Spend 11 days immersing yourself in the culture, history, cuisine, and beauty of Mexico. You'll start in Mexico City, where you'll experience all the highlights, from visiting the historic center and the Frida Kahlo Museum to enjoying the city's famous street food. Then you're off to the Yucatán Peninsula, home to incredible Maya ruins, thousands of cenote lagoons, and some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere in the Caribbean.


  • Visit the museums of Mexico City and sample its street food
  • Hike up the awe-inspiring pyramids of Teotihuacán
  • Tour Spanish-colonial cities in the Yucatán like Mérida and Valladolid
  • See incredible Maya ruins like Chichén Itzá and Cobá

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City, Explore Mexico City
Day 2 History, Culture & Gastronomy Tour of Mexico City Mexico City
Day 3 Art Walk in San Angel & Coyoacán Mexico City
Day 4 Day Trip to Teotihuacán Mexico City
Day 5 Museum of Anthropology & Luis Barragán House Mexico City
Day 6 Transfer to Valladolid, Walking Tour Valladolid
Day 7 Day Trip to Cobá, Maya Culture & Nature Reserve Valladolid
Day 8 Drive to Mérida, Visit Chichén Itzá & Yokdzonot Cenote Mérida
Day 9 Walking Tour of Mérida Mérida
Day 10 Day Trip to Sinanché & San Crisanto Mérida
Day 11 Depart Mérida  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City, Explore

Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral overlooks the Zócalo
Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral and Zócalo
Welcome to Mexico! This beautiful Latin American nation is full of history, art, music, and some of the most delicious food. A personal driver will meet you at the airport in Mexico City for the transfer to your hotel. After checking in, you'll have the remainder of the day free. Just be aware that DF (Distrito Federal, as the locals call it) is one of the largest cities in the world. This metropolis is home to around 10 million people spread over 350 colonias (neighborhoods). It's also a high-altitude city (7,349 ft / 2,240 m), so you'll want to acclimate before exerting yourself on any long walks.

Day 2: History, Culture & Gastronomy Tour of Mexico City

The Angele de la Independencia, on Paseo de la Reforma

In the morning, head out on a guided four-hour tour of the UNESCO-listed Centro Histórico. You'll visit the Palacio de Bellas Artes (a white-marble concert hall built in 1905), the pedestrian-only Madero Street, and the Plaza de la Constitución, better known as the Zócalo. This massive public square is home to landmark buildings like the Metropolitan Cathedral (built over 250 years beginning in 1573), the 16th-century National Palace, and the ruins of the 14th-century Templo Mayor, once a significant temple of the Aztec Empire.

Throughout the tour, you'll make various stops to sample the local street food. Enjoy traditional favorites like the famous tacos al pastor and quesadillas with melted cheese and huitlacoche, also known as Mexican truffle. If you have room, try a dessert of fresh hot churros dusted with sugar and cinnamon. And that's just the beginning—you'll quickly realize that in this former Aztec capital, there's an incredible variety of delectable tidbits, and a taste of Mexico City's history and culture is in every bite.

Afterward, you'll have some free time in Mexico City. A fun activity is to walk down Paseo de la Reforma. This grand avenue is also known as the Empress Promenade because it was built for the wife of Maximilian I, an Austrian archduke and the only emperor of the Second Mexican Empire (1864-1867). Inspired by the Champs Elysées in Paris, it boasts a towering victory column crowned by the winged Angel of Independence, a gold-plated bronze statue commemorating Mexico's independence from Spain. The avenue also passes by Chapultepec Park, one of the largest urban green spaces in the world.

Day 3: Art Walk in San Angel & Coyoacán

La Casa Azul, where Frida Kahlo lived in Coyoacán

In the morning, head to the south end of Mexico City for walking tours of a couple of interesting neighborhoods. First is San Angel, a historic enclave with cobbled streets and stately colonial mansions. Today it's a hub for art and artists, as there are plenty of galleries and weekend art markets here. On a two-hour guided walking tour, you'll visit craft stores, see art exhibitions, and visit a 17th-century former monastery. One of the many highlights you'll visit is a complex consisting of the side-by-side homes and art studios of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, who lived there in 1934 and is a museum today.

