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Holidays

Mexico Mayan Explorer

Mexico
Available Departures: Jan, Feb, Apr, Nov, Dec

16 days from

US$4,275

without flights
Culture
Guided Group
LEISURELY LEISURELY

Discover Southern Mexico and Yucatan on this magical Mayan journey

Trip Code: MME
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Mexico Mayan Explorer

Highlights
  • Visit the Mayan wonders of Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan, Uxmal, Palenque and many smaller ruins on our journey
  • See the best of Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca as well as sightseeing in San Cristobal, Campeche and Merida
  • Walk between the dramatic volcanoes of Itzaccihuatl and Popocatepetl on the ‘Paso de Cortes’
  • Explore the magnificent Sumidero Canyon and Lakes of Montebello by boat and on foot
  • Experience the Pueblos Mancomunados ecotourism project in the Sierra Norte Mountains

At a Glance
  • Group Size 4 to 12
  • 3 days walking
  • 11 days sightseeing
  • Max altitude 3960m
  • Join In Mexico City, Ends Cancun

Accommodation & Meals
  • 15 Breakfasts
  • 3 Dinners
  • 8 nights Hotel
  • 7 nights Hotel with swimming pool
Overview

Travel from Mexico City to Yucatan on this active discovery of Mexico’s colourful culture, vibrant cuisine and stunning natural landscapes; from temples to tacos, sacred cenotes and smoking volcanic peaks; this magical Mayan Adventure will satisfy your wanderlust as well as your taste buds!

Mexico’s bustling capital is the obvious starting point for our immersion into the cultures and history of this fascinating part of the world. This part of Mesoamerica being a cradle for ancient civilisations from the Olmec, Maya, Aztecs and on to the later Spanish Colonisers.

Here we experience not only stunning ancient sites, such as the colossal ruins of Teotihuacan, but also begin our journey into the world of Mexican Cuisine, a theme strongly (and tastily) woven throughout this itinerary. Heading to the mountains we visit the delightful town of Puebla and hike the Paso de Cortes for impressive views of the nearby volcanos (Iztaccihuatl and Popocatépetl) before sampling the region’s specialities in a renowned family-run eatery.


Next up is another UNESCO World Heritage city of Oaxaca, where we marvel at the colourful architecture, before heading back in to the hills to visit the Pueblos Mancomunandos – a unique community-led ecotourism project in the Sierra Norte Mountains.

Our journey then takes us, via a splash in the Pacific Ocean at Playa Cangrejo, deep into the Chiapas region and a boat trip down the impressive Sumidero Canyon. Winding up into the highlands we reach the town of San Cristobal, famed for its temperate climate and colonial architecture. We delve further into nature with a day’s walk around the Lagunas de Montebello, close to the border with Guatemala, before heading north on to Campeche and Yucatan.

The final leg of our journey has us travelling through one of the most important regions of world history, densely packed with ruins of ancient cities, temples, strategic ports and sacred sites. We dive in to this history exploring the different types of Mayan architecture from ‘Puuc Style’, advanced astronomical and geometric designs, and intricate carvings and hieroglyphs. We visit Palenque, Edzna, Uxmal and one of the ‘7 New Wonders of the World’ at Chichen Itza. Interweaved with these sites we visit the towns of Campeche and Merida, this time sampling the distinct but equally delicious ‘Comida Yucatan’ with another hand-picked traditional food experience.

Our journey ends at the beach resort of Cancun, where there is opportunity to extend your holiday for some well-earned relaxation in either Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

Is this holiday for you?

