This nine-day itinerary takes you off-the-beaten path to discover the local cuisine and indigenous heritage of three distinct Mexican regions. Start in Mexico City with a gastronomic tour of the Aztec capital and a boat ride through the floating gardens of Xochimilco. Transfer to the mountains of Hidalgo to try your hand at mushroom picking and traditional weaving alongside the locals, then head to Puebla to stroll its flavorful markets and master the art of handmade tortillas.

Highlights

  • Sample tamales and churros in Mexico City's historic center
  • Cruise the ancient Aztec canals and floating gardens of Xochimilco 
  • Gather mushrooms in the rare cloud forests around Acaxochitlán
  • Learn to make the perfect mole sauce in Puebla

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City Mexico City
Day 2 History, Culture & Gastronomy in Mexico City Mexico City
Day 3 Explore the Canals of Xochimilco, Get to Know Coyoacán Mexico City
Day 4 Transfer to Acaxochitlán, Spend an Evening in the Forest Acaxochitlán
Day 5 Mushroom Harvesting & Traditional Embroidery Workshop Acaxochitlán
Day 6 Transfer to Puebla, Explore the Historic Center Puebla
Day 7 Tortilla-Making in the Magical Town of Cholula Puebla
Day 8 Learn to Make Mole Poblano in Puebla Puebla
Day 9 Transfer to Mexico City & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City

Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral overlooks the Zócalo
Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral overlooking the Zócalo
Welcome to Mexico! Upon arrival at the airport, you'll be met by your private driver and transferred to your hotel. After settling in, spend the rest of your afternoon getting to know Mexico City at your own pace. Discover the capital's many museums, monuments, galleries, and archaeological sites, or start your culinary adventure by sampling the local markets, restaurants, and cafés. For a quiet stroll, put yourself in the locals' shoes and head to the authentic neighborhoods of San Angel, La Condesa, Coyoacán, or La Roma. 

Day 2: History, Culture & Gastronomy in Mexico City

Savor tacos al pastor on a gastronomic tour of Mexico City

Today you'll taste the best street food in the city while discovering the capital's vibrant historic center. Along this guided walking tour, you'll pass highlights like the Alameda Central Park (the oldest public garden in the Americas) and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Continue along the bustling pedestrian street of Madero to reach the grand Plaza de la Constitución, better known as Zócalo. The city's heart is home to some of its most important buildings and monuments—including the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Aztec archaeological site of Templo Mayor, and the 16th-century Palacio Nacional.

Along the way, you'll make lots of different stops to sample some of the local gastronomy. Try some tacos al pastor (pork tacos), huitlacoche quesadillas (made with corn mushroom), and fresh tamales, finishing off the tour with a traditional dessert or some sweet churros. The gastronomy of the Aztec capital is so varied that your guide can easily adapt the excursion to your interests and tastes.

Day 3: Explore the Canals of Xochimilco, Get to Know Coyoacán

See floating gardens and ancient waterways of Xochimilco by boat

Experience one of the most iconic areas of Mexico City today with a visit to the canals and floating gardens of Xochimilco. Meaning "the Place of the Flowers" in Náhuatl, these waterways are the last reminder of the rivers that once crossed the valley floor of ancient Tenochtitlan (now modern-day Mexico City). Explore the canals on a traditional trajinera (a colorful wooden boat) and learn about the Aztec's ingenious techniques for growing food on the fertile riverbeds of the pre-Hispanic waterways—many of which (including the chinampas, or floating gardens) are still in use today. 

Later on, you'll explore the picturesque neighborhood of Coyoacán. Characterized by cobblestone streets and a bohemian style, this tranquil area will make you feel as if you've been transported outside the city. Pass the Callejón del Aguacate, a narrow street that holds local legends and myths, and see the church of La Plaza de la Conchita, where the first mass in the region was celebrated. Stop for churros and ice cream in the Centennial Garden, then head to one of the area's authentic coffee bars for a gastronomic experience based around the flavors of Mexican coffee. 

Day 4: Transfer to Acaxochitlán, Spend an Evening in the Forest

Take a tour through Acaxochitlán's indigenous roots
Leave the capital behind today as you transfer northeast to Acaxcohitlán. Nestled in the mountains of Mexico's Hidalgo state, this lovely town has deep indigenous roots, inhabited long before the Spanish colonization of the 16th century. Some evidence suggests there were human settlements here during the time of the Toltecs—an ancient indigenous culture that thrived from 950 to 1150 CE and pre-dated the Aztecs. 
 
