Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, Valladolid & Playa del Carmen
This 11-day Mexico tour has it all: history, culture, food, beaches… and butterflies! From the thriving metropolis of Mexico City to historic Oaxaca, and from the World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza to the beaches of Playa del Carmen. With no more than 20 guests along for the journey, your trip starts at our hotel located in the heart of downtown Mexico City. In addition to feasting on traditional Mexican dishes, visit a Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, the Valle de Bravo Waterfalls, the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, and explore the Frida Kahlo Museum in the house where Frida Kahlo lived. We’ll stop in the colonial city of Puebla on our way to Oaxaca, a center for Mexican gastronomy which has been declared an Intangible Cultural World Heritage by UNESCO. A tour of the historic city center, a food tour, and a visit to bucket-list worthy Monte Alban are among the many activities we’ll enjoy in this city. Next, head to the Caribbean coast to explore Valladolid and Playa del Carmen. Visit Chichen Itza, a Wonder of the World and the best-preserved archaeological site in Mexico. Then visit one of the most famous underground cenotes in the area. We end our trip in Playa del Carmen where you’ll take part in cultural experiences including a sacred Mayan ritual and a purification ceremony before enjoying an incredible gastronomic experience. Take your last day of the trip to delight in the beach and amenities at your resort.
Did you know that you can make this tour private? Find out about pricing and options for groups of 10 or more travelers.
- 3 nights Mexico City
- 3 nights Oaxaca
- 2 nights Valladolid
- 2 nights Playa del Carmen
- Round-trip international airfare from Miami (MIA) (passengers may also book this tour without flights)
- Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
- Accommodations at first-class hotels
- Porterage service at hotels
- Ground transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach
- Internal Air Oaxaca-Cancun
- 15 meals: 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 3 dinners plus food and drink tastings
- Comprehensive sightseeing tours including admission fees as indicated in the itinerary
- Top-rated, professional English-speaking Tour Directors throughout
Day 1: Depart USA/Mexico City
Our adventure in Mexico begins today as we depart Miami on our nonstop flight to Mexico City. Upon arrival at Mexico City International Airport, we’ll meet our tour guide outside the arrival hall. We’ll transfer to our hotel where we can explore the resort before meeting our guide for orientation and check-in. This evening, we’ll visit Garibaldi Plaza, the go-to spot for live local music in Mexico City. To get the full experience, we’ll have dinner at Tenampa Salon Restaurant, one of the iconic restaurants in the area, where we’ll enjoy typical Mexican dishes like tacos, guacamole, pozole, and more. During dinner, we’ll see a folkloric show with mariachi bands playing traditional tunes.
*Passengers who did not purchase flights will join the tour in Mexico City on Day 1, meeting the group at the hotel at 3 pm for the orientation tour.
Hotel Histórico Central or similar | Dinner
Day 2: Butterfly Sanctuary & Valle de Bravo
Experience an amazing natural event in Mexico – the Monarch Butterfly migration! These butterflies have made a long journey to escape the harsh winters in the United States and Canada. We’ll visit the Piedra Herrada Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, one of the most important monarch reserves in the world. As these migrations become scarce, this can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see thousands of Monarchs shelter in pine, cypress, and eucalyptus trees. Next, we’ll drive to the colonial town of Valle de Bravo where we’ll visit Saint Mary Chapel which houses the miraculous Christ. We’ll also see the lovely Valle de Bravo Waterfalls and visit the large handicraft market where we can purchase souvenirs made of wood, clay, blown glass, wrought iron, or even garments woven by Mazahua hands. Wonders ablaze today before we return to Mexico City.
Day 3: Frida Kahlo Museum & Xochimilco
After breakfast, we’ll travel to the southern part of Mexico City to reach the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site. The Aztecs built their artificial Chinampa Islands in the shallow waters of the lake to gain land for agriculture. We’ll step on a typical Trajinera boat and enjoy a fascinating ride on the ancient canals.
