Arts and culture form an integral part
of Mexican society. Influences stretch
back to pre-Columbian times, when the
great cities of the Aztecs, Maya and
many others were created. Themes and
patterns from these ancient cultures
are still visible in the handicrafts of
today, fashioned to individual designs
by skilled weavers, metalworkers, potters
and carvers. The Spanish added to the
artistic mix with colonial towns and
magnificent baroque cathedrals. On
this tour, compare vivid pre-Hispanic
murals at Bonampak with Diego Rivera’s
epic murals of social revolution. Explore
ancient civilisations to understand how
their myths influenced their architecture
and society. Travel through Mexican
history, from ancient pyramids to Frida
Kahlo's creations and today's creative
movements, accompanied by expert Prof
Nicholas Saunders or Chloë Sayer.
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Fly from London Heathrow to Mexico City with
British Airways. Transfer to Hotel Zocalo Central
in the city’s historic centre for 4 nights. This
evening there is a lecture followed by a welcome
Take a full-day tour of Mexico City to experience
the city’s cultural heritage, from ancient
civilisations to modern art. Appreciate the
depth of Mexico’s history at the Anthropological
Museum, where you can see a vast array of
artefacts from the indigenous cultures; study
Diego Rivera’s impressive murals at the National
Palace; and discover handicrafts and folk art at
the Museum of Popular Art. (B)
This morning, travel out of the city centre to the
floating gardens of Xochimilco and navigate the
network of green canals in a colourful, open-air
trajinera (gondola). Nearby is the Dolores Olmedo
Museum, named after its benefactor who
donated her entire collection of art, including pre-Hispanic,
colonial, folk, modern and contemporary
works. In Coyoacan, among the cobblestone
streets and artisan markets, discover Anahuacalli,
the unique museum that was conceived and
created by Rivera to house his collection of
pre-Hispanic artefacts, and Casa Azul, Kahlo’s
house and museum, where a curator will give an
exclusive talk. Continue to San Angel, an area of
colonial splendour, and visit Casa Estudio, the
studio-museum of Kahlo and Rivera. (B)
Once part of the largest city in the pre-Columbian
Americas, the mysterious pyramids
of Teotihuacan demonstrate the astonishing
technological might of this ancient civilisation.
Learn about the Avenue of the Dead and see
the remarkably well-preserved murals. On
returning to Mexico City, visit the Palace of Fine
Arts, the city’s principal cultural centre. (B)
Transfer to the airport for a short flight to
Villahermosa and drive to Palenque, home to
some of the finest Mayan architecture and
sculpture. Spend the afternoon exploring the
extensive ruins, which are surrounded by dense
vegetation and dramatic mountains. Stay for
2 nights in the atmospheric jungle setting of
Chan-Kah Resort Village. (B)
Early departure for a full-day tour to the
more remote and less visited Mayan sites of
Bonampak and Yaxchilan. Bonampak is known
for its well-preserved and brightly coloured
murals depicting war and human sacrifice. Learn
about the customs of this ancient civilisation
through the detailed illustrations of ceremonies
and rituals. Continue to Yaxchilan by motorised
canoe along the Guatemalan border. A short
underground tunnel leads to a jungle clearing
containing several buildings famed for their
ornamented facades, roofcombs and stone
lintels carved with conquest and ceremonial
scenes. Deep in the jungle, this site is also home
to howler monkeys and tropical birds. (B)
Transfer to Campeche, situated on the Gulf of
Mexico, through rolling forests and hills towards
the flat lands and jungles of the Yucatan
peninsula. This afternoon, explore the colourful
colonial city of Campeche, including the
Cathedral of the Conception, which dates from
1540 and is the oldest church in the Yucatan,
and admire spectacular views of the area from
the fortifications. Stay at Hotel Plaza Campeche
in the city’s colonial centre for 2 nights. (B)
This morning, visit Edzna archaeological site
and discover the remains of this major city from
the classic period. At its height it was one of the
largest Mayan cities and featured a large hydraulic
system with about 22km of canals. Like many
Mayan cities, it was mysteriously abandoned in
the ninth century. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Full-day tour to Uxmal and Kabah archaeological
sites. Uxmal, a large and impressive site, was
built in the classic Mayan period. Highlights
include the Pyramid of the Magician, a
remarkable structure rising steeply to a height
of 38 metres, and a building complex called
the Nunnery Quadrangle by the Spaniards
because of the cell-like chambers found inside.
Continue through the hills of the Puuc region to
the smaller site of Kabah and visit the Palace of
Masks, decorated with more than 300 masks.
After the tour, drive to Merida and stay 2 nights
at Hotel Gran Real Yucatan. (B)
Morning tour of Merida, the cultural capital of
the Yucatan peninsula, with its attractive central
plaza and picturesque colonial streets. In the
Palace of the Government is a display of vividly
coloured historical murals. Continue to Izamal, an
important Mayan site which was a centre for the
worship of the supreme god, Itzamna, and the
sun god, Kinich-Kakmo. Nearby is the town built
by Spanish colonialists, known as the ‘yellow’ or
‘golden’ city due to its ochre-coloured buildings. (B)
Full-day visit to Chichen Itza archaeological
site, the best-known and best-restored Mayan
site on the Yucatan peninsula. Chichen Itza was
a ceremonial centre of the Maya for several
centuries and has an interesting blend of Mayan
and Toltec architecture. The most notable
building on this vast site is El Castillo, also known
as the Temple of Kukulcan, every detail of which
is imbued with mythical significance. After your
tour, continue to Tulum on the Riviera Maya and
stay at Hotel Rosa del Viento for 2 nights. (B)
Morning visit to the archaeological site of
Tulum, one of the most impressive in the
Mayan world with a picturesque setting on
cliffs overlooking a white sandy beach and
the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. The
afternoon is at leisure, followed by an evening
farewell dinner. (B, D)
Morning at leisure. Transfer to Cancun for a late
afternoon flight to London Gatwick with British
Morning arrival into London Gatwick. (N)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast,
L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
A collection of expert-accompanied tours
focusing on creativity in its many forms. All RA
tours are open to everyone and can be viewed
This tour is fully escorted
throughout by a lecturer who has specialist
knowledge of the destination and its culture, as
well as experienced local guides.
