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Mexico: El Chepe Train + Copper Canyon + Yucatan


FRH12M
12 NIGHTS
FROM £2,795
International flights quoted separately
Embark on one of the most famous train journeys in the world aboard 'El Chepe' - the Chihuahua-Pacifico train that travels for 15 hours through the spectacular landscapes of the green Copper Canyon in northern Mexico. Also visit historic Mexico City, before relaxing on the glorious beaches of the Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula, or Baja California. Train and all transfers included.
El Chepe Copper Canyon Train Mexico City  Chihuahua Yucatan Photo
• 
Mexico City
• 
Zócalo Plaza
• 
Templo Maya
• 
Chihuahua
• 
El Chepe Train
• 
Copper Canyon
• 
Divisaderos
• 
Los Mochis
• 
Riviera Maya beaches
• 
Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins
• 
Mexico City
• 
Zócalo Plaza
• 
Templo Maya
• 
Chihuahua
• 
El Chepe Train
• 
Copper Canyon
• 
Divisaderos
• 
Los Mochis
• 
Riviera Maya beaches
• 
Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins
Day 1
Arrive at Mexico City Airport where you will be met and transferred to this high altitude city, that is the oldest capital in the Americas and one of the largest cities in the world.
 
Check into your hotel and embrace this colourful and vibrant city, originally established by the Aztec Indians (the 'Mexica').
Day 2
Today we recommend an optional full day tour of some of the highlights of Mexico City.
 
At the heart of the city is the Zócalo (or Plaza de la Constitución), a huge central square built by the conquering Spanish over the ceremonial centre of the vanquished Aztec city of Tenochtitlán. Ruins of the 13th century Templo Mayor can be seen here, as well as the baroque Metropolitan Cathedral built by the Spanish and the National Palace, which houses historic murals by the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera. There is a dense concentration of museums and art galleries in this area.
 
West of the Zócalo the historic centre stretches through the main commercial district, past the National Art Museum to the Tower of Latin America skyscaper and the Palace of Fine Arts, with its magnificent Art Deco interior. Both overlook Alameda Central Park, which is the oldest public park in Mexico.
 
At the end of your tour, enjoy a boat ride on a colourful 'trajinera' through the canals of Xochimillco, a small village south of the city. These canals are all that is left of the lake on which Mexico City was originally built, and will give you an interesting cultural glimpse into modern urban life. Afterwards you can visit the local market, before returning to your hotel.
Day 3
Today we suggest you travel 1-hour to the mysterious Teotihuacan Pyramids, ancient archaelogical ruins that are a UNESCO World Heritate site. This enormous city was built in 300 BC but was inexplicably abandoned centuries before the arrival of the Aztecs, who called it the Birthplace of the Gods. This is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Americas and includes the third largest pyramid in the world, constructed according to precise astronomical measurements and filled with sacrificial victims.
 
You can climb the magnificent Pyramids of the Sun and Moon and view the Butterflies Temple, the Avenue of the Dead and Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Admire the majestic plazas and stone temples, covered with stone statues and faded murals
 
On our way back to Mexico City, we visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe - one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites on the American continent.
 
Note: There is the option of an early morning hot air balloon ride over the pyramids, but this must be pre-booked. Try and avoid visiting the pyramids on a Sunday, as it is free for locals so very crowded.
Day 4
Transfer to Mexico City Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Chihuahua Airport and transferred to your hotel in this ancient regional capital of the northern state of Chihuahua, which borders the United States.
 
This state is home to the spectacular Copper Canyon, the name given to a group of six canyons that together form a system that is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon. The state also gave its name to the smallest breed of the dog in the world - the cute chihuahua - which were discovered in the Casas Grandes archaeological ruins.
Day 5
Rise early today to transfer to Chihuahua Station in good time to board the famous El Chepe train (first class express), departing at 6 am towards Los Mochis.
 
The air-conditioned Chihuahua-Pacifico train, better known as El Chepe, connects Chihuahua with Los Mochis on the Pacific coast - travelling for 405 miles (652 km) through the dramatically beautiful scenery of the Copper Canyon. Formed by six rivers that flow from the Sierra Tarahumara mountains (a part of the Sierra Madre Occidental range) into the Rio Fuerte and on to the Gulf of California, this system of copper green canyons is four times the size of the Grand Canyon, with landscapes that are nothing short of spectacular. Unlike the Grand Canyon, these canyons are covered in vegetation.
 
The first of our stops is at Cuauhtémoc, home to the largest Protestant Mennonite community in the world. We continue towards Creel, the largest village in these mountains, before arriving at Divisadero around 13.00. There are important communities of Tarahumara Indians living here, selling regional food and handicrafts.
 
Here we disembark and check into our hotel, enjoying breathtaking views of the Copper Canyon.
 
Note: The train has a bar, la carte dining car & fast food option, which you must pay for locally (as not included in your ticket).
Day 6
After a morning at leisure in Divisadero, we re-join the El Chepe train - departing at 13.04 for Los Mochis.
 
Our first stop is Bauichivo/Cerocahui - the gateway to the Urique Canyon, which is the largest on our route. Cerocahui is also home to a Jesuit Mission. Our last stop in Chihuahua State is at Temoris, where you can enjoy beautiful views of waterfalls, valleys, ravines, bridges and tunnels. After crossing into Sinaloa State, we stop at El Fuerte with its attractive colonial buildings and beautiful river.
 
After an amazing 15-hour rail journey from Chihuahua, our final stop is at Los Mochis Station where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 7
Transfer to Los Mochis Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Cancun Airport and transferred 1.5-hours to your beach resort on the spectacular Riviera Maya.
 
Check into your hotel and relax on the shores of the Caribbean Sea with its warm turquoise waters, sandy beaches and wonderful snorkelling and diving.
Day 8
Today we recommend driving 3-hours to Chichen Itza (meaning 'Entrance to the Witches Well') for an optional full day tour to the most famous Mayan Ruins in Mexico.
 
The focal point of the Northern Mayan lowlands empire from AD 600 until AD 1200, this city had the most diverse population in all the Mayan world. Therefore there are a wide variety of architectural styles at this site.
 
The most spectacular pyramid is El Castillo with its rich cosmological symbolism - all four sides have 365 steps (number of days in a solar year), 52 rectangles (years in a Mayan century) and 18 terraces (months of their religious calendar). Other structures include the enormous Ballcourt, the Observatory, Temple of a Thousand Columns, Kukulcán Temple, Warrior’s Temple, Convent of the Nuns, El Mercado (market place) and the Sacred Cenote (pool) where human sacrifices were carried out.
Days 9 To 12
At leisure to relax at your tropical resort on the spectacular Riviera Maya, lapped by the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
 
The Great Mayan Reef (Mesoamerican Barrier Reef) stretches from the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula to the islands off the coast of Honduras and is the largest coral reef in the northern hemisphere. Hundreds of species of fish and many endangered and protected marine animals are found here – including Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley sea turtles, Whale sharks and West Indian manatees – making this a paradise for snorkelling and diving.
 
There are many optional activities in this holiday area, including snorkelling at Xel-Ha waterpark (the largest natural aquarium in the world); zip lining at Xplor adventure park; day visits to the famous archaeological sites at Chichen Itza or Tulum; the Mayan caves in Aktun Chen; Sian Ka'anor biosphere reserve and Xcaret cultural theme park.
 
Try a Mayan spa treatment or simply stroll along Fifth Avenue and absorb the holiday atmosphere of Playa del Carmen with its wide variety of bars, restaurants and shops.
Day 13
Transfer 1.5-hours to Cancun Airport for your flight home.

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