Mexico – rich in history and tradition women only boutique small group tour
Fully escorted 18 night tour.
From the birthplace of Mariachi, Sombreros and Tequila to the glories of the ancient Maya culture.
29th October to 16th November 2018 (Only a few places remaining)
This extended tour takes us on a gentle journey from a lively and welcoming village on the edge of Lake Chapala in Jalisco Province to the wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula which separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea.
Your home for the next 7 nights is La Nueva Posada a traditional family owned private hotel described as Ajijic’s most unique and romantic hotel classified as a small boutique hotel with Mexican Colonial charm. The hotel is located on the shores of Lake Chapala surrounded by lush tropical gardens and with all local sights and services within walking distance. The Eager family has owned and operated this charming hotel for 35 years. Their restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.
- Transfers from Guadalajara airport to the hotel
- English speaking guide for the entire tour
- 18 nights accommodation
- 18 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 11 dinners
- Wine, beer and soft drink with group lunches and dinners
- Air-conditioned motor coach for escorted tours and transfers
- Guided walking tour of Ajijic
- Visit to Tlaquepaque
- Lake Chapala for Day of the Dead festivities
- Personal interest day with guided activities
- Private visit to the oldest distillery in Tequila with tasting
- ‘Behind the Walls’ tour of privately owned colonial haciendas
- Flight from Guadalajara to Mexico City
- Optional Mexican Food Tour or Frida Kahlo tour
- Dinner in Michelin Star restaurant
- Visit the stunning National Museum of Anthropology
- Flight from Mexico City to Merida
- Stay at Celestun Biosphere (wildlife refuge)
- Visit Uxmal and the caves of Loltun
- Cooking class at Hacienda Soluta de Peon
- Walking tour of Merida, the ‘white city’
- Private out-of-hours entrance to Chichen Itza
- Group transfers to Cancun airport for onward flights
- Tips for drivers and guides
Days 1 - 18
Arrive at Guadalajara international airport and transfer to your accommodation, La Nueva Posada, in Ajijic. Enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by a casual dinner at the hotel.
Day 2: Ajijic BL
Guided walking tour of Ajijic. Wandering along the cobble-stoned village streets is the best way to experience Ajijic. In the most unexpected places you will discover things to surprise and delight you. Houses are typical of old Mexico: simple village homes with colourful walls fronting the cobblestone streets as well as the elegant haciendas hidden behind the high walls. Dotted throughout the town are magnificent murals depicting social and historical scenes created by famous Mexican artists – many of whom are based in Ajijic.
Following lunch the remaining afternoon is at leisure to further explore the streets of Ajijic, hang out with the locals in the village square or simply relax in the hotel gardens. For dinner choose from our selection of local restaurants offering traditional Mexican food or opt for a light supper in the hotel.
Day 3: Ajijic, Tlaquepaque BL
It’s market day in Ajijic and an experience not to be missed. It’s located approximately 10 minutes’ walk from our hotel and an excellent place to interact with locals and discover the work of the local artisans. You’ll have time after breakfast to explore the market before we head, late morning, to one of Guadalajara’s oldest villages, Tlaquepaque.
With over 40 specialty shops and exclusive art galleries, shopping becomes a joyful revelation of fabulous art treasures and distinctive gifts around every corner. We return to Ajijic late afternoon in time to join in the Halloween celebrations which mark the unofficial start of one of Mexico’s favourite holidays – the day of the dead. Lunch will be provided at one of the stylish restaurants in Tlaquepaque. Dinner is at leisure.
Day 4: Chapala BD
Today is the true start of one of the most important holidays in Mexico – the Day of the Dead. The village will come alive with street parties and dancing in the main square.
With our local expert we’ll visit the neighbouring town of Chapala where families will be erecting altars in the main square and along the Malecon to celebrate the passing of loved ones. It’s a way for family members who lost loved ones to honour and remember their presence by building altars and filling them with items the person once enjoyed. The traditional bread of the dead will be on sale and offered on each altar. On the first day altars are erected for children and babies who have died. On the second day altars are erected for adults who have passed away.
We’ll return to Ajijic for an afternoon at leisure.
At night the families visit the graves of their loved ones, eat, drink and listen to music and a party atmosphere prevails throughout the night. Tonight we’ll dine at one of our favourite restaurants in Ajijic.
Day 5: Ajijic and surrounds BLD
Today is your special personal day where you have an opportunity to explore the local villages and surrounds, or join one of a selection of guided activities. We offer a specialized photography day trip to surrounding villages to meet local artists, guided by an internationally renowned photographer. Or you may want to partake in a hands-on cooking class. Lunch is naturally included.
Or try your hand at a local art class, or go birding. Please inform us at the time of booking if you are interested in any of these all-inclusive personalized activities.
Dinner tonight is in the neighbouring village of San Juan Cosala at Viva Mexico, owned and run by Agustin, one of the area’s local heroes due to his charitable work in the community and a master Mexican Chef. We’ll be inviting some local ex-pats to join us who will be happy to share their experiences of living in this delightful little village.
