Magic of Mexico - Family holiday Trip Notes
Trip code: FFMX
Trip length: 8 days
- Discover the lost ancient Mayan cities at Chichen Itza & Uxmal
- Mayan ruins
- Relax & swim in underground caves
- Step back in time on a working Hacienda
Discover spectacular Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and Uxmal, see life at a working Hacienda and swim in underground caves on this Mexican adventure. Mexico is a great family destination with history, culture, nature and fun found everywhere you look.
The trip starts with a visit to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - Chichen Itza, you'll be amazed by the gruesome carvings and enourmous pyramid. The atmosphere and history of the place is astounding! When you get too hot, there is always a cenote around the corner. The one at Chichen Itza has clear blue water and feels like paradise after a walk throught the ruins. There will be time to soak up the culture of the Yucatan at a working hacienda and Merida before the end of the trip and that is not enough, why not extend your time with a stay on a perfect Caribbean beach?
Your trip starts in Cancun. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. For information on when the trip ends please refer to the itinerary as described below. Q Bay Hotel (AA) - 1 night
Early morning transfer from Cancun to explore the impressive ruins of Chichen-Itzá (2hrs 30 mins). Here you have a private tour with your expert guide. This site is world renowned for the sophistication of its structures and the high level of astronomical and engineering accomplishments exhibited as well as the variety of temples, ball courts and ritual centres. The site comes alive with the expert interpretation of your guide adding colour and contour to the sprawling site. In the afternoon relax in the Hacienda and take a swim in the refreshing pool. Hacienda Chichen (AAA) - 1 night - (B)
Chichen Itza; Merida
You wake up today in the jungle and head out to explore the area on horseback. You'll visit a relatively unknown part of the Chichen Itza site. As the mid-day heat descends you will head to Cenote Ikkil one of the Yucatan’s most enchanting fresh water underground pools where you can opt for a refreshing swim and lunch. You will continue on to Mérida (2hrs 15mins), the colonial capital of the Yucatan Peninsula for an evening in town. Hotel Santa Lucia (AA) - 3 nights - (B)
After breakfast be prepared to enjoy a boat tour of the Celestun Nature preserve which is home to approximately 300 species of birds at different times throughout the year. After a break for lunch you can relax on the beach or explore the local quaint fishing village. You will then head back to your hotel in Merida. (B)
Today is a free day to potter around colonial Merida or take up one of the optional activities on offer (additional charge). A popular choice is a visit to the nearby Mayan Ruins of Dzibilchaltun (pronounced tzee-BEEL-chahl-toon). Here you can marvel at the ingenuity of the Mayan architects - the buildings are aligned for the solstice - and swim in a beautifully clear cenote. The nearby cenote Xlakah is thought to have been one of the reasons for locating Dzibilchaltun here. For older children there is also option for bike tour outside the city - the terrain is flat but the weather can be hot so a cenote stop would be included. (B)
Today after breakfast you have a city tour of Merida ending with a short 'Calesa' (carriage) ride. After your tour, you head to a local operational Hacienda for lunch (30 min) and explore a working Hacienda that make Heneken, rope fibre. With your expert guide you will learn the old fashioned process of making this rope and the history of why these grand haciendas have been slowly abandoned. Late-afternoon you head to your hotel near the ruins of Uxmal. Villas Arqueologicas Uxmal (AAA) - 1 night - (B)
Uxmal & Valladolid
Today after breakfast you head into the ancient ruins of Uxmal to view the amazing Palace of the Governors (considered by many to be the finest example of classic Mayan Architecture) and the mystical Pyramid of the Magician, which consists of 5 super-imposed temples. After your tour, you head to Valladolid (3hrs.), the former colonial capital of the Yucatan Peninsula. Valladolid was named for the city in Spain that was the capital at the time of the colonisation of Mexico. En route you will stop at a local cenote for a refreshing midday swim. Upon your arrival into Valladolid you will tour the charming city centre which has preserved its small plaza and fine architecture that reveal the glory of a bygone era. Enjoy a tranquil evening before heading to the Mexican Caribbean tomorrow. Hotel San Clemente (AA) - 1 night - (B)
Early morning transfer to Cancun (1hr30) where your trip ends or to your beach extension in the Mayan Riviera. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesAncient Civilisations
UNESCO Heritage Sites
A relatively gentle trip. Heat and humidity can be high. Minimum age: 7 years
Transport - Minibus, on foot, boat, on horseback.
Accommodation - Small hotels (7nts).
Meals - 7 breakfasts.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 171 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Local Costs - Mexico
Approximate costs are given for guidance below, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment. NB: Guatemala is cheaper than Mexico.
Soft drink £0.50
Medium beer £0.90
Local snack lunch £2.50
3-course dinner* £8.00
* reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant.
Visas & Permits - Mexico
Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa to enter Mexico, Guatemala or Honduras but if travelling via the United States must have a machine-readable passport or a visa will be required for transiting the US. Usual U.S. immigration restrictions apply. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com.
If you are travelling to the USA after 1st September 2008, the US authorities have introduced a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for Electronic Travel Authority NO LATER THAN 72 HOURS BEFORE TRAVEL. The on line application is available at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
Please note with effect from 8 September 2010 the US will introduce an ESTA fee of $14. The total fee for a new or renewed ESTA will be $14.00.
This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Mexico
The following are recommended:
NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if you are travelling via an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.