Best of Mexico

Intrepid Travel Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Comfort (4*)
15 days
From: $ 3,655 $ 244 / day
Checking price


Highlights (Bullets)

  • Discover the colourful, fantastical world of alebrijes – folk art sculptures of mythical creatures – during a visit to a women-run workshop outside Oaxaca. The artists will share their process and stories of how they came to specialise in these artworks.
  • Take a step way way back during enlightening guided tours through the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan, Palenque and Mitla.
  • Get a taste of Maya culture during a homecooked Pibil lunch with a local family, sampling this traditional method of cooking which involves barbecuing food underground.
  • Explore the Maya communities surrounding San Cristobal de las Casas and learn about local culture, religion and the traditional way of life retained in the highlands.
  • Sail the mighty Sumidero Canyon on board a guided boat tour, cruising below the canyon’s towering walls and spotting wildlife along the way.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Gastromotiva. Donations help them provide nutritious, balanced meals for vulnerable people in Mexico.

Short Description

Raise a margarita glass to the beauty and culture of Mexico on this in-depth 15-day adventure. Discover Maya history at the incredible Chichen Itza ruins and visit indigenous communities near the charming San Cristobal de las Casas. Indulge in a traditional Pibil feast with a Maya family and learn about Zapotec culture over lunch in a local home. Stroll the charming streets of Merida, be charmed by the alebrijes of Oaxaca and chill out on the beaches of Playa del Carmen. From museums and ruins to canyons and waterfalls, this journey will give you a taste of Mexico’s best.

Style Small group tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Comfort (4*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Mexico City
End City Playa del Carmen



Activities & Interests

Culture Historic sightseeing

Age Requirement


No Single Supplement
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Day 1 Mexico City

Bienvenidos, welcome to Mexico City! On arrival, take a complimentary transfer from the airport to your hotel. If you have time, perhaps take a stroll to get a feel for this vibrant and rapidly growing capital where the ancient and modern collide. You'll meet your leader and other members of your group this evening for a welcome meeting at 6pm – until then, the day is yours. After the welcome meeting you may like to head out with your leader for an optional group dinner, an opportunity to get stuck straight into the many local culinary delights!

Day 2 Mexico City

Get to know Mexico City during a guided tour with your leader. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest and one of the oldest cathedrals in Latin America. You’ll also explore Zocalo, the city’s main square, and the remains of Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec empire. Check out famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera’s Mural Museum at the Alameda Central. Your tour also includes a visit to the Museum of Anthropology, home to an impressive collection of 600,000 pieces of Mexican art and artifacts. After the tour, the day is yours to spend as you please. The Leon Trotsky and Frida Kahlo (La Casa Azul) museums are two popular sights worth checking out as an optional activity. Trotsky, having come off second-best to Stalin in the race to the helm during the Soviet era, was expelled and found refuge in Mexico City where he was eventually murdered, while Frida Kahlo is perhaps the most renowned Mexican artist in history. Otherwise, just outside of the city, a visit to the colourful floating gardens of Xochimilco makes for an enjoyable afternoon.

Day 3 Puebla

Depart Mexico City this morning and visit the ancient Teotihuacan ruins, once one of the biggest cities in the world. Meet with a local guide and discover the amazing ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon which dominate the skyline. Stroll down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’ and see the clues to what life was like here nearly 2000 years ago. Continue to the city of Puebla, joining your leader for an orientation walk to get your bearings and explore the beautifully preserved city centre. Puebla is known for its delicious food scene and your leader will have tips on the best places to dine on local specialties this evening.

Day 4 Oaxaca

Say adios to Puebla and hola to Cholula. One of the oldest inhabited places on earth, Cholula is home to the fascinating Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de los Remedios, a church that sits atop a pyramid inside a hill. You’ll have a few hours of free time to roam the streets lined with colourful buildings, visit the church, and capture incredible volcano views in clear weather. Travel onwards to Oaxaca, arriving in the late afternoon or early evening. This beautiful city is known for its colonial architecture, cuisine and lively art scene, but it's also a great place to browse for traditional Mexican handicrafts, with descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec selling an array of bright woven blankets and shawls. Your leader is certain to have some brilliant recommendations for dinner this evening.

Day 5 Oaxaca

A traditional craft experience awaits you this morning, with a visit to a women-run alebrijes workshop. Alebrijes are hand-painted folk art sculptures of mythical creatures. During your visit you will learn from the artists about the materials, process, and stories of the artists and the sculptures. They can tell you what your alebrije and nahual (spirit animal) are by sharing your birth date. Back in the centre of Oaxaca, your leader will take you on an orientation walk before a free afternoon. Oaxaca is known for its incredible food so you're sure to enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers at a local restaurant, perhaps enjoying regional specialties like tlayudas or mole.

