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HomeTours to Central and South AmericaMexicoHighlights of Mexico with beach holiday in Playa del Carmen
15 days

Highlights of Mexico with beach holiday in Playa del Carmen

Experience Mexico’s impressive Maya ruins, enchanting nature, colourful colonial towns and indigenous communities, and round it all off with a beach holiday in Playa del Carmen.

We support sustainability development in Latin America. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees in Brazil. Read more about the sustainability project here.

Highlights of Mexico with beach holiday in Playa del Carmen Highlights of Mexico with beach holiday in Playa del Carmen
15 days

Highlights of Mexico with beach holiday in Playa del Carmen

Experience Mexico’s impressive Maya ruins, enchanting nature, colourful colonial towns and indigenous communities, and round it all off with a beach holiday in Playa del Carmen.

We support sustainability development in Latin America. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees in Brazil. Read more about the sustainability project here.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Flights from the UK to Mexico City and return from Cancún (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • 1 domestic flight: Mexico City – Tuxtla Gutiérrez
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small international groups)
  • Coach travel: San Cristóbal de las Casas – Palenque
  • First-class coach travel: Palenque – Mérida
  • Coach travel: Mérida – Playa del Carmen
  • 13 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 1 x lunch (day 10)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides
  • Telephone hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Possibility of daily departure

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Tour of Mexico City, with a visit to the Anthropological Museum
  • Full-day trip to Guadalupe Church and the city of Teotihuacán, including the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon
  • Sailing trip in Sumidero Canyon
  • Tour to the Indian villages of Chamula and Zinacantán
  • Visit to the Agua Azul Falls and Misol-Há
  • Tour of Palenque, the Mayan complex
  • Tour of Chichen Itza, one of the wonders of the modern world
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned

The tour in short

Mexico has all the ingredients for a perfect holiday – from exciting cities and different cultures, to fantastic ruins, wonderful countryside and brilliant white sandy beaches. This trip starts in the thriving capital, Mexico City, where you will take in all the highlights, including the best-known sights and attractions. Mexico is a country that is still clearly marked by the Spanish colonial age and the ancient Mayan civilisations. To give you a proper taste of this rich heritage, the tour takes you to well-preserved colonial towns, fascinating Indian communities, the impressive ruins of the Mayan temple city of Teotihuacán, and the ruined city of Chichen Itza, which is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. You will also have plenty of opportunities to admire the idyllic, picturesque countryside, visiting the beautiful turquoise waterfalls and sailing along the river in Sumidero Canyon, for example. You can then choose how active or relaxed your time at the holiday paradise of Playa del Carmen is to be.

Why choose this tour

  • Feel the rush in your stomach from the top of the 70-metre high Sun Pyramid with a view of the temple complex Teotihuacán by Mexico City
  • Experience the charming and beautiful Colonial Era city of San Cristóbal and the nearby Maya villages San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán
  • Get an exciting look into Maya history at the ruin complex Chichen Itza and Palenque, which is hidden in the lush rainforest
  • Conclude your tour with a beach holiday at Playa del Carmen’s wonderful beach, with swaying palm trees and the azure sea

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations
See all pictures
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Mexico City

Departure day, where you will fly to Mexico City with connecting flights along the way. At Mexico City airport, you will be met by a driver who will accompany you to your hotel.

Day 2: Tour of Mexico City

On the agenda for today: a tour of Mexico City, one of the biggest cities in the world. One of the highest metropolises in the world, it is located at a height of 2,240 metres above sea level, surrounded by volcanoes. We will be visiting the old colonial centre of Mexico City, taking in Zocalo, the central square before calling in at the National Palace to admire Diego Rivera’s fantastic wall paintings that depict the history of Mexico.

The square is also site of the biggest cathedral in Mexico, an impressive edifice that was built of stones taken from the Aztec temples. From here, we will continue on to the Palácio de Bellas Artes, the national theatre of Mexico, where operas, ballets, plays and concerts are staged. We will then follow the beautiful La Reforma Avenue to Chapultepec Park, which is home to the impressive Anthropological Museum that provides fascinating insight into the history and numerous cultures of Mexico.

Optional tours:
Day 3: Teotihuacán, Basilica and Plaza de las Tres Culturas

Today, we will be visiting the temple city of Teotihuacán, whose name translates as The place where people became gods and which is one of the largest ruin complexes in Latin America. As we walk along the 3-km-long Avenida de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead), we see the huge temples and pyramids that date all the way back to the year 200 BC, but which were constructed over a very long period of time. They include the Quetzalcoatl temple, where the remains have been found of more than 200 prisoners of war offered up in sacrifice, Quetzalpapalotl Palace, and the famous pyramids of the Moon (60 m) and Sun (70 m), which were built in the centre of the city over a cave around 100 metres long, where it is said that mankind was created.

The tour then continues to the church called Basilica de Nuestra de Guadalupe, which can hold a congregation of 10,000 people, and which around 20 million pilgrims visit each year. The church has given its name to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the guardian angel of both Mexico and the whole of Central America.

Finally, we arrive at the last stop on today’s trip: the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (The Three Cultures’ Square), which symbolises the three periods of Mexican history. Here we can admire the remains of the pre-Columbian Aztec ruins, a Spanish church from the colonial age, and the Mexican mestizos’ modern building that houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Day 4: Mexico City – Sumidero Canyon – San Cristóbal de las Casas

Today, you leave Mexico City and fly to Tuxtla. Here, you will be picked up and driven to Sumidero Canyon, where you will go on a breathtaking, 2-hour speedboat trip into the canyon, the mountainsides towering on either side of you. Enjoy the nature and the exciting wildlife. If you are lucky you will see monkeys, crocodiles and different kinds of birds.

