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Mexico’s Magical Southeast

• Oaxaca  • Chiapas  • Mexico City
Mexico brings to mind wide brimmed sombreros, lively Mariachis and cool frosty Margaritas, however on this unique tour we explore another side of Mexico - the magical states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.  While this timeless region is known for its fascinating Mayan history and stunning natural settings, perhaps the most wonderful attraction here is the indigenous people of various ethnic groups and how they proudly continue to enjoy the traditions, cuisine, clothing and folk-art that they have for many generations. 
We begin and end the tour in the fascinating capital of Mexico City, which delights visitors with endless options. Our city tour will take us from the pre-Hispanic towns found right in the city’s heart, to the colonial era with its many old churches and beautiful houses with cool shaded patios. 

We then move on to Oaxaca for a 4-night stay. This quintessential Mexican town is renowned for colourful Indian markets, delicious food and exquisite churches. We will stay at The Hostal de la Noria, a beautiful colonial mansion converted into a charming hotel. From here we can stroll the narrow winding streets, people-watch from a sidewalk cafe or head out of town to visit awe-inspiring ancient ruins. 
We then proceed to Chiapas for a 5-night stay. Mexico’s southernmost state is known as “Paradise of the South” as it brims with stunning natural wonders, ancient civilizations and mysterious Mayan villages. We will stay at the Casa Vieja - a lovely hotel with colonial flavour close to the main pedestrian streets. Our included tours here will take in fascinating Mayan Villages and tranquil natural beauty. 

Tour Highlights:
   • Tour of Mexico City and its historic center
   • Colonial Puebla - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
   • Mountain-top Monte Alban - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
   • Historic Oaxaca - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
   • Boat ride through the 800-metre deep Sumidero Canyon
   • The beautiful city of San Cristobal De Las Casas
   • Mayan villages of Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula
   • Chiflon Waterfalls - one of Mexico’s highest waterfalls
   • The well-preserved Mayan archaeological site of Tonina

* This tour is suited only for the fit and active traveller.

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Mexico City (all gateways fly via Toronto). Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel.
This fascinating capital is one of the oldest and largest cities in the world. Our morning city tour will show us the National Palace with Diego Rivera´s murals, Constitution Plaza, Metropolitan Cathedral, the mysterious Aztec remains of Mayor Temple, the Palace of Fine Arts, Alameda Park and much more. This afternoon we travel to Puebla.
We enjoy a morning tour of Puebla - a magnificent historical UNESCO World Heritage Site. The colonial buildings and the Chapel of the Rosary are considered among the marvels of the world. We will have lunch in a traditional restaurant serving local cuisine, then continue to Oaxaca for a 4-night stay.
This morning we visit Monte Alban, one of Mexico’s most interesting archaeological sites. It dates back to 500 BC and has a spectacular mountain-top setting. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of Oaxaca’s historical centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for the beauty and harmony of its architecture.
We begin with a visit to Mitla, the ancient Mixtec ceremonial center, followed by a tour of a mezcal distillery and lunch. Later we visit the village of Teotitlán del Valle and a Zapotec family of weavers that still use natural dyes and ancient techniques to make beautiful rugs.
A at leisure to explore on your own, visit one of the many museums or join your Tour Manager on a visit to the local market to learn about the produce and try the fried grasshoppers! Tonight we enjoy a folklore dinner show featuring Oaxaca’s music, food and colours.
We proceed to Santo Domingo Tehuantepec - the 2nd largest city in the state of Oaxaca.
Morning at leisure, possibly to visit a small fishing village with a beautiful beach. This afternoon we will have a tour of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec, including a visit to the Dominican Convent where traditional Tehuana dresses are made by the native women.
We enter the state of Chiapas where we will enjoy a 2-hour boat ride through the magnificent Sumidero Canyon. This breathtaking canyon is narrow and deep, with walls up to one kilometer high. Our naturalist guide will point out monkeys, crocodiles and birds. From here we proceed to San Cristobal de las Casas for a 5-night stay.
In colonial times this city served as the most important in the region. Since then it has enriched its urban design and it is now one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Our guided walking tour will include the Cathedral, the Santo Domingo Church and the beautiful pedestrian streets of the historical center.
We step back in time and visit two of the most fascinating Tzotzil Mayan villages; Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula. The local language, clothing, and especially the traditions and culture are truly amazing. In Zinacantan we will visit a family of weavers who still use the ancient back-strap loom. Their colourful clothing is full of flower designs, as opposed to the weaving in San Juan Chamula where they produce heavy wool skirts and smocks. In San Juan Chamula we will experience the unique religious practices that blend the Catholic religion with their Mayan beliefs.
Towe visit Chiflon Waterfalls - one of Mexico’s highest and most impressive waterfalls. There will be a picnic lunch and time to swim in the waterfalls’ crystal clear turquoise waters.
This fascinating archaeological site was the longest inhabited Mayan site in Mexico, and features groups of temple-pyramids set on terraces and over 100 carved monuments dating from the 6th through the 9th centuries AD. Tonina is famous for its well preserved stucco sculptures, and giant stucco mural discovered in 1992, which represents a mysterious supernatural scene.
This morning we visit the Miguel Alvarez del Toro Zoo, considered one of the best zoos in Latin America. The Zoo exhibits and protects endangered species such as jaguars and howler monkeys. After our visit we fly to Mexico City, and tonight is our special Farewell Fiesta.
We transfer to the airport for our flight home with Air Canada.
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