Adventures in
Mexico

Mexico Tours

A Mexico adventure tour will show you all the amazing scenic sights of this enormous country along with the ancient ruins of past civilisations. Visit the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, have a guided tour of the ancient site of Teotihuacan, stroll around Monte Albán, the holy city of the ancient Zapotecs then explore the Mayan ruins at Palenque and climb the pyramid at the huge Mayan city of Chichén Itzá. From huge cosmopolitan cities like the capital, Mexico City, to small Spanish colonial towns like the beautiful San Cristóbal de Las Casas and its surrounding villages, a Mexico adventure tour will let you explore and enjoy.

Of course our Mexico adventure tours will also take you to Cancún, once a small fishing village, but due to its beautiful beaches and subtropical climate it now attracts over two million visitors a year. Relax on one of the beautiful white-sand beaches and swim in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. You’ll also find modern shopping malls, more than 500 restaurants offering the best in national and international cuisine, and numerous bars and discos where the parties rage all night long, a great way to begin or end your Mexico adventure tour.

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Route: Mexico City to Mexico City
Code:
TMMX
Days:
8
Style: Tailor-made Tours
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US$2,299
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Route: Cancun to Playa del Carmen
Code:
TMMB
Days:
9
Style: Tailor-made Tours
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US$1,999
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QYA
Route: Playa Del Carmen to Antigua
Code:
QYA
Days:
10
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$1,139
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US$968
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Route: Mexico City to Cancun
Code:
TMMM
Days:
11
Style: Tailor-made Tours
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ZYG
Route: Playa Del Carmen to Antigua
Code:
ZYG
Days:
13
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$1,129
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ZMA
Route: Mexico City to Playa Del Carmen
Code:
ZMA
Days:
13
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$1,319
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YYC
Route: Playa Del Carmen to Playa Del Carmen
Code:
YYC
Days:
22
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$2,199
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YYA
Route: Antigua to Antigua
Code:
YYA
Days:
22
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$2,199
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YMA
Route: Mexico City to Antigua
Code:
YMA
Days:
22
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$2,399
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MCJ
Route: Playa Del Carmen to San José
Code:
MCJ
Days:
24
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$2,579
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MMP
Route: Mexico City to Panama City
Code:
MMP
Days:
49
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$5,899
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Mexico Travel Articles, Inspiration & Information

A Mexican Love Affair

As I scooped up the last morsels of my Chiles en Nogada, I couldn’t help feeling a wave of sadness. This was my last night on our 13 day Magical Mexico tour and I was sitting in a restaurant in downtown Cancún, away from the garish hotel zone, feasting on a deliciously hot habanero coated.. Read more

My Mexican Summer

It’s been three months since the heat of Mexico prickled under my skin.  There are still moments in days where I catch myself staring vacantly into the Brisbane sky, waiting for the waft of toasting corn chips or the squeals of Mexican children yelling ‘Hola’ to the tourists being herded through the protestors in the Zocalo.  Mexico was all and nothing that I had imagined. Read more

Magical Mexico

Mexico has enchanted me ever since I read about the ancient civilisation of the Maya in history in secondary school. Such a fusion of cultures! The second biggest country in Latin America & so much more than sombreros & tequila! I succumbed to the magnetic pull in March this year & I can honestly say it is an adventure that has altered me.  Read more

Outing the Old El Paso myth

When you think of Mexican food, what do you think? Old El Paso tacos with lettuce, tomato and grated cheddar cheese from out of a box kit that you purchased at Woolworths or Tesco?  Or nachos laden with sour cream with some ground beef (also known as mince if you are antipodean), seasoned with Old El Paso ‘authentic’ Mexican seasoning?   Read more

Independently Verified Travel Reviews From Past Clients

Mexico Travel Guide

Mexico Travel Guide

Brief history

Mexico is the site of numerous advanced Amerindian civilisations, the most famous of which being the Olmecs, Toltecs, Aztecs and Mayans. Hernan Cortes and a Spanish contingent of just over 900 men defeated the Aztecs in 1521 to claim New Spain for the Spanish Crown. Mexico came under Spanish rule for three centuries before achieving independence early in the 19th century.

Geography and weather

There is a rainy season throughout Mexico which starts around May/June and gradually works its way through until September/October. Don't be put off by the term rainy season, as this generally only means sporadic downpours a couple of times a day. Of course, there are times, when this is not the case but it is fairly rare for continual rain to persist. Generally the hottest time in Mexico will be the months March to May - before the rain comes.

The temperatures are mostly similar to other northern hemisphere countries, where it's warmer in summer (July/August) and cooler in winter (December/January), but temperatures vary according to location and altitude. In the height of summer for instance, in the Yucatán Peninsula the temperature can reach 34°C and doesn't get much cooler at night. Even in winter the coolest night temperature would be about 17°C.