Whilst this holiday is not overly demanding from a hiking or trekking perspective it is a fast-paced and adventure packed itinerary, making the most of our 16 days in Mexico. Inevitably when covering this distance there will be some longer driving days as we move from one region to another, these are undertaken on a comfortable, air-conditioned, Mercedes Sprinter minibus or similar. The accommodat …

Whilst this holiday is not overly demanding from a hiking or trekking perspective it is a fast-paced and adventure packed itinerary, making the most of our 16 days in Mexico. Inevitably when covering this distance there will be some longer driving days as we move from one region to another, these are undertaken on a comfortable, air-conditioned, Mercedes Sprinter minibus or similar. The accommodation level on this holiday is of a good standard, all in close proximity to the sites we are visiting and many of the hotels also having swimming pools. There are 3 specific walking days, undertaken at moderate and high altitudes of up to 3900m. The focus of these days are the sights, views and communities we travel through rather than their difficulty. The design of the itinerary allows these walks to be opted out of if required. We also have guided walking tours of the many sites and cities visited on this itinerary, so expect plenty of time on your feet!

Why KE?

On this unique adventure holiday we discover the best of Mexico’s Southern States and Yucatan Peninsula, exploring a mix of Mayan Wonders, heritage towns and the country's famous cuisine. In a KE twist on a classic journey we also hike into the hills for stunning volcanic vistas, lush natural landscapes and visit sustainable community tourism projects.

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Itinerary

Arrive to Mexico City, a transfer to the group hotel in the city centre is included.

Accommodation

Hotel

Welcome to Mexico City! At 2200m and flanked by mountains on all sides this high altitude capital has been a melting pot of cultures from the early Aztecs, through the colonial Spanish times to the modern day metropolis it now is. With our local guide we undertake a city tour of the historic centre including the presidential palace, a stroll through the huge 'Zocalo' (Main Square) and the impressive Metropolitan Cathedral. We then go on to explore the castle and grounds of Chapultepec Park housing the museum of Natural History. We also take in the Museum of Anthropology, where we can discover the history of the civilisations of the Olmec, Toltec, Aztecs and Maya before our journey through their former lands. We finish our day in the city at the Cafe de Tacuba, which has been serving typical Mexican home cuisine for over 100 years. Why not try its famous desert, 'estilo Tacuba' (hot chocolate), as the perfect way to round off the day.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B D

This morning we set out to explore one of Mexico's most important and impressive archaeological sites, the huge pyramid complex of Teotihuacan. Built between 250 BC and 700 AD, predating the Aztecs by 1000 years, its population in its heyday was over 125,000, making it one of the most populous metropolises in the ancient world and certainly the largest in the Americas. Highlights include the 1km long 'Avenue to the Dead' and the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, the 3rd and 4th largest pyramids in the world. We spend the day exploring the site with an expert guide. On our return to Mexico City (approx. 1 hour drive each way) we visit the Basilicas Guadalupe before returning to our hotel for the evening.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

After breakfast we leave Mexico City and head towards the mountains. We drive for around 2 hours to the 'Paso de Cortes'. At an altitude of 3,700m it is the starting point of our walk traversing the slopes of the Iztaccihuatl Volcano ('The Sleeping Women', 5200m). The trail leads to the 'La Joya' viewpoint at 3,960m. We take the ascent slowly enjoying several stops and incredible views of Popocatépetl (5,452m), the 'Smoking Mountain'.

Returning to our vehicle we descend to the picturesque city of Puebla, known for its colonial architecture, ornate churches, and world-famous cuisine, including the iconic dish of Mole Poblano. Tonight we have the chance to sample some of this local fare with a visit to a traditional Mexican Restaurant that specialises in local produce and recipes passed down by the original families of Puebla. A feast for the senses, the walls are adorned with stunning murals that depict Puebla's rich history and traditions. When admired alongside the local 'Mezcal' and 'Tequila' these murals are said to become 'very lively', either way it is sure to make for a memorable culinary experience.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B D

Ascent

300 M

Descent

300 M

Time

3 - 4 hours walking

Distance

8 KM

This morning we explore the UNESCO World Heritage city of Puebla, you'll quickly notice the city's striking colonial architecture adorned with vibrant and colourful 'Talavera' tiles. Each tile tells a story of Puebla's cultural heritage. The city's main sites are not far from the lively Zocalo and can be easily explored on foot. The magnificent cathedral and the enchanting Plaza de la Constitución - one of the most beautiful squares in Mexico - are among the must-visit highlights of Puebla. After our tour we will drive south east (approx. 5-6 hours) to another World Heritage City, Oaxaca de Juarez.

