Best of Guadalajara to Durango Tour & Mazatlán Beach Vacation
Road Trip to Explore Guadalajara, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Durango & Mazatlán
14 day México Exploration Tour & Beach Vacation
(includes day of arrival & departure)
from $3595 /adult • $3295 /child (10-17) + air
Single Supplement +$720
Because México is so well-known for it’s beautiful ocean beach resort locations, we decided to create what we call Combo Trips – It’s a Best of México Tour combined with a Mini-Beach Vacation.
On this exploration journey, we will travel 9 days through four México states to explore the major colonial cities, towns, museums, and ancient city sites in Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas & Durango. Then we will travel to the Pacific coast and relax and unwind for 3 days at a seaside hotel in the city of Mazatlán in the state of Sinaloa.
State of Jalisco
In addition to getting to know the city of Guadalajara, our local host guide will also introduce us to eclectic artisan galleries in Tlaquepaque, a day of exploration around Lake Chapala (the largest lake in México), and a tour to the agave fields and a distillery in the town of Tequila to learn how Tequila is produced.
State of Aguascalientes
The city of Aguascalientes is home to one million people. Here, we'll have the opportunity to stroll around the city to see some of its historical sites as well as visit the interesting Museum of Death. This museum emphasizes how the Mexican culture related to death in the past as well as in the present.
State of Zacatecas
The city of Zacatecas is filled with old Spanish colonial charm which can be seen in its many old brick buildings. We'll explore the world's largest ceremonial mask museum, fly over the city on a gondola for some great vistas, and also travel by tram to enter an old silver & gold mine. Hard hats are provided as our guide leads us on a walking tour through the underground paths and explains how this mine was operated and about the people who worked in them.
Not far from Zacatecas city we will explore the La Quemada archaeological site with its many platforms built on the side of a hill overlooking a river valley and then visit the quaint México Magic Town of Jerez de García Salinas.
State of Durango
In the city of Durango, we'll find a statue of the American actor, John Wayne. He starred in many western movies in this region. In fact, we'll travel to an old western movie set where many American western films were shot.
Another famous person we will learn about is the Mexican freedom fighter, Pancho Villa. There is a beautiful museum in the city to showcase his life. All the exhibits are housed in a beautiful old ornate palace.
We guarantee that the route from Durango to the Pacific coast will be one of the most scenic drives you will have ever experienced. On this road we will cross over 115 bridges and go through 61 tunnels which were blasted through the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains.
State of Sinaloa
Our Mexico road trip will conclude on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in the beach resort city of Mazatlán where we will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy 3 full days at one of the beautiful oceanside beach resorts. It will be a great way to unwind from our travels before heading home or perhaps, to another exciting destination.
Join us on this fun & educational Combo Tour - Best of Guadalajara to Durango Tour & Mazatlán Beach Resort.
• Explore 12 Colonial Cities & Towns
• Guadalajara City Tour
• Latin America’s Largest Cantina
• Eclectic Art Galleries
• José Cervo Tour in Tequila
• World’s Largest Mask Museum
• Old Silver/Gold Mine
• Pancho Villa Museum
• Movie Set for a Wild West Town
• La Quemada Archaeological Ruins
• ATV Adventure Ride
• Scenic drive through the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains
• Mazatlán Cliff Divers
• 3 Days at a Seaside Resort in Mazatlán
*2023 Tour Dates
Feb 17-Mar 2 (Fr-Th)
Mar 10-Mar 23 (Fr-Th)
Apr 28-May 11 (Fr-Th)
June 9-June 22 (Fr-Th)
July 7-July 20 (Fr-Th)
Sep 8-Sep 21 (Fr-Th)
Nov 3-Nov 16 (Fr-Th)
$3595 per adult - double
$3295 per child (10-17 yrs)
*Includes day of arrival & departure.
**Prices in USD. Air not included in tour price
Day 1: Welcome to Guadalajara
Plan to arrive in Guadalajara on this day. Check-in at the hotel will be anytime after 3:00pm. From the GDL airport, it will be easy to secure a taxi or Uber to the hotel in the city center.
Our tour activities start on day 2. If time permits after arriving and checking in, why not take a stroll to the nearby big plaza and start to get a “feel” for this historic city. We will sleep in Guadalajara for 4 nights.
Day 2: Orientation / Tour Guadalajara & Tlaquepaque (B,L)
This morning at 9:00 am, head down to the lobby and to the hotel restaurant to meet up with the other travelers and meet our local host guide. Over breakfast, he will relay some helpful information about the upcoming tour days and answer questions.
Guadalajara is the 2nd largest city in México and is an exciting place to explore with so much history and culture. Today we’ll take off from our hotel on a walking tour of the main places of interest in the city center. We will stroll from plaza to plaza to view different historical monuments, admire the stately Degollado Theatre, visit Guadalajara’s great Cathedral with its twin bell towers rising high above the Plaza de Armas, and take a peek inside the century’s old government building with its enormous mural by one of México's famous painters, José Clemente Orozco.
