9 days / 8 nights

Small Group with English-speaking guides

2019: January 10, November 28, December 14


In this tour:

  • Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Reserve – heaven on Earth in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexican land of the monarchs.
  • El Rosario Sanctuary - the most populous of the butterflies' overwintering sites. This is truly a mystical time with Mother Nature. Lots of opportunities to take good photos.
  • Valle de Bravo - "Mexican Lausanne", an oasis for body, mind and soul, named a "Magic Town".
  • Santa María Tonantzintla and San Francisco Acatepec - the fusion between the Pre-Hispanic and Spanish worlds and views. Enjoy a spiritual atmosphere that’s ‘out of this world.
  • Cholula - archaeological site that is the largest base/mass pyramid in the Americas. You will experience Colonial Mexico, Poblano Cuisine, Markets, Talavera Tile and a mix of pre-Hispanic world and the Christian world.
  • Puebla - more Spanish than Spain itself. Colorful bright colors is a distinguishing feature not only of a local Pueblanian style but also of a Mexican architecture as a whole.
  • Hacienda de Cortes, it was one of Cortes haciendas a long time ago when the Spaniards conquered Mexico. Amazing building grounds and ambiance. You will be surprised. The history is everywhere...!
  • Taxco - World Capital of silver. Narrow cozy streets, paved with rough stone, whimsical houses with fountains, solids of red tile roofs in a background of endless mountaintops make Taxco one of the most picturesque places in the entire Mexico.
  • Cosmovitral Botanical Garden in Toluca - unique stained glass windows, considered the greatest work of stained glass in the world.
  • Mexico City - A City of colonial palaces and architectural modernism.
  • National Anthropological museum of Mexico - a host to the world largest collection of Mesoamerican art, mainly of the culture of Mayan people, Aztecs, Olmecs, Toltecs, Zapotecas, Mixtecas and other people of ancient Mexico.
  • The Pyramids of Teotihuacan - You will delve deep into the mystery of one of the most impressive archeological ensembles of the world. Everyone knows that it is here where the energetic center of Mexico is located.

Day 01. Mexico City. Arrive Mexico City. You will be met up at the Mexico City airport and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Arriving at the grand and vast Zocalo, you can see the great clash of cultures in the 16th Century that forever changed the course of Mexico’s history. Accommodation for 2 nights. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the city, take in the sights, or just relax and enjoy dinner on your own at one of the many restaurants in and around the hotel.