During a tour of the centre of Oaxaca, you will experience one of the most beautiful colonial towns of Mexico. Situated in the Valle Central, Oaxaca is part of the tropics, but owing to its altitude (1,500 m), the average temperature is a pleasant 21°C. Stroll the old cobbled streets, and do not neglect to visit - besides the magnificent church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán and the ever-bustling Zócalo - one of the many colourful markets.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Today we visit an intriguing and inspiring sustainable tourism project high in the mountains above Oaxaca, where we are treated to picturesque walking routes, delicious food and an insight into the Zapotec culture, all while directly supporting the local community.

The 'Pueblos Mancomunados' is a commonwealth of eight remote villages, set high in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca. Historically this collective have pooled land and natural resources, sharing profits from forestry and farming activities. More recently they have set up a uniquely collective ecotourism project offering hiking routes, adventure activities and accommodation to travellers looking for something different. The enterprise employs over 100 local people and income from tourism is shared throughout the communities, making it an excellent example of community-led sustainable tourism.

Over 100km of hiking trails wind their way through pine forests to rocky viewpoints, hidden caves and stunning waterfalls. Set around 3,000m, we walk one of these trails linking the communities of Cuajimoloyas and Latuvi, leading over highland meadows and little brooks across the land of the cooperative. We have opportunity to sample one of the village restaurants before returning to our hotel in Oaxaca for the evening.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Time

4-5 hours walking

Distance

16 KM

Today we have a long drive (approx. 6 hours) to the city of Tehuantepec. On the way we enjoy a stop at Monte Alban; this intriguing and magnificently situated set of ruins were home to the Zapotec and Mixtec people. The ruins sit atop an artificially flattened hilltop and are surrounded by a circle of terraces, houses, temples and tombs on the slopes of the hill. In Monte Albans heyday (500-800 AD) the centre is said to have in-habited close to 50,000 residents.

We then stop at the small village of Santiago Matatlan and visit a mezcal distillery - this famous Mexican spirit is made from the flesh of agave and always contains more than 40% alcohol - no mescal tasting is complete, of course, without the famous worm (gusano del maguey) - which strictly speaking, is a caterpillar!

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Today is a second transfer day as we make our way east into the Chiapas region. As we travel from Oaxaca to Chiapas, we experience a remarkable change in landscape. Oaxaca's rugged terrain is characterised by mountains, canyons, and valleys, while Chiapas is home to dense rainforests, waterfalls, and lush green hills.

We experience this new environment first-hand with a spectacular boat ride down the magnificent Sumidero Canyon. Set in a gorge with steep 1000m cliffs, the canyon only became navigable when the Rio Grijalva was damned in 1981. The now protected deep and serene waters are home to a plethora of wildlife including spider monkeys, toucans, pelicans and even an occasional crocodile basking on the rocky shores.

After our visit to the canyon we continue on to San Cristobal; set in the mountains at 2100m it offers another pleasant climate after our time in the heat at sea level. We check in to our hotel where we will spend the next two nights. Total driving time approx. 6 hours.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

This hike takes us to the heart of Chiapas, to the Cascada El Chiflon, the largest and most beautiful waterfall in Chiapas. To see the highest waterfall we take a picturesque walk of 1.3km on small steps and pathways. El Chiflon is ideal to relax - walking alongside the enchanting turquoise blue water.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

200 M

Descent

200 M

Time

2-3 hours walking

Distance

5 KM

Today we continue our journey north out of the mountains. We make an interesting stop on our way at 'La Venta Park', home to 32 monumental sculptures left by the 'Olmec Civilization'. Weighing over 30 tonnes and 2 metres high, the colossal heads of basalt and granite are best known. We continue on (total drive time 6 hours) to the town of Palenque, where we check in to our hotel ready for tomorrow's day of exploration.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Today we delve deeper into Mayan history with a visit to one of Mexico's most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Palenque is an ancient Mayan city, which was inhabited from about 100 BC until its decline around 800 AD. The site features pyramids, temples, and palaces that are intricately decorated with carvings and reliefs, said to be some of the finest examples the Mayans produced.

