Best of Mexico: MEXICO CITY - TOLUCA - CUERNAVACA - TAXCO - TEPOZTLAN
$3795 /adult • $3495 /child (10-17) + air
14 Day/13 Night Guided Tour
(includes day of arrival & departure)
Visit 8 Colonial Cities & Towns (4 are Magic Towns), Explore 5 Archaeological Ruins Sites, a México National Park, 3 History Museums, 2 Art Museums, Artisan Galleries, and 3 Unique Botanic Gardens
On this Best of México: México City-Toluca-Cuernavaca-Taxco-Tepoztlán Tour, our knowledgeable local historian guide will be with your small group of travelers every step of the way each day to give insights into the history of the many towns and cities visited on this 14 day/13 night journey through 4 different Mexican states.
In México City we will explore the historic city center – the Metropolitan Cathedral, the colorful murals depicting México’s history on the walls of the government palace, and view the remnants of the two great pyramids which once stood as the centerpiece when this city had been the home of the mighty Aztec capital.
We’ll also visit a castle on a hill, view an area of México City while riding on a Segway, wander through Frida Kahlo’s home, and visit one of the most impressive archaeological sites in México; the awesome ancient city of Teotihuacán.
Heading west and then south, we’ll have the opportunity to see exquisite ceramic artwork in the Museo del Barro in Metepec, marvel at magnificent stain glass in Toluca, visit an ancient Aztec warrior ceremonial site in Malinalco, stroll around Cuernavaca – the City of Eternal Spring, walk the narrow cobbled streets of Taxco – an old silver mining town, enter a vast underground cave system, stroll among thousands of flowers and plants at Jardines de México, and meet local artisans in their galleries in Tepoztlán.
Nightly accommodations will be at clean and comfortable hotels located in city centers.
Join us for this fun and interesting Best of México “Road Trip” through the central region of México.
• México City Segway Tour
• Chapultepec Castle – Mexico City
• México National History Museum
• City of Eternal Spring – Cuernavaca
• El Arbol de la Vida (Tree of Life)
• Aztec Warrior Ceremonial Center
• Teotihuacan Archaeological Site
• Cosmovitral Botonical Garden – Toluca
• Oldest Chapel in the Americas
• Largest Flower Garden in the World
• Spanish Cathedrals & Churches
• Taxco – Old Silver Mining Town
• Underground National Park
• Casa Azul – Frida Kahlo’s Home
- ITINERARY OVERVIEW
- FULL ITINERARY
- DATES & PRICES
- TRIP DETAILS
- MORE OPTIONS
Meet your Guide for Dinner
Hotel in México City (2 nights)
Tour México City's Historical Center
Explore Chapultepec Castle
Segway Tour along Paseo de la Reforma
Tour Metepec - México Magic Town
Museo del Barro / Displays of the Tree of Life
Hotel in Toluca (2 nights)
Tour Toluca / Capital of México State
Caliztlahuaca Archaeological Ruins Site
Explore Malinalco - Magic Town
Malinalco Archaeological Ruins
Evening Stroll - City of Cuernavaca
Hotel in Cuernavaca (2 nights)
Tour Cuernavaca / Capital of Morelos
Xochicalco Archaeological Ruins
Evening Stroll - City of Taxco
Hotel in Taxco, Guerrero (2 nights)
Tour of Taxco / Magic Town
Grutas de Cacahuamilpa / Underground National Park
Jardines de México / Gardens of México
Hotel in Tepoztlán, Morelos (2 nights)
Tour of Tepoztlán - Pueblo Mágico
Visit Artisans in their Galleries
Tour Coyoacán / Barrio of México City
Frida Kahlo's Home / Casa Azul
Hotel in México City (2 nights)
Teotihuacán Archaeological Ruins Site
Farewell Dinner with Tour Guide
Travel Day Home or to Your Next Destination
Day 1: Welcome to Mexico (D)
Plan to gather in the lobby of our downtown México City hotel at 6:00pm to meet-up with our México historian guide. A quick overview of the coming days will be given and afterwards, we will all enjoy a nice “Welcome to México” dinner together.
