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Contrasts of Mexico MX

Trip Duration 15 Days

Mexico & Guatemala Adventure

This exciting journey explores the fiery and mysterious land of the Aztecs and the Maya. From the valleys of Oaxaca in Mexico to the jungles of Guatemala, we tour colonial cities, discover ancient sites and search out the perfect locations for some down time. We visit the impressive Mayan sites of Tikal and Palenque, as well as lesser known sites such as Monte Alban, Bonampak and Yaxchila, and the pyramids at Teotihuacan. We also take a boat trip through the impressive Sumidero Canyon and visit the Mayan towns of San Cristobal and San Juan Chamula.

This tour coincides with the Day of the Dead Festival. This festival is celebrated throughout Mexico and focuses on family and friends praying for and remembering loved ones who have died. We will witness the celebrations from Oaxaca.

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 between the 31st October 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 the Dead is the skull which many people wear as masks during parades and festivities. The ceremonies are a fascinating insight into local culture and beliefs.

There are three dates available, departing one day after the other. Those on the 28th October departure will spend the nights of 31st October and 1st November in Oaxaca (days 4 and 5); those joining on the 29th October will spend the nights of the 1st and 2nd November in Oaxaca (days 4 and 5), and those joining on the 30th October will spend the nights of the 2nd and 3rd November in Oaxaca (days 4 and 5). Oaxaca is 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 cemeteries and there is a carnival-like atmosphere that brings the streets of Oaxaca to life.

Tour Highlights

  • Oaxaca - Experience the Day of the Dead celebrations in this colonial city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Mexico City Anthropological Museum - An impressive collection of precolonial artefacts
  • Tikal (Guatemala) - The Maya metropolis, where temples scattered over a vast area stand out tall above the surrounding jungle
  • Palenque - Arguably the most enchanting of the ancient Maya ruins, set in dense jungle
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - A beautiful highland colonial market town, surrounded by modern day Maya villages


Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select.

Show more
  • 1
    Join tour in Mexico City

  • 2
    Mexico City tour including the Museum of Anthropology

  • 3
    Visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids and the Basilica de Guadalupe

  • 4
    Journey to Oaxaca; Day of the Dead celebrations

  • 5
    Visit the ancient complex of pyramids of Monte Alban

  • 6
    Journey to Chiapa del Corzo

  • 7
    Sumidero Canyon boat trip then head to San Cristobal

  • 8
    Discover the Indian town of San Cristobal de las Casas

  • 9
    Travel to Palenque via the Agua Azul Waterfall

  • 10
    Discover the important Mayan site of Palenque

  • 11
    Drive to Frontera Corozal; travel by boat to Yaxchilan

  • 12
    Head to Flores, optional boat trip on Lake Peten Itza

  • 13
    Explore the great Mayan metropolis of Tikal (Guatemala)

  • 14
    To San Ignacio (Belize), optional Macal River canoeing

  • 15
    Drive to Belize City Airport where the tour ends

Trip notes

Each departure date has its own dedicated trip note, detailing all you need to know about that trip. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Contrasts of Mexico trip available at present.

Please select a date:

Customer rating:
Contrasts of Mexico
Why Book this trip
We have planned the dates of this tour to coincide with the Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico. This festival is celebrated throughout Mexico and focuses on family and friends praying for and remembering loved ones who have died. You will witness the celebrations from Oaxaca.
Included meals 1 0 1
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Bus, Boat
13 nights Standard Hotel
1 night Simple Lodge
Trip Staff
Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s), Boat Crew
Group Size
Generally 10 - 16