VRCM CENTRAL MEXICO TOUR with Victor Romagnoli

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Ancient Monuments, Colonial Gems & the Day of the Dead

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Day of the Dead Festival in Oaxaca; A comprehensive exploration of the best of central Mexico: Colonial charm; Traditional cooking class; Ancient and modern history; Archaeological wonders

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before any applicable taxes. The pricing reflects twin-sharing, per-person costs without airfare to/from the tour; however, we can book flights from your home airport for an added cost. Contact us for a no obligation quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Mon 28 Oct 2019Wed 13 Nov 2019 $5460 USD

Due to hotel policies re deposits during festival time, we require a $500 per person deposit at time of reservation, and an additional $1000 per person 6 months before tour start. After this point your deposits will become 100% non-refundable/non-transferrable.

Optional Single Supplement: $1051 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $625 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.


Tour Overview


This tour will be led by senior Tour Leader, Victor Romagnoli, who invites you to join him on this special journey:

"I'm always excited to return to Mexico, one of my favourite countries and a place that is a cultural and historical giant, right here in our own back yard. The richness here is staggering, and it's only on a trip like this that one can get a feel for the real Mexico that lies beyond the all-inclusive beach resorts on the coasts. To better understand Mexico's unique and ancient culture, we are delighted to coincide this trip with the annual Dia de Los Muertos -- "Day of the Dead" -- festivities in Oaxaca, one of the best places in which to witness this incredible spectacle.

Join me on this unique exploration of the "other side" of Mexico!"

Regions visited: North America
Countries visited: Mexico


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City
Arrival in Mexico City.

Welcome to the capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. This is the country's largest city as well as its most important political, cultural, educational and financial center, and a logical place to begin our exploration of this fascinating country.

Today we'll meet in the lobby of the hotel for a 4:00 pm (bus) departure for a tour of the Anthropological Museum at Chapultepec Park. The museum is considered one of the world's great museums, not only for its rich collection, but for the originality and practicality of its design. This is an excellent introduction to the astounding historical and cultural richness of Mexico. After our visit we'll convene for our first dinner.

Overnight in Mexico City.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Mexico City Touring
We begin our day at the Zocalo (Plaza de la Constitución) in the heart of old Mexico City. We visit the Catedral Metropolitana, dating from 1562, taking over 250 years to complete. It reflects the most popular architectural styles from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Inside the church you will see several chapels fashioned in the churrigueresque style -- an ornamental baroque style.

We then depart for the south of Mexico City to Xochimilco. Until just over a century ago, Mexico City was surrounded by lakes that were all connected by canals. Produce grown in the south was taken by this system to the north of the city and vice versa. Starting in the late nineteenth century, various drainage schemes were introduced, and today only the Xochimilco system in still intact. With its network of canals and artificial islands, it testifies to the efforts of the Aztec people to build a habitat in the midst of an unfavourable environment. We'll have a relaxing boat ride on the canals and experience a little of ancient Mexico far from the bustle of the city.

In keeping with today's historical-cultural theme, we'll also visit a couple of traditional neighbourhoods including Coyoacan, founded by the Colhua of Culhuacán, who in the seventh century had it as tributary. Hernán Cortés established here the first City Council that would briefly rule the capital of New Spain after the conquest of Tenochtitlan. Because of its magical environment, its abundant vegetation, its tranquility and its provincial characteristics, many personalities of the stature of the writers, José Juan Tablada and Rubén M. Campos, as well as the painter José Chávez Morado, artists Dolores del Río, Emilio "Indio" Fernández, Frida Kahlo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and Diego Rivera. In this place, a large number of cultural activities are concentrated to the present day throughout the year, such as art exhibitions, concerts, plays, dance, parties and festivals.
 
We also stop at San Angel, known as Tenantitla in pre-Hispanic times, meaning "walled place" as it was protected by a natural barrier of volcanic rock from the eruption of the volcano Xitle. Its population were dedicated to handicrafts and fields cultivation. Several trades of tradition are preserved here, such as the San Ángel Inn Restaurant, housed in what used to be an old Hacienda.

Overnight in Mexico City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Mexico City - Oaxaca & Monte Alban
This morning we fly south to Oaxaca.

As we enter town, there is a statue of Benito Juarez, a Zapotec lawyer from a nearby village, and Oaxaca's most famous son. Oaxaca is the capital of the state of the same name. Surrounded by green, densely forested hills, modern Oaxaca has been the site of a town since at least the time of Christ. Later, in the 15th century, it became an important Aztec town until it was captured by the Spaniards. The modern city has a Baroque flavour left over from the colonial period, and is a center of native culture and art. In the city center we will visit colonial monuments, gardens, palaces, plazas, temples, and monasteries.