Jungle areas (such as around Palenque) are hot and humid, with lots of rain for most of the year. At altitude temperatures will be much cooler. Mexico City for example, reaches about 24°C in summer but can drop to about 12°C at night and in winter the high is about 19°C and low as 6°C. The hurricane season on the Caribbean side of Central America and the Gulf of Mexico runs from September to November. Usually this only means high winds and occasional storms. It is highly unlikely that the full force of a hurricane would hit any of the areas we pass through on our tours, however our tour leaders are fully prepared to take any necessary action and would make itinerary changes if required to ensure the safety of clients.

Visit www.worldclimate.com to get an idea of what the weather will be like on your tour.

Visas

Most nationals do not need a visa to enter Mexico. Entry is granted on production of a passport valid for more than six months and proof of funds to support yourself (although proof not usually requested). As a tourist you are entitled to 90 days, however depending on the immigration official you may be allocated 30, 60 or 90 days.

Important - you will have to fill out an immigration form on arrival to which will be checked, stamped and left in your passport for the duration of your stay. Do not lose this bit of paper; If you do not produce this paper on departing Mexico you must pay a fine of US$42.

There should not be an entry fee to Mexico, and if you are entering and exiting Mexico by air you should not have to pay an exit fee (other than airport departure tax which may or may not be included in your ticket). However if you have entered Mexico by land, you will then have to pay a fee to exit the country. Your tour leader will advise you about this. For airport departure tax please see your tour dossier. If you are on a tour that exits Mexico by land into Guatemala, you will need to pay a fee regardless of how you arrived into the country. Your Tour Leader will advise you of the current rate although this is subject to change at any time.

Money

The local currency is the Mexican peso. Usually a dollar sign is used as a symbol, however the Mexican peso can be identified as $, N$ or M$. To distinguish US dollars, US$ is usually written. For up-to-date exchange rates with your own currency visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.

US dollars (cash) are accepted for some purchases in Mexico (particularly the Cancún area) however you will need pesos for most purchases.

US dollars and travellers cheques can be changed at casas de cambio (exchange bureau), banks and border crossings. Your tour leader will give you details of when and where best to change money. Casas de cambio are privately owned, usually have longer opening hours and attend to you faster than banks.

Often the easiest way to obtain local currency is to use the ATMs (‘cajeros automaticos’) located in every city throughout the country. Some ATMs will issue US doillars but this should not be relied on.

Do not rely on your card as your only source of money. Always have a few back-ups with you.

Tipping

A 10-15% service charge is added on to the restaurant bill throughout most of Mexico. If it is not added on, it is still expected (especially in the more expensive restaurants). There should be no other charge on top of this. You are not expected to tip taxi drivers unless they go out of their way for you although you should tip anyone who helps with your luggage, approx 50-80cents (5-10pesos). Tipping guides at the end of tours/excursions is always appreciated and your tour leader will advise you on this.

Security

Crime in Latin America is not as bad as its reputation as long as you are sensible and alert. Like anywhere in the world, you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Care should be taken, especially whilst walking around the larger cities. Try to keep away from dark quiet areas if on your own, particularly late at night and try to always take a taxi.

We suggest that whenever possible you leave all of your important documents in the safe (“caja fuertes”). However you should always carry some form of ID or a photocopy of your passport.

It is advisable not to wear expensive looking watches or jewellery. Keep your camera concealed when not in use. Remember that most thieves don't use violence but rely mostly on diversionary tactics which can take place at anytime of the day or night. Do not be paranoid, but just be aware that it could happen at anytime. Always be vigilant and the chances are nothing will ever happen to you. The safety of our passengers is our tour leaders’ number one concern and they will provide all necessary local information during the pre-departure meeting.

Time Difference

The time difference in Mexico is GMT/UTC - 6. For other time differences please visit www.timeanddate.com

Voltage

110 volts, US-style two flat-pinned sockets.

Top Highlights of Mexico

1.Chichén Itzá

One of the new seven wonders of the world, the complex of Chichén Itzá can arguably be one the most important Maya sites in Central America. It is located in the Yucatán State and its most famous building is the huge stepped pyramid Kukulkan. The best time to get see Chichén Itzá is first thing in the morning when the site is quieter and even the local market vendors haven't set up! .

2. Riviera Maya

This stretch of Caribbean coastline in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is home to sugar-white sand beaches and colourful reefs. One of the most popular destinations is Playa del Carmen, a coastal paradise known for its beautiful beaches and turquoise seas.

3. San Cristobal de las Casas

This town in the Chiapas state is known for its colonial buildings with red-tiled roofs and cobblestoned street. It is known for its indigenous population especially at the large open-air market where many of the indigenous locals sell their handcrafts. Some of the indigenous communities of Chiapas live in the hills surrounding the town, practicing years-old traditions preserving their cultures.

4. Cenotes

These natural swimming pools have clear fresh-water filtered by the earth. Some of them are open air, whilst others are covered with stalactites dominating the cave walls. Cenotes were very important in the Maya period, as the Maya people believed these were spiritual wells and a communication tool with the gods.

5. Food

A huge of highlight of Mexico is the food. No visit can be complete without indulging in the tasty cuisine which differs from state to state. Puebla is famous for the delicious mole sauce, a spicy, chocolate sauce that is usually covered over chicken. Oaxaca boasts fantastic markets, selling fresh produce including the stringy Oaxacan cheese and fried grasshoppers. One of the most famous is the Benito Juarez Market.

