Mexico

Towns and Villages

Tour Highlights

• Guadalajara  • Lake Chapala  
• Colonial Tour
Mexico is a country of beautiful scenery, glorious weather year-round and friendly people. This tour begins in the 2nd largest city, Guadalajara - a centre of traditional Mexican culture (the city is the birthplace of the Mexican Hat Dance, rodeos, mariachis and tequila). Guadelajara retains its colonial charm with tree-lined boulevards and stately colonial architecture. There are many modern attractions including art galleries, a zoo, planetarium, a huge water park and concerts. The city plazas (squares) link the colonial buildings, monuments and fountains ... delightful areas for strolling. Guadalajara is a great place for shopping, boasting Mexico's largest enclosed market, the world's largest flea market and Latin America's biggest shopping mall - bargains galore!

In Guadalajara our hotel is the De Mendoza, a small, comfortable hotel, decorated in the Spanish Colonial style. It is perfectly located in the heart of the city in an area almost totally devoted to pedestrians and an easy walk to the theatres, cathedral and shopping areas. Guest rooms have two beds, telephone, satellite TV and air-conditioning. Private bathrooms have a tub or shower. Hotel facilities include a pool with a sun terrace, restaurant and lobby bar.

Following our stay in Guadalajara, we will enjoy a wonderful 5-night tour through the colonial heartland of Mexico.

Our tour ends at Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest lake and very popular with visitors. The climate is perfect, the scenery gorgeous with several quaint villages and towns bordering the lake. We have chosen the small town of Ajijic with its narrow cobblestoned streets and white-washed buildings. The town has a central plaza, delightful shopping streets and a lovely church where weekly events and festivities take place. This is an ideal place to take long strolls, maybe play a game of tennis or a round of golf, or simply relax on a veranda of one of the local restaurants or cafes and enjoy the daily happy hour while watching the spectacular sunset! While in Ajijic we may enjoy some of the cultural programs offered, including Mexican cooking lessons and guided walks.  We stay on the shores of Lake Chapala at the Resort Hotel Real de Chapala, a short walk from the village. The hotel is set amid lovely gardens with an outdoor pool, sun terraces and tennis courts. Golf is available nearby. Guest rooms have two beds and satellite TV. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, terraced views of the lake and a games room with pool tables.

* This tour is suitable only for the fit and active traveller.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Guadalajara, with a change of planes in Dallas. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel where we enjoy our Welcome Dinner.
An orientation city tour of Guadalajara. We see residential districts, Minerva Fountain, the University, the monument to the Illustrious Men of Jalisco, the Liberation Plaza and the historical Government Palace. We then travel to Tlaquepaque, a charming artisan village with old colonial mansions that have been converted to shops and galleries.
A day at leisure to enjoy the traffic-free walking streets that Guadalajara is known for.
We visit Tequila, the town for which the famous liquor is named. Located an hour away from Guadalajara, Tequila is surrounded by fields of the cactus-like Blue Agave plants from which tequila is made. Tour the tequila distillery and museum, and then enjoy an alfresco lunch entertained by colourful Mariachis.
We depart for the Lake Patzcuaro area, and a tour of the 16th century capital of Michoacan. This beautiful lakeside community sits at 7,250 feet in the Sierra Madre Mountains, and seems stuck in a time warp. The local Indians fish, farm and sell their crafts as they have for centuries.
This town was named after the famous priest who led the battle for independence. His former home is now a museum, and his birthplace now a library. Morelia is also home to many writers, artists and philosophers. As you stroll the plazas and sip coffee at one of the many cafes, you can feel the city's vitality. Morelia is also the candy capital of Mexico, and features a unique candy market.
We proceed to Guanajuato, an impressive colonial city tucked into the mountains at an elevation of 6,700 feet. It is a maze of twisting cobblestone streets, pastel-coloured houses, shaded plazas, and imposing churches and museums. Most of the major attractions are within walking distance in the town's centre. After dinner you can return to the plazas and listen to music by local musicians.
We travel to San Miguel, considered to be the prettiest town in Mexico. As we stroll down the streets lined with 18th century mansions you'll discover lovely fountains, monuments, churches and breathtaking views across the valley. San Miguel is also an art colony with many artists and writers coming from all over the world to work and study there. The city (a national monument) retains its 18th century charm and character, thanks to a ban on architectural changes after 1926.
This morning we visit the town of Dolores, where the Mexican War of Independence began. We will see the historic sites of the town, and we will also visit a Talavera ceramic factory for which the town is also famous.
We transfer to this delightful resort area for our final 4 nights. Upon arrival we will have an orientation tour, including the small towns along the lake and also San Juan Cosala, a spa known for its large pools and hot springs.
At leisure to relax, enjoy a stroll by the lake and the facilities of our resort hotel. Optional activities will be offered (at no charge) such as Mexican cooking lessons, guided walks in Ajijic and Chapala, various games and parties etc. Our Farewell Dinner will feature live Mariachi Band music.
We transfer to the airport for our flight home, via Dallas.

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