This afternoon (depending on arrival timing we may head directly to the site before our hotel check-in -- your Tour Leader will advise) we visit the site of Monte Alban, visiting the site museum before walking out onto the site. Situated on a flattened mountaintop, the site affords commanding views of the Valley of Oaxaca, a stunning vista of endless mountain peaks. Monte Alban was an important religious site and today is one of the most impressive places anywhere; we stop at the ball court, the plaza, the Gallery of the Dancers, and the Observatory, considered to be the oldest in Mesoamerica.

Our visit to Oaxaca coincides with Dia de los Muertos, or 'Day of the Dead', celebrations. Each year, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, villagers throughout Mexico empty out of their homes and into local cemeteries to welcome the souls of their dearly departed. There are bouquets of marigolds and candles as far as the eye can see, and gravestones are cleaned and festooned with flowers. Families don embroidered indigenous dresses for feasts, for which they cook their deceased relatives' favourite foods. Oaxaca is one of the most spectacular places in the country to experience this annual spectacle, and the whole town and its surrounds will be festooned with décor and music and festive flavours; the special Day of the Dead street markets around town are particularly interesting and colourful.

Overnight in Oaxaca.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Oaxaca & Day of the Dead
Today we embark upon a walking tour of Oaxaca, including the Governor's Palace, an attractive building housing several outstanding murals by Arturo Garcia Bustos (sometimes closed without notice).

Many of the Day of the Dead altars you'll see in Oaxaca are works of art. Schools and social organizations hold contests for the best altars and some of them are astonishingly intricate and beautiful. You may see paths of cempasuchil petals leading up to altars. These are believed to help the dead to find their way.

We'll also plan to head down into the crypt of the San Miguel Convent to see the way it is decorated for this night. We'll also visit the village of Xococotlan to visit the specially-decorated cemetery. Back in Oaxaca, we'll be sure to stroll about the town centre after dark in order to take in the festivities.

Overnight in Oaxaca.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Oaxaca, Mitla & Etla Village
Early this morning we travel 45 km to the fascinating site of Mitla. En route we stop at the Tule Tree, or "Taxodium Mucrunatum". In Spanish, it is called "Sabino". This extraordinary tree is supposed to be over 2,000 years old with a circumference of almost 60 metres!

We continue to Mitla, a beautiful Zapotecan site distinguished by the finely-carved and inlaid stones that form unique geometric patterns. Another feature of the site is one that ties the pre-Columbian world with that of the Spanish Conquest: a small colonial church on the site of the ruins, typical of those that the Spanish frequently built as a symbol of the new religion they were bringing to this new the land.

We depart on the road back to Oaxaca, making a stop at a Mezcal maker en route. Mezcal is a liquor made from the Maguey Agave, as opposed to Tequila, which has the Blue Agave as its primary ingredient. We will have an interesting look at Mezcal production, which is done on a small scale when compared to Tequila (produced in Jalisco State, not far from Guadalajara).

Back in Oaxaca, we visit the ex-Convento de Santo Domingo (Regional Museum or Museo se las Cultruas de Oaxaca), one of the best museums we will visit on the tour. This museum contains, among other things, the Mixtec treasures from Tomb 7 at Monte Alban. Related to the Day of the Dead, the Palacio de Gobierno is usually filled with huge sand tapestries every November 1st.

This evening we include a visit to the nearby village of San Agustin Etla. On November 1st they perform wild carnival-like parades dressed as highly-stylized skeletons. The party here is also well-known for its Day of the Dead comparsas, rolling crowds of musicians and costumed characters. The Etla municipality was founded in 1583, and its Day of the Dead comparsas have been celebrated since time immemorial. The bands and costumed revelers (representing archetypal figures such as the Dead Husband, the Devil, the Priest, and so on) move from house to house, playing music, dancing, and eating.

Overnight in Oaxaca.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Oaxaca: Cooking Class
Today in Oaxaca, we have the chance to know more about the wonderful unique food from this region in a half-day cooking class. Our class offers you the opportunity to learn, hands-on, the complex cuisine of Oaxaca. We will learn about the ingredients, enjoy hand-made meal preparation, mezcal tasting and, of course, enjoy the meal we prepared at the end of the class.

Balance of the day at leisure to enjoy Oaxaca (dinner on your own this evening).

Overnight in Oaxaca.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 Oaxaca - Puebla: Walking Tour
We have morning departure from Oaxaca for a scenic journey of about 5 hours, with stops along the way.