After San Angel, head to Coyoacán for another two-hour tour. This neighborhood has retained its colonial charm, which you'll see as you stroll the cobbled streets and visit its shady plazas. Coyoacán was its own city from the 16th-19th centuries. One noteworthy historic landmark you'll visit is the 16th-century San Juan Bautista Church, built between 1522 and 1552. After enjoying an ice cream or churro in Coyoacán's central plaza, you'll visit La Casa Azul, the house where Frida Kahlo spent much of her life and which is now a museum displaying works by Kahlo and Diego Rivera. 

Once the sun goes down, you'll go out to dinner at a famous restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine before heading back to your hotel. Be sure to try the Oaxacan mole
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Day 4: Day Trip Teotihuacán

Explore the Pyramids of Teotihuacan
Explore the Pyramids of Teotihuacán
After breakfast, your driver will meet you for an approximately one-hour drive northeast of Mexico City to Teotihuacán, one of the most incredible archaeological sites in the country. Over five hours, you'll explore this ancient city that dates to 400 BCE and covers a sprawling 8 sq miles (20 sq km). Known as the "City of the Gods," during Teotihuacán's heyday (around 500 CE), it was home to about 200,000 people and boasted over 2,000 structures, the ruins of which remain today. And many of the great pyramids here have been restored to near-total glory. 
The tour starts with a walk along the Calzada de Los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead), Teotihuacán's main path, which runs 1.2 miles (2 km). Then hike up the 248 steps of the Pyramid of the Sun, the largest structure at 215 feet (66 m), before continuing to the Pyramid of the Moon, which towers 140 feet (43 m). Afterward, visit the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (Temple of the Feathered Serpent), which features representations of the feathered serpent deity carved into its sides. The remains of 100 bodies that date to around 200 CE were discovered under the temple and were possibly sacrificial victims. 

Day 5: Museum of Anthropology & Luis Barragán House

The Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City

Today you'll enjoy a 2.5-hour guided tour of the Museum of Anthropology, an architectural marvel built in the '60s by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. Its 23 rooms and outdoor exhibit spaces are home to the world's most extensive collection of ancient Mexican art. There are many pre-Columbian sculptures and ethnographic exhibits about modern-day Indigenous groups. Highlights include the Aztec Calendar, The Olmec colossal head (a giant stone head carved out of basalt), and the jade Mask of the Zapotec Bat God.

After the museum, you'll travel to the Mexico City suburbs to see a more recent marvel of high art in this country. The Casa Luis Barragán is the iconic home of the legendary Mexican architect. The home, built in 1948, merges traditional design elements with artistic and even philosophical flourishes, cementing the man's legacy as a major influence in global architecture. It's so impressive that it was even named a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the only individual property in Latin America to enjoy such a distinction. You'll get to experience it all on a full tour of the home.

Day 6: Transfer to Valladolid, Walking Tour

The "magical town" of Valladolid

In the morning, you'll catch a flight to Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state. This peninsular region of southern Mexico is surrounded by the Caribbean and is famous for its white-sand beaches, ancient Maya ruins, Indigenous culture, and otherworldly cenotes (limestone sinkholes). Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will meet you for the two-hour ride inland to Valladolid, one of Mexico's celebrated Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns). This is a special designation the country has bestowed on some 132 places that have demonstrated historical importance, rich culture, great symbolism, and exceptional beauty.

You'll learn about Valladolid's history, plus see its colonial architecture on a guided walking tour. This includes landmarks like the Convento de San Bernardino de Siena (founded in 1552) and the San Servacio Church, which dates to 1545 and overlooks the Parque Francisco Canton, the town's main plaza. You'll also stroll the historic cobbled street of Calzada de Los Frailes. When you get hungry, head to the plaza to enjoy typical Yucatecan dishes (many of which originated in Valladolid). Try the lomitos (pork loin in tomato sauce) with a marquesita (a type of rolled, fried crepe) for dessert.

Day 7: Day Trip to Cobá, Maya Culture & Nature Reserve

Nohoch Mul

In the morning, you'll travel an hour east by car to Cobá. Here you'll enjoy a guided 3-mile (5 km) bike tour of its ancient Maya archaeological site. You'll cycle along ancient white pathways lined with the ruins of this former metropolis whose heyday was between 600-900 CE. The real highlight is hiking up the 120 stone steps of Nohoch Mul, which, at 137 feet (41 m), is the tallest pyramid in Yucatán.