We’ll also get to view more of Orozco’s interesting murals at the Instituto Cultural de Cabaña, also known as Hospicios de Cabañas. This magnificent neo-classic building was once used as a hospital. In fact, it is one of the oldest hospitals in the Americas. It also had served as an orphanage and workhouse. Today this beautiful structure has been recognized as a World Heritage Site.
Also on our agenda today we will visit one of the largest indoor markets in Latin America; San Juan de Dios Market. Spread out on several floors, we will find everything for sale from candy to clothes to jewelry to guitars, produce, Christmas decorations, and even live fish for your aquarium. This market has almost 4,000 little individual stores. It’s really mind boggling!
After lunch, we'll take a short drive to the first of several Pueblos Mágicos on our México Road Trip itinerary. Tlaquepaque is a fun town to visit with its eclectic art galleries and other artisan shops. A pedestrian street makes it easy to “wander.” Also, we can visit the world’s largest Cantina where most likely, we will be serenaded by lively mariachi music. Later, we'll return to our hotel in Guadalajara.
Day 3: Lake Chapala Region Tour (B,L)
This morning starts out with a little drive south of the city to the largest lake in México. How big? 50 miles (80 km) by 7.8 miles (12.5 km). Yep! It's a biggie!
At one point, we’ll enter a small lakeside town and then hop on a motor boat for a ride to Mezcala Island. There we will encounter a big abandoned fortress. Our guide will give us a little history of how years ago, the local folks with rocks and slingshots fought to fend off the Spanish with their muskets and small cannons. Note: Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat if it is a hot day as there is not much shade on the island.
After getting back to the mainland, the rest of the day will be invested in exploring two different lakeside towns; Chapala and Ajijic. As we stroll around, we may very well run into US, Canadian, and other foreign expats who now live full or part time there. This lake region holds one of the largest concentrations of expats living in México.
Once again, we'll travel back to our hotel in Guadalajara for an evening to do as we please.
Day 4: Tequila! Tequila! Tequila! (B,L)
Today we'll visit the town of Tequila. Located there are several different manufacturing companies, including José Cuervo.
We'll officially start our tour by visiting the agave fields owned by the José Cuervo company. One of their representatives will lead us on a tour to learn about the planting, nurturing, and harvesting of the agave plants they use for production.
The tour then back in the town of Tequila at their distillery to learn all about how this world renowned drink is made.
After lunch, we'll have time to wander around the town before heading back to Guadalajara.
Day 5: Aguascalientes / Zacatecas (B,L)
It's time to say Adiós to Guadalajara, and Hola to the city of Aguascalientes in the state by the same name. Today we continue our travels north to explore a Spanish colonial city with the name that translates to, “hot water.” As you have probably guessed, the city and state's name came from all the hot springs which were discovered in this region.
In addition to exploring the main Cathedral built in the early 1700s, our guide will lead us around the city to see the Morelos Theatre, Government Palace, and other significant landmarks. Then we'll experience a very different kind of museum; the Museum of Death. Thousands of objects from decorative masks to skulls to art depicting the relationship between México’s past & present culture with death will be on display.
Don’t thing “morbid.”
Think “very interesting.”
Our day will conclude with a 90 minute drive to check-in at our hotel in the city of Zacatecas which is the capital of the state of Zacatecas. We will sleep here for 3 nights.
Day 6: Zacatecas City Tour / Mask Museum / Cerro de la Bufa (B,L)
The urban design of the city center of Zacatecas has not changed much since the 16th & 17th centuries. There are 15 historic religious centers and many old civic buildings. Today we'll visit some of these locations and also learn about the importance of this city as a hub for the nearby silver and gold mining operations.
FYI: The city of Zacatecas is a recognized UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Later, we'll visit one of the largest mask museums in the world. The Museo Rafael Coronel is housed in a former convent containing some 3000 or more folk art masks. Some of these masks are pretty wild. The beautiful grounds of this ex-convent is also an added plus to see.
Just northeast of the city is a high hill called, Cerro de la Bufa. From this vantage point, the entire cityscape can be seen from above. Erected on this bluff is the Plaza de la Revolución Mexicana where there are big life-like statues of famous revolutionary leaders on horseback. From this beautiful hilltop, we'll learn about these leaders and about their heroic actions in their fight against the Spanish soldiers.
The evening is free to stroll the city streets and marvel at all the old buildings which will be bathed in white lights. Bring your camera.
Day 7: Mine Tour / Jerez de García Salinas - Magic Town / La Quemada Ancient City Ruins (B,L)
After breakfast, we'll all grab a hard hat and venture underground by train to explore a massive mine called, Minas de Edén. Once inside, the well-lit paths will lead us to the varies parts of the mine where we will learn about the conditions the workers faced everyday, how the silver and gold was mined, and also hear some legends about the mine. Interestingly, inside the mine there is a small museum that has a nice collection of geodes and is also the home of a popular nightclub.
