Mexico: Maya, Aztecs & Conquistadors Day of the Dead Festival (Oaxaca)

16 days
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4.7/5 Excellent
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Cancellation Policy
Small Group Tour
Few countries unleash your inner Indiana Jones quite like Mexico, where jungle temples and the abandoned cities of ancient civilisations make way to colonial towns with cobbled streets and Spanish architecture. This fusion of history has led to a unique culture, encompassing the art of Frida Kahlo and the delicious cuisine of Oaxaca. Uncover the historical an...
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Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level


    • Immerse yourself in the Day of the Dead festivities
    • Travel from Mexico City to Cancún
    • Discover Oaxaca's intense culinary and artistic traditions
    • Be awed by Chichén Itzá, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World
    • Explore highlands, jungles and coastlines

What's this trip about?

    Few countries unleash your inner Indiana Jones quite like Mexico, where jungle temples and the abandoned cities of ancient civilisations make way to colonial towns with cobbled streets and Spanish architecture. This fusion of history has led to a unique culture, encompassing the art of Frida Kahlo and the delicious cuisine of Oaxaca. Uncover the historical and cultural layers of the country as we journey from the highlands of Mexico City to the jungles and beaches of the Yucatan via the lands of the Aztecs, Zapotecs, Maya and Conquistadors. This trip is our special Day of the Dead festival departure, which is one day longer than the standard trip and spends the day celebrating the festivities in Oaxaca.Discover lost civilisations, Spanish colonial heritage, natural beauty and a rich culture


Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 16 people
Age range16 years and up
Flights and transportN/A
Start CityMexico City
End CityCancún

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Festivals & Special Events


  • North America
  • New Mexico


  • Culture
  • Festivals & Special Events
  • Nature

Trip includes

    • All breakfasts and two lunches
    • All accommodation (see below)
    • All transport and listed activities
    • Tour leader throughout


Day 1 Start Mexico City

The adventure begins in Mexico City, one of the most exciting capital cities in the world. Take time to settle into the hotel before our welcome briefing this evening. Accommodation: Hotel Regente or Hotel Royal Reforma

Day 2 Frida Kahlo, Coyoacán and Xochimilco canals

Today we explore the bohemian side of Mexico City. We start by heading to the south of the city and a particular house hidden behind cobalt blue walls known as Casa Azul (visit subject to availability). This is where artist Frida Kahlo was born, grew up and, eventuall...

Day 3 Mexico City historic centre and Museum of Anthropology

Starting the day in Mexico City, we visit the historic centre on a walking tour based around the Zócalo (main square) and the Catedral Metropolitana. Our exploration starts in the Zócalo, which was an important gathering place for the Aztecs, and remains so in modern ...

Day 4 Visit Teotihuacan and the Great Pyramid of Cholula; to Puebla

The ancient city of Teotihuacan reached its zenith around 1,000 CE when it was the sixth biggest city in the world with a population of about 125,000. Among the avenues and structures here are the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, the third and fourth largest pyramids...

Day 5 Puebla city tour; to Oaxaca

We spend this morning exploring Puebla, which has been named a Unesco World Heritage site for its colonial architecture. We visit the Patio de los Azulejos and the ex-Convent of Santa Rosa, both of which provide classic examples of how talavera tiles were incorporated...

Day 6 Day of the Dead traditions and festival in rural Oaxaca

We spend today uncovering the beliefs and history of the Day of the Dead. It starts with a typical breakfast in the Ocotlán de Morelos market, where we learn about traditional Oaxacan dishes and experience the market on this special occasion, when altars are set up fo...

Day 7 Monte Albán and Oaxaca

Our next exploration of Mexican history takes us to the Zapotecan site of Monte Albán. While the name dates to a 16th-century Spanish landowner, previous names come from the Mixtec word Sahandevul, meaning at the foot of the sky, or from the Zapotecan Danibaan, meanin...

