Mexico City & Puebla

Contributed By Rachel Braylovsky

Whether you’ve seen Mexico City restaurants featured in a foodie mag, heard your hipster friends talking about DF – short for Distrito Federal – or you’ve been inspired by photos of Frida Kahlo’s bright blue house, a visit to Mexico’s capital city should surely be on your radar. But there’s even more vibrant Mexican hospitality to discover just outside this bustling metropolis.

For travelers seeking a warm-weather getaway laden with culture, combining Mexico City with nearby Puebla will make for the perfect vacation. From authentic and inventive cuisine to archaeological wonders, there truly is something for everyone. We’ve partnered with our in-destination experts, Journey Mexico, to give you into a peek into the rich history, art and of course, the delectable food just waiting to be explored south of the border.

Trip Notes:

Where to Stay:

Four Seasons Mexico City

It’s no secret that we love all things Four Seasons. But with so many great options in Mexico City, we chose this property because it truly is the best bet for a comfortable stay in a stellar location. The hotel is close to tons of good restaurants and within a few minutes to the best museums by taxi. It’s a great fit for the sophisticated traveler who wants a relaxing retreat in the middle of bustling DF. | Book Now >>

Rosewood Puebla

Our friends at Rosewood have cultivated a true gem with their Puebla property. Recommended by SmartFlyer founder Michael Holtz, he says, “This beautiful hotel is in the center of a Mexican colonial city with lots of churches and history nearby. It’s the perfect pick for the well-traveled guest who wants something out-of-the-box.” Of course, you’ll still be sure to feel “a sense of place” when staying at this Rosewood property, too. | Book Now >>

Trip Highlights:

Mexico City

Day 1: Welcome to DF

"Our Little Secret" at the Four Seasons

You’ll be greeted upon arrival by our ground operator’s airport supervisor. After an introduction to your driver, you can expect to be whisked to the Four Seasons Mexico City. The hotel is located right on Paseo de la Reforma, a main shopping avenue. Relax and enjoy a cocktail around the firepit in the Four Seasons’ urban oasis, called “Our Little Secret.”

Day 2: Frida Kahlo Museum + Mexican Market Lunch

Explore Mexico City’s southern neighborhoods that feel like small villages despite being part of the big city. Your personal guide will lead you in a full-day exploration of the tree-lined streets of San Angel and Coyoacán. Walk the footsteps of some of Mexico’s most revered artists and writers, including a visit to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. This blue house where Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was born and later died is now a museum dedicated to her life.

If time allows, you will also have a chance to visit the Museum of Dolores Olmedo, a 16th century building with a cohesive collection of fine arts from Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, as well as hundreds of pre-Hispanic figurines and sculptures. For lunch, your guide will lead you on a journey for the senses as you discover the Mercado Coyoacán and sit down to savor the flavors of your meal at this authentic Mexican market.

Day 3: Private Foodie Walking Tour + After Hours Museum Tour

Start with a more relaxing pace today with a morning at leisure. You’ll meet your private tour guide in the Four Seasons lobby just before noon for a walking tour that combines tastings along the way as you explore amazing tastes, sights and sounds of the culinary avant-garde Colonia Roma, declared the “Williamsburg of Mexico City” by  Vogue and publications alike. You’ll be led through traditional food shops, ethnic eateries and charming neighborhood restaurants. Experience the life of a Chilango, Mexican slang for residents of Mexico City as you let your local guide show you why Colonia Roma has earned its reputation as a culinary and artistic haven over the past 100 years. Take in the architectural gems, beautiful gardens and historic mansions that define this quirky and esoteric neighborhood.

The Aztec Sunstone, Photo Credit: Journey Mexico

After a bit of down time, your group will be picked up from the Four Seasons hotel lobby in the evening to experience a once-in-a-lifetime private tour of The National Anthropology Museum.  Your expert guide will lead you on an exploration of the museum, which houses some of the most important pieces from all over the Mesoamerican world. One of the most valuable pieces of Mexican art is housed here, the 24-ton Aztec Sunstone, which was found buried beneath the city’s main square in 1790. While you observe its intricate craftsmanship, your guide will explain the legend of the five suns that is depicted in the stone. Once wrapping up your after hours tour, you will be driven back to your hotel to enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 4: Full Day Tour to Teotihuacán Pyramids by Hot Air Balloon

Photo Credit: Journey Mexico

Hot Air Balloon Over the Valley of Teotihuacán, Photo Credit: Journey Mexico
Hot Air Balloon Over the Valley of Teotihuacán, Photo Credit: Journey Mexico

This morning’s early wakeup will surely be worth it as your private tour of UNESCO World Heritage site, Teotihuacán, awaits. See the sunrise over the Valley of Teotihuacán as you pass over the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon in your own private hot-air balloon.  You will be in the air for roughly forty minutes, taking in the sheer size of the religious and ceremonial center of the Aztecs looking over vistas of the surrounding valley.

