The Latin America Travel Experts

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A Passage Through Mexico + Riviera Maya Beach

Cancun beach
rope-making at Hacienda Sotuta de Peon, Merida
Mexico City street, Mexico
Incl flights, accommodation & transfers
From   £2629 £2329
14 days

Holiday highlights

  • Experience Mexico's contrasts when visiting colonial San Cristóbal and the nearby Maya villages.
  • Admire the ingenuity of ancient cultures at ruin sites like Chichén Itzá and Palenque.
  • Kick back on the beaches of the Riviera Maya.
  • Fly from the UK to Mexico City. On arrival you are met at the airport and escorted to your hotel. Mexico City is a buzzing capital city with something for everyone: leafy parks; splendid gastronomy; world-class museums; remnants from ancient cities; laid back canal rides; a flourishing culture and arts scene and a lively Latin American spirit.

    Meals included: Meal on the transatlantic flight.

  • Spend the day exploring one of Latin America’s most compelling capitals. Either wander the bustling streets of the UNESCO recognised Historic Centre on your own or take the optional half-day Historical Mexico City excursion, which begins in the main Zócalo square, taking in the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral and the remains of the Atzec Templo Mayor. You then drive along Reforma Boulevard towards the sophisticated district of Polanco and the extensive Chapultepec Park, where a former emperor’s castle sits atop a hill amidst a forest of trees. Return to your hotel for lunch, or remain in the park. There are some good restaurants nearby, and the excellent Museum of Anthropology is located on the edge of Chapultepec Park (closed on Mondays).

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Another free day to appreciate the museums, murals and animated vibe of Mexico City, or make your way to one of Mexico’s jaw-dropping ancient attractions: the archaeological site of Teotihuacán. The full-day Pyramids of Teotihuacán excursion takes you out of city to this man-made wonder, where you can climb the enormous Sun and Moon Temples for far-reaching views of the Valley of Mexico plains, and learn about one of Mexico’s most famous civilisations. On the return to Mexico City, stop at the Square of Three Cultures and the Catholic pilgrimage site of the Basilica of Guadalupe for an insight into the colonial era and modern-day city landmarks.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch on the Pyramids of Teotihuacán excursion.

  • Fly in the morning to the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, landing in sultry Tuxtla Gutierrez. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, take an invigorating two-hour boat ride through the Sumidero Canyon, a steep-sided gorge, with beautiful views of waterfalls and the sheer rock face. Then continue by road to the tourist-friendly, highland city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, where many colonial era buildings have been attractively restored. You spend the next two nights here and have the evening free to navigate the city centre on foot.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch is included before the Sumidero Canyon boat ride.

  • Our fascinating Maya Villages excursion gives you an insight into the unique way of life practiced in the communities of Zinacantán and San Juan Chamula, a short distance from San Cristóbal. This morning excursion begins with a walking tour, taking in some of the buildings of historical interest in San Cristóbal. You then drive to two villages just outside of the city, where a traditional lifestyle based on ancient Maya rituals and customs is practised. The communities have adopted some elements of life in modern-day Mexico but remain detached from the outside world, resulting in an intriguing blend of modernity and ancient traditions. If you would prefer to have a free day in San Cristóbal, the city has a number of good museums, cafes, restaurants and handicraft shopping.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Depart San Cristóbal after an early breakfast for a full-day journey to the jungle town of Palenque, in the state of Chiapas. On the way, stop at Agua Azul, a pretty series of cascades in a verdant setting where water majestically tumbles over rocks and gathers in pools over a distance of 7km. The site takes its name from the colour of the water; a brilliant shade of blue. You have lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to the ruins of the city of Palenque, built in the heart of the jungle by the ancient Maya. Palenque is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Mexico, with exquisite architectural detail and a jungle backdrop. You have a guided tour of the main buildings, including the Temple of Inscriptions and Temple of the Cross, before driving a short distance to your hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch is included at Agua Azul cascades.

  • Today is a free day in the Palenque area, to enjoy your hotel pool, perhaps return to the archaeological site of Palenque, or take our optional full-day Jungle Temples of Bonampak & Yaxchilán excursion. Yaxchilán and Bonampak are two lesser-visited, but excellent and well-preserved, archaeological sites on the Mexican-Guatemalan border. They are known for their artistry, colourful friezes bright after over 1000 years and long sequences of ancient glyphs, which have taught us much about the people who lived and ruled here. Accessing these remote sites is an adventure by road and small boat through the jungle.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the Jungle Temples of Bonampak & Yaxchilán excursion.

  • Take a two-hour drive to Villahermosa airport for a flight to Mérida, where you are transferred to your hotel close to the main square. Mérida is known as a laid-back city, where visitors receive a warm welcome and are encouraged to take part in the cultural events, which regularly take place across the city. Every evening, an event takes place close to the central square, to showcase regional music, dance and traditional dress. On Friday evenings a reconstruction of the Maya ball game Pok-ta-Pok is held, giving an idea of the strength and skill needed to compete in this game which served religious and political purposes. You have the evening free to settle in, explore the heart of the city and perhaps try some regional food in one of the restaurants housed in a colonial-era building.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.

  • The haciendas of the Yucatán were the source of much wealth in the region, and our optional Hacienda & Cenote excursion allows you to experience some of this splendour. You spend the morning and early afternoon at Hacienda Sotuta de Peón, a short distance out of Mérida, first enjoying an interesting guided tour before journeying further into the plantation on a traditional cart. Within the plantation you stop at a cenote, a natural underground pool. Entering through a small opening in the ground, the cenote is enclosed in an atmospheric cavern where you can have a refreshing swim in the crystalline turquoise water. Afterwards, have lunch at the hacienda before returning to Mérida for a free evening.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch on the Hacienda & Cenote excursion.

  • Set off early for a two-hour drive to reach the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá at the quietest part of the day. Chichén Itzá is one of the best known historical sites in Mexico, especially since it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. The giant Kukulkan pyramid, the iconic image of Chichén Itzá, is an awe-inspiring sight towering above the surrounding temples. You have a guided tour around the complex and lunch at a nearby restaurant. Then continue by road for two hours to Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean Coast, your final, beautiful, destination in Mexico. Your hotel is on a white-sand beach, within walking distance of the services in Playa del Carmen but in a quiet area, the perfect place to sit back and unwind.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel in Mérida, lunch at Chichén Itzá and dinner at the hotel in the Riviera Maya.