Next, we’ll visit the Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the Blue House for the structure’s cobalt-blue walls. This historic house was Kahlo’s birthplace, childhood home, where she lived with her husband Diego Rivera for several years, and where she later died. In 1957, Rivera donated the home and its contents to turn it into a museum in Frida’s honor. Enjoy a collection of artwork by Kahlo, Rivera, and other artists along with the couple’s Mexican folk art, pre-Hispanic artifacts, photographs, memorabilia, personal items, and more. The collection is displayed much as it was in the 1950s and remains one of the most visited museums in Mexico City. This evening, consider an optional Tacos and Mezcal foodie tour of Mexico City.
Day 4: Mexico City/Puebla/Oaxaca
Today, we leave Mexico City for Oaxaca. On the way, we’ll stop in Puebla. In this colonial city, we’ll see buildings decorated with tiles and beautifully sculpted freestones. We’ll see the majestic cathedral at the main square where the Rosario Chapel, considered the eighth wonder of the art world, is located. We’ll visit one of the oldest Talavera workshops where we’ll meet the artists and learn the process and importance of this typical handicraft. We’ll have some free time to enjoy Puebla’s famous cuisine from their mole to their Cemitas before we continue on to Oaxaca.
Hotel Misión Oaxaca or similar | Breakfast
Day 5: Santa María el Tule, Mitla & Food Tour
Today, we’ll visit Santa María el Tule and admire the Tule Tree a 2,000-year-old Montezuma cypress tree. Later, we’ll visit Mitla, “The City of the Dead,” where we’ll see the rich geometric designs covering the tombs and facades. Next, we’ll return to Oaxaca for a fantastic food tour of a local market with our guide, delighting in typical and exotic flavors like different kinds of mole, cacao, pan de pueblo (homemade bread). For the braver foodies, we will have an opportunity to try grasshoppers and other insects offered in this traditional setting. At the end of our tour, we’ll sit down at one of the food stands and enjoy sample some delicious tacos, chiles en nogada, moles, tasajo, chocolate, and some mezcal concluding today’s touring with a feast for the senses!
| Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6: Oaxaca
Today we’ll explore colonial Oaxaca’s historical center. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the Main Square with a beautiful pavilion in its center, the Governor’s Palace with the arcades around Hidalgo Square, the Cathedral, the Alcala Pedestrian Walk Avenue, and the theatre building. Take in the breathtaking architecture of Santo Domingo Church, which is also the regional Museum of Anthropology. Here, you can find precious artifacts from a Zapotec tomb at Monte Alban. We’ll also visit the fascinating market hall where vendors, popularly known as “marchantes,” walk down the aisles with baskets full of quesillo, grasshoppers, chilis, and tortillas. Later, we’ll visit the archaeological site of Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This site is what’s left of the former ceremonial center, and the main city of the Zapotec culture. Built with temples, a ball game court, and an observatory on a hill with an artificial plateau, the area also provides nice views over the city of Oaxaca and the central valley.
Day 7: Oaxaca/Valladolid
After breakfast, we’ll fly to Cancun International Airport where we’ll meet our expert guide of the Yucatán outside the arrival hall. From here, we’ll travel to Valladolid where we’ll check-in at our resort and enjoy free time to rest and relax.
Ecotel Quinta Regia or similar | Breakfast
Day 8: Valladolid, Chichen Itza & Ik'kil Cenote
We’ll begin our day at the incredible Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, a Wonder of the World and the most famous and best-preserved archaeological site in Mexico. Chichen Itza was once the most populous Mayan city and the center of work and trade. Highlights of this archaeological site include the imposing Kukulkan Pyramid, the huge ball court, and the observatory “El Caracol.” Enjoy a quintessential Yucatean lunch. As a perfect end to this spectacular visit, refresh in one of the most famous cenotes in the area named Ik’kil. Then, we’ll return to Valladolid for a quick tour of this beautiful town including the San Bernardino Convent and the church, or enjoy some gold and silver shopping. The rest of the day is free to rest and relax or explore independently.
| Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9: Valladolid/Playa del Carmen
After breakfast, we’ll travel to Playa del Carmen, often referred to as the heart of the Riviera Maya. Once a fishing town known as Xaman Ha, it is now a beautiful, energetic, and vibrant destination in the Mexican Yucatán. After we arrive, we’ll have some free time to explore. This afternoon, we’ll depart for a special Mayan night where we’ll take part in a sacred Mayan ritual. Learn how a small Mayan community lives with an eye into their lifestyle and traditions. This evening, we’ll join a purification ceremony, the Temazcal, which includes a volcanic stone steam bath to cleanse and renew the mind and body. We’ll enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystalline waters of the community cenote and delight ourselves with a gastronomic experience of a simple but delicious dish and hibiscus drink.
Hotel Hacienda Real del Caribe or similar | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Playa del Carmen
Enjoy a day at leisure in Playa del Carmen, home to beautiful beach clubs and picture-perfect places! Explore the area independently or simply relax at the beach. Consider an optional visit to Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres. This evening, we’ll partake in a farewell dinner at one of the area’s most popular restaurants on the well-known 5th Avenue.
| Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Playa del Carmen/US
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to Cancun International Airport and say farewell to Mexico, returning home full of wonderful memories.
*The tour will end for passengers who did not purchase flights on Day 11 in Playa del Carmen after breakfast. Optionally, these passengers may ride with the group to the airport in Cancun.
Prices listed as “with flights” below include round-trip airfare from Miami (MIA). Travelers may choose to purchase the tour only, and arrange their own arrival in destination. Please note this may change your tour start date.
|2022 Tours||Tour Only||With Flights|
|2023 Tours||Tour Only||With Flights|
* Departures designated as "Guaranteed" may be canceled or rescheduled only under Extraordinary Circumstances, for example in situations deemed to be unsafe or nonviable due to local conditions. See Terms & Conditions for full details.
Rates are based on double occupancy.
Single room supplement is $629
For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00am – 5:30pm EST) at 1.800.337.7773.
Reservations and Payments
Reservations can be made by phone (1.800.337.7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of your non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, which must be received at the time of reservation. Deposits are $300 per person. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Space and prices subject to availability. Please see the smarTours Terms and Conditions for complete booking information.
Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.
Enhance your trip with our recommended optional tours. Indicated optional tours are available to pre-book when you reserve your trip and can be added to your reservation up to final payment. This is the best option to guarantee your spot on your preferred optional tour! Optional tours require a minimum number of participants. Optional tours are non-refundable unless they do not operate.
Some optional tours can be purchased in-destination and may cost extra. The payment methods and currency information to purchase tours in-destination will be provided on final documentation.
Tacos & Mezcal Foodie Tour
- From approx. $99 Per Person
On this delicious and unforgettable optional tour, get to know 4 different “taquerias”. We’ll finish our taco adventure with a Mezcal tasting where we’ll learn the secrets of this ancestral Mexican beverage.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Isla Contoy & Isla Mujeres
- From approx. $115 Per Person
On this optional expedition, visit two heavenly islands of the Mexican Caribbean – Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres. Isla Contoy is a natural national park and a paradise that few privileged people can visit. Known as a sanctuary for migratory and native birds, the island is rich in both flora and fauna. A feast for the eyes with its lovely beaches and turquoise blue sea, Contoy Island is a place we’ll never forget. If weather permits, we’ll go snorkeling in the second largest barrier reef just a few kilometers from Isla Contoy.
Next, we’ll explore Isla Mujeres, an island characterized by the charm of its beaches and its craft market, an ideal place to take home the best souvenirs of the Mexican Caribbean.
AVAILABLE TO PRE-BOOK!
