Active Tour of Mexico - Private Tour

Tour from Mexico City (MEX) to Cancun (CUN), Mexico

About this activity

Immerse yourself in the world of the Mayas, Zapotecs & Mixtecs and visit some of Mexico's most beautiful archaeological sites.

Your Travel Experience with Tierra Maya Tours

Day 1

Mexico City

Arrival in Mexico City and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Included meals: none

Overnight stay at Hotel Majestic*** or similar

Day 2

Mexico City - Xochimilco - Anthropological Museum

Experience and marvel at one of the largest cities in the world. Mexico City is the political, social and cultural centre of the country with numerous universities, museums and monuments. Walking tour in the centre with a visit to the Presidential Palace, the Zócalos and the Cathedral.

The district of Xochimilco in the south of the city is known for its floating gardens, built by the Aztecs several hundred years ago on Lake Texcoco to supply their capital. The canals cover a total length of more than 150 km and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987; they are a popular excursion destination for the population and tourists as well as a livelihood in the mega-metropolis. A short boat tour will introduce you to the gardens.

The Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum is located in the south of Mexico City in the district of Xochimilco. Here you will find the works of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Angelina Beloff and Fernando Gamboa. Dolores Olmedo was a successful building contractor and patron of the artists mentioned. In 1992, Dolores Olmedo handed over the hacienda and its collections to the "People of Mexico".

The Anthropological Museum is the most visited museum in Mexico. It consists of twelve exhibition halls, each dedicated to a different pre-Columbian cultural group in Mexico - a total of almost of 80'000 m² of exhibition space. Discover the Olmec, Toltec, Aztec and Mayan cultures, as well as many others.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Majestic*** or similar

Day 3

Mexico City - Puebla

You will visit the Basilica of Guadalupe. During a short walk you can visit the churches and the gardens behind them. A special highlight is the legendary cloak of the Virgin in the new, modern basilica.

Afterwards, drive to the impressive pyramid of Teotihuacán. It was the first city of the New World. Built between 250 B.C. and 700 A.D., at the time of its heyday some 125 000 to 250 000 people lived in around 2 300 residential complexes, certainly the largest metropolis on the American continent at the time. It is only when you walk along the enormous, approximately one-kilometre-long Street of the Dead that you become aware of the dimensions of this complex. The excavations, which have been going on for many years, are being carried out systematically and every day there are new discoveries about this past culture.

Afterwards, we continue our journey to Puebla.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Colonial de Puebla*** or similar

Day 4

Puebla - Malintzi - Puebla

Today you will hike along the volcano La Malinche. You will start your hike from the village of Malintzi at an altitude of 3 100 m. The route will be carefully selected according to the hikers' constitution and the weather conditions. Our local hiking guide will show you different medicinal herbs and is always helpful during the hike.

In the afternoon, a tour of the centre of Puebla. The architecture of this Mexican colonial city is dominated by the colourful Talavera tiles, which were used throughout the region and still inspire today with ever new designs. Puebla's most beautiful sights are not far from the Zócalo and can be reached on foot in a short time - a must here is the Cathedral and the Plaza de la Constitución as one of the most beautiful squares in Mexico.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Colonial de Puebla*** or similar

Day 5

Puebla - Zapotitlán - Oaxaca

Today, a visit to the botanical garden in Zapotitlán is on the programme. A not quite typical garden with a natural landscape, metre-high columnar cacti, palms and elephant foot trees can be admired here.

In the afternoon, continue to Oaxaca, the capital of the state of the same name, and well worth a visit.

Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Overnight stay at Hotel Casa Conzatti*** or similar

Day 6

Oaxaca - Monte Albán

In the morning, short hike in the world of the Zapotecs and Mixtecs on Monte Albán. The grandiose ruins, situated on an artificially flattened ridge, are surrounded by a ring of terraces, houses, temples and tombs on the slopes of the mountain. The humble population used to live at the foot of Monte Albán. In its golden age (500 - 800 AD), the centre is said to have had a population of around 50 000.

You will visit the Museo Cultural de Oaxaca, housed in the former Dominican monastery from the 16th century. One of the most impressive finds is the gold work from Tomb 7 (1250 - 1480 AD) of Monte Albán, which is one of the outstanding masterpieces of Mixtec goldsmith's art. But not only precious metal was highly valued, but also jewellery made of jadeite, serpentine and turquoise as symbols of life.

On a tour through the centre of Oaxaca, you will experience one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico. Located in the Valle Central, Oaxaca's climate is tropical, but its altitude (1 500 m) means that the average annual temperature is a mild 21°C. Stroll through the old head of Oaxaca. Stroll along the old cobblestone streets and visit one of the many colourful markets, in addition to the magnificent Santo Domingo de Guzmán church and the always lively Zócalo.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Casa Conzatti*** or similar

Day 7

Tule - Mitla

Between Oaxaca and Mitla you will find the tranquil community of Santa María del Tule. In the centre of the village, next to the small church, you will visit the enormous Ahuehuete tree, which has reached a circumference of more than 36.2 m in the course of its approx. 2000 years of life.