Day 2: México City Historical Center (B,L)
In our first full day in México City, we’ll head out on a walking tour of the central plaza area of the city. It is there we will visit the huge Metropolitan Cathedral, the century’s old government palace with its beautiful murals, and the partially uncovered ruins of the two great pyramids from the age of the Aztec empire. We’ll also explore the Templo Mayor Museum which showcases the archaeological artifacts found in and around this ancient city ruins site.
After lunch on a rooftop restaurant overlooking the plaza, we’ll walk along Calle Madero, the pedestrian street linking México City’s main plaza to the other downtown areas and marvel at the old churches and several buildings which were at one time, spacious private palaces. We’ll also visit the old ornate post office, stroll past Bellas Artes, stroll through the oldest planned city park in the Americas, and go to a Diego Rivera Museum which houses just one huge painting. At almost 50 feet long, this intricate and colorful mural depicts historical and contemporary figures.
The evening is free to have dinner on your own and afterwards, relax or go wandering. Overnight in México City.
Day 3: Chapultepec Castle & Segway Tour (B,L)
Following breakfast, our host guide will lead us into the depths of the city to experience how millions of local residents each day get around. We will board México City’s underground Metro trains to which will take us from the east side to the west side of the city.
Our agenda today will be to tour Castillo de Chapultepec. Castillo means Castle in Spanish. This magnificent castle sits high on top of a hill on the west end of the city overlooking a huge park and in the distance, it has a commanding view of the Paseo de la Reforma. This is the only royal castle found in the Americas. It was once the residence of an appointed México Emperor by Napoleon III of France in the 1860s. He was Ferdinand Maximilian I of Hapsburg from Austria and his Empress wife, Carlota. Yes, México once had a European Emperor who ruled the country; for a short time anyway.
Another interesting historical event occurred here during the Mexican-American war in the mid-1840s. This location was the scene of the last major battle, the Battle of Chapultepec where the US army fought their way up the hill to capture this fortress castle and declare victory, conquering México. After this, the United States occupied the capital city of México for several months.
Today, this castle on the hill is also the home of México’s National History Museum. This museum gives visitors an overview of the history of México from the Spanish conquest to the early 1900s. Large colorful murals and paintings were created by several prominent Mexican artists showcasing a visual adaptation of some key periods in this country’s history.
After lunch, we’ll tour some of the city in a unique and fun way; while riding on Segways. After practicing only a few minutes, everyone will feel like a pro and be ready to hit the streets, paths, and parks.
These standup 2-wheel vehicles will whisk us around the area of Paseo de la Reforma. The construction of this wide main avenue in México City was inspired by the well-known boulevard in Paris, the Champs-Élysées.
This 2½ hour tour will showcase the area around Chapultepec Park, Reforma Avenue, and the Plaza de La República.
After this fun and educational ride, it will be time to take public transportation back to our hotel. However, this time, instead of heading underground, we’ll board one of their large public buses so we’ll have the opportunity to view more of the city from street level.
The evening is free to enjoy this century’s old capital city. Dinner will be on your own and once again, we’ll overnight in the city.
Day 4: Metepec - “Magic Town” (B,L)
This morning it will be time to check out of our hotel and continue our tour by driving a short distance west to the small town of Metepec located in the State of México. This Pueblo Mágico is known for its artisan market where items of clay and glass are crafted locally. One of their showcased items is what is called El Arbol de la Vida or The Tree of Life. These colorful works of clay art depict characters found in a tree-like formation which represent birth, life, and death.
The Museo de Barro (clay museum) houses some beautiful examples of these Trees of Life.
We’ll also visit the Capilla del Calvario, a small 18th century chapel on a hill overlooking the town and the Ex Convent of San Juan Bautista which was built in the early 16th century by the Franciscan order.
Lunch will be at one of the many nice small restaurants located in Metepec’s downtown area.
Note that Metepec is located at over 8,600 feet above sea level which is higher than México City’s 7,400 feet. With the thinner air, walking may become a little more challenging.
Just a hop and skip away is the capital city of the State of México; Toluca. On this night we’ll stay in a hotel located in the central downtown area of the city. Dinner will be on our own.
