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Self-drive Mexico: Colonial cities to Pacific coast

12 days from £2,706pp

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Self-drive Mexico: Colonial cities to Pacific coast

12 days from £2,706pp
 

Private Journey

 

Day 1

Arrive in Mexico City. Transfer to your hotel.
 
Your hotel is in the colonial heart, close to the central square. Mexico City, which was built on the site of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, and it lies at 2,250m above sea level. Vast, chaotic and vibrant, this sprawling megalopolis of more than 20 million people has a multitude of attractions.

If you have time during your stay here, we suggest you visit the world-class Museum of Anthropology, which exhibits remarkable, well-displayed expositions of Aztec artefacts alongside items from other ancient civilisations. It’s a fantastic introduction to the superb and sometimes grisly artistic achievements of Mexico’s early inhabitants.

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Mexico City

Day 2

Guided tour of the city and Teotihuacán pyramids.
 
The arrival of the Spanish conquistadores was seismic event in the story of the Aztec people. Their magnificent causewayed city was razed, and the invading Spaniards rebuilt it in their own tradition ̶ the development fuelled by silver mining. This is all reflected in the cultural vestiges apparent all over the modern-day city which you’ll see during your guided tour. Visit the zócalo, or main square, monumental Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace with its murals by Diego Rivera. Stroll down elegant boulevards, or browse at a handicraft market.

If you have time after or before the tour we suggest you visit the world-class Museum of Anthropology, exhibiting remarkable, well displayed Aztec artefacts alongside items from other ancient civilisations. There’s also a scale model of the lake-city Tenochtitlan. It’s a fantastic introduction to the superb and sometimes grisly artistic achievements of Mexico’s early inhabitants.

Passing through the northern suburbs of the capital, you head into the countryside towards the megalithic archaeological site of Teotihuacán which dates back 2,000 years and was once one of the largest cities in the world. It is hugely influential in the historic narrative of modern Mexico and, although it had already been abandoned by the time of the Aztecs, even this great empire held it in awe. Soak up the history as you stroll along the imposing Avenue of the Dead, leading to the vast Pyramid of the Sun, and take the opportunity to climb its vertiginous, ancient steps for a panorama of the ruins and the surrounding countryside.

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Teotihuacan

Day 3

Your car is delivered, drive to Guanajuato via Querétaro, 2 nights.
 
This is the day you receive your hire car, a mid-sized Chevrolet Aveo (or similar) which will be your companion for 5 days. Other sizes of car are available but terms and conditions are subject to change.

The car is delivered to your hotel.

Our assistance will help make your departure from the city as straightforward as possible. The administrative processes in Mexico tend to take longer than you may be accustomed to but this is quite normal. Our agents will also provide you with a basic road map and useful information about the area highlights of your visit. A guide will escort you to the city outskirts so you can avoid travelling through the bewildering road network in the busy capital. You’ll have a briefing before you set off independently.

Drive to Guanajuato (5hrs approx).

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Guanajuato

Day 4

At leisure in Guanajuato.
 
This lively university town with a strong artistic bent – there are several theatres, museums and galleries - is a former silver-mining town set in a narrow arid canyon. Its asymmetric colonial mansions, cobbled lanes and flower-decked plazas are simply delightful. It’s fun driving here, especially if you like 3-dimensional chess: much of the traffic is channelled along underground roads that follow the routes of the old mine galleries.

The city is built on the sides of the steep ravine: there isn’t enough flat land for roads. Guanajuato also has several interesting museums and some splendid colonial churches. Your hotel is on the edge of town. You have a full day to explore; the centre is best discovered on foot.

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Guanajuato

Day 5

Drive to Morelia via Pátzcuaro, 2 nights.
 

The journey to Morelia takes approximately 3 hrs but you could extend that by visiting Morelia’s peaceful, colonial neighbour Patzcuaro.

Located in the Purépecha indian heartland, backed by rolling green hills, Pátzcuaro is undoubtedly one of Mexico's most picturesque towns characterised by  whitewashed stucco walls with red ochre shutters, dark tiled roofs, ramshackle cobbled streets, old churches and beautiful plazas. 

Morelia an elegant city with cobbled streets, a beautiful cathedral and lots of attractive colonial buildings, famed for their picturesque courtyards. Founded in 1541 as Valladolid, it was renamed in 1828 after its most famous resident José María Morelos, who was a key figure in Mexico's fight for independence. The city's main attractions are concentrated in the historical centre which, again, is best explored on foot.



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Patzcuaro

Day 6

At leisure.
 

Day at leisure in Morelia. If visiting between October and March you might take an optional full-day private guided tour of the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, 2 hours’ drive away. Millions of monarch butterflies arrive, turning the park bright orange - a spectacular sight. The butterflies breed there and their offspring eventually migrate north.

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Morelia old town

Day 7

Drive to Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast.
 
Drive to Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast, 5hrs (355km) along a beautiful new highway. Drop off your car at the car rental office and settle in to the hotel on the beach. 
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Zihuatanejo

Days 8-11

At leisure on the beach. Optional activities and water sports.
 
The floury-white ribbon of beach at Playa de Ropa, on Mexico's Pacific coast, sprinkled with shady coconut palms, is one of the ocean's most exquisite.

Service throughout your hotel is extremely attentive and friendly. You have your own private palapa shelter on the beach where you will be visited by extremely attentive staff offering you complimentary iced drinks, or even to clean your sunglasses!

There are 4 swimming pools including a lap-pool and an infinity pool, 2 floodlit tennis courts, an art gallery, and a massage service. The restaurants offer both refined and casual dining. They deliver superb cuisine, though it isn’t cheap. You might consider combining dining here with forays into town where there is a selection of regional and international places to eat.

Activities that can be arranged include horse riding, water-skiing, deep-sea fishing and sailing. There are two 18-hole golf courses in the vicinity.

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Day 12

Transfer to the airport, fly to Mexico City to connect with international flight home.

12 days from £2,706pp

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