6.Whale Sharks

During June and September whale sharks congregate in the waters off the coast of Isla Holbox. You can visit them from Cancún with many tours offering the chance to swim with these gentle giants.

7. Teotihuacan

About an hour away from Mexico City is Teotihuacan, an ancient city of the Mesoamerican period. Its most famous structures are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon which you can climb right to the top. Climbing the Pyramid of the Moon will reward you with spectacular views of the ‘Avenue of the Dead, which is flanked by the stone architecture.

8. Palenque

The ruins of Palenque are nestled in the jungle and exploring these is an experience like no other. Climb up the pyramids, keeping an eye out for wildlife like toucans and howler monkeys. These ruins are an important example of Maya architecture.

Guide to food in Mexico

In Mexico a torta is a Mexican sandwich (roll) with a base of refried beans, onion, guacamole, tomato, mayo, then chicken, sausage or ham – made to your liking. Platanos asados are roasted bananas. They are topped either with sugar or condensed milk (or both), as you request it. Bear in mind the bananas are a type of plantain, with a slightly different flavour and texture. These plantains are also often served with savoury meals. Mexico is flush with all sorts of culinary delights (too many to list here) and you should attempt to try as many of them as you can. One which certainly deserves a mention is mole sauce, commonly served with chicken, turkey or enchiladas of chicken/turkey. Mole is a rich chilli sauce, thickened and enriched with nuts and seeds and augmented by various spices. The most famous is called “mole poblano” which is a dark brown colour as it has chocolate added to it.

Although Mexican food has a reputation for being spicy (“picante” in Spanish) this is not always the case. Usually you will have the choice whether you want to make it spicy or not. You’ll notice on every table there will be various chilli sauces, the most common being a home-made salsa called “chimichurri” or “salsa casera” made of tomato, onion, coriander (cilantro), and chilli. Sometimes this will be very mild, sometimes very hot. In any case you can always request “picante” or “no picante”.

If you are a strict vegetarian be sure to stress 'no carne, cerdo, pollo, pescado. You may experience a distinct lack of variety in the food available, especially in small towns. You might find that you are eating a lot of omelettes and other egg dishes. Our tour leaders will do their best to provide interesting vegetarian alternatives when arranging group meals in the campsite, but your patience and understanding is requested.

All drinks such as water, soft or alcoholic drinks are at your own expense at all times.

Mexican fruit is fresh and cheap. Go to one of the many juice stands and ask for a “liquado de fruta” (fruit smoothie) or “jugo de naranja y zanahoria” (orange & carrot). Papaya, melon, watermelon, mango, and pineapple are very popula. Always specify if you don’t want sugar (“sin azucar”). Latin Americans have a very sweet tooth and will usually automatically add the sugar.

Generally speaking it’s best not to expect good coffee/tea in this part of the world. Be warned that Americano (weak black coffee) is the most common, followed by “café con leche” (more like milk with a bit of coffee), and cappuccino (sometimes good). If you ask for tea (“té negro”) you will get teabags. Always ask for “leche fria a parte” (cold milk on the side) as the alternative is likely to be a hot cup of milk with a tea bag inside.

If you only learn one word in Spanish it’s bound to be Cerveza. There are countless lagers, and a few dark beers. The most common are Corona, Sol, XX, Pacifico, Montejo, with the more premium ones being Modelo and Bohemia. Also two ways of drinking beer distinct to Mexico should be tried: A chelada is a beer already prepared with lime and salt. A michelada is the same only with a special chilli sauce added.

White rum (ron) and unsurprisingly tequila are definitely the most commonly drunk spirits in Mexico. Kahlua is also Mexican. Mexico is not known for its wine and it is best to order Chilean wine.

Ten Interesting Facts about Mexico:

  1. Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world. It is also built over the ruins of an Aztec City, Tenochtitlán.

  2. The official name of Mexico is the United Mexican States - Estados Únidos Mexicanos

  3. Chocolate, corn and chillies were all introduced to the world thanks to Mexico.

  4. One of the most rarest rabbits, the Volcano Rabbit can be found in Mexico (living near volcanoes.)

  5. There is a legend behind the sauce ‘mole’. When hearing the archbishop was going to visit, the nuns in Puebla panicked as they had nothing to prepared. With the leftovers in the pantry which included chillies, spices and chocolate they made it into a sauce to go on top of a turkey.

  6. Every year on the 23rd of  December the city of Oaxaca has a festival to celebrate radishes. Large sculptures of folklore and religious scenes are created from the vegetable and judged at the Plaza Zocalo.

  7. Tequila, Tabasco and the breed of dog the Chihuahua are all named after destinations in Mexico.

  8. A unique Mayan weapon was the ‘hornet bomb’ where a live hornet’s nest was thrown at enemies.

  9. Mexico is the most populated Spanish speaking country in the world.

  10. Mexico is home to the widest tree in the world, the Árbol del Tule. It is situated in the charming town of Santa Maria del Tule which can be reached from Oaxaca.

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