  • A free day to recline on the beach or by the hotel pool and bar. Perhaps visit Isla Cozumel, an island just across the bay which is known for its excellent scuba diving and snorkelling. There is a regular ferry service from the port in Playa del Carmen and the journey takes just 30 minutes. You could also arrange an excursion to the archaeological site of Cobá or the laid-back town of Tulum, where there is a picturesque archaeological complex right by the coast. After visiting the ruins it is possible to cool off with a refreshing dip in the sea.

    Meals included: Breakfast and dinner at the hotel.

  • Another free day spent by the sea. There are many sights to see in the surrounding region, including water and land-based activity centres where you can snorkel in underground rivers and caves, swim in cenotes, try adventure activities such as rappelling and zip-lines, and see cultural shows. Excursions to activity centres can be arranged in the compact centre of Playa del Carmen, which has several tour operators as well as numerous cafes, restaurants and shops.

    Meals included: Breakfast and dinner at the hotel.

  • Depending on your flight time, you may have a final chance this morning to relax on the gorgeous beach beside your hotel. Later, you will have a transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

    Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Meal included on the transatlantic flight.

  • Your flight arrives back in the UK.

Accommodation

Upgrade Package

Superior Hotel Upgrade Package Save £46

Upgrade in Mexico City, San Cristóbal, Palenque and Mérida for a discounted price.

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Zocalo Central

Included
Zocalo Central, Mexico City
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
73%
73%
Service
74%
74%
Location
95%
95%

Standard Hotel: This hotel is located on the city’s main square, and has more amenities and services. There is a sixth-floor restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, looking out over the cathedral and commerce on the streets below. There is a gym and the en-suite rooms are air conditioned.

Why stay here? It is difficult to find a hotel in a better location in Mexico City. You can take advantage of this by sitting on the rooftop terrace above the Zócalo Square, watching the activity taking place below from a relaxed and pleasant environment.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant and gym.

• The hotel offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, a wake-up call service, complimentary bottled water and fruit, an ice machine, laundry facilities and currency exchange.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning, free WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a tea/coffee maker, free bottled water, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available
Standard room

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

Included

Superior Hotel: Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is a historical hotel in a beautiful art nouveau building. It is situated on the main plaza of Mexico City and offers 60 elegant, well-proportioned en-suite rooms. In the heart of the historic centre, it is within walking distance of many tourist attractions and also offers 3 restaurants and a scenic roof terrace. 

Why stay here: Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is a stunning building with comfortable rooms and is centrally-located.

Hotel facilities
• WiFi is available throughout the hotel
• Three restaurants and a piano bar
• Scenic roof terrace

About the room
All rooms are spacious with en-suite bathrooms and wifi. There is a safe, coffee facilities, cable television and air-conditioning.

Room types available
Economy King, Economy Double

Casa Vieja

Included
Casa Vieja, San Cristobal
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
75%
75%
Service
71%
71%
Location
92%
92%

Standard Hotel: In an historic building in central San Cristóbal, this quaint hotel has a restaurant and rooms furnished in a regional style, with en-suite bathrooms, and hot and cold air conditioning.

Why stay here? When visiting San Cristóbal, it is a good opportunity to stay in one of the attractive colonial-era buildings found in the centre. This is a quaint, historical hotel with an excellent location and rooms that are modest yet comfortable.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant and a reading room with a TV, computer access and printer.

• The hotel offers laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning and heating, free WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available
Standard room

Casa del Alma

Included
Lobby, Casa del Alma
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
86%
86%
Service
95%
95%
Location
90%
90%

Superior Hotel: The Casa del Alma boasts a lovely location near the centre of San Cristóbal. Perched on a hill, each of the 27 en-suite rooms has great views of the city, and there is a restaurant, bar and relaxing spa and gym.

Why stay here: The suites here are spacious, allowing you to spread out during your stay, and the private balconies in each room provide great views.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available free of charge

• Restaurant and bar

• Spa and gym

About the room

All rooms are spacious with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies. There is tea and coffee facilities and free wifi.

Room types available

Standard suite

Chan-Kah Resort

Included
Chan-Kah Resort, Palenque
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
79%
79%
Service
74%
74%
Location
85%
85%

Standard Hotel: On the road between the town and ruins, and surrounded by tropical vegetation, this hotel is at one with its natural surroundings. It has two outdoor pools, a restaurant and bar. The comfortable rooms have en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning.

Why stay here? This is one of the most comfortable hotels in Palenque: although the rooms are simple, they are well-sized and there is a good swimming pool. The jungle environment and proximity to Palenque ruins are big draws.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, coffee shop and bar, a swimming pool, a Maya-style spa, a games room and a gift shop.

• The hotel offers room service, assistance with booking tours, computer access in the lobby, a wake-up call service, a safety deposit box at reception, laundry facilities and money exchange.

About the room

All rooms have a ceiling fan, a TV, a telephone, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available
Casita junior suite

Quinta Cha Nab Nal

Included
Quinta Cha Nab Nal, Palenque
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
89%
89%
Service
94%
94%
Location
83%
83%

Superior Hotel: This boutique hotel is three kilometres from Palenque archaeological site in a jungle setting. With just a few rooms, the hotel offers good service, lush grounds, a swimming pool, a Maya-style spa and a restaurant. The attractive rooms have air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms.

Why stay here? Quinta Cha Nab Nal is smaller and quieter than most hotels in Palenque. Perfect for a relaxing stay, it offers a higher level of accommodation and better service. The restaurant serves good meals and the rooms are spacious. As most hotels in the area are more simple, this is probably the best place to stay in Palenque.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, a swimming pool, gardens and a spa.

• The hotel offers assistance with booking tours, tea and coffee in the lobby, a safety deposit box at reception and laundry facilities.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning and a ceiling fan, free WiFi, a TV, a telephone, a mini bar, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available
Junior suite

Casa Del Balam

Included
Casa del Balam, Merida
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
86%
86%
Service
82%
82%
Location
94%
94%

Standard Hotel: This hotel is located just off the main square. There is a bistro restaurant and some attractive common areas, including a small pool and al fresco dining in the interior courtyard. The rooms are decorated in a traditional style, with air conditioning, WiFi and en-suite bathrooms.

Why stay here? Service is attentive and friendly, and you couldn’t be in a better location for visiting the centre of Mérida. Food is good here and the pool area is a peaceful place to cool down.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a restaurant, small pool, bar and boutique shop.

