Private Journeys

Treasures of Central America: Heritage of the Aztec and Mayan Empires

18 days from £4,660pp

Mexico / Guatemala / Honduras

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Essentials

Transport

2 flights; 5 road journeys over 1 hour. 

Accommodation

This trip combines mid-range small, friendly hotels, colonial or modern in style with well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and heating/air-conditioning and superior accommodation with plenty of local colour and special features.

Meals

Breakfast daily, lunch days 8,9,12.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return.

Summary Of Nights

18 days, 17 nights: Mexico City 3; Puebla 1; Oaxaca 2; Mérida 3; Palenque 2;  Tikal 2; Copán Ruinas 2;  Antigua 2.

Optional Excursions

There are a number of half-day, full-day or longer excursions or activities you may wish to consider in order to customise your holiday to cater for your interests. Please contact us to discuss these further or to add them to your itinerary before you depart. A selection of these:

• Visit the historic neighbourhood of Coyoacán, home to the Trotsky museum in Mexico City and the museum and former home of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, in Mexico City.
• Take a cruise in traditional wooden boats on the ancient canals of Xochimilco, in Mexico City.

Currency

The unit of currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso; in Guatemala the quetzal, in Honduras the lempira.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns in Mexico, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. 

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency, if necessary, in Honduras and Guatemala.  Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$35-45 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey Grade

Generally this fast-paced and excursion-packed holiday is suitable for most visitors, including families with older children. If you have a disability, please contact us.

Climate

In Mexico City and the mountains towns the climate is temperate all year round and, because of the altitude it rarely gets too hot. 

The wet/rainy season lasts through June to August, which usually means a couple of hours of rain in the afternoon. During the rainy season the mountains harbour a lush, green landscape, as opposed to the dry season’s parched, brown landscape – and it often only rains in the late afternoons and evenings. During the rest of the year there is little or no rain.

Temperatures can drop to freezing in Mexico City and Oaxaca over the winter months.

In the Yucatán peninsula, Tikal and Copán, expect a sub tropical climate.  Mar-Apr are the hottest but also the driest months, while in Dec-Feb it can be chilly at the beginning and end of the day. Most rain falls between May-Oct when there are plenty of mosquitoes and other insects.

Clothing And Special Equipment

For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons – a light fleece jacket and a waterproof/breathable outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well. If you plan to eat in smart restaurants, although clothing is not formal (no need for jacket and tie), something quite smart would be appropriate. 

Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellant, sun block and sun glasses. You should take swimwear for the beach. 

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Mexico.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following; typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 

Country info

When is the best time to go to Mexico?

It’s a year-round destination. Over half the country enjoys temperate highland weather, while the coasts are mostly sunny, hot and relatively humid. The northwest has an arid desert climate. Elsewhere most rain falls from Jun to Sep though precipitation can be expected up to Nov. Hurricanes are possible around the Gulf of Mexico and Yucatán Peninsula Jul - Nov.

What is the official language of Mexico?

Spanish and indigenous languages.

What is Mexico's official currency?

Mexican peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. You may have to ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave leave UK, and amounts are limited to about £100.

What is the time difference between Mexico and the UK?

GMT -6 hours and - 7 hours in Southern Baja California and the Copper Canyon.  

What other countries combine well with Mexico?

A visit to neighbouring Belize, where there are luxury eco-lodges, superb diving and snorkelling all embraced in British Caribbean cultural heritage.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in Mexico?

Independence Day, 16 Sep Celebrations throughout the country.
Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, 1 - 2 Nov. Celebrated throughout the country.

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Mexico City: Guided tour of Tula and Tepotzotlán
  • Mexico City: Full day guided city tour and excursion to Teotihuacan pyramids
  • Guided visits to Puebla, Cholula and Tlaxcala
  • Oaxaca: Guided excursion to the ruins of ancient city Monte Albán
  • Oaxaca: Guided tour of Mitla and El Tule
  • Mérida: Guided excursion to Chichén Itzá
  • Mérida: Guided tour of Uxmal and Kabah
  • Palenque: Guided tour of the archaeological site
  • Guided excursion to Bonampak and Yaxchilán
  • Tikal: Guided tour of the ruins
  • Copán Ruinas: Guided tour of the Copán Mayan site

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Mexico City: Guided tour of Tula and Tepotzotlán
  • Mexico City: Full day guided city tour and excursion to Teotihuacan pyramids
  • Guided visits to Puebla, Cholula and Tlaxcala
  • Oaxaca: Guided excursion to the ruins of ancient city Monte Albán
  • Oaxaca: Guided tour of Mitla and El Tule
  • Mérida: Guided excursion to Chichén Itzá
  • Mérida: Guided tour of Uxmal and Kabah
  • Palenque: Guided tour of the archaeological site
  • Guided excursion to Bonampak and Yaxchilán
  • Tikal: Guided tour of the ruins
  • Copán Ruinas: Guided tour of the Copán Mayan site

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

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.

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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

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    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 Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    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 an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    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.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    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.

Meet the team