Fly direct to Mexico City and transfer to our hotel.
Mexico City is built on the lagoon and islands which once formed the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán. The remains of the Templo Mayor lie at the centre of this vibrant, chaotic and colourful place. The wonderful world-class museum here brings the ‘Mexica’ capital vividly back to life. The even more superlative National Museum of Anthropology houses vast collections of material belonging to all the major civilisations of early Mexico.
All day at the vast metropolis of Teotihuacan, a military and trading centre so powerful that its influence spread throughout Mesoamerica, and a site that by AD500 was without equal anywhere in the ancient Americas with a population of around a quarter of a million.
Fly south to the Chiapas Highlands, and drive through the hills to the handsome colonial town of San Cristóbal. This is a peaceful, cool and beautiful Spanish town. Anywhere you walk through San Cristóbal you will see groups of local Maya, distinguished by their colourful indigenous costumes. Many hundreds of weavers from local communities bring their weavings, and other handicrafts here to display and sell. Free afternoon to explore and browse.
Discover the colonial churches, markets and buildings in and around San Cristóbal.
Drive east to Toniná, another spectacular site, in the lush, fertile Ocosingo valley. Here we are in the transition zone between the pine forests of the Chiapas Highlands and the jungles which envelop Palenque. The ceremonial heart of the city was carved into the hillside in a series of 7 terraces.
Full day in Palenque, nestling in the jungle. It possesses art and architecture of unique quality and originality. Most famous of all is the Temple of the Inscriptions, with Palenque’s greatest king, Pakal, buried deep within it in a massive sarcophagus. The royal families were believed to have participated in rituals on the summit of the temple pyramids whilst the common people gathered in the piazzas below.
Early start in off-road vehicles to see the wonderfully preserved, but gruesome painted murals and the detailed carved stelae of Bonampak. Then an adventurous journey by motor-launch along the wide Usumacinta River (cayman and giant iguana have been seen) to the remote jungle site of Yaxchilán.
Drive north to Edzná, away from the main tourist trail, with a lengthy history revealed in 40 stelae. It is famed for its extensive early canal systems and elaborate architecture. Continue to the coastal colonial city of Campeche.
A causeway links K’abah, famed for its façade of monster masks on the main palace and the city of Uxmal, 18 km away. The Pyramid of the Magician looms over buildings and courtyards of striking elegance.
The walled city of Mayapan covers over 1.5 sq miles, with thousands of dwellings and many temples and adminstrative buildings. Colonial Mérida (founded on Maya Tihoo), with its excellent Museum of History and Anthropology; continue to Chichén Itzá.
In AD 950 Chichén Itzá was transformed into one of the most important centres for the worship of Kukulkan, the feathered serpent, who is represented repeatedly on the major monuments. Ek Balam - great discoveries have been made here over the last decade.
Tulum, spectacularly situated against a backdrop of white sandy coves and the brilliant blue of the Caribbean. Exploration of Cobá ruins, where intriguing stucco figures of the “diving god” adorn the highest pyramid.
Free morning at beach-side hotel before flight, Cancún to London.
Arrive in London.
- Flights - Scheduled flights London Heathrow /Mexico City; Cancún/London Gatwick. Domestic flights Mexico City/Tuxtla Gutiérrez
- Guide Lecturer - David Drew. Not to be confused with "guest lecturers"! The guide lecturer will be with you from breakfast to supper, and probably even a drink in the bar afterwards. There is the occasional site where they may not be allowed to guide because of local regulations but otherwise the guides are just that. They will have been chosen because of specialist knowledge and their ability to communicate and interest you. After 29 years of making tours worldwide, we are highly appreciative of the attributes of a good guide, and intensely critical of people who do not possess them
- Tour Manager - Francisco Moo (Nov 13). We never know how best to call the very special people whom we choose to accompany you on your tour. They are usually employed in this capacity only by us, and have been trained to do things in the Andante way - unobtrusive, friendly and quietly efficient.
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach; off-road vehicles & motor launches
- Meals - All meals included; drinks (except water) are not included
- Entries & tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
3 nights in a hotel in the centre of Mexico City;
2 nights in a colourful, hotel in San Cristóbal;
3 nights in a bungalow hotel with a lovely pool near Palenque;
1 night in Campeche; 1 night in a comfortable hotel 2 mins walk from the site at Uxmal;
1 night in a hotel set in lush gardens within the main site of Chichén Itzá;
2 nights in cabanas on the white sand of the Caribbean!
NB. The hotels on this tour have been specially chosen to provide not only comfort, but also variety and a taste of the character of Mexico.
Wed 13th - Wed 27th Nov 2013 with David Drew
Wed 12th - Wed 26th Nov 2014 with David Drew