Overview & Highlights
Our covid-conscious holiday to Mexico gives you the chance to discover the colonial cities and jungle-shrouded Mayan pyramids of the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as the idyllic island of Holbox and Caribbean beaches of the Riviera Maya with your own car. If you'd rather not drive this holiday can be done with private transfers and guides, just ask us.
Our Trailblazer holiday to Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula shows you the highlights of this wonderful, diverse region whilst avoiding the busiest areas. It’s a perfect destination to explore and relax with plenty of sunshine, sandy beaches and jungle ruins. Exploring by self drive hire car is not only economical; it gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace, stopping wherever you would like a better look, but with the security of a pre-planned itinerary and accommodation booked.
The Yucatán Peninsula offers sunny Caribbean beaches on the Mayan Riviera both and the ruined pyramids and temples of the Maya shrouded in jungle. Following a direct flight from the UK you collect your hire car and set off on good, well-signed roads to explore - distances between attractions are relatively short, there are service stations to fill up your car and a huge range of fantastic eateries to fuel yourselves on.
From Cancún airport you set off in your car to discover the peninsula. There, you’ll find vestiges of the once supreme Mayan civilisation. Sites replete with temples and pyramids festooned with sacred carvings were, once abandoned, swallowed up by a rapacious jungle but are now gradually being revealed. There’re all rather Indiana Jones. You’ll visit the best known sites, Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, both easily accessible.
You’ll also be based near the beautiful colonial town of Mérida, a friendly place to see a different side of Mexico with street markets, restaurants of all types and lively entertainment, should you wish to do so. Alternatively the sleepy fishing village of Celestún is just a short drive away - famous for its Biosphere Reserve and large flocks of flamingoes. Finally, you will drive up to the Gulf coast for your island break on laid-back, peaceful and up-and-coming Holbox.
Arrive in Cancún. Collect hire car and drive to your hotel
Drive to Chichén Itzá, Mayan archaeological site.
Explore Chichén Itzá.
Drive to your hacienda on the outskirts of colourful Mérida
Optional food tour of Merida or visit Celestun
Optional visit to the Mayan site of Uxmal.
Drive to Chiquila and Holbox island.
Relax on Holbox island; optional swimming with whale sharks.
Day at leisure on Holbox.
More time on Holbox Island
Drive to Cancún airport for international flight home.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Visit Chichen Itza, ruined Mayan city
Visit Uxmal ruined Mayan temple complex
Walking tour of Merida
Visit an underwater sculpture gallery
Visit the flamingos of Celestun
Visit the Yucatan’s colonial haciendas and bathe in limestone cenotes
Go snorkelling on the Riviera Maya
Swim with whale sharks
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
I saw truly unique scenery and interesting historical buildings & monuments but for me it was wonderful to see all that I did and stay in clean comfortable hotels on this 'Discovery' tour. Thank you JLA.MS, Lymington
So many great memories, it is impossible to pick one.... The mix of landscapes, cultures and activities was amazing. Probably the best holiday I have been on and certainly won't be my last to South America!LN, Billericay
I was so impressed by the service JLA provided - both beforehand in helping me to organise the perfect holiday to suit me and my interests and then in making sure everything worked smoothly during the trip itself. It all ran like clockwork. I have fallen in love with South America and will definitely be going back!
Every day was a pleasure. Scenery wonderful. Machu Picchu was jaw dropping.IT, Sutton Coldfield
We enjoyed all our excursions. Rio was a great start. The views from the Sugar Loaf were quite spectacular. Likewise the trips at both sides of the Iguazu Falls provided stunning scenery and of course Machu Picchu which even surpassed our epectations. Our first optional excursion was fascinating - up Corcovado. We also thoroughly enjoyed our helicopter trip over the falls, and the day trip to Potosi - a different and very interesting trip with lots to see.We also enjoyed visiting Moon Valley with its varied and interesting formations and in contrast going in to Lima. Every trip was worthwhile and enjoyable.JR, Swansea
Really it was the whole experience. A well-organised trip with lots of interesting things to see and do with people we got on well with and a knowledgeable,friendly,helpful guide.
Boat ride through the canyon (just what we needed to blow the cobwebs away after an early start and a long journey). Palenque took my breath away - literally, I climbed to the top of the pyramid! The trip to the two indigenous villages was extremely fascinating.
I will continue to recommend JLA as one of the best company I have used. The detailed planning of their tour was outstanding, their choice of local guides was excellent.MR, Greenford
I had a brilliant trip. The experiences were varied the people great company and the tour leader exceptional. What’s not to love!HL, Newcastle
"This was our second trip with you and we have again been very pleased with the whole experience: if we are going to spend such a lot of money on a holiday, we want to know that the company are real experts, and that everything will be done efficiently and professionally. Thank you."LK, Gerrards Cross
Easter Island extension should be recommended to all. it was magical. The moai were amazing. Torres del Paine was also awe inspiring.JD, Buxton
Excellent as with the trip we did with you to Mexico last year. We have been to many countries in Latin America but only this trip and Mexico with JLA. I wish we had discovered JLA before.