The most famous structure in Palenque is the Temple of the Inscriptions, which is known for its elaborate hieroglyphic texts. With our expert guide we also visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Sun and North Temple. We then take a short walk into the 'Jungle of Palenque' to discover the 'Templo Olvidado' (Lost/Forgotten Temple). As we explore the ruins, we'll also come across hidden waterfalls, exotic birds, and other varied wildlife.

After fully exploring Palenque we drive (1 hour) to the sweeping waterfalls of 'Roberto Barrios'. Hidden in the subtropical jungle of Chiapas we find various terraces of charming water cascades along several hundred metres of beautiful flora. The turquoise-blue water and untouched nature invite you to bathe in the small rock pools. We return to our hotel in Palenque for the evening.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Heading north (approx. 6 hour drive) we travel to the state of Campeche where we discover another important Mayan site, Edzna. The most notable structure at Edzna is the five-tiered Great Acropolis, which stands at an impressive 40 metres. Steep stone stairs lead to the top of the Great Acropolis with panoramic views of the surrounding jungle and other ruins. Other notable structures at the site include the Temple of the Masks, which features intricate carvings and decorative stucco masks, and the Plaza of the Columns, a large open area that was once used for important ceremonies and events. After our visit, we continue on to the city of Campeche, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, awarded its status for its historic fortified old town. A fine example of a harbour town from the Spanish colonial period and a pleasant place to spend an evening and sample its plentiful culinary choices.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Today we drive for around 3 hours in total to the archaeological site of Uxmal, with some stops along the way: Kabah, one of the most spectacular sites of 'Puuc Style' Mayan architecture, and Santa Elena, a small Mayan village where it is possible to get an insight into everyday life of the Maya. In the evening, we experience the impressive Sound & Light Show in the ruins of Uxmal. Before the tremendous background of the Pyramid of the Magician, you set out on a virtual journey back into the Mayan world. Accompanied by sound and light effects, the history of a fascinating civilization is told. We spend the night at a hotel around 2km from Uxmal.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Today we head for the colonial capital of Yucutan, Merida (Total drive time 2 hours). On the way we stop at the Chocantes Caves, a fabulous karst landscape in Tekax. We will explore the caves with an experienced guide, admiring impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations. Continuing on to Merida we have a chance to experience this delightful city on a walking tour taking in the cathedral, Palacio Municipal and the Casa de Montejo. e. In the evening we include a meal in the historic centre of Merida, serving the best quality Yucatan Cuisine. Observe the cooks while they are preparing the colourful culinarian delicacies and don't miss the fresh tortillas - they are simply delicious. The spinach-like Chaya leaves, which the Mayas appreciated many centuries ago, are a special ingredient in some of the dishes and drinks.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B D

Today we head East on the final leg of our journey across the Yucatan Peninsula and arrive at perhaps one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world, ready for a day's visit tomorrow (total journey time 3.5 hours). On our way we stop at Izamal, the 'City of Hills', one of the oldest towns in Yucatan. We then continue on to 'Cenote Yokdzonot', a water-filled sinkhole characterised by 18m vertical walls that in many places are almost hidden by what seems to be curtains of thick mangrove roots. The site is run by a community cooperative who also run a small restaurant where you can enjoy a traditional lunch. We continue the short distance to our hotel in close proximity to the ruins of Chichen Itza.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Designated one of the 'New 7 Wonders of the World' we have saved the most iconic and perhaps most impressive Mayan site until last. Staying just 5 minute's walk from the rear entrance to the site, we have opportunity to explore the grounds before the majority of visitors arrive to make the most of this special experience. To date, only around 30 of the many buildings buried and overgrown by the jungle have been uncovered and restored. 'El Castillo' (The Castle) is the largest and most famous of these, dominating the centre of the site. Intricate sculptures of plumed serpents run down the sides of the temple, aligning on the autumn and spring equinoxes to create an illusion of a feathered serpent 'crawling' down the temple - a nod to the Mayan Deity Kukuclan who the temple is devoted to. We explore the grounds fully with our expert guide, making for a fitting end to our journey through these Mayan lands.