Back on dry land again, we board the coach to San Cristóbal de las Casas, which is located at an altitude of 2,100 metres and one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. This charming place was once called just ‘San Cristóbal’ – ‘de las Casas’ was added subsequently in honour of Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish priest who famously fought for the rights of the indigenous Indians. The city is famous for its magnificent colonial architecture. Next to the centrally located square called Plaza 31 de Marzo stand one of the most beautiful churches in the city: Templo de Santo Domingo.

Other attractions in the city include: Templo del Carmen, with its distinctive tower, the local market that sells food and arts and crafts items, and Na Bolom, the home of the Danish adventurer and archaeologist Frans Blom, Na Bolom. The building has now been converted into a hotel including a museum that presents exhibitions of his lifelong work to study the Indian tribes.

Please note there is no English-speaking guide on this day (nor is one needed).

Day 5: The Indian villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán

San Juan Chamula is home to 50,000 descendants from the Mayans, primarily Tzotzil and Tzeltals. The Mayan descendants take care to maintain their distinctive features and cultural heritage, so they speak their own language, the town has its own police force and own rules. We will also visit the distinctive church, which is located on the central square in the town. The church is a good example of how the original Mayan beliefs gradually merged with the Catholic faith. The Indians pray to the Mayan god or saint relevant to the illness or wish that forms the basis for their visit. There are no pews in the church, so visitors have to kneel and pray on the floor among the numerous lighted candles. The air is thick with incense, and the walls are lined with wooden figures of the local saints and of John the Baptist, who is the guardian angel of the town.

Both San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán are well-known for their weaving techniques, and each village has its own special costumes featuring carefully composed patterns and colours. At the markets, Indian traders in colourful clothes sell ceramic items and clothing made of wool and cotton.

Day 6: San Cristóbal de las Casas – Palenque

Today, we are heading for Palenque. On the way, we will stop off at the delightful Agua Azul Falls, which are set in an area of tropical rainforest (this day is in transit and therefore unguided). With the turquoise water, intense colours, the constant breeze and the rumbling water, this is one of the most beautiful and memorable natural attractions in Mexico. There are more than 500 large and small waterfalls here, ranging in height from 3 to 30 metres. We will then go to see the 35-metre-high Misol-Há waterfall, which is famous far and wide for its beauty. This beautiful landscape is surrounded by tropical vegetation, and dotted with mahogany and sapote trees. We arrive at the town of Palenque towards the end of the afternoon.

Please note there is no English-speaking guide on this day (nor is one needed).

Day 7: Palenque

Palenque is set in an area of tropical rainforest and known for its beauty and magnificent location overlooking the flat Yucatán countryside. Palenque was one of the biggest cities in the Mayan kingdom, and gives its name to the nearby Mayan ruins, which feature on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These fascinating ruins are hidden deep in the almost impenetrable rainforest in the Chiapas province of Mexico. Here, we will take a closer look at the Inscription Temple, a burial monument to King Pacal the Great.

Day 8: Palenque - Mérida

Today, you have a long day of travelling ahead of you, but as you are on board a first-class bus to Mérida, you can just sit back in the soft seats and enjoy the landscape rushing by. You can either walk from the hotel to the bus station in Palenque or take a taxi (at your own expense). On your arrival in Mérida, a taxi is waiting to drive you to your hotel.

The drive takes about 8 hours.

Day 9: Mérida

There are no excursions planned for the day, so you can explore the city for yourselves.

This delightful city was founded in 1542 on the remains of the former Mayan town of Tihó. Mérida is known as ‘The White City’ on account of the many white-painted houses it contains. The locals also refer to it as ‘the Paris of Mexico’ as it is the most European city on the Yucatán peninsula. We could also choose to go on an excursion out of the city, either to see the flamingo colony in Celestun, or to visit the impressive Mayan ruins at Uxmal.

Day 10: Mérida – Chichen Itza - Playa del Carmen

Today, we are going to the beach at Playa del Carmen, but before that we will be stopping at the ruins of Chichen Itza, an ancient city that features on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and which has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The ruins actually feature traces of two different cultural periods: one Mayan and one Itzá. We will see the famous El Castillo pyramid, whose stepped sides climb to a height of 25 metres.

Our trip then continues to the beautiful Playa del Carmen, which has a kilometre-long stretch of white sand and palm trees next to crystal clear water. The central square in Playa del Carmen is the Plaza Mayor, situated next to the beach and close to the ferry that sails to Isla Cozumel – a true paradise for divers. Plaza Mayor marks the start of the main street in the town, Avenida 5, which is lined with shops, restaurants and bars. In the evening, the beach comes to life in the form of bars that generally present live reggae or calypso music. It is hard to imagine a better way to start the evening than sitting down with a cool Corona beer, listening to sweet music and admiring the view out over the Caribbean Sea.

Days 11-13: Playa del Carmen

The days are yours to do with as you wish: explore Playa del Carmen on your own and relax on the fine white sandy beach, for example. You can also try some of the different water sports, such as windsurfing or jet-skiing, or go snorkelling or diving by Cozumel island – a world-famous paradise for divers with its fascinating grottoes and beautiful reefs. The ferry to the island to sail to the island from Playa del Carmen takes around 45 minutes, and there are several departures every day.

Day 14: Start of the trip home

The time has now come to bid farewell to Mexico. You will be collected and driven to Cancún airport to start your journey home.
You will fly to the UK with connecting flights along the way.

Day 15: Arrival in the UK

You arrive in the UK after a wonderful tour.

Single room supplement £630
Special offers for groups of 6 or more. Request a quote today for more info.
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