Day 6 Oaxaca

Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Oaxaca has much to offer travellers so make the most of your free day in this vibrant city. You may like to dig into Oaxaca’s celebrated cuisine during a hands-on cooking class. Or perhaps pay a visit to the archaeological site of Monte Alban. The Zapotec civilisation began construction of this city around 200 BC, and Olmecs and Mixtecs have inhabited it at different times. Have your camera ready to go, because up here you can get an amazing view across the three legs of the valley of Oaxaca. Otherwise, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the streets and take the opportunity to feast on some regional delicacies. Season depending, a folkloric ballet performance is also a great optional activity. The Santo Domingo Cultural Centre is also well worth a visit.

Day 7 Salina Cruz

Spend the day exploring Oaxaca’s surrounds, before travelling to Salina Cruz for the night. Set off with your leader this morning, first stopping at the famous Tule Tree, a 1500-year-old Montezuma cypress with a 36-metre circumference, making it one of the widest in the world. Travel onwards to the Mitla archaeological ruins, once the religious centre for the Zapotec people. Lunch today will be at the home of a local Zapotecan family where you’ll have the chance to try traditional dishes and learn about the culture of the indigenous Zapotec people. Visit a woman-owned mezcal farm and tour the cacti plantation. A little sampling of the different mezcals rounds out your day of exploration. Relax on the bus as you travel to Salina Cruz for the night.

Day 8 San Cristobal de las Casas

Your journey continues as you drive to the Sumidero Canyon, a gigantic natural canyon with walls reaching as high as 1,000 metres. Here you’ll hop aboard a boat for an up close and personal tour of this remarkable landscape. Be sure to keep an eye (or an ear) out for howler monkeys along the way! After your boat tour, drive to the charming city of San Cristobal de las Casas. Once in 'San Cris', as it's known, take a walk and soak up the strong old-world atmosphere of this town, which is due in no small part to the grand Spanish colonial architecture, prominent indigenous cultures and winding cobblestone streets. Your leader will help orientate you with a walk around the town centre, then you are free to venture wherever your heart desires!

Day 9 San Cristobal de las Casas

This morning, your leader will take you on a walking tour of the city, passing impressive churches, green plazas and countless museums. Next, head to the nearby Maya village of San Juan Chamula. Nestled in the highlands, this village serves as a marketplace and religious ceremonial centre for the indigenous communities who live in the surrounding hills. The local people have retained their traditional way of life and can often be seen wearing their own distinctive, colourful clothes. Make the short drive to the next town of Zincantan. As you explore with your leader, you'll learn more about these mostly Maya communities. Later, during free time back in San Cris, perhaps rent a bike to explore the town further.

Day 10 Palenque

Say goodbye to San Cristobal de Las Casas as you head for Palenque and its surrounding jungle. It will be an early start to minimise the chance of hitting road closures common in the area. There will be a stop or two to stretch your legs, before arriving at the low and wide Agua Azul Waterfalls, which flow slowly over limestone rocks. There's time for lunch and a quick dip, so remember to pack your swimsuit! Otherwise, enjoy a scenic stroll around the beautiful surroundings, before continuing to Palenque.

Day 11 Palenque

Set out this morning to the archaeological site of Palenque. Located on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle, these are some of the most astounding Maya ruins in the region, dating back as far as AD600. Some of the ruins remain unexcavated and are hidden in the surrounding forest. Enjoy a guided tour of the site and listen out for the calls of howler monkeys as you explore this lost city. After your tour, head back to your hotel in the more modern city of Palenque and perhaps spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool.

Day 12 Merida

Settle in for another driving day as you travel from Palenque to the historic city of Merida. Your drive will be broken up with short stops and an included lunch stop. Lunch will be a moreish selection of local seafood, with alternatives available. Founded in 1542, Merida is the capital of the Yucatan state and has retained much of its old-world charm. After the drive, stretch your legs with an orientation walk with your leader where you’ll have the chance to check out the city’s colonial buildings and learn about its Maya heritage.

Day 13 Merida

Today is a free day to explore the many sights of Merida. Perhaps visit some of the museums, including the impressive Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan, and stroll the city streets which are alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the 16th-century cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Montejo on the other. The outdoor market is another essential visit, with an array of hammocks and Mayan replicas for sale, plus a selection of enticing local cuisine, including the dish cochinita pibil ('little pig') or the incredibly spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. If you can't visit enough Maya sites, you may want to head for the ancient ruins of Uxmal. Here you'll visit the amazing Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be the best example of classic Maya architecture. You may choose to travel west out to the coast to take a boat ride and visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve. Here, near extensive beaches lined with coconut trees, you'll see a variety of coastal birds. Depending on the season (usually November to March), you may be able to witness the magnificent sight of thousands of flamingos painting a pink streak across the landscape.

Day 14 Playa del Carmen

Your first stop today is Chichen Itza, possibly the most famous Maya site in Mexico. You'll see the marvellous Temple of Kukulkan standing over the ruins and not far from the temple is the ‘ball court’, where many disputes are known to have been settled by way of a ball game that employed only the elbows, hips and wrists. Stone carvings depicting violence suggest it was not such a casual sport. Following a guided tour of the site, enjoy a special lunch with a local family in the town of Piste. Tuck into a traditional Pibil feast, a Maya style of cooking that involves barbecuing underground, which the family have perfected over generations. Finally, continue to the popular seaside town of Playa del Carmen, where you may like to join your group for a final dinner together.