Day 6: Tequila BL
After breakfast we’ll depart for a full day tour to Tequila – home to a 300 year old distillery still producing high quality tequila. We will travel through Maguey plantations along our route to the only area where tequila is manufactured. A private escorted tour through Mundo Cuervo family distillery will be followed by a tour of the gardens attached to the family’s hacienda which features a selection of surrealist sculptures by the artist Leonora Carrington, alongside works by Juan Soriana and Sergio Bustamante. After lunch there will be time to explore the village of Tequila before our return to Ajijic. Dinner at leisure in one of our recommended restaurants.
Day 7: BD
A truly unique experience today with an opportunity to explore “Behind the Walls” with a visit to some of the privately owned magnificent colonial haciendas.
The Spanish style architecture features central courtyards, colourful tile work, lush gardens and modern and antique furnishings, many designed and made locally. This is a unique opportunity to meet local home-owners and gain insight into some of the town’s private art collections.
The afternoon is at leisure to further explore Ajijic, visit the shops or the art galleries or take in a spa or massage.
Tonight we’ll dine together in one of Ajijic’s finest restaurants to celebrate the end of a memorable tour and our immersion into the life and spirit of this wonderful community.
Days 8 – 11 Mexico City
Mexico City has been described as cosmopolitan and cultured. In the downtown area can be found the city’s pre-Hispanic roots and splendid colonial era buildings. Its culinary scene is innovative and exciting with an ever- increasing number of Michelin Star restaurants. Our hotel is perfectly situated on the edge of the main square home to some of the most famous and impressive buildings in the city.
3 nights at Gran Hotel de la Ciudad. Considered one of the top Mexican hotels with its remarkable turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau décor and a stunning stained-glass ceiling in the lobby, its gilded open elevators transport visitors back to an era of effortless luxury that is still the hallmark of Gran Hotel Ciudad de México today.
Day 8: Mexico City BD
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll check out of our hotel, bid farewell to the delightful little village of Ajijic and transfer to Guadalajara airport for our flight to Mexico City. Our hotel is located in the historic centre overlooking the Zocalo (main square). Here you’ll find the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, Temple Major and Palace of Fine Arts. Our local guide will take us on a walking tour around the key locations bordering the square. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel restaurant which overlooks the square.
Day 9: BD
Today the choice is yours. Either join a tour to discover the life and work of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera with a visit to her home in Coyoacan, the Casa Studio Deigo Rivera and the Museo Dolores Olmedo which houses the largest collection of the works of Frida Kahlo in Mexico.
Or, join our guided San Angel Mexican Food Tour where you will explore the remarkable culture that defines one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Mexico City as you eat from different authentic Mexican food locations. Experience one of the most magical neighbourhoods in Mexico City with its beautiful cobbled streets discovering the local food. Between samples, you’ll visit cultural, religious and historic landmarks. Today San Angel remains an artists’ neighbourhood.
Dinner tonight will be at one of Mexico City’s Michelin Star restaurants.
Day 10: National Museum of Anthropology BD
A visit this morning to the National Museum of Anthropology will provide the best possible introduction to the next stage of our journey to the Mayan splendour of the Yucatan peninsula. This world class museum is housed in a magnificent building and contains an exceptional collection highlighting the diversity of culture that makes up Mexico. The exhibits are beautifully presented and our tour will focus primarily on the Aztec and Mayan floors as a full tour of this stunning museum would take all day.
An afternoon at leisure will be followed by another extraordinary dinner in a city that has become a focus for innovative cuisine.
Days 11 – 18: Yucatan Peninsula
The Maya civilization flourished in this area for more than a thousand years before being conquered by the Spanish in the 1500’s. The Maya people have never disappeared and their culture, identity, traditions and language are still very much alive.
3 nights at Hotel Xixim at the Celestun Biosphere. A unique Mayan hotel located on the endless white sand beaches of the Celestun Biosphere Reserve. With its bungalow suite-style architecture, Mayan Mexican fusion cuisine, welcoming Mayan hospitality, and Wellness Center the hotel offers the perfect space to create a feeling of relaxation and serenity.
2 nights at Casa Del Balam at Merida.
Hotel Casa del Balam
The tranquil elegance of the building creates a warm welcome. With its Carrara marble floors, Moorish arches, stone carved fountain and the owners love for art permeating the building the traditional atmosphere of the hotel guarantees a home-style welcome.
3 nights at Meson del Marques in Valladolid. A cosy family owned hotel located in the heart of the city of Valladolid, Magic Town and where colonial elegance is mixed with modern amenities. Relax in the outdoor terrace and its beautiful gardens.
Day 11: Celestun Biosphere BD
Today we depart Mexico City to fly to Merida and the start of our exploration of the cultural and environmental richness of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Our guide and driver will be waiting at the airport for the transfer to our hotel in the Celestun Biosphere.
There will be free time to settle in and discover the amenities of the hotel which includes a spa and Wellness centre. This evening we’ll enjoy a casual dinner in the hotel.