Day 8 Market visit and Mexican cookery class

Oaxaca is arguably the most famed region in Mexico for its cuisine and we get more acquainted with it as we head for a cooking class, learning dishes that can easily be recreated at home. After visiting the market in Teotitlán del Valle to collect ingredients, we don ...

Day 9 Teotitlán del Valle, mezcal tasting and to Tehuantepec

We return today to the village of Teotitlán del Valle, known for its colourful, handwoven rugs. Freshly dyed wool threads adorn the houses as they dry in the sun and await the next stage of the production process. From here, we continue to a distillery in the small v...

Day 10 To San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Today we drive to San Cristóbal (about six hours plus stops), one of the most popular cities in Mexico for visitors. It is filled with cobbled alleyways of whitewashed buildings with red-tiled roofs that lead to plazas and picturesque arcades. Arriving in San Cristób...

Day 11 Free day in San Cristóbal

Today is a free day to explore San Cristóbal at your own pace. Wander the colonial streets, take in the lively cafes, or buy handicrafts produced by the local Tzotzil indigenous groups. It’s also possible to do an optional boat trip through the Sumidero Canyon and/or ...

Day 12 To Palenque via Roberto Barrios Waterfalls

We depart San Cristóbal de las Casas early and spend much of today on the road as we head to Palenque. We break the journey (6-7 hours) at Roberto Barrios Waterfalls, hidden in the sub-tropical jungle of Chiapas state. Here, water cascades along several hundred metres...

Day 13 Palenque ruins, to Campeche

Emerging from the jungles of Chiapas is one of the most impressive ruins in Mexico: the Maya site of Palenque. The temples, sanctuaries and pyramids, with sculptured walls and ceilings, are some of the best-preserved and finest examples of Maya buildings despite the c...

Day 14 Uxmal, traditional lunch and on to Mérida

From Campeche, we visit our second Maya site: Uxmal. Quite open, it contrasts to the jungle ruins of Palenque we visited yesterday. This site, which dates to the Late Classic era (500 CE to 800 CE), features the Pyramid of the Magician; the Nunnery Quadrangle, which h...

Day 15 Mérida walking tour, Tixkokob craft village, Izamal magic town and on to Chichén Itzá

In the morning, we embark on a walking tour of Mérida, before heading out of the city to the traditional Maya village of Tixkokob, where local families practise the age-old craft of hammock weaving. We then continue to Izamal, a one-time Maya settlement now marked as...

Day 16 Chichén Itzá visit; on to Cancún; end Cancún

Our final day starts with a visit to the most famous Maya temple city: Chichén Itzá. Having spent the night near the site, we can get in nice and early before the day-trippers arriving from the beach resorts. Chichen Itza served as the political and economic centre o...

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Dates & Availability

Price From $5,700
Price per day$356
Last Updated: 7/5/2024
Departure Date
Finish Date
Shared Room
Single Room
27 Oct 2024
11 Nov 2024
27 Oct 2025
11 Nov 2025

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Exodus Travels.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

Exodus Travels Reviews & Ratings

4.7/5  Excellent
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Tour Operator

Exodus Travels

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It is all about adventure. That is what Exodus was founded upon and what the company is still all about. Discovering countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles; exploring this amazing planet we all live on.

At Exodus, we know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, we always remember that we are only guests. So we travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise our impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.

This is a philosophy we take with us around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across over 90 separate countries. We also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as we possibly can, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.

Exodus started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

All our office staff have a passion for travel and adventure, and between us we’ve notched up experience that spans 171 different countries. That’s not all. In their former lives, our team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – so no-one is better placed to create tours that appeal to a wide range of specialist interests.

Their care in putting all the details in place really shines through too. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are a sign of our commitment to providing a holiday where your enjoyment, value for money and safety come first. It’s a telling reason why we remain one of the leading worldwide adventure tour companies. It is no exaggeration to say that our tour leaders can make a world of difference to the enjoyment of your holiday – so we choose them carefully. The result is that, in 2013, 93% of our clients stated that their leader exceeded their expectations. Where possible, we train and employ local leaders because they can provide invaluable insights that enrich the trip. What’s more, this investment in local staff really helps us benefit both them and their community.

