Day 1 - Mexico City
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mexico City. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place. This evening your leader will take you on a 'taco crawl' around town. You'll taste Mexico City’s delicious street-food staple, tacos al pastor, among others. Along the way you'll stop in for a sip of mezcal at one of the many mezcal bars that have started popping up all around Mexico City.
Notes: It can take some time to adjust to the heat and humidity in Mexico City, and it's normal to experience some lethargy and loss of appetite. Be sure to drink plenty of water and try not to do too much in one day.
Day 2 - Mexico City
Enjoy a walking tour of Mexico City's Centro Historico. Take in the beautiful Bellas Artes Palace, travel down the Paseo de la Reforma (the city's main thoroughfare) and marvel at the impressive Zocalo (Latin America's largest main square). Along the way you'll visit Mercado San Juan, the city’s main food market, then roam the surrounding streets and watch local vendors at work. If you come across tortillas being freshly pressed, be sure to try them warm with a sprinkle of salt. Pull up a chair at one of the best seafood stands in the city for a late lunch. The rest of your day is free for your own exploration. Perhaps relax in Chapultepec Park or take in some of the city's notable museums, including the renowned Museo Nacional de Antropologia (anthropological museum), which is considered one of the finest in the world. Alternatively, head to the leafy district of Coyoacan – a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Mexico City. There you can enjoy the Sunday markets or perhaps check out the home of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. This evening you will again be able to explore more of Mexico City’s vibrant dining scene.
Day 3 - Puebla
Enjoy breakfast at a Mexico City institution: a two-storey bakery brimming with cakes, breads and biscuits. Then travel by local bus to Puebla (approximately 2 hours). Although it's a rapidly growing city, Puebla has managed to retain a strong sense of its past. This city is also obsessed with food and is regarded by many as the gastronomic capital of Mexico. Its cuisine is a mixture of pre-hispanic fare and Spanish influenced dishes, including mole poblano and chiles en nogada (the latter is seasonal and should only be eaten in restaurants between May and September). Enjoy a culinary tour that spans some lovely food and beautiful architectural and historic sites. Try dishes like cemitas (similar to Mexico City's tortas – crusty sandwiches filled with goodies) and tacos arabes (meat-filled tacos cooked on a large spit and served with salsas and fresh lime). Finish up at Calle de los Dulces, or 'Sweets Street', to sample camotes (yam-based candies flavoured with fruits) or Tortitas de Santa Clara (round shortbread-type cookies topped with a sugary pumpkin-seed glaze). You'll also witness a 'Lucha Libre' performance today. This popular sport combines wrestling and theatre.
Day 4 - Oaxaca
Catch a local bus to Oaxaca (approximately 4 hours). It will soon become apparent why Oaxaca is known for its cuisine. Visit some of Oaxaca's renowned markets for an introduction to some distinct regional specialties – taste everything from cactus fruit to grasshoppers to the heavenly Oaxacan cheese, queso oaxaca. Finish at the less crowded but equally interesting Mercado 20 de Noviembre. Any carnivores will relish the pasillo de carnes asadas (grilled meats hall), where freshly purchased meat is barbecued right in front of you. In the evening you'll dine at a restaurant where the local chef is dedicated to the preservation and sharing of dishes and specialises in ancient cooking methods from all over the state of Oaxaca.
Day 5 - Oaxaca
Breakfast this morning is at a unique local restaurant which preserves the many varieties of corn grown throughout the state of Oaxaca. Corn has been a staple of Mesoamerican cuisine for over 7,000 years. At any one time, the restaurant has at least three different types of corn dough made up of corn gathered from various farmers' cooperatives. The corn tortillas, eses, memelitas, quesadillas and tamales are the perfect start to the day. Lunch is just as exciting: a cooking class with a local chef, in which you'll discover the secrets to preparing Oaxacan delicacies at home. Feast on your creations over lunch. Your afternoon is free to explore the markets as well as Oaxaca’s many other culinary delights. Those with a sweet tooth can find several shops on Calle Mina (just south of Mercado 20 de Noviembre) at which to learn about the production of real Oaxacan chocolate – and of course taste this regional specialty. Alternatively you can visit the archaeological site of Monte Alban, an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre. The terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Alban were carved out of the mountain.
Day 6 - Oaxaca
Today you will venture out of Oaxaca for an insight into regional life. Visit Mercado Tlacolula, one of the oldest markets in Mesoamerica. This is a unique opportunity to witness the ancient Zapotec cultural traditions of dress, cuisine and language, as the community gathers together from neighbouring villages. Here you will indulge in a meal of Oaxacan barbacoa. Then head to the ancient ruins of Mitla. Mitla (the Nahuatl word for 'underworld') is an important Zapotec archaeological site and was the main religious centre for the Zapotec people. On the way back to Oaxaca, stop into a mezcaleria (mezcal distillery). Although this tequila-like drop is experiencing a resurgence in popularity all over Mexico, it is largely produced in Oaxaca. It's generally enjoyed straight-up, so it's not for the faint-hearted! In the evening, jump on an overnight bus (approximately 9 hours) for the Pacific coast, where delectable seafood and lovely beaches await.
Day 7 - Mazunte
Your bus will arrive in Puerto Escondido early this morning. From here it is just under an hour by taxi to the hotel in Mazunte and you will arrive around 9 am. Please note that your room may not be ready immediately upon arrival, however you will be able to leave your luggage at the hotel. Your accommodation is at an eco-lodge which has amazing views overlooking the ocean. Rooms are simple but comfortable and like most properties in the area, there is no air conditioning, however there are fans. This is your chance to relax and unwind, as this town belongs to one of the most beautiful stretches of beach on Mexico's Pacific coast. It's also quieter and less touristy than some of the bigger beachside spots, although these are accessibly by taxi. Pull up a chair at one of the restaurants or laze in a hammock outside your bungalow. Perhaps pay a visit to the seafood market at the port in nearby Puerto Angel.
Day 8 - Mazunte
Head out on an early morning fishing expedition. If you're lucky you might spot turtles, stingrays or even dolphins while you're out on the water. Sail back to shore with your catch of the day. Back on land, enjoy a masterclass on preparing Mexican coastal-style ceviche (raw fish cooked in citrus juice). The rest of the day is free for you to explore or simply relax by the water. Make a toast to the end of your adventure with dinner and glass of mezcal by the ocean.
Notes: In the event that sea conditions are too rough to allow a safe and comfortable fishing expedition, this activity will be replaced with an alternative. The off-season for fishing is from August to mid November. If no fish are caught while at sea, fresh fish will be purchased from the seafood markets for the ceviche demonstration.
Day 9 - Mexico City
Fly back to Mexico City, arriving at Benito Juárez International Airport at around 2 pm. Your trip comes to an end here. Outbound flights are best booked for after 6 pm to allow for any delays.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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