Be immersed in the mystical world of the Maya civilisation on a journey through Mexico, exploring ancient cities, towering pyramids and breathtaking landscapes.

At a Glance

  • Explore the historic centre of Mexico City and learn about Maya culture at the city’s world-class museums dedicated to preserving Mesoamerican culture
  • Visit historically and architecturally significant Maya sites, including Uxmal, Palenque, Chichén Itzá, Tulum and Teotihuacán
  • Wander through the historic towns of Campeche, Izamal and Mérida with their bright colours and colonial architecture

Begin with an exploration of the outstanding museums, pre-historic sites, colonial heritage and thriving cultural scene in and around Mexico City.

Then, on the Yucatán Peninsula, discover the ancient sites of Palenque and Chichén Itzá, surrounded by lush jungle landscapes, and wander through atmospheric cities, including Mérida and Campeche, known for their unique colonial architecture and contemporary culture.


This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.


21 January – 04 February 2025 (15 days)

Tour leader

Julian Droogan

Tour Status


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Arrive in Mexico City on suggested flights and make your own way to the hotel. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements including travel insurance (a condition of travel), private hotel transfer, accommodation before or after the tour and a room category update.

One of the largest urban centres in the world with over 20 million inhabitants, Mexico City is a fascinating contrast of ancient Aztec ruins overlaid by Spanish colonial architecture and gleaming glass and steel towers.

At 18:00, attend a welcome briefing and talk by your tour leader, Julian Droogan, followed by a welcome dinner.


Following a morning talk, explore Mexico City’s historic centre and see the ruins of the Aztec Templo Mayor and the Metropolitan Cathedral, the oldest and largest Roman Catholic cathedral in the Americas.

Spend the afternoon in the National Museum of Anthropology, considered one of the most important anthropological museums in the world with its extensive collection of artefacts showcasing Mexican indigenous cultures. The museum’s collections offer insights into rituals, crafts and architectural achievements, including full-scale replicas of temples and structures.


Today, travel northeast of Mexico City to the vast archaeological complex of Teotihuacán. Once a flourishing pre-Columbian city, this spectacular site contains some of the finest prehistoric urban planning and civil engineering in the world. Discover the imposing Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, the Avenue of the Dead, the temple of Quetzalcóatl and the palace of Quetzalpapálotl.

Return to Mexico City in the afternoon and stop en route to visit the Basilica de Guadalupe, a famous pilgrimage site located within the city limits.


Depart Mexico City on a morning flight to Villahermosa (flight included in tour price).

On arrival, visit the Parque Museo La Venta, which has one of the best collections of Olmec monuments in Mexico, rescued from sites threatened by oil drilling.

Later, continue by coach to Palenque.


Following a morning talk, spend the day wandering through the ruins, visiting the Temple of the Inscriptions and Pakal’s tomb, the Temple of the Cross and Temple of the Jaguar.

The ruins of Palenque are set in the jungle in the foothills south-west of the village. A prime example of a Maya sanctuary of the classical period, Palenque was at its height between 500 and 700 CE, when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta River. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Maya mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilisation.

Among the ruins is the Site Museum Alberto Ruz Lhuillier with its vast collection of objects gathered from the ruins displaying the skills of the Maya sculptors and metal workers, their funeral customs, the life of the elite and of the populace.


After breakfast, depart by coach for Campeche, a walled city on the Yucatán Peninsula’s Western coast. Originally inhabited by the Maya, its shores became coveted by European explorers and was eventually settled by the Spanish. The city was besieged by pirates on several occasions during the 18th century, which led to the formidable walls that still stand today. These defensive structures, along with the city’s well-preserved colonial architecture, earned Campeche UNESCO World Heritage status.


Today, explore the Maya site of Edzna. Once a flourishing city, the site was discovered in 1907 and is known for its impressive structures such as the Great Plaza which is adorned with well-preserved inscriptions and the Pyramid of the Five Floors, which stands 40m tall, providing an excellent overview of the surrounding structures.

In the evening, attend a talk with Julian before dinner at a local restaurant.


In the morning, enjoy a walking tour of Campeche and learn about its colonial history. Stroll through the charming streets, admiring the bright coloured buildings and hearing tales of its past. Then, delve deeper into the ancient mysteries at the Museo de Arquitectura Maya Baluarte de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, nestled in the city’s walls. The museum’s collection of artefacts and stelae from many different archaeological sites showcases the intricate beauty and cultural heritage of the Maya civilisation. Discover the funerary jade mask of Calakmul, considered a masterpiece of Maya art, worn by Maya dignitaries when appearing before the gods of the underworld.

