Private Journeys

Explore and Relax Mexico: Colonial cities to Pacific coast

12 days from £3,080pp

Mexico

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Mexico City. Transfer to your hotel.

Your hotel is in the colonial heart, close to the central square. Mexico City, which was built on the site of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, and it lies at 2,250m above sea level. Vast, chaotic and vibrant, this sprawling megalopolis of more than 20 million people has a multitude of attractions. If you have time during your stay here, we suggest you visit the world-class Museum of Anthropology, which exhibits remarkable, well-displayed expositions of Aztec artefacts alongside items from other ancient civilisations. It’s a fantastic introduction to the superb and sometimes grisly artistic achievements of Mexico’s early inhabitants.

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Day 2

Guided tour of the city and Teotihuacán pyramids.

The arrival of the Spanish conquistadores was seismic event in the story of the Aztec people. Their magnificent causewayed city was razed, and the invading Spaniards rebuilt it in their own tradition ̶ the development fuelled by silver mining. This is all reflected in the cultural vestiges apparent all over the modern-day city which you’ll see during your guided tour. Visit the zócalo, or main square, monumental Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace with its murals by Diego Rivera. Stroll down elegant boulevards, or browse at a handicraft market.

Passing through the northern suburbs of the capital, you head into the countryside towards the megalithic archaeological site of Teotihuacán which dates back 2,000 years and was once one of the largest cities in the world. It is hugely influential in the historic narrative of modern Mexico and, although it had already been abandoned by the time of the Aztecs, even this great empire held it in awe. Soak up the history as you stroll along the imposing Avenue of the Dead, leading to the vast Pyramid of the Sun, and take the opportunity to climb its vertiginous, ancient steps for a panorama of the ruins and the surrounding countryside.

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Day 3

By road to Guanajuato via Querétaro.

This is the day you meet your driver and car which will be your companions for 5 days. You'll be collected from your hotel and driven through the city outskirts on the bewildering road network in the busy capital and continue through the mountains to the first of a necklet of glorious colonial cities, each with a character of its own: Querétero, where you will pause your journey to explore. You'll have your first taste of the graceful Spanish baroque architecture of these locations, with some  monumental buildings situated on neat plazas. Later, continue to Guanajuato.

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Day 4

At leisure in Guanajuato.

This lively university town with a strong artistic bent – there are several theatres, museums and galleries - is a former silver-mining town set in a narrow arid canyon. Its asymmetric colonial mansions, cobbled lanes and flower-decked plazas are simply delightful. The  atmospheric city is built on the sides of the steep ravine: there isn’t enough flat land for roads and much of the traffic is channelled along underground roads which follow the routes of the old mine galleries.

Guanajuato also has several interesting museums and some splendid colonial churches. Your hotel is on the edge of town. You have a full day to explore; the centre is best discovered on foot.

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Day 5

By road to Morelia via Pátzcuaro, 2 nights.

The journey to Morelia takes approximately 3 hrs but you could ask your driver to extend that by visiting Morelia’s peaceful, colonial neighbour Patzcuaro. Located in the Purépecha indian heartland, backed by rolling green hills, Pátzcuaro is undoubtedly one of Mexico's most picturesque towns characterised by  whitewashed stucco walls with red ochre shutters, dark tiled roofs, ramshackle cobbled streets, old churches and beautiful plazas. 

Morelia an elegant city with cobbled streets, a beautiful cathedral and lots of attractive colonial buildings, famed for their picturesque courtyards. Founded in 1541 as Valladolid, it was renamed in 1828 after its most famous resident José María Morelos, who was a key figure in Mexico's fight for independence. The city's main attractions are concentrated in the historical centre which, again, is best explored on foot.

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Day 6

At leisure in the Morelia region.

Day at leisure in Morelia. If visiting between October and March you might take an optional full-day private guided tour of the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, 2 hours’ drive away. Millions of monarch butterflies arrive, turning the park bright orange - a spectacular sight. The butterflies breed there and their offspring eventually migrate north.

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Day 7

By road to Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast.

You'll be driven to Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast, 5hrs (355km) along a beautiful new highway. The hilly coastline is scalloped by pretty coves, each sheltering a shimmering beach. Settle in to your hotel right on one of the loveliest expanses of sands in the region, fringed by forests.

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Days 8-11

At leisure on the beach. Optional activities and water sports.

The floury-white ribbon of beach at Playa de Ropa, on Mexico's Pacific coast, sprinkled with shady coconut palms, is one of the ocean's most exquisite. Your accommodation, La Casa que Canta, is just steps away. Service throughout your hotel is extremely attentive and friendly. Here you will be cared for by extremely welcoming staff, who will pay attention to all your needs from meal choice to pillow menu. It couldn't be more romantic and intimate.

There's a swimming pool and spa offering traditional Mexican treatments. The restaurant delivers superb high quality cuisine. You might consider combining dining here with forays into town where there is a selection of regional and international places to eat. Activities that can be arranged include kayaking, diving, deep-sea fishing, a sunset cruise and yoga classes. There are two 18-hole golf courses in the vicinity.

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Day 12

Transfer to the airport, fly to Mexico City to connect with international flight home.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

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    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

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    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

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    Jim Ashworth - Travel Consultant

    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

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