Nine days is the perfect amount of time to experience the highlights of Mexico City, from its Spanish-colonial landmarks to its artistic enclaves to its neighborhoods filled with delectable street food. You'll also visit neighboring Puebla. Like Mexico City, it has a long and storied colonial history plus a rich indigenous culture that reveals itself in the food and artisanal crafts for which the region is deservedly famous.

Highlights

  • Enjoy delicious street food in Mexico City
  • Visit the capital's historic neighborhoods of Coyoacán & Xochimilco
  • Take a bicycle tour of Teotihuacán
  • Discover the history and cuisine of Cholula and Puebla

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City, Visit La Merced Market Mexico City
Day 2 Night Food Tour of Mexico City Mexico City
Day 3 Tour Coyoacán & Xochimilco, Coffee Tasting Mexico City
Day 4 Visit Chapultepec Park Mexico City
Day 5 Bike Tour of Teotihuacán, Pulque Tasting, Transfer to Cholula San Andrés Cholula
Day 6 Cholula Tour & Tortilla Workshop, Transfer to Puebla Puebla
Day 7 Puebla City Tour & Talavera History Puebla
Day 8 Free Day in Puebla Puebla
Day 9 Puebla to Mexico City, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City, Visit La Merced Market

Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral overlooks the ZĂłcalo
Mexico City's ZĂłcalo

Welcome to Mexico! This culturally rich and beautiful Latin American nation is full of history, art, music, and some of the most delicious food in the world. Upon arrival at the airport in Mexico City, a driver will be waiting for the transfer to your hotel. After check-in, you'll meet your guide and head to Mercado de La Merced, located a few blocks east of the ZĂłcalo (main square).

This massive covered marketplace takes up seven buildings and covers an area of almost 950,000 sq feet (88,000 sq m). For these reasons, La Merced enjoys the distinction of being the largest retail market in the city. There are over 4,000 shops and stalls here, and you can find everything from fresh produce and flowers to clothing and housewares. As you make your way through the lively market on a four-hour tour, you'll sample a wide array of delectable snacks (this is an all-you-can-eat tour). As you do, you'll learn about La Merced's rich history—the area has been a center of commerce for centuries.

Day 2: Night Food Tour of Mexico City

Time for some tacos
In the evening, you're off to Navarrete. This residential neighborhood has become a prime foodie destination due to its many traditional taquerias. On a four-hour guided tour, you'll visit food stalls run by vendors who've been in the neighborhood for decades. Delicious tacos you'll enjoy include volcanes (flame-grilled tortillas smothered in cheese and peppers), suadero (a lean cut of beef), and of course, the famous al pastor (pork shoulder roasted on a spit). Then toss back a chela (beer) at a local cantina and finish the night with a mezcal tasting led by a local chef.

Day 3: Tour Coyoacán & Xochimilco, Coffee Tasting

Coyoacán - Casa de  Frida
La Casa Azul in Coyoacán

Today you'll enjoy a tour of the most historic cultural sites around Mexico City. First up is Coyoacán. Located in the city's south, this neighborhood is famous for its cobbled streets, shady plazas, and colorful homes. The area has retained its colonial charm, as it was its own municipality from the early 16th century through the 19th century. Here you'll visit the 16th-century San Juan Bautista Church, plus stop at a local craft fair. Then continue to La Casa Azul, the house where Frida Kahlo spent much of her life and is now a museum displaying works by Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Next, travel further south to the outskirts of the city and Xochimilco. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been settled since pre-colonial times. It's known for its tranquil canals—remnants of the rivers that once crossed Mexico's valley floor and were used by the Aztecs for transport. A popular activity you'll enjoy is traveling down the canals on a trajinera (painted, gondola-like boat). As you float down the half-natural, half-artificial channels, you'll nibble on antojitos (Mexican snacks) and learn about Mexican history as boats filled with mariachi musicians float past and serenade you.

End the day with a two-hour coffee tasting/culinary experience. You'll visit a small coffee bar to taste an eclectic selection and learn about the origin and cultivation of the beans. Then, local chefs will prepare gourmet creations inspired by cuisines from around the world.

Day 4: Visit Chapultepec Park

A journey through the history of Chapultepec.
Chapultepec Castle, which crowns Mexico City's largest park
Today you'll venture into Mexico City's great outdoors for a three-hour guided tour of Chapultepec Park. At 1,695 acres this is one of the largest urban green spaces in the world. It's also one of the oldest, as back in 1428, it was a summer retreat for Aztec rulers. Besides lakes and gardens, the park contains nine museums, a zoo, and an amusement park. One landmark you'll visit is Chapultepec Castle, which dates to 1785 and is located atop the park's hill. Once the residence of the Viceroy of New Spain, today it's the National Museum of History, home to a magnificent collection of historical artifacts and murals.