• The hotel offers room service, assistance in booking tours, laundry facilities, a safe at reception and lifts to reach the upper floors.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning, WiFi (service is weak on the upper floors), a TV, a telephone, a mini bar, bottles of water included, a hair dryer and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available
Standard room

Hacienda Mérida

Included

Superior Hotel: Located five blocks from Mérida’s central square, this is a small boutique hotel in a colonial building where each room is uniquely decorated in a traditional style. The pool is quite small but very peaceful, and spa services are available.

Why stay here? This is an intimate boutique hotel, a retreat away from the city bustle and the ideal place to relax whilst on holiday.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There is a swimming pool, a bar and small spa.

About the room

All rooms have air conditioning and a ceiling fan, WiFi, a TV, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer, screened windows and en-suite bathrooms.

Room types available
Standard room

Mahekal Resort

Included
Mahekal Resort, Playa del Carmen
Llama Travel Customer Rating
Overall
92%
92%
Service
83%
83%
Location
96%
96%

Standard Beach Hotel: This hotel on the largest stretch of beach in Playa del Carmen is a ten-minute walk from the centre of town but feels disconnected from the activity of the main eating and shopping area. Two meals per day are included: breakfast and either lunch or dinner, depending on your preference. There are two pools, both with a bar, two restaurants and a spa.

Why stay here? Stunning white sand beaches are found all along the Riviera Maya, but hotels between the main towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum are often quite isolated, with limited facilities nearby. This hotel offers the best of both worlds; a laid-back, spacious hotel with attractive accommodations in a tropical style, whilst also being close to the services of Playa del Carmen. We like the fact that rooms are found in individual, small buildings spread throughout the grounds, with well-kept gardens between them.

Hotel facilities

• WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge.

• There are two restaurants, two poolside bars, two swimming pools, shaded sun loungers on the beach, a spa, a gift shop and an on-site dive centre.

• The hotel offers assistance with booking tours, luggage storage, beach and pool towels and laundry facilities.

About the room

Garden view rooms are on the ground floor with a private terrace and hammock, air conditioning and ceiling fans, free WiFi, daily bottled water, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer, umbrellas and en-suite bathrooms. 

Ocean view rooms have similar facilities to the garden view rooms, but you can spy the ocean from the rooms.

Room types available

Garden view room

Ocean view room

Excursions

Excursions Package

Mexico Excursion Package Save £46

Take the Historical Mexico City, Pyramids of Teotihuacán, Maya Villages, Jungle Temples of Bonampak & Yaxchilán and Hacienda & Cenote excursions together for a discounted price.

from £389

Historical Mexico City

£60
Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City
Llama Travel Customer Rating
75%
75%

Uncover the history of one of Latin America’s most historical cities in this half-day tour of Mexico’s capital. Tour highlights include a stop at the Zócalo, the city’s main square, home to the President’s abode, the National Palace, and the impressive Metropolitan Cathedral. You’ll also visit the Templo Mayor archaeological site before heading to the Chapultepec Castle to learn about its past. From here you can either go home for a rest or independently enjoy lunch in the adjacent park before visiting the National Anthropology Museum.

Full Description:

This half-day excursion takes in the highlights of Mexico City’s centre and is a great introduction to the city’s fascinating history as a pre-Hispanic metropolis. Begin in the main square, referred to as the Zócalo, which is a huge open space bordered by the Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace, home to the President of Mexico and famous for its mural-covered walls. Construction of the cathedral destroyed the existing Templo Mayor, the focal point of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán, but excavations have allowed elements of the Aztec temple to re-surface. You visit the Templo Mayor archaeological site and museum before leaving the historic centre. Drive down one of Mexico City’s principal boulevards, past the Angel of Independence statue to Chapultepec Park, the city’s largest green space, where Chapultepec Castle stands tall in a forest of trees. Learn about the history of the castle before returning by car to your hotel. Alternatively, you can end the excursion in the park and have lunch in the area before visiting the excellent National Anthropology Museum located in the northern part of the park at your own pace.

Pyramids of Teotihuacán

£85
Basilica of Guadelupe, Mexico City
Llama Travel Customer Rating
80%
80%

Discover Mexico’s cultural and religious diversity over time in this day-long tour to the area’s significant cultural sites. At Teotihuacán, one of Mexico’s great archaeological sites, admire the 64m-tall Temple of the Sun and its perfect alignment with the setting sun’s axis. After lunch, return to the metropolis to explore its Hispanic-influenced culture. Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe before ending the tour at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, where expressions of three architectural periods exist side by side.

Full Description:

On this full-day excursion, travel a short distance out of Mexico City to reach the complex of Teotihuacán, established around 100BC and formerly one of the most influential political, cultural and ceremonial centres in the western hemisphere. Walk down the wide Avenue of the Dead, which cuts through the city like an arrow, with temples lining either side. Climb the magnificent Pyramid of the Sun, a mind-blowing structure standing 64 metres tall, in perfect alignment with the axis of the setting sun. From here, there are stunning views of the surrounding plains and the equally impressive Pyramid of the Moon. After lunch in a nearby restaurant, return to Mexico City to see a side to Mexican religion and culture hailing from the Hispanic era. Visit the vast Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the north of the city, a site to which millions of pilgrims travel annually to honour the patron saint of Mexico, especially on her saint’s day, the 12th of December. Finally, continue to the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, a square where three periods of history are represented in the architecture before returning to your hotel.

Monarch Butterfly

£180

This excursion is available on January and February departures, owing to the seasonality of the butterfly migration. 

A short distance from Mexico’s lively capital city, lies a site which is home to another kind of attraction altogether. In the winter months, from December to February, Piedra Herrada plays host to thousands of monarch butterflies that migrate to Mexico from as far a field a Canada. At this time of year, the trees in the butterfly sanctuary are covered with the small creatures as they recover from their epic flight across North America.

Full Description:

The excursion begins after breakfast, with a 2.5 hour transfer from the hotel in Mexico City to the Piedra Herrada Butterfly Sanctuary outside the town of Valle de Bravo. On arrival, head out for a 30-45 minute uphill walk along the forest paths, gaining altitude before reaching the part of the reserve where the butterflies are found.

After witnessing the spectacle of thousands of monarch butterflies resting in the trees and flying above you, descend to the sanctuary entrance and continue to the picturesque lake-side town of Valle de Bravo. Here learn a bit about the town and take a guided walk through it, followed by some free time to enjoy the setting, nestled in the green hills by a lake. Lunch is provided in one of the local eateries in Valle de Bravo. There is also the opportunity to do some souvenir shopping at the local handcraft market, where pretty pottery and wooden carvings abound. Transfer back to Mexico City in the late afternoon, arriving in the early evening.