Day 02. Mexico City - Historical Downtown - Anthropology Museum. Breakfast at your hotel. Visit the Historic Center of Mexico City, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. The heart of the fashionable Historical Downtown of the Mexico City is often called the "City of Palaces". Here, in its compact geography, is where history intertwines with the cultural movement and political expression from the times of the Aztecs up to our days. "El Zocalo" is an ideal place to begin a city tour. The Zocalo served as the center of Tenochtitlan, then an island about a mile square containing palace and pyramids, including the Templo Mayor, or Great Temple. Ever since the time of Emperor Montezuma, the area was surrounded by palaces, temples, and other structures. The Aztecs lived here and they extended their empire from here. Now, it is the largest public square in the Western Hemisphere. Here you will see the Metropolitan Cathedral - the most notable monument of Colonial America, built on the top of the remains of the Aztec pyramids. It was the first cathedral in La Nueva España and is the oldest one in the Americas. It has a Baroque-style facade and a 64-meter high Neoclassical-style towers which hold 18 bells. You will observe and visit the National Palace, transformed, is the only survivor of XVII century civil architecture and this is where Presidents of Mexico and some ministries conduct their business. Inside the palace, there are murals painted by Diego Rivera. The more illustrious is "The Legend of Quetzalcoatl" which shows the famous tale of the feathered serpent bringing a blond-bearded white man to the country. You will explore the Palace of Fine Arts, built in the Porfirian era with Carrara marble. In its interior, one can admire a crystal glass curtain made by Tiffany's as well as Works by great Mexican painters as Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo. And in front, you will observe the majestic Post Office Palace - one of many mind-bending buildings in the city, a riot of marble floors and gilded metalwork, recently restored to its full, blinding glory. Walk down on the neighboring streets, now occupied by families, unions, businesses, restaurants and enjoy the ancestral spirit of the Mexicans mixed with renaissance spirit that the Spanish men brought; you will see a whole urban area that is a patrimony of humanity. House of Tiles is an old mansion whose exterior is covered in blue and white tiles. Interesting courtyard with the 20th-century murals. Then, you will enjoy the Empress' Promenade - Paseo de la Reforma. The beautiful promenade was planned early in the 1860s by the Emperor Maximillian of Habsburg to resemble the Champ-Elysees in Paris. The Paseo de la Reforma physically and symbolically unites the two words that encompass the essence of modern Mexico. At the midpoint of this great avenue stands the Angel of Independency. Only a city like Mexico City, with mythology and the future-oriented toward the firmament, can be symbolized in a heavenly monument. Visiting Mexico City's National Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park. See archaeological treasures of the pre-Hispanic civilizations, including the Toltec, Mexica, Aztec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Olmec and Mayan. See the immense Aztec Calendar Stone. After, we will drop you off at your hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 03. The Pyramids of Teotihuacan. Today you depart for the pyramids of Teotihuacan. En route to the pyramids, you visit an obsidian workshop, where a local artisan educates us about the different varieties of obsidian, meaning of traditional figures and ancient carving techniques. You also learn about the process of making pulque, a fermented alcoholic beverage, from the agave plant. About an hour outside Mexico City, you reach Teotihuacan. Human occupation of this broad valley began before the Common Era, but it was only between the first and seventh centuries A.D. that the settlement developed into one of the largest ancient cities in the Americas, home to at least 25,000 residents. The city’s urban plan integrated natural elements of the Teotihuacan Valley, such as the San Juan River, whose course was altered to cross the Avenue of the Dead. This north-south oriented main reference axis of the city aligns with monumental buildings and complexes, from which the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, as well as the Great Compound with the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, stand out. A considerable number of buildings was decorated with elaborate wall frescoes depicting the worldview and environment of that time. Considered a model of urbanization and large-scale planning, the city greatly influenced the conceptions of contemporary and subsequent cultures. At the peak of its development, the city covered 14 square miles. Outside the ceremonial center, which, despite its imposing size, represents just 10 percent of Teotihuacan's total area, excavations have revealed other palaces and residential quarters. After the city was consumed by fire in the seventh century, it was consequently abandoned. Your tour includes the Palace of the Court of the Jaguars, Palace of the Feathered Sea Shells, Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, where ancient frescoes have been restored, Pyramid of the Moon, and Pyramid of the Sun. You may choose to climb to the top of the pyramids. After lunch, transfer to your hotel in San Juan Teotihuacan. Accommodation for 1 night. (Breakfast & lunch)

Day 04. Cholula - Santa Maria Tonantzintla – San Francisco Acatepec – Puebla. After breakfast at the hotel, your day begins with an excursion to Cholula, a city, contiguous to Puebla, but now considered part of the same metropolis. Cholula is also the name of an extraordinary ancient city, a now archaeological site that is the largest base/mass pyramid in the Americas. You will experience Colonial Mexico, Poblano Cuisine, Markets, Talavera Tile and a mix of pre-Hispanic world and the Christian world. Viewing of a pyramid and a catholic temple built on its top. From here, we visit the singular “syncretic” churches of Santa María Tonantzintla and San Francisco Acatepec, where you can appreciate the fusion between the Pre-Hispanic and Spanish worlds and views. Santa María Tonantzintla and San Francisco Acatepec provide magnificent examples of local craftsmanship and the region’s blended Spanish-indigenous influence. Each structure is special and important in its own way, with one displaying its splendor on the inside and the other on the outside. Tonantzintla church is like a person, when viewed from the outside cannot imagine what’s inside. The Tonantzintla interior is so fantastically sculpted, carved and adorned in gold that it is difficult to take your eyes off it. Every square inch of wall and ceiling is covered in wood carved faces, none exactly like the other, some painted in the cherubic white skin, the others -painted in the darker native skin.  Eyes and faces look down and follow you, it seems. It is difficult to believe that a spiritual deity is not omnipresent in this space. The 17th-century church uniquely fuses European and native designs, a style of architecture known today as indigenous baroque. The church of Santa María Tonantzintla is a required visit for anyone who wants to enjoy a spiritual atmosphere that’s ‘out of this world. The fruits, flowers, children, faces, masks, birds, figures of saints and more together form an extraordinary mosaic - that is so typical of the Baroque style and here is interpreted in an indigenous fashion. Less than a mile from Tonantzintla, San Francisco Acatepec offers one of the finest examples of viceregal architecture and Baroque Talavera in Mexico. Upon arrival at Acatepec, the first thing you notice is its beautiful facade, which is entirely covered by locally produced ceramic tiles. Continue your trip to Puebla, more Spanish than Spain itself. Multiple churches and monasteries in a style of Spanish baroque, with colorful facades, narrow streets, small squares and cozy cafes, where every evening local intellectuals get together. Evening arrival and accommodation for 1 night. Pedestrian walk around the evening Historical Center of the city. Colorful bright colors is a distinguishing feature not only of a local Pueblanian style but also of a Mexican architecture as a whole. (Breakfast)