Day 5: Toluca / Caliztlahuaca Archaeological Zone (B,L)
Toluca is a thriving city of 2.5 million residents. Our exploration today begins in the main plaza where we’ll visit the massive and impressive Cathedral of Toluca and the nearby smaller church, the Iglesia de la Santa Veracruz.
On another side of the main plaza is the Cosmovitral Botanical Garden. This indoor garden is filled with many different plants. However, the other big attraction is the magnificent colored stained glass found throughout its large atrium. Upon entering, immediately we will encounter the “Sun Man” (Hombre Sol). This large and tall mural was constructed with ½ million small pieces of colored glass. This stained glass mural symbolizes Man’s continuing search for all things good and for wisdom against evil. Additionally, the ceiling is covered in stained glass showcasing the artist’s interpretation of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Museo de Bellas Artes will also be on our itinerary of one of the places we’ll go check out. This art museum is located in a former convent and houses traveling exhibits of artwork spanning the 16th to the 19th centuries. During our visit, it will be a surprise as to what artwork we will encounter.
After lunch, a few short miles outside of the city will bring us to a small ancient archaeological site called Caliztlahuaca. This means House on the Plains in the Aztec Nahuatl language. This site consists of only a few structures. However, one of the interesting things about this site is that one of these structures is a round pyramid temple which was built by the Aztecs in the late 15th century. While there, our guide will reveal the story behind this temple and the history of this small Aztec outpost.
Back in Toluca, we will overnight again in the city. Dinner will be on our own.
Day 6: Malinalco - “Magic Town”(B,L)
Rise and shine. It’s time to check out and travel to another recognized Pueblo Mágico; Malinalco. Sitting in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains, this town has an old Aztec legend of a mythical goddess who had magical powers. She was a sorceress and goddess of snakes, scorpions, and insects of the desert. It was said that she could kill a man by just looking at him. Yikes!
In the center of town is an excellent 400 year old ex-convent called the Parroquia del Divino Salvador. Inside we’ll discover very ornate black & white frescos which represent the Garden of Eden.
Today we will also get a little workout by walking up 426 steps to an interesting archaeological ruins site by the name of Cuauhtenchan. Some of its structures are actually carved on a side of a cliff. This site was used by the Aztecs to initiate and train their elite warriors. From this high vantage point there are excellent views of the town and surrounding countryside.
Later in the day, our small touring group will travel into another Mexican state, the state of Morelos. Our destination will be the city of Cuernavaca. There we will check into a hotel near the city center. Once again, dinner will be on our own and the evening is free to relax or go out exploring.
Day 7: Cuernavaca / “City of Eternal Spring” (B,L)
After breakfast, it will be time to explore The City of Eternal Spring. In Cuernavaca, the weather just seems to always be pleasant. Depending on the time of year its many parks and gardens are usually filled with flowering plants which thrive in the temperate weather. Many well-to-do families from México City have houses in the suburbs of Cuernavaca to get away from the crowds, traffic, and pollution of the big city.
A plus on this day is that most of the historical locations our guide will be showing us are all within walking distance of each other. It should be noted that some of the streets have a nice incline to them.
Today we’ll get to see some of the oldest churches constructed in the Americas. They were built in the early 1500s not long after the completion of the Spanish conquest against the Aztecs.
Speaking of the Spanish invasion, the leader, Hernán Cortés built a beautiful palace which now houses the Morelos State Museum. Included in this palatial museum are several murals painted by the famous Mexican painter, Diego Rivera.
Another place you will explore is the 18th century estate home and gardens of Don José de la Borda. This man and his family garnered their wealth from owning silver mines south of the city. Here you can stroll around the old formal gardens with terraces, ponds, and fountains. Inside, we’ll get a peek into stately life in the late 1700s and into the 1800s. Many prominent guests would come for Cuernavaca’s weather and be invited to stay here, including Mexico’s Austrian Emperor, Maximilian and his wife, Carlota.
For dinner, there are many nice restaurants to choose from in this City of Eternal Spring. Once again, we’ll overnight in the city center.