Please note that if you would like to take all three Mexico City excursions, your stay will need to be extended by a night, for an additional cost of £50 per person (based on 2 people sharing in a standard hotel).

Maya Villages

£40
Templo de Santo Domingo, San Cristobal
Llama Travel Customer Rating
87%
87%

A short distance from San Cristóbal exists a whole other world which you will discover in this half-day excursion. After a walking tour of San Cristobal’s centre, visit two fascinating Tzotzil villages where you encounter the hybrid Maya Catholic culture in an authentic interaction with the local villagers.

Full Description:

This fascinating half-day excursion gives you an insight into the unique way of life practiced in the communities of Zinacantán and San Juan Chamula, a short distance from San Cristóbal. You begin with a walking tour of San Cristóbal centre, taking in some of the buildings of historical interest such as the Santo Domingo church. You then drive to two Tzotzil Maya villages just outside of the city, where a traditional lifestyle based on ancient rituals and customs is practised. As in the rest of Mexico, missionaries arrived in this hilly, rugged region in the 16th century; however, partly due to the natural isolation of the area, evangelization was never fully completed and a hybrid Catholic and Tzotzil culture emerged. Today, the townsfolk still speak the Tzotzil language and wear traditional dress, such as the black or white fluffy woollen tunics known as chujes, worn by men in San Juan Chamula. The central churches are the hubs for village life and ceremonies take place throughout the day. Although the communities are fiercely independent and in many ways are detached from the outside world, tourists are permitted to visit on the understanding that local customs are respected.

Jungle Temples of Bonampak & Yaxchilán

£150
Prehispanic Frieze, Bonampak, near Palenque
Llama Travel Customer Rating
95%
95%

Emerging from the far reaches of the Chiapas jungle, these distinct archaeological sites will have you marvelling at the artistic detail in their ornamentation and murals. This full-day tour departs Palenque early in the morning for Yaxchilán before heading deeper into the jungle to Bonampak. The journey includes gravel roads, river travel and howler monkeys, all adding to the sense of adventure in visiting these remarkable sites.

Full Description:

Safeguarded by their remote location in the far reaches of the Chiapas jungle, close to the Guatemala border, Yaxchilán and the smaller site of Bonampak are two incredibly well-preserved archaeological complexes, famed for their ornamentation, murals and artistic detail. On this full-day excursion you depart early in the morning from Palenque, travelling on a good road and taking a small motorised boat on the River Usumacinta for the final hour of the journey to Yaxchilán. Yaxchilán has an impressive location poised high above the river, which helped the ‘Jaquar’ dynasty to rule over nearby settlements for generations. Bonampak is around 30km away and is reached by boat then road. Here, temples rise from the jungle and the cries of howler monkeys create a mesmerising atmosphere. You explore the interior of the Temple of Murals, where original rusty red, yellow and turquoise paints have been preserved and the friezes tell tales of life in ancient times. Bonampak and Yaxchilán are less visited than most Maya cities and this adds to their abundant charm. The final 3km of the road to Bonampak is unpaved, but in good condition.

Hacienda & Cenote

£100
Cenote near Merida
Llama Travel Customer Rating
81%
81%

Historically the Yucatán region was a hotbed of wealth, and the impressive haciendas are the physical manifestation of this. On this excursion learn about the role of the agave cactus in this wealth creation, and have lunch in a traditional hacienda to get a feel for its opulence. You also visit a replica Maya house and get the opportunity to take a dip in a Cenote – a sinkhole of crisp blue water synonymous with the Yucatán area.

Full Description:

The haciendas of the Yucatán were the source of much wealth in the region, and on this excursion you will experience some of this splendour, as well as visit the turquoise waters of an underground cenote. Drive for around 45 minutes to Hacienda Sotuta de Peon, where you enjoy a guided tour of the buildings and grounds. Learn the process of how fibres from the agave cactus were extracted to manufacture ‘sisal’ which was then exported internationally and used to make ropes for the 18th century shipping industry. Take a ride on a traditional truck further into the plantation and visit a replica Maya house, before continuing to a cenote; a subterranean chamber containing water, where you can swim in the cooling waters of the natural pool, in a cavernous setting. Have lunch with regional dishes in a palm-roofed building in the hacienda gardens. You leave around 3pm and on the drive back to Mérida your guide will point out other haciendas, sharing their history and current use. You will also see the villages which grew up close to the haciendas, providing services to the workers. Arriving back into Mérida around 4pm, you have time to explore the city in the late-afternoon light.

2017

2018

OTHER DEPARTURE DATES ARE AVAILABLE, PLEASE ASK US FOR DETAILS

Please note that we run our holidays to Peru from mid-March to mid-November, and avoid Peru’s rainy season from December to February, when air and rail transport can be disrupted

 

Prices include

Return flights from the UK; flights within Latin America; accommodation (bed and breakfast except where indicated); transfers in Latin America; service of guides and local reps, UK airport taxes.

Prices do not include

Any optional excursions, travel insurance, tips.

Holidays without international flights

The above prices include return international flights from the UK. If you wish to arrange your own flights, we will reduce our prices accordingly. The reduction depends on when you travel, please call us for details.

Departure Airport

Flights are scheduled to be from London. Other airports may be possible, although a supplement sometimes applies.

Holiday Information

All the practical information you need regarding your trip to Latin America is found here. From how to prepare before you leave and travelling to your destination, to advice on travelling within your country of choice.

About your Holiday

  • Prices are based on two persons sharing a room and include all flights from the UK and within Latin America, service of guides and reps (please note that tips are not included), accommodation and all transfers and excursions listed in the itinerary. Where applicable, entrance fees, taxes and charges are included in our prices at the rates advised to us at the time of preparation. An adjustment will be made to your price if any of these change before your holiday. UK airport taxes are included, however, departure taxes on some flights within and leaving Latin America are not included. These must be paid in cash at the airport. Currently, these are: Guatemala US$3 international and domestic flights and Costa Rica US$29 (some airlines). Travel insurance is not included.

  • All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

Booking Conditions

    1. Your contract

      Your contract is with Llama Travel Limited, registered in England and Wales, number 4370517. The following conditions will apply to your booking and form part of your contract. They cannot be varied and should be read carefully. A contract will exist when we accept your booking and issue our confirmation invoice. The contract and all matters arising from it shall be governed by English law and be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. All correspondence will be sent to the lead passenger of the booking unless otherwise advised. You must be over 18 to book a Llama Travel holiday. Llama Travel holidays are not for resale.

