Summary

Destinations: Central America
  • Trip code: AHN
  • Activity: Culture, Food & Drink, New Cultural Holidays, Cultural Wonders, Natural Wonders
  • Min age: 16
  • Group size: 6 - 15
Leisurely

Recognized by UNESCO as a treasure to humankind, Mexico’s culinary heritage is fascinating and diverse. Traditional Mexican cuisine is a comprehensive model comprised of farming, ritual practices, age-old skills, culinary techniques and ancestral community customs and manners. The knowledge and techniques used express community identity, reinforce social bonds, and build stronger local, regional and national identities One of the best ways to discover and learn about Mexico is through its food!  We’ll also explore some of the region’s most important and beautiful historic sites, and experience Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca.

Key information
  • 8 nights comfortable hotels or resorts
  • Travel by private minibus
Activities
  • 8 nights comfortable hotels or resorts
  • Travel by private minibus

Highlights

* Cookery classes and Chocolate Metate class * Celebrated restaurants and street food experiences * Local produce markets and local Mezcal Distillery tastings

Dates & Pricing

 
Start
Finish
Availability
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17 May 2019
25 May 2019
Available
R 39200
 
Start
Finish
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Price
14 Jun 2019
22 Jun 2019
Available
R 39200
 
Start
Finish
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Price
12 Jul 2019
20 Jul 2019
Available
R 39200
 
Start
Finish
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13 Sep 2019
21 Sep 2019
Available
R 39200
 
Start
Finish
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13 Mar 2020
21 Mar 2020
Available
R 41100
 
Start
Finish
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Price
15 May 2020
23 May 2020
Available
R 41100
 
Start
Finish
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Price
12 Jun 2020
20 Jun 2020
Available
R 41100
 
Start
Finish
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10 Jul 2020
18 Jul 2020
Available
R 41100
 
Start
Finish
Availability
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11 Sep 2020
19 Sep 2020
Available
R 41100

Full Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Land Only

Start Mexico City; dinner at traditional restaurant, La Casa de Toño

Those on the group flights normally arrive in Mexico City very early in the morning.  Land only passengers should aim to arrive in the afternoon.  Meet tonight for a welcome dinner at a traditional local restaurant, located not too far from the hotel. Dedicated to sustaining the old traditions of Mexican cuisine, *La Casa de Toño* makes flavourful dishes, true to the original recipes of Toños family. Having started out as a small street stand in 1983, La Casa de Toño has grown and now has 14 locations.  *Hotel Royal Reforma or similar*

Day 2

Visit Mundo Chocolate Museum and artisan chocolatiers; plus lunch and dinner in celebrated local restaurants.

Our first stop this morning is at the Mundo Chocolate museum which is dedicated to the story of chocolate. It is a small museum housed in a very beautiful 100 year old home with a café. We will enjoy a guided visit, experience a Chocolate Metate class and chocolate tasting. We have lunch at *LIMOSNERO**S R**estaurant*. Los Limosneros is the “rebellious little brother” to the famous and iconic Cafe de Tacuba. The restaurant is 100% /Mexicano/, using only ingredients from Mexican soil and impressively enough, they have taken the dedication one step further by personally curating their own array of mezcals and wines. One of the fun highlights is that their salsas can be custom‐made right at the table from scratch, you can pick the types of chiles and amount of spiciness! After lunch, get your third taste of chocolate at a boutique marketplace that houses the artisanal chocolatier, Qué Bo. Sample contemporary versions of traditional Mexican chocolate, experience flavours of fruit, caramel and flowers infused in the bonbons and truffles. We visit the hub that is the Zócalo area the Palacio Nacional, visiting both the Catedral and the Templo Mayor before returning to our hotel in the late afternoon. To round up the day, we will have dinner at *Chapulin Restaurant *whose* *architecture merges black mud from Oaxaca with golden details of the colonial period. The cuisine at Chapulin is a pre-Hispanic concept with a contemporary interpretation. It is a place where the diversity and cultural richness are honoured providing a home touch. Chapulin also offers a wide variety of Mexico’s classical drinks: Mezcal and crafted beer.  *Hotel Royal Reforma or similar*

Day 3

Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum; explore the Coyoacan neighbourhood and local market; boat ride on the Xochimilco Canals.