Then visit the archaeological site of Mitla. The buildings of Mitla were probably built entirely by the Zapotecs; in particular, the group of columns with the Patio de las Grecas is one of the highlights of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico. Mitla was the seat of the great seer and thus the religious centre of the Zapotecs for many years.

Benito Juárez - La Nevería

Hike over a distance of 8.2 km on the Needa-Queta-Miru route in the Pueblos Mancomunados. The hiking trail leads across the Zapotec fields along grandiose views of the Sierra Madre mountains and connects the Zapotec communities of Benito Juárez and La Nevería. Please note that you will be at altitudes of 2000 to 3200 m.

Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Overnight stay at Hotel Casa Conzatti*** or similar

Day 8

Oaxaca - Playa Cangrejo - Tehuantepec

Today's journey takes you to the Pacific coast to Playa Cangrejo. For kilometres, this Pacific beach lines the wide curving bay. In the small restaurant right by the sea - an open Las Palapas hut - you can enjoy the best seafood in all of Oaxaca. Alternatively, if the weather allows, enjoy a refreshing swim in the Pacific or relax with a walk on the sand.

Experience the bustling small town of Tehuantepec on the Isthmus of Mexico of the same name. You start your tour at the Casa de la Cultura (the former monastery). Via the adjacent cathedral you reach the Zócalo and the colourful market with products from the whole region - clothes, flowers, mangos, tamarinds and nanches, but also seafood like shrimps from the nearby Pacific. The market is ordered by the assertive Tijuanas - the strong women of Tehuantepec.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Calli*** or similar

Day 9

Tehuantepec - Sumidero Canyon - San Cristóbal de las Casas

After a quite long drive you reach Chiapa de Corzo. Here the boat trip through the magnificent Sumidero Canyon starts. The journey takes you through the deep gorge of the Río Grijalva. The steep walls rising up to 1 000 m in height will remind you of the Nordic fjords. High waterfalls with lushly overgrown ferns and mosses surprise you with their diversity. Tropical vegetation and exotic animals such as mini alligators, toucans, pelicans and herons live in the Sumidero National Park.

Afterwards, drive into the mountains. In San Cristóbal de las Casas, at 2 783 metres above sea level, you will encounter a lovely colonial town with a central zócalo and cathedral. Visit the colourful hustle and bustle of the traditional market of San Cristóbal.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Ciudad Real Centro Histórico***(*) or similar

Day 10


Today you will visit the Indian village of Chamula - the ceremonial centre of the Chamula and Zinacantán Indians. Catholicism and Mayan rituals come together in the church. There are no seats in this church, the floor is covered with pine needles and straw. Families with healers invoke the spirits, while men and women kneel and pray in deep spirituality before the figures of the 12 apostles.


Explore the surroundings of San Cristóbal on a hike from Chamula to Zinacantán. You follow tarred roads, cross a forested mountain ridge and reach the valley of Zinacantán via a hiking trail, known for its artisans and the Chiapas Indians from the Tzotzil people who live there. This region is very fertile and the trail takes you past fields of vegetables, spice and citrus plants, pumpkin plants and colourful flowers. Your hike ends in the centre of Zinacantán.

The name means "place of the bats"" in Nahuatl and dates back to the time of the Conquista. Visit the mighty colonial church and witness the descendants of the Maya as a dynamic and self-confident community - more than 99% of the Tzotzil still speak their indigenous language. After the short city tour, you will be a guest in the small weaving mill of three sisters. Over freshly prepared tortillas, you will learn more about life in Zinacantán and the weaving skills of these dedicated businesswomen.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Ciudad Real Centro Histórico***(*) or similar

Day 11

San Cristóbal de las Casas - Palenque

Take an early morning drive to the archaeological zone of Palenque. Located on the edge of the subtropical rainforest of Chiapas, you reach the most beautiful ruin city in Mexico. Founded around 300 BC, Palenque was in full bloom in the 7th and 8th centuries AD; all the buildings still visible today date from this period. For example, the Temple of the Inscriptions with more than 620 hieroglyphs telling the story of King Pakal - or the Great Palace, the Temple of the Sun and the North Temple with its stucco remains and warlike scenes.

Afterwards, jungle hike to the Templo Olvidado. This temple was built by the Mayan ruler K'inich Janaab'Pakal in 647 AD; the name forgotten temple is based on its hidden location in the subtropical jungle. Your guide will lead you along small paths through the rainforest, explaining the mystical flora: majorga, the devil's backbone, is poisonous, yet is also used for medicinal applications; or the bark and fruit of the nanche tree, whose flower is even pictured on the sarcophagus of King Pakal.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Aldea*** or similar

Day 12


After an approximately one-hour boat ride, you will reach Yaxchilán on the Usumacinta River. In its golden age, the Maya city dominated both Palenque and Tikal in Guatemala and Copán in Honduras. The stelae, reliefs and sculptures of the city in the rainforest on the border to Guatemala are famous. Outstanding buildings are the acropolis, the royal palace and the hieroglyphic staircase with the ball game scenes.

