People often characterize Mexico by its beach cities, and we understand the appeal. But Mexico has so much more to offer beyond the sand and sea. The history of indigenous peoples and Spanish conquerors alike meld together in a cultural excursion you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
Following the conquest of the Aztecs in 1521, the Spanish Empire worked diligently to model its prized new territory after the mother country. Hundreds of years later this Latin country stands tribute with European architecture, monuments, and art. Countless cities in Mexico echo the legacy of the Spanish colonial era. Prepare for an extraordinary voyage to discover what makes these cities in Mexico such remarkable treasures.
Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico, and it is bursting with culture. Guadalajara’s extremely well-preserved colonial architecture creates a sophisticated atmosphere for the city’s beautiful parks and plazas. Detailed fountains and rustic churches set the scene for museums, galleries, and unparalleled shopping. Enjoy lively music in the hometown of mariachi. Nearby in Tlaquepaque and Tonala, native crafts and folk art abound.
Guanajuato is one of Mexico’s hidden gems. While not the most common of tourist destinations, Guanajuato offers so much to those who do visit it. With a mystique reminiscent of small Tuscan villages or Andalusian cities of Spain, this is one of the most magical cities in Mexico. Constructed over an intricate network of subterranean streets, Guanajuato originated as a silver mining town in the 16th century. Winding roads that once served as channels for floodwaters now showcase the city in a fascinating way, twisting through arched tunnels of stone to surface in various city locations. Historic buildings painted in greens, blues, and yellows lend a fairytale quality to the tiny maze of streets and stairwells that clutter the hillsides. This enchanting city simply begs to be photographed, but its elusive aura cannot be captured.
San Miguel de Allende is gaining popularity as one of the most intriguing cities in Mexico. A haven for international artists and art enthusiasts, San Miguel is home to the Instituto Allende, a superb school of fine arts. While the historic grandeur of the city endures, this city is clearly a place of creativity and innovation.
Day 1 – Welcome to Guadalajara (incl. dinner)
Arrive in the early afternoon and check in to the hotel, located in the heart of the historical district. Take a walking tour of the historical center’s main plazas, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Government Palace. Enjoy murals by artist José Clemente Orozco before taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the city’s elegant residential sector to see mansions dating back to the 19th century.
Day 2 – Guadalajara and Tequila (incl. all meals)
Begin the day with a visit to the blue agave fields of Tequila, home of the internationally renowned beverage of the same name. Tour one of the city’s numerous distilleries and enjoy lunch at a Mexican Fiesta. In the afternoon, experience Tlaquepaque, a trendy suburb of Guadalajara recognized for its local artistry. Peruse the vast selection of arts and crafts shops before a lovely dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 – Guanajuato (incl. all meals)
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before departing to the city of Guanajuato, a World Heritage Site. After checking in, relax as a gondola takes you to the city’s focal point, the Garden of the Union. Have lunch at a local restaurant and then spend the afternoon exploring one of the most fascinating cities in Mexico at your leisure. Take the underground streets back to the hotel for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 4 – San Miguel de Allende (incl. all meals)
After breakfast at the hotel, make a stop at the city of Dolores Hidalgo, where Mexico’s quest for independence from Spain began. Continue on to San Miguel de Allende, named a National Historic Monument because of its unique environment. Admire the striking features of gorgeous colonial homes as you tour the downtown area. This afternoon offers ample time to stroll through galleries and among the artists in the city square before dinner at the hotel.
Day 5 – Morelia and Pátzcuaro (incl. all meals)
Travel through the farmlands of El Bajío to the city of Morelia. Enjoy a delicious lunch on a beautiful colonial patio, and then take a tour of the historic city. The structures here are relics of Old Spain, remaining from the 17th century. The civil and religious buildings of downtown served to symbolize the city’s connection to the spirit of the past. After the tour, continue to Pátzcuaro for dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 6 – Pátzcuaro and Guadalajara (incl. all meals)
Journey to Lake Pátzcuaro and the hillside city of Pátzcuaro, which still retains its quaint 16th-century atmosphere. See the Vasco de Quiroga square and the House of Eleven Patios. Once a convent, it is now a cluster of small artisan shops. Afterward, take in the ancient capital of Tzintzuntzan, where circular pyramids called yacatas were built overlooking the lake. Continue to the charming Santa Ana monastery, established in the 1500s, then make a stop in the delightful town of Quiroga, where artisans from around the state display their goods. Return to Guadalajara for dinner and a final night at the hotel.
Day 7 – Return Flight (incl. breakfast)
Say farewell with breakfast at the hotel then transfer to the airport.