Upon arrival, head out for a quick tour through Acaxochitlán's historic center. Browse the handicraft markets and sample some delicious tidbits at a local bakery, then visit the wine factory of La Herencia del Abuelo. This 200-year-old business produces and sells 18 artisanal wines made from various fruits of the region like apples, blueberries, passion fruit, and even coffee. In the evening, you'll get settled into a tranquil forest cabin, where you can explore hiking trails, paddle in the lagoon, and gather around a campfire as night falls.

Day 5: Mushroom Harvesting & Traditional Embroidery Workshop

 Edible Mushroom Harvesting & Cooking Experience
Help collect mushrooms from the ancient cloud forests around Acaxcohitlán
Acaxochitlán is one of the few regions in Mexico where you can still find native cloud forests, renowned for their rich ecosystems and biodiversity. For centuries, they were home to indigenous groups like the Nahua, Otomi, Tepehua, and Totonac, whose ancient practices continue in the area's traditional cuisine. If you're lucky enough to visit during the rainy season, you'll have the chance to join your hosts for a day of mushroom gathering in the forest before heading to the kitchen to help prepare a delicious lunch with the freshly-picked fungi.
 
In the afternoon, continue to the community of Santa Ana Tzacuala, where skilled local weavers will share their knowledge and traditional techniques to help you create intricate embroidery that you can take home as a souvenir.

Day 6: Transfer to Puebla, Explore the Historic Center

Colorful colonial houses line the streets of Puebla
Your driver will be waiting this morning to transfer you to the beautiful colonial town of Puebla. The Spanish conquest strongly influenced this Baroque city, often considered an architectural and cultural jewel of the country. Get your bearings and stretch your legs upon arrival with a walk through its UNESCO-listed center.
 
See the impressive Cathedral and the Chapel of the Rosary, visit a Talavera (hand-painted tile) workshop to discover one of Mexico's most iconic handicrafts, or head to the Palafoxiana Library, one of the first libraries of the American continent. Other iconic sites include the Calle de Los Dulces, the Barrio del Artista, and the El Parián craft market. When it comes to choices for dinner, you're in luck—Puebla is renowned for its cuisine and is the birthplace of many of Mexico's most famous traditional dishes, including mole poblano and chalupas.

Day 7: Tortilla-Making in the Magical Town of Cholula

Learn how to make traditional tortillas in Cholula
Discover the magical town of Cholula today, known as Mexico's "City of Churches." According to legend, it has more than 365 churches, one for each day of the year. Take a stroll through picturesque streets to see the most famous of the city's monuments—Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios. Built atop the great Aztec pyramid of Cholula, it offers impressive views of the city and the surrounding volcanoes.

Afterward, visit the local market for an introduction to the gastronomy of Cholula and its famous handmade tortillas. Considered a vital part of central Mexico's culinary identity, the art of tortilla making is a treasured heritage passed from generation to generation. Today's workshop will guide you through the process, from cultivation to preparation. Enjoy a delicious tasting afterward accompanied by refreshing drinks and other corn-based snacks.

Day 8: Learn to Make Mole Poblano in Puebla

Head to the market to learn the secrets of Puebla's mole poblano
Puebla is considered one of Mexico's foremost foodie destinations, with vibrant gastronomy shaped by indigenous, Spanish, and Arab influences. It's also the birthplace of many traditional Mexican dishes, including the famous mole poblano, which you'll learn to make on today's hands-on excursion.
 
Meet your guide and set out on a stroll through the oldest neighborhoods of colonial Puebla to reach the local market, where you'll be met with the aromas, colors, and flavors of the city. Sample some classic street food antojitos (little cravings) and then learn how to prepare a delicious mole (a savory sauce of poblano peppers and chocolate) under the instruction of your lovely chef—sitting down to a delicious meal at the end of the lesson.

Day 9: Transfer to Mexico City & Depart

Sunrise over the colorful streets of Puebla

Enjoy a final morning in captivating Puebla. When the time comes, your driver will pick you up for the transfer back to Mexico City International Airport and your departing flight. Safe travels and adiós a todos!

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Map of Mexican Gastronomy & Indigenous Traditions - 9 Days
Map of Mexican Gastronomy & Indigenous Traditions - 9 Days