The various species of cactus you are seeing on the hillsides in this arid area are the Pitahaya (organpipe) cactus. It looks like what its name suggests: many shoots, and very large. The small, single-stemmed cacti, which cover the hillsides for miles around, are the Saguaro. We will make stops to view/photograph these curious plants, as well as the expansive mountain and valley views afforded by this high pass.

Upon arrival we'll embark on a walking our of Puebla. The city has a fascinating history: it is the only city in Mexico that was founded specifically for the Spanish colonialists, in 1531. As a result, the city has a distinctly European feel, with grand boulevards, Parisian-style arcades, imposing monuments and street-side cafes, but all with Mexican flair.

We will see some of the city's many ornate churches including the gold-leafed Capilla del Rosario. Also included this afternoon is the Museo de Santa Monica. This "secret convent" reflects the period when nuns and priests were forced underground -- literally -- in 1857. This convent was discovered in 1935 and later turned into a museum. The convent's entrance was through the homes of the religiously faithful through cupboards in the dining hall; today the entrance to the convent-cum-museum is still through a private home.

Overnight in Puebla.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Puebla: Cacaxtla & Cholula
This morning we drive to Cacaxtla, located in what historians have named the "trade corridor". On arrival we walk approximately 800 metres to the great mound of the main pyramid. This site is particularly interesting for the colourful frescoes that date from the middle of the 7th and 8th centuries. Each of the murals relates important facts about the culture of the ancient people; one unexpected discovery is the presence of the Maya who hailed from the Yucatan some 1300 km (800 miles) away! Of particular importance is the "Battle Mural."

We then travel to the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the largest in Mexico, though it is almost all hidden inside a hill. About 10 minutes of walking through a very narrow and interesting tunnel takes us deep inside the pyramid. The pyramid is solid, but archeologists made many tunnels, most of them closed to the public, in order to see what lay beneath the massive pyramid's exterior. We continue outside the pyramid walking clockwise around the pyramidal mound, looking down on the far side at a fairly extensive site. Those with the energy might walk up to the church at the top of the pyramid hill.

We return to Puebla.

Overnight in Puebla.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Puebla - Teotihuacan: Site Tour
This mornng we skirt Mexico City and travel to the massive archaeological site of Teotihuacan (500 BC-AD 700). We travel through scenery of pine forests, rivers, waterfalls and magnificent mountains. En route we will pass the Popocatepetl volcano, said to be dormant, but occasionally belching forth a puff of steam! Estimated at 2.5 million years in age, this "Smoking Mountain" soars to 5452 m/17,882 feet.

Teotihuacan was the first major urban area in the New World and was named "the City of the Gods". On the site we will see the Pyramid of the Sun, which the adventurous can climb. This is the pyramid at which the cult of the famous god Quetzalcoatl began. Legend dictates that he allowed himself to be tested by bravely casting himself into a fire. He survived the fire but was transformed into a plumed serpent. Other structures on the site include the Pyramid of the Moon, the Avenue of the Dead, and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. We have a comprehensive tour of the site, including the excellent museum, before heading to the hotel.

Overnight near Teotihuacan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Teotihuacan - Tula - San Miguel de Allende
This morning we travel to San Miguel via Tula, capital of the Toltecs.

Tula achieved dominance between AD 950 and 1150. According to Aztec legends it was a magnificent place -- palaces were decorated with gold, turquoise and jade. These riches were earned as tributes from conquered territories, for the Toltecs were great warriors. The greatest monuments at Tula today are the huge Atlantean statues, standing 5 m (16 feet) high on top of the Piramide de Quetzalcuatl. Originally these stone figures would have supported the roof of a temple. The pyramid on which they stand (and also other carved columns behind the Atlantes) features reliefs of warriors, snakes and crocodiles -- some traces of the original bright paint remain.

We continue to San Miguel de Allende, one of Mexico's most beautiful towns. Most of its buildings date from the 1600's and the colonial period, and new construction must follow building standards so that it fits in stylistically. The town has a flourishing artist community.

On arrival we'll have a walking tour of San Miguel, starting at El Jardin, the main plaza, and on to the house of Ignacio Allende, an attractive example of an 18th century San Miguel house. After a pause at the museum we cross to La Paracchia, the main church with its bizarre Gothic towers added in the early part of the 20th century. We then walk over to the ex-convento of La Purissimo Concepcion to see the courtyard and the hall with a strange mural by Alfonso Siquero (who was implicated in an attempt on Leon Trotsky's life). We finish with a visit to the ex-convento of San Francisco.

