TOURS | Explore the Wonders of the Past

From the remote jungles of Honduras to the pristine rivers of the American Southwest, our archaeological tours promise exciting adventure. Whether you like touring Maya temples or learning about North American rock art, you’ll be sure to find a Conservancy tour that fits your interest. For more than 20 years, the Conservancy has conducted tours ranging in length from four days to two weeks. Expert guides always accompany our tours, providing unique insights about the places we visit. Tour regions include the American Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest, as well as Mexico and Central & South America; and now Canada too. Click on the links below to learn more about our upcoming tours!

2019 Aztecs, Toltecs, and Teotihuacános

We begin our tour of central Mexico at Mexico City’s main square or Zócalo. It was also the center of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán which was destroyed by the Spanish invaders in 1521.

In the National Palace, we admire a mural by Diego Rivera illustrating the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán before the Spanish conquest. The central figure is Montezuma II, the Aztec ruler in 1519.

Stage 2 of the Great Temple of the Aztecs. The Great Temple was topped by twin temples – one to the sun god Huitzilopochtli and the other to the rain god Tlaloc. There were seven stages to the Great Temple by 1521, when it was razed by the Spanish. It was rediscovered in downtown Mexico City in 1978.

The chacmool alter in front of the temple of Tlaloc. It retains its original paint, and was a place for human sacrifices.

Gigantic statue of the Aztec earth goddess Tlaltecuhtli found near the base of the Great Temple in downtown Mexico City in 2006.

Native dancers entertain our group in front of the cathedral on Mexico City’s Zócalo.

Ruins of the central temple of Tlatelolco, the second city of the Aztecs, are preserved in Mexico City. It was also demolished by the Spanish.

We travel to Tula the capital of the Toltecs.

Giant atlantes supported a temple atop Pyramid B at Tula.

Tula’s atlantes resemble Toltec warriors.

This restored Aztec twin temple at Santa Cecelia is the only one that survives.

In the suburbs of Mexico City we visit the twin temple complex of Tenayucu, a Chichimec center.

A wall of serpents surrounds the temple complex at Tenayuca.

At the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, we admire the gigantic statue of Chalchiuhtlicue, the water goddess. It comes from the great city of Teotihuacán and dates to about A.D. 300.

Coatlicue was the Aztec earth goddess and mother of the sun god Huitzilopochtli. She has a serpent head and wears a shirt of snakes.

The circular pyramid at Cuicuilco is one of the earliest in the Mexico City area dating to the Preclassic. The site was covered with lava from a volcanic eruption in about A.D. 300.

This large ballcourt is at the hilltop center of Xochicalco south of Mexico City. It flourished from about A.D. 650 to 900.

The Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Xochicalco is covered by relief carvings that are in a Maya style.

Xochicalco’s feathered serpent.

Chalcatzingo was an Olmec and much later a Classic center.

El Rey, the king, depicts an Olmec god/ruler seated in a cave. It is carved in the Olmec style, and dates to about 700 B.C.

The Great Pyramid at Cholula was built in several layers. It is the largest pyramid by volume in the Americas.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula looks like a large hill and supports a Spanish church on top.

Cacaxtla’s palace has a number of well-preserved murals that were discovered in 1975. They have Maya elements and date to ca. A.D.650-700.

In Puebla we visit the famous Uriarte talavera factory where skilled artists produce beautiful pottery.

The gift shop at the Uriarte talavera factory supplied many of our group with a wonderful souvenir.

Native flyers from Veracruz entertain us at Teotihuacán.

The Avenue of the Dead at of Teotihuacán. This great city dominated central Mexico from about A.D. 1 to 700 and had a population of more than 100,000.

The Pyramid of Quetzalcóatl at Teotihuacán features feathered serpents and the rain god Tlaloc. It was buried by another pyramid in about A.D. 300.

Colorful murals at Teotihuacan show the great goddess.

Murals at a residential compound at Teotihuacan.

For more information, or to join us, contact us at or by phone at (505) 266-1540. We are happy to help you plan the right trip for you!

Ohio Moundbuilders: June 5 – June 9, 2019

Hundreds of years ago in what is now part of southern Ohio, a complex culture of moundbuilders flourished.  Extensive earthworks, some towering six stories high, are the legacy of the Hopewell and Adena people, who flourished in the eastern United States from about 800 B.C. to A.D. 400. Mica and copper ornaments, ostentatious burials, and the remains of large wooden structures are often found at their mound sites. Our tour offers an opportunity to discover more about these cultures with visits to some of their most awe-inspiring mounds and earthworks, which are now “short-listed” for designation as a World Heritage Site. Learn More.

French Indian War Tour: September 7 – 14, 2019

Join us as we travel across New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to explore the rich history and archaeology of the French and Indian War. This epic struggle involving Native Americans, the English and French Empires, and Colonial forces, was one of the first global conflicts and a defining moment in American history. On our journey we will meet with historians, archaeologists and native people at a variety of archaeological sites, museums, and interpretive centers.  Learn More.

Chaco Canyon in Depth: September 7 – 15, 2019

Explore the vast cultural system of Chaco Canyon and the extensive network of outlying communities that developed in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado from A.D. 800 to 1130.  We’ll visit Pueblo Bonito and other spectacular great houses in Chaco Canyon as well as the great kiva at Casa Rinconada. We’ll also have the unique opportunity to visit many of the most important outlying communities that are integral parts of the entire Chacoan complex still being uncovered by researchers. Learn More.

Cliff Dwellers of the American Southwest: September 12 – 22, 2019

Cliff dwellings are among the most amazing archaeological sites in the world: walls and doorways, towers and kivas, all tucked neatly into sandstone cliffs.  More than 700 years ago, the Anasazi and Sinagua cultures of the Four Corners region called these sites  home.  Our tour will journey to the most famous of the region’s cliff dwellings, as well as modern-day pueblos and several Conservancy preserves, and be guided by archaeologists well-versed in the region’s prehistory. Learn More.

Native Peoples of Florida’s Mangrove Coast: October 12 – 18, 2019

For over a thousand years the Calusa, Tocobaga, and Seminole dominated southern Florida. They developed complex civilizations, created breathtaking artwork, and constructed monumental earthworks. Time and again, they defeated those who attempted to subjugate them.  Our exciting journey will take us from the ancient mound center at Crystal River to the man-made island of Mound Key, the Calusa’s capital.  Learn More.

Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead: October 25 – November 4, 2019 

Join us in Oaxaca, Mexico during one of the most unusual festivals anywhere – the Day of the Dead.  On this day, people prepare home altars and decorate cemeteries to welcome the dead, who are believed to return to enjoy the food and drink they indulged in during life.  Learn More.

>>Explore Our Past Tours