The pyramids at Teotihuacan for example, that pre-date even the Aztecs, are only 50km north-east of Mexico City. The charming streets and gem-like squares in the towns of Santiago de Queretaro and San Miguel de Allende will take you back to the heart of the colonial period, whilst the jumble of Guanajuato’s characterful buildings and the time-untouched Patzcuaro are sure to keep your camera busy. And where better to conclude your adventure than at a secluded cliff-side hotel in Ixtapa, where you will be surrounded by mountains, rich tropical forests and the shimmering Pacific Ocean.
London – Mexico City
Your exploration of the colonial cities of Mexico begins with the country’s largest. You fly from London – comparatively small and quiet by this city’s standards – to Mexico City. You will be met at the airport by your driver and guide and shown to the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel.
You’ll find yourself at the heart of one of the city’s most prominent entertainment districts; conveniently close to the sights, restaurants, cultural opportunities and nightlife. It’s a great start to your tour, giving you diverse options ranging from archaeological sites and monuments to museums and galleries, bazaars and boutiques. During your stay you will set off on full-day guided excursions to explore the magnificent pyramids of Teotihuacan, the floating gardens of Xochimilco and the city’s southern suburbs.
Stay: Three nights in a superior room at the Four Seasons – bed & breakfast
San Miguel de Allende
Today you will be met by your driver who will take you to San Miguel de Allende, stopping along the way for a city tour of Santiago de Queretaro. Founded in 1531, this city is considered one of the most beautiful in the country, famed for its UNESCO-listed downtown which is filled with lovely palaces, churches, mansions and plazas.
After the tour, a drive of just one and a half hours will bring you to San Miguel de Allende. If you appreciate diverse styles of architecture you’ll be impressed by the array of fine buildings on display here. A private tour of the historic centre will show you the iconic central plaza and the famous pink church with its remarkable gothic style architecture. As well as its architectural design, the city is also admired for its gourmet restaurants, great shopping, fine art shops, galleries and parade of sightseeing opportunities. On the final day you will learn how to prepare typical Mexican dishes, selecting ingredients yourself from the city’s main food market.
Stay: Three nights in a colonial room at the Rosewood San Miguel – bed & breakfast
En route to Guanajuato you will enjoy a private vineyard experience at the award-winning Cuna de Tierra vineyard. You will be shown around the vineyard, learn about the production process, enjoy a delicious four-course meal and, of course, sample some of the country’s finest wines.
Your journey then continues through attractive countryside to one of the most photogenic colonial cities in the whole of Mexico. So make sure your camera is fully charged. Walking around the streets, squares and avenues of Guanajuato is like being inside a painting, with irregular buildings, colourful shops and traditional homes at every turn. A full day tour will reveal the city’s rich heritage, taking you along cobbled streets and narrow alleys past beautiful churches and Spanish colonial buildings. Your guide will point out the city’s hidden gems, from the Juarez Theatre to the birthplace (now converted into a museum) of the revolutionary painter Diego Rivera.
Stay: Two nights in a patio suite at Villa Maria Cristina – bed & breakfast
Now it’s time to head for cooler climes. Bidding farewell to Guanajuato you’ll drive off towards Patzcuaro high up in the Michoacan Hills. But first you will enjoy a short city tour of Morelia, admiring its elegant colonial architecture such as the beautiful pink stone cathedral which took over a century to construct. After you will be privately transferred to your hotel in Patzcuaro.
From Patzcuaro’s height of 7,200 feet you’ll have spectacular vistas stretching out over the surrounding countryside, but the real eye-openers are the city’s lovely old buildings – many of them in the decorative colonial style – and the idyllic squares that seem untouched by the passage of time. Your guide will take you on fascinating private tours of Patzcuaro, Santa Clara del Cobre and Lake Zirahuen – one of Mexico’s highest lakes.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at Casa de la Real Aduana – bed & breakfast
A three and a half hour drive now brings you to Ixtapa and your stunning five-star hotel for some relaxation by the sea. You will have three nights to unwind and enjoy the hotel’s excellent facilities, from the freshwater infinity pool to the superb restaurants serving classic Mexican cuisine and fresh seafood. The spa offers you an array of relaxing treatments, whilst those who like to be active will also find yoga classes and a fully-equipped gym.
Stay: Three nights in a deluxe ocean front junior suite at the Capella Ixtapa Resort & Spa – bed & breakfast
Zihuatanejo – Mexico City – London
Return to Mexico City to board your return flight to London, arriving the following day.