Today we head out for a day of exploring the bohemian side of Mexico City. We start off by making our way to the south of the city and a particular house hidden behind cobalt blue walls known as Casa Azul. This is where the acclaimed artist Frida Kahlo was born, grew up and, eventually, lived with her muralist husband, Diego Rivera, until she died in 1954 at the age of 47. Now a museum, the colonial house, set around a luxuriant garden, doesn’t only showcase the collections and personal effects of the two great artists but is a window into the life of affluent Mexican bohemians in the first half of the 20th Century. Next, we visit the quaint neighbourhood of Coyoacan (meaning place of coyotes) with its pebbled streets, colonial churches, bustling little markets and quiet squares. This area was inhabited before the arrival of the Spanish and it is said that the conquistador, Hernan Cortes, made this the first capital of New Spain. While here we will visit the local market, and taste a variety of local specialities: /Churros, Tostadas, Elote/s. Finally, we enjoy a relaxing ride and lunch on a pre-Hispanic boat along the peaceful waters of the Xochimilco Canals. These scenic waterways would have been used by the Aztecs and today see us enjoying a relaxing journey past floating gardens and little floating kitchens selling local food.  We will of course try the local specialities during our boat ride. We return to our hotel in the late afternoon.  *Hotel Royal Reforma or similar*

Day 4

Visit Medellin Market with a chef prior to today’s cooking class; dine on your creations paired with Mexican wine and craft Mezcal.

This morning we will be transferred to Colonia Roma where we  will meet our Mexican chefs at Colonia Roma’s Medellín Market. We will explore the market and meet the best specialty vendors; the butchers who know what they’re doing, the lady who always has the best avocados or chiles. We’ll focus on what’s in season and what merchants say is at its peak; the menu emerges from what we discover in the market. Back at the house our cooking begins: salads and sides come together like something out of Eden; meats, poultry and sea foods stay simple, but perfect. Meanwhile salsas — sometimes complex in ingredients, almost always a dish’s signature statement — take shape, step by step, complete with tricks and secrets the chefs swore to their grandmothers they’d never tell. All along the way they speak of the history behind the traditions; in Mexico, legend haunts nearly every dish. We will dine on our creations paired with Mexican wine and a tasting of craft Mezcal from Oaxaca. In the late afternoon, we will say farewell our hosts and travel back to our hotel. *Hotel Royal Reforma or similar*

Day 5

To Puebla, via Cholula; market visit and apple cider tasting. Dinner in the historical centre of the city.

Today we say goodbye to Mexico City and travel towards Puebla. En route we will stop in Cholula, considered a pueblo mágico (magic town), Cholula is best known for its Great Pyramid and the Church (Nuestra Señora de los Remedios) that was built above it. We will visit the Great Pyramid that, at 55 metres tall, is currently considered to be the largest in Mesoamerica. The pyramid has been only partially excavated, and archeologists have created underground tunnels, allowing them to study the different layers of the pyramid. Heading up to the top of the pyramid that still lays uncovered, you will find the yellow church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, with its mosaic domes. The 16th Century church houses a neoclassic altar and the basilica is constructed of brada stone and covered entirely with gold leaf. Since Cholula is known for its many churches, we will also visit the Royal Chapel, which displays Arab influence, having been modeled on the Great Mosque in Cordoba, Spain. On clear days the Popocatepetl Volcano can be seen from the hilltop on which the church stands. One of the more traditional markets available to Cholula, the famous “Cosme of Razo”, is located one block from the historic centre in a property where a dozen dealers who sell their products in the region are concentrated. The culinary and cultural mix found in its interior makes it important in the region because it is home to people from the centre of the various villages that make up the ancient city of San Pedro Cholula. The market sells a lot of products: fruits, vegetables, flowers, groceries, butcher shops, shoes, clothing, snacks and much more. Before continuing our Journey to Puebla, we will visit an apple cider factory and learn all about the process and of course, taste it too! We will enjoy dinner tonight at *El Mural de los Poblanos*, in the historical centre of the city. In this traditional Mexican cuisine you will find a variety of dishes and desserts created especially for you, with a careful hand that rescues the best fruits with ancestral stories and unique benefits of our land, achieving a strong tradition of alchemy of flavours, textures, aromas, that challenge what is already known caring nutritional values. There is the opportunity to experience “slow food“ in one of their best releases. Their mission is to create genuine experiences that nourishes the spirit, merging the best fruits of our land, and providing an excellent service in a colonial house with art and history that evokes the love to our Mexican culture. * Hotel Colonial Puebla or similar*

