Whale Shark & Butterfly Migration - Hot Air Balloons & Aztec Culture - Awesome Experiences

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Whale Shark & Butterfly Migration - Hot Air Balloons & Aztec CultureMexico

From £2,456 per person for 6 nights (based on 2 adults sharing)*
From monarch butterflies gathering in fir forests to the vast whale sharks of La Paz, this is the chance to enjoy a totally different type of safari. You’ll get up close to Mexico’s wildlife in its natural habitat, on an adventure through central and northern Mexico.

Perfect for:

Must-do Outdoor Experiences Wonders of Wildlife
Summary

Mexico

Every October, millions of monarch butterflies begin a journey of nearly 3,000 miles to the centre of Mexico. At the same time, migrating whale sharks return to the Bay of La Paz in Baja California. We’ve devised this trip so you can experience both of these incredible migrations, taking in sights including vibrant Mexico City and the pyramids of Teotihuacán along the way.

AWESOME ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR PRICE:

  • Surround yourself with thousands of monarch butterflies, in the tranquil fir forest around Angangueo
  • Fly high above the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacán in a hot air balloon
  • Discover Mayan treasures and taste the sweet delights of the country’s most famous chocolatier in mesmerising Mexico City
  • Snorkel with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the ocean

Your adventure begins in Mexico City, where you can wander Aztec ruins, sample the sizzling restaurant scene and discover the city’s artistic heritage. Then it’s time to hit the road and head for the fir forests near Angangueo, where the air is filled with great orange clouds of more than one hundred million monarch butterflies. Cars are banned in order to protect these creatures, so you’ll travel on horseback to see them up close. 

You’ll get the chance to float like a butterfly yourself when you take an awe-inspiring hot air balloon ride over the pre-Columbian pyramids of Teotihuacán, once one of the most important cities in Mesoamerica. Then you’ll fly to the laid-back coastal city of La Paz, where the beaches are lapped by the Sea of Cortez, a rich marine ecosystem that Jacques Cousteau once described as ‘the world’s aquarium’. Here you’ll don your snorkel and flippers for an incredible encounter swimming with whale sharks, the biggest fish on earth. These enormous yet docile creatures are a wonder to behold, and this is an experience that you will never forget.

Whale Butterfly Summary


Please click the Full Itinerary tab for the full daily itinerary, details of what's included and information about children and solo travellers.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £600 per person and take approximately 12 hours outbound, 15 hours inbound depending on exact flight configurations and layover times. 

For this particular experience, we have found that the best option is to book a multi-stop flight from London - Mexico City - La Paz - London. 

Experience start point: Mexico City (MEX). Arrive at any time.

End point: La Paz (LAP). Depart at any time.


All tour departures up to 31st December 2018 are part of our Pioneers Club promotion. Click here for more information about the Pioneers Club.

Map
Full Itinerary

Itinerary

Mexico

Day One: Welcome to Mexico

Fly into Mexico City International, where you’ll be greeted and taken by private transfer to your hotel. On the drive from the airport, you’ll see the sheer scale of this mega-city, passing neighbourhoods packed with Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings as well as modern skyscrapers. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, the rest of the day is free to get acquainted with its attractions. Perhaps wander through the Templo Mayor, the Aztec ruins right at the centre of the city, crammed between old colonial buildings packed with shops, cafés and government offices. Or settle down to dinner – the city is packed with restaurants vending excellent nuevo-Mexican cuisine.  

Overnight in Mexico City

Classic - Hampton Inn & Suites 

Premium - Hotel Zocalo Central 

Deluxe - Hilton Reforma

Meals included: None

Mexico City Skyline


Day Two: Your First Taste of the City

You’ll spend your morning wandering Mexico’s buzziest barrios and most breath-taking buildings (including the biggest cathedral in Mexico, the Metropolitan) with a private guide. Then indulge in the country’s most celebrated crop – cocoa – on a chocolate tasting with the country’s master chocolatier, the internationally-renowned José Ramón Castillo. Castillo takes inspiration from the Mayans, who discovered cocoa back in 900AD, as well as the Aztecs, who used it for drinks, tax – and even suncream. Continue on to the National Museum of Anthropology, packed with perfectly preserved Mayan treasures. Marvel at frescoes, tombs and murals set in an ultra-modern building, In the evening, there’s an optional chance to watch respected dance company Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez perform dances from across the country, at the spectacular Palacio de Bellas Artes (see the Extras tab for information on cost).

Overnight in Mexico City

Classic - Hampton Inn & Suites 

Premium - Hotel Zocalo Central 

Deluxe - Hilton Reforma

Meals included: Breakfast

Metropolitan Cathedral


Day Three: Capital of Culture

Your day starts with a visit to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The campus has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its modernist buildings covered with murals (by Diego Rivera and others) depicting the country’s history and culture. Then it’s onto the ‘blue-house’, once home to Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo. Now a museum, it offers an intimate insight into how she lived and worked, as well as a collection of her paintings.  Afterwards, a car will take you 120 miles from Mexico City to Angangueo, an old mining town that is now the best place to see the migrating Monarch butterflies.

