Tastes of Mexico

Tastes of Mexico

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14 Days From

$2990

$2908

Tastes of Mexico

14 Days Starting in Mexico City and ending in Merida

Visiting: Mexico City, San Juan Teotihuacán, Puebla, Oaxaca, Monte Albán, Chiapa de Corzo, Chamula, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque, Campeche, Uxmal, Mérida, Izamal

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

MXF

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 18

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Age range:

14-99

Special diets catered:

Vegans, Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Small Group

Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$2990
$2908 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$82

NB: Prices correct on 27-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

A 2-week adventure to discover one of the world's finest cuisines! You'll start in the Capital City trying some of the best street food that Mexico has to offer. Moving across the country, you'll sample some of the regional specialities, such as 'mole poblano' and 'tlayudas' and a twist on the classic quesadillas. Discover the many ways that food plays a huge part in the local traditions, as well as the history behind this fascinating country.



Mexican cooking class - Prepare a classic dish with a mother and son team, using a selection of fresh ingredients that you'll purchase from one the many local food markets.

Making tamales - Learn the traditional methods of creating these corn-based delicacies with a local family in Zinacantan.

Street Tacos - Sample Mexico City's soft corn tortillas, filled with tasty local ingredients

Highlights

  • Mexican cooking class - Prepare a classic dish using a selection of fresh ingredients that you'll purchase from one the many local food markets.

  • Making tamales - Learn the traditional methods of creating these corn-based delicacies with a local family in Zinacantan.

  • Street Tacos - Sample Mexico City's soft corn tortillas, filled with tasty local ingredients

Itinerary

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Day 1: Join Trip In Mexico City

Location: Mexico City

Accommodation: Hotel, Fontan

Meals Included: No Meals

Arrive in Mexico City, the capital of Mexico and truly the heart and soul of the country. With so much rich history to discover, the city is filled with historic buildings, landmarks and the largest number of museums in the world.



Due to the number of evening flights into the international airport, your Leader plans to do the welcome meeting on the morning of day two, and will leave a message in reception with details on timings and everything else that you'll need for the day. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive into Mexico City at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Mexico City International Airport (MEX) which is approximately a 30 minute drive from the hotel.



If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to have a stroll around Alameda Central, Mexico City's oldest municipal park, or visit the Templo Mayor Museum, which is known for its exhibits relating to the Aztec civilization.

Day 2: Explore Mexico City And Try Street Tacos For Lunch

Location: Mexico City

Accommodation: Hotel, Fontan

Meals Included: Lunch

On our first day in Mexico City we visit the downtown including the Zocalo (main square) and the Cathedral, built on top of Tenochtitlan - the old Aztec capital. During our tour around the city we will be introduced to one of Mexico's most famous exports - the tacos. We'll experience some of the best and most authentic basket tacos, known as 'tacos de canasta', at the city's local taquerias. These soft-shelled tacos are normally filled with marinated pork, beef or chicken as well as more unusual ingredients such as cactus leaves and flower petals. We can spice these up with some of the wonderful homemade chilli sauces, of which there are usually several heats to choose from.



This afternoon we drive to Coyoacan in the south of Mexico's Federal District, famous for its coffee and churros culture. Founded in the seventh century and later conquered by the Mexica, the "place of coyotes" retains its small-town charm with cobbled streets, colonial churches and colourful markets.

Day 3: Visit Pyramids Of Teotihuacan, Continue To Puebla

Location: San Juan Teotihuacán, Puebla

Accommodation: Hotel, Colonial De Puebla

Leaving this city we will drive north out to the mysterious pyramids of Teotihuacan. Although abandoned thirteen centuries ago, they are still an unbelievable sight. Once the largest city in the Americas with perhaps 100,000 inhabitants, its influence continued through Middle America, and Maya craftsmen borrowed its decorative motifs and building designs. Centuries later the Aztecs revered Teotihuacan as 'the Place of the Gods'. Following our visit we will continue our short journey east to the city of Puebla passing between three of Mexico's most recognisable volcanoes, Ixtaccihuatl, Popocatepetl and La Malinche. On the journey, we'll visit a local cactus farmer's family, who cultivate the nopel cactus and its fruit, Xoconochtli. We'll learn about how these leaves are handled and used in salads, as well as some of the products derived from the fruit.