After lunch, we drive (3 hours) to Cancun airport where the holiday ends. Additional nights in Cancun are available on request.

Meals

B
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The Route
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Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • A professional and qualified tour leader
  • A single timed airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • All activities/excursions/entrance fees mentioned unless specified as ‘optional’

  • Travel Insurance
  • Departure Taxes (if applicable)
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Some meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Tips
  • Any additional activities/excursions indicated as optional
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

The group will meet at the hotel in Mexico City.

A single timed group transfer is provided on day 1 of the Land Only itinerary.

On the last day of the Land Only itinerary, there will be a single transfer to Cancun Airport for flights departing no earlier than 1600.

Anyone may join the group transfers by prior arrangement. Travelling as a group or on public transport saves energy. If this is not practical, we can provide private transfers at an additional cost. Taxis are also available.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All breakfasts and 3 dinners are included in the holiday price. All lunches and most dinners, where you will will have opportunity to select from local restaurants or eat in your hotel, are not included. You should budget US$10 - $20 per meal for these non-inculded meals.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Mexican food is a cuisine that is beloved worldwide for its bold and complex flavours, vibrant colours, and diverse range of dishes. Some of the most popular Mexican dishes include tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and tamales, which are all made with a variety of fresh and spicy ingredients such as chilies, tomatoes, coriander, and cumin. Mexican food also heavily features staples like rice, beans, and tortillas, which are often used as a base for many of the dishes. Whether you're looking for something savoury, spicy, or sweet, Mexican Cuisine has something to offer for every palate.

Such an important part of Mexican Culture, our itinerary explores the history and tastes of Mexican food with included meals in hand-picked traditional restaurants in Mexico City, Puebla and Merida. As well as this, there are numerous other opportunities to immerse yourself in the cuisine as we travel through regions famed for local delicacies and fresh, local produce.

All nights on this holiday are in good quality hotels, 7 of which have swimming pools. The hotels have been selected for their central locations when in cities - usually situated in the historic centres. When visiting the archeological sites such as Palenque, Uxmal and Chichen Itza we stay in selected hotels in close proximity to the sites, often allowing early access to the sites before most visitors arrive from the larger cities and touristic areas.

If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Single rooms are available for a supplementary cost. If you are planning on extending your holiday additional nights at the group hotel are available on request.

The group will be accompanied by a professional and qualified tour leader.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

In addition to your budget allowance for non-included meals, we estimate that US$150-300 will be sufficient to cover your requirements including incidental expenses such as tips for drivers, local guides and helpers. There is no need to purchase local currency (Pesos) prior to travelling. It is possible to withdraw your money in local currency from ATMs in Mexico City and all major towns and most restaurants in Mexico City will accept credit cards. If you are bringing your travel money with you we recommend you bring it in the form of US dollars in cash as this provides for the easiest exchange.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your tour leader and local team. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should be dependent on good service. We advise you to tip as a group. For full groups we advise around $40-50 per person total and have a available some smaller denomination pesos to tip for meals and other services.

Our holidays are normally designed with minimal 'down time' at the start of the trip, but having a day or two at the beginning will have the additional benefit of allowing you time to get over the stress of a long journey or travelling across time zones, leaving you refreshed and ready for your holiday. We can easily arrange for you to have additional nights and airport transfers.

There is no restriction on the weight of your luggage other than that imposed by your airline. A soft bag with wheels or a trek bag is ideal for this holiday, in additional to a small day pack for the walks where you will need to carry personal items such as clothing, food and water.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THOSE TRANSITING THROUGH THE USA

You will require an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is USD$21 and you should apply for it at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. With the ESTA complete, the majority of British Citizen passport holders can enter the US under the Visa Waiver Programme, VWP. You will be required to have a passport with an integrated chip. Note that if you have travelled to Cuba, Iran, Syria or North Korea since March 2011* you will have to apply for a visa rather than the Visa Waiver Programme (* a full and up to date list of countries can be found on the US government website here.)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THOSE TRANSITING THROUGH CANADA

All citizens (except for USA citizens) will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any Canada-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is CAD$7 and you should apply for it at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp

 

Visa Mexico

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

VACCINATIONS

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Mexico is the Peso.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an adventure holiday by getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. Regular hiking in hill country is the best preparation but running, cycling and swimming are also good.