Day 8: Xochicalco Archaeological Zone (B,L)
Ok, today it’s time to keep heading further south to explore the extensive, well-preserved, and fortified archaeological ruins site of Xochicalco. This ancient city which sits on a hill was in its heyday back between 700 and 900 AD. It is estimated that upwards of 20,000 people had lived there at any one time. These inhabitants are believed to be a mix of people from different areas as far away as the Yucatan Peninsula. All indications show us that it was a prominent commercial trading center.
In addition to a well-marked ball court, our guide will show us the living quarters of these people, the stalaes (upright columns) with their carved inscriptions, an area where they took steam baths, and talk about the significance of the many carved relief symbols.
After a morning of historical exploration climbing around this ancient city, it will be time for lunch in a nearby restaurant.
Then we’ll continue our exploration journey by traveling south and west to cross into the state of Guerrero and to the small and compact colonial city of Taxco. After checking into our hotel in the city center, the evening to relax, do some exploring, have dinner, and get ready for a tour to explore this old mining city in the morning.
Day 9: Taxco / Old Silver Mining & “Magic Town” (B,L)
The city of Taxco was constructed to house the miners who worked in the surrounding hills where silver was discovered in 1534 by the Spanish invaders. It quickly became a dominant location for the silver industry. With its cobbled narrow streets without sidewalks, this colonial city is quite different from most of the other Spanish-built cities found in México. The streets twist and wind uphill and downhill as if the city was one big maze.
Today we will meet up with a local Taxco tour guide who will lead us around the city to visit several locations of interest. One of the places we’ll visit is an old stately home built in the later part of the 1700s. We’ll learn how the well-to-do lived back then and hear interesting stories of how it was used as a safehouse to protect young women during the Mexican Revolution. Oh, and one more thing . . . this house is said to be haunted.
Another highlight of the day is to descend down into a silver mine. What makes this silver mine different from others is that the indigenous people were mining it before the Spanish arrived. It is the only pre-Hispanic silver mine in the country.
Lunch will be at a restaurant located high up on one of the hills surrounding the city. In fact, to reach it, we’ll take a gondola to get there. The views of the town below from the hotel’s veranda are spectacular.
Later, there will be time to browse around in some of the many stores selling silver items. Bring your credit card. 🙂
Overnight in our hotel in the city center.
Day 10: Cacahuamilpa Cave / Gardens of México (B,L)
This morning after checking out of our hotel, a short ride will bring us to the entrance of one of the largest cave systems in the world. Grutas de Cacahuamilpa is an underground México National Park. This limestone cave is located in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains near the Guerrero-Morelos state line.
These underground caverns consisting of limestone contain 90 giant salons (very large rooms with very tall ceilings). Twenty of these huge rooms have been lighted and open to the public.
We will join a 2 hour tour of some of these salons so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. No worries though. The constructed walking paths are lighted, smooth, and wide.
After hiking out of this underground wonderland, it will be time for lunch at a typical local restaurant.
After lunch, we’ll visit a place called, Jardines de México / Gardens of México. This park is huge! In fact, it is advertised as the largest flower park in the world.
There are multiple sections to this park which include an area of cacti, a tropical garden, a garden with thousands of flowers, and a traditional Japanese as well as an Italian garden. They even have a labyrinth we can walk through.
Note: Between the underground cave and this huge botanical garden complex, prepare to enjoy a day of walking several miles.
Day 11: Tepoztlán - “Magic Town” (B,L)
The peaceful town of Tepoztlán (except on weekends when many tourists and locals descend from nearby México City to the north) sits in a highland mountain valley (5,400’) with a backdrop of interestingly shaped mountains which at times are partially shrouded in a mystical misty cloud cover.
Our guide who grew up not far from this town will lead us on a walking tour which will include a visit to the Ex-Convento Dominico de La Navidad, a well-preserved late 16th century structure which is still used to this day as a Catholic church. This ancient monastery has a garden area as well as a small regional museum. One of the interesting aspects found in this ex-convent is the big ancient bathroom complete with stalls. So if your curious mind ever wondered how people in the “olden days” went to the bathroom, now you will know. 🙂
We’ll also visit some artisan galleries and meet some of the local artists.