Day 05. Puebla – Hacienda de Cortes – Taxco. After breakfast at the hotel, your day begins with a City tour in Puebla. A city that has become a great metropolis, while still retaining its spectacular colonial ambiance, making Puebla one of Mexico’s most beloved cities. Puebla was and is an important crossroads between the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico’s capital, Mexico City. You will visit the Main Cathedral, the charming Zocalo, visit important churches and chapels, and see the famous candy street. After that, we will depart to the state of Guerrero, to the unique city of Taxco, which has been enrolled in a list of "Magical Cities of Mexico". Your sight will be opened up to a colorful panoramic view of Mexican valleys and majestic mountains, overgrown with gigantic cacti. By the way, visiting Hacienda de Cortes, it was one of Cortes haciendas a long time ago when the Spaniards conquered Mexico. Amazing building grounds and ambiance. You will be surprised. The history is everywhere…! You will take a walk in the gardens and you are swept away to another era. Enjoy cool grottos and nice fish in a little waterway off the patio. Following to Taxco. Arrival to Taxco and accommodation at the hotel - an antique hacienda - for 1 night. Introduction to Taxco - a worldwide capital of silver. The city became famous since the times of Spanish colonial conquests. Narrow cozy streets, paved with rough stone, whimsical houses with fountains, solids of red tile roofs in a background of endless mountaintops make Taxco one of the most picturesque places in the entire Mexico. Taxco is considered a monument of antiquity, and there is an atmosphere of 18th century ruling in the air. A pedestrian excursion around most interesting streets and squares of Taxco, silver stands, and shops. We will see the main square, Plaza Borda, house-museum of Frenchman Joseph de la Borda - founder of a silver business in the city, Cathedral of Santa Prisca, built in the 18th century in a style of classical baroque. Accommodation at the hotel - an antique hacienda - for 1 night. (Breakfast)

Day 06. Taxco – Angangueo - Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Tour. Today you depart for the Sierra Chincua Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. One of the world’s most astounding natural events occurs each year in Central Mexico, featuring one of its most unlikely creatures, the delicate monarch butterfly. Every autumn, tens of millions of monarchs set flight on a remarkable 3,000-mile journey from the northeastern U.S. and Canada to their ancestral wintering grounds in the volcanic mountains of central Mexico. The location of their breeding grounds remained a mystery until 1977, and how an infant generation of butterflies finds it anew each year is still an enigma. We drive into the Central Highlands past dramatic vistas of the snow-capped volcano Nevado de Toluca towering over the pine forests. In a few hours we arrive in the mountain village of Angangueo, where we'll enjoy a traditional lunch of homemade Mexican fare before checking in into our rustic local inn. Once a copper and silver mining town, Angangueo today thrives on butterfly tourism and local agriculture. The village is very picturesque, a tumble of pastel buildings set along steep, narrow cobblestone streets that hug the steep mountain slopes. Visiting today to Chincua Butterfly Sanctuary. When you stand in a monarch sanctuary, your soul is shaken and your life is changed. You will have a number of butterflies alight on your heads, arms, and jeans. No camera can film or capture what you can see with your own eyes. Trees full of butterflies and when the sun comes out the spectacle is awesome. Note that the distance of your hike will vary a bit depending on where the colony is at that time and could wind up being a bit longer. Accommodation for 1 night. The small mountain village of Angangueo is in a remote location, amenities are limited, but enormous charm and authenticity prevail. This simple local hotel enjoys an ideal location in the heart of town, with balconies overlooking the lovely courtyard gardens and the red-tile roofs of the village. (Breakfast)