The climate in southern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula is predominantly tropical, with high temperatures and humidity year-round. Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca experience a subtropical highland climate, which means they have mild temperatures with dry and sunny winters, and rainy summers. Chiapas, on the other hand, has a tropical climate with high humidity and frequent rain, particularly from May to October. The Yucatan Peninsula has a hot and humid tropical climate, with high temperatures all year round and a distinct rainy season from June to October.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • "The Maya" by Michael D. Coe - This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history and culture of the Maya civilization, one of the most fascinating and influential civilizations of ancient Mesoamerica. The author, a renowned Maya scholar, offers a vivid and accessible account of the Maya's social, political, and religious life, as well as their art, architecture, and science.
  • "The People's Guide to Mexico" by Carl Franz, Lorena Havens, and Steve Rogers - This classic guidebook is a must-read for anyone interested in traveling to Mexico, offering practical advice and insider tips on everything from navigating public transportation to sampling local cuisine. The book covers a wide range of destinations, including the Yucatan Peninsula, and provides insights into the country's history, culture, and people.
  • "Mexican Mosaic: A Brief History of Mexico" by John W. Sherman - This book provides a concise and engaging overview of Mexican history, from pre-Columbian times to the present day. The author examines key events and trends that have shaped Mexico's development, including the rise and fall of the Aztec and Maya empires, the Spanish conquest, the Mexican Revolution, and the country's ongoing struggles with poverty, inequality, and corruption.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

YOU SHOULD BRING THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:

  • Hiking boots
  • Socks & underwear
  • Trekking trousers
  • Shorts
  • Shirts / T-shirts / Tops
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Daypack
  • Dry bags
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2 (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Insect repellent (DEET)
  • Small travel towel
  • Small padlock (to lock your bag)
  • Basic First Aid Kit, including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE OPTIONAL:

  • Travel clothes
  • Sandals for casual wear and evenings
  • Swimwear (for Hotel pools and beach)
  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Extensions

Extension Details

Nicaragua Lakes and Volcanoes

13 Days
  • Discover the charming historic cities of Granada and Leon

  • Explore Lake Nicaragua and its 365 islets by boat

  • Volcano hikes on Mombacho, Masaya, Cerro Negro and Ometepe Island

  • Canoe through the San Juan River Biosphere Reserve

  • Enjoy fascinating tropical wildlife on nature walks with expert naturalist guides

Extension Code: NLV
Sharing Price from
US$3,130

Extension Itinerary

Arrive to Managua, the capital and largest city in Nicaragua. A single group transfer is provided from the airport. You holiday begins with the overnight at the group hotel.

After breakfast we drive to San Carlos, a small village situated on the south eastern shore of Lake Nicaragua and the beginning of the San Juan River, which flows east to the border with Costa Rica. From San Carlos we take a boat down the river for 2 hours to the village of El Castillo. The river and surrounding rainforest make up the Rio San Juan UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is packed with unique and interesting wildlife; including mammals such as the Tapir and elusive Jaguar, birds such as the Harpy Eagle and Green Macaw, and freshwater life such as Manatees, freshwater sharks and the American Crocodile.

Reaching El Castillo (the Castle), an impressive fortress dominates the town, strategically located on a sharp curve in the river, it was built by the Spanish to protect the affluent city of Granada from attacks by pirates. This vehicle-free town is made up of colourful wooden buildings which sit on stilts above the fast flowing river. We find our hotel on the narrow "main street" where we overnight.

