Kids of all ages will be fascinated by the sights, sounds, and flavors of central and southwestern Mexico. This 10-day family-friendly itinerary starts in Mexico City and travels down to Oaxaca City, passing many cultural and geological highlights along the way. Learn about Aztec culture at Teotihuacán, stargaze and find fossilized sea creatures in the desert, and take every opportunity to sample local cuisine, like quesillos and empanadas.


  • Ride a hot air balloon above Teotihuacán's pyramids
  • See fossils and a dinosaur footprint in the desert
  • Feast on tasty local treats like churros and hot chocolate
  • Make your own handicrafts in Oaxaca

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City, Lucha Libre & Mezcal Tasting Mexico City
Day 2 Family-Friendly Mexico City Food Tour Mexico City
Day 3 Xochimilco Canals & Floating Gardens, Historic Coyoacán Mexico City
Day 4 Teotihuacán Hot Air Balloon & Pyramids Puebla
Day 5 Puebla City Tour Puebla
Day 6 Transfer to San Juan Raya, Tehuacán Reserve Night Hike San Juan Raya
Day 7 Dinosaur Tour of San Juan Raya, Transfer to Oaxaca Oaxaca
Day 8 Oaxaca City Tour: History, Culture & Food Oaxaca
Day 9 Free Day in Oaxaca Oaxaca
Day 10 Visit Monte Albán & Create Your Alebrije, Depart Mexico  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City, Lucha Libre & Mezcal Tasting

Lucha Libre, or Mexican wrestling, masks

Welcome to Mexico City! Upon arrival at the airport, you'll be met by your private driver and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival details, you may have time to fit in a few family-friendly activities that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Sports-loving kids will be fascinated by an introduction to one of Mexico's most famous pop culture activities: Lucha Libre, or Mexican wrestling. Start in front of the majestic Palacio de Bellas Artes and visit a traditional Mexican cantina. Enjoy tasting mezcal accompanied by guacamole as your local guide tells you about the history of wrestling. From here, set out on a walking tour to the famous Arena Mexico while your guide amazes you with stories of "El Santo" and "Blue Demon," two of the biggest Lucha Libre stars. Enjoy a dramatic battle between the heroes and the villains at the arena, each wearing masks.

Day 2: Family-Friendly Mexico City Food Tour

Sample freshly made churros on today's tour
Sample freshly made churros on today's tour

Whether your kids are adventurous eaters or more reluctant to try unfamiliar foods, today's family-friendly Mexico City food tour will give them a chance to try something new. Taking place in the vibrant Centro Histórico, the historic and geographic heart of Mexico City, you'll try some of the best foods in the neighborhood. At the same time, you'll learn about Mexican history and culture from a culinary perspective.

Your kids will be given a tour activity book to color, and you'll stop at a playground to let them burn off some energy. Food samples include seafood tostadas (toasted tortillas), turkey tortas (sandwiches), typical Oaxacan snacks at the San Juan Market, and sweet churros.

Day 3: Xochimilco Canals & Floating Gardens, Historic Coyoacán

Kids will love touring the canals of Xochimilco by colorful boat

Today you'll have the opportunity to visit one of Mexico City's most emblematic areas: the canals of Xochimilco. Meaning "Place of Flowers" in Nahuatl, this historic neighborhood was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Your kids will love touring along the area's waterways on a trajinera, a colorful flat-bottomed boat. Stop at a chinampa (floating garden) to learn about the importance of the ancient chinampero agriculture system. 

Later, explore one of Mexico City's most picturesque neighborhoods, Coyoacán, characterized by its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and bohemian style. Visit churches ordered by Hernán Cortés, grand plazas, and beautiful gardens. Pass through the Callejón del Aguacate, a narrow street with colonial houses. See the church of La Plaza de la Conchita, where the first mass in the region was celebrated. Explore the Casa Colorada, home of La Malinche and Cortés, who settled in this place after the fall of Tenochtitlán. It'll be a great history and culture lesson for you and the family.

Following your tour, contemplate the beautiful decoration of the former convent of San Juan Bautista and the elegant architecture of the Plaza Santa Catarina and its small church. To finish, stroll through the main square of Coyoacán and its Centennial Garden, where you can sample the neighborhood's typical desserts, such as delicious churros and ice cream.

Day 4: Teotihuacán Hot Air Balloon & Pyramids

Soar above Teotihuacán in a hot air balloon

View Teotihuacán, an ancient Mesoamerican city northeast of Mexico City, from great heights today with a sunrise hot air balloon flight. Marvel at the views of the valley as you soar toward the UNESCO-listed site of Teotihuacán. Fly very close to the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon and have a bird's-eye view of the famous Calzada de Los Muertos ("Avenue of the Dead"), as well as other important buildings. The kids will enjoy the ride as much as their parents. Refuel with a delicious breakfast after landing.

After seeing them from above, take time to explore the Pyramids of Teotihuacán on the ground. Once known as the "City of the Gods," this ancient archaeological site was the epicenter of Aztec culture. Start with a walk along the Avenue of the Dead, then climb the grand Pyramid of the Sun, admired for its imposing size and structural beauty. Continue to the Pyramid of the Moon, where you can get a splendid view across Teotihuacán. After, visit the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, made in honor of the feathered serpent god. There's no better history lesson for kids than to walk among it.

Day 5: Puebla City Tour

Colorful Talavera ceramics in Puebla
Colorful Talavera ceramics in Puebla

Today, enjoy a walking tour through the historic center of Puebla, a World Heritage Site. You and your kids will appreciate the more relaxed atmosphere after the hustle of Mexico City. Start at the impressive Puebla Cathedral and the Chapel of the Rosary, and continue to a talavera (hand-painted tile) workshop to see one of Mexico's most iconic handicrafts. Then, head to the Palafoxiana Library, one of the first libraries on the American continent and holding the title of Memory of the World by UNESCO.

