WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
All tour information is correct at time of tours going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking.
We reserve the right for our Program Directors to modify participation, or in some circumstances send travelers home if their limitations are impacting the group’s experience.Please note: This tour was designed to introduce you to the remote, yet stunning beauty of Southern Mexico. Knowing what to expect will assist you in preparing for this tour and will ultimately make this a more enjoyable vacation. It is important to realize that this corner of Mexico is still remote and rustic. Some of the accommodations and services are basic by American standards. Meal choices may not be as extensive as on other our tours and hotel facilities may be limited. The tour requires walking on uneven surfaces and climbing some stairs. This tour is best enjoyed by the experienced traveler in reasonably good health who can take it in good humor when all the “comforts of home” aren’t readily available. Some parts of the itinerary may be subject to delays or variation due to circumstances beyond our control.
During your Tour, you’ll have reliable assistance available at all times from an
onsite Program Director. Your Program Director is a resident of Mexico who is
fluent in English and can give you an inside perspective on your destinations. Your Program Director is supported along the way by local tour guides, who will guide you expertly through particular sites and cities.
We are graduates of professional education programs for travel
guides. In addition, we receive specialized training that is based on
what we’ve learned from thousands of past travelers about how to make the trip most enjoyable. Your Program Director offers both a deep knowledge of the region and a commitment to make this a very pleasant, informative, fun and rewarding travel experience for you.
Your Program Director will provide sightseeing trips, handle all travel details and provide any other assistance you may need.
You will be in the company of the Program Director throughout your Escorted Tour all the time.
Passport and Visas
A U.S. citizen needs a passport for this itinerary.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months following your scheduled return to the United States. Also, you must have 1 blank page available in your passport for entry into Mexico. Keep in mind this page must be labeled “Visas” at the top (blank “Amendments and Endorsements” pages are not acceptable). If both of these requirements are not met, you may be refused admittance to Mexico and, consequently, required to return to the U.S.immediately.
The smartest and easiest security precaution you can take is to carry photocopies of the personal information pages of your passport, your air ticket, and your credit cards. Store them separate from the originals. Bring along extra passport sized photos. Add phone and fax numbers for reporting lost credit cards, for your travel protection plan company (if you have purchased one), and your medical emergency network. This can save you immeasurable time, money, and bother if your documents are lost or stolen during your trip.
If you have a condition that requires special equipment or treatment, you must bring and be responsible for all necessary items related to your condition. Please note that this trip is not wheelchair accessible.
We do not recommend traveler checks, in Mexico there is no places to exchange them and if they do, they will charge you a commission.
We highly recommend you bring small denominations such as U.S. $1, $5, $10, and $20, as larger bills are less readily accepted or exchanged.
There is no need to obtain local currency before your trip. You can change money at most hotels, and money exchange offices. Please note that torn, dirty, or taped bills may not be accepted.
In some places they won’t take dollars, we recommend you to change some dollars to pesos in Mexico city after you arrive in a money exchange office.
Also, debit cards give you a reliable payment method and ready access to local currency. We recommend you use a debit card for withdrawals at ATM machines when you need cash, as it will allow you the flexibility of accessing money at your convenience .
Always notify your bank before you leave home that you are going abroad so that they may remove any blocks on your account and also ask them about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad. For cash withdrawals, don’t forget to memorize the actual digits of your card’s 4-digit PIN (Personal
Identification Number), as many keypads at foreign ATMs do not include letters on their numeric keys, they only display digits.
Note on ATM use: Many banks have begun imposing a fee ranging from $1 to $5 every time you use one.
Though major American credit cards ( Visa, and MasterCard) are accepted abroad,
always inquire if your type of credit card is accepted before deciding on your purchase. It is also wise to notify the credit card company that you will be using your cards abroad so that they may remove any security block. When using a major credit card you may receive a different exchange rate or an extra tax than if you pay with cash; inquire about the rate first. Please be aware that credit cards might not be accepted for small purchases in the markets. Discover credit card does not operate outside the U.S. Keep your receipts in case you have questions about the conversion or exchange rate.
The currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso; 1 peso equals to 100 centavos. Currency
consists of banknotes and coins as follows:
banknotes: 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 pesos
coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, pesos plus 20 and 50 centavos.
It’s important that you bring a supply of $1 bills for shopping. The locals cannot make
change for large bills. In addition, we recommend that wherever possible you carry your purchases home with you, especially if they are valuable or fragile. (Remember to leave some extra space in your luggage when you are packing for your trip, so you can fit in your vacation purchases.)
For those of you who have asked for tipping suggestions, we offer these guidelines.
All tips below are quoted in U.S. dollars; tips can be converted and paid in local currency or in U.S. dollars (this is usually preferred) (do not use personal or traveler’s check for tips). Of course, whether you tip, and how much, is always at your own discretion.
Program Director: It is customary at the end of your trip to express a personal “Thank You” to the Program Director.