Day 07. Angangueo – El Rosario Biosphere Reserve – Valle de Bravo. We drive today to El Rosario Sanctuary for another magical encounter with the monarchs. In recent years, El Rosario has been the most populous of the butterflies’ overwintering sites. Seeing millions of butterflies flutter back and forth from an open meadow to their treetop clusters is truly impressive. This is truly a mystical time with Mother Nature. Lots of opportunities to take good photos. We make our second foray into the monarch kingdom at El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, driving high into the hills via an open-topped truck offering panoramic views of the countryside. As we arrive, a few butterflies flit about, a hint of what awaits ahead. Mounting small Mexican horses provided by the local community, we ascend the trail through the forest, hummingbirds, and red warblers accompany us en route to the heart of the monarchs' migratory resting place. What we find is an almost surreal sight: millions of butterflies cover the oyamel fir trees in a delicate, quivering blanket of black and orange, at first glance resembling autumn leaves. Boughs bend beneath their numbers, though each butterfly weighs less than half an ounce. When the sun warms their parchment-thin wings, they take to the air in a whirling cloud of color, so many that the air hums with their movement. Mexico's sanctuaries are the only place in the world where you can actually hear butterflies' wings beating. Sometimes the stream along the forest floor is covered in orange as the butterflies descend to drink. The beauty of the butterflies is so ethereal that many Mexicans still hold the Aztec belief that the souls of the dead are reborn as monarchs. Then, our trip follows through the small farming villages of the State of Mexico on a road lined with fields of fruit trees and nopal cacti. Then the road descends into Valle de Bravo -a town spread out on a shore of the Avandaro Lake, which is called "Mexican Lausanne" for its natural beauty and architectural style. Dalai Lama has visited Mexico in 2006, and it was here, where he decided to build a Buddhist Stupa after observing peaceful energy. Arrival and accommodation for 1 night. (Breakfast)

Day 08. Valle de Bravo – Cosmovitral Botanical Garden – Mexico City. Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to an observational excursion around the city and its surroundings. We will visit the unique temple of the Maranatha Retreat, built in 1860 with the elements of Byzantine, Mediterranean and Asian architecture, lost in the fir forests of Valle de Bravo. It used to be a Carmelite convent, but today it is open to people of all faiths. We will rise to the observation deck, La Pena. Here the mountains are covered with forests of a rare beauty-powerful 200-300-year-old fir trees rise up to 250 feet to support the sky like Atlantis. Here the paragliders take their flights and the view opens up to a breathtaking panorama of the entire Valle de Bravo and Avandaro Lake. We will view a Santa Maria Ahuacatlan temple with its interesting altar of Black Christ and the Parish of Saint Francis of Asis. We will visit a colorful folk art market and walk around colonial streets where houses drown in multicolored bugambilias and violet jacaranda trees. Lunchtime in a romantic floating restaurant, located on the Avandaro Lake with an amazing sight of surrounding mountains. After lunch, we will depart to a town of Avandaro and walk down a beautiful forest path to a Bride's Veil waterfall. This afternoon, as we begin our return journey to Mexico City, we'll stop in Toluca, originally a 13th-century Indian settlement, to visit Cosmovitral Botanical Garden. The building, which houses 500 plant species from Mexico and around the world, glows in the light of stained-glass panels created by Tolucan artist Leopoldo Flores. Say farewell over a Mexican feast before returning to the capital this evening for a late check-in to your hotel. Arrival and accommodation for 1 night. (Breakfast)

Day 09. Mexico City – Home. Transfer to the airport of Mexico City. Departure home.


Rates per person in USD for group min of 10 pax - Taxes and Fees included
Double occupancy DBL$1389
Single occupancy SGL$1695

Price includes:

  • 08 nights at hotels with daily breakfast.
  • 1 (one) full lunch according to the program.
  • Sightseeing as indicated, with an English-speaking guide. 
  • Surface and overland travel as indicated.
  • A daily transport according to the program.
  • Entrance fee according to the program.
  • Hotel bellboys.

