Mexico

Mexico: Behind the Headlines

Go behind the headlines to understand a country recapturing its rich, complicated heritage – and standing up to tyranny on both sides of the border.


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Starts At
$3,300

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Length
13 days




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Your Itinerary


Tour Difficulty:

Tour Highlights

  • See Mexico City through the eyes of prominent national activists, from the pyramids of Teotihuacan to the home of Frida Kahlo and the lives of today’s journalists battling corruption
  • Meet a world-famous activist and former priest in historica Puebla who led the fight for accountability within the Catholic Church
  • Visit with indigenous communities in Oaxaca and Zapatista communities in Chiapas, experiencing first hand the power and history of their struggles for freedom
  • Have your breath taken away by the natural beauty of Mexico, from Sumidero Canyon to Hierva el Agua and the Lagunas de Montebello
  • Taste an authentic version of Mexico: the rich, powerful flavors of mole, the rediscovered secrets of pre-hispanic Zapotec cuisine, and a mix of the ancient and the modern in the distillation of traditional spirits mezcal and pox.
Day Briefing

Arrival​ ​to​ ​Benito Juarez International Airport​ ​and​ ​transport​ ​to​ ​​hotel. Introductory dinner in the evening to meet the other travelers and Justice Travel team, and to understand the current​ ​situation​ ​in​ ​the​ ​country and goals of the trip.

Hotel: Hotel Imperial, on the famous Paseo de la Reforma


Day Briefing

In the morning, visit the Anthropology and History Museums and Victims Memorial, all accompanied by Centro Vitoria, leading civil society organization in Mexico​ ​City. Understand how the past and the present are linked, and the current situation with disappearances and corruption in the country.

In the afternoon, lunch in Coyoacán with Fondo Semilla, leading women’s rights NGO, and a visit to the House of Frida​ ​Kahlo.​ ​

Hotel: Hotel Imperial


Day Briefing

In the morning, ​visit​ ​​the​ awe-inspiring ​pyramids​ ​of​ ​Teotihuacán outside Mexico City. 

In the afternoon, visit the Tlatelolco​ archaeological​ ​site and the Tres Culturas Square. Dinner with Article 19, leading international NGO who works to defend journalists. After dinner bus tour of historic and downtown Mexico City.

Hotel: Hotel Imperial


Day Briefing

In the morning, travel to Morelos (2 hrs) and meet with a famous Mexican activist and former priest who helped uncover sexual abuse in the Mexican Catholic Church and has fought for years to bring accountability and justice for the victims.

In the afternoon, travel to Puebla (1 hr) with the rest of the day free to explore the city. Typical poblano dinner in the evening.

Hotel: Hotel Loa Inn, in the historic center of Puebla


Day Briefing

In the morning, ​travel​ through the scenic Central Valley ​to​ ​Oaxaca (4 hrs).

Free afternoon after arriving at the hotel in Oaxaca. In the evening, a typical mole dinner with Rhizomatica, a company building a locally owned mobile network among indigenous communities​ ​in​ ​Oaxaca.

Hotel: Real de Oaxaca, a few blocks from the zócalo (plaza)


Day Briefing

In the morning, visit the pyramids of Monte Alban (Danipaguache), the center of the Zapotec world from 500 BC to 200 AD.

In the afternoon, visit​ ​Calpulalpam,​ a​n​ ​indigenous​ ​town​ ​and home to a famous mezcal factory. Traditional lunch known as “caldo de piedra” and a tour (and tasting, of course) at the factory.

Hotel: Real de Oaxaca


Day Briefing

Spend the entire day with Consorcio Oaxaca, an indigenous feminist organization fighting for justice across Oaxaca.

In the morning, we’ll visit “Hierve el Agua”, a sacred place for the Zapoteca people, and in the afternoon to Ocotlán, a traditional town where the local church has been restored by women from the Zegachi community.

Hotel: Real de Oaxaca


Day Briefing

Flight to Chiapas in the morning. Travel to the hotel, lunch in the zócalo of San Cristobal de las​ ​Casas and a visit to the EZLN Community Center.