After touring the Cobá ruins, you'll continue to a small village known for its underground caves, ecotourism projects, and organic farms. This Maya community has been little touched by tourism, and thus the residents have retained their customs and culture. Here you'll enjoy a traditional meal with a local family. Then you'll head just north of Cobá to the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve, a 12,355-acre protected area. Here you'll take a boat ride across its main lagoon, which is a great opportunity to do some wildlife spotting—notably the countless spider monkeys that populate the area.

Day 8: Drive to Mérida, Visit Chichén Itzá & Yokdzonot Cenote

El Castillo at Chichén Itzá

In the morning, make the two-hour drive west from Valladolid to Mérida. You'll stop at Chichén Itzá, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. This UNESCO World Heritage Site covers 4 sq miles (10 sq km) and was first settled in the 5th century. It then enjoyed an impressive 1,000-year run as one of the great cities in the ancient Maya kingdom. Highlight ruins you'll see on a guided tour include the iconic El Castillo (a majestic pyramid that rises 79 ft/24 m), the Jaguar Temple, the House of Eagles, and El Caracol (a circular observatory), plus the largest ball court in Mesoamerica.

After Chichén Itzá, you'll drive to the nearby community of Yokdzonot. In 2005, a group of women residents transformed the cenote in their village into a unique ecotourism site. The result is one of the most beautiful lagoons in all of Mexico. You can dive right in and swim around these jade waters. The best part is that it's off the tourist trail, meaning you'll avoid massive crowds. Try to feel the spirituality as you swim; after all, these cenotes were very sacred to the Maya. They were not only primary water sources but also symbols of life, death, rebirth, and fertility

Once you've swum in the lagoon, you'll enjoy a traditional lunch and then continue to Mérida. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel.

Day 9: Walking Tour of Mérida

Mérida's historic center

Today you'll spend time exploring the beguiling city of Mérida, also known as the "White City" due to the local white limestone used as a building material. Not only is Mérida the economic heart of the Yucatán Peninsula, but it's also a cultural hub and convenient base to explore ancient Maya sites in the region. The city's history also runs deep. It was founded in 1542 over the ancient Maya city of T'ho, with the Spanish leveling that city's five pyramids. Then, in 1598, they unsubtly used the pyramid remains to build Mérida's Cathedral.

The Cathedral is located in the heart of Mérida's historic center, overlooking the Plaza Grande (main square). This is where you'll spend most of a walking tour as you learn about the city's Spanish-colonial history and Indigenous roots. There's a lot to see, too, because Mérida boasts the second-largest historic center of any place in the country after Mexico City. Other highlights include stops at the 16th-century Municipal Palace, the old Spanish city gates, and Paseo Montejo, the city's wide main avenue, lined with colonial mansions—stately relics from the days of the viceroys.

Day 10: Day Trip to Sinanché & San Crisanto

On the road to San Crisanto

Today's schedule is full of diverse activities. First up, drive to the nearby coastal town of Sinanché, where in 2001, the community launched an ecotourism initiative to promote local craft production and mangrove conservation. Beekeeping has been a long-standing tradition in this area, and you'll learn about the various species found in the region and their vital role in the environment's health. You'll also put on a beekeeper's suit and learn about honey production. Afterward, there will be a tasting of artisanal honey, and you'll even get to make your own honey-wax candle.

Then you'll continue to San Crisanto. This lovely coastal town is known for its virgin beaches and cenotes. It's unique in that all tourism here is managed by community members, with all proceeds going directly back to the community. Upon arrival, you'll board a boat and travel through mangrove lagoons to one highlight cenote: Ojo de Agua (Water's Eye). During the tour, you can admire the local fauna, which includes over 100 species of birds like herons and woodpeckers.

Afterward, have lunch at a local restaurant, then enjoy some free time lazing on white-sand beaches surrounded by coconut palms. After San Crisento, you'll return to your hotel in Mérida. 

Day 11: Depart Mérida

Come back soon!

Today is your last day in Mexico. At the appropriate time, your driver will pick you up from the hotel and transfer you to Mérida's airport, where you'll catch your flight home. ¡Hasta Pronto! 

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Map of Discover Mexico from the Capital to the Beach: Mexico City, Valladolid & Mérida - 11 Days
Map of Discover Mexico from the Capital to the Beach: Mexico City, Valladolid & Mérida - 11 Days