    2. Deposits and final payments

      A deposit of 10% of the holiday cost is required (15% for Brazil holidays). On some occasions a higher deposit is required, we will advise you if this is necessary. When this is received, we will issue a confirmation invoice. The balance of the payment must be paid 90 days before departure. If the booking is made less than 90 days before departure, full payment must be made when booking. On some occasions, earlier balance payment may be required to secure flight seats or other services. In order to secure your holiday arrangements in some cases, we may ask for a payment in advance before we can reserve the appropriate services. This payment is not refundable if you subsequently decide not to proceed with the booking. You can pay by bank transfer, cheque, credit card or debit card. There is no charge for bank transfers or cheques. For deposits on debit cards, there is no charge. For balance payments on debit cards, there is a 0.4% charge. For MasterCard credit cards and Visa credit cards there is a 1% supplement. If you are paying with an American Express card there is a 2% supplement. We are unable to accept cash.

    3. Our prices

      Prices are based on the latest known information at the time of preparation – 7 Jun 2017 (£1 = US$1.29, Brent Crude oil $48 per barrel) but can go up or down. Before making a booking, please call us to check the correct up to date price of your chosen holiday.

      Once you have made a booking and we have issued our confirmation invoice, your holiday price can only be varied due to a significant increase in our costs or an increase in charges, fees, taxes or similar items as a result of governmental action.

      The following taxes, entrance fees and charges are included in our prices. An adjustment will be made to the price of your holiday if any of these changes before your holiday:

      UK air passenger duty (APD):

      • £75/£78
      • for business class, APD rates are double the above rates.

      Entrance fees:

      • Galapagos National Park $120;
      • Machu Picchu $50;
      • Inca Trail and Short Inca Trail $80;
      • Cusco Tourist Ticket $45;
      • Perito Moreno US$30;
      • Iguazu Falls (Brazil) US$30;
      • Iguazu Falls (Argentina) US$30;
      • Torres del Paine US$35.

      We have been advised that the Galapagos National Park entrance fee may increase, but this has not been confirmed.

      The VAT rate for holidays outside the EU is zero. Except for increases in entrance fees or tax increases, such as in APD or VAT, we will absorb any increase up to 2% of your holiday cost.

      If there is a surcharge of more than 10% of your holiday cost, you will be entitled to cancel within 7 days of being notified of the surcharge and obtain a full refund. No surcharge will be made less than 30 days before the start of your holiday.

    4. Alterations or cancellations by you

      If you wish to alter your holiday arrangements before departure, we will do our best to help. An administration fee of £25 per passenger will be charged, together with any additional costs incurred as a result of the change. If you make any alterations within 60 days of departure, we may treat this as a cancellation, and apply cancellation fees. Scheduled airlines treat name changes as a cancellation and rebooking; any alteration is likely to incur a 100% cancellation charge. Please make sure that all names you give us are spelled exactly as they appear in passports.

      It is not normally possible to make alterations after commencement of travel. If you do wish to make alterations during your holiday, cancellation fees for services booked may apply. Refunds cannot be made for any unused accommodation, services or transport.

      If you wish to cancel your holiday, you must let us know in writing. The following cancellation charges apply:

      Days before departure when you notify usPenalty
      90 days or more Loss of deposit
      61 to 89 days 25% of holiday cost, or deposit if higher
      31 to 59 days 60% of holiday cost (75% for Galapagos holidays), or deposit if higher
      30 days or less 100% of holiday cost

      If the balance payment is required earlier than 90 days before departure, this will normally be non-refundable in the event of cancellation.

      In addition, where one person in a party cancels and others still wish to travel, single room supplements will be payable if this results in single rooms being used.

      We recommend that you take out full travel insurance with cover against cancellation penalties, including in the event of force majeure; see section 6 below.

    5. Alterations or cancellations by us

      We make careful arrangements with airlines, hotels and service operators to ensure that we are able to provide you with the holiday as described. However, in exceptional cases, it may be necessary to make changes to your holiday arrangements (including airlines, flights, accommodation, transport or services) due to circumstances beyond our control. Flight times are given only as indications, and finalised times will be shown on your tickets.

      When changes are necessary, we will do our best to ensure that they do not affect your holiday. If, before you depart, a major change is necessary (defined as a change of itinerary so that you are no longer able to visit a destination where you are scheduled to spend one or more nights or an appropriate alternative destination, or a change of accommodation to a lower standard or category affecting a significant part of your holiday) or if we have to cancel your holiday, we will contact you and offer you the choice of:

      • accepting the changes to your holiday;
      • purchasing another available Llama Travel holiday; or
      • cancelling your holiday with a full refund.

      If we have to cancel or make major changes to your holiday less than 60 days before departure, other than in the event of force majeure (see section 6 below), you will also be entitled to compensation at the following levels:

      When notifiedCompensation per person
      43 – 60 days before departure £50
      29 - 42 days before departure £100
      15 - 28 days before departure £150
      0 - 14 days before departure £200
    6. Alterations or cancellations by you or us in the event of force majeure

      If we have to make major changes to, or cancel, your holiday in the event of force majeure, we will contact you and offer you the above choices. However, compensation will not be paid.

      If, in the event of force majeure, we are still able to operate your holiday but you wish to cancel, please contact us to discuss the options. We will endeavour to recover from suppliers, and refund to you, monies paid for your holiday, but where we are unable to do so, you may be able to claim for irrecoverable costs from your travel insurance.

      Force majeure events include war, threat of war, civil unrest or strife, decisions by governments or governing authorities, epidemic, natural disasters, fire, bad weather, terrorist activity, nuclear disaster, industrial disputes, technical or maintenance problems with transport, changes of timetables of airlines, or other causes beyond our control.

    7. Our responsibilities to you

      Llama Travel is dedicated to ensuring that your holiday is as described. If a part of your holiday is not provided as promised, and this affects the reasonable enjoyment of your holiday, we will pay compensation appropriate to the circumstances, limited to a maximum of twice the price of the service concerned.

      Llama Travel accepts responsibility for illness, personal injury or death caused as a direct result of the direct acts and/or omissions of our employees, agents, suppliers or sub-contractors while acting in the course of their employment to provide services or arrangements for your holiday that you have booked with us in the UK. We do not accept responsibility for illness, personal injury or death where there has been no fault of our employees, agents, suppliers or sub-contractors, or as a result of taking part in any activity which does not form part of the holiday booked through us in the UK. Where illness, personal injury or death arises in the course of air travel, rail travel, sea travel or hotel accommodation, the amount of compensation you may receive is limited in accordance with the provisions of any International Convention. If illness, personal injury or death is suffered as a result of taking part in an activity where a third party is involved, we shall, at our discretion, offer advice and assistance to aid in the resolution of the issue, provided you inform us within 90 days of the occurrence. Our costs in respect of the above on behalf of you and your party shall not exceed £5,000 in total. If you are able to make recovery of these costs whether from the third party or from a policy of insurance, you may be asked to refund our outlay.