Price does NOT include:

  • International flight. The cost is confirmed during the tour reservation. Participants make their own arrangements on the airline of their choice.
  • Meals NOT mentioned in the program.
  • The cost of additional tours and visits along the route.
  • Gratuities for the guides & drivers. You will soon realize that the professional in-country staff is working round-the-clock to ensure the success of the experience. Gratuities are a small way to say thanks.
  • Tour insurance. Tour Operator does not include insurance into the price of a tour.

Payment:

  • A full payment of a group tour is required 70 days before the beginning of the tour. If payment is not received by the due date, the reservations are subject to cancellation.
  • Tour payments are only accepted in bank transfers to the bank account of Milavia International, Ltd, in a bank in the USA. Credit cards are not accepted as a method of payment.
  • The payment for the tour should only occur after the Buyer is provided with a final invoice. The Tour Operator provides a Buyer with a final invoice, which indicates the deadline for the payment. The Buyer is required to comply with the deadlines for the payment, or his/her order is automatically terminated. The fee for the reinstating of the order is US$250.
  • In order to confirm reservation need a deposit of $150 per person will be included into the price if a Buyer agrees to this tour.

Cancellation and monetary refund policy:

  • Cancellation request of the tour must be sent by e-mail address: milaviainter@gmail.com
  • Cancellation of a ground part of the tour program 69 - 50 days before its beginning: full monetary refund with the exception of the expenses spent on refund registration and banking operations.
  • Cancellation of a ground part of the tour program 49 - 31 days before its beginning: 50% monetary refund with the exception of the expenses spent on refund registration and banking operations.
  • Cancellation of a ground part of the tour program 30 days before its beginning and an NO SHOW: no monetary refund would be offered.
  • Cancellation due to extreme weather conditions: no monetary refund would be offered.
  • Unpredictable events (force majeure). There are events that can cause a tour to be terminated, in which case the Tour Operator is not responsible for financial refunds. Such events are: war, revolution, strikes, terrorist threat, natural disasters, fires, and other unpredictable circumstances. The Tour Operator holds no responsibility for these events, thus has no financial accountability to return the funds to the Buyer. Tour operator strongly recommends to purchase the tour insurance and offers it for an additional fee.
  • The tour buyer has the right to choose any insurance company.
  • The tour buyer is fully responsible for tour insurance purchasing or refusal of thereof.
  • Any claim must be made in writing within 15 days after the tour.

Vouchers:

  • Vouchers for the paid service are sent out electronically 10 days before the start of the tour.

Health Problems:

  • If the passenger has health problems or physical limitations of any kind, it is essential to let Milavia International, Ltd know at the time of booking.
  • Passengers with orthopedic problems are not recommended to this tour.
  • Milavia International, Ltd reserves the right to remove any individual at any time during the tour if she/he is physically incapable of participating in the planned activities.
  • Milavia International, Ltd. assumes no responsibility for special arrangements.

What you should bring: Everyone travels differently, and while we do not require that you follow this list exactly, please use it as a guideline for deciding what to pack. What we highly recommend:

  • Two pairs of comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles.
  • Shoes well closed around the ankles.
  • Light clothes for the hiking.
  • T-shirts and shorts.
  • Jeans or khakis.
  • Light and ventilated thick cotton socks.
  • A small backpack with: sunglasses, solar protector, band-aid, repellent, drinking water, camera, regularly taken medicine.

What we do not recommend:

  • Expensive jewelry or other valuables.
  • Heavy backpack.
  • Heavy hiking boots.
  • Expensive electronics.

The Tour Operator Milavia International chooses accommodations that balance comfort, charm and authenticity-an important combination, as we have learned through our many years in business. We mostly choose accommodations that have been specifically designed to place us “where the action is.”   The selection of our accommodations very seriously, as the places we stay can often add to the delight and authenticity of a nature travel experience. Double accommodations have twin beds or one bed that sleeps two, such as a double, queen or king.
The Tour Operator Milavia International includes all activities listed in the tour itinerary page. Milavia International does not sell any optional activities which can add hundreds of dollars to your tour price. Your free time is scheduled in great settings where there is no need to buy additional expensive activities.
Please check today to make sure that you know where your passport is and that it is not expired or about to expire. Your passport must be valid for at least three months from the start of your trip. If your passport expires within three months of your arrival date in Mexico, you may not be granted entry.
Plan to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times during the trip.

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