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Say Hola to a tour that's more than just tacos and tequila and prepare for una buena adventure into the heart and soul of Mexico. From Aztec to Zapotec, La Copita to Pasita - travel on this cultural cocktail, that blends the best of the country's ruins, cuisines and natural wonders into an eight-day journey through colourful markets, indigenous culture and all the Mezcal you can manage. From the fiery capital of Mexico City to the culinary paradise of Oaxaca, whether you're hanging out in a quirky bar in Puebla, exploring the ancient ruins of Mitla or discovering the vibrant art scene of Oaxaca, you're guaranteed to get a taste of Mexico's magic at every turn.
Mexico CityBienvenidos! Welcome to Mexico. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm, if you arrive earlier then why not use your free time to check out this incredible city! Modern meets ancient in Mexico City - one of the world's largest urban centres. Although crowded and smoggy, D.F. (Distrito Federal) offers a great variety of impressive museums, galleries and architecture, along with exciting night life and delicious street food. Head to the Zocalo, the city's huge central square, to see Aztec ruins and colonial architecture, relax in one of the many parks, plazas and gardens or take an Urban Adventure with an expert local guide, find out more at urbanadventures.com.
Mexico CityToday your leader will show you around the historic city centre. Visit Zocalo Square, a prominent central meeting place since Aztec times, and soak up the sound of rapid-fire Spanish and booming drums that fill the vast space. The dome-topped Palacio de Bellas Artes is the next must-see attraction. Within the stark white marble palace, you will find walls painted by the likes of Diego Rivera. You can spend the afternoon doing whatever takes your fancy in the heart of Mexico. Why not sit down for lunch at a fonda (a home that a family has opened to the local community as a restaurant). You can usually grab a typically delicious three course meal for less than 5 AUD. Alternatively, you might like to join an Urban Adventure to the archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan where a local guide will take you down the 'Avenue of the Dead', pointing out the famous Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. Find out more at urbandventures.com
Cacalomacan / PueblaSay Adios to Mexico City this morning and travel by private vehicle to Cacalomacan (approximately 2 hours) and get crafty with a Mexican Metal Embossing Workshop. Learn about the art of embossing and hear the stories behind the talented artisans as you create your own piece of intricate work. After mastering the art of embossing, indulge in a delicious lunch, wash it down with ‘la copita’, a unique cocktail made of capulin, guava and tejote, and perhaps try out some of your new Spanish – delicioso! Continue on your 4-hour journey to Puebla. Learn the local lingo en route as your learned leader teaches you the all-important phrases – like how to order a cerveza! Arrive in Puebla at around 6 pm and get to know the city on a short orientation walk with your leader. The rest of the evening is at leisure, Puebla has plenty of markets where you can brush up on your bargaining skills or pick up some local handicrafts. For dinner this evening, why not try some mole poblano, a native Puebla dish that's famous all over Mexico.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
PueblaToday is free for you to explore at your own pace. Perhaps check out one of the many well-maintained churches and buildings from the colonial period or brush up on your bargaining skills at one of Puebla’s any markets. If you're looking for something active, go for a hike near one of the area's looming volcanoes, or visit the Great Pyramid of Cholula – containing five miles of tunnels and ancient history with the enormous Popocatepetl Volcano serving as a backdrop. Puebla is also Mexico’s culinary capital, so why not head out and indulge in some street food such as chiles en nogada (stuffed chillies covered in creamy walnut sauce). For something a bit more dramatic, check out a Lucha Libre show, the famous Mexican sport where masked musclemen combine wrestling and theatre in a memorable performance. This evening, head out for an optional group dinner before joining your leader for a drink at La Pasita. Pasita is a sweet liqueur made of raisins, served in a caballito (tequila glass), and decorated with a cube of fresh goat cheese and a raisin stuck on a toothpick. This bar is particularly famous because of its particular way of serving the pasita – quench your thirst with this delicious beverage, listen to the story behind the fame, and admire the unique decor which makes the bar a stand-out.
OaxacaGet cosy with the locals as you travel by local bus to Oaxaca (approximately 4 hours), where a culinary paradise will await you – this is a great time to crack a book or take a nap. Stretch your legs with an orientation walk once you arrive, and the rest is up to you. A beautiful old colonial town, Oaxaca is full of graceful arcades and colourful markets. Descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec indigenous people selling colourful woven blankets and shawls populate the markets – a great place to shop for textiles and margarita flowers. The city is also known for its arts scene, including folk art, fine art and dance as well as its many unique regional dishes – and you should feel free to let your nose lead the way – tamales de rajas (chilli and tomato tamales) are a good place to start, a delicious hand-held meal that’s been a staple in the area for thousands of years.