Meals

B L D

Today starts early to explore the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve, the best time to see wildlife. We embark on a scenic boat trip down the Rio San Juan, arriving at one of the military ranger stations which have been set up to protect the reserve from poachers. From here, we board canoes and begin our adventure. As we paddle along the river we are surrounded by lush vegetation, dense forest and the relaxing sounds of nature. The calm waters of the river provide a smooth and enjoyable canoeing experience. After 1-2 hours of light canoeing we reach the start point for our walk into the heart of the Biological Reserve.

Walking through the jungle we can expect to see Howler Monkeys, brightly coloured Poison Dart Frogs, a wide range of birdlife including Trogons, Manikins, Tanagers and if we are lucky Scarlet Macaws. There is also an endless variety of flora and the chance to see larger mammals such as ocelots. After the hike we return to El Castillo by boat.

Meals

B L D

This morning we drive for 4 hours to one of the prettiest city in Nicaragua, Granada. Dating back to 1524 this historic city draws locals and travellers alike, with its wonderful colonial and neoclassical architecture, colourful cobbled streets and laid-back, easy-going atmosphere. The afternoon is free to relax and sample some of the culinary delights on offer ahead of our walking tour tomorrow.

Meals

B

This morning our tour leader will take us on a walking tour of Granada. We will visit 'La Merced' Church, Granada's impressive and brightly painted cathedral and the San Francisco convent. We then continue on to the warm waters of Lake Nicaragua where we will explore some of its 354 islets by boat. The islets are made up of basalt rock covered in lush vegetation, rich in bird life, with plenty of egrets, comorants, ospreys, kingfishers and orpendulas. The age of these islands is unknown but it is believed they were created by a massive eruption of Mombacho Volcano that watches over the lake to the west.

Meals

B

Just South of Granada, Mombacho Volcano Reserve has some of the most beautiful cloud forest flora seen anywhere in Latin America with numerous flowers, bromeliads and orchids amongst its 800+ species. We arrive in the morning, where we will be transported by 4x4 to the ranger station from where we will start our nature walk. The Puma Trail hike takes you inside the cloud forest, as we ascend along the trail we are surrounded by a dense canopy of vegetation, alive with calls of tropical birds and the rustling of leaves. The air is cool and refreshing and with the aid of our naturalist guide we learn about the amazing biodiversity and, if weather permits, we will be treated to amazing views of Lake Nicaragua and its Islets. Our walk will take approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete and we will then have time to enjoy a typical lunch at the Casa Hacienda in the reserve.

After lunch we continue onto Masaya Volcano National Park. Established in 1979 as the country's first national park, it offers a blend of nature, geological wonders, and rich history. Our visit begins at the informative Environment Interpretation Centre, where your guide introduces the volcano's history. You'll learn about its significance to indigenous peoples who once inhabited the area and the geological processes that led to the formation of the volcano. Whilst the main Santiago crater lava viewpoint is closed, the national park visit will include a guided walk on the "Comalito" trail. The trail winds through lush forests, and past active fumaroles, and offers opportunities to observe diverse flora and fauna. At the end of the trail, a scenic lookout provides panoramic views of Mombacho Volcano and Granada city in the background, with closer views of Masaya Lagoon. This volcanic lake, formed thousands of years ago by powerful eruptions and collapses of the caldera, holds cultural significance as a sacred site for the indigenous communities. Following our visit to the National Park we will transfer back to Granada where you are free to relax and venture out in the evening to try some of the local cuisine.

Meals

B L

This morning we travel (approx. 2 hour drive) to San Jorge Port on the Western side of Lake Nicaragua. On arriving to San Jorge, we take the ferry to Ometepe Island. Made up of two imposing volcanic cones that rise up from the waters of Central America's largest lake, it is a land of legends and another UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Ometepe has been sacred to the local Nahuatl people for millennia and its fertile landscape is scattered with archaeological remains and ancient petroglyphs. We overnight at our hotel ahead of exploring the island tomorrow.

Meals

B

Today we aim for the high point of our trip by climbing Maderas Volcano (1394m). A dormant volcano it is known for its cloud forest and stunning crater lake. This hike is through dense vegetation, ascending steep slopes and crossing scenic streams. As we ascend, we are surrounded by diverse flora and fauna including orchids, monkeys and a variety of bird species. Reaching the summit we are rewarded with an inspiring panorama of the island. The highlight of this hike is in finding the mystical lagoon nestled within the volcano's crater, a serene and picturesque sight. After our walk we return to our hotel on the island for a well-earned rest.