Overnight in San Miquel.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 San Miguel - Guanajuato
We continue our journey through central Mexico to the Guanajuato, located in the Bajio, a central lowland plateau. Our route is scenic, and our first views of Guanaguato, located on a deep valley below, are spectacular. Guanguato is best known as a mining town; the modern city is riddled with tunnels, many of which have been converted to auto-routes to expedite traffic around the city.

Overnight in Guanajuato.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Guanajuato: City Tour
This morning we enjoy a walking tour of the cobbled streets in this colonial city which became famous from silver mining. The city is alive with music everywhere; at the Jardin de la Union bands play year-round. We visit La Compania Church, University Campus, the Diego Rivera Museum, located in the house where he was born. There are several rooms of Rivera's art and some powerful photos of a bedridden Frida Kahlo.

Alhondiga is the fortified granary where, on September 28, 1810, 260 Spanish families were massacred inside where they had taken refuge from the ‘insurgentes.’ There is a very good museum inside with some rooms with pre-Conquest artifacts, as well as several rooms dealing with colonial and revolutionary history. We visit the Municiple Market, designed by Gustav Eiffel and brought here from Europe. After a visit to the Teatro Juarez, we take the funicular to La Pepila for superb views over town. In 1989 the whole city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site to preserve its colonial character.

In the afternoon, we drive up to visit the church of San Cayetano near the Valenciana silver mine. You will have time in the afternoon to explore Guanajuato's many picturesque little plazas on your own. This is a great city for people watching! (dinner on your own this evening).

Overnight in Guanajuato.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 13 Guanajuato - Morelia: Walking Tour
Today we travel to Morelia.

Morelia has the atmosphere of a European cathedral town. Set at a bracing altitude of 1930 m (6,368 feet), it is the state capital of Michoacan and one of Mexico's most gracious cities. It rests on a gentle sloping hill overlooking the Valley of Guayangero and is another of Mexico's colonial gems -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- wonderfully restful and clean with wide boulevards, lovely squares, and shady parks. Architecturally, the city is of the 17th and 18th century Spanish colonial style, proudly displaying numerous masterfully restored mansions, churches, and civic buildings. Most are oft pink-coloured stone with lacy, delicate facades.

On arrival we will have a walking tour of Morelia, starting at the courtyard of the Collegio San Nicholas, where Miguel Hidalgo was rector in the early 19th century, and where Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon was a religious student. We walk through the Plaza de los Martires (the Zocalo) to the Cathedral, an extraordinary building that took over 100 years to build. We leave the cathedral and walk a few blocks to the Casa de Morelos, a very fine example of a Morelia house from the late 18th century and good displays regarding Mexico's War of Independence.

We then walk a few blocks to the Casa de la Cultura with its excellent Museo de las Masqueras, which exhibits masks from all over Mexcio. Our next point of interest is the Plaza Valladolid and the Casa de los Artensanias where you can see artisans working on weaving and carving and other crafts.

Overnight in Morelia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Morelia & Patzcuaro
Today we have an excursion to Patzcuaro, located 30 minutes from Morelia.

We stop en route to visit the archeological site at Tzintzuntzan, which was the Tarascan capital at the time of the conquest. The nearby village is renowned for its woodcarvers and there are a number of studios where one can admire their work. Patzcuaro's cobbled streets lie across a hillside, looking down toward a pristine lake dotted with islands. Patzcuaro is also of great interest to the history buff as it was central to the careers of two of Mexico's most diametrically opposed characters -- Nino de Guzman and Vasco de Quiroga. We will spend today enjoying this beautiful town on the edge of a mountain lake. We see the Temple of the Compania de Jesus, formerly a cathedral, as well as the mid-16th century Basilica which was made a cathedral in 1907, replacing the Temple of the Compania de Jesus.

We later return to Morelia where we overnight.

Overnight in Morelia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Morelia - Guadalajara
Today we travel to Guadalajara, the capital city of the state of Jalisco and the second largest city in the country. It is considered a colonial city, though much of its architecture dates from the independence period. It has a far more relaxed feel than Mexico City and contains many nice areas for walking. Time-permitting today, we may accomplish some of our on-foot sightseeing upon arrival (dinner on your own this evening).

Overnight in Guadalajara.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 16 Guadalajara: City Tour
Guadalajara is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico and Latin America. Endowed with an extraordinary climate, this is the land of Mariachi, Tequila, the Instituto Cultural Cabanas (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and home to a wide culture that ranges from fine art to the height of the popular arts.

