Explore anthropology museums in Mexico City, explore archaeological sites in Teotihuacán, and experience local cultures on this eight-day immersive trip to Mexico's Central region. Start in Mexico City to explore the bustling capital, then head to Cholula for ancient ruins and a tour of the local staple crop: corn. End in Oaxaca: Mexico's food capital.

Highlights

  • Taste authentic mezcal in the place where it's made
  • Go biking in Teotihuacán to see ancient pyramids
  • Visit the archeological site of the Templo Mayor
  • Learn to cook regional fare, such as nicuátole and empanadas
  • Explore Oaxaca's foodie scene and try different products made with corn

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Mexico City, City Center Walking Tour & Street Food Tasting Mexico City
Day 2 National Museum of Anthropology & Chapultepec Castle Mexico City
Day 3 Biking in Teotihuacán "The City of the Gods" & Overnight in Cholula Cholula
Day 4 Corn Markets Tour in Cholula Cholula
Day 5 Historical Tour of Oaxaca City, Transfer to Oaxaca Oaxaca
Day 6 Visit Monte Albán & Create Your Alebrije, Cooking Workshop in Oaxaca Oaxaca
Day 7 Mezcal Tour Oaxaca
Day 8 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Mexico City, City Center Walking Tour & Street Food Tasting

Tacos with carnitas and chicharrón
Tacos with carnitas and chicharrón
Welcome to Mexico City!

Explore the historic center of the Mexican capital on a walking tour to learn about the city's history, its art, and its architecture. 

Start with a visit to the impressive Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), the symbol of Porfirio Díaz's rule, then continue through Madero's pedestrian street until you reach Plaza de la Constitución, better known as Zócalo. It's one of the largest squares in the world and is home to a number of important historical buildings and monuments, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the archeological site of the Templo Mayor, and the National Palace.

To get a feel for the real México you have to venture into a local market, the heart of each neighborhood. You'll visit the nearby market, navigated by your guide to help you find the best street tacos. Taste the city's best street food, smell the cooking food from each stall, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere as you peruse like a local — this is the real Mexico City. 

Day 2: National Museum of Anthropology & Chapultepec Castle

Sculptures inside the museum
Sculptures inside the museum
Meet your guide in the morning for a dive into Mexico's past with a visit to the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico's largest and most-visited museum. Two of its main exhibits, the Aztec and Mayan exhibits, best illustrate the history of the indigenous people of Mexico — their lives, culture, and history prior to (and after) colonization. 

After the museum visit, transfer to Chapultepec.

Spreading over almost 1,480 acres, Chapultepec Woods constitutes one of the most important natural reserves in Mexico City. Chapultepec Castle, located on the highest part of one of the reserve's hills, is a Neo-classical building that has been expanded and remodeled since its construction as a summer palace for the Viceroys. In 1940 it was fitted to house the National Museum of History. As you learn about Mexico's history, enjoy the amazing views of the city from the castle's windows.

Day 3: Biking in Teotihuacán "The City of the Gods" & Overnight in Cholula

Aerial view of the historic site
Aerial view of the historic site
After an early breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel start your biking tour. Your destination is Teotihuacán — "the place where men become gods" — an archeological site located in the State of Mexico, between the towns of San Martin de las Piramides and San Juan Teotihuacan, 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Mexico City.

Your tour starts at the Valley of Teoticuacán, where your guide will walk with you through the mural route, where you can see the ancient barrios of Tetitla, Atetelco, and Tepantitla. Next, continue to the archaeological zone to see the pyramids and Palace of the Butterflies.

During the visit, you'll also have the opportunity to try pulque, a traditional alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant. In addition, you'll visit a cactus products factory to learn about all the different products that are made with the plants.

In the late afternoon following the tour transfer to Cholula, located approximately two hours away. Once you arrive at your hotel, take the rest of the day to rest and relax after your adventure. 

Day 4: Corn & Markets Tour in Cholula

Corn and markets in the magical town of Cholula
Corn and markets in the magical town of Cholula

You'll spend the day exploring Cholula and some of its iconic architecture. Discover some of the most iconic churches, such as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, which is built on top of a pyramid dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl. Learn about the history and the history of how indigenous and colonial cultures have mixed to create an entirely unique city. 

