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Highlights of Mexico: Oaxaca to Mexico City

9 days
Start in mountainside Oaxaca, making your way through vibrant cities and picturesque countryside to Mexico City, the bustling capital. As you go, you’ll see the impact of ancient empires, immerse yourself in the local culture and taste mouthwatering regional dishes. On this journey through Mexico, discover a country of strong traditions, rich history and memorable flavors.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 3 hours daily across uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 3 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Oaxaca 3 nights Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in Oaxaca

Arrive in Oaxaca late this evening and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Oaxaca

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, Oaxaca is one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities. Today, discover this UNESCO-recognized urban center on a sightseeing tour. 

• Make your way around Plaza de la Constitución, viewing the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption as you go

• See the Church of Santo Domingo, a former Dominican monastery

• Stroll along Calle Macedonio Alcalá, a pedestrian street named for the talented Mexican musician

• Learn how chocolate is made at a local factory and enjoy a tasting

• Browse the stalls of Benito Juárez Market and 20 de Noviembre Market

Day 3: Free day in Oaxaca

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a free day in Oaxaca or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Ancient Mexico: Monte Albán & Mitla Ruins $55pp* Details

Today, follow in the footsteps of Mexico’s ancient Zapotec people during visits to two of the country’s UNESCO-recognized archaeological sites. Your first stop is at Monte Albán. Here you’ll explore the ruins of a city that was once a thriving economic and political center, and is thought to be one of the earliest in Mesoamerica. Then, make a stop at the impressive Tree of Tule, a Montezuma cypress with the stoutest trunk in the world. Continue on to Mitla to discover the series of elaborate mosaics that make this site truly unique. Then, head to the nearby town of San Pablo Villa de Mitla for an included lunch and Mezcal tasting. Enjoy free time to peruse the local market before returning to Oaxaca.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Optional Excursion - Oaxacan Cooking Class & Dinner $99pp* Details

During tonight’s cooking class, learn the secrets of traditional Oaxacan cuisine, known for its flavorful mole sauces, chocolate and tamales. Prep regional recipes under the guidance of local chefs, then enjoy the dishes you’ve prepared at an included dinner.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Puebla 2 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Puebla via Tehuacán

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Transfer to Puebla today, stopping on the way in the city of Tehuacán for lunch. This evening, arrive in time for dinner where you’ll try the chocolatey mole poblano, a regional specialty.

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Puebla

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know the UNESCO-protected “City of Angels” today on a sightseeing tour led by a local guide.

• Step inside the opulent Rosary Chapel and 16th-century Puebla Cathedral

• Pass through the Main Square, recently remodeled in the Old Spanish style

• Make your way to a local Talavera workshop to see how the iconic pottery is made and decorated

This afternoon, spend free time in Puebla or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Historic Cholula $35pp* Details

Discover where civilizations intersect on today’s tour of Cholula. Start by entering the Great Pyramid of Cholula, an Aztec temple dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl. Wend your way through its tunnels and climb up to the top to take in the spectacular views of the surrounding scenery and volcanoes in the distance. See Our Lady of Remedies, the Spanish church that sits on top of the same hill that the pyramid is built into. Afterward, make your way into the nearby city of San Andrés Cholula for visits to the Baroque San Francisco Acatepec and Santa María Tonanzintla churches. Cap off your tour with a walk through the city’s main square, passing by the Royal Chapel, San Gabriel Convent and Plaza de la Concordia as you go.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $45)

Mexico City 3 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Mexico City via Basilica de Santa María de Guadalupe

  Included meals: Breakfast

Make your way to Mexico City today, stopping en route to explore the Basilica de Santa María de Guadalupe. Built on the site where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in 1531, the basilica is now the largest pilgrimage site in the western hemisphere.

• Enter both the old and new basilicas  

• Enjoy free time to explore the adjoining museum on your own

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Mexico City

  Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, set out to explore Mexico City’s UNESCO-protected city center on a guided tour.

• Pass by Alameda Central park and the Art Nouveau Palacio de Bellas Artes, the city’s cultural hub

• Walk through Plaza de la Constitución, colloquially known as El Zócalo

• Enter Palacio Nacional, home to the Federal Treasury and National Archives, to view Diego Rivera’s famous murals depicting events from Mexican history

• Pay visits to the Metropolitan Cathedral and Templo Mayor, an archaeological site and museum

Later, enjoy a free afternoon in the Mexican capital or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Coyoacán & Frida Kahlo Museum $39pp* Details

Known for its tree-lined cobblestone streets, colonial estates and artisanal markets, Mexico City’s Coyoacán neighborhood is not to be missed. Set out to explore this charming corner of the city on a guided tour, taking in Plaza Hidalgo and the iconic Centenario Garden. This artsy area was once home to celebrated painter, Frida Kahlo. Learn about her life and view personal items and selections of her work at the Frida Kahlo Museum, housed in the artist’s lifelong home. After your visit, enjoy free time to peruse the Coyoacán Market and Mercado de Antojitos.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $49)

Day 8: Free day in Mexico City

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Spend a full free day in Mexico City or add an excursion.