Day 6

Morning stroll the streets of Puebla exploring favourite traditional spots to grab a bite; to Oaxaca.

We spend the morning exploring Puebla de los Angeles, the City of Angels – so called because of a legend that claims angels came down from heaven to place the cathedral’s bells in the towers when builders were unable to do so. This colonial city is known for its traditions, especially its handicrafts, including blue-and-white pottery, and its cuisine that is some of the best in Mexico. We will visit the Cathedral of Puebla and learn about this beautiful building which was completed over a span of 300 years.  Wander the streets of Puebla exploring favourite traditional spots to grab a bite. The first stop on this quest is a small local place for tamales and café. On this tour, you’ll eat like a true local, tasting /molotes/, /pelonas/ and /semitas/, some of the most traditional /poblano /delicacies, and then you’ll savour tacos at the /Tacos Arabes /stand.  Finish with a stroll down /Calle de los Dulces/, a three‐block street lined with sweet shops, and a stop at La Gran /Fama Dulceria/. Taste hand‐made confections and be sure to try the /camotes/, Puebla’s signature candy made from sweet potato.  In the afternoon we will travel on to Oaxaca.  *Oaxaca Real Hotel or similar*

Day 7

Enjoy a typical Oaxaca breakfast at the Main Market in Ocotlan; visit Zaachila Market and Hierve el Agua; stop at a local Mezcal Distillery.

Today, we travel to Ocotlan de Morelos, where we will enjoy a typical Oaxaca breakfast at the Main Market. One of the food stalls is called “La Cocina de Frida”, and standing behind the counter is none other than Frida Kahlo herself, or at least a reasonable facsimile. Owner Beatriz Vázquez Gómez likes to play up her resemblance to the famous Mexican artist. She greets visitors warmly and serves up excellent /chiles rellenos, mole, enchiladas,/ and other local specialties. We then continue to Zaachila, where each Thursday the Tianguis Market takes place between the central park and church, with colourful stands set up with the most traditional goods from this area of the valley: pecans, alebrijes, red pottery, peanuts, radishes and regional fruits.  This fantastic market is worth a visit to experience the sights, sounds and smell of a Zapotec market.  Located almost 70km out of the city, some say that Hierve el Agua was the playground of the Zapotec kings in the time of Monte Alban. Hierve el Agua is famous for what appears to be a petrified waterfall cascading over the mountain’s edge. The ‘waterfall’ was in fact formed by small amounts of calcium‐carbonate‐rich water coming to the surface through cracks in the rocks. The site also boasts a number of natural pools which overlook the surrounding valley as well as the waterfalls. We have a chance to bathe in the mineral rich water and to take the short hike down below the waterfall to get a closer look at its unique formation. On our way back to Oaxaca, we will stop at a local Mezcal Distillery, to learn all about it and of course, if you like, to taste some delicious Mezcal! The producers will take us step‐by‐step through the process of mezcal production. Learn how long it takes for the agave to mature, how it is fermented using ‘donkey power’ and what techniques are used to distill this spirit that the locals refer to as the ‘elixir of the gods’. ‘ *Oaxaca Real Hotel or similar*

Day 8

Discover why Oaxaca is the gourmet heart of Mexico during a fun cooking class at a local restaurant; dinner at Chef Alejandro Ruiz’s restaurant Casa Oaxaca.

