Art of Living is very excited about this inaugural tour of Mexico. Marieke Brugman
has just concluded an extensive research trip of this beguiling and multifaceted country. Mexico’s complex history dates back to ancient times with each wave of conquest bearing highest artistic and architectural achievements, unique cosmologies and belief systems and astounding concepts of urban planning. Modern day Mexico surprises at every turn with astounding museums, a thriving contemporary art scene, flourishing traditional crafts, warm and welcoming people, surprisingly good wines and fascinating cuisine.
Mexico is a mosaic of different realities and beauties. The truth is that the history of Mexico is a history in the image of its geography: abrupt and tortuous. Each historical period is like a plateau surrounded by tall mountains and separated from the other plateaus by precipices and divides. Octavio Paz
- the majestic ruins of Teotihuacál, Uxmal and Palenque gorgeous
- colourful colonial towns, artistic splendours of Oaxaca the
- natural wonders and mesmerising traditions of indigenous tribes in Chiapas divine
- cuisine from the mercados to elegant restaurants
- the creations of some of Mexico’s most renowned artists – Rivera, Kahlo, Barragán et al
AT A GLANCE
LENGTH: 18 0r 12 Days
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate | Fit
TYPE: AoL Escorted | Small Groups | Guided | Bespoke
STYLE: culture | arts | architecture | heritage | cuisine | history
START/FINISH: Mexico City | Merida or Mexico City | Oaxaca
Daily breakfast, most lunches and dinners, cooking class, entrance fees, guides, porterage
6* Luxury | Deluxe | Heritage hotels
Luxury mini coach
25 April – 12 May 2019
- 18 days from USD $twin/double share
- 12 days by arrangement leaving from Oaxaca on 8 May POA
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your elegant boutique hotel where you are for four nights. Meet your fellow travellers and city guide at this evening’s cocktail reception.
Today’s walking tour starts with the Diego Rivera murals at the National Palace that depict Mexico’s history from ancient times to conquest, revolution and the present time.
Postclassic Mesoamerican Templo Mayor was once the centre of the Aztec world, Tenochtitlan. The Bellas Artes’ Art Deco interior houses splendid murals by Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco.
After lunch visit the renowned National Museum of Anthropology.
Dine on Mexican cuisine given a modern twist in a resplendent colonial building.
This morning explore the brilliance of one of the most important Mesoamerican sites in the Americas, the holy city of Teotihuacán. After lunch take a tour of the last project designed by Pritzker Prize winner Luis Barragán, as well as visiting his private house and studio that synthesises a remarkable play on colour, light, shadow, form, volume and texture with his very particular belief systems.
This evening is free.
This morning depart to the elegant tree-lined streets of Coyoacán, home to Casa Azul, the house where Frida Kahlo lived and died that is now a museum dedicated to her life. A typical lunch will be enjoyed at the colourful Mercado. This afternoon enjoy the most extensive collection of Diego Rivera paintings in the museum created by socialite and patron, Dolores Olmedo from her 17th C hacienda. There is also an enchanting collection of pre Hispanic and folk art, and when they are “at home’, 25 Frida Kahlo works. Dinner this evening at one of the city’s chicest restaurants ranked very highly in San Pellegrino’s “50 Best”
Reach this famed town known for its arts festivals, colourful, colonial Baroque architecture, thriving arts scene, galleries as well as a sophisticated ex-pat community – in time for lunch. Enjoy an afternoon’s walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site. You are here three nights in a delightful boutique hotel.
Mayer Shacter, a ceramic artist and his wife, writer Susan Page, have established one of the finest galleries for Mexican folkloric art and crafts stocked with wares they hand pick from all over Mexico. Nearby is the church of Atotonilco, the site of the first gathering of insurgents, led by Father Hidalgo, in their historic march that set in motion Mexico’s revolution of 1810.
Enjoy a vineyard tour and tutored wine tasting served with a ploughman’s lunch.
A day’s excursion to this gorgeous, brightly painted UNESCO town that was founded in 1559 on the region’s rich silver and gold deposits. Handsome buildings, cobblestone streets, a grand theatre, exuberant market, and important cathedral dot the narrow streets. This is also the birthplace of Diego Rivera and his family home has been converted to a museum that displays fascinating temporary exhibitions.
This morning fly to Oaxaca, the city and state with the biggest gastronomic and artistic reputation. Your hotel the next four nights is the beautifully restored 16th Century Santa Catalina nunnery in the heart of the city. This afternoon enjoy a guided orientation walking tour of the town, including the modest but brilliant textile museum that segues into a wonderful regional dinner at one of the most regarded restaurants.
Drive to Ocotlán de Morelos market to meet charismatic Beatriz Gómez, a brilliant chef of regional Oaxaca dishes to shop for ingredients before repairing to her home for a cooking class that culminates in lunch. Her moles are without parallel.
After lunch visit an authentic farm/distillery to understand the age-old artisanal process of making Mezcal, a hand crafted agave based spirit that at its finest is as good as Armagnac. For dinner, Oaxaca meets modernity.
Today’s off the beaten path, countryside excursions into indigenous villages will be led by Ana Paula Fuentes, the founding director of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca who has worked for several artisan collectives and organizations, and is a passionate storyteller, keenly connected to the artisans she works with. The focus will be on visiting Zapotec households to understand their myriad weaving traditions.
