Understand the diversity of true Mexican food during a taco crawl in Mexico City, a Zapotecan family lunch in the countryside and dinner at an award-winning hidden restaurant in Oaxaca.. Converted from a 19th-century colonial mansion, your feature stay in Oaxaca offers a perfect blend of traditional charm and modern amenities, just a stone’s throw away from the city’s main sights.. Learn of the ancient Zapotec and Aztec histories with visits to the ruins of Teotihuacan and Mitla and the Cholula archaeological site, joined by specialist guides to further enhance your visit.. Discover traditional craft industries and the locals who produce them in Oaxaca and Zinacantan, learning about Zapotec woven fabrics, textile making, mezcal distilling and beeswax candle-making.
When it comes to vibrant culture and varied cuisine, there’s nowhere quite like Mexico. Get a taste of the country’s best on an eight-day Premium adventure through Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca. Join expert guides to uncover the ancient secrets of Teotihuacan, Cholula, and the Mitla ruins. Take your taste buds on a trip, from the beckoning street food stalls of the capital to a home cooked Zapotecan lunch and a creative dining experience in Oaxaca. Your local leader will show you the heart of a country that is sure to leave you captivated.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 3
Welcome to Mexico! Your adventure begins in Mexico City, the vibrant beating heart of the country. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, where you will meet the rest of your group and local leader for a 6pm welcome meeting. Your hotel in Mexico City is housed in a beautiful building from the 1890s and the location is truly one of the city’s best. The buzzing Zocalo Plaza and spectacular National Cathedral are right on your doorstep; views of which can be admired from your hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar. After your meeting, head out for dinner with your leader and small group. Tonight you will have the chance to sample a tempting array of local dishes during a tour of local street food stalls and taquerias with your leader. From tacos and tostadas to tamales and quesadillas, the city’s fresh food scene will surprise and delight even seasoned travellers. End the evening with some sweet treats at the city’s oldest churreria.
Today will be spent getting to know Mexico City on a tour with your knowledgeable leader. From cosmopolitan glamour to ancient and colonial history, there’s a lot to see, so rise early and head out to the National Museum of Anthropology where your leader will walk you through the different stages of the country’s past. Continue to the Zocalo Plaza, the lively main square of the city. Visit the National Cathedral to hear its story and marvel at its impressive Gothic architecture, then continue to the sprawling National Palace. This spot first held a palace built by an Aztec emperor in the early 16th century, and now houses the offices of Mexico’s president. Enjoy an evening at leisure. There’s no doubt that the food here is best experienced like a local, so be sure to ask your leader for some excellent dinner recommendations this evening.
Depart Mexico City and travel to Teotihuacan. Here you'll discover the extraordinary ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, which dominate the skyline. This was once one of the country's biggest ancient cities and the Aztec capital. Join an expert local guide and stroll down The Avenue of the Dead to see fascinating clues as to what life here was like nearly 2000 years ago. After lunch continue to Puebla. Stop off on the way to visit a local family who produce beautiful stonework carved form obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glasslike rock. Take some time to admire their striking pieces and speak to the family about their craft. Arrive in Puebla, a charming city that has retained its colonial heritage despite rapid growth and development. Set out for a walk around town and visit Calle de los Dulces (Candy street) and the El Parian handicraft market, as well as the impressive Rosary Chapel and Town Hall Palace. Mexican food is deliciously diverse and Puebla is no exception. Head to a marvellous restaurant for dinner this evening, where a local chef serves up creative food in an elegant setting – the mole here comes highly recommended.
After breakfast, drive out to the fascinating Cholula archaeological site. Meet with an expert local guide and tour the complex, including the Great Pyramid of Cholula – if you include its basement, this is the largest pyramid in the world. Explore the excavated areas around the pyramid and the maze of tunnels beneath it while learning how the structure was built to honour the god Quetzalcoatl. For lunch today, stop off at a wonderful restaurant serving up organic dishes made with locally sourced produce to minimise their impact on the environment. The rest of the day is free for your own explorations – you may like to join your leader for a visit to a local artisan to discover more about the Talavera pottery tradition.
Today you will make the journey to Oaxaca, a colourful and captivating city rich with history and culture. Arrive in the late afternoon and settle in to your feature stay accommodation for the next three nights – the beautiful Casa de Sierra Azul. Converted from a 19th-century colonial mansion, traditional charm emanates from every corner of this hotel, from its ivy-clad courtyard to original frescoes and stone fountain. Each room is wonderfully unique and individually decorated, but they all feature gorgeous high ceilings and modern amenities. Just a stone’s throw away from the city’s main Zocalo, bursting with interesting cafes, musicians and artisans, there’s no better base for your time in Oaxaca. Head out for an orientation walk with your leader to get a feel for the city, stopping by the delightful local markets of Benito Juarez and 20 de Noviembre, then enjoy a free evening for further explorations. The best way to get to the heart of Oaxaca’s culture is to taste its food, so your leader will be happy to offer up some great local recommendations for dinner.
Today, venture out of the city and take a tour of the Oaxaca region. Visit the Mitla ruins archaeological site – once the religious centre for Zapotec communities – and the Tule Tree, considered the world’s widest tree at over 11 metres in diameter. The Montezuma cypress’ gnarled trunk is over 1500 years old, roughly the same as the ruins. Stop off in Tule town to try some Mexican ice cream – an important part of Mexico’s culinary history, this hand-churned ice cream is up there with the best of them. Perhaps try some Mexican vanilla, fresh fruit sorbet or even a scoop seasoned with chili. Continue to a beeswax candle-making workshop, learning age-old processes passed down for generations and the intricate designs that are created. Later, take part in a Zapotec weaving demonstration, which uses only traditional techniques, tools, patterns and organic dyes. Watch as local families meticulously craft folk clothing and rugs, some taking months to complete. You will learn the whole process from preparing and dyeing the yarn to traditional weaving methods. Here, enjoy a mostly plant-based lunch of regional Zapotec specialities. On your way back to Oaxaca, stop by an agave mezcal factory for a tasting before returning to the city in the late afternoon.
Enjoy a free day to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of Oaxaca. There’s something here to suit every interest – speak to your leader about arranging a visit to the Monte Alban archaeological site, a local cooking class or a street art cycling tour. You may like to head to one of the city’s many markets to browse stalls of coffee, spices and crafts made by local artisans. In the evening, it’s time for a send-off in style as you head just outside of the city for a special dining experience. Your venue for this evening looks like a typical Oaxacan house, but for the lucky few in the know, opening the front door will reveal an award-winning restaurant like no other. Enjoy an amazing menu of traditional Mexican dishes with a five-star twist, curated and cooked by a world-renowned chef. With the kitchen station right next to the tables, you’ll have the opportunity to chat to the chef while watching your dishes come to life. This final dinner will certainly be one to remember.
Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you would like to spend some more time in Oaxaca, speak to us about arranging additional accommodation ahead of time (subject to availability). Or, if you’re not ready for the journey to end, take a look at our Mexico: The Yucatan Peninsula tour – this 15-day tour encompasses this itinerary then continues after Oaxaca.