Oaxaca is possibly the most famed region in Mexico for its cuisine and we get more acquainted with it as we head for a cooking class, learning dishes that can easily be recreated at home. The exact menu can change but we generally learn how to make two types of tortilla, three different salsas, guacamole, mole, a starter, a soup, a desert and a drink. We visit a bustling nearby market, where delicious local ingredients and the best ways to use them in your cooking are explained, before returning to the restaurant for our class and a succulent lunch. The afternoon is free to wander around Oaxaca on your own. Tonight, dinner is at Chef Alejandro Ruiz’s restaurant *Casa Oaxaca*, which is listed among the Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants of Latin America. His contemporary take on traditional Oaxaca food has made him nationally and internationally renowned. Casa Oaxaca is located in the hotel with the same name, in the heart of the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca. In this restaurant the subtleness underlines the evocative power of the aromas and flavours that emerge from Chef Alejandro Ruiz’s kitchen. Mediterranean herbs mingle amongst the flavours of Oaxaca, basil and rosemary share their hues with hoja santa, pitiona and shorobobo. Meanwhile, the pomegranate, fish and seafood, venison and lamb alternate with the local /chapulines, huitlacoche /and/ quesillo./ This is a gastronomic experience for all five senses. *Oaxaca Real Hotel or similar*

Day 9

End Oaxaca

The trip ends after breakfast for land only passengers. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for their flight back to London.

Included

* All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners included * All accommodation (see below) * All transport and listed activities * Tour leader throughout * Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

Food

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners included

Breakfast generally consist of fruits, cereals, beans and eggs.

Meals vary in price from around $15-20 USD for lunch and $15-30 USD dinner. A beer costs on average $3-5 USD.

There is a lot more to Mexican cuisine than fajitas and tacos and we have the opportunity to discover the wealth of dishes on offer.

*Food Highlights:*

*Restaurants:* */Eat real Mexican food among the locals at Casa del Toño:/* Try the giant quesadillas, or the Pozole, a traditional soup. It is made from hominy, with meat (typically pork or chicken), and can be seasoned and garnished with shredded cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa or limes.

*/Limosneros, a top-notch restaurant in Mexico City’s historic centre:/* Like the space, the menu tweaks classics in an impressive and creative manner. Chefs Marcos Fulcheri and Carlo Meléndez favour seasonal ingredients and have a knack for transforming rare insects into approachable plates. They offer a wide range of great mezcals and tequilas as well as some lesser known agaves (like Pox and Sotol).

*/Chapulin Restaurant:/* Chapulín is a restaurant that aims to fuse Mexico’s traditions and contemporary influences into a single experience. That idea isn’t found just on the menu—where diners will find dishes like scallops with jicama and green melon—but also in the music and the restaurant’s decor. And yes, diners can put in an order for chapulínes, the grasshopper for which the restaurant is named!

*/El Mural de los Poblanos:/* The decor of El Mural de los Poblanos features murals by Antonio Alvarez Moran, a Poblano artist who’s been giving solo exhibitions since 1975 — they fit well with the original recipes, artisanal cooking techniques, and regional ingredients coming out of the kitchen of this 17th-century mansion.

*/Casa Oaxaca:/* Chef Alejandro Ruiz was born in a small town where the spirit of traditional recipes dwells in the kitchens and hands of the local cooks. He formed a wide culinary experience through working at various restaurants at Oaxaca, Germany, Spain and Vienna, as well as from tours he did through Napa valley, in California and through the wine regions of Mexico. Alejandro has travelled the world discovering ingredients and recipes, learning techniques and knowing the different flavours of the land, but the most important thing about this renowned Mexican chef is his love and respect for the cuisine of Oaxaca, where his culinary magic enchants anyone and provokes a long-lasting desire of returning to his land to taste those flavours again and again.