Why we love this operator
With a wide range of trip styles, Exodus caters to every type of traveler out there- even those with specific interests from cycling to winter hiking.
What they’re known for
Global trips to a wide array of destinations with a focus on themed adventures, exciting physical activities and learning about local cultures.

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What's excluded

    • Travel insurance
    • Single accommodation (available on request)
    • Visas or vaccinations


,Staying in a mix of colonial and modern properties, we discover the wide variety of accommodation styles available in Mexico. Typically, these are of a three-star standard and, when we are based in cities, within the historic centres. Listed below are some of the standout properties we usually use on this trip. Puebla: Hotel Colonial Just one block from the Zócalo (main square), Hotel Colonial is a historic building dating to 1668. Originally constructed by Jesuits, the property was used to host travellers as early as the 18th century. Nowadays, its restaurant is particularly renowned – try the mole poblano, a savoury chilli and chocolate sauce that is reputedly the best of its kind in the world. San Cristóbal: Hotel Diego de Mazariegos Hotel Diego de Mazariegos offers colonial-style rooms with complimentary wifi. With a convenient position in the historic centre of San Cristóbal, the hotel is within walking distance of the main square and colourful cathedral. The tranquil courtyard, two restaurants and pub provide ample opportunities to relax and refuel after a busy day exploring. Palenque: La Aldea del Halach Huinic Set in tropical gardens on the outskirts of Palenque National Park, Hotel La Aldea del Halach Huinic provides a tranquil place to stay. It has been designed to harmonise with its natural surroundings and minimise its environmental impact. The outdoor pool is a focal point of the property, and all rooms come with a balcony and hammock overlooking the gardens. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys and toucans! Worth knowing Rooms may vary in size, style and decoration within a property
Cancellation policy

The cancellation policies of this trip when booked through Travelstride are determined by the stated policies of the tour operator - Exodus Travels.

If you or any other member of your party decides to cancel a confirmed booking you must notify Travelstride in writing. Your notice of cancellation will only take effect when it is received in writing by Travelstride and will be effective from the date on which we receive it.

If You Cancel Your Holiday
You, or any member of your party, may cancel your travel arrangements at any time. Written notification from the lead name or your travel agent must be received at our offices. 

Since we incur costs in canceling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay cancellation charges as follows (see also the exceptions below): 

  • More than 42 days - No cancellation fee. Deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original booking. Any remaining balance will be refundedThis excludes all non-refundable costs as set out in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 41 and 21 days (inclusive) - No cancellation fee. Balance and deposit can be transferred to a new booking departing within 2 years of date of travel of original bookingThis excludes all non-refundable costs as further explained in clause 4 above (for example international and domestic flights and local services).
  • Between 20 and 15 days (inclusive) - 80% of the holiday cost
  • 14 days or less; or failure to join the holiday (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Certain trips may involve different cancellation charges; you will be advised if this is applicable to your holiday during the booking process.For Polar holidays, the following cancellation charges will be made for all Polar holidays. Period before departure in which you notify us: 

Cancelation charge

  • More than 133 days - Deposit only
  • 133 days or less (or failure to join the holiday) (inclusive) - 100% of the holiday cost

Notes (i) Your deposit is non-refundable, even if the cancellation charge calculated is lower than the deposit amount paid; (ii) If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges; (iii) certain travel arrangements may be subject to higher cancellation charges and could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements from the moment the booking is confirmed.

If You Change Your Booking

If, after our Booking Confirmation has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the lead name or your travel agent. You will be asked to pay an administration charge of $60, and any further cost we incur in making this alteration (including those charged by third party suppliers who provide the component parts of your booking).  You should be aware that these costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made and you should contact us as soon as possible. Note: Certain travel arrangements may not be changeable after a reservation has been made and any alteration request could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.

