Discover authentic Mexican cuisine from exotic markets and fine restaurants to street food vendors and indigenous farms. This culinary itinerary is designed for the traveler passionate about learning the history and culture of Mexcian gastronomy. You will try traditional dishes from different regions of Mexico and participate in cooking workshops all the while exploring the cultural highlights of Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca.

Highlights

  • Sample exotic eats at Mexico CIty's famous Mercado de San Juan
  • Roam the streets of Puebla City for the country's best antojitos
  • Explore the ancient Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán
  • Make jam with the locals in the Oaxacan highland community of Latuvi
  • Hike to El Mirador in Benito Juárez for encompassing views over Oaxaca

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City; Guided walking tour of the historic centre Mexico City
Day 2 Gastronomy tour of San Juan Market and the neighborhood Mexico City
Day 3 Drive to Puebla City - Walking tour and cooking class Puebla City
Day 4 Antojitos poblanos walking tour Puebla
Day 5 Drive to Oaxaca City - Free afternoon Oaxaca
Day 6 Oaxaca City gastronomy tour Oaxaca
Day 7 Morning cooking class; Explore Monte Albán Oaxaca
Day 8 Oaxacan highlands: Latuvi, Jam & bread workshop Latuvi
Day 9 Oaxacan highlands: Benito Juárez Benito Juarez
Day 10 Oaxacan highlands: Benito Juárez farm & cooking class; Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City - Guided walking tour of the historic center

Templo Mayor, Mexico City
Ruins of Templo Mayor (Great Temple) and the Metropolitan Cathedral in the background

Welcome to Mexico City! Upon your arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the historic center. After checking in and having time to unwind, you will meet your guide for an evening tour of the historic core. Depending on timing, you will visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, explore the Museum of the Great Temple, and stroll through the main square, Plaza de la Constitución or Zócalo—a common name for the main plazas in Mexican city centers.

Enjoy an evening meal at Dulce Patria for a culinary experience that combines traditional Mexican fare with contemporary flare from the mind of world-renowned chef, Martha Ortiz. 

Day 2: Gastronomy tour of San Juan Market and the neighborhood

Sope loaded with roasted grasshoppers

Your guide will pick you up from your accommodation mid-morning and drive you to the famous Mercado de San Juan (market) in the historic core. Here you will learn about Mexican cuisine and its evolution, as well as sample the gourmet and exotic products the market specializes in, like fruits, insects, cheese, and the agave distilled mezcal. You'll also get to make (and eat!) your own dishes, including sope, a thick corn tortilla loaded with grasshoppers and a mountain of differing meats. 

In the early afternoon, you will visit several traditional establishments: Café Cordobés, Café Villarías, and Las Duelistas—a pulquería (a bar serving pulque, a traditional alcoholic drink from the fermented sap of the maguey plant) to sample local eats. If there's room for more, you will have a little time to break for lunch, perhaps at the highly recommended Testal restaurant, known for its authentic Mexican cuisine.

With a full belly, set out to explore more of Mexico City and head to the nearby Barrio Chino (Chinatown), Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), and Torre Latino (Latin American Tower). Stop at the Pastelería Ideal (patisserie) for a mini breather before ending today's tour at Qué bo! The chocolatería is owned by Chef José Ramón Castillo, a chocolatier recognized worldwide for rescuing and promoting the Mexican cacao plant. Lose yourself in the decadent flavors of a pre-Hispanic cocoa drink spiked with coffee or mezcal and accompanied with pan de muerte (traditional yolk bread).

Day 3: Drive to Puebla City - Walking tour and cooking class

Puebla, Mexico
Early morning view of a quiet street in Puebla 

This morning you will meet your driver and head the two and a half hours east to the city of Puebla. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Puebla City is considered the birthplace of many traditional Mexican dishes, including mole poblano, chalupas, cemitas, and chiles en nogada. Check into your hotel in the historic center before you head outdoors for a walking tour of the city, noting the colonial architecture and the painted Talavera tiles decorating many buildings.

In the afternoon, you will join a cooking class instructed by Mrs Lupita Escobar, a 60-year veteran of Mexican gastronomic preservation. Her menu includes recipes from nearby communities in an effort to keep traditional Mexican techniques and ingredients alive. There are several dishes that you will be able to choose from, but it will also depend on the season. Take the evening to enjoy the fruits of your efforts before calling it a night.

Day 4: Antojitos poblanos walking tour

chiles en nogada, Puebla City, Mexico
Chiles en nogada, a traditional dish from Puebla

Meet your guide in the morning for a special tour of antojitos—traditional Mexican snacks. While your guide shares in the history of the city and its monuments, you will be introduced to mouthwatering tamales from a local tamalería (tamale selling venue), corn-based molotes, and tacos poblanos from a taquería. Walking along Puebla City's pedestrian street until you reach Fonda de Santa Clara, you will try savory chalupas, before going for something sweet on the Calle del Dulces (Street of the Sweets). Here you will have the chance to visit the oldest sweet shop in the city, La Gran Fama, where you will sample tortitas de Santa Clara, dulce de leche, and camotes.

