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Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca

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Departure Dates

  • Feb 22, 2018 - Mar 02, 2018


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Mexico City, Puebla & Oaxaca

Chocolate and Orchids – An exploration of cultures, traditions, and cuisines of Mexico

Escape this winter and visit Mexico like you’ve never imagined on this fun, delicious, and mind-expanding tour! National Trust Tours is proud to present a program that uncovers the rich culture and traditions of Mexico that often intersects in the form of cuisine.

Study Leader

Grace Gary, is an architectural historian with degrees from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and the University of Virginia. Most recently she served as the executive director of Nemours Mansion and Gardens in Wilmington, DE, where she oversaw an award-winning, multi-year, $70 million restoration of the building and gardens. She is co-author of Nemours: A Portrait of Alfred I. DuPont’s House, which was published by Rizzoli in 2011. Grace also is the author of two volumes in the National Trust of Historic Preservation’s “Information” series. She has served as director of the Trust’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, Preservation PA, and Longue Vue House and Gardens. She was the first director of Colonial Williamsburg’s Tourism Leadership Center.

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Ship Information


Stara Hamburgo, Mexico City Part colonial Spanish townhouse and part modern retreat, Stara Hamburgo promises a luxury stay immersed in Mexico City culture. Step inside this boutique hotel and you’ll find a stylish setting that celebrates the best of contemporary design. The hotel is in the La Juárez district known for its grand French-style townhouses, artisan markets, art galleries and up-and-coming restaurants. The hotel’s facilities include a bar, garden roof-top restaurant, a fitness center, business center, sauna, library, garden restaurant, and wi-fi.

Hotel Quinta Real, Puebla Originally constructed as the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, Quinta Real Puebla is a magnificent 16th-century hotel situated in the historic center of Puebla, a city declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. Built in Spanish Colonial style, Quinta Real Puebla is teeming with vibrant courtyards, well-appointed air-conditioned guestrooms, and warm Mexican hospitality. The hotel is in Puebla’s historic center just steps away from the cathedral and other historic sites. The hotel’s amenities include a business center, fitness center, laundry facilities and wi-fi.

Hostal de la Noria, Oaxaca Located just two blocks from the Zocalo in a colonial mansion, the hotel is characteristic of the historic city’s splendid architecture. All rooms wrap around a lovely courtyard with a flower filled fountain. The hotel’s facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, airconditioned suites, bar, lounge, laundry facilities and Wi-Fi.

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(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

Thursday, February 22
USA / Mexico City

Arrive in Mexico City and transfer to your hotel. A late afternoon orientation to the program is followed by cocktails and a welcome dinner at Hacienda de Los Morales, deservedly one of the most noted restaurants in the country. Stylish, classic, artistic, and colonial, it was once the home of Emperor Maximilian. Stara Hamburgo l (D)

Friday, February 23
Mexico City
This morning visit the renowned Anthropological Museum, one of the most important museums in Mexico. See precious jade carvings, funerary pottery, animated whistles, immense Olmec carvings, and the famous Aztec Calendar, among other treasures of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies. Receive a historical introduction to the importance of chocolate in Pre-Columbian times; once considered a drink from the gods and reserved for the upper echelon. Visit the Mexico City Historical Center, one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage cities where the great ancient Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlán stood. Tour the heart of the historical center (Zócalo) with its Aztec ruins, imposing cathedral, mansions, colonial churches, and 20th century Diego Rivera murals. Stara Hamburgo (B, L)

Saturday, February 24
Mexico City / Teotihuacán
Depart for Teotihuacán, one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites in Mesoamerica. A city planned and built on a massive scale, it rose as a religious center around the time of Christ. See the impressive pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. On the return to Mexico City, stop at the botanical garden in Chapultepec and learn about the cacao plant. Then, explore the rotated rhomboid shaped Soumaya Museum, which aside from its striking architecture, is home to a private art collection of nearly 70,000 works of art. It is the most visited art museum in Mexico named after the wife of the founder of the museum Carlos Slim. Stara Hamburgo (B, L)