You can transfer your booking to another person, who satisfies all the conditions that apply to this booking, by giving us notice in writing at least 7 days before departure provided that the new lead passenger accepts the transfer and these Terms and Conditions. Both you and the new traveler are responsible for paying all costs we incur in making the transfer. Please bear in mind that certain airlines and other transport providers treat changes as a cancellation and charge accordingly, up to 100% of the cost for that part of the arrangement. Where applicable these charges will be passed on to you.

If We Cancel Your Booking

Exodus reserves the right to cancel an itinerary before departure for any reason whatsoever, including too few participants ,logistical problems, a Force Majeure Event (as defined in Section 8), or any other circumstances that may make operation of the trip inadvisable. All trip payments received will be promptly refunded, and this refund will be the limit of Exodus’s liability without any further obligation on Exodus’s part. Exodus is not responsible for any expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip, including non-refundable or penalty-carrying airline tickets, special clothing, visa or passport fees, or other trip-related expenses.

If We Change Your Booking

  1. Changes to the price. We can change your holiday price after you’ve booked, only in certain circumstances. Changes in the price of the carriage of passengers resulting from changes to the cost of fuel or other power sources, the level of taxes or fees imposed by third parties including tourist taxes, landing taxes or embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports, or exchange rates mean that the price of your travel arrangements may change after you have booked.

  2. Changes other than the price. It is a term of your booking that we are able to make changes to any aspect of your booking. If the change is insignificant, we will ensure that you are notified about it. Examples of insignificant changes include alteration of your accommodation to another of the same or higher standard. If we are forced by circumstances beyond our control to alter significantly any of the main characteristics of the travel services that make up your package you will have the rights set out below.

    2.1 - We will contact you and you will have the choice of accepting the change or having a refund of all monies paid. You can also accept an alternative holiday, where we offer one (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). We will tell you the procedure for making your choice. Please read any notification of changes carefully and respond promptly as if you do not respond to us within the timescale given your booking may be canceled.

    2.2 - If you choose to accept a refund then that is the only liability we have and we will not be liable for any further sums, compensation or otherwise and you are advised to adequately insure yourselves against cancellation for any reason

Please note that insurance premiums and amendments charges are not refundable in any circumstances. 

Once you have put down a deposit for a tour, you are unable to cancel and re-book within a promotional period and we reserve the right to amend the pricing on any new booking you make within that time. If you cancel a tour and book the same tour under a promotional code, we reserve the right to decline the booking.

Important Note: Certain arrangements may not be amended after they have been confirmed and any alteration or cancellation could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements in addition to the charge above.

If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges.

Where possible, we will deduct the cancellation charge(s) from any monies you have already paid to us.

For more additional details, see the booking conditions of TruTravels at the following web address:

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance alongside your travel package to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances such as medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other contingencies. It offers you peace of mind and ensures you are prepared for unexpected events that may occur before or during your journey
Visa requirements
Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and your country of destination. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements. For a handy tool that can help you quickly find the requirements, please visit this link .
Meals Included
Breakfast generally consists of fruits, cereals, beans and eggs. Meals are around 275-365 Mexican pesos (US$15-US$20) for lunch and 275-550 pesos (US$15-US$30) for dinner. A beer costs on average 55-90 pesos (US$3-US$5). We can discover the richness of Mexican cuisine on this trip. In Oaxaca, we attend a cooking class, the exact dishes we learn to cook can vary but generally include tortillas, salsas, mole (chocolate-based savoury dishes) and guacamole. We also learn about Mexican drinks, visiting a mezcal distillery. Note, drinking water will be provided on the bus in large containers to minimise the amount of single-use plastic bottles; please bring a refillable bottle with you.
Age Requirements
16 years and up
Additional Information
  • 15 nights in hotels
  • Travel by private minibus and boat
  • Some long drives
  • Day of the Dead festival special departure
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