Day 4: Try Mole Poblano, Afternoon Drive To Oaxaca

Location: Puebla, Oaxaca

Accommodation: Oaxaca real

Meals Included: Dinner

We start our day with a visit to Puebla's Sweet Street - the 'Calle de los Dulces'. Puebla is a great stop for those with a sweet tooth and the city has an entire road dedicated to producing and selling sweets and biscuits. This will then be followed by a visit to the former convent of Santa Rosa, the alleged home of the creation of the 'mole poblano'. Both Oaxaca and Puebla claim to be the creators of mole, pronounced 'mo-leh', and it comes in many forms and colours. The most famous is the dark chocolate one from Puebla. A good mole is thought to have over 20 ingredients in its mix including chilli, tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon and many more, and is normally poured over chicken or tacos. We will have the opportunity to sample the local varieties over lunch today, before driving south through cactus country to Oaxaca, one of the most charming colonial cities in Mexico. Arriving in the early evening, our first stop will be to try 'tlayudas', a large crunchy tortilla topped with refried beans, lettuce, avocado and meats of your choice such as grilled steak, chilli pork and cheese.

Day 5: Explore The Food Markets And Taste Mezcal

Location: Oaxaca

Accommodation: Oaxaca real

Meals Included: Lunch

Our day begins early with visit to the markets of Benito Juarez and 20 de Noviembre, thought to be one of the best places to try the traditional food of Oaxaca, such as 'quesadillas con flor de calabaza' - cheese and pumpkin flower stuffed tortillas - and deep fried grasshoppers. As well as sampling food in the market it is a great place to purchase the many ingredients central to Mexican cooking like tomatoes, moles and chillies.



We will then visit the Casa del Mezcal to try a little pre-lunch tipple of the local fire water. Mezcal means 'oven-baked agave cactus' and you will have a chance to the see the process of how this is made later today, at our lunch stop.



Our lunch today will be at the 'Caldo de Piedra' restaurant, named after an ancient cooking techique where raw fish, shrimp and vegetables are cooked when a red hot stone is added to the broth. You may wish to visit the Mixtec-Zapotec site of Mitla, which can be done on a public bus.

Day 6: Try Making Mexican Classics In A Morning Cooking Class, Free Afternoon To Visit Monte Alban

Location: Monte Albán

Accommodation: Oaxaca real

Meals Included: Lunch

Today we have our first-hand experience in a Mexican kitchen when we join a mother and son team for a cooking class. We start the day by going to one of the city's food markets, where we will see the enormous selections of fresh ingredients used in Oaxacan cooking. The son, Chef Gerardo, will accompany us to describe all the different ingredients, and help you buy those needed for the meals you will be preparing. With our ingredients in our shopping bags we head back to Chef Gerardo's house to prepare three separate dishes, which we will then eat for lunch. The daily menu may vary, but you will may be learning to prepare a local type of mole, or learning how to stuff chillies.



This afternoon has been left free to explore Oaxaca further, or you may wish to head out of town to explore the complex of temples, pyramids and enigmatic rock carvings at Monte Alban, a high spur that looms over the fertile valley. This mystical site was created by Zapotec Indians, who flourished here a thousand years ago.

Day 7: Drive To Chiapa Del Corzo

Location: Chiapa de Corzo

Accommodation: Hotel, la Ceiba

Today is a full day's journey through the mountainous Sierra Madre range, through the hot and windy isthmus of Tehuantepec and on to our hotel in Chiapa del Corzo, the provincial capital of Chiapas state, which we will explore over the next few days. There are plenty of stops to stretch our legs, eat and drink during the 10 hour journey.