Sunday, February 25
Coyoacán / Puebla
Travel to the historical neighborhood of Coyoacán in the south of the city where Hernán Cortés, Mexico’s famous conquistador, based himself during the siege of Tenochtitlán. Visit the Casa Azul (Blue House), the home and workshop of the artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Continue to Puebla, one of Mexico’s most beautiful colonial cities, the cradle of the famous mole sauce, made with chocolate and different types of chilies. On the way, see glorious views of the snowy heights of Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl volcanoes. Arrive in Puebla in time for lunch. The remainder of the afternoon is free. Our hotel is the five-star Quinta Real housed in a restored 16th-century convent with a splendid courtyard. Dinner is independent. Hotel Quinta Real (B, L)

Monday, February 26
Tour the historic center of the beautiful city of Puebla and explore colonial buildings beginning at the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, at its time,  considered the finest library in the New World. Continue to the Church of Santo Domingo to see its spectacular Rosario Chapel, a masterpiece of baroque architecture and extravagant decoration. Visit the famous tile factory to see handmade Talavera ceramics and stop at El Parian market which sells regional crafts, pottery, and tiles. Continue to the Museo de Santa Rosa, a 17th-century former convent which showcases an excellent collection of handicrafts. At lunch, sample regional cuisine renowned for its traditional mole dishes. This afternoon depart for Oaxaca, a colorful and gentle city with a provincial charm that combines the elegant Spanish culture with the rich heritage of the ancient indigenous people. En route, drive through the Cacti Biosphere Reserve to admire giant Candelabra cacti and other species of cacti endemic to the region. Arrive in the early evening and check into your hotel. Hostal de la Noria (B, L)

Tuesday, February 27
Travel to Oaxaca’s historical center, which is full of indigenous arts and crafts. Explore the wondrous Santo Domingo Cultural Center and its Museum of Oaxacan Cultures. Examine the gold treasures from Monte Albán followed by a private visit to the Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca. Stroll through the timeless streets of this UNESCO World Heritage town and tour the new San Pablo Cultural Center and beautiful Textile Museum. After a delicious Oaxacan lunch, walk to the old Benito Juarez market to enjoy a cup of traditional hot chocolate. Learn how chocolate is made in Oaxaca, including the addition of almonds, cinnamon, and other ingredients. Time permitting, visit the Arts & Crafts Market and the Basilica of our Lady of Solitude –Oaxaca’s patron saint. This evening is at leisure to visit a contemporary art gallery or to try one of Oaxaca’s excellent restaurants. Hostal de la Noria (B, L)

Wednesday, February 28
Drive to the remarkable archaeological site of Mitla, an important Mixtec site with intricate geometric friezes. From approximately 100-650 A.D. this settlement was a large religious center and a burial ground for priests and kings. Their elegant tombs are still visible, and their buildings offer beautiful examples of architecture from the Classic period. Continue to Teotitlán del Valle, a major Zapotec weaving village to see traditional rugs and blankets using organic and mineral dyes. Also learn about mezcal, a type of tequila, and stop at a distillery for a tasting. Later, see the enormous cypress called El Tule, which is over 2,000 years old, one of the oldest and largest in the world. Hostal de la Noria (B, L)

Thursday, March 1
Today drive to the spectacular site of Monte Albán, perhaps the most important archaeological site in the area. The great, flattened mountaintop and the layout of this Zapotec ceremonial center are impressive. This city seems to be floating and the views from its lofty location are stunning. Continue with a visit to a cochineal farm to learn about parasites living in cacti used to produce vibrant dyes since pre-historic times. Head next to the famous village of San Martin Tilcajete, to see the wonderful alebrijes, colorful wooden animal figures made from the copal tree and enjoy a home-hosted lunch. Also visit San Bartolo Coyotepec famous for its shiny, purely ornamental, black pottery. Tonight bid farewell to Mexico with a special dinner at a spectacular rooftop restaurant that serves perhaps the best Oaxacan food. Hostal de la Noria (B, L, D)

Friday, March 2
Oaxaca / Home
Following breakfast, transfer to the Oaxaca airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)