Mitla / OaxacaCheck out more of what Oaxaca has to offer on a full day tour of the city and the surrounds. Meet your local guide this morning, who will take you to the Mitla ruins, which were once the religious centre for the Zapotec, an indigenous people of Mexico. Later, sip on the famous, tequila-like local booze, mezcal, at a mezcal factory and visit the Tule Tree, a 1500-year-old tree that's over 11 metres in girth. Head back to your hotel and if you still have the energy, the evening is free for you to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy Oaxaca’s nightlife.
OaxacaToday is a free day to explore Oaxaca at your own pace. Why not try your hand at whipping up the local cuisine with a cooking class, or venture to Hierve el Agua which is a group of stunning natural rock formations where the minerals resemble cascading waterfalls, or perhaps visit to the archaeological site of Monte Alban and check out the amazing view across the three legs of the valley of Oaxaca. Alternatively, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the streets and take the opportunity to feast on some regional delicacies, including the delicious banana-leaf-wrapped ‘tamales’ to the spicy baked chilli and lime grasshoppers, there's no shortage of unique and delicious fare, usually sold by the lovely old ladies of the markets. Season depending, a folkloric ballet performance is an also a great optional activity.
OaxacaAdios to those who are ending their journey here.
- Mexico City - Leader-led City Tour of Historic Center
- Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
- Cacalomacan - Mexican Metal Embossing Workshop
- Puebla - Leader-led orientation walk
- Puebla - Visit to La Pasita Bar
- Oaxaca - Leader-led Orientation Walk
- Mitla - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
- Oaxaca - Guided full-day tour including the Tule Tree and a Mezcal distillery
2 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included
Health and Safety Protocols for Intrepid Tours
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced protocols in hygiene and sanitation. We will put in place additional measures, in line with government health advice and with global health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene.
Handwashing is one of the most important safety measures to prevent the spread of disease. Intrepid will actively reinforce its importance by:
- Implementing a handwashing policy that dictates when, how often and for how long all staff, leaders and crew must wash their hands on-trip.
- Promote the importance of hand hygiene to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Contract suppliers that have hand hygiene protocols in place
- Contract suppliers that provide hand sanitizer in public places (where applicable)
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of hand hygiene via training.
Practicing good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of disease by reducing the number of droplets in the air when you sneeze or cough. Intrepid will:
- Actively reinforce its importance to customers through signage and online customer material.
- Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of respiratory hygiene via training.
- Contract suppliers who have respiratory hygiene protocols in place.
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them. Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that masks should only be used as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy and that the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene must also form part of the strategy.
On our trips, regardless of destination, the following people must wear medical/surgical masks:
- Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of whether or not they have been tested yet.
- People caring for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases (outside of hospitals/clinics).
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them.
- People over 60
- People with underlying health conditions
- Provide medical/surgical masks as part of the First Aid Kits carried by leaders.
- Educate leaders, crew, staff and customers on the correct method to wear, handle and dispose of a mask.
- Require all customers, leaders and staff to comply with any local regulations or requirements that require the use of a mask in public or in certain places
Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it is not necessary for the public to wear fabric masks generally.
However in certain circumstances, in places where community transmission of COVID-19 is high and/or physical distancing is not possible (e.g. on public transport, in shops or in other confined environments) then a fabric mask can be a useful barrier to prevent the spread of virus.
Fabric masks be purchased commercially or handmade, and are generally not standardised like medical masks. Fabric masks should:
- Cover the nose, mouth, and chin
- Be secured with elastic loops or ties
- Include multiple layers
- Be washable and reusable.
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced sanitation processes. Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their cleaning and sanitation protocols
- Audit/monitor all suppliers on their cleanliness and sanitation.
- All cleaning and disinfecting products must be approved by health authorities (e.g. WHO).
- All rooms must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be available in public areas.
- There must be a process in place for customers to escalate any concerns regarding hygiene or sanitation.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- All tents must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between use.
- If staying at a campground, ensure all bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels. If the area is remote, with limited facilities and/or minimal staffing, then customers should be informed to bring their own hygiene equipment.
- All mini buses, transfers, charters, overland trucks must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Hand sanitizer should be made available
- Close top bins with bin liners should be available on board and disposed of at every stop
- Must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day
- Tables and chairs must be disinfected after each guest use
- Avoid buffets where possible. If buffets are used, prevent customers from handling food and operating machines (e.g. self-serve coffee stations)
- Either disinfect shared use objects (e.g. table salt) between guest use. Where possible, Intrepid will try to source safe alternatives to single serve packaging.
