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Central Mexico

Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past is legendary. Temples, cities and pyramids of Mesoamerican civilizations dominate the landscape, peeking out from vast jungles and perching atop remote hilltops. From the Toltecs to the Aztecs, we explore the remains of these ancient civilizations and delve deeper into their history.

March 11 – 24, 2017 (14 Days)
$5,795 (exc. international airfare)
Single supp: $1,145


Tour Description


  • Follow the ancient civilizations of the Toltec, Aztec, Zapotec, Olmec and Mixtec across the centre of magnificent Mexico
  • Enjoy a remarkable performance of the Danza de las Voladores de Papantla, a dizzyingly high-flying ritual dance

  • Stroll through Teotihuacan — ‘birthplace of the gods’ — and explore the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon
  • Uncover the elaborate carved reliefs etched into columns and frieze at El Tajín, one of Mexico’s most important Classic-era sites

Meals: All breakfasts, 9 lunches & 9 dinners


March 11:
We arrive into Mexico City and enjoy dinner at our hotel.
Hotel: Meridien Hotel, Mexico City

After a morning lecture, we depart for the Archaeological Museum. The Museum contains one of the world’s largest collections of archaeological and anthropological artifacts from prehispanic Mayan civilizations to the Spanish conquest. There is so much to see. We will enjoy a full day here. We stop for dinner at a local restaurant this evening, where we enjoy the finest Mexican food.
Hotel: Meridien Hotel, Mexico City

March 13: TULA
We travel to Tula, which reached its height as the capital of the Toltec Empire between the fall of Teotihuacan and the rise of Tenochtitlan. this morning. Upon arrival, we visit the incredible Pyramid site of Tula and its museum. We enjoy lunch in Tula, before returning to Mexico City. We spend the afternoon in the Zocalo, where we visit the Palacio National, to see the Diego Rivera murals. We enjoy a lecture before dinner tonight.
Hotel: Meridien Hotel, Mexico City

March 14: ZÓCALO
We revisit the Zócalo. Prior to the colonial period, it was the main ceremonial center in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. We explore the Temple Mayor and its museum. The rest of the day is yours. You can relax, or enjoy some leisurely exploration of Mexico City.
Hotel: Meridien Hotel, Mexico City

We depart for Tlatelolco. The square is bounded by an excavated Aztec archaeological site which we explore. Afterwards, we continue on to Teotihuacán, where we stop for lunch. We tour the site of Teotihuacán this afternoon. Enjoy some free time in the late afternoon, to re-visit your favourite spots.
Hotel: Villas Archaeologicas, Teotihuacán

We enjoy a full day touring Teotihuacán. Discover the Serpent Temple, and Temple of the Moon. After lunch we continue to Teotihuacán’s Mural Museum. There will be time to explore the area independently, before we return to our hotel. We enjoy a pre-dinner lecture this evening.
Hotel: Villas Archaeologicas, Teotihuacán

March 17: EL TAJÍN
We travel to el Tajín, one of the largest and most important cities of the Classic era of Mesoamerica this morning, arriving in time for lunch. The remainder of the day includes visits to the museum at el Tajin, and a performance of Danza da la Voladores de Papantla.
Hotel: Poza Rica Inn, Poza Rica

March 18: XALAPA
We explore Xalapa today. After lunch at a local restaurant, we spend the afternoon at the Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa. We dine at our hotel’s wonderful restaurant tonight. Your guide will deliver a lecture based on the day’s activities before dinner.
Hotel: Hotel Clara Luna, Xalapa

March 19: CANTONA
We enjoy a leisurely drive to Cantona today. It was a fortified city with a high urbanization level at prehispanic times. We stop for lunch in a local hacienda, before embarking on a long drive to Puebla – birthplace of the chocolate-based mole poblano sauce – in the highlands of south-central Mexico.
Hotel: Hotel Quinta Real, Puebla

March 20: CACAXTLA
We travel to Cacaxtla, a sprawling palace containing vibrantly colored murals painted in unmistakable Maya style. We explore Museo Amparo after lunch. You can continue to Barrio del Artista for a leisurely walk, or enjoy some free time.
Hotel: Hotel Quinta Real, Puebla

March 21: OAXACA
We take a long, scenic drive to Oaxaca – known for its indigenous cultures – stopping at sites along the way. After lunch in Zocalo. Prior to the colonial period, it was the main ceremonial center in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. We continue to the museum, where you are free to spend the rest of your day, exploring at leisure.
Hotel: Hotel Quinta Real, Oaxaca

March 22: YAGUL
We visit the Yagul decorated tombs this morning. After lunch we continue to Mitla, the most important of the Zapotec culture. We watch a traditional weaving demo at Teotitlán del Valle and Santa Ana del Valle this afternoon.
Hotel: Hotel Quinta Real, Oaxaca

We travel to Monte Albán, The city from which the ancient Zapotecs ruled Oaxaca’s Valles Centrales. We explore the site and museum here today. Your final afternoon is Mexico is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Tonight, we will enjoy a special farewell dinner in hotel with a drinks reception. A wonderful way to toast the end of a journey well spent.
Hotel: Hotel Quinta Real, Oaxaca

March 24:
We depart our hotel, with a boxed breakfast ready for our flights.

Additional Information


Prof William Saturno is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. He discovered the remote site of San Bartolo and the oldest intact Maya murals. He has conducted research in Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala.

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