Continue to the city of Uxmal, considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites of Maya culture.


Today explore three significant Maya sites, starting with Uxmal, which was founded c.700C.E and at its peak had an estimated 25,000 inhabitants. The layout of the buildings, which date from between 700 and 1000 C.E, reveals insightful knowledge of astronomy.

Continue exploring the Maya sites including Kabah and Labna. There are many Maya sites in this region and only a few are visited by tourists. Visiting these smaller sites will provide a better appreciation of the extent of the Maya realm and its diversity.

Later, continue to Mérida, dining at the Museo de la Gastonomía Yucateca, which celebrates the Yucatán’s rich culinary heritage with traditional dishes.


Founded upon the ruins of the ancient Maya city T’hó, which was constructed with white limestone, Mérida is known today as the ‘White City’. Carved Maya stones from ancient T’hó were widely used to build the Spanish colonial buildings during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Embark on a journey through Maya history with a visit to Mérida’s Maya World Museum. The museum features a wide collection of Maya art and artefacts, with immersive interactive displays providing further insight into ancient Maya life.


After breakfast, depart for Izamal, the ‘Golden Town’, and explore the town on a guided walking tour. Visit the colonial Franciscan monastery that stands in the heart of the town and the pyramid of Kinich Kakmó, the Maya sun god.

In the afternoon, arrive in Chichén Itzá and attend a talk with Julian before dinner at the hotel.


This morning visit the famous ruins of Chichén Itzá (meaning “At the mouth of the well of Itza”). Dating from c.600–1200 C.E, Chichén Itzá was one of the largest Maya cities and was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site. Visit the pyramid known as El Castillo, the Temple of the Warriors, the Sacred Cenote (well) and the infamous Ballcourt.

Tonight, after dinner attend a special sound and light show, a spectacle which tells Maya stories of love, war, life and eventual decline of their civilisation.


Depart Chichén Itzá for Valladolid. On the way, stop at two enclosed Cenotes at Dzitnup. After lunch, continue to Ek Balam, one of the most mysterious Maya cities ever to be discovered. See its main temple, which features a delicate stucco relief as well as feathered sculptures and jaw of the jaguar.

In the afternoon, arrive at Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.


Enjoy a morning at leisure to be immersed in the tapestry of Playa del Carmen, once a humble fishing village now a vibrant coastal beach haven.

In the afternoon, visit the ruins of Tulum, one of the last cities to be built and inhabited by the Maya. The ruins sit perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, making it an important trading port during the pre-Columbian era.

This evening, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell dinner.


Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.

Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour and travel insurance (a condition of travel).



Per person, twin-share

AUD 17,950

Single supplement

AUD 2,450

Deposit per person

AUD 3,000

Final payment due

22 November 2024

Tour price includes

  • Accommodation in centrally located 3-star and 4-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
  • Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner), wines with dinners
  • Domestic flight Mexico City – Villahermosa in Economy Class (20kg luggage allowance)
  • Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Lectures and talks with your tour leader
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and wait staff
  • Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour price does not include

  • International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours for assistance)
  • Transfers on arrival or departure
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
  • Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)


Your hotels
Mexico City – NH Collection City Centro Histórico ****
Palenque – Hotel Villa Mercedes Palenque***
Campeche – Hotel Plaza Campeche ****
Uxmal – Hacienda Uxmal ****
Mérida – Villa Mercedes Mérida, Curio Collection by Hilton ****
Chichén Itzá – Hotel Villas Arqueologicas Chichén Itzá ***
Playa del Carmen – Grand Hyatt Playa Del Carmean *****

N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted

More Details

Tour code: AG2503

Fitness level: Above Moderate
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions here.

Suggested Airline: Qantas / American Airlines
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.

Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for Mexico.
Please note: In order to transit through the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme, all Australian and New Zealand passport holders require an ESTA pre-authorisation application (completed in advance of travel). Anyone who has visited Iran on or after 01 March 2011 or Cuba on or after 12 January 2021 is not eligible to travel with an ESTA and must apply for a visa to travel in or transit through the United States.

Download booking form here.


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