Day 8: Learn To Make Tamales En Route To San Cristobal

Location: Chamula, San Cristobal de las Casas

Accommodation: Hotel, Arrecife

Meals Included: Lunch

We start the day by driving up the scenic mountain road to San Cristobal de las Casas. On route we will visit San Juan Chamula, where they practice an interesting blend of Catholicism and traditional Maya beliefs, before continuing to Zinacantan and to the house of Antonia. At Antonia's house we will be taught how to make an indigenous dish known as tamales. Tamales are eaten everywhere in Mexico, however each state has its own recipes. They are a corn-based dough, stuffed with either a sweet or savoury filling and steam-cooked in corn husks or banana leaves. This type of tamales are eaten throughout the year, but particularly as a traditional dish over the Christmas period. Antonia and her family will teach you how to make corn husk tamales stuffed with beans and 'hoja santa' - the sacred leaf. Following this we will head to San Cristobal where you will have some free time to explore this highland town this afternoon.

Day 9: Visit The Markets; Afternoon Free For Optional Chocolate Making Workshop

Location: San Cristobal de las Casas

Accommodation: Hotel, Arrecife

Meals Included: Dinner

We will start our day with a visit to the food market. In contrast to the markets of Oaxaca, the ingredients differ here in San Cristobal as do the traditional meals. You will see a range of produce such as coffee and cacao and our Tour Leader will explain their use in local food. According to the Popol Vuh, the book on the creation of the Maya, man was created from yellow and white corn. Corn grows throughout the Chiapas highlands and is used today as their main ingredient in traditional indigenous cooking of the Tzotzil and Tzeltal communities.



There is a unique atmosphere to this small colonial town, high in the scenic Chiapas range. The indigenous groups from the surrounding hills fill the town and marketplace with their colourful dress including the distinctive Tzotzil Indians who still retain much of their Maya customs and language. They are noted for their bright textiles and weavings in bold designs and this is the place to bargain for some colourful souvenirs. This afternoon you may wish to visit Na Bolom, the House of the Jaguar, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Lacandon tribe and displays many of their artefacts, or the Kakaw Museum where you can learn about the history and production of chocolate in the area and take part in a chocolate workshop.



This evening we will visit a local restaurant where you will have the opportunity to sample the local firewater known as Pox (or aguardiente in other areas); its name comes from the Mayan Tzotzil language and means sugar cane liquor medicine. Pox is made of corn, sugar cane and wheat, very important in Mayan culture for its ceremonial uses.

Day 10: Drive From Highlands To Rainforests Of Palenque

Location: Palenque

Accommodation: Hotel, Maya Tulipanes

Meals Included: Lunch

Leaving the highlands today we travel to the humid, hot jungles of Palenque. On route we will stop by a traditional cacao ranch where you will visit and see how the fruit grows and is processed into chocolate. After exploring the ranch we will try some deep fried mojarra (fresh water bream) for lunch in an ideal setting overlooking the lake Nezahualcoyotl. There is a vegetarian option for non-fish eaters. We will then continue towards the Gulf of Mexico, through the state of Tabasco, on to Palenque.

Day 11: Visit Mayan Palenque; Try Ceviche En Route To Campeche In The Yucatan

Location: Campeche

Accommodation: Hotel, Camp, Mision eche

Meals Included: Lunch

This morning we will start early with a guided visit to the famous jungle ruins of Palenque, a fascinating and important Mayan site. Once the choking forest was cleared, the ruins revealed the tomb of the high priest Pakal, his body adorned with a marvellous jade death mask - one of the most prized relics of the Maya culture, discovered only in 1952. Only 1% of the site has been excavated, and with its shroud of the steamy rainforest it has an aura of deep mystery.



In the early afternoon we drive along the Gulf coastline to the pleasant colonial city of Campeche, the state capital and once one of Spain's main ports in Mexico. On route we will stop for a ceviche lunch at the fishing village of Champoton. We will first have a demonstration on how the ceviche is prepared. Meaning 'meat cooked in vinegar', ceviche is made up of raw fish or seafood marinated in lime juice, onions, peppers and other spices. Peru is famous for its ceviche, but it is actually found throughout Central America, and this Mexican version is equally as delicious. We will then continue to Campeche; the afternoon is left to wander around the old port where defensive walls and fortresses are still in evidence. Campeche, although less visited than many parts of the Yucatan, boasts one of the most elegant and well-maintained colonial quarters with 18th and 19th century houses painted in soft pastel colours.