    8. Your responsibilities

      Clients are responsible for ensuring that all immigration and health requirements are fulfilled, for obtaining travel documents, including passports, visas and vaccination certificates, and for ensuring that these are all in order, including for any intermediate stops on international flights. If the name on your airline ticket does not match that on your passport, you must inform us as soon as you receive the ticket.

      We require your passport details to issue some tickets. If these change after you have given them to us, you must inform us.

      It is your responsibility to behave in a responsible, restrained and sober manner when dealing with local authorities, fellow travellers and our representatives.

      By taking a Llama Travel holiday, you agree to accept the authority and decisions of our employees and representatives. If, in the opinion of such people, your behaviour or health before the departure of a tour is likely to threaten the safety, comfort or progress of that tour, then you may be excluded from the tour without refund or compensation. It is your responsibility to obey local laws, otherwise you may be excluded from the holiday and we will cease to have any responsibility for you.

      Please bear in mind that travel in Latin America is not the same as travel in the UK, and minor inconveniences and delays may arise due to weather conditions, strikes, demonstrations, the poor state of roads or for other reasons. By travelling with Llama Travel, you are implicitly accepting this part of the Latin American way of life.

    9. Flights

      We have no control over international or national air carriers, and therefore schedules may change or flights be delayed due to no fault of our own. We will do all we can to ensure the smooth flow of all your transport connections, but it is your responsibility to check exact times of flights and reconfirm these. This is particularly important for internal flights within Latin America, which can be rearranged at short notice. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the consequences of flights missed due to the client’s failure to reconfirm.

      When you travel with an airline, the Conditions of Carriage of that airline apply, some of which will limit or exclude liability. These conditions are the subject of International Agreements between countries.

      Flying to Latin America involves long flights and may require changes in other airports. It is your responsibility to arrive at the departure airport at the appropriate time and to check in for your international flight, and to change aeroplanes if necessary at intermediate airports. If you wish to sit in a specific seat or section of the plane, or wish to sit with other people on the flight, it is recommended that you check in early or check in online. It is sometimes possible to reserve seats directly with the airline by telephone or online prior to travel.

      Airlines do not allow more than one booking per passenger on a flight and may cancel seats if they are held by more than one operator. Clients are responsible for ensuring they are not holding flights with another operator.

    10. Baggage allowance

      Most scheduled airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kg per passenger. Please bear this in mind when packing, as carrying excess baggage will normally incur an expensive additional cost payable at check in. Additionally, certain excursions have a limited baggage allowance. Where this is the case, you will usually be able to leave the rest of you luggage in storage. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the delay, loss or damage of luggage.

    11. Insurance

      You must have adequate insurance provision to cover the cost of assistance, including emergency repatriation, in the event of illness or other problems occurring during your holiday.

    12. Complaints

      If you have any complaints about your holiday arrangements when you are abroad, please bring these to the attention of our local representatives who will do all they can to ensure a swift and satisfactory resolution. Problems can usually be sorted out by talking to the supplier concerned (e.g. hotel) and our local representatives or by informing us directly. If this is not done, Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the situation, as we will not have been given the opportunity to rectify the problem. If you do not inform us, your consumer rights to compensation may be affected. If you have tried and failed to rectify the situation whilst abroad, please send us your complaint in writing within 28 days of returning to the UK. We will then follow up your complaint. Communication with Latin America is often slow, so we may not be able to resolve the situation as quickly as you would like.

    13. Financial protection

      When you buy an ATOL protected flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.

      We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable).

      If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.

    14. Brochure and website information

      The information in our brochures and on our website is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press. However, details of flights or hotels may vary during the lifetime of a brochure. These changes will be reflected on our website where possible.

      The copyright on all material in our brochures and on our website, including text, photographs, maps and layouts is held by Llama Travel Limited. No part of these publications may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any way without the prior written permission of Llama Travel.

    15. Data Protection

      The information we ask you to provide, including personal information about you and members of your party, is necessary for us to arrange and operate your holiday. By booking a holiday with us, you agree to our processing this information, including, where appropriate, its transfer outside of the EU.

How to Book

  • To book a holiday or discuss your requirements, please call us on 020 7263 3000. We can usually confirm availability immediately, but may need to check with a supplier first.

  • You can pay by bank transfer, cheque, credit card or debit card. There is no charge for bank transfers or cheques. For deposits on debit cards, there is no charge. For balance payments on debit cards, there is a 0.4% charge. For MasterCard credit cards and Visa credit cards there is a 1% supplement. If you are paying with an American Express card there is a 2% supplement. We are unable to accept cash.

Before you Go

  • Some countries in Latin America have strict regulations regarding the entry and exit of children under 18 when not travelling with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting. If you are travelling with children who are not entering or leaving the country with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting, please contact the consulate of the country you are visiting to check requirements.

    Children require a polio vaccination certificate to enter Brazil.

  • Visas are not required in advance for British citizens for any Llama Travel destination. To visit Mexico, British citizens do not need to apply for a visa prior to visiting as a tourist. However, a tourist card is provided upon arrival which you must present when leaving the country. The international departure tax is included in the airline ticket. For British passports endorsed in any way and all other passports, please ask the appropriate consulate: Mexico (020 7499 8586), Peru (020 7838 9223); Ecuador (020 7451 0040); Argentina (020 7318 1340); Chile (020 7222 3434); Brazil (020 7659 1550); Colombia (020 7637 9893); Costa Rica (020 7706 8844); Guatemala (020 7351 3042). You need a full 10 year passport valid for 6 months after your return to the UK. If you are flying via the US, you need to comply with US immigration requirements. Ask us for details.

    There is an immigration entry fee to enter Chile and Argentina for citizens of the US, Australia, Canada and some other countries. Please check with the appropriate consulate. To enter Argentina, this fee must be paid online prior to travel. This can be done at either www.migraciones.gov.ar or www.provinciapagos.gov.ar. Once the fee has been paid, you must print out the proof of payment and take this with you when you enter Argentina. If you do not have the form you will not be allowed to enter Argentina.

    To visit Brazil (even Iguazu Falls from Argentina), citizens of the US, Australia and some other countries must obtain a Brazilian visa before travel.