Later this evening, join your group to raise a toast to your trip at a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Ancient Mexico: Teotihuacán $49pp* Details

Set out into the Mexican countryside to explore the UNESCO-protected Teotihuacán. An ancient city with unknown origins, this once-great metropolis lay abandoned for years before the Aztec discovered and eventually named it. The mystery of its original inhabitants remains unsolved. Explore the city’s expansive ruins on a guided tour, getting up close to the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Avenue of the Dead.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $59)

Day 9: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Add Yucatán Starting from $749 pp

Experience the many sides of the Yucatán. Start in Mérida, the region's vibrant capital city. Then, delve into ancient Mayan culture during a visit to Chichén Itzá before soaking up the sun in seaside Playa del Carmen.

Mérida 2 nights Hotel info

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Mérida

  Included meals: Breakfast

This morning, board your flight to Mérida, a picturesque Spanish Colonial city located in the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula. Then, set out on a sightseeing tour of the city with a local guide leading the way.

• Pass through the main square, viewing San Ildefonso Cathedral, Government Palace and Municipal Palace

• Stroll down Paseo de Montejo, Mérida’s tree-lined main boulevard

• See the home of Francisco de Montejo, a Spanish conquistador and the founder of the city

Day 10: Free day in Mérida

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a free day exploring Mérida on your own or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Mayan Mexico: Uxmal & Hacienda Lunch $59pp* Details

Delve into Mayan history as you explore Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you make your way through this ancient complex, you’ll catch glimpses of what life was like here for the Maya—the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor’s Palace and the Great Pyramid all provide some clues about the city during its heyday. On your way back to Mérida, stop at a local hacienda for a traditional Yucatán lunch.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $69)

Playa del Carmen 2 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Playa del Carmen via Chichén Itzá & Vallodolid

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Transfer to beachside Playa del Carmen today, making two stops along the way. The first is at Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO-recognized complex of ancient Mayan ruins.

• View Kukulcan Temple, a tribute to the Maya snake deity, and witness the “chirping” acoustic phenomenon when you clap your hands at its base

• Stand in the Great Ball Court, where athletes would compete for eternal glory 

• View the observatory and the Temple of the Warriors 

Then, make your way to the city of Vallodolid for free time before continuing on to Playa del Carmen.

Day 12: Free day in Playa del Carmen

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in Playa del Carmen or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Tulum & Dos Ojos Cenotes $39pp* Details

With a clifftop location that overlooks the Caribbean Sea, the walled Mayan city of Tulum is one of Mexico’s most scenic archaeological sites. You’ll take in both spectacular views and fascinating history during a visit. See the 13th-century Pyramid El Castillo and the Temple of the Frescoes, home to a Mixteca-Puebla-style mural that can still be seen today. Then, make your way to Dos Ojos Cenote, a picturesque network of flooded caves. Enjoy free time to explore, swim or snorkel in the pool’s crystal clear waters before returning to Playa del Carmen.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $49)

Day 13: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the Cancún airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Puebla, Mexico
  • Mexico City, Mexico
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & visa requirements

• In order to enter Mexico, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry. 

• We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.

• There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.

• If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact Mexico’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.    

Tour pace

• You will walk for about 3 hours daily across uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with some hills and stairs. 

• Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.

• You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times.

• If you have any mobility and/or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350.

Transportation & arrival information

• Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Oaxaca and depart from Mexico City (or Cancún for the tour extension). A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. 

• Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.

• On the tour extension, a flight from Mexico City to Mérida is included in the price of your tour.

• All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. 

Baggage allowance

• Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. 

• Contact your airline for detailed information regarding baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights. 

• One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).

• Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

• We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.

• A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.

• If you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. 

• It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

• There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Mexico. 

• At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.

• If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.

• Due to latitude, the sun in Mexico can be more intense than it is at home. Be sure to take proper care for sun exposure by regularly applying sunscreen or covering up with long layers.

• We recommend that you only drink bottled water and refrain from using the tap, including when brushing your teeth.

• Additionally, avoid eating any fresh fruits and vegetables, unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.

• If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to goaheadtours.com and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350.

Cuisine

• The cuisine of Mexico is diverse and varies from region to region. Oaxaca is known for its rich mole sauces and spicy peppers. Mexico City is a melting pot of regional cultures, so it’s easy to find traditional dishes no matter where you go. Freshly prepared barbacoa and carnitas to hot-off-the-grill tlaacoyos (oval-shaped corn cakes typically topped with cheese, beans and salsa) are equally delicious. Dishes in the Yucatán are influenced by Caribbean flavors and feature tropical fruits.

Connectivity

• Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.

• There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. 

• Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Electricity & air conditioning

• Mexico operates on 127 volts and uses Types A or B plugs. As these are the same as the plugs used in the U.S. and Canada, a voltage adapter is not needed.  

• The strength of the air conditioning in some Mexican hotels may not be as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel. 

• Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Time zones

• The areas in Mexico through which you will be traveling operate on Central Time (CT), which is one hour behind Eastern Standard Time (EST). 

• When it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am on tour.

Currency

• You will use the Mexican peso in Mexico. 

• Better rates of exchange are usually available abroad, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. 

• We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 

• You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 

• Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

• International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

• At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.

• We recommend tipping the equivalent of $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.

• If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. 

• Tips can only be paid in cash.

Purchasing excursions on tour

• If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. 

• Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions. 

• Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. 

• Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates and prices.

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