Day 12: Celestun Biosphere BL
Today we´ll spend a complete day at Celestun to explore the area´s treasures.
The Special Biosphere Reserves are the habitat to endemic, and/or species threatened with extinction.
Over 300 bird species can be found in Celestun’s Special Biosphere Reserve along with turtles, crocodiles,
boa constrictors, iguanas and geckos. Our tour will include a private boat ride to get closer to the Flamingos which are one of the favourite attractions of the park.
Day 13: Old Mayan Routes BL
Today we head out for a fantastic exploration of the ancient Mayan World.
We´ll travel through the Puuc Route including the following sites: Uxmal, Labna, Kabah, Sayil.
The legendary Mayan temples of Uxmal, another UNESCO World Heritage Site are a highlight of the Yucatan and date back to the 10th century AD. They are considered to be one of the most complex and impressive expressions of Puuc architecture. Our expert tour guide will illuminate the Mayan mysteries of the region as we learn about its engineering, architecture, and society.
We will enjoy a traditional lunch at a local Mayan family Restaurant. Slowly cooked pork and chicken, with achiote paste and wrapped up in banana leaves. Cooked in a pib for 5 hours….. very tasty.
After lunch, we’ll visit the nearby Mayan Ruins where we will find the caves of Loltun. One of the largest known from the huge cave system that covers a great territory in southern Yucatan. We’ll be able to walk the 500mts of illuminated paths leading to chambers with stalactites, stalagmites and interesting petro glyphs and rupestrian paintings.
Evening at leisure.
Day 14: Sotuta de Peon and Merida BLD
Check out after breakfast for an early departure for a Hacienda Tour, Cooking Class and Lunch at Hacienda Sotuta de Peon. Surrounded by elegant antique furniture, the Hacienda provides an idea of the wealth that was generated through the process of cultivation, industrialization, and finally exportation of henequen products to waiting countries around the World.
After lunch our guide will take us on a waking tour of Merida City.
Known as the White City it is one of the most tranquil cities in Mexico. With remote Mayan roots, superb colonial monuments and the splendor of her turn to the XIX century architecture, Merida is a captivating mixture of cultural influences.
Group dinner tonight at the hotel.
Day 15: Free time BD
Day at leisure. Group dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 16: Izamal, Valladolid and Chichen Itza BL
Breakfast and check out of the hotel
Today we´ll travel to the inland of the Yucatan Peninsula.
First we visit the city of Izamal and the magical Franciscan monastery. We’ll stop at a local hammock workshop to watch artisans art work and to learn about this ancient Mayan product.
Our next stop will be Valladolid which is part of the Magical Villages Program which is an initiative led by the Mexican tourism dept. to display influential towns in Mexico based on their natural beauty, cultural riches, or historical relevance to the country.
After lunch in in a traditional local restaurant we’ll enjoy some free time to explore this fascinating town before checking into our hotel. Dinner at leisure.
Day 17: Chichen Itza and Ek-Balam BL
Our day will commence with an exclusive private out of hours entrance and tour of Chichen Itza.
This was the most important capital city of the Maya area in the Classic period and the beginning of Post Classic. When Spaniards arrived, it was the most visited center of cult and pilgrimage of Yucatan Peninsula. Chichen Itza and the Cenote of Sacrifices were, and still are, sacred centers for the Maya.
This is a Cultural Heritage Zone of Mexico, and due to its importance was inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list in 1988.
We’ll then head inland for a guided tour of the beautiful Mayan
archeological site of Ek Balam. From the Preclassic until the Postclassic period, it was the seat of a Mayan kingdom.
With a picnic lunch we’ll head to the beautiful Cenotes of Dzitnup where you have the option to take a refreshing swim before returning to the hotel to rest and enjoy an evening at leisure after our early morning start.
Day 18: Coba, Tulum and Xibalba Cenotes BLD
We’ll start the day with a visit to the towering temples of Coba, some of the tallest in Mexico. This unique site has barely been restored and while only a few structures have been uncovered, it’s estimated that some 6,500 remain still to be exposed.
Bicycles are available to tour Coba´s ruins.
Lunch in one of the local authentic restaurants of Coba.
Our next destination today is Tulum with its famous archaeological site uniquely located on the shore.
This Maya site may formerly have been known by the name Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise on a bluff facing east towards the Caribbean Sea.
There will be time to rest before our farewell dinner which will take place in a very original Mayan Palapa Restaurant, where we´ll enjoy the local flavours of gourmet yucatan food.
Overlooking the ancient stonework of the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena dating to 1552, one of the most important structures of colonial Mexico, Taberna de los Frailes sits exactly above Cenote SisHa, the most historic Cenote of Yucatan.
All good things must come to an end and today we’ll be transferring to Cancun airport for our flights onward or home.
Mexico – Rich In History and Tradition(Per person)
- No single supplement
- Reductions available for twin share.
- Not included are flights into Guadalajara and out of Cancun.