    If children are not travelling with both parents, some countries require a letter of consent to enter or depart. Please consult the appropriate consulate. To issue some tickets, we require passport details and ages when you book. If you subsequently change your passport, please let us know as soon as possible.

     

  • The climate around Mexico City and Oaxaca is mild, with relatively consistent temperatures year-round. March, April and May are the warmest months, and November to February tend to be the coolest, with averages of 14°C. Most rainfall occurs during the summer months of June to September. The months of December, January and February are usually dry, but rain can fall throughout the year so waterproofs are advised.

    Due to its elevated location, San Cristobal also has a mild, spring-like climate, with an average temperature of around 15°C. On sunny days, the city can feel quite hot, but the temperature drops considerably during wet weather, so a mix of warm and cooler weather clothing is advisable.

    Descending into the tropical climate of the Chiapas lowlands (for Palenque), the Yucatan (for Merida) and the Riviera Maya, humidity is high year-round and temperatures sometimes exceed 30°C. There is an average of 12 daylight hours and high factor sun protection is essential. Waterproofs are advised year-round, although the wettest months are from June to October.

    Insect repellent is recommended for visiting the jungle around Palenque, Merida and the Caribbean Coast. Closed, comfortable shoes such as trainers or lightweight walking shoes are suitable for day excursions. Be sure to bring beachwear for your time on the coast.

    You can bring whichever luggage you feel most comfortable with: suitcases, soft bags and rucksacks are fine.

    Electricity in Mexico is 11V, and plugs are of the flat two-pin type.

    Having a photocopy of your passport with you at all times is recommended.

    Please bring any medication you may require from the UK.

  • You will receive tickets approximately 10 days before departure, along with information on accommodation, transfers and excursions. Our agents in Latin America will give you your hotel and excursion vouchers when you arrive. Please check airline tickets carefully in case timings have changed after we issued your confirmation.

Health & Fitness

  • For most of our holidays, age is not a concern. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required, as most holidays require some walking, sometimes on uneven ground. Even relatively mild activities can be strenuous at altitude. High altitude trekking is more strenuous than an equivalent length walk at low altitude.

  • Please consult your GP or a travel clinic about health and vaccination requirements. The NHS website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk gives good advice about travelling in each country. 

    Yellow Fever precautions are usually recommended when visiting the Iguazú Falls region in Argentina and Brazil. Some GPs do not recommend yellow fever vaccinations for travellers over 60 years old.

    There have been reports of the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne virus, in various Latin American countries. Please check www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk for latest advice regarding this. If you are pregnant, or planning on becoming pregnant, it is recommended that you speak to a medical professional prior to travel.

    When visiting Latin America, stomach illnesses are not uncommon due to changes in diet. We suggest you only drink bottled water and avoid ice. If you are unsure if salads and fruit have been washed in purified water, it is best to avoid them.

    If you have any health problems on holiday, please speak to our local agents or hotel staff. They will arrange for a doctor or hospital if necessary.

Getting there

  • A holiday in Latin America inevitably means long haul flights, and at least one overnight sector. Air fares vary from date to date and between airlines. Our holidays are scheduled to use the most advantageous air fare.

    You can choose which airline you prefer, we will let you know if a supplement is payable. Levels of onboard service and facilities, such as entertainment, vary by airline and route. Please ask us for details. Opinions change over time, but in the past year, Llama Travel customers’ preference was for Air France, KLM, British Airways and Virgin, followed by United and Iberia. Flights are sometimes operated by another airline in the appropriate airline alliance.

  • Most airlines offer the option of flying from regional airports in the UK, avoiding the need to make your own way to London. Due to the timing of flights, in some cases this may involve an overnight stop in London or another intermediate airport. There is usually a supplement for regional departures. Please note that most of our flights depart from London.

  • You can upgrade to business class or premium economy on most airlines. Prices start from £199 each way for Premium Economy and £699 each way for Business Class. Call us for prices for the route and airline you are interested in.

    Premium Economy
    British Airways World Traveller Plus, Air France Premium Voyageur and Virgin Premium Economy seats are available. These provide more comfortable seats which recline further and have more legroom. There are better meals and a bar service.

    KLM, Iberia and United offer standard economy class seats with extra legroom for additional cost. KLM seats can be booked through Llama Travel. United and Iberia seats can be reserved with the airlines one month prior to departure.

    Business Class
    British Airways Club World has seats which convert into full flat beds and have a privacy screen.

    Iberia Business Plus between Madrid and Latin America offers seats which convert into flat beds. Between the UK and Madrid, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

    KLM World Business Class offers seats that recline to 150 degrees (to Quito) or 170 degrees (to Lima). Between the UK and Amsterdam, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

    Air France Affaires Class offer seats which convert into virtually flat beds. Between the UK and Paris, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

  • Most scheduled airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kg per passenger, especially when taking internal flights within Latin America. Please bear this in mind when packing, as carrying excess baggage will normally incur an expensive additional cost payable at check in. Additionally, certain excursions have a limited baggage allowance. Where this is the case, you will usually be able to leave the rest of you luggage in storage. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the delay, loss or damage of luggage.

  • Many airlines now charge a fee to select your seat prior to checking in for your flight, even when travelling in premium economy or business class. Alternatively, you may choose your preferred seat free of charge when online check-in opens 24 hours prior to departure or at the airport. Please ask us about the options available at time of booking.

    We all want a comfortable journey, particularly on long haul flights. If you would like a seat with some extra leg room or a larger recline please let us know. Airlines have introduced a range of “economy comfort” seats that may be purchased in advance. In some cases, these seats may only be purchased online directly with the airline once Llama Travel has issued your ticket approximately 30 days prior to departure.

    For flights within Latin America, and for connecting flights in Europe, it is usually only possible to select seats when you check-in online or at the airport.

    It may not be possible to always use online check-in systems, especially when using a codeshare flight. On occasion, your preferred seat may be changed by the airline for operational reasons such as a change of aircraft or to facilitate a disabled passenger on the day you fly and as such, Llama Travel cannot always guarantee specific seats.

  • If you would like to break your journey to or from Latin America and add a stopover to your holiday, this may be possible.

    Depending on which airline you choose, stopovers may be possible in Miami, New York, Houston, Madrid, Amsterdam or Paris.

  • Additionally, if the passport was issued, renewed/extended between October 26, 2005 and October 25, 2006 it must contain a digital photograph. If the passport was issued, renewed/extended on or after October 26, 2006, it must be also include an integrated circuit chip capable of storing the biographic information from the data page, a digitized photograph and other biometric information.