In addition to its architecture and historic sites, Cholula is famous for its gastronomy. Spend the afternoon exploring the city's food scene, especially the preparation and use of corn in common Mexican foods.

On this tour, you'll discover and learn everything about the process of corn, from its cultivation to the preparation of tortillas. At the end of the tour, you will taste some of the most delicious foods that are derived from corn — the staple of Mexican gastronomy.

Day 5: Historical Tour of Oaxaca City, Transfer to Oaxaca

Santo Domingo's Temple
Santo Domingo's Temple
Spend some time exploring Oaxaca on a guided city tour as you discover the cultural, historical, and gastronomic richness that this city offers.

The tour lasts 3.5 hours and includes visits to the 16th-century Aqueduct, the street of Garcia Vigil, and the Seminary of the Holy Cross. The latter is where both Benito Juarez, the president who established the foundations on which the secular state and the Federal Republic were founded in Mexico, and Porfirio Diaz, known as the hero of the French intervention and president for 31 years, studied. 

Further on you will find the house where Juarez spent his adolescence, as well as the temple of Our Lady of Carmen. Continue until you reach the temple of Santo Domingo, home of the museum of cultures and the site that holds the treasure of the Seventh tomb of Monte Alban. Don't miss its impressive baroque decoration, as well as the facades of the Novo-Hispanic mansions on Alcalá Street, the Cathedral, and, finally, the Plaza de la Constitución with its authentic art nouveau kiosk and colorful markets full of delightful aromas and flavors.

Day 6: Visit Monte Albán & Create Your Alebrije, Cooking Workshop in Oaxaca

An artist paints the alebrije
An artist paints the alebrije
Today you'll visit Monte Alban, an archaeological site located 5 miles (8 km) from the city of Oaxaca. The site was the ancient capital of the Zapotec people and one of the first cities in Mesoamerica (and one of the most populous during its heyday!)

Meet your guide for an exploration of the archaeological site to learn about the Zapotec culture and history. Afterward, visit the nearby village of San Martin Tilcajete to learn about the iconic alebrije handicrafts and try your hand at making some yourself. The alebrije are made of cardboard or paper, as well as wire or wood, and are then painted with vibrant colors. Popular shapes include animals, both real and fantastical.

After, enjoy a cooking workshop in a rural atmosphere. The workshop takes place in a Zapotec community in the Valley of Oaxaca, in the home of a family that will welcome you with open arms to teach you all their secrets. A comiderawill guide you through the whole process; this title is given to the women who are in charge of preparing the banquets for the festivities of the communities and who enjoy prestige for their culinary knowledge and good seasoning. 
 
Over the course of four hours, you'll prepare three of the following options: nicuátole (a custard-like dessert), tortillas, sauces, empanadas, sopa de guías (using the inner parts of the pumpkin's skin), cuitlacoche (corn mushroom), nopal soup, segueza, higadito, atole, and other options according to the season. When the dishes are ready, sit down to taste your creations.

Day 7: Mezcal Tour

Inspecting the harvest
Inspecting the harvest

Spend the day learning about the process of producing mezcal, from the agave fields to the glass on the table. 

Start with a visit to Matatlán, where farmers bring offerings to the cross and offer their agaves in hopes of a favorable harvest. As you wander the fields you'll learn about the varieties of agave that are used in the production of the drink, as well as the growing and harvesting methods that lead to the best final product — a traditional mezcal cantarito

As you explore the agave landscapes, your tour will take you through the communities of small local producers, where you'll meet the people who produce the internationally renowned mezcal. Continue to Chichicapam, where a local family will welcome you to their table for a traditional meal.

Finally, end in Ocotlán, where you will visit a cantina that makes cured mezcal the old-fashioned way: by putting fruit in the mezcal bottles.

Day 8: Departure

Come back soon!

Depending on the time of your flight, your private transportation will pick you up in your hotel to take you to the airport. Catch your flight to Mexico City, then continue home. ¡Hasta Pronto!

 

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Looking for a different length itinerary? Check out this 7-day version or this 9-day version of this trip.

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