Sitting high up on one of the mountain cliffs is a small pyramid called El Pirámide del Tepozteco. The Aztecs built this temple to honor their god who they believed would give them fertile soil and a good harvest. This god was also in charge of the ancient drink called Pulque. It is made from the maguey cactus plant. The path leading up to this structure is a 1½ mile trek up 1700 feet of weathered paths and stone steps. This 1½-2 hour climb will be optional. For those of us who are up for the challenge and would like to see this pyramid, our other reward will be an excellent valley view vista. It should be noted that there are some rest areas along the uphill trail to the top for some well-deserved breaks.
For those of us who decide not to take up this adventurous endeavour, we’ll have time to stroll through the streets to explore its many small stores, have a cup of coffee at one of its many cafes, and perhaps be daring by trying some unique flavored ice creams such as carrot, cactus or avocado. Or we can just find a nice spot to sit and enjoy the weather and the laidback Mexican ambiance happening around us.
Day 12: Coyoacán / Frida Kahlo’s House (B,L)
After breakfast, it will be time to continue traveling north to an interesting Barrio of México City called Coyoacán. It is actually one of the oldest neighborhoods in México City. After the fall of the Aztecs by the Spaniards, Hernán Cortés lived there back in 1521 until the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán which he and his allies had totally destroyed was rebuilt and renamed México City.
Based around two large plazas located in the central part of Coyoacán, you will find quite a few restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and street food vendors. Many who have visited this barrio have remarked that it has somewhat of a “Bohemian atmosphere.”
Nearby is the Frida Kahlo Museum which is the house she lived in for most of her life and in later years, with Diego Rivera. It is also called Casa Azul because of course, the house is painted in a deep blue color. In the afternoon, we’ll tour her house to learn about the life of this famous Mexican artist and her relationship with Diego Rivera.
Later, we’ll check into a hotel in the city center of México City for the night. Dinner will be on our own.
Day 13: Teotihuacán / Farewell Dinner (B,L,D)
On our final full day of touring around central México, we’ll head north to the site of one of México’s most impressive archaeological zones; to the ancient city of Teotihuacán.
Interestingly, little information has been discovered as to the culture and history of this huge complex located about an hour north of México City. What archaeologists have uncovered is that the city was abandoned around 750 AD. However, as to who actually lived there and their reason for leaving is still somewhat of a mystery to this day.
Our guide will lead us on a tour of some of the highlights of this incredible ancient site.
In the evening, everyone will get together for a nice farewell dinner where we can reminisce about the past days of exploring the many interesting places you visited in the states of Ciudad de México, Estado de México, Guerrero, and Morelos.
Day 14: End of Tour After Breakfast (B)
At the appropriate time, there are taxis or Ubers which can take you to the México City Airport for your flight home or your flight to your next exciting travel destination. The other option would be to plan on staying a little longer to do some more exploring in México City and perhaps, the nearby states of Puebla and Tlaxcala.
Itinerary schedule is subject to change.
September 19 - October 2
* Includes day of arrival & departure
– Want to customize this tour to fit your vacation schedule & interests? Just contact us and let’s get creative!
$3795 per adult / double
$3495 per child (10-17)
Single: +$745 USD
Tour Price Includes
México historian guide
All ground transportation
Activities per itinerary
All entrance fees
13 nights of hotel lodgings
13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 2 dinners
All guide & driver tips
Tour Price Does Not Include
Transfers to and from airport
Additional activities not listed in itinerary
Meals not listed in itinerary
Trip interruption insurance
Trip medical insurance
Activity Level: Moderate-Challenging
Group Size: 4-12
Suggested Minimum Age: 10
Arrival & Departure Cities: Mexico City / Mexico City (MEX)
*Deposit: $350 USD per person
A Reminder -
Tips are already included in your trip price for all specialty guides as well as your main host guide during this tour.
So there is no need to fret over how much to tip and of having to secure the right amount of Mexican Pesos.
You just enjoy your trip and we will take care of the gratuities.