for the elegant tree-lined boulevards from the 19th century.
-Chichen Itza: Uncover the mysteries of Maya civilisation at this ancient archaeological site dominated by the imposing Temple of Kukulka.
Starting the trip in Mexico City you will make your way on a 10 day tour east and end your trip with a 5 night beach stay in Cancun. The 10 night tour will be fully escorted and based on 4 star hotels on a bed an breakfast basis followed by 5 nights All Inclusive at a 5 star resort.
DAY 1 | ARRIVE MEXICO CITY
Arrival at Mexico City International Airport is followed by meet-and-greet service with transfer to your selected hotel. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Hotel Geneve or similar. Overnight in Mexico City hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 2 | MEXICO CITY – TEOTIHUACAN – MEXICO CITY (100km – 2 hrs)
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a visit to the ‘Zocalo’ – the city’s main square – where you find the cathedral and presidential palace. The day continues arriving at the National Anthropology Museum, which houses a priceless collection of artefacts, some dating from as far back 35,000 years ago. Enjoy a guided tour of this purpose-built facility featuring 11 sections dedicated to different eras and civilisations. Perhaps the most famous exhibit is the Aztec sun stone but Olmec sculptures and Mayan murals have lost none of their fascination after all these centuries. Scale models of pre-colonial cities offer an insight into the architectural feats of these ancient peoples despite the rudimentary technologies at their disposal. Having observed artefacts from the different civilisations that inhabited Mexico before the arrival of the Spaniards, it is now time to visit the remnants of one at the well-preserved ruins of Teotihuacan. Ancient Teotihuacan appears to have gone into decline in the sixth century but its influence on later civilisations such as the Aztecs cannot be doubted. Transport yourself back in time as you stroll along the Avenue of the Dead towards the imposing 2,000-year-old Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest in the world, and be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this once vast city. At the end of the visit, there is some free time to explore the site and to climb one of the colossal pyramids to take in the panoramic views. We then return to the city, stopping at the famous Guadalupe shrine en route to visit both the old and new basilicas. In the evening, return to the hotel with the rest of day at your leisure. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Hotel Geneve or similar. Overnight in Mexico City hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis.
DAY 3 | MEXICO CITY – TONANTZINTLA – PUEBLA – OAXACA (475km – 6.5 hrs)
Take to the road after breakfast at the hotel, heading northwards through the highlands of the Sierra Mixteca and arriving to Santa Maria Tonantzintla, a temple painstakingly decorated by indigenous hands.Lunch. Continue on, arriving after midday at the colonial city Puebla. Enjoy a panoramic city tour taking in most of the city’s famous churches such as the cathedral, the imposing St Francis with its towering belfry and St Dominic, visiting the latter to admire the gilded and sculpted Rosary Chapel. A short stroll through the picturesque city centre allows you to appreciate the range of architectural styles, with a strong presence of baroque palaces, monasteries and mansions. Local geological features are reflected in the widespread use of cantera stone, a grey volcanic rock, as well as red brick and tiles. Continue your journey to Oaxaca, and check in to your hotel upon arrival, where you will be staying for the next two nights. Overnight in Oaxaca hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Lunch included. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Mision de los Angeles or similar.
DAY 4 | OAXACA – MONTE ALBAN – MITLA – TULE – OAXACA (25km – 1 hr)
After breakfast at the hotel, head to Monte Alban, the ancient Zapotec capital, which is located on the summit of a mountain just a few kilometres west of Oaxaca. This archaeological site combines with colonial Oaxaca to constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Zapotec civilisation came to an end with the Spanish conquest in the 1520s but we can gain an insight into it through this engineering feat 400 metres above the Oaxaca valley. The ruins of pyramids, temples, plazas and other residential structures all centre on the Main Square, a large open area on the artificially flattened mountain top. From here, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the city and valleys below. The relics are in a remarkably good state and the ballgame court looks like it could still be used to practise sports. Next we make our way to Mitla, the ancient religious centre of the Zapotec culture, whose name translates to ‘place of rest’. Here you will find incredible geometric designs covering tombs and walls of the ancient site. Then we continue to the suburb of Santa Maria del Tule to admire the sacred Tule Tree, a Montezuma cypress, which according to local Zapotec legend is about 1,400 years old – and which science appears to confirm. The tree’s gnarled trunk has a circumference of 42 metres and a diameter of 14, making it the stoutest in the world. Return to Oaxaca with the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Oaxaca hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Mision de los Angeles or similar.
DAY 5 | OAXACA – SUMIDERO CANYON – SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS (685km – 10 hrs)
Depart Oaxaca early in the morning (between 04:30-05:00 hrs) and enjoy a boxed breakfast on the road. Head to one of Mexico’s outstanding natural attractions, the Sumidero Canyon. This awe-inspiring gorge carved into the earth over millions of years by the River Grijalva has to be one of Mother Nature’s least celebrated masterpieces – which makes the experience of visiting it all the more exciting. During a wondrous boat tour along the imposing canyon bed, you will be able to appreciate just how deep ravine gorge is as you find yourself dwarfed by the sheer scale of its walls covered in thick vegetation and which in places are as high as 1,000 metres. After the boat tour, continue until you reach San Cristobal de las Casas and check in to your hotel. Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Box breakfast. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Casa Vieja or similar.
