Mexico tour, small group
16 day small group tour from the capital to the coast. Travel overland via the Mayan, Aztec and colonial sites and get a flavour for the real Mexico.
Mexico City Teotihuacan Puebla Monte Alban Oaxaca Teotitlan del Valle San Cristobal de las Casas Palenque Campeche, Caribbean coast Uxmal Merida Tixkokob Chichen Itza
Description of Mexico tour, small group
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Small group tours:
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modeled 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. Those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetAccommodation & 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PeopleOur 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.
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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