Overnight in Angangueo

Classic, Premium and Deluxe - Hotel Posada Don Bruno (differing room types)

Meals included: Breakfast

Frida Museum


Day Four: Forests of Butterflies

In the morning, you’ll travel by horseback up the hill to the Angangueo butterfly sanctuary. Once there, you’ll wonder at a scene straight from a story book:  fir trees drip with the weight of thousands of Monarch butterflies who are huddling for warmth. Thousands more float through the air, resting wherever there is a perch – including on you. The delicate creatures fill the sanctuary with tranquility. Later, transfer by private car to the Villas Arqueologicas Teotihuacán, where you’ll stay for the night, ready to explore the ancient archaeological site named The City of Gods in the morning.

Overnight in San Juan Teotihuacán

Classic, Premium and Deluxe - Villas Arquelogicas Teotihuacan (differing room types)

Meals included: Breakfast

Butterflies


Day Five: The High Life

We’ve found an unforgettable way to see the incredible pyramids of the ancient city of Teotihuacán – by hot air balloon. Savour the vistas from on high, then enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and explore the complex up close, visiting its spectacular Sun and Moon pyramids. A car will then take you to Mexico City International Airport to catch your flight to the hip coastal city of La Paz. A shuttle will be waiting at La Paz airport to take you to your hotel.  

Overnight in La Paz

Classic - La Concha 

Premium - Hotel Catedral La Paz 

Deluxe - La Posada La Paz

Meals included: Breakfast

Teotihuacan Hot Air


Day Six: Snorkel with Sharks

Meet at La Paz’s waterfront at 9.30am: it’s time to swim alongside one of the greatest creatures on Earth. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean, but their docile nature means that you can glide alongside wearing just a swimsuit, snorkel, mask and flippers. After a short boat ride out into La Paz bay, jump into the water and see if you can keep up (whale sharks swim as fast as humans walk; around 3mph). If you get tired, or would rather stay out of the water, there’s the chance to witness their sheer scale and take plenty of pictures from the boat. The trips last two hours. When you return to shore, you’ll be free to explore the city. Perhaps learn about more of La Paz’s sealife at the Museo de la Ballena, but do leave time to soak up the relaxed atmosphere of the Malecon waterfront come evening; it has spectacular views of the city’s neon-infused sunsets over the sea.

Overnight in La Paz

Classic - La Concha 

Premium - Hotel Catedral La Paz 

Deluxe - La Posada La Paz

Meals included: Breakfast

Whale Shark


Day Seven: Time to Fly

After a final breakfast and check-out, you’ll have a private transfer to La Paz Airport for your return flight home.

Meals included: Breakfast


Overall meals included: 6 Breakfasts


Accommodation: 

You will get a choice of hotel options for the duration of your experience:

Classic ★★★

Classic hotels provide mid-range accommodation (minimum three-star rated), with comfortable rooms and private facilities. We’ve selected these hotels based on positive client feedback.

Premium ★★★★

Premium hotels are typically upper mid range (usually four star), with more amenities than our classic choices. They all have comfortable rooms with private facilities and have received good client feedback.

Deluxe ★★★★★

Deluxe hotels are luxury hotels with excellent facilities and service, usually categorised as 4.5 or 5 star. Clients rate them extremely highly.

When booking an experience, please remember that the hotel category you select is for the whole tour. The table below displays the hotels listed for each category. Please note that the actual hotel selection will be driven by availability at time of booking.


What's included:

  • Private English-speaking guides unless stated otherwise
  • Private transfers and internal flights, unless stated otherwise
  • Meals as listed
  • Mandatory taxes and service fees
  • Entrance tickets and permits unless stated otherwise
  • Hot air balloon flight over Teotihuacán pyramids with glass of sparkling wine 
  • Horse ride to see monarch butterflies
  • Boat excursion to see and swim with whale sharks

What's not included:

  • International flights to/from the start/end point of our experiences
  • Optional extras listed
  • Round trip transfer from hotel in La Paz to meeting point for whale shark tour on Day 6. You might want to consider getting a taxi. 
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Any visa, customs, airport taxes or similar charges before or after the tour
  • We cannot guarantee the included hotel breakfast for early departures
  • Drinks during meals unless stated otherwise
  • Personal expenses, such as laundry


For Home Office travel advice to this country, read more here

Children: Children must be aged 8 or older for the hot air balloon flight over the Teotihuacan pyramids and aged 7 or older for the Angangueo Monarch butterfly sanctuary. To swim with whale sharks, children are allowed at any age, but must be able to swim and be under adult supervision.

Note: This trip includes an excursion to see and swim with whale sharks. If you’d prefer not to do this, please see our Monarch Butterfly Migration, Aztecs & Hot Air Balloons itinerary.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £600 per person and take approximately 12 hours outbound, 15 hours inbound depending on exact flight configurations and layover times. 

For this particular experience, we have found that the best option is to book a multi-stop flight from London - Mexico City - La Paz - London. 

Experience start point: Mexico City (MEX). Arrive at any time.

End point: La Paz (LAP). Depart at any time.

All tour departures up to 31st December 2018 are part of our Pioneers Club promotion. Click here for more information about the Pioneers Club.

Extras

Awesome Experience bonuses

Many of our experiences have optional features available at an added cost. Please see below for available extras for this experience. Please continue to checkout to select any optional extras and to see pricing information.

Optional Extras

To customise your experience, you can select any of theses extras at an additional cost during the basket stage.

Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez Performance

Watch the respected dance company, Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez, perform dances from across the country at the spectacular Palacio de Bellas Artes in the evening.

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