Details may vary depending on departure date. Please choose
Your tour itinerary
The origins of the Day of the Dead Festival can be traced back as far as the indigenous people of Mesoamerica. The Zapotecs, Mayans and Aztecs all had ancient rituals for celebrating the deaths of ancestors. The modern day festivities take place on 1st and 2nd November each year when it is believed to be easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living. Relatives tend to gather in cemeteries, where they build private shrines and altars and bring along food, toys and other sentimental items. One of the most common symbols of the Day of Dead is the skull which many people where as masks during parades and festivities. The ceremonies are a fascinating insight into local culture and beliefs that stretch over millennia and across religous traditions.
On this tour, we will spend the nights of 31st October and 1st November in Oaxaca (Days 4 and 5), one of the best places to witness the Day of Dead as the streets become alive with parades and markets selling flowers and local delicacies fill the air with colour and perfume. Many of the festivities take place at night in the local cemetries but on the afternoon of Day 5, after visiting Monte Alban, we can explerience the carnival-like atmosphere that brings the streets of Oaxaca to life.
We've given each of our tours a comfort rating and a tour pace, walking or cycling grade to give you a general idea about the level of activity on each tour and the standard of accommodation you will be staying in at the end of your day's adventure.
Often you'll stay in different styles of accommodation during your tour; so we make an average rating across the entire tour. For more information on where you'll stay each night, please refer to the day by day tour itinerary.
The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these trip notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations.
Oaxaca - Folk dancing US$15, Regional Museum US$4. Palenque - Misol Ha waterfall approx US$10. Flores - Boat trip on Lake Peten Itza US$10 including zoo; San Ignacio - Canoeing, half day US$40; Caving at Barton Creek, half day US$35. Caye Caulker - Half Day boat trip to reef US$30; Hol Chan Marine Reserve, full day excursion including equipment US$50; Goff’s Caye – full day manatee watching/snorkelling boat trip including equipment US$65; Sea Kayaks available for hire: US$10 an hour. Scuba diving is approx US$60 for a single tank dive at Hol Chan; Fishing US$150. Valladolid - Swim in limestone Cenote US$10.
Local Crew: Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group’s tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.
Local Currency: Mexico: Mexican Peso. Guatemala: Quetzal. Belize: Belize Dollar.
Recommended Currency for Exchange: We recommend you change a small amount of currency into Mexican pesos before you depart. Once in Mexico we recommend USD which is easily exchangeable ( sterling, which is only exchangeable in the big cities) It is advisable to take some US$300-400 of your total spending money in cash in mixed denominations. US$ bills must be clean and not have any nicks or tears. USD for exchange in Guatemala and also UDS are legal tender in Belize.If arriving land only at the weekend we recommend you change some dollars into pesos at the airport as banks and exchanges are closed.
Where to Exchange: Major cities.
ATM Availability: The use of ATM machines is possible in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
Credit Card Acceptance: Limited to major cities.
Travellers Cheques: Travellers Cheques are not always easy to exchange.
Additional Information: Various entry and exit taxes are charged: Please see visa requirements.
Camera and Video Fees: Bear in mind that at some sites an additional charge of up to USD5 per site may be payable for the use of video cameras (Mexico only).
*Cheap local fare in a small cafe or restaurant. **Typical food in a simple, reasonably comfortable mid-range restaurant.
It is a condition of joining any of our tours that you must have valid travel insurance. It must indicate that you have cover for (at least) medical expenses and emergency repatriation in the event of illness or injury. We also strongly recommend your policy includes cancellation protection as all deposit paid are non-refundable.
If you require travel insurance for your tour, Explore Worldwide is an appointed representative of Campbell Irvine Limited, who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services authority. Our travel insurance policy is specially tailored to the needs of the adventure traveller and will cover you for any included activity on any Explore trip. You can either purchase this at the time of booking or call us 0844 499 0901 after you have booked.
Mexico: Mexican Tourist Card required for UK, USA, AUS and NZ and CAN citizens. Obtained at check-in desk of airline to Mexico. A new one will be obtained when re-entering Mexico at the Corozal border - this incurrs a US$29 exit tax (if extending your stay beyong the MXY tour in Mexico this may incur a further charge - your tour leader will update you about this). Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate.
Guatemala: Entry visas NOT required by UK, AUS, NZ, USA and CAN citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. There is an entry and exit charge at Guatemala's border- 3USD total
Belize: Visas not required by UK, USA, AUS, NZ and CAN citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. Tax to leave Belize overland is US$18.75.
Please note: Please note that flights on the tour may transit through the USA. According to US law, passengers will have to disembark, collect luggage and clear immigration before re-boarding for the onward flight.
Holders of the UK, AUS, NZ, CAN and several EU country passports can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if they hold a machine readable passport. They must also be entering the country by sea or air on a carrier participating in the visa waiver scheme, holding a return/onward ticket. As well as being machine readable, if your passport was issued on or after 26 October 2005, it must contain both a digital photograph of the holder and also an integrated circuit chip that stores biographic information.
All passengers travelling to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme must provide their details online no later than 72 hours prior to travel. British travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely to be detained and sent home. In addition to passport information, you must also supply the full address of your first night’s accommodation in the USA. This information can be obtained from your joining instructions which are sent out approximately 3 weeks before travel.
Anyone applying for ESTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) to travel under the Visa Waiver system will be charged a fee of 14USD (9GBP).
For more information, and to apply online, please visit the following website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Once obtained, the application will be valid for a period of two years, or for the validity of your passport (whichever is shorter).
For more information about who is eligible for the VWP, or any other questions you may have regarding your eligibility, or machine readable passports, please contact your local consular office, or visit www.usembassy.org.uk
Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria.
The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.
Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.
We strongly recommend that you check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs, including advice re: the legality of and local attitudes towards same-sex relationships. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice follow the link athttp://www.explore.co.uk/Traveladvice/
One main piece of baggage and a daysac. Total allowance: 44lbs/20kgs. Remember – you are expected to carry your own luggage so don’t overload yourself. Please note that in the Yucatan luggage is stored on a roof rack and you must be able to lift it.
Unfortunately it does occasionally happen that luggage does not always reach its destination on the same flight as its owner, or possibly it may be damaged in transit. If you are unlucky enough for this to occur, it is important that you file a PIR (Property Irregularity Report) with the airline before leaving the airport. This is essential when you come to make a claim either against the airline or from your travel insurance company
From Nov-Apr warmer clothing is needed in the highlands (San Cristobal and Mexico City), which are mostly mild, but temperatures can drop dramatically at night. Pack a fleece and some long sleeved clothing for protection from sun and insects. Lightweight rainwear is essential. In general, winter is dry and summer wet. Casual clothes are acceptable. Shorts are acceptable everywhere except in churches.
Then we suggest you contact Nomad Travel, our equipment partner, who specialise in kitting people out for adventurous travel. You receive a special 10% discount in-store or online. Visit one of their stores, phone 0845 260 0044, or visit their website www.nomadtravel.co.uk/explore for further information.