Mexico tour, small group

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Date
Price
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11 May 2019
£2869
including UK flights
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11 May 2019
£2869
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28 Sep 2019
£2969
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28 Sep 2019
£2969
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27 Oct 2019
£3199
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27 Oct 2019
£3199
including UK flights
Full
 
18 Jan 2020
£3009
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18 Jan 2020
£3009
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15 Feb 2020
£3239
including UK flights
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15 Feb 2020
£3239
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09 May 2020
£3069
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09 May 2020
£3069
including UK flights
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26 Sep 2020
£3169
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26 Sep 2020
£3169
including UK flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2020 departure
27 Oct 2020
£3269
including UK flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Oct 2020 departure
27 Oct 2020
£3269
including UK flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Oct 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Mexico tour, small group

Environment

Accommodation & Meals:
We use a mix of accommodation including some characterful colonial properties as well as more modern hotels, all en suite. Amongst some of the properties are a restored XVI century convent, centrally located in Oaxaca and a Spanish colonial residence in the heart of San Cristobal de las Casas. The accommodation is predominantly locally owned and run, contributing to the local economy. Local staff are employed and locally produced or sourced goods are used. The relatively small group size also allows us to use smaller properties including the family run La Aldea del Halach Huinic near Palenque.
Mexico has a reputation for its cuisine and there is ample opportunity to discover both well-known dishes as well as more local specialities. In Oaxaca we visit a local food market to learn about commonly used ingredients before joining a cooking class and learning how to make a variety of dishes. In nearby Teotitlan del Valle we visit a mescal distillery and sample this Mexican tipple.

Near the site of Uxmal we have lunch at a Mayan family restaurant where we get to sample some typical Yucatan dishes of slow cooked pork and slow cooked chicken known as Pollo Pibil and Conchita Pibil. Elsewhere there is opportunity to eat in local restaurants and try specialities of the region.

Local Crafts & Culture:
This trip has a strong focus on exploring the rich panoply of Mexican culture through the ages. We visit a number of pre-Columbian sites including Aztec, Mayan and Zapotec sites such as Teotihuacan, Monte Alban, Palenque, Uxmal and Chichen Itza. We discover the country’s colonial past through visits of Spanish-Mexican old towns such as Oaxaca, Puebla, Merida and San Cristobal, and experience 20th Century and modern culture in Mexico City, not least by visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum. All these visits contribute to the maintenance of the country’s rich and varied cultural heritage.

We have numerous opportunities to interact with local people, learn about their heritage and contribute directly to their livelihoods.
We visit a Zapotec community that makes traditional weavings in a myriad of colours. The textiles and pottery of the Zapotec people follow ancient traditions and remain relatively unchanged after hundreds of years. In the Yucatan Peninsula we visit a village, Tixkokob, famed for its traditional hammock making where we learn the age-old technique from a local family. Throughout there are various opportunities to purchase locally produced crafts, both in markets, shops and directly from craftspeople.
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Water:
Water is a really important issue on our trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.

Activity:
We do believe in leaving no more than footprints and encourage the disposal of litter and even the collecting of existing litter on this tour. However, this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of Mexico. We interact with locals and traditions both during included activities (cooking class, weaving demonstrations, lunch with local family, hammock making demonstration) but also during free time when the local leader can direct passengers towards various markets, cafes and other local establishments. The purchase of local food, drink and souvenirs is encouraged as it encourages interaction with Mexicans throughout the trip and at the same time supports their local produce.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Our local tour operators are a not-for-profit organisation which works directly with the communities and people of Mexico- sometimes with suggestion from the Department of Culture and the Department of Social Services. This means there are constant initiatives working with each trip to improve the lives of local communities, such as: building or repairing schools, setting up first aid clinics, collecting and donating clothing, dental supplies and school supplies for students. In addition to this, we are dedicated to hiring local guides and using local services wherever possible in order to support the economy here.

Local Craft and Culture:
During visits to some remote or rural villages, we have encouraged local women to make handicrafts which can then be sold on to our clients or be kept for personal use. We deliver supplies like sewing materials and decorative items so that these women have the chance to make an income selling textiles, accessories and jewellery, where it might be difficult otherwise to make a living. Our ship also has an on-board gift shop which carries handmade Mexican gift items made by local families. This is not only economically beneficial for the area but it celebrates traditional methods of production in Mexico. Equally important is that your guide will be able to advise you what not to purchase as well: inflated pufferfish, bone carvings, snakeskin accessories etc. can all be found in the area.

Accommodation and Meals:
The MV Adventure is a newly built 110' aluminium hull ship which takes in a maximum of 16 passengers. The multiple level decks are ideal for wildlife viewing and accommodations are in private double occupancy staterooms with upper and lower single berths. Meals are included and will consist of a variety of fresh and nutritious food, including locally sourced fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. The meals will reflect traditional Mexican cuisine and when we stop on land as part of the trip or a hotel extension, local guides will be happy to recommend authentic restaurants or markets in the area.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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