Day 12: Drive Into The Yucatan To Merida Via The Temples Of Uxmal

Location: Uxmal, Mérida

Accommodation: Hotel, Colonial

Meals Included: Lunch

We start with a short drive to Uxmal. Encircled by hills, Uxmal is expansive in its design, with majestic palaces, temples, pyramids and long geometrical friezes that rank amongst the most splendid examples of ancient American art anywhere. The incredible Pyramid of the Magician and the beautiful Governor's Palace must also rate as two of the finest examples of Mayan art on the entire continent. Today we will visit this extraordinary site, spending some time exploring what for many is considered the crowning glory of Puuc architectural style, with its classical lines and abstract designs. Leaving Uxmal behind we will continue to the village of Abala, where we will be invited to enjoy a pibil lunch in a local villager's house. Pibil means 'cooked underground', and it is a technique where the meat is wrapped in a banana leaf, marinated in a sour orange and annatto sauce and baked in a barbeque pit for several hours.



Following lunch we continue on to Merida, a city famed for its beautiful Spanish-Moorish style architecture. Known as the 'White City', Merida is the capital of the state of Yucatan and its centre reflects its colonial heritage, with a church or mansion on every street and its plazas alive with markets, entertainment and visitors.

Day 13: Visit Izamal; Afternoon Visit To Food Markets

Location: Izamal, Mérida

Accommodation: Hotel, Colonial

Meals Included: Lunch

After a later start we drive to the colonial backwater of Izamal. Here we will have lunch at restaurant Kinich - situated in one of the great houses of Izamal this is reputed to be one of the best restaurants on the Peninsula to enjoy the Yucatecan specialities such as lime soup, stuffed cheese, pork or chicken pibil style and 'relleno negro', black turkey stew. This afternoon we will return to Merida, where we will spend the afternoon sampling more street food and wandering the markets where you can try the local 'marquesitas' - an unusual sweet wafer, stuffed with melted cheese and sprinkled with optional caramel sauce. We will also have the opportunity to visit the Colon ice cream parlour, which has been making ice cream and cakes for over 100 years; there will be lots to choose from!

Day 14: Trip Ends In Merida

Location: Mérida

The trip ends in the morning at our hotel in Merida.



There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Merida at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Manuel Crescencio Rejon International Airport (MID) which is approximately a 20 minutes\ drive from the hotel.

What's Included

  • Meals

    Lunches:8 Dinners:2

  • Accommodation

    13 nights comfortable hotel

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

  • Fully Guided

What's Not Included

  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

  • Country Entry Visas

  • Tipping and Gratuities

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Check out our Q&As

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    13 nights comfortable hotel

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    Yes

  • What is the maximum group size?

    18

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    Moderate

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Daphne  

Tastes of Mexico

It was a great trip - much better that I expected,

It was a great trip - much better that I expected, despite the average age being in their 70's. Victor was the star of the trip making it interesting and busy. We were late everywhere - but it just didn't matter!! The food element made sure we all had a common interest and Victor was really flew the flag for Mexican food and traditions. Overall, my lasting memory will be the colour - everything was viberant and so colourful - I will certainly being back one day.

Adrian  

Tastes of Mexico

A very enjoyable trip mixing the food and history

A very enjoyable trip mixing the food and history of Mexico, A little more hands on cooking experience would have enhanced it further

Tami  

Tastes of Mexico

Just that Victor was an incredible tour leader & g

Just that Victor was an incredible tour leader & guide and this was a great trip through Mexico.

Michael  

Tastes of Mexico

An excellent tour.

An excellent tour.

Peter  

Tastes of Mexico

A very enjoyable trip and aod mix of activities wi

A very enjoyable trip and aod mix of activities with an excellent tour leader.

1 Dates & Availability

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Saturday - Friday

Oct 12, 2024 - Oct 25, 2024
$2990 $2908

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$82

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Saturday - Friday

Nov 09, 2024 - Nov 22, 2024
$2990 $2908

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$82

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  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 70 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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