J. Jones, winner of a holiday to Mexico through a promotion Journey Latin America ran with the Royal Academy, spills the beans on the why Mexico’s colonial cities are the absolute must-sees.

We’d like to share this lovely testimonial by J. Jones from her recent trip to Mexico in which she travelled as a competition winner through a promotion we ran with the Royal Academy - proof that there is a lucky winner and to hopefully inspire you to keep an eye open for our future promotions.

“We are back at home again now after our absolutely fabulous holiday in beautiful Mexico.

Thank you, thank you all so much for making it possible... what a fantastic prize to win.

We have seen and done so much and learned so much from Juan Martinez Jimenez, our guide, that I would not have thought it possible. I am sure we shall never forget the trip and the exciting cities we saw, the journeys through the varied countryside, which Juan tells us is so different in the rainy season, the little villages, the mountains we loved and the people we met, they were so kind.

We took the tourist buses in Mexico City and Guadalajara, then explored both cities on foot. We visited the markets and the wonderful Artisan's village of Tlaquepaque where we saw traditional Mexican singing and dancing. We learned about the heroes of the War of Independence in 1810 and visited many of the historical places associated with them including the little church at Atotonilco with its fantastic frescoes.

We felt quite privileged to take the little boat on the lake at Patzcuaro, out to the island of Janitzio with the locals and to see the tiny cemetery, high up on the hillside where the ancestors of the butterfly fishermen are remembered with celebration and pride on the annual "Day of the Dead."

In Guanajuato we learned about Pipila and the revolutionaries and later, the festival of Cervantes. What an amazing city it is, so high in the mountains. We loved seeing the tiny alleys and squares and driving through the many tunnels and just being in the squares with the lively music of the Mariachi bands. We visited a silver mine and the Museum of the Mummies, so fascinating, slightly morbid but thought provoking and sad at the same time.

Everywhere we went we found the people so kind and friendly. Juan could not have looked after us better. He is a superb guide and made sure that all arrangements ran smoothly. He was extremely knowledgeable about any questions we had and made sure that we saw and visited places we would be interested in.

Our hotels were wonderful. Thank you so much for designing our trip so that we were centrally based in very comfortable surroundings and yet in quiet areas in each of the cities in which we stayed.

In Mexico City we were very comfortable at the Holiday Inn after our long tiring journey - we loved the roof restaurant with its wonderful views of the city and the Cathedral opposite. There were even feeding stations for humming birds in lyre shaped feeders attached to the balcony railings.

Our hotel in Patzcuaro, the Mansion Iturbe was amazing, we stepped back four centuries but with all desired mod cons!

We loved the comfort too of the next hotel, the De Mendoza in Guadalajara. Again, centrally based and we even witnessed a couple of weddings one evening in the ancient church next door.

The Quinta Las Acacias in Guanajuato was colonial luxury and the staff were extremely helpful in arranging an evening trip down into the city.

Last of all we enjoyed our stay in La Morada in San Miguel de Allende, centrally placed again for fine restaurants and visits to the beautiful church of La Parroquia de San Miguel.

We are extremely grateful to everyone for such an incredible trip to Mexico. The organisation was superb and we felt quite privileged to have such an opportunity to travel with you. Our guide Juan Martinez Jimenez was excellent and we thoroughly recommend him.

So, once again thank you so much indeed, we have had a truly unforgettable experience.”

>> If this sounds tempting see our Mexico Self Drive: Colonial Cities and the Pacific Coast holiday which visits Mexico City, the pyramids of Teotihuacán, characterful Guanajuato, Morelia, Pátzcuaro and Zihuatanejo.

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