Day 15 Playa del Carmen

With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you wish to spend more time in Playa del Carmen, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).


Checking price
Price From $ 3,655
Price Per Day: $ 244 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceAvailability 
Dec-09-2023Dec-23-2023$ 3,655Sold Out Reserve
Jan-06-2024Jan-20-2024$ 4,6071 spots left Reserve
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Apr-13-2024Apr-27-2024$ 3,8597 spots left Reserve
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Oct-12-2024Oct-26-2024$ 3,85912 spots left Reserve
Oct-19-2024Nov-02-2024$ 3,85911 spots left Reserve
Nov-05-2024Nov-19-2024$ 3,9783 spots left Reserve
Nov-09-2024Nov-23-2024$ 4,0129 spots left Reserve
Nov-16-2024Nov-30-2024$ 4,01212 spots left Reserve
Nov-23-2024Dec-07-2024$ 4,01210 spots left Reserve
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Dec-14-2024Dec-28-2024$ 4,01212 spots left Reserve
Dec-28-2024Jan-11-2025$ 4,7206 spots left Reserve
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4,407 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,319
Great 671
Average 144
Disappointing 80
Terrible 193

Best of Mexico

I always suggest to my friends about

I always suggest to my friends about going with Intrepid and many of them have. We are now up to trip 10 or 11 trip and hope to go on many more. Intrepid takes us to tourist sites that are off the beaten track and the guides have a great amount of information about the culture and history.
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Great trip

Great trip

I was advised by Peregrine that the

I was advised by Peregrine that the age group of those on my tour that there were 6 people aged between 20-40. On this trip: QVKD150823 I was the youngest by 14 years or so. _x000D_
The host Pepe was amazing. Some improvements could be made with the choice of hotel in Mexico. Hotel Regente was quite average. Every room had a gap in the front door so you could acutally see into the hallway from the bed. _x000D_
Other hotels were great. _x000D_
It would have been excellent if water was kept cool the entirety of the trip. Some days were very hot like 38 degrees and having water was great.. but cool at the end as well would be fantastic. It was cooled early on but not throughout. Our bus driver was amazing too. _x000D_
Just as an aside two members of this tour were downright horrid. And they caused much angst from all of the tour group. They were quite condescending to our tour guide, took over several sesssions in the galleries and just so unbelievably rude. I understand there is a black list and I truly believe they belong on this list. They upset every member of our group at one point or another and swore at us on the last day of hte tour. Fortunately it was hidden from Pepe but they were awful know it all's who really I never want to see again. I wouldn't want anyone else to meet with them either. _x000D_
Their names were Robyn Cragg & Yvonne Colling. They interupted Pepe and just made things awkward for all. _x000D_
They put such a dampner on things at times it added a negative aspect to the tour.
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Company Reviews

Avoid Intrepid

Many recent reviews are pointing to a sharp decline in quality and service with Intrepid. My recent experience echoes all that has been mentioned. They are appalling at responding to serious concerns. I have countless auto responses from its laughingly useless and lazy customer service department. Their financial management is a joke. They couldn't find my payment despite my twice providing traces from my bank. They are pathetic liars about not just the money. They lied about their failure to send me any information about my upcoming trip, how they omitted me from the group email circulation. They lied about anyone including a 'senior manager' trying to phone me.
Even the length of the trip is a con with first day being nothing more than a brief meeting at 1800. The last 'day' being breakfast at the hotel with not a sight or sound of the Rep.
Intrepid is a dishonest mess. They are now purely concerned with making money.
Do not use this company. They are terrible and there are many better (and safer) providers out there.
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We joined the Intrepid “Real Italy Food…

We joined the Intrepid “Real Italy Food Tour” and enjoyed it thoroughly. Our tour guide, Micol, was very knowledgeable and provided us with lots of good information. It seems Micol knew many of the staff of the venues we visited, including the pasta making class we attended. Our group of 11 travelers was extremely compatible, which greatly added to the fun and enjoyment.
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Central Asia Explorer

This was my third trip with Intrepid, and I'll continue to plan future trips with them. I choose Intrepid to travel to parts of the world where I don't feel comfortable traveling alone, and the experience is always memorable. Intrepid provides experiences that would be difficult for a traveler to do on their own. The most recent trip I did was to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and it was a fantastic experience.
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Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Private vehicle

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12


Hotel (14 nights)


All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leader or local representative. The aim of the group leader or local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced group leader or local representative however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your group leader or local representative is new to a particular region or training other group leader or local representative. Your group leader or local representative will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your group leader or local representative can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Fiesta Inn
  • 10th Avenue (Corner of 26 Street)
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Phone: +52 9842065200

Trip ID#:


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