Next up on today’s agenda is to travel to the quaint México Magic town of Jerez García Salinas (Jerez for short). Here we can view some of their older buildings which were constructed with a pretty pink quarry stone, stroll through a handcraft market, and a visit the Hinojosa Theatre. It was modeled after the Ford Theatre in Washington, DC.
Just a short drive from Jerez will bring us to the La Quemada Archaeological Ruins site. Because this ancient city was located so far from the other Mesoamerican cities, archaeologists and historians have different interpretations as to why it was there, who used it, and for what purposes. As we will see, La Quemada was built on a hill with a series of platforms and terraces to create 3 main areas; a main avenue, a ball court, and a big hall that has tall round stone columns. Our guide will fill us in on some of the information that has been discovered about this interesting remote ancient city.
Later we'll travel back to the city of Zacatecas and to our hotel.
Day 8: Zombrerete - Magic Town / Sierra de Organos N.P. / Durango City (B,L)
Today it’s time to hit the road again and head northwest toward the city of Durango in the state of Durango. On the way, we'll explore another Pueblo Mágico, Zombrerete. Historically, it was also a mining center which is surrounded on all sides by small mountain ranges. After a walk around town to see the Convent of San Francisco de Asis and the Temple of the Santa Veracruz, we will travel to the Sierra de Organos National Park where we'll view some very different rock formations and also see where Beatle’s legend, Ringo Starr filmed the movie, Caveman.
In the evening, we will travel to the city of Durango and stay for 2 nights.
Day 9: Durango City Tour / Poncho Villa Museum / Cemetery Art / Old Western Town Movie Set (B,L)
Welcome to Durango … The Land of the Scorpions.
For any adventurous eaters in our group, some restaurants in the city of Durango serve scorpion tacos. Now that’s definitely worth a Facebook live video to show friends and family back home!
The state of Durango is also known as the location where many national and international movies have been filmed. This rugged arid region has been a prime setting for over 100 films being made there.
Remember these movies?
Star Wars - Episode IV
The Magnificent Seven
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
No Country For Old Men
The Princess Bride
The Sons of Katie Elder, and many more.
There is even a statue of John Wayne in the city!
After a morning meal, our guide will take us on a walking tour of the city which will also include a visit to the very modern General Francisco Villa Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history of one of the most famous leaders of the Mexican Revolution, Poncho Villa. This museum is housed in a very beautiful building which was for almost 200 years, the state government building.
Next, it will be time to grab our cowboy/girl hats as we head out to Paseo del Viejo Oeste, an old western town movie set where we can enjoy a live performance about the old west. It will be corny and fun!
Day 10: Mexiquillo / ATVing / Scenic Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain / Mazatlán (B,L)
Today, our México Road Trip continues west with our first stop at the Mexiquillo Nature Park where we will encounter forests, waterfalls, ravines, and cool rock formations on an ATV trail ride. It will be a nice outdoor adventure before continuing our journey over the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains and then down to the Pacific coast. Along this very scenic drive, we'll pass over dozens of bridges and tunnels through these rugged mountains. At one point, we'll cross over one of the tallest cable-stayed bridges in the world. It's more than 10 football fields long and is suspended high over a canyon riverbed. Think of it this way. We will be higher than if we were standing on the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
In Mazatlán, we'll check into one of the beautiful beachside resort and stay for 4 nights.
Day 11: Mazatlán City Tour / Cliff Divers / Farewell Dinner (B,L,D)
After a relaxing morning, we can become more familiar with this Pacific coast resort city by going on a little sightseeing tour.
Later, if the local brave young men are cliff diving for tips, we can go watch them.
In the evening, we'll gather for a farewell dinner with our tour guide as this will be his last evening will our group.
Days 12 & 13: Beach Vacation Time (B)
These two days can be filled with beach and pool time all under México’s tropical sun.
For anyone interested, there will be several optional day tours to choose from for an additional fee.
Day 14: Travel Day Home (B)
Arrangements can be made with the hotel desk for transportation to the Mazatlán Airport at the appropriate time for flights home … or to continue on to another fun destination.
Itinerary schedule is subject to change.
Tour Price Includes:
• 14 days / 13 night guided tour (includes your
• Small group tour size of up to 10 travelers
• All ground transportation during guided tour days
• All activities as listed in the itinerary
• All entrance fees
• 13 nights of hotel lodgings
• 13 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 1 dinners
• All tips for all your guides & driver
Additional activities & meals not listed above
Trip interruption insurance
Group activities listed are subject to change.
Activity Level: Easy-Moderate
Maximum Group Size: 10
Suggested Minimum Age: 10 years
Arrival & Departure Cities: Guadalajara (GDL) / Mazatlán (MZT)
Deposit: $350 USD per person
A Reminder -
There is no need to fret over how much to tip and of having the right amount of Mexican Pesos at the end of your tour. We take care of the tips for all specialty guides as well as your main host guide.
If you would like to stay a few more days in this region either before or after your tour with us and would like some assistance in making those plans, contact us.
We can design an independent travel experience based on what you would like to see and do. We can help you to arrange local transportation, accommodations, and set you up with a local guide.