Afternoon​ ​free​ ​to​ ​explore​ ​town. Dinner and discussion with Centro Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, leading NGO​ ​in​ ​Chiapas to explain the delicate human rights situation in the region.

Hotel: Casa Mexicana, in the historic center of San Cristobal


Day Briefing

In the morning, a visit to indigenous Zapatista communities with NGO Enlace Civil. Learn about the​ ​Zapatista​ ​autonomous​ ​movement,​ ​their​ ​history​ ​and​ ​their​ ​struggles.

In the evening, dinner and discussion about forced displacement in Chiapas.

Hotel: Casa Mexicana


Day Briefing

Visit to the “El Chiflón” Waterfall and to the national park of Lagunas de Montebello. Lunch with local environmental activists fighting deforestation and environmental destruction​ ​in​ ​the​ ​area. Tasting of pox, a local alcoholic drink, after lunch.

Hotel: Casa Mexicana


Day Briefing

Tour the spectacular Sumidero Canyon in Chiapa de Corzo.

Flight​ ​back​ ​to​ ​Mexico​​ City in the evening.

Hotel: Hotel Majestic, overlooking the famous central plaza and cathedral


Day Briefing

In the morning, visit Xochimilco, a neighborhood in the south of Mexico City known for its canals, artificial islands called chinampas, colorful gondola-like boats called trajineras.

In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Memory and Tolerance with the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH). 

In the evening we will all sit together for a closing dinner. This is an opportunity to discuss everything we’ve experienced and learned, and build an action plan for you and your fellow travelers to become ambassadors for our partners in your own countries and your own communities.

Hotel: Hotel Majestic


Day Briefing

Departure home from Mexico City.


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Country Representative
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Our expert Country Representative will accompany you throughout the tour

Accomodation
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All 3- and 4-star hotels

Guide
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Certified, bilingual local guide

Meals
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All breakfasts and some lunches and dinners are included

Transportation
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All ground transportation (including airport pickup and dropoff) is included, as well as flights within the country

International flights
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You must purchase international flights separately

Travel Insurance
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You must purchase travel insurance separately

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Departure dates

Prices displayed below are based on per person, double occupancy.

Start End Price Action
Tuesday
October 30, 2018
Mexico City
Monday
November 12, 2018
Mexico City
$3300
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Understand Before You Go

Mexico is a country with a rich culture and a powerful history. From the Aztec and Toltec empires, Spanish conquest, independence, and revolutions through to the modern day, its history has been defined by a continuous struggle of the Mexican people against tyranny. Recent decades have been defined by two starkly different faces: one of newfound prosperity, of soap opera stars and white sand beaches; the other of desperation, of drug cartels and disappearances. Which is the true face - the true Mexico? Justice Travel will take you behind the headlines to understand this battle for the soul of the country. Meet the inspiring activists fighting for justice, from indigenous hamlets defending their land to journalists taking on government corruption. Meet a civil society recapturing its rich, complicated heritage and standing up to tyranny on both sides of the border.

Country

Mexico is the 5th largest country in the Americas at 5.1 million square kilometers. It has 32 States, with the capital in Mexico City, and it is currently the 15th largest economy in the world. It is a country with a fascinating history, full of traditions and marked by the mixture of many ethnicities and languages. The fight for freedom has been constant, from the War for Independence in 1810 through the Mexican Revolution in 1910 and the end of the PRI one-party rule in the late 20th century. Over the centuries, this country's history has been driven by people working to obtain more fair and humane living conditions. A perfect mixture between ancient traditions and emerging modernity, with amazing natural resources all around the country, every visit to Mexico is an exciting experience to live. 

 

History

Before the Spanish conquerors arrived, Mexico was populated by a multitude of indigenous cultures - Aztec, Mayan and Purépecha, among many others. It achieved its independence on September 27, 1821, after a war against the Spanish Empire that started on September 15, 1810. After the Mexican Revolution, Mexico was ruled by the PRI political party for more than 70 years. In 1968 and 1971 the Mexican army suppressed student uprising in Tlatelolco and Santo Tomás, and many leaders disappeared in the following years. Although PRI rule has ended, the situation for human rights activists and journalists in the country has in many ways returned to those dark days.