Hotel Histórico Central
Simón Bolívar 28, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc,
06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Voted Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice in 2021 Located in the heart of downtown Mexico City, the Hotel Histórico Central is just a few steps from the main historical sites and iconic places of the city.Website
Hotel Misión Oaxaca
Jalisco Numero 15, San FELIPE, La Paz San Felipe,
68020 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax., Mexico
Voted Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice in 2021 Located in the residential area of the city 15 minutes from the historic center, Hotel Misión Oaxaca offers easy travel to spectacular archaeological and tourist sites such as Monte Albán, Mitla, Teotitlán del Valle, Tree of Tule.Website
Ecotel Quinta Regia
C. 40 No. 160-A-x 27, Sta Lucía, 97780 Valladolid, Yuc., Mexico
Offering an ideal combination of quality, comfort, and location, the Ecotel Quinta Regio also features amenities like free WiFi, a pool, and more!Website
Hacienda Real del Caribe
Departing the U.S.: For the safety of everyone in the group, smarTours has implemented some COVID-19 travel requirements which apply to all tours regardless of destination. To learn more, click here.
Returning to the U.S.: In accordance with U.S. entry requirements, smarTours will arrange testing for the group in destination. Full details and requirements can be accessed here. The test must be paid in cash at the testing site.
Note: If you are traveling with us on a land-only basis please share your travel plans with us and let us know if you will also need to be tested with the rest of the group.
Please note entry requirements are changing rapidly. For up-to-date information, please click the links below.
- Entry requirements
- State Department Travel Advisory Updates (Mexico)
- Center for Disease Control Updates & Information (Mexico)
Your flights from the USA to Mexico and back are on the following airline with the corresponding schedules. We recommend that you check-in 3 ½ hours before departure.
|Departure Date||Airline||Depart Miami||Arrive in Miami|
|2022: Nov. 3, Dec. 8
2023: Jan. 12, Feb. 9
Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight. We recommend at least 3 ½ hours. Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.
ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT
American Airlines does not assign seats in advance. Seat assignments can only be arranged upon check-in at the airport.
International flights to/from the U.S. are not included. Land-only travelers are responsible for arranging the entry and exit flights, as well as their arrival and departure transfers. smarTours cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by air schedule changes and delays. Unused land services are non-refundable.
Main Tour: Land-only services start upon independent check-in at your Mexico City hotel on Day 1 of the itinerary and end after breakfast on Day 11 of the itinerary.
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. Those traveling by air with only a Passport Card may be denied entry. All visitors are required by the Mexican immigration authorities to have a minimum of one blank visa entry page in their passport. Insufficient pages in the passport normally results in denied boarding or denial of entry upon arrival and the person is likely to be detained pending return to their country of origin. Visas are not required for American passport holders for stays of less than 180 days. Non-U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates as to the most current visa requirements to all their travel destinations. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.
TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS
Your airline tickets along with final instructions and additional travel tips will be sent to you 7-10 days before the scheduled departure of your tour.
Currently, there are no immunization requirements for Mexico. All travelers should be up to date on routine vaccinations. As always, please consult your personal physician for any recommendations prior to travel. You may also learn more about any recommended immunizations at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
During the planned departures, the weather around Mexico City will be cold and fresh overnight and warm during the day – so warm clothing will be required due to the cold fronts that sweep down from the US in this region in particular, and also due to the altitude. In the other parts of the tour, the weather will generally be hot and sunny during the day, and cooler overnight.
CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY
All major credit cards are accepted in Mexico (travelers should inform their banks and credit card companies of their travel plans to avoid denied transactions). U.S. dollars are widely accepted and Mexican Pesos are easily available at ATMs. It is recommended that you bring along cash in small denominations.
Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase), max. 44 pounds and one carry-on piece. Carry on must not exceed 18”x10”x8”. Please note that there is a checked bag fee imposed by the airlines that must be paid directly by you at the airport in Miami. Eligible AAdvantage® cardmembers may be able to have this fee waived. Please reach out to American Airlines directly for details. We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of casual separates with climate and comfort in mind.