The tour leader was excellent as was the whole experience, especially the exciting optional excursions, kayaking, horse riding, zip linings, snorkelling and many interesting walks.MG, Glasgow
Most memorable experience: “Many on this journey, however main ones include :- Both the optional visits / flights - over Angel Falls & day excursion /flight to Kaieteur Falls . Time at Rock View Lodge & seeing the Coq of the Roq in the forest on the journey to Atta Lodge. The catamaran visit to Iles du Salut. Also enjoyed the atmosphere while wandering around Paramaribo.”SN, Belper
It was a fantastic trip. There is an obvious division in Cuba between those who come into contact with tourists and those who don't and so, like a magnet around iron filings our very presence distorts and changes what we see. This is perhaps more the case in Cuba than elsewhere but as more people visit I hope this will reduce. It is, for the moment, part of the character of the country and part of the experience. I really can't fault the organisation of the trip and would just like to say again that our guide was fantastic at bringing the history and culture of Cuba alive for everyone.RN, London
The first view of Machu Picchu from the watchman's tower, the view from El Alto overlooking La Paz and surrounding mountains and the Iguazu Falls will remain with me always. Also very pleased with the standard of accommodation.
Overall this was the most interesting and varied holiday I have ever been on and was a superb introduction to what was, for me, a new area of the world.PM, Motherwell
The ubiquitous music and dance of Cuba and the infectious joie de vivre of its truly multicultural people who seem to live life to the full with the little they have. Cuba is a fascinating country and this comprehensive trip showed us not only its spectacular variety of scenery and its rich history but gave an insight into the resourcefulness of its people and how they cope in their struggle for survival and freedom. I'm sure we only scratched at the surface but I'm curious to learn more (and I must learn to speak more Spanish).DC, London
Where do we start? 25 condors at Colca Canyon, vicuna, llama and alpaca at every turn, fabulous weather, the surprising majesty of the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the amazing Iguassu Falls in full flow after heavy rain in the interior. 6 equally wonderful experiences.MR, St Albans
A very well organised and fascinating holiday. An excellent tour leader who helped make the experience very special. Thank you all for all your efforts on our behalf.
This tour brings Mexico's cultural and historical diversity vividly to life, and is an excellent introduction to this important Latin American country.JF, Cambridge
Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time, it was breath taking! and enjoying the company of a good set of fellow travellers.IE, Coventry
JLA provided great planning from the start to the end, took all the hassle out of booking flights, bus, train and mini bus travel. Included excursions were excellent and well thought out, with a great tour leader.
The tour was obviously well organised and structured, but it never felt rigid, there was the flexibilty to do your own thing if you wanted to, and enough 'free' time to go off and explore, or just sit and enjoy a coffee. The optional trips were varied and reasonably priced, and refreshingly there was no hard sell or pressure to join these trips. A truly wonderful journey.MD, Stafford
So many highlights it's difficult to say! The routing was excellent both in terms of acclimatising to the altitude and building to the grand finale at Machu Picchu.CA, Brighton
This was a great trip - wonderful scenery and amazing sites. It was well organised and allowed for some opportunity to do things on one's own away from the group.DS, London
"Hats off to the Ecuadoreans for reinstating this railway line! It really is one of the world's great train journeys, and all managed with such style and comfort."AD, Newcastle
Most memorable?? - Too many to mention, just Aisen itself really.JH, Swindon
This was our fourth holiday with JLA, all have been wonderful experiences, different in their own ways, all with excellent tour leaders, different characters each with a passion for the countries they takes us into. Your Tour leaders are your assets do value them.HW, Bury St. Edmunds
Amazing itinerary. Great group that bonded well and the best tour leader. All the places made it a memorable holiday. Machu Picchu, the train from Puno to Cusco and the flight of the condors added even more.DP, Hinckley
The trip exceeded our expectations by furnishing us with an amazing variety of experiences and insights into these fascinating countries and cultures. We learned about ancient and modern history, landscape, wildlife, lifestyles, food and culture and had a lot of fun in good company.HB, Altrincham
The boat trip to the base of the Iguacu falls Argentinian side was exhilarating and awesome. The visit to Machu Pichu was even more impressive than we expected - our optional walk to the Inca bridge in the late afternoon was unforgettable.HJ, Potters Bar
The Eagle tour was one of the best trips I have had. Thank you all!HC, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
One of the most memorable moments was walking up to Machu Picchu and revealed itself in front of us!!! The places we went to eat at were advised by the tour leader and local guides with really good local dishes and good quality. We were unlikely to have found them otherwise.MN, Wantage
Ever since hearing of Tierra del Fuego when I was a child of 8, I have longed to visit. The 'Land of Fire' sounded so magical. Now at 74, I have achieved a lifelong ambition and have had a holiday of a lifetime having visited the'End of the Earth' in a catamaran whilst travelling eastwards in the Beagle Channel to view the penguins and other wild life. Everyone in Chile, Argentina and during my brief visit to Brazil were very friendly and accommodating. The local transport provided was fine and allowed us to view the local scenery at close hand with adequate stops...All in all a brilliant holiday. Thank you.RH, Macclesfield
Visiting 6 countries in 3 weeks is an incredible assault on the senses. Volcanoes, pre-columbian history, Spanish influences, the distinct colours of different countries, friendly people, amazing vegetation and exotic birds and animals.HF, Maidstone
I think that given the 3 week length and fitting in 6 countries will always mean that it is a very 'busy' tour and I think it is important to realise that it is a taster of each of the 6 countries. Any one of them could easily justify a longer stay. But a lot of people could not be away for a longer period of time. I am extremely happy to have visited each of the 6 countries. An unforgettable trip.
The 6 countries in Central America we visited all have a unique and distinctive culture, geography and atmosphere. This trip has created an incredible experience which brings a warm smile whichever of the many aspects I remember.
As the world begins to open up again, we have put together a selection of covid-conscious itineraries specifically designed for travels in these times. Our Trailblazer Mexico holiday stays in carefully selected locations that avoid the crowds, allowing you to see the highlights whilst always staying within your comfort zone.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.