Typically based in 3- and 4-star
This tour involves some long walks
over uneven ground and therefore requires a
good level of fitness.
This tour departs from London
Heathrow and returns to London Gatwick.
Prof Nicholas Saunders
is an archaeologist
and anthropologist at
Bristol University, where
he specialises in pre-Columbian art, symbolism
and material culture. He has published more
than 100 books and articles, and conducts
fieldwork in Mexico, Peru, Belgium, Slovenia
Chloë Sayer has curated
exhibitions, advised on
and published numerous
books. A specialist in
the art and culture of
Mexico, she has curated collections and
conducted fieldwork for the British Museum.
She is currently a research assosciate in the
department of world cultures at the Royal
Set within lush landscaped grounds with ancient Ceiba trees, the 79 casitas (tasteful bungalow style buildings) of Chan Kah Resort are surrounded by 50 acres of wild jungle. Built on arid land originally used as a cattle ranch, the Mexican owners have carried out a vast reforestation programme to restore the jungle that you can see today. All rooms have two double beds and traditional Mexican wooden furniture and there is a large restaurant serving local...
The Hotel Gran Real Yucatan is situated in the historic centre of Merida, a 10-minute walk from the main plaza and cathedral. The property was converted from the former 19th-century mansion of a wealthy henequen producing family. The main building features high ceilings and there is a lovely central courtyard with elegant classical columns. There are 73 modern air-conditioned rooms and suites, all with a small balcony. The restaurant serves Yucatecan and international cuisine, and there is an outdoor pool and...
Hotel Plaza Campeche is located in the historic centre just two blocks from the main square. The 82 contemporary rooms are housed in a colonial building and facilities include a small outdoor pool and a restaurant, offering a selection of local and international...
The Hotel Zocalo Central is located in a colonial building on the corner of the Zocalo, or main square, in the historical centre of Mexico City, steps away from the cathedral, the Presidential Palace and the Templo Mayor. The hotel offers 120 comfortable rooms and three restaurants, including the attractive rooftop terrace restaurant with excellent views over the Zocalo and historical...
Rosa del Viento is situated overlooking beautiful white sandy beaches and the turquoise Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Tulum beach road. Just 16 rooms with garden or ocean views are located in thatched two-storey casitas set amid swaying palm trees. Rooms are bright and spacious with a simple and natural decor of stone and wood, featuring air conditioning and either a private terrace or balcony. There is a beachside restaurant and numerous hammocks and loungers to relax on and enjoy the gentle breezes. The Tulum ruins and Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve are a short drive away to the north and...
Prof Nicholas Saunders is an archaeologist and anthropologist at Bristol University, where he specialises in pre- Columbian art, symbolism and material culture. He has published more than 100 books and articles, and conducts fieldwork in Mexico, Peru, Belgium, Slovenia and Jordan.
Regional air connections are available from within the UK. Please contact your travel consultant for current prices from your nearest city.
We can also arrange flights from overseas, simply give us a call to find out more.
If you choose to take the tour without flights arranged through Cox & Kings, please contact one of our travel consultants prior to booking the flights to ensure that you are aware of the tour timings and all the implications of not booking through us. We strongly advise you not to book flights independently of Cox & Kings if significant charges would apply in case of cancellation.
Flight details may be subject to change prior to departure.
Take in the highlights of Guatemala, including
the classic Mayan site of Tikal in the Peten
jungle, the beautiful colonial city of Antigua and
Transfer to Cancun with the group and stay
overnight at Hotel Presidente InterContinental. (B)
Evening flight from Cancun to Guatemala City.
Stay overnight at the Biltmore Express Hotel. (B)
Early morning flight to Flores for a tour of
Tikal. Stay for 1 night at Villa Maya, set in the
rainforest by the Petenchel lagoon. (B, L)
Day at leisure or take optional excursions before
an evening flight to Guatemala City. Transfer to
Antigua for 3 nights at Meson de Maria. (B)
Morning walking tour of Antigua, including
the main plaza, the cathedral and La Merced
Full-day tour to Chichicastenango market and
Lake Atitlan. (B, L)
Fly to London, via Miami with British Airways. (B)
Morning arrival. (N)
(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner, (N) = No Meals
Please call 020 7873 5000 for more information or to make a booking.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
MXA2016: 12 Nights
Founded in 1540, Campeche is the oldest town on the Yucatan Peninsula and was a major...
Mexico City is situated on a plateau 2240 metres above sea level and is surrounded by...
Merida is the capital of the Yucatan state and it was founded in 1542 on the site of the...
Palenque is the magnificent ancient city of the Mayas. Palenque was built with admirable...
Whilst the ruins themselves at Tulum are not amongst the most important in Mexico, the...