Welcome to Mexico City, one of Central America’s most colourful and cultural cities. On your first morning, meet your guide to get to know the city, stopping at the magnificent main Zócalo square, the impressive National Place and the splendid Metropolitan Cathedral which took over 250 years to build. See how day-to-day life throngs around you, just as it did in Aztec times when Zócalo was a ceremonial centre.
You’ll also visit the chocolate museum, the artisanal markets of Bazar del Sabado in the colourful, tree-lined San Angel district and enjoy a private, gourmet dinner in the artistic neighbourhood of La Roma. At the Mercado Coyoacán, savour an authentic lunch of crispy fried tortillas (tostadas) and visit the home of Mexico’s most famous artist – Frida Kahlo. The Blue House has been remodelled into a museum with Kahlo’s art and belongings. You may also visit Xochimilco, famous for its vast man-made waterways and floating islands called chinampas where Aztecs used to grow their crops.
A couple of hours south of Mexico City lies the elegant city of Puebla, known for its colonial architecture, beautiful cathedral and deeply entrenched foodie traditions. On your way from the capital, pass through scenic landscapes such as Paso de Cortes, a mountain pass 3,600 meters above sea level with incredible mountains and volcano panoramas. Stop at Cholula, considered by some to be the oldest inhabited city in the Americas and explore the impressive Tlachihualtepetl pyramid, built from the 3rd – 9th century AD.
The compact and easy-to-explore city of Puebla is backed by the snow-dusted peaks and volcanoes of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl – hiking the mountain trails is a great way to get your bearings. In the city, a guide will show you the best local spots to try its local delicacies and enjoy specialties such as tamales, molotes, pelonas and semitas and of course, tacos. Sample handmade confectionery on the Calle de los Dulces and have the opportunity to cook a traditional recipe with a local chef, visiting the market to find your ingredients first.
Onwards to Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s most fascinating towns – its colourful fiestas, pastel-hued streets, diverse markets, and incredible cuisine that spans centuries makes it an ideal place to soak up Mexican traditions. One such tradition is the production of distinctive and smoky mezcal, a spirit created from the famous agave plant, which go well with Oaxacan speciality tlayudas, also known as Mexican pizzas. Oaxaca is also known for its ‘moles’ – an ancient sauce made from ground spices and chillies, which you will learn to make, alongside salsas and tortillas.
From Oaxaca, experience engaging Mexican culture at a traditional rug weavers, made by Zapotec communities in the pretty valley of Teotitlan Del Valle. Visit the archaeological site of Mitla, created by the Zapotecs at the turn of the first millennium. Mitla is distinctive for its finely cut mosaics and tombs which you can walk into. The rural countryside around Mitla is home to off-the-beaten track mezcalerias where you can try different types of mezcals.
From Oaxaca, it’s a short flight or six-hour transfer to Puerto Escondido, Mexico’s hippest surf hang out. Located on the Pacific Coast, the beaches here are wild and the habitation low-rise, clasped by jungly greenery; carved along the coast are a series of coves, with white sand lapped by turquoise waters. Some such as Playa Zicatela is a famed surfing spot with large swells ideal for confident surfers; others like Carrizalillo has more gentle surf for beginners or simply swimming, and is backed by thatched huts serving cold drinks and snacks.
You can while away your time easily here on various beaches, admiring surfers take on huge waves or taking lessons yourself, watching fishermen haul in their catch and planning what you’ll eat for dinner, whether that’s fish tacos, empanadas or enchiladas, washed down with an ice-cold margarita. When your time is up, take a flight back to Mexico City for your journey home, full of the foodie delights of Mexico and a wealth of new recipes to try at home.