Today’s half-day excursion will focus on the region’s ceramic traditions. The region is most famous for the barro verde style of pottery dates back 3,500 years.
The afternoon and evening are free to explore this gorgeous town’s galleries, boutiques, markets and excellent dining options.
Guests seeking a shorter program may wish to consider leaving this morning. The tour continues to the very scenic state of Chiapas, the heartland of Maya culture. This morning fly to Tuxlta Gutierrez via Mexico City. On arrival enjoy a private boat cruise through the spectacular Sumidero canyon. Continue to the gorgeous highlands and well-preserved town of San Cristóbal de las Casas that boasts a wonderful textile museum, cultural institutes, fabulous markets, and your elegant, modern boutique hotel.
Today’s highlight is visiting the nearby autonomous, indigenous Mayan community of San Juan Chamula, where they wear exquisitely decorated traditional dress and practice a unique syncretic religion where behind the façade of Catholicism lie Shamanistic rituals. In neighbouring Zincantan, the women are renowned for their weaving and embroidery.
After a leisurely morning visit Toniná that despite its modest size is a significant Mayan ruin set amidst the rugged jungle of the Ocosingo Valley. Toniná became powerful during the Late Classic period between 600AD and 800AD. The glyphic texts that were carved upon each of its many monuments record the history through the accessions, births and deaths of its rulers and nobility.
Late afternoon reach Palenque to overnight near this magnificent ruin.
This morning make an early start to arguably one of the finest remaining Mayan ruins. Palenque was at its height between AD 500 and 700, when its influence extended throughout the basin of the Usumacinta River. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilisation.
Late afternoon arrive in the delightful seaside town of Campeche to stay one night in its most stylish boutique hotel tucked just inside the old city walls.
After a leisurely morning, drive to the suave capital of Yucatan, enroute exploring the ancient Maya city of Uxmal, with its rounded architecture and intricate latticework. The ruins of the ceremonial structures at Uxmal represent the pinnacle of late Maya art and architecture in their design, layout and ornamentation.
Check into your glamorous casita situated midst the lavish gardens of the original hacienda, now beautifully restored.
Travel into town to explore the Zócalo, the cathedral, the Monument of the Homeland and El Paseo de Montejo, with its grand, colonial buildings and palatial homes. Merida’s significant history (a long co-existence of Mayan and Spanish culture) will be pulled together in your final stop at the interactive Museum of the Maya World.
Grand finale banquet dinner in one of the city’s finest restaurants.
You will be transferred to Merida International Airport for your departure flights.
SUGGESTED TOUR EXTENSIONS
- Stay on a few extra days at Chablé – a world-class spa resort with treatments, wellness programs, yoga etc
- Baja Peninsula Food + Wine Festival – Gastrovino
- New Mexico USA
Tour Escort Marieke Brugman
Marieke first fell in love with Mexico several decades ago. Two return visits in the last year has seen it added to her list of “heart” countries, up there with India and Morocco for heart stopping colour and culture. Whilst media myths abound about Mexico’s unruly and unsafe nature, this never became apparent during the three weeks Marieke travelled solo, seeking out the best food, extremely charming and ambient hotels, art and architecture both old and new, awe inspiring historic sites and extravagantly pretty towns. Marieke was especially taken by the order and cleanliness of Mexico’s towns, by the warmth and hospitality of her people, by the abundance of exciting art and aesthetics everywhere. She very much looks forward to sharing with you her new love.
Meet Some of Your Guides
Ana Paula Fuentes will join us in Oaxaca. Ana Paula was born in Mexico City and holds a B.A. degree in Textile Design with postgraduate studies in Knit and Fashion Knitwear Design. She has worked in Barcelona, Spain and Mexico City designing fashion knitwear collections. Co-founder of the experimental “11011 studio” in Oaxaca City, she collaborated with more than twenty contemporary artists in exhibitions, performances, installations and concerts. She was also founder of “artesana”, a new craft products market network for Mexico. From 2006-2012 Ana Paula was the Director, of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MuseoTextil de Oaxaca), a non-profit organization associated with the Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation. She also has extensive experience with outreach and entrepreneur programs in the villages and is passionate about her country and its arts.
Roberto Murphy will join us in Chiapas.
Roberto was born in Mexico, but grew up in the United States. The Murphy family moved to Chiapas when Roberto was five. One summer, Roberto got a job as a draftsman for the New World Archaeological Foundation, which is when he discovered his deep fascination with the ancient past of his country. Looking, touching and drawing pictures of artefacts was a major inspiration for his latter interest in studying the ancient Maya. Roberto started guiding in the Maya area in 1985, when many of the sites could only be reached by plane, foot or ridding a mule and been showing the wonders of his native land to visitors for almost thirty years. As a professional guide, he is constantly updating his knowledge on the Maya of the past and present. He is a cofounder of the Chiapas Guide Association that trains new certified guides, organises courses of high academic level and invites scholars to present seminars. Roberto will fill you in with interesting facts, personal anecdotes and loads of informative stories. He loves making abandoned ruins come to life.
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