CONNOISSEUR’S MEXICO CITY

“Urban Adventure”

Mexico City is a marvelous megalopolis that must be seen to be believed, and experienced to be understood.  The mix of cultures – Indian, Spanish, Modern – makes for complexity on many levels, and a fascinating adventure for the energetic traveler.  It is an international city with textbook sociological and ecological challenges, a healthy political reform movement, sophisticated cultural life, world-class architecture, performing arts and museums, all spiced with culinary magic.  It is down and dirty, mystical and phantasmagoric, rife with strange customs, vivid colors, and quirky mannerisms that will tug at your heartstrings, and make you laugh or cry, often and out loud.

Leave your pre-conceptions behind and join me for the urban adventure of a lifetime. The itinerary as you read it does faint justice to the experience as you will live it.

Tour Overview

Five nights in one of the city’s Five Star hotels on or near the Paseo de la Reforma.

Our first full day of sightseeing begins at the Zocalo which includes the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor and museum.  After lunch we continue on to the Casa de Azulejos (House of Tiles), the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Franz Mayer Museum.  Back to the hotel for a rest before our welcome cocktails and dinner at a very special restaurant in the Zona Rosa.

Next day is for museums with a morning visit to the Museo Nacional de Antropologia.  We will lunch and then consider a visit to the Museo de Arte Moderno and the small and gem-like Rufino Tamayo, or an in depth shopper’s tour of the Zona Rosa.  Dinner at a restaurant straight from Old Havana.

The next day’s highlight is the Bazar Sabado in San Angel, a visit to the Museo Frida Kahlo, and a late lunch at the evocative San Angel Inn.

On our last day we venture north to the Basilica de la Virgen de Guadalupe, the shrine of Mexico’s patron  saint, and then we go further back into the past at Teotihuacanwith its’ magnificent Aztec monuments – the Pyramids.  Our farewell dinner tonight is a lovely and elegant affair.

“Mexico’s Heartland – City and Country”

For the “first timers” or the experienced Mexico traveler, my “City – Country” tour may appeal to you or your small group (maximum 5).  We developed this tour for a Canadian food writer, Mark Shatzker, who was commissioned to write a food article for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.  Although his trip was all about the food of Mexico, from street food to five star restaurant, we designed the trip so the he (a first timer) got to see it all! ……consider this:

Day One – Fly into Mexico City and be met at the gate by your personal driver/guide. Zoom off (about a one hour drive) to one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities, Puebla. Check in at a terrific hotel that happens to have some of the best cuisine in town.  A short rest and then cocktails and dinner at the hotel.

Day Two – Up early to walk around the corner from the hotel where we will have a fabulous breakfast right in one of the main food markets of Puebla.  Following breakfast, we take a guided walking tour of the main Plaza and the Centro Historico with lunch on the way.  We visit the famous “tile kitchen” where, supposedly, mole was invented, stop by the main cathedral, have lunch “on the square”, and leisurely amble back to the hotel with walks through the artisan markets and fabulous street markets.  Time permitting, we catch a quick cooking class to learn the art of making red and green salsas on the “comal”.

Day Three – Depart early, with a local guide on-board, to go to the historic town of Cholula to climb the “pyramid with the church on top” and to sample fried grasshoppers.  On the way, we make two short stops to visit two of the most ornate and important churches in all of Mexico.  From Cholula, we head back to town with a stop at the famous Talavera de la Reina tile museum and factory.   Then, on through Puebla by way of Avenida Benito Juarez, the “Beverly Hills” shopping and restaurant district of Puebla.

Day Four – Depart Puebla for our next destination, Cuernavaca.  On the way, we make a stop in the town of Atlixco to visit the central market, which is famous for “cescina”…..a thinly sliced cut of beef that is charcoal broiled…….delicious! We continue on our way through beautiful country side and view the “back side” of the famous volcano, Popocatepetl.  We will practice our spanish pronunciations along the way!  Our afternoon arrival brings us to one of the top hotels in Mexico, Las Mananitas, where we will pamper ourselves with a two night stay.

Day Five – Leisurely start-up with breakfast at Las Mananitas and then off to downtown Cuernavaca to visit the Palace of Cortes and the Robert Brady Museum.  Optional lunch downtown or back to the hotel for rest, spa, a dip in the pool, cocktails, and dinner.

Day Six – Now that we’re all rested and “frisky”, we go country again with a 45 minute drive to the magnificent Hacienda San Gabriel de las Palmas.  This could be heaven on earth, but, for sure, it is one of the most beautiful haciendas in Mexico, which was, in fact a gift from Hernan Cortes to his son in 1529……imagine!  Taking a stroll on the hacienda grounds and fields, atop a beautiful “noble” horse, relaxation in the spa or “Temascal”, great mexican cuisine with a chef’s touch, and lounging about the pool is the order of the day.

Day Seven – A free leisure day for rest and relaxation with an optional half-day tour of the nearby archaeological site, Xochicalco.  A “farewell to the country” dinner party and off to dream land.

Day Eight – Depart the Hacienda for our return back to Mexico City.  Again we pamper ourselves with a two night stay in one of Mexico City’s finest small luxury hotels.  Located “dead center” in trendy Polanco, we set up our base camp for fabulous day excursions and dine out next to the hotel at one of Mexico’s finest restaurants.

Day Nine –  We meet our local guide downtown to walk the Zocalo and the archaeological ruins, see the famous “Perfumeria”, visit the Museo Nacional del Arte to see wonderful paintings by Jose Maria Velasco, check in with the locals at Bar La Opera for a great lunch with music,  and return to the hotel for rest.  Remember, Mexico City is at elevation 7200′, so your energy level will be different!  A night out for dinner in Polanco with an easy short walk to the restaurant district “scene” where we will be “seen” by those who are there to be “seen”!  Sleep well and plan for our departure from Mexico City tomorrow.

Day Ten –  Nope, we’re not through yet!  Time permitting and while on the way to the airport, we stop for a quick lunch at a place that simply cannot be found.  Simple, beautiful, mexican food with a cold beer or chilled fruit water in a “tiendita” that doesn’t even have a name…….it’s our local guide’s family place and shouldn’t be missed!  Continue on to the airport and your return to home.  Buen Viaje!

Note:  Since our City-Country tour is personally guided by us, we can be very flexible with our itinerary and choice of destinations.  Typically, 8-10 days (minimum) makes for a great Mexican adventure.  Extended schedules can be accommodated…….we haven’t even scratched the surface!

These itineraries may be reserved as a private departure with a date of your choosing.  For tour details, availability and pricing, contact Ada at:

tours@connoisseurstravel.com

 

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