The heart of City of Roses is the Centro Historico. This is where we will learn about the foundation of this city and explore the well-preserved 16th and 17thI century architectural masterpieces of Cross Square surrounding the Metropolitan Cathedral. Visit magnificent colonial buildings like the Governor Palace, Cathedral, City hall, Liberty Square, gallery of Illustrious Jaliscians, Degollado Theater, Tapatia Plaza, the Cabanas Cultural Institute, and Liberty Market.

We'll also head out of the centre to Tlaquepaque ("Tla-Kah-Pa-Keh"), a fashionable colonial neighbourhood in the southeast of Guadalajara, was once a small village in its own right, even in pre-hispanic times. Today, it's a trendy shopping district offering fine arts and crafts, galleries, and excellent food.

Overnight in Guadalajara.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Departure
Departure from Guadalajara.

BUEN VIAJE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Casa Conzatti

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Oaxaca
Country: Mexico

In the former home of an 1800s botanist, this simple hotel in the historical center faces Jardin Conzati. The straightforward
... and suites come with flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers and safes. Wi-Fi and room service are also available. A down-to-earth restaurant/bar featuring wood ceiling beams offers seating in a courtyard.
Read More.

Hotel Colonial de Puebla

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Puebla
Country: Mexico

A 4-minute walk from Puebla Cathedral, this Spanish colonial-style hotel in the historic district is 6 minutes' walk from the
... Museum. Featuring dark wood furnishings, the understated rooms come with complimentary Wi-Fi.
Read More.

Villas Arqueológicas Teotihuacan

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Teotihuacan
Country: Mexico

This relaxed hotel, set in an archaeological zone, lies 2.3 km from the Pyramid of the Sun and 3.1 km
... the Pyramid of the Moon. The elegant rooms include colonial decor, cable TV and electronic safes.
Read More.

Casa Primavera

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: San Miguel
Country: Mexico

Please note that we will be using this hotel for our 2019 trip (not the Casa Sierra Nevada). Please note
... it is rated as 3.5 star.

This refined hotel in a whitewashed building is 1.8 km from Museo del Juguete Popular Mexicano and 1.9 km from Templo de San Francisco.
The cozy, richly decorated rooms feature traditional furnishings, and include balconies, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers. Suites provide additional space, while upgraded suites have walk-in closets.

Read More.

Hotel San Diego

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Guanajuato
Country: Mexico

Set in a building featuring Spanish Colonial architecture, this traditional hotel is a 2-minute walk from the 1903 theater Teatro
... in a central location. The hotel does not have air-conditioning, but at the time we visit, and due to elevation, conditions will be quite mild. Our preference is to be central, as the town is a delight to explore on-foot, and all large chain hotels are located quite far from where we want to be.
Read More.

Hotel Misión Catedral

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Morelia
Country: Mexico

A 2-minute walk from the Morelia Cathedral, this upscale hotel in a restored 16th-century Spanish Colonial–style mansion is within a
... stroll from 4 museums in the historic city center.

Read More.

Hotel Morales

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Guadalajara
Country: Mexico

this elegant hotel in a restored 19th-century, neoclassical building with an interior courtyard is 6 minutes' walk from Guadalajara Cathedral.
... wood floors and traditional furniture, the airy rooms come with free Wi-Fi
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast daily; most dinners and one lunch daily (as per tour itinerary). All transport (including internal flight), accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Full time Tour Leader with guide support. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, hotel porters (if available). Airport transfers for land & air customers.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuity, most lunches and some dinners, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on not included meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered at the coolest and most comfortable time of year on the central plateau. Conditions can vary depending on elevation, but you can plan on warm days/cool nights in most locations. In and around Mexico City (including Puebla), which are over 2000 metres, days are quite mild and nighttime can be downright chilly. Similarly, Guanajuato, also at 2000m, is very mild/comfortable to Oct/Nov with average temperature in Guanajuato 16C (61°F); afternoons can be fairly warm with average high temperatures reaching 23C (74°F).

Transport and Travel Conditions

Road transport by private air-conditioned motor coach, 15-30 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). The country's roads are generally good though we do have some long (though scenic and interesting) travelling days with plenty of stops of interest. Numerous walking tours in towns and cities on uneven surfaces and at sites that are large.

Accommodation

Well-located, air-conditioned, upper-range (mostly 4-star) hotels with en suite toilet and bath throughout. Hotel porter service is available (see 'Inclusions') though you should be independent with your luggage. Some hotels have outdoor swimming pools, though weather conditions might be a bit on the cool side in some places.

Staff and Support

Driver/s, local guides in various locales, full time Tour Leader (Victor Romagnoli).

Group Size

Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader