JTW 2018 – Mexico

28 October 2018 – 18 November 2018

Mexico offers everything you could ask for; archaeological sites of great importance, white sand beaches, beautiful colonial cities, colourful folklore. This tour focuses on unique experiences with expert guides – taking you to meet the locals, travel beyond the tourist sites and explore a country full of culture. On this exciting itinerary, you will be celebrating Mexico’s biggest festival – the Day of the Dead. Mexico conjures up diverse, vivid dreams… and the reality is sure to live up to your imagination.

// 7 nights’ in one single location – living like a local!
// The “Day of the Dead”  celebration
// Celebrate Halloween in Mexico
// Market shopping and ‘behind the walls’ visits in local villages
// Private boat ride to see Flamingos
// Explore the caves of Loltun
// Private tour through Chichen Itza
// Swim in beautiful cenotes
// See the largest population of Flamingoes in the Northern Hemisphere

Day One // 28th October 2018
This afternoon you will be transferred to Sydney for an overnight stay at an airport hotel.
Meals: Dinner

Day Two // 29th October 2018
This morning we will check in at Sydney Airport for our flight to Guadalajara, Mexico via Los Angeles. Once arrived, you will be transferred to your hotel in Ajijic for a welcome cocktail and dinner.

Tucked within the striking Sierra Madre Mountain range on Lake Chapala, the town of Ajijic is at once charmingly reminiscent of decades past and quickly becoming a sought-after destination. Between the beautiful mountain peaks, the clear waters of Lake Chapala, and the mild temperatures from the town’s high elevation, those who travel to this Mexican paradise will want for nothing. Once an undiscovered refuge for artists and bohemians, this charming Mexican town 34 miles from Guadalajara has risen into its own authentic cultural moment. The town’s centre plaza and colourful streets offer countless galleries, boutiques, and restaurants that have drawn travellers from around the world.
Meals: In flight, Dinner

Day Three // 30th October 2018
Wander along the cobble-stoned villages of Ajijic with your local escort. In the most unexpected places you will discover things to surprise and delight you. Dotted throughout the town are magnificent murals depicting social and historical scenes created by famous Mexican artists – many of whom are based in Ajijic. Following lunch, your afternoon is at leisure. If you love the outdoors, there is no shortage of hiking in the surrounding mountains.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Four // 31st October 2018
Its market day! On Wednesdays, locals flock to town for the Tianguis shopping market, where locally sourced foods and gifts can be purchased. This is an experience not to be missed – interact with the locals and discover the work of the local artisians, perhaps even pick up a souvenir! Afterwards we will visit one of Guadalajara’s oldest villages, Tlaquepaque. Filled with spectacular one-of-a-kind experiences in every medium from Western and eclectic bronze sculptures, functional and traditional ceramics, fine contemporary jewellery and designer casual wear in silk and leather – Tlaquepaque is an adventure in discovery. By afternoon it is time to join in the Halloween celebrations.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

JTW Mexico 1

Day Five // 1st November 2018
Today is the start of one Mexico’s most important holidays – the ‘’Day of the Dead’’. The village will come alive with street parties and dancing the main square, which will be a memorable local experience to be part of.  Take a tour out to a neighbouring town, Chapala – where families will be erecting alters in the main square to celebrate the passing of a loved one. This is the traditional way for family members to honour and remember their presence by building altars and filling them with items the person once enjoyed.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Six // 2nd November 2018
Today is at leisure or we have plenty of great activities for you to choose from. Explore local villages independently or choose from guided activities such as photography, cooking or art classes and you can even go birding. Tonight enjoy a meal at Viva Mexico, in the village of San Juan Cosala. The restaurant is owned and run by Agustin, a master Mexican Chef. He is also one of the areas local heroes due to his charitable work in the community.
Meals: Breakfast, (cooking class will include lunch), Dinner

Day Seven // 3rd November 2018
After breakfast, depart for a full day tour to Tequila – home to a 300 year old distillery still producing high quality tequila. Be escorted through the Mundo Cuervo family distillery; seeing the gardens attached to the family’s hacienda which features a selection of surrealist sculptures by the artist Leonpra Carrington and others.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

JTW Mexico 3

Day Eight // 4th November 2018
Experience how the locals live in Ajijic as we go “Behind the Walls”. With a local guide we will visit some of the privately owned magnificent colonial haciendas in the area. The Spanish style architecture features central courtyards, colourful tile work, lush gardens, and unique furnishings – many designed and made locally.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Nine // 5th November 2018
Today we must bid farewell to the delightful village of Ajijic and transfer to the airport for our flight to Mexico City.  Our hotel in Mexico City overlooks the Zocolo (main square), where you will find the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, Temple Major and Palace of Fine Arts all within a few minutes’ walk. Our local guide will take us on a walking tour around these key locations before dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Ten // 6th November 2018
One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Mexico City, San Angel is home to gorgeous elaborately decorated stone mansions, lovely churches, monasteries and plazas. Today we explore the town’s remarkable culture and charm with a guided San Angel Mexican Food Tour! You can try the local specialities at a variety of different authentic Mexican food location – while between samples visiting cultural, religious and historic landmarks.
Meals: Breakfast, Food Tour, Dinner