DAY 6 | SAN CRISTOBAL – SAN JUAN CHAMULA & ZINACANTAN – SAN CRISTOBAL (30km – 1.5 hrs)
After breakfast we visit San Juan Chamula, which is famed for its whitewashed cathedral with colourful ornamentation and pine scented, candlelit interior, where you can observe the rare religious rituals that the locals perform. The town is almost entirely inhabited by Tzotzil Maya, who apart from speaking their own language also wear distinctive clothing, with the men donning tunics called chujes and the women favouring blouses known as huipils. Chamula is renowned for the quality of its weavers and local shops and markets offer a great variety. Upon your return to San Cristobal, enjoy the afternoon at leisure. We recommend a visit the baroque church of Santo Domingo and the colourful art and food markets where you can admire traditional wear of the Mayan cultures that inhabit the region. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Casa Vieja or similar. Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Note: In San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán, photographs or video are prohibited within the temples, of traditional authorities, processions and rituals.
DAY 7 | SAN CRISTOBAL – WATERFALLS – PALENQUE (230km – 5.5 hrs)
After breakfast at the hotel, depart from the hotel heading northeast to see beautiful waterfalls in Chiapas. Perhaps some of the most stunning cascades on earth, take a dip in one of the natural pools full of bright blue water. This natural area is sure to impress. After, we continue the journey to the city of Palenque for check-in at your designated hotel. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Chan-Kah or similar. Overnight in Palenque hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Dinner included.
DAY 8 | PALENQUE – CAMPECHE (360km – 4.5 hrs)
Savour a delicious breakfast followed by a visit to the temples of Palenque. This archaeological site boasts some of the finest Mayan architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings produced. Enjoy a guided tour of the premises. In the impressive Temple of Inscriptions, which reaches almost 23 metres high, the tomb of the Maya ruler was found and excavated in the early 1950s. In its heyday, Palenque was a sprawling city-state that spanned nearly 60 square kilometres but archaeologists estimate that they have excavated only 5-10% of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. So far, more than 200 structures have been unearthed, with the Temple of the Inscriptions, the Palace, the Temple of the Count and the Temple of the Cross the most prominent. Afterward, continue to Campeche for check in at the hotel. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Plaza Campeche or similar. Overnight in Campeche hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Dinner included.
DAY 9 | CAMPECHE – UXMAL – MERIDA (250km – 3.25 hrs)
Today, after breakfast at the hotel, venture out on a panoramic tour of this historic coastal city, driving through the heart of the picturesque old town, with its pastel-coloured colonial houses, colonnaded arcades and bell-gabled churches. Alight and explore further by foot, seeing sights such as ramparts of the old city walls and St Francis’ Cathedral. Depart Campeche and visit the impressive archaeological site of Uxmal and enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which as you approach it comes into view as it rises above the canopy of the jungle. Unlike other Mayan cities, Uxmal was devoured by the rainforest after the Spaniards had arrived. The most famous structure is the 35-metre-tall Pyramid of the Magician, which towers over the remarkably well-preserved Nunnery Quadrangle with its ornately carved interior and exterior walls. Across the central plaza, just beyond the ballgame court, is the Governor’s Palace with its elaborately decorated roof. At the southern end of the main complex is the Great Pyramid, of which only one side has been excavated with the other three still unclaimed from the bush.Lunch. Then we head to the beautiful colonial white city of Merida where we go a panoramic tour along Merida’s highlights, where we see the Government Palace, City Hall, the Cathedral, Casa de Montejo and a typical market. Accommodation: Superior 4* Hotel: Hotel Gamma by Fiesta Inn “El Castellano” or similar. Overnight in Merida hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Lunch included.
DAY 10 | MERIDA – CHICHEN ITZA – CANCUN / RIVIERA MAYA (315km – 4 hrs)
Begin the day with breakfast at the hotel. From Merida, we head to one of the New7Wonders of the World. Head deep into the rainforests of the Yucatan peninsula in search of the legendary Maya city of Chichen Itza, which has been laboriously reclaimed from the jungle. Learn about the Maya and their civilisation as you admire the scale and detail of this ancient city. Behold the geometric perfection of the 25-metre-tall Temple of Kukulkan, popularly known as El Castillo (‘the Castle’), which was built both as a representation of the mystical Maya calendar and to reflect the optical illusion of a serpent snaking its way up or down the pyramid during the spring and autumn equinoxes. Admire the Great Ball Court, the largest of 13 discovered at the site, see the haunting Skull Platform, where the heads of human sacrifice victims and prisoners of war were impaled, and also the Sacred Cenote, where sacrifice victims were dumped. Also extremely well-preserved are the Temple of the Warriors, the Ossuary, the Nunnery and adjacent Church, and the large observatory known as the Snail. Afterwards, we make a final stop at Cenote Ik-Kil where we may be able to swim. Lunch on this place. Arriving to Cancun or Riviera Maya where we drop you off at your selected hotel or at Cancun airport. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 10-15 | All Inclusive 5 Star Resort Riviera Maya / Cancun