Once the gentle flight is over, toast with sparkling wine before heading to a breakfast buffet at a nearby restaurant. After breakfast, you will continue with your exploration of Teotihuacán by land, your expert guide will lead you through the archeological zone while learning about the rituals, cosmology, beliefs and everyday lives of the Aztecs and the inhabitants of Teotihuacán before them.


Day 5: Private Tour of Cholula en Route to Puebla

Cholul, Photo Credit: Journey Mexico

Your personal guide will meet you at your hotel for your journey together to the city of Cholula, roughly a 3-hour drive from Mexico City (138km) through Paseo de Cortes. From here, you will be able to appreciate views to the east, the Malintzin volcano (or Malinche) and the Orizaba Peak, towards the west the Ajusco volcano in Mexico City, the southern part of the Valley of Mexico and the Sierra de las Cruces. The pass acquired its name from the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who entered the valley of Mexico in 1519, seeking the conquest of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital.  En route, you will make a stop to enjoy a regional lunch where you will taste fresh blue corn quesadillas stuffer with chicken tinga or squash blossoms with a warm cup of Atole or coffee.

After lunch, you will continue on to Cholula (no, not the hot sauce!), considered the oldest living city in the Americas. The towers over Cholula are home to the Great Pyramid, the largest in the world today. Frightened by zealous Aztec worship of the indigenous, the Spanish hoped to seize power by demolishing ritual centers and building their own churches right on top of the temples’ foundations. You’ll have a chance to walk the tunnels and climb the temple dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl, as well as see the museum and the Plaza de los Altars. Once you’re finished touring, you will be driven to the luxurious Rosewood Puebla.

Day 6: Private Talavera Workshop Experience & Puebla Historic Center    

Today’s cultural experience begins with a visit to Uriarte Talavera, the largest fabricator of Talavera pottery in all Latin America. This Puebla factory, housed in the original home of Don Ignacio Uriarte, operated as a family workshop until the 1990’s. Talavera Poblana, the tradition of creating exquisite ceramics, has been a labor of love for skillful artisans for centuries. Enjoy a private factory and showroom tour; then engage in a ceramic hand-painting workshop experience.

Downtown Puebla, Photo Credit: Journey Mexico
Downtown Puebla, Photo Credit: Journey Mexico

After your morning exploration, visit the historic center of Puebla, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Can’t-miss highlights include the renowned Capilla del Rosario, boasting Mexican Baroque architecture and 23-carat gold leaf adornment throughout the church, beautiful Palacio Nacional, Zocalo (the main square) and the impressive Biblioteca Palafoxiana, founded in 1646 and the oldest library in the Americas. The cloistered Baroque building is impressive with the ornate Virgin of Trapana altar and rich 18th-century wood bookshelves. UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register recognized Palafoxiana in 2005. At the end of this culture-filled day, sit back and enjoy your private transfer back to the hotel.

Day 7: Privately Guided Excursion to Cantona Archaeological Site

After connecting with your expert guide in the hotel lobby, you will be driven about an hour to Cantona archaeological site (also known as La Casa del Sol), once a thriving commercial center between the 7th and 10th centuries. Spanning over 5 square miles of land in northeastern Puebla, Cantona is the largest urban settlement ever discovered in Mesoamerica. Consisting of numerous small pyramids, Cantona boasts two-dozen ball courts, 100 plazas, 2,000 living spaces and 20 different entrances. The buildings were constructed with carved stones without the use of cement or stucco. The well-preserved metropolis has a complex network of over 500 cobblestone streets that connect all parts of the city.

After exploring this impressive archeological site, you will stop for lunch at local, small & rural but well-kept restaurant, run by a group of women from the community. Here you will enjoy a traditional meal while you contribute to support the local economy.

Day 8: Back Home

Unfortunately, it’s time to pack up and head back stateside! Your English-speaking driver will meet you at the Rosewood Puebla lobby to whisk you to Mexico City International Airport, approximately 2-hours away. Despite departure woes, you’ll be sure to return home with a newfound appreciation of Mexican culture and history that you surely couldn’t have found on the beach.

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