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GARDENS AND ANCIENT SITES OF MEXICO AND CUBA

12 October – 5 November 2017

Temple-of-Warriors,-Chichen-Itza,-Yucatan,-Mexico
Chapultepec_Castle_garden_wikipedia
Cactus
Havana-street
Granma-Island-(Cayo-Granma),-Santiago-de-Cuba-Bay
ITINERARY
Mexico is home to frangipani, vanilla, tequila, dahlia, zinnias and chocolate! Walk the ancient pyramids of Aztec & Mayan civilisations, experience traditional foods & share the colour of Mexican life. In a nutshell we visit Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende & the Yucatan province. Visit one of Mexico’s greatest artists, Frida Kahlo’s unique home, garden and studio in the compound of Casa Azur. Enjoy Hemmingway’s Cuba, Havana and Vinales.
DAY 1
12 October 2017
Sydney – Puerto Vallarta (D)

Meet your Ross Tour Leader, Linda Ross at Sydney International Airport for our flight from Sydney to Mexico.
Our beautiful hotel has 85 acres of lush tropical jungle and beach.
Welcome dinner on arrival.

Accommodation: Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

DAY 2
13 October 2017
Puerto Vallarta (B/L)

Morning excursion to see the rare and endangered azure Military Macaws at a local sanctuary.
Then we head up the mountains to Puerto Vallarta Botanic Gardens, the vision of one man our friend and founder, Bob Price, who created this tropical paradise only ten years ago. On arrival to Puerto Vallarta Botanic Gardens Conservatory we will be presented with a welcome flower lei and cocktail. Here, vanilla orchids march up cacao trees and sprays of tropical orchids decorate conservatories like priceless jewels. Learn about the vanilla and cacao plants.
Lunch in the wonderful restaurant overlooking the picturesque mountains and gardens.
Back to the hotel to enjoy our resort.

Accommodation: Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

DAY 3
14 October 2017
Puerto Vallarta – Mexico City (B/L/D)

We’ll enjoy an early lunch at a very special beach side restaurant overlooking the sea at Boca de Tomatlan.
This afternoon we fly to Mexico City.
Mexico City is one of the world’s great capitals—a city where the ancient lives alongside the cutting-edge, a place with a formidable art scene and an extraordinary food culture. Its leafy neighbourhoods are graced with Beaux Arts and neoclassical buildings
Check into our hotel located on Paseo de la Reforma, one of Mexico City’s most fashionable avenues.
Dinner included tonight.

Accommodation: Hotel Marquis Reforma, Mexico City,

DAY 4
15 October 2017
Mexico City (B/L)

Drift along the water ways of Frida and Diego today as we experience the music and local colour of the famous Xochimilco canals with the nearby flower market in the morning.
Lunch included on the canals.
We’ll stop in at the UNAM Botanic Gardens on the way back to the hotel this afternoon

Accommodation: Hotel Marquis Reforma, Mexico City

DAY 5
16 October 2017
Mexico City (B/L)

We’ll depart early today to experience the mysterious Teotihuacan, well known for its two huge pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. An indigenous civilization that predates the Maya and the Aztecs.
Lunch included today
Return to your hotel early afternoon

Accommodation: Hotel Marquis Reforma, Mexico City

DAY 6
17 October 2017
Mexico City (B/L)

Begin our day at the Templo Mayor – the birthplace of Mexico, for an introduction into Mexican Aztec culture and architecture. We’ll walk through the Zocalo – one of the largest squares in the world in the front of the Catedral Metropolitana.
Lunch included today.
Visit the National Palace, dating back to 1693. Admire the famous Diego Rivera murals that chronicle Mexico’s history.

