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.
8 Days / 7 Nights
(Originates: Guadalajara / Terminates: Mexico City)
DAY 1 – Tuesday. Guadalajara
Arrival to the Guadalajara International Airport. Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico, and is a modern metropolis with an international flavor that still maintains its colonial traditions. Transfer from the airport to the De Morales Hotel, located in the heart of the beautiful historical district. Welcome Meeting this evening with your Tour Manager. D
DAY 2 – Wednesday. Guadalajara and Tequila
After breakfast we begin our day with a guided walking tour of the main plazas that surround the historical center, including a visit to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Government Palace where we will enjoy viewing the murals by José Clemente Orozco. We will then continue to Tequila, where the internationally renowned Mexican beverage is produced by dozens of distilleries set amidst the blue agave fields. Upon arrival we will enjoy a Mexican Fiesta to include a traditional buffet and will be entertained by a live mariachi band. After lunch we will continue with a tour of the city and visit a distillery to learn the process of elaboration of the tequila.
We return to Guadalajara to end our day with our welcome dinner. BLD
DAY 3 – Thursday. Morelia
This morning we depart to the beautiful city of Morelia. Arrival and check in to the centrally located Alameda Hotel, with the best location in this elegant colonial city. After free time for lunch, we will tour the city, where the buildings date back to the 17th century, allowing visitors to recapture the spirit and elegance of Old Spain. Our tour includes the Cathedral, Government Palace with murals depicting the history of the state, the Clavijero Palace, the Music Conservatory of the Roses and the Candy Market. Dinner at the hotel. BD
DAY 4 – Friday. Patzcuaro/ Tzintzuntzan/Morelia
After breakfast we will drive to Lake Pátzcuaro (1 hour) and the hillside city of Patzcuaro, on of Mexico’s Pueblo’s Magicos that still retains its quaint 16th-century atmosphere. We begin our tour with a visit to the Vasco de Quiroga square and the House of Eleven Patios. Once a convent, it is now a labyrinth of small shops where the artisans are creating their wares. Afterwards, we’ll go to the ancient capital of Tzintzuntzan, where circular pyramids called yacatas were built overlooking the lake. In this village we will visit the charming Santa Ana monastery, dating back to the 1500s. We return to Morelia this afternoon to overnight. B
DAY 5- Saturday. Guanajuato/ San Miguel Allende
Our route today will take us through the farmlands of El Bajío, arriving in the city of Guanajuato. Upon arrival we begin our visit of this fabulous city. Our first stop is the Garden of the Union, the city’s lively focal point. After free time for lunch in one of the many great options available in the main square, your tour guide will begin with the guided tour of the main historical buildings and the narrow cobblestone streets lined with the gorgeous architecture that has led to the city’s designation as a World Heritage Site. Your walking tour includes the visit of the Juarez Theatre, San Diego Church, Shrine of Our Lady of Guanajuato, Alley of the Kiss, Alhondiga de Granaditas, Hidalgo Market and the University of Guanajuato, as you walk by lovely plazas. This afternoon we continue on to San Miguel Allende one of Mexico’s most charming towns, also designated as a National Historic Monument to preserve its unique atmosphere. Arrival and check in to the Real de Minas Hotel. BD
DAY 6- Sunday. San Miguel de Allende
After breakfast we will tour this charming city to admire the colonial homes with their gorgeous inner patios, wrought-iron trimming and massive wooden doors. The square is filled with artists capturing the magic of the city with their paints and easels. After the guided tour you will have plenty of time to stroll through the city’s famous art galleries. It’s a true shopper’s paradise. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. BD
Optional: Half Day Dolores Hidalgo Tour
DAY 7 –Monday. Queretaro/ Mexico City
This morning we leave lovely San Miguel Allende to visit another colonial Jewel, the city of Queretaro. This is a charming colonial city steeped in Mexican History, with graceful balconies, tree lined plazas, colonial streets and alleyways. Our tour includes the Jardín Zenea, Independence Plaza, Government Palace and the baroque churches of Santa Clara and Santa Rosa del Viterbo. After free time for lunch in the historical center, we continue on to Mexico City (130 miles). Before we arrive to our hotel, we will do a short panoramic tour of the Reforma Avenue, Angel of Independence Monument, Diana Cazadora, Chapultepec area and Castle. Arrival and check in to the Krystal Grand Reforma in Mexico City. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. BD
Day 8- Tuesday. Return flight home.
Breakfast at hotel and transfer to airport for those with AIR. (B)