Contemporary culture, ancient architecture, world-class cuisine and stretching vistas: Mexico has it all going on. To really get to know Mexican culture, don’t just stick to one place. Three of Mexico’s main cities – Guadalajara, Mexico City and Oaxaca – can easily be explored in one trip. Depending on how much time you have, you can do Guadalajara to Mexico City and Mexico City to Oaxaca by car or plane, with plane times around an hour compared with five or six hours in the car.
The largest city in the state of Jalisco, Guadalajara is where many Mexican icons originate. Among these are tequila and mariachi music, which you’ll find performed by charro-suit-wearing musicians – the two usually go hand-in-hand.
Get a taste for quintessential Mexican cuisine at this colorful restaurant, known for adding a modern slant to traditional recipes. Highlights include smoked octopus with vegetable risotto, duck in adobo sauce with shrimp, and tostada de atún – tuna piled on a crisp tostada with guacamole.
Mexico City is not only one of the biggest capital cities in the world but also claims to be the capital city with the most museums. While it’s impossible to explore everything Mexico City has to offer in a matter of days, it’s a good idea to start with its canals and street food.
Bursting with culinary treats like tostadas (corn tortillas) and chicharrón (pork scratchings), Mexico City’s street-food landscape is expansive; the best way to cut through the noise is with an in-the-know guide. Join on a half-day food walking tour to taste the city’s offerings, as you journey through an Aztec market, a classic cantina, street-food stalls and restaurants.
One of the best ways to discover Mexico City is through its canals. Take to the famous waters of Xochimilco on a colorful trajinera (a gondola-like boat) as part of a full-day tour of the city. This trip will drop you off at the bohemian district of Coyaoacán, where you can explore the historic house museum of Frida Kahlo.
Local culinary specialities such as tlayuda (a pizza-style tortilla) and tamales (traditional corn husk), along with seven classic varieties of mole, cement Oaxaca as the culinary capital of Mexico. To discover the best of Oaxaca, eat your way around the city before checking out its nearby beaches.
Explore Oaxaca on a guided walking tour, lasting four and a half hours. Starting in the town square, you’ll be sent back in time at the Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzmán and the Oaxaca Regional Museum, respectively. Built between 1572 and 1731, the temple is an example of Baroque architecture, while Mixtec and Zapotec archaeological exhibits are housed in the museum. Two of the city’s most popular markets are also on the itinerary, so bring some cash for local goods.
Pitiona Cocina de Autor is the place to go for food with a view. From its rooftop, take in the Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, while you get stuck into traditional Oaxacan cuisine like duck with mole (a classic Mexican sauce) and smoked tuna.
Based in the most convenient of locations, City Centro Oaxaca is just 10 minutes from landmarks like the Cathedral and the Temple of Santo Domingo, with the airport 25 minutes away. Props go to its contemporary design (bright walls are ubiquitous) and buffet breakfast.