Day Eleven // 7th November 2018
After breakfast we will visit the National Museum of Anthropology – which will provide a great introduction to the next stage of your journey to the Mayan splendour of the Yucatan peninsula. The world class museum is housed in a magnificent building and contain an exceptional collection highlighting the diversity of culture that makes up Mexico.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Twelve // 8th November 2018
This morning we will leave Mexico City to fly to Merida and start the exploration of the cultural and environmental richness of the Yucatan Peninsula. Our first stay is in the Celestun Biosphere. Celestun, meaning “painted stone” in Yucatec Maya, is a tranquil fishing village located west of Merida along the coast; home to secluded stretches of beautiful beachfront and palapas (thatched-roof restaurants).
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Thirteen // 9th November 2018
Today we will explore Celestun, famous for the Wildlife Refuge. This is the main feeding area for the American Flamingo and countless species of waterfowl and shorebirds. Because of this, in 1989 the status of the area was upgraded to that of a Special Biosphere Reserve. Turtles, Crocodiles and over 300 bird species can be found in the reserve, but the most sought after sighting is the Pink Flamingo. Because they depend on a fragile ecosystem, this is one of the only population of Flamingo’s in the Northern Hemisphere. We will take a private boat ride to get up close and personal with these graceful and spectacular birds.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Fourteen // 10th November 2018
Travelling through the Puuc Route today, we will be exploring the ancient Mayan World. One of the sites we will visit is the legendary Mayan Temples of Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This classic Mayan site is a highlight of the Yucatan and dates back to the 10th century AD.
Our expert local guide will share the Mayan mysteries of the region as we learn about its engineering, architecture and society.

During our tour we will have a traditional lunch at a local Mayan family Restaurant. Here you can expect to savour slow cooked meals that are cooked in a ‘pib’ for 5 hours… very tasty! Our day end with a visit to the caves of Loltun. These are some of the biggest known cave systems and we will explore approximately 500metres of illuminated paths to admire the huge chambers.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

JTW Mexico 2

Day Fifteen // 11th November 2018
An early departure this morning for a Hacienda Tour, Cooking Class and Lunch at Hacienda Sotuta de Peon. Sotuta de Peón, is the restoration project of a landmark located in the heart of the ancient henequén zone in the Yucatan state. It gives a true glimpse of what was once a fully operational Henequen Hacienda in the grand style and tradition of this period. Take part in a traditional cooking class and explore the property, where you can take a refreshing swim in a Cenote! After lunch we will continue on to Merida City for a guided tour. Merida is known as the White City, one of the most tranquil cities in Mexico. A highlight of our city tour is sure to be The Cathedral of San Ildefenso, founded with huge stones dismantled from the pyramids. Our tour will also include the main plaza, markets, the Monumento a la Patria and the Paseo Montejo, which is designed based on French boulevards. Merida is a captivating mixture of cultural influences and our home for the next 2 nights.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Sixteen // 12th November 2018
After a busy two weeks exploring Mexico, today is at leisure. Be free to do as much or as little as you wish, with your local guide on hand to make recommendations. Tonight we will join together for a group dinner to reflect on our experiences of the day.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Seventeen // 13th November 2018
As you make your way inland of the Yucatan Peninsula visit the city of Izamal and the magical Franciscan monastery.  Today we will also visit a local hammock workshop to see the artisans art work and learn about the ancient Mayan product. Our journey today ends in Valladolid, where we will spend 3 nights. In the Colonial City Valladolid, two important passages of Mexico’s history took place: “the War of the Castes” in 1847 and the “First Spark of the Mexican Revolution” in 1910. Today, it is known as the “Heroic City” and the “Capital of Eastern Maya”. Valladolid combines features of its pre-Hispanic past, of the colonial period and of today’s lifestyle. It has great natural, historical, sociocultural, gastronomic wealth; but most importantly, it includes the presence of live traditions and customs.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Eighteen // 14th November 2018
Today is sure to be a highlight of your journey with an exclusive private tour of Chichen Itza, before opening hours. Due to its beauty and singularity, Chichen Itza is a cultural referent for Mexicans and a symbol of national indigenous identity. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1988 and it one of the most recognisable sites in Mexico. After the intriguing tour, travel inland for a guided tour of the archeological site of EK Balam This site is noted for the preservation of the plaster on the tomb of Ukit-Kan-Lek-Tok – a king buried in the side of the largest pyramid. But our day doesn’t end here! We still get the opportunity to visit the beautiful Cenotes of Dzitnup for a picnic and a refreshing swim.
A Cenote is an underground body of fresh water that has formed under the porous limestone layer of earth.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

JTW Mexico 4

Day Nineteen // 15th November 2018
We will start today by visiting the towering temples of Coba. Some of the tallest in Mexico – the unique site has barely been restored and while only a few structures
have been uncovered, its estimated that some 6500 still remain to be exposed.
Later in the day we will explore Tulum –
a famous archaeological site which is quite unique due to its location on the ocean shore. To finish the day/tour have a farewell dinner in a very local Mayan ‘Palapa Resturant’. Here enjoy local flavours and gourmet Yucatecan food as our adventures through Mexico come to an end.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Twenty // 16th November 2018
Today you will be transferred to Cancun airport for your flight home.
Meals: Breakfast, In flight

Day Twenty-One // 17th November 2018
Due to time differences, today is in flight.
Meals: In flight

Day Twenty-Two // 18th November 2018
Arrive in Sydney this morning, followed by a transfer to your home address.
Meals: In flight

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