Accommodation: Hotel Marquis Reforma, Mexico City

DAY 7
18 October 2017
Mexico City (B/L)

This morning we’re off to the pretty suburb of Coyoacán to Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s home and studio, the Blue House, where Frida was born, lived and died. The museum is full of her works and those of her husband Diego Rivera.
Lunch included today
After lunch we’ll pop into Diego Riviera’s house and studio designed as two separate buildings – one for each artist – joined by a walkway.

Accommodation: Hotel Marquis Reforma, Mexico City

DAY 8
19 October 2017
Mexico City (B)

Morning visit to the Anthropological Museum, one of the best museums in the world, where we will see the monumental Aztec Calendar Stone and treasures from all the Mexican dynasties from 2500 BC to 900 AD.
Free afternoon

Accommodation: Hotel Marquis Reforma, Mexico City

DAY 9
20 October 2017
Mexico City – San Miguel de Allende

What a town! We’ll take you on a tour of this beautiful expat town with colonial architecture, enchanting cobblestone streets and striking light (especially popular among photographers and artists).
Numerous galleries are stocked with quality Mexican artesanías (handicrafts) and cultural activities are on tap for residents and visitors.
Dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel La Morada, San Miguel De Allende

DAY 10
21 October 2017
San Miguel de Allende (B)

First up we visit the El Charco del Ingenio Botanic Gardens filled with local cactus, prickly pears, succulents and giant yucca trees. This 88-hectare botanic garden, is also a wildlife and bird sanctuary, recreational and ceremonial space. Pathways head through wetlands and magnificent areas of cacti and native plants. We’ll see the Conservatory of Mexican Plants, which houses a wonderful array of cacti and succulents.

Accommodation: Hotel La Morada, San Miguel De Allende

DAY 11
22 October 2017
San Miguel de Allende (B)

A unique way to see inside the homes of San Miguel De Allende is with a specially crafted ‘House and Garden’ walk in the centre of the city.
We’ll also visit Stirling Orchid Garden complete with classical Spanish churches and ornate homes.

Accommodation: Hotel La Morada, San Miguel De Allende

DAY 12
23 October 2017
San Miguel De Allende – Mexico City – Merida (B/D)

Depart San Miguel De Allende to Mexico City for our flight to Merida in the Yucatan Province, a region filled with sacred cenotes, ancient civilisations and the birthplace of sisal.
Merida is known as the ‘White City’ due to its great use of limestone and white paint, Merida was a centre for Mayan culture long before the arrival of the conquistadors. Today Merida is a bustling city with much of its colonial influence intact plus a friendly laidback atmosphere.

Check in to our hotel, close by Paseo de Montejo, a wide main avenue known for its elegant 19th-century mansions.

Dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel Hyatt Regency, Merida

DAY 13
24 October 2017
Merida (B/L)

Uxmal, pronounced oosh-mahl, is an impressive set of ruins, easily ranking among the top Mayan archaeological sites. It is a large site with some fascinating structures in good condition and bearing a riot of ornamentation. Adding to its appeal is Uxmal’s setting near the hilly Puuc region, which lent its name to the architectural patterns in this area. Puuc means ‘hills,’ and these, rising up to about 100m, are the first relief from the flatness of the northern and western portions of the peninsula.
Enjoy a visit to Hacienda Sotuta de Peon. Old Haciendas’s are crumbled throughout the landscape, this one is an evocative fully restored example.
We’ll learn about the Henequen Agave (sisal) industry, the material that brought the conquering Spanish here and the wealth that was generated. We will see the process from plant to fibre, and from fibre to finished product, all done on centuries old machinery. See the rows of the magnificent agaves and visit a spectacular cenote, or underground pool, for a swim.
Lunch included
Afternoon free to shop for local crafts or relax.