Around 40 km south of Palenque are the gushing waterfalls of Roberto Barrios. Hidden over several terraces, the enchanting water cascades can be found here over a stretch of several hundred metres in the middle of the subtropical jungle of Chiapas. The turquoise water and unspoiled nature invite you to swim in the small rock pools. A mysterious, green oasis that combines adventure and relaxation.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Aldea*** or similar

Day 13

Palenque - Chicanná

Continue through the plains to the Yucatán Peninsula. Today you will visit the Mayan ruins of Chicanná, situated around 300 km from Campeche. The Río Bec region is the only place where complexes with identical twin towers were constructed. The towers stand on pyramidal bases on which temple-like buildings were erected - completely inaccessible and without interiors, examples of pure illusory architecture.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Chicanná Ecovillage-Resort*** or similar

Day 14

Becán - Calakmul

Today you will explore the ruined site of Becán in the state of Campeche with one of the oldest architectural defence systems in Mexico. In the middle of the jungle, you will visit the palace, whose inner rooms were completely darkened and where the very well preserved mask of the sun god Kinichna was discovered.

Calakmul Ruin Site

The Mayan city of Calakmul in the southeast of the state of Campeche lies in the middle of the jungle on the border with Guatemala. The ruins of Calakmul contain pyramids that were only rediscovered by an American explorer in 1931. On your hike through the pristine rainforest, you will be impressed by the flora and fauna, perhaps you will see one of the rare jaguars or pumas. You will climb old pyramids and enjoy the panoramic view over the area in the middle of the jungle.

Return to Chicanná.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Chicanná Ecovillage-Resort*** or similar

Day 15

Chicanná - Edzná - Campeche

Discover the ruined site of Edzná, an important centre of power that dominated large parts of Yucatán. The site is located in the northwest of the state of Campeche, about 60 km from the capital of the same name. In 400 BC, Edzná began to expand explosively and became a centre of power that dominated large parts of Yucatán. The most beautiful building of Edzná is certainly the building of five storeys, one of the most interesting structures of the entire Mayan culture.

Continue to the colonial city of Campeche. The city of Campeche is surrounded by a wall that used to serve as protection against pirates. On a walking tour you will visit the small alleys of the important port city with restored colonial buildings, the Zócalo and the cathedral La Concepción. Let us take you back to the time of the Spanish conquerors.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Plaza Campeche***(*) or similar

Day 16

Campeche - Uxmal - Mérida - Valladolid

Immerse yourself in the history of the Mayan Late Classical period. The Mayan site of Uxmal impresses visitors with ornate façades, huge terraces and plazas, columns and archways. The name Uxmal stands for "the thrice-built". Built around 600 - 950 AD, the significance of many of the buildings has not yet been fully decoded. The site impresses its visitors with ornate fassades, huge terraces and plazas, columns and archways.

We continue to Mérida for a city tour. Founded in 1542, the colonial pearl Mérida is still the economic and cultural centre of Yucatán. On your tour you will get to know the great cathedral, the Palacio Municipal and the birthplace of the city's founder - the Casa de Montejo. Mérida impresses with its colonial charm, narrow streets and romantic horse-drawn carriages. The influence of Spain and France can be felt everywhere in the city. For example, the Champs-Elysées served as a model for the boulevard Paseo de Montejo.

In the afternoon, continue your journey to Valladolid.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Ecotel Quinta Regia*** or similar

Day 17

Chichén Itzá

Today you will visit Chichén Itzá, one of the largest and most important Mayan sites in Yucatán. Of the buildings that were buried and overgrown by the jungle, only about 30 have been uncovered and restored to date. El Castillo is the most impressive building (30 m high) and rises far above the site. The ruins of El Caracol will remind you of a snail shell. The observatory was used by the Maya to observe Venus and its orbit, among other things.

Cenote Yokdzonot

The cenote Yokdzonot was only reopened to the public in 2007 after two years of preparation by the women of the village of the same name. The over 100-metre circumference oval water body is characterised by vertical, 18-metre high walls, which are almost covered by thick mangrove roots as if with a curtain in many places. Here you can enjoy a refreshing swim, as well as floating over the cenote on a zip line. A restaurant with tasty food prepared by the women of the cooperative in Mayan tradition (at very fair prices) is at your service for a snack.

Included meals: Breakfast

Return transfer to Valladolid.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Ecotel Quinta Regia*** or similar

Day 18

Valladolid - Tulum - Playa del Carmen

On the way to Playa del Carmen, visit the Mayan rock fortress of Tulum, which towers directly over the Caribbean Sea. Only the temple district with the palace and a few other temples remain from the great Mayan city. Thanks to its unique location, Tulum was once an important Mayan seaport and trading centre. The charm of the site lies in the interaction of the ruins with the white sand and the turquoise blue sea.

Included meals: Breakfast

Overnight stay at Hotel Las Golondrinas*** or similar

Day 19

Playa del Carmen - Cancún

Morning at leisure, then transfer to the airport or individual extended stay on the Riviera Maya.

Included meals: Breakfast

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