*Markets:*

*/Coyoacan Market/* A very colourful market and full of flavours and smells. It is also very popular for its snacks stalls featuring t/ostadas, quesadillas/, seafood and even stews. We will taste some local specialities like /churros, tostadas/ and /elotes/.

*/Xochimilco Market/* Little floating kitchens will serve our lunch! It will be a mixture of white cheese, guacamole, refried beans, Mexican rice, tortillas, seasonal fruit and /Chicken Mixiote/ (a traditional pit-barbeque meat dish in central Mexico)

*/Cholula Market/* Taste Blue corn tortillas with cheese, typical in this region.

*/Cocina de Frida Ocotlan./* One of Frida’s specialities are the/ chili rellenos/ (stuffed chili peppers). We will enjoy a typical Mexican breakfast at her kitchen.

*Cooking Classes:*

*/Casa Jacaranda Cooking class/* Experience the beauty of Mexican cooking and live like a local with Beto Estúa and Jorge Fitz. As savvy local chefs they will talk about food and teach you how to make an authentic Mexican meal. Suitable for all experience levels, this hands-on cooking class is hosted in our gorgeous Casa Jacaranda, making it more personal in a very intimate environment.

*/Casa Crespo Cooking class/* This cooking class is perfect for those interested in the roots of culinary culture in Oaxaca. You´ll learn how to cook tortillas, 3 types of salsas, an appetizer, soup, mole, dessert and a drink. Chef Oscar Carrazo was studying to be a painter but began training as a cook and learning about hospitality. He then decided to offer cooking classes on traditional Oaxacan food which required him to increase his knowledge of Oaxacan gastronomy. He has learned all about the flavours, ingredients and techniques that are authentically Oaxacan; his valuable resources were the city’s many markets as well as local chefs.

*Puebla street food:* */Cemitas:/* The cemita poblana is a sandwich so big you can hardly get it in your mouth. The bread used to make cemitas is covered with sesame seeds. Cemitas are usually prepared with sliced avocado, string cheese, white cheese, onions, salsa, and choice of different types of meat: milanesa (breaded cutlet), beef, ham, or carnitas. An essential ingredient in cemitas is a local herb called pápalo which give cemitas their particular flavour. */Pelonas:/ *The name is a slang term which means “baldies” and unlike the bread used to make cemitas, pelonas have no sesame seeds, thus “bald”. The bun is lightly fried before it is cut and filled with ingredients: first bean paste is spread on the bun, then it is filled with lettuce, shredded meat, chipotle salsa, and a dollop of cream. The */taco árabe/* (arab-style taco) is made with meat grilled on a vertical spit (usually pork loin) and served in a flour tortilla called pan arabe which bears some resemblance to pita bread. It is likely that immigrants from Iraq began the custom of serving tacos árabes, but they have caught on and are very popular throughout the city. *Traditional sweets in Puebla:* */Dulces de Camote: /*These candies are made with pureed sweet potatoes mixed with sugar and a variety of flavourings. They are hand-rolled and wrapped in wax paper. Dulces de camote also date back to the colonial period in Puebla. */Tortitas de Santa Clara: /*One of Puebla’s most distinctive sweets was created in the Convent of Santa Clara during the time of the Spanish colony. It is said that a nun was looking for new uses for the recently created dulce de pepita, a sweet cream made with ground pumpkin seeds, and she decided to use it on a cookie. The cookie base is baked and afterwards the creamy concoction is added on top, which solidifies when it cools, making a delicious cream-coloured topping. */Jamoncillo:/* Jamoncillo can refer to a few different types of traditional candies. One kind is similar to fudge and prepared with milk and sugar, and may contain cinnamon and vanilla for flavouring and pecans as a garnish. Jamoncillo de pepita is made with pumpkin seed paste and usually comes in a bar form with a red stripe.

Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

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