Accommodation: Hotel Hyatt Regency, Merida

DAY 14
25 October 2017
Merida – Celestún – Merida (B/L)

We’re heading west of Mérida, to Celestún, a sleepy sun-scorched fishing village that moves at a turtle’s pace – and that’s the way locals like it.
Cruise through the mangroves on a boat ride and witness a spectacular show of pink flamingos – also called Caribbean flamingos – as they fly overhead. Watch hundreds of the birds flock on shore as they eat the shrimp-like crustaceans that give the flamingos their unique pink colour. The declared Biosphere Reserve is one of the only places in the world to view such numbers of these fascinating birds in the wild and it is also home to 587 plant species!

Lunch is included today in Celestún

Accommodation: Hotel Hyatt Regency, Merida

DAY 15
26 October 2017
Merida – Chichen Itza – Playa del Carmen (B/L/D)

One of the New 7 Wonders of the World today – Chichen Itza archaeological site, we immerse ourselves into the ancient celestial Mayan Dynasty as we come to terms with the power and passion of Chichen Itza.
Lunch included today
Time for a swim in one of Mexico’s most beautiful cenote, Ik Kil, clear refreshing water will wash the Mayan dust away. It’s safe and easy to walk down the limestone stairs into the cavern below. A day you will never forget.
Transfer to Playa del Carmen
Dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel Petit Lafitte Seaside Bungalow Resort, Playa Del Carmen

DAY 16
27 October 2017
Playa Del Carmen – Cancun – Havana, Cuba (B/D)

Morning flight from Cancun to Havana.
Welcome to Havana, Cuba!
Havana (known locally as La Habana) is the centre of all things Cuban. Walking around the streets is like being on the set of a Hollywood movie. You will see 1950s and 1960s American cars cruising the wide boulevards, while paint peels from glorious Spanish colonial buildings. Old men in straw hats puff on huge Cuban cigars as Cuban ‘son’ music fills the air; it’s hard not to be drawn in by this evocative atmosphere.
Transfer to our hotel in the heart of Havana.
Dinner included tonight
Plenty of live music options to explore tonight.

Accommodation: Hotel Sevilla, Havana

DAY 17
28 October 2017
Havana (B/D)

Enjoy a walking tour of beautifully restored Havana Vieja, the Old Town, the beating heart of Havana, a collection of historic buildings in eclectic architecture styles from intricate baroque to glitzy art deco. Admire the plazas, cathedrals, chocolate shop, cigar shop, and we’ll always have time to stop for a mojito or a cuba libre! Walk a little of the infamous Malecon.
Free afternoon to visit museums, or art galleries. The Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes are a short walk from our hotel.
Dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel Sevilla, Havana

DAY 18
29 October 2017
Havana (B/L/D)

Tour Havana’s gardens today, with a visit to the Botanic Gardens, Jardin Botanico. Spot the shaving brush tree, poinciana, giant sapote. Visit the glasshouses filled with Cuban, Mexican and African succulents and cactus. Meet the pregnant bottle palm and the Cuban Royal Palm in the Palmetum whilst experiencing the recreated Cuban Savannah.
Lunch included in the gardens.
Afternoon exploration of the gardens and grounds of Quinta de los Molinos, a green heart in the centre of the city, the former stately residence of General Maximo Gomez.
Dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel Sevilla, Havana

DAY 19
30 October 2017
Havana – Soroa – Viñales (B/L/D)

Heading out of Havana this morning to meet the owners of a Casa Particular (traditional Cuban homestay) in Soroa. Wander their tropical garden filled with gingers and vegetables.
Soroa, known as the ‘rainbow of Cuba,’ is a gorgeous natural area and tiny settlement southwest of Havana. The region’s heavy rainfall promotes the growth of tall trees and orchids.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Orchid garden. Tumbling down a landscaped hillside garden is a labour of love, built by Spanish lawyer Tomás Felipe Camacho in the late 1940s, in memory of his wife and daughter. Camacho traveled round the world to amass his collection of 700 orchid species (the largest in Cuba), including many endemic plants. Though he died in the 1960s, the Orquidarium, connected to the University of Pinar del Río, lives on.