Day 5: Bike Tour of Teotihuacán, Pulque Tasting, Transfer to Cholula

Aerial view of the historic site
The Avenue of the Dead and Pyramid of the Sun

In the morning, your guide will pick you up at the hotel for the drive outside the city to one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico: Teotihuacán. Known as the "City of the Gods," this 8-sq-mile (20-sq-km) site was founded as early as 400 BCE, meaning it long pre-dates the Aztecs. During its heyday (around 500 CE), it was home to 200,000 people and over 2,000 buildings, making it the largest city in the western hemisphere. Rather than taking a walking tour of its wide pathways, you'll experience Teotihuacán a bit differently—on a bicycle.

Upon arrival, you'll hop on a bike and ride around the archaeological site, first passing the many murals that decorate the structures and depict cultural and religious motifs and natural landscapes. Then travel down the Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacán's main path that runs for a mile (2 km). You'll also visit the Pyramid of the Sun, the most prominent structure at 215 feet (66 m), and the Pyramid of the Moon, which towers 140 feet (43 m). Then stop at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (Temple of the Feathered Serpent), which has bas-reliefs of the feathered serpent deity carved into its sides.

Afterward, you'll enjoy a pulque tasting. Known to the Aztecs as "the blood of the gods," this traditional Mexican spirit is made from the maguey plant's fermented aguamiel (sap), a type of agave. You'll also visit a workshop specializing in the pre-Hispanic flavors of the Teotihuacán region, which makes products from local flora like the fruits of the nopal and xoconostle plants. Afterward, you'll hop in the car for the two-hour drive southeast to Cholula, a district located a couple of miles outside the city of Puebla.

Day 6: Cholula Tour & Tortilla Workshop, Transfer to Puebla

Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, in Cholula

The area that is now Cholula was first settled around 200 BCE, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities. On a five-hour guided tour down its colorful streets, you'll learn about its history, culture, myths, and legends. Then you'll head up to the Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, Cholula's gilded neoclassical church that dates to 1574. It was famously built atop a 177-foot-high (54 m) pyramid that is part of a large pre-Hispanic archeological site. You'll have an impressive view of the city from the church and, on a clear day, can even see the towering volcanoes of the Valley of Mexico. 

A big part of the tour also focuses on the gastronomy of Cholula. To this end, you'll visit a local market and marvel at the wide variety of fresh produce and other available foods. In particular, Cholula is known for its handmade tortillas, a culinary tradition passed down from generation to generation. Participating in a tortilla workshop teaches you every step of this artisanal process, from milling the corn to shaping the final product with your hands. Naturally, once your batch of tortillas is ready, you'll get to snack on them with a refreshing drink. 

After the workshop, you'll transfer to nearby Puebla, where you'll check in to your hotel.

Day 7: Puebla City Tour & Talavera History

Discover Puebla
Today you'll enjoy a three-hour guided tour of Puebla's historic center, which has earned UNESCO World Heritage status. Start at the 17th-century Cathedral, which overlooks the Zócalo (main plaza) and is a fine example of Mexican Baroque architecture. Continue to a talavera (handmade pottery) workshop followed by the Palafoxiana Library, which dates to 1646. You'll also visit the Calle de Los Dulces (home to an array of artisanal sweet shops), the Barrio del Artista (Arts District), and Barrio de Los Sapos (a historic neighborhood good for antique shopping), as well as the El Parián handicrafts market.

Day 8: Free Day in Puebla

You can visit the Fuertes de Loreto
The day is yours to enjoy at your own pace. This city has a rich historical legacy, as it's the site of the famous Battle of Puebla, which occurred on May 5, 1862. It was in this area that Mexican forces repelled French invaders, and the nation has been holding its annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations ever since. To learn more about this event, you can head to the Museo Interactivo de la Batalla del 5 de Mayo. This interactive museum is located at Los Fuertes de Loreto—the historic forts where the battle took place. 

Day 9: Puebla to Mexico City, Depart

Farewell, Puebla
It's time to say goodbye to Mexico. At the appropriate time, your drier will pick you up for the transfer from Puebla to the airport in Mexico City, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Best of Mexico City & Puebla - 9 Days
Map of Best of Mexico City & Puebla - 9 Days