Read: “Balún Canán” (by Rosario Castellanos)

Watch: “Cinco de Mayo La Batalla” (Mexico, 2013)

 

People

127 million people live in Mexico. More than 25 million come from one of the 68 indigenous communities in the country, with the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Veracruz having the largest indigenous populations. Even through Mexico is a diverse country, racism is still a serious problem in Mexican society. 

Read: “The Bronze Race” (by Amado Nervo)

Watch: “La Delgada Línea Amarilla” (México, 2016)



Culture

Mexican culture is very diverse. Perhaps the best-known example of Mexican culture is the celebration known as “Días de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), a national holiday consisting of gatherings of family and friends in the cemeteries to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.

Mexican culture is very conscious of death, and maybe that’s one of the reasons that the society is so resilient. Even when Mexico is suffering through one of the biggest human rights crisis in its history, people are still joyful and happy, celebrating in the face of tragedy. 

 

Read: “The Labyrinth of Solitude” (by Octavio Paz)

Watch: “Coco” (USA, 2017)



Land

One of the most impressive experiences in Mexico is visiting the diverse natural resources that the country has to offer. 

In the south, tons of water from the Lagoons in Montebello keep the Lancandon jungle green and alive, and protecting the endangered black jaguar. Unfortunately, this natural richness has been threatened by the irresponsible activities of several corporations around the country, where activists groups are fighting for their lands and preserve their natural resources.

Read: “Canasta de Cuentos Mexicanos” (By Bruno Traven)

Watch:The Mexican” (Mexico, 2001)

 

Food

The Mexican cuisine it is a perfect mixture of Spanish and Indigenous dishes. Mexican food is world famous, and not only because of its spiciness. It is famous because of the diversity of traditional dishes that you can find all around the Mexican Republic. That is why the UNESCO, in 2010, designated Mexican traditional cuisine as an intangible cultural heritage. The beverages are also world famous, with 5 alcoholic beverages currently protected, the most famous being tequila from Jalisco, but also other great drinks like mezcal (from Oaxaca), Bacanora (from Sonora), Sotol (from Chihuahua) and Charanda (from Michoacán).

The basic Mexican diet is based on corn, beans and chilli - although we also have the capital of the avocado, in Periban, Michoacán. Around the 70% of the Mexican territory is ideal for agriculture.

Read: “El Chile: Protagonista de la Independencia y la Revolución” (by Fundación Herdez)

Watch: “Como Agua para Chocolate” (México, 1992)

 

Climate

Mexico has an incredible number of ecosystems and diversity of climate. The north is well known for stark deserts and high temperatures, but the south is completely different, full of green vegetation and tropical weather. The Yucatan is world famous for its Caribbean beaches, but not everybody knows that in mountainous Durango and Chihuahua, there are places with temperatures similar to Moscow. March to August is summer, with sunny days in most of the country. Autumn is rainy season around the country, with heavy rains particularly in the south. In December the rains disappear and the country gets chilly for a few months. 

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Tour Operator
Viajes de Gala

One of the best known travel companies in Mexico, Viajes de Gala has 41 years of experience and a sterling safety record. Their partnership with ADO, the top bus company in Mexico, means we will get everywhere quickly and comfortably.
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Our Partners

Article 19

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Centro Frayba

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Centro Vitoria

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CMDPDH

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Consorcio Oaxaca

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Fondo Semillas

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Fundacion Flor y Canto

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Tour Operator
Viajes de Gala

One of the best known travel companies in Mexico, Viajes de Gala has 41 years of experience and a sterling safety record. Their partnership with ADO, the top bus company in Mexico, means we will get everywhere quickly and comfortably.

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Country Representative
Adalberto Mendez
Country Representative

Adalberto is a Mexican human rights lawyer, having joined Justice Travel from his position as Director of the Disability Division at the National Commission of Human Rights of Mexico. He has participated in different human rights projects in Mexico and abroad, including electoral observation in the United States and Honduras, as Human Rights Observer in the Western Sahara, and as a human rights trainer for the judiciary in the Dominican Republic. He obtained his law degree from Universidad La Salle, a pre-master degree at the İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi in Turkey, an LLM degree from American University, and is currently completing his PhD at the Institute of Critical Studies.

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