We’ll take a tour of Las Terrazas, a pioneering eco-village dating back to a 1968 reforestation project. Today it’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with a community of 1200 residents and artists.
Lunch included today
We’ll travel on to Vinales and drink in the shimmering sight of the red fields ploughed with oxen, and palm frond covered tobacco drying houses. Arrive at our pastel pink colonial style hotel with views of the valley.
Have a dip in the pool, book a salsa lesson or even try a cigar if need be!
Dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel Los Jazmines, Viñales

DAY 20
31 October 2017
Viñales (B/D)

The Valley of Vinales is studded with rugged limestone monoliths called mogotes. This is traditional rural Cuba at its finest – cigars, oxen, and agriculture.
This morning we’ll see cascades of orchids and thickets of orange lilies in the gardens of the cute Casa de Caridad Botanic Gardens.
Then a visit to a tobacco plantation and drying house for an introduction into the history and production of Cuban cigars. See how the most famous cigars in the world come to be.
Take a break at an organic farm with a beautiful view.
In the afternoon we’ll visit Del Indio Cave, rediscovered in 1920. Motor boats ply the underground river through the lit cave.
Dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel Los Jazmines, Viñales

DAY 21
1 November 2017
Vinales – Havana (B/L/D)

Back to Havana we go, with lunch included along the way. A visit to Cojimar, the inspiration for Hemingway’s most famous work, the Pulitzer prize winning “The Old Man and the Sea”. Peek into Hemingway’s House, Finca Vigia on the hill. The little house Hemmingway bought and lived in from 1939 to 1960. See the lake where Ava Gardner swam and relaxed among the whispering bamboo and palms.
Then we’ll enjoy a classic car tour on the Malecon. Will it be a pink Cadillac or shiny black Chevy?
Farewell dinner included tonight

Accommodation: Hotel Nacional, Havana

DAY 22
2 November 2017
Havana /Cancun (B)

Free time this morning for last minute shopping and sightseeing.
This afternoon we say farewell to Havana, on our flight to Cancun
Check into our hotel in Cancun.

Accommodation: Hotel Four Points Sheraton Cancun Centro

DAY 23
3 November 2017
Cancun, Mexico to Australia (B)

Depart Cancun on our flight back to Sydney

DAY 24
4 November 2017

In flight

DAY 25
5 November 2017

Arrive home

HOW TO BOOK

To secure your booking and make your deposit of $2,000, please complete our online booking form. You will be contacted by a Ross Tours Travel Manager to confirm your details and preferred method of payment.

CANCELLATIONS

Cancellations received 180-120 days prior to departure will incur loss of deposit.
Cancellations received between 119-60 days prior to departure will incur a 50% cancellation fee.
Cancellations received between 59-30 days prior to departure will incur a 75% cancellation fee plus any non-recoverable costs incurred.
Cancellations received within 30 days prior to departure will incur 100% cancellation fee.

Cancellations must be sent in writing.
Cancellation fee is based upon the total amounts paid including tours, airfares and all other travel arrangements.
Please refer to the Ross Garden Tours standard terms and conditions

TOUR INCLUSIONS
TOUR ESCORTED BY
LINDA ROSS
  • Return group economy airfare with Qantas and Aero Mexico
  • Mexico deluxe accommodation
  • Cuba best available accommodation
  • Deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
  • Breakfast daily, 11 lunches and 11 dinners
  • Ross Guide and National (English speaking) Guides
TOUR PRICE

Twin Share including air $14,495 per person
Single Supplement $2,895

All prices in Australian Dollars.
Prices based on minimum 12 passengers.
Price is based on departure from Sydney.
Price from NZ and other Australian ports available on application.

DISCOUNTS

Book and pay in full by 12/6/2017 to receive the Early Bird Discount of $300.00 per person off the final instalment.
Previous Traveller Discount $100
Garden Clinic Member discount $25

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POSTCARDS

Read what our tour leaders have written about Mexico here.

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