    Please note, holders of passports indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, a British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen or British Protected Person do not qualify for travel without a visa. A passport which states that the holder has Right of Abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK does not quality for visa-free travel.
    If you have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, or if you have a criminal record, you will need a visa.

    If you have any doubts about whether you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, please check with the US embassy. Full details can be found on the US embassy’s UK website at: http://london.usembassy.gov/vwp3.html

    Many European, Australian and New Zealand passport holders also qualify for the Visa Waiver Program as long as the passport is machine readable and complies with the relevant criteria. Please see the US embassy website for a list of countries which qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. It is important that you check the website of the US Embassy in the country of passport nationality for any further changes before you travel.

    ESTA Visa Waiver Program - **** Action by you may be required ****
    The US State Department has introduced a mandatory electronic system to help speed up the US immigration process for travellers on the Visa Waiver Program. All Visa Waiver Program travellers must fill in a form on the US State department website. This can be found at (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov). Please enter this into the address bar on your web browser. There is a $14 charge per person to apply for this. DO NOT search for this website via a search engine, such as Google, as it will take you to an incorrect website. Although this can be filled in up to 72 hours before travel, we recommend that you fill in this form as soon as possible so any issues can be identified immediately. To apply please scroll to the bottom of the green area and press the apply button on the left hand side of the page. Please make sure that this form is filled out for all the passengers on your booking. If you require more detailed instructions, please visit www.LlamaTravel.com/ESTA.

    If you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, or if your passport does not meet the relevant criteria, then you will require a US visa before you travel. Even if you are given authorization on the ESTA website, some travellers may not be eligible to enter the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. If in doubt, please consult the US embassy website.

    Advanced Passenger Information - **** Action by you is required ****
    The US Transportation Security Authority requires anybody flying through the United Sates to supply specific passenger information prior to their international flight. This is in addition to the information to be submitted for the Visa Waiver Program which you may have already completed. Please visit our website where you will find details on how to submit this information using the airlines website. www.LlamaTravel.com/USAPI.

    Please complete this procedure as soon as possible. If your passenger information is not entered into the flight booking we are unable to issue your flight tickets. This may result in your flight booking being cancelled and high charges being incurred.

  • Adequate travel insurance is essential. We do not sell or recommend any specific policy. A list of insurance companies that our customers have found suitable is available from us. Please advise your insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions and, if you are booking a holiday involving high-altitude trekking, such as the Inca Trail, make sure that you are covered for this. If you are planning on carrying out any other activities, please ensure your insurance policy will cover you for these. Note that cancellation cover is often only available if insurance is purchased within two weeks of booking your holiday.

Travelling in Mexico

  • Latin America is relatively safe to visit, and most people experience no problems during their stay. However, as is the case anywhere in the world, crime can be a problem. Tourists are often seen as being wealthy, and can therefore appear attractive targets to criminals. To minimise the risk to yourself, use common sense. Do not walk around with obvious signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive looking jewellery or with cameras round your neck. Keep passports and valuables in your hotel safe. When in restaurants, always keep bags (especially if they contain valuables) close to your person and out of sight. Do not walk down empty streets, especially after dark. By taking sensible precautions, you should have a completely trouble free holiday.

    Please use the safe in your hotel room or boat cabin to store your valuables, if this is available. If there is not a safe in your room, there will usually be a safe in reception where you can store valuables.

    Making sure that you stay safe during your holiday is very important. We bear this in mind when selecting hotels, but please understand that standards of health and safety in Latin America are often not as high as they are in the UK.

     

     

  • The Mexican currency is the Mexican Nuevo Peso, known simply as the Peso. Sterling isn’t easy to exchange in Mexico so carrying US Dollars is advised. Note that it is only possible to exchange cash in banks or at bureaux de change. UK debit and credit cards are widely accepted in shops and restaurants, and ATM's are readily available, although it is good to carry a small reserve of cash.

    It is always recommended to inform your bank that you are travelling abroad and to which countries. This will allow them to authorise money withdrawals on your account when you are away. Some banks say that this is not necessary; however we would still recommend contact with your bank as in some cases people have had difficulty in withdrawing currency.

  • Tipping in Mexico is customary but by no means obligatory. In most circumstances, such as restaurants and tour guides, 10 -20% is appropriate. Drivers should receive US$3-5 per day for group tours and $10 for private tours. It is not customary to tip taxi drivers.

  • Most people are familiar with the concept of tacos, guacamole and enchiladas, but arriving in Mexico you will discover that Mexican food is a lot richer than the Tex-Mex movement would have you believe. The cuisine is understood to be a fusion of traditional local ingredients, and those ingredients and cooking styles introduced by the Spanish. Staple ingredients include corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, chilli peppers and rice, as well as meat, cheese and a rich variety of herbs and spices.

    The style of food varies across Mexico, with different spices and other ingredients adapted according to the local conditions. For example, the Yucatan Peninsula cuisine is based on the Maya culture, with influences from a diverse range of cultures from Middle Eastern to Caribbean, and uses local ingredients such as tropical fruits and traditional cooking methods such as pit ovens. By contrast, Mexico City for the most part relies on produce brought in from other parts of the country. Here street food reigns supreme with taco stands and Torterias (tortas are sandwiches similar to subs) battle it out for passing trade. While the ingredients and style of cooking varies from area to area, staples like the aforementioned tacos and tortas are found in most parts of Mexico. Another staple found across the country is mole (pronounced mo-leh), an umbrella term for sauce. Moles also vary from place to place, but usually they contain a fruit, chili pepper, nuts and spices.

  • Hotels in Mexico include breakfast. Besides that, a simple set-menu lunch will cost US$3-4.50 per person, while a nice dinner with alcoholic drinks will set you back about US$11-16 per person.

  • Excursions are usually taken together with other Llama Travel customers in groups of no more than 18 people. If we have more than 18 booked, we operate two groups. If we have only one or two people booked on an excursion, the excursion may be operated together with people other than Llama Travel customers. If you would like to know the likely situation for your holiday, please ask us and we will be able to check. Transfers may be in a vehicle with more than 18 people.

  • To phone the UK from Mexico, dial the international dialling code for the UK (0044) and then the UK telephone number, leaving out the ‘0’ in the area code. To phone Mexico from the UK, dial the international dialling code for Mexico (0052) and then the Mexico telephone number.

  • Excursions are operated together with other holidaymakers. These will usually be in English, although groups are sometimes a mix of English and Spanish or Portuguese speaking. A minimum of 2 people is required for some excursions. On some occasions, the order of excursions may vary.