We recommend $6-$7 per person, per day. Please note that tips for our Program Directors can only be in the form of cash, in local currency or in U.S. dollars.
Included Group Meals: Most meals are included in this tour, for the one that are not included, you would use the same % for tipping as in USA, from 10 % – 15 %.
Your program director will let you know if you need to tip the local guides of the area. If this is the case $2-$3 per person for the afternoon will be recommended.
Motor coach Driver:
We recommend $3-$4 per person, per day.
All the tips for the maids are included. If you feel like leaving a token of appreciation, then $1 will be recommended.
All the tips for the bell boys are included.
Due to the limitation of space on motor coach transfers, you’ll be restricted to one piece of checked luggage per person. We do not consider a personal effect that you carry yourself (such as a purse or an umbrella) a carry-on.
The restrictions on baggage weight, size, and number of carry-on pieces for your flights will vary among airlines. At time of printing, the current industry standard for most flights is 50 lbs per person for Checked luggage.
Pack casual clothes: Comfortable, informal apparel is perfectly acceptable at each of your destinations.
Basic pants, shirts, walking shorts, sportswear, everyday dresses/skirts, supportive shoes, and functional outdoor clothes that are relatively easy to care for are recommended. At dinner, you will not need to wear “dressy” clothing; men do not need jackets or ties and women do not need fancy dresses. You may want
one or two “smart casual” outfits for the Welcome Reception or Farewell Dinner, but it’s completely up to you.
Comfortable, supportive walking shoes are essential: The country’s magnificent archaeological sites, churches, museums, markets, and shops truly invite exploration by foot. But negotiating the cobblestone streets and rather uneven sidewalks can be a challenge—even for the most surefooted traveler. For your comfort and safety, you’ll need supportive walking shoes.
Rain gear: Regardless of your month of travel, rainfall is certainly a possibility. We suggest you bring a folding umbrella and waterproof shell, preferably with a hood.
- Inner bags: Use plastic shopping bags, nylon stuff sacks, small zipper duffels, or special mesh bags to separate clothing and gear inside your suitcase, and for dirty laundry. Isolate liquid toiletries in heavy-duty Zip-Loc bags.
- luggage tags for all bags: Lock luggage on all flights outside of the U.S.
- Sunscreen, SPF 15 or stronger
- Insect repellent with DEET
- Travel money bag or money belt
- Wide-brim sun hat or visor for sun protection
- Pocket-size tissues
- Packets of moist flushable towels and/or antibacterial “water-free” hand cleanser
- Photocopies of passport, air ticket, credit cards
- Your own prescription medicines
- Anti-diarrhea tablets, like Imodium.
The better way to do this is buying calling cards that are sold in Mexico( telcel phone cards). If you purchase a prepaid calling card in USA it won’t work in Mexico.
Do not call U.S. 1-800 numbers outside United States. This can result in costly long distance fees, since 1-800 numbers do not work outside the country.
Also if you want to make a phone call from your room there are always fees for that. Please ask first in the front desk the cost per minute and the cost to connect your phone call.
Please talk to your cell phone company and let them know you are traveling to Mexico and see if they have the service for you. In most of the places only the cell phones of the Mexican company Telcel will work.
Though digestive problems are not uncommon in Mexico, excessive caution is unnecessary if you follow a few basic rules: Do not drink tap water. Use the bottled water in your hotels for drinking and brushing your teeth.
There is going to be complementary bottled water available at all times on the bus.
Water served in the hotel dining room is also safe to drink.
It’s best not to eat or drink unrefrigerated dairy products or any food sold by street vendors. Your may want to take along some medicine such as cipro to combat any intestinal problems.
Mexico has the same current as in USA, you won’t have any problem using your electric appliances at your vacations in Mexico.
People who visit Mexico rate shopping at the local markets as one of the most rewarding travel experiences they encounter.
Mexican traders do love a good barter, but beware: if they feel you are trying to devalue their goods too much, they will become upset and may even refuse to trade with you.
Bargaining and barter are common activities in Mexico, especially at markets and artifact stores and handicraft workshops.
Never accept the first price you’re offered, but be realistic with your offers, and don’t become too aggressive with your position.
Speaking Spanish – If you speak Spanish (even broken Spanish) you stand a much better chance of getting a better a deal on your purchases. This another good reason to Learn Spanish in preparation for your next visit to Mexico.
Markets and Street Traders – Mexican market traders are usually polite people who enjoy a good trade negotiation but, equally, they may become offended if you are too obstinate and will simply cease bargaining with you completely. Keep in mind that the people selling arts, crafts and artifacts are generally poor artisans making a simple living and often supporting a family. Some may also be the creators of the wares they are offering for sale, so any deep devaluation of their work might be taken personally, too.
Department Stores, Malls – Department stores and large (chain) hotels will not barter with you—you’ll have more luck bartering with the check-out assistant of your local supermarket!
Taxis – Some taxis are not metered (especially in small provincial towns) so strike a bargain with your price before you get in.