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
- Preferred: Provide hand sanitizer to guests at the door before entry
- All equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guest us
- Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
Limiting the number of surfaces touched by large numbers of people helps prevent the spread of disease. Therefore, it is important to proactively move towards contactless or low touch solutions for travel. Intrepid will:
- Prioritise contactless/low touch as a key feature when sourcing new tech or solutions.
- Remove any paperwork required on the ground (e.g. signing forms, feedback cards)
- If details must be entered using a shared device (e.g. insurance details), then it must be disinfected between each customer. Preference is to move entirely to digital solutions.
- Accommodation should provide online check in (no paperwork)
- Contactless keys (e.g. QR codes)
- Contactless tech (e.g. lights)
- Online ticketing for attractions and transport
- Online payment
Physical distancing is important in the preventing the spread of COVID-19 as it can be transmitted via droplets sprayed when coughing, sneezing, singing, yelling etc…
Intrepid will take the following measures:
- Require all suppliers to detail their physical distancing protocols
- Follow local regulation and advice on the need for physical distancing.
We will continue to offer this as an option. Single supplements are available for single travellers who do not wish to share a room. We will work closely with accommodation suppliers to ensure increased availability of single rooms.
- Consider whether it is appropriate to offer single tents for solo travellers as customers will be much closer together then in a traditional room.
- Consider whether staggering meal times may reduce the number of people sharing a dining tent.
Intrepid will consider the following factors when designing or amending transport options on trips.
- Local laws or requirements regarding physical distancing on transport
- Hygiene protocols of the transport provider
- Level of active community transmission in the destination
- Using designated seating on transport. Customers have assigned seats throughout the trip.
- If trip is longer than 15 minutes and air conditioning is available, it must be set to external airflow rather than to recirculation or windows should be opened for the duration of the trip.
- Designing or amending itineraries to reduce the duration of travel.
- Increasing the size of the vehicle, using multiple vehicles.
- Educate all leaders, crew, staff and customers to maintain a 1.5m distance wherever practical in public (e.g. queueing at a museum).
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds by visiting attractions at off-peak times.
- Proactively design product to avoid crowds on public transport or at airports where practical.
- Follow local regulations on table spacing and guest seating in restaurants. Wherever possible, try to ensure groups are sitting at their own table without strangers in restaurants.
- Proactively design product that focuses on experiences that assist with physical distancing (e.g. picnics over crowded marketplaces) if relevant for that destination.
Screening for COVID-19 helps isolate anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and stops the spread of disease. It is likely to become more common for future travellers.
Pre-Departure (Brand Material)
Customers should be informed as part of ‘Essential Trip Information (ETIs) or other similar trip notes if their trip is likely to include any of the following:
- Testing for COVID-19 before being able to pass through immigration and/or board planes.
- Negative test results to be uploaded for visa purposes.
- Thermal temperature checks in airports, train or bus stations, major hotels or attractions.
Pre-departure, all customers are required to fill out an online questionnaire (“self- declaration/assessment” form) to identify any high-risk customers before travel.
Extra qualifiers will be included to address customers with symptoms that can be contributed to pre-existing conditions (e.g. breathlessness to asthma).
Customers answering YES to any question should be removed from the departure and appropriate arrangements made.
Intrepid will not require a negative COVID-19 test as proof of health from customers or leaders at this stage unless it is required by local law or regulations.
This is partially due to the lack of availability of testing for people with no symptoms in many parts of the world and may change in due course.
- Ask customers, leaders, crew and staff to monitor their own health
- Display appropriate signage on COVID-19 symptoms
- Educate leaders, crew and staff on how to identify COVID-19 symptoms
- Describe COVID-19 symptoms in group meetings
If customers, leaders or crew show symptoms of COVID-19 and are either unable to or unwilling to be tested, Intrepid reserves the right to remove them from our trips to prevent any risk to others.
Flexible Booking Conditions
Customers will be supported by flexible booking conditions to stay home if unwell or displaying symptoms
Flexible Work Conditions
Intrepid will support leaders and crew to stay home rather than lead a trip if they are unwell or displaying symptoms. Schedules will need to be created with back up availability of leaders/crew.
Data Collection & Health Tracking
Intrepid will assist government health departments in tracking and tracing any customers, staff, leaders, crew or suppliers at risk of contracting COVID-19 via exposure to a known case and/or outbreak by providing relevant details in line with privacy laws and regulations.
COVID Tracking apps
Intrepid strongly recommends that customers and staff download COVID tracking apps (e.g. COVIDSafe in Australia, StayHomeSafe in Hong Kong) to assist in reducing the spread of disease within their communities.
Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?
Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?
Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.
The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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