- Wander around Guadalajara's elegant downtown to kick off the trip
- Meet several communities and artisans that live around Lake Cajitlan
- Recharge your batteries on the white sand beaches of Puerto Vallarta
- Let a private guide show you Mexico City's best museums and monuments
- Spend your last day at a hip, gourmet market in the center of the capital
|Day 1||Arrive in Guadalajara||Guadalajara|
|Day 2||Tour of Guadalajara & Tlaquepaque||Guadalajara|
|Day 3||Free Day in Guadalajara||Guadalajara|
|Day 4||Day-Trip to Lake Cajitlan||Guadalajara|
|Day 5||Bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta||Puerto Vallarta|
|Days 6-9||Free Time in Puerto Vallarta||Puerto Vallarta|
|Day 10||Fly from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City||Mexico City|
|Day 11||Visit the National Anthropology Museum||Mexico City|
|Day 12||Boat Tour in Xochimilco – Explore Coyoacán||Mexico City|
|Day 13||Visit Mercado Roma||Mexico City|
|Day 14||Depart Mexico City|
Day 1: Arrive in Guadalajara
Welcome to Guadalajara! The capital of Jalisco—one of Mexico's 31 states—is also known as the 'Pearl of the West'. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to your hotel in the city's historic center for check-in. There, you will be able to rest from your flight or feel free to explore the area around your hotel.
Depending on your arrival time (and if you have enough energy) you can also take a cultural visit of downtown Guadalajara with an English-speaking guide who will show you the most important and interesting areas of the city.
Day 2: Tour of Guadalajara & Tlaquepaque
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a tour of Guadalajara and the surrounding area. For an example of just how cultural and festive this city is, Guadalajara is the birthplace of the famous mariachis, the traditional Mexican music bands whose members wear big sombrero hats (more on this later), so there is plenty to do and see here.
The morning starts with a visit to one of the oldest food markets in the city. Next, you'll visit the mansion named El Palacio de las Vacas, and then walk around the city center where you can learn more about Guadalajara's history and colonial architecture.
After a traditional lunch in town, your guide will drive you outside of town to visit the charming old village of Tlaquepaque where you'll have time to experience the Mexican craft industry. Wander around various art galleries and then finish the excursion with a live mariachi performance.
Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the rest of the evening on your own.
Day 3: Free Day in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is a city full of interesting things to see and do, and you'll have the entire day to experience more must-sees on your own. If you are interested in art, you can visit the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There you will see a wide collection of the work of the painter Orozco.
For those who want to learn more about the local handicraft of the region, you might want to visit the Museo de las Artes Populares (museum of popular arts), where you will gain insight into the traditional indigenous arts of the area.
If you like to roam around food markets to discover new exotic fruits and vegetables, traditional Mexican ingredients, and prepared gastronomic specialties, don't miss a trip to San Juan de Dios market, the largest indoor market in Latin America.
Day 4: Day-Trip to Lake Cajitlan
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up for the day-trip to Lake Cajitlan outside of Guadalajara. Make sure to snag a window seat and enjoy the farmland vistas.
Once you arrive, you will explore the area with our guide and visit some of the artisans of the various communities surrounding the lake. Each community makes different traditional handicrafts that come from the pre-Hispanic period, so you'll have plenty of options to choose from if you're looking for souvenirs to take home.
At the end of the trip, you'll return to Guadalajara for the rest of the day.
Day 5: Bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta
Today, at the designated time, you will take a comfortable bus ride from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta (about 5 hours and 30 minutes) where you will spend the next few days soaking up the sun and sea. Upon your arrival at the bus station, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel.
Puerto Vallarta is home to stunning sunsets, beautiful beaches, and one of the most exciting food scenes in Mexico. The city is split up into neighborhoods (zones), with activities and attractions spread out along Banderas Bay and beyond. For your first night, you'll likely want to catch a sunset. Consider catching the color show anywhere along the Malecon, or from El Barracuda—a fun beach bar where you can sip a drink and mingle with locals and fellow travelers.
As for dinner, restaurants in this picturesque city range from family-owned taco stands to oyster vendors to impressive fine-dining restaurants sprinkled throughout.
Days 6-9: Free Time in Puerto Vallarta
Over the next few days, you'll have plenty of free time to relax on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Vallarta like Playa Olas Altas and Playa de los Muertos, as well as Playa las Gemelas (located just outside of town).
In addition to spending quality time sunbathing and swimming, you can explore the city on foot. This is the best way to get a feel for the city as most areas of Puerto Vallarta are reachable by walking. For instance, the old city center offers flowered terraces and charming houses with red roofs where you can snag great views of the bay. Just make sure to wear solid walking shoes due to the uneven streets.
If you like churches, you can visit the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe located in the main square. There's also the Museo Naval (naval museum) where miniature models of pre-Columbian boats are exposed.
Day 10: Fly from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City
Today, after breakfast in Puerto Vallarta, a driver will transfer you to the airport for the short flight to Mexico City (1 hour and 30 minutes). This megalopolis is one of the biggest cities in the world!
Upon arrival, you'll be welcomed by a private driver and transferred to your hotel in the lovely city center. Once you settle into your room, you'll be free to explore on your own, perhaps starting with a great dinner in your neighborhood. Mexico City's culinary scene has exploded in recent years so you'll be in good hands, armed with a few recommendations from your driver or hotel.
Day 11: Visit the National Anthropology Museum
Today, a private guide will pick you up at your hotel to take you to the National Anthropology Museum, one of the most important museums in Mexico as well as North America. The visit will last approximately 2.5 to 3 hours where you'll see the museum's two main rooms: Aztec and Mayan. By the end of this experience, you will understand the history of Mexico on a much grander scale. Following the visit, you'll return to Mexico's historic center for lunch and a little rest. You'll then have the rest of the day to experience the city as you wish.
Perhaps you'll want to visit the Diego Rivera Mural Museum, or take a stroll through the Alameda Central Park, considered the oldest public garden in Mexico and America. You can also walk along Madero and Cinco de Mayo streets to enjoy the historical landmarks and architecture until you reach the Constitution Square, where you can admire the Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as the National Government Palace, which is home to some Diego Rivera murals.
Day 12: Boat Tour in Xochimilco – Explore Coyoacán
Today, you will visit one of the most emblematic areas of Mexico City: the canals of Xochimilco. These waterways are the last reminder of the rivers that once crossed the valley floor of Mexico City, and nowadays, small flowers and plant nurseries line the banks. This is where you will board a Trajinera—a wooden boat painted in bright colors that has a traditional Mexican name to honor a family member of the owner. Navigate some of its canals while listening to Mexican folklore music like “Cielito Lindo” and “Mexico Lindo y Querido”.
After the boat tour, you will move to the cool bohemian neighborhood of Coyoacán to see the surroundings. This is where a lot of great artists and minds have called home, like Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Riviera, as well as Leon Trotsky.
Return to your hotel following the tour.
Day 13: Visit Mercado Roma
Save up some room while eating breakfast before today's excursion. Your guide will take you to Mercado Roma, a three-story public market and gourmet food hall in the colonial Roma Norte neighborhood where you will be able to see and taste various Mexican specialties including pozole, tacos, and tapas, amongst many others. The market also offers organic and other food products for sale as well as a coffee counter and rooftop beer garden. Make sure to check out the ground-floor patio filled with boxes of fresh herbs.
Following the guided tour, you may decide to spend more time wandering around this iconic neighborhood if you haven't done so already.
Day 14: Depart Mexico City
It's time to say goodbye to Mexico! In the morning, you will be picked up and transferred to Mexico City's airport for your departure flight home. Safe travels!