Meals

B L

There are lots of different options to explore the island's rich cultural and archaeological heritage, cycling and kayaking are very easy to arrange locally. The best beach on the island is Playa Santo Domingo - on a clear day you can see both volcanoes from the water here and the long stretch of beach is well worth a visit. Other options include bird watching, visits to waterfalls and natural springs, the interesting coin and pre-Columbian museum and the petroglyphs that the island is famous for.

Meals

B

In the morning we take the ferry back to the mainland and drive 2 hours to La Makina Reserve. This nature reserve has embraced tourism as a route to conserving its unique wildlife habitats and ecosystems, located in the dry tropics of Carazo. It offers guided trail walks, canopy walks and a small campsite located in the park, with funds going back into the conservation and protection of the land. There are plenty of trails to explore winding their way through tropical forest and waterfalls with pristine swimming pools, along with high viewpoints where you can overlook the Pacific Ocean. A campfire is set up in the evening for a special night in this natural setting.

On the way we stop at a project in the small community of Nambume. Ramon and his wife welcome us to learn about the variety of medicinal, citrus and ornamental plants grown on their estate. We can also sample their produce with food prepared by ancestral recipes based on native seeds and organic production methods.

Meals

B L D

Leaving the reserve, today we drive (approx. 3 hours) to the university city of Leon. Leon is the artistic and intellectual heart of Nicaragua, the colonial capital for three centuries and former home of its three great poets, including Ruben Dario. Leon's historic cathedral (the largest in Central America) is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and there is plenty more to explore; whether the revolutionary street art, restaurant lined plazas, or colonial architecture.

Meals

B

Today we embark on a half-day excursion to Cerro Negro Volcano. An hour's drive outside Leon, Cerro Negro is Nicaragua's youngest active volcano and is completely covered in black sand and rocks, of which its name is derived. We walk the 500m of ascent to the top of the volcano (726m above sea level), which takes 1-2 hours, at the top a vista of unforgettable views stretch along Nicaragua's volcanic chain. A unique quirk of Cerro Negro is the steep soft black sand slopes that allow for a quick and easy descent. We can either walk, run, slide or 'volcano board' back down to the bottom before we return to Leon.

Meals

B

This morning we wake to our last day in Nicaragua. After breakfast we drive (approx. 3 hours) directly to Managua Airport, where the holiday ends, in time for afternoon flight departures. Additional nights in Leon or Managua can be arranged.

Meals

B
Whats Included
  • A professional and qualified tour leader
  • A single timed airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • All land / boat transport required by the itinerary
  • All activities/excursions/entrance fees mentioned unless specified as ‘optional’
What's Not Included
  • Travel Insurance
  • Departure Taxes (if applicable)
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Some meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Tips
  • Any additional activities/excursions indicated as optional
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc
  • Tourist Card - US$10 per person in cash to be paid directly at immigration on entry
  • Airport Tax (Exit) US$45 per person (Note that the exit tax is now included by most airlines in ticket cost; please check with your carrier)
DATES & PRICES

Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.

2024

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Mexico Mayan Explorer
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: MME /04/24/
  • This trip begins on Fri 22 Nov and ends on Sat 7 Dec
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$875
  • Download Trip Notes

2025

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Mexico Mayan Explorer
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: MME /01/25/
  • This trip begins on Fri 17 Jan and ends on Sat 1 Feb
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$845
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Mexico Mayan Explorer
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: MME /03/25/
  • This trip begins on Fri 4 Apr and ends on Sat 19 Apr
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$845
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Mexico Mayan Explorer
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: MME /04/25/
  • This trip begins on Fri 21 Nov and ends on Sat 6 Dec
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$875
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining at the hotel in Mexico City. A transfer is included from Mexico City Airport. The holidays ends in Cancun. A transfers from Chichen Itza to Cancun Airport is included.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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