Pre-Conference tour - Mexico & Merida

Please note, registration for this conference will close on Friday 19 January


26 FEBRUARY - 04 MARCH 2018

If visiting Mexico then Mexico City is a must! Spend 2 days exploring its sights, including the huge Zocalo (Main square) and the amazing Teotihuacan pyramid complex just outside the city. Merida - situated on the North Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula & the capital of the peninsula - has a rich Mayan & colonial heritage. The city’s focal point is Plaza de la Independencia & it also has Mayan archaeological sites not far away, two of which we’ll visit

Depart Sydney for San Francisco & onto Mexico City, arriving in the evening of the same day
TUE  27            MEXICO CITY                                                                        B/L
Today you'll discover the delights of this city. You'll visit the Zocalo - the common name of the huge main square in the city - bordered on each side by the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Federal District & the old merchant buildings. You'll see the interior of the Cathedral & visit the National Palace to view the beautiful Diego Rivera murals, painted between 1929 & 1951. See Chapultepac Ave & Reforma Ave, a wide avenue that runs diagonally across the heart of Mexico City. We travel to the suburb of Coyoacan, the city's historic centre named by the Aztecs. After lunch, there's some free time to wander this area or the option to visit the famous Frida Kahlo Museum, which was her home until her death. She was a Mexican painter who mostly painted self-portraits & was married to Diego Rivera. Here Kahlo's, Rivera's & some other artists' work is on display, as well as photographs, artefacts & personal items  
WED  28           MEXICO CITY                                                                        B/L
We'll spend the morning exploring Teotihuacan, an ancient Mesoamerican city near Mexico City. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in Teotihuacan, believed to have been constructed about 200CE. Apart from the pyramids, it's also anthropologically significant for its complex, multi-family residential compounds; the Avenue of the Dead & the small portion of its vibrant murals that have been exceptionally well-preserved. After lunch we'll visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism. The Old Basilica was replaced with a new modern one in the 1970's & you can visit both sites
THU  01            MEXICO CITY - MERIDA                                                        B
Today we fly to Merida, the capital of Yucatan state, which has a rich Mayan & colonial heritage. A city with pastel buildings & block after block of houses dating to the mid-19th century & earlier, its focal point is Plaza de la Independencia. It is one of the country's largest historic centres outside Mexico City. On arrival, we'll do a walking tour of this quaint town before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant
FRI  02            MERIDA - UXMAL - KABAH - MERIDA                                   B/L
This morning we travel to the Uxmal Archaeological Zone, one of the most well-known of the Maya cities. It was one of the largest cities of the Yucatan Peninsula & at its height, was home to about 25,000 Maya. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition if its significance & the ruins of the ceremonial structures represent the pinnacle of late Maya art & architecture in their design, layout & ornamentation. After lunch we explore the Mayan archaeological site of Kabah, the 2nd largest ruin of the Puuc region after Uxmal. The most famous structure is the "Palace of the Masks", the facade decorated with hundreds of stone masks of the rain god Chaac. This massive repetition of a single set of elements is unusual in Maya art & here it is used to unique effect


SAT  03            MERIDA                                                                                  B                                                                      It's a day at leisure for you to explore Merida further - visit a museum, take a horse & carriage ride or go shopping


SUN  04            MERIDA - EK BALAM - RIVIERA MAYA                              B/L/D                                                                We leave western Yucatan Peninsula & travel east, visiting Ek Balam, a Yucatec-Maya archaeological site. From the pre-classic until the post-classic period, it was the seat of a Mayan kingdom. The Acropolis is the largest structure & is believed to contain the tomb of Ukit Kan Le'k Tok', an important ruler in Ek Balam. You can still climb the Acropolis for a splendid view of the archaeological site. The colonial town of Valladolid is our lunch stop followed by a quick a walking tour of this cute colourful town. A common site is women wearing traditional indigenous clothing around town. Then it's onto Riviera Maya for our conference week




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