Private Journeys

The Art of Mexico

7 days from £2,160pp

Mexico

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Transfer to your hotel on the boulevard Paseo de Reforma.

Mexico City's Spanish origins date back to 1521, when it was founded on top of the site of the old Aztec capital. The city lies in a basin at 2,250m, rimmed by the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is home to some 20 million people. Unsurprisingly given its size the capital is composed of a number of contrasting neighbourhoods, from the monumental baroque architecture of the public buildings in the historic centre through the more homely colonial quarters such as tree-lined, cobbled Coyoacan with its galleries and museums, the canals and kitchen gardens of the city's larder at Xochimilco, or the vast leisure area that is Chapultepec Park, featuring exhibitions of pre-Conquest Mexican culture.  

Your hotel, the sumptuous Four Seasons, has an illustrious location right on the city’s most stately boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma. 

CONDOR VERDE MEXICO ©

Day 2

Guided private art tour of Mexico City.

Mexican art is nothing if it is not relevant: a commentary on the life of the nation, a narrative of its political and artistic history, it is embodied in all the artistic media from paintings through pottery, artisan craft work, architecture, photography and especially murals. Mexico City is especially rich in this heritage, and on your art tour you will be introduced to the most notable examples of it.

Among the most famous and influential of 20th century Mexican artists were the socialist muralist Diego River and his wife Frida Kahlo, who worked in the capital in the 1920s-1940s. Their home, designed by architect Juan O'Gorman, now houses a museum - which you will visit - dedicated to the couple and filled with memorabilia.

The Blue House, the part of the residence which was Kahlo's home, sits on a quiet street in the smart yet Bohemian Spanish colonial district Coyacán, with exhibits of works by Kahlo herself, artefacts from her private collection and works by other artists as well as personal items in what was her bedroom and workshop, including the wheelchair and easel where she worked when incapacitated. 

You’ll see the wider collection at the Museo of Arte Moderno at Chapultepec Park which exhibits canvasses by other 20th century Mexican artists and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in the historic centre which features vast murals by Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera. (These murals are only available for viewing during dance performances of the Folkloric Ballet on Wednesdays and Sundays which you will attend if you are in the city on those days).

Konrad Mludzinski ©

Day 3

Private guided tour of Taxco and Cuernavaca.

Just 70 years ago, the week-long, 160km journey from Mexico City to Taxco was made on horseback. Today, using a modern motorway the exquisite Spanish colonial town can be reached from the capital in around two hours. The trip takes you through rugged mountains and agricultural land before a sea of whitewashed homes with red-tile roofs and the filigree spires of Santa Prisca church suddenly rise into view.

 In the 1930s Taxco was declared a national monument, ensuring the preservation of the beautiful mansions built by the city's early silver barons. Taxco is famous for its silver craft work. Shops line the main plaza and all the streets leading to it, and you will find beautiful silver jewellery, traditional and contemporary designs.

Your first stop will be a silver shop where we will learn everything about the silver mining process. The Spaniards were drawn to the area in 1522 by Aztec tales of rich mineral deposits, and the subsequent silver boom lasted until the 19th century. Take a walk through the town which clings to a steep hillside, its narrow, cobblestone streets twisting and turning between colonial buildings and opening onto pretty plazas.

Earlier in the day, en route to Taxco, you’ll stop at Cuernavaca, inhabited since 1,200 BC and one of the oldest cities in the country. You will visit the Robert Brady Museum, named after the American artist and collector who lived there for 24 years, and his home, a former cloister, hosts the museum. There are several paintings by well-known Mexican artists, including Frida Kahlo, but the main attraction is the sheer size and diversity of the collection.

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Day 4

Private road transfer to San Miguel de Allende.

The agreeable climate and picturesque hillside setting of historical San Miguel Allende, 1900m, have persuaded many artists and American retirees to make it their home. Its elegant colonial buildings and cobbled streets are certainly picture perfect. There is also a good selection of art galleries, boutiques and restaurants to enjoy.

Settle in at your exquisite hotel, a work of art in itself composed of several adjoining 18th century colonial mansions and refurbished to accommodate a wonderfully romantic property where you can relax in pretty flower filled patios or stretch out beside the pool, discretely positioned in its own secret garden. 

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Day 5

Tour of the art galleries of San Miguel de Allende.

San Miguel de Allende is defined as a town of artists - painters, sculptors, craftsmen and jewellers from all over Mexico and abroad have been attracted by the exquisite colonial architecture, shady plazas and gorgeous mountain setting, the mellow sunlight enriching the colours of the ubiquitous flowers. The result is a clutch of galleries featuring the work of both Mexican and international artists.

Your guided tour takes you around the exhibits in various galleries, the artisan market and also the attractive main square, used for cultural events such as concerts and which is embellished with laurel bushes. From the imposing Institute of Fine Arts through galleries specialising in contemporary art, Mexican folk art, textiles, and artisan craft work, you will be taken on a journey through Mexico’s artistic heritage as well as some of the country’s  collection of art created by both expat residents and artists from around the world.    

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Day 6

At leisure in San Miguel de Allende.

You can relax and enjoy the facilities of the town, maybe return to a favourite gallery or make some artistic purchases.  Explore the 24 blocks of peaceful streets, cobblestone lanes and alleys, lined with tempting boutiques and souvenir shops; discover  the striking pink limestone gothic church Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel,  the tallest building in town; stop off to eat a selection of street food or a scrumptious meal in one of the gourmet restaurants; enjoy a sunset cocktail in a rooftop bar with views over the rooftops to the mountains beyond.  

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Day 7

Transfer to Mexico City airport for your international flight.

Or continue your holiday in Mexico – a self-drive around the other nearby arty colonial towns such as Guanajuato and Morelia, or take a hire car down the Pacific coast, maybe..

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