Leaving the sweet street behind, you will head toward the colorful Barrio del Artista neightborhood and to the handicraft market El Parián, in search of the oldest cantina in the city, La Pasita. Here you will sip pasita (raisin liqueur) before ending today's tour with one last dessert, flan, from a nearby traditional pastry shop.

In the evening, find your way to the emblematic El Mural de los Poblanos restaurant and savor their locally sourced ingredients.

Day 5: Drive to Oaxaca City - Free afternoon

Restaurant in Oaxaca
Restaurant in Oaxaca

Today you will check out of your hotel and drive further south to Oaxaca City (about four to five hours). Check in and settle into your accommodation before taking the rest of the day to explore this colorful colonial city on your own.

For dinner, you might like to try a meal at Los Danzantes, for a taste of fusion food from your seat on their stunning outdoor patio.

Day 6: Oaxaca City gastronomy tour 

Empanadas, Mexico
Fresh-made empanadas

With an empty stomach, meet your guide mid-morning for today's foodie tour. Start at the Mercado Orgánico El Pochote (organic market), a large lot in downtown Oaxaca where you'll buy yourself a fresh-brewed cup of high-altitude java before you sample several regional delicacies, including roasted grasshoppers. From there, you will visit the Barrio de la Merced to explore their market and taste one of their much sought after empanadas prepared with a variety of different sauces.

Afterward, you will work your way to La Reforma, a neighborhood that dates back to the mid-20th century, to find Itanoní Antojería y Tortillería, for some of the best tortilla-based dishes around. Next, you will sip creamy hot chocolate with a side of compulsory yolk bread from a nearby chocolate shop, before sampling stew tacos from the Oaxaca Valley. Return to your hotel for a little siesta and venture out in the evening to dine under a night sky at Casa Oaxaca's rooftop terrace.

Day 7: Morning cooking class - Explore Monte Albán

Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico
Zapotec ruins of the Monte Albán complex

Today you will participate in a cooking class with a regional chef to make the thick and rich mole negro. Begin in a market with your group to find and buy the necessary ingredients before heading into the kitchen to make Mexico's most popular mole. After enjoying your work, you'll switch gears and drive out to explore the pre-Columbian Monte Albán archaeological site south of Oaxaca City—one of the largest Mesoamerican cities of its time (100 BCE to 200 CE).

After returning back to the city, the evening will be yours to spend as you choose.

Day 8: Oaxacan highlands: Drive to Latuvi - Jam & bread workshop

Making Latuvi jam
Learn to make jam with the people of Latuvi

Meet your driver first thing in the morning and head into the Oaxacan highlands of the Sierra Norte and to Latuvi (about an hour and a half)—one of the communities that play a part in the ecotourism program, Pueblos Mancomunados. The program works toward the preservation of traditional village culture as well as the conservation of the surrounding environment. Meaning "rolled leaves" in the Zapotec language, you will complete the "Spring" route and discover how the villagers cultivate fruit, turning them into jams and fruit pates, their most important source of income.

After your trek, you will participate in two workshops, a jam workshop and a serrano bread workshop, breaking for a traditional lunch and mini siesta in between. Take the late afternoon to explore the town at your own pace and enjoy an evening listening to stories and legends as you sit warmed by a roaring bonfire.

Day 9: Oaxacan highlands: Benito Juárez

Suspension bridge
Hike up to El Mirador for stunning vistas over the Sierra Norte mountains

This morning you will drive the short distance south to Benito Juárez. Upon your arrival, you'll lace up your hiking boots and go on a trek to climb up to the striking viewpoint of El Mirador. At over 9,800 feet (3000 m) above sea level, El Mirador offers panoramic vistas of the Sierra Juárez and the Central valleys. Make your way back to the village for a regional lunch where you'll have the rest of the day to yourself.

Trekking duration: 3 hours

Day 10: Oaxacan highlands: Benito Juárez farm and cooking class - Depart

Farm
Explore a farm in Benito Juárez

This morning you will visit  Señor Eli's farm in Benito Juárez for a true farm-to-table experience. Enjoy breakfast with the family before touring the farm and participating in a small tortilla-making workshop with ingredients sourced from the farm. After lunch, you will transfer to the Oaxaca airport (two hours) for your return flight home with full bellies and plenty of yummy memories.

Map

Map of Southern Mexico Foodie Tour: Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca - 10 Days
Map of Southern Mexico Foodie Tour: Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca - 10 Days