Stop at other sites such as the Calle de Los Dulces ("Sweets Street"—a hit with children!), the Barrio del Artista ("Artist Quarter"), Barrio de Los Sapos ("Alley of the Frogs"), and the El Parián handicrafts market.

Day 6: Transfer to San Juan Raya, Tehuacán Reserve Night Hike

Briliant night skies over the Tehuacán-Cuicuitlán Biosphere Reserve
Brilliant night skies over the Tehuacán-Cuicuitlán Biosphere Reserve
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Transfer from Puebla to San Juan Raya, a journey of around 2.5 hours. This remote, rural area is rich in fossils, as you'll discover tomorrow. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and recharging your batteries for the evening's activity.

As night falls, head to the Tehuacán-Cuicuitlán Biosphere Reserve to observe some of the clearest skies in the country. Far from big cities and light pollution, this part of Mexico is heaven for stargazers. Hike, with your guide, along an interpretative trail, where you'll see and learn about plants from the region and how local people still use them in their everyday lives. Spend the evening watching the stars as you listen to stories and legends of the area. With a little luck, you'll also hear some of the desert's native nocturnal animals.

Day 7: Dinosaur Tour of San Juan Raya, Transfer to Oaxaca

Visit culture-rich Oaxaca City

Youngsters tend to love dinosaurs and fossils—if that sounds like your kids, they'll have a great time touring the Tehuacán-Cuicuitlán Biosphere Reserve by day. Starting in San Juan Raya, head into the reserve on foot. Be amazed by the majestic desert landscape as your guide points out the many species of desert plants you'll see along the way. There are about 2,700 species of plants and cacti here, of which 11 percent are endemic.

Millions of years ago, this area was part of Laurasia, one of the earth's two gigantic continents. Although desert now, it was once near the coast. This explains why marine fossils like echinoderms, mollusks, crustaceans, and even impressions of shrimp are preserved in the mud. After an hour's walk, you'll arrive at some dinosaur footprints. Thanks to the dry climate, the prints have been preserved on the banks of a river, and you can clearly see the marks of animals that walked here more than 60 million years ago. 

After the walk, transfer from San Juan Raya to Oaxaca City, a journey of around 2.5 hours so everyone can rest en route. After your arrival, you'll be free to explore Oaxaca as you like. Choose activities that appeal most to your family, such as the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, the Museum of Cultures, or the Ethnobotanical Garden, or enjoy a mezcalería at an alfresco café. If you (or, more likely, your kids!) have a sweet tooth, sample the traditional hot chocolate drink that's a staple in Oaxaca.

Day 8: Oaxaca City Tour: History, Culture & Food

Oaxaca's food is famously good

Learn more about colorful Oaxaca City today on a guided tour that focuses on the city's culture, history, and food. Kids can be motivated to keep walking by the promise of all the food and treats they'll try on this walking tour. Start at the Mercado de la Merced, where you can taste some traditional baked empanada, then walk through the colorful streets of the Jalatlaco neighborhood to reach the 16th-century Aqueduct and sample delicious tacos on the street of Garcia Vigil.

Continue to the architectural complex formed by the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, home to a museum of cultures and the site that holds the treasure of the Seventh Tomb of Monte Alban, one of the richest burial sites ever found from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Here you can stop and cool down with some of the town's famous ice cream.

Finally, pass the impressive Baroque facades of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Novo-Hispanic mansions on Alcalá Street to finish at the Plaza de la Constitución. With its authentic Art Nouveau kiosk and colorful markets full of delightful aromas and flavors, it's the perfect place to end the tour with delicious Oaxacan hot chocolate.

Day 9: Free Day in Oaxaca

Enjoy a free day to explore Oaxaca

Enjoy some free time in Oaxaca today, doing whatever appeals to the family, or take time to rest and go souvenir shopping before your departure tomorrow. Walk along the colorful tourist walkway, where there are many restaurants, mezcalerías, museums, and handicraft stores.

In the Benito Juárez Market and 20 de Noviembre Market, browse a great variety of handicrafts such as alebrijes (folk art creatures), embroidery, and textiles, along with typical Oaxacan products such as mezcals and several things that will appeal to kids, including quesillo (caramel flan), mole (savory sauce), and chapulines (edible grasshoppers), cecina (marinated beef), tasajo (dried beef), and tlayudas (tortilla with toppings).

Day 10: Visit Monte Albán & Create Your Alebrije, Depart Mexico

Visit Monte Albán & Create Your Alebrije
Visit Monte Albán and create your alebrije

If your departure is in the evening, you can enjoy a full day of activities. Visit Monte Alban, an archaeological site 5 miles (8 km) from Oaxaca City. This was the ancient capital of the Zapotec people, one of the first cities in Mesoamerica, and one of the most populous during its heyday. Take a guided tour of the archaeological site to learn about the Zapotec culture and history.

Afterward, visit the nearby village of San Martin Tilcajete to check out the iconic alebrije handicrafts and try your hand at making some yourself. Kids will love making their own souvenirs. The alebrije are made of cardboard or paper, as well as wire or wood, which are then painted with vibrant colors. Popular shapes include animals, both real and fantastical. Kids can be inspired by traditional designs and explore their own creativity.

Now it's time to depart. You'll be transferred to the airport in good time for your flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Mexico Family Adventure: Mexico City to Oaxaca City  - 10 Days
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