Whip up an authentic meal during a cooking class at Mesones Sacristia, one stop on a five-day culinary tour from Journey Mexico. // © 2014 Mexico Boutique Hotels
Feature image (above): On an art walk with Tia Stephanie Tours in Mexico City, travelers might stroll by the Juan O’ Gorman-designed central library on the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico campus. // © 2014 Tia Stephanie Tours
Mexico may be world famous for its sun-soaked beaches, but this vast nation is also home to some pretty exciting cities, too. Each of the major metropolitan areas in Mexico’s interior offers its own unique array of activities, attractions and experiences.
Travelers are apparently taking notice, as visitor numbers continue to rise in urban enclaves including the capital city. According to a recent report, MLT Vacations has more than doubled its sales to Mexico City this year compared to the same period last year, through its Delta Vacations and Aeromexico Vacations brands.
Here are five options for enjoying Mexico’s biggest inland cities.
Artistic Mexico City
Mexico City is a creative hub not only for Mexico but for the Americas overall, attracting famed artists from around the globe over the past decades. Mexico’s capital city is an easy destination for clients to connect with art at museums including the Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art), Museo Rufino Tamayo (Rufino Tamayo Museum) and the two former homes of Frida Kahlo, one of the country’s most celebrated artists of the 21st century.
For a guided introduction to some of Mexico City’s most legendary creative minds, consider a program with U.S.-based Tia Stephanie Tours. The company’s tour, called “The Mexican Muralists: Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros,” is a study of the historic roots of the Social Realists School of Art in Mexico, with expert explanation about the artists who founded the movement. Participants also view and study the works of Diego Rivera, Juan O’Gorman, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo.
The city of Puebla is known for its tasty cuisine, so it’s a logical choice for foodies. The tour company Journey Mexico offers a five-day Taste of Puebla Culinary Tour, with prices starting at $3,978, which includes a private tour of the city’s historic center, a Mexican cooking class at Mesones Sacristia and a visit to an ancient pyramid in nearby Cholula.
Bookings can be made directly with Mesones Sacristia. The property — a member of Mexico Boutique Hotels — offers a six-night package that includes a welcome cocktail, daily a-la-carte breakfast, three additional meals, a Talavera platter of regional sweets and a 15-hour course focused on basic Mexican cuisine.
Big-city sophistication in Mexico City and Guadalajara with a wide array of museums, dining, shopping, scenic strolls and nightlife makes both cities surprisingly wonderful places for a romantic getaway.
The Hyatt Regency Mexico City, in the capital’s chic Polanco district, offers a romance package that includes daily breakfast in room or at the hotel’s restaurant; one bottle of champagne, flowers and a chocolate amenity in room; free parking for one car; and late checkout at 3 p.m.
Marquis Reforma Hotel & Spa, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, offers a Romantic Vacation Package that includes accommodations in a deluxe master suite scattered with rose petals and graced with view of Chapultepec Park. Also included are a breakfast buffet in La Jolla restaurant or American breakfast delivered to the guest room; a bottle of wine with strawberries and chocolate in room; and unlimited use of the spa and fitness center with a 20 percent discount on Spa Marquis treatments. Prices start at $381 per night, Friday through Sunday, for a minimum two-night stay.
In Guadalajara, the Hilton Guadalajara offers a romance-oriented Instant Getaway that includes complimentary sparkling wine or cider on arrival; breakfast for two served in room; access to the health club; and the possibility of an early check-in or late checkout.
Mexico City is a bustling metropolis with lots of activities and excitement. But it can also be a tranquil oasis for visitors who choose to indulge in a spa vacation at some of the best hotels. The St. Regis Mexico City offers a Remede Spa Experience package that includes a 30-minute spa treatment and daily continental breakfast for two at Diana Restaurant. Las Alcobas, one of Mexico City’s highest-profile luxury boutique hotels, offers a Retreat Package that includes full Mexican breakfast for one or two people and two 60-minute treatments at Aurora, The Spa at Las Alcobas.
Tequila in Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, is conveniently close to the town of Tequila, the birthplace of the eponymous spirit, which makes it a logical base for taking a sip and learning more about tequila’s creation. Local hotels make it easy by offering related packages.
Villa Ganz, a member of Mexico Boutique Hotels, offers a Jalisco & Tequila package that includes a two-night stay in a master suite; continental breakfast daily; house wine and hors d’oeuvres from 6 to 8 p.m. daily; and a guided Tequila tour for two (rates start at $458).
Clients who prefer a larger, full-service hotel can opt for the InterContinental Presidente Guadalajara, which offers a Tequila Tour package that includes continental breakfast; late checkout; and transportation to Tequila with admission and tour at the Jose Cuervo factory.