When asked, if it was my first time to Mexico – I relayed my travels to each coast and I was met with disapproving looks. That’s not México – this is México. A country filled with a vibrant culture and a warm spirit, which is more than the white sand beaches and the all-inclusive resorts would ever reveal.
Guadalajara and surroundings
Stay: Casa Pedro Loza. This boutique hotel has 11, individually designed rooms in a 19thcentury colonial-style building, which overlooks a chandelier-covered courtyard. My favourite room is religious inspired, La Pieza de las Virgenes with the elaborate multiple Virgin Mary’s framed on the wall. The hotel is located in a quiet, historic corridor and will simply take your breath away. Have breakfast and enjoy the rooftop patio or lounge around in one of the many decorated living spaces around the hotel.
Eat: HUESO. Appropriately named “Bone” for the thousands of bleached white animal bones on display. The restaurant has a surprisingly warm atmosphere with the family style long table that extends the length of the room. The tasting menu is a must try. Be sure to have the Crème Brule that is served in a bowl to finish.
Deemed a “Pueblo Magico” or “Magical Town” by the tourism board of Mexico, both Tequila and Tlaquepaque have the architecture, traditions and handicrafts that help preserve the culture and the essence of Mexico.
On the outskirts of Guadalajara, lies Tlaquepaque. Galleries and Artisan wares fill the pedestrian only cobblestone streets of this Magical Town.
Do: Nuestros Dulces.Visit “our sweets”, a building housing traditional Jalisco made sweets. Find artisanal Cristina Taylor chocolateria tucked in the corner. Or try the Guinness World record setting, Cajetas Lugo for the largest Cajeta ever made. Similar to Dulce de Leche, the sweet is served in a wooden boat, can be eaten on its own or as a spread.
The third largest municipality in the Jalisco State lies Tequila. This “Pueblo Magico” is famous for both the beautiful agave landscape and the cultural significance of the agave spirit itself.
Stay: Hotel Solar de las Animas. The Relais & Chateaux boutique hotel has 93 rooms; a beautiful pool, rooftop bar and the gourmet Restaurant La Antigua Casona led by Executive Chef Eduardo Marin. The Creole colonial style of the hotel is set alongside the church of “Santiago Apostol” – St. James the Apostle – right in the heart of the town of Tequila, nestling at the foot of the great volcano.
Do: Visit La Rojena Distillery. Jose Curvero’s 250-year-old La Rojena Distillery is the oldest distillery in Latin America. It’s a must-do to learn about what makes Jose Curveo the most popular Tequila brand in the world. Have a chance to drink special Reserva editions in the Reserva de la Familia® cellar,or make your own unique blend and seal it with wax at the Maestro Tequilero.
Do: Jose Cuevro Express. Hop on board theglamorous trainfrom Guadalajara to Tequila and pass through the agave fields. Learn more about tequila pairing while sipping on bottomless cocktails and appetizers on the two-hour adventure. With the Express, Premium Plus and Diamond wagons available – the train ride caters to all types of groups from families to a fun excursion for two. Add an opportunity to visit the agave fields and learn how agave is harvested from an expert jimador.
Do: Centro Cultural Juan Gallardo Beckman. Learn more about Mexico’s national symbols of identity and pride in this gallery with 6 exhibition halls and 477 artifacts on display. Marvel at the Cuevro family’s extensive collection of 17th-19thcentury decorated carriages. Follow with the largest exhibit recognized by UNESCO in 2017, which showcases the riding tradition of Jalisco, known as charrería. See the fashion, the equipment and all that encompasses being a world-class charro.
Stay: Four Seasons Mexico City. The majestic Four Seasons has too many beautiful spaces, and top-notch amenities to count. You almost don’t want to leave the hotel – let alone the beautiful hotel room. Dine at Zanya restaurant for breakfast and dinner (we did both). Have a drink at the award winning Fifty Mils. Download The Four Seasons app for incredibly attentive concierge service.
Eat: El Balcon del Zocalo. Overlooking the Catedral Metropolitana, El Balcon de Zocalo is found in the Zocalo Central Mexico City Hotel. The restaurant suits all types of parties – from a romantic, intimate dinner to a large, boisterous family gathering. The seasonal tasting menu is complete with a behind the scenes look at what the kitchen is creating, making it an experience for all senses.
Eat: El Cardenal.There are various locations of this well-known Mexican spot. Try traditional courses with El Cardenal’s artisanal tortillas, chocolate, bread, nata and cheese. You won’t regret to start with bread or “Conchas” and coffee.
Drink: Licoreria Limatour. 2019’s Latin America’s Best Bar has been wowing patrons in two locations: Roma and Polanco. With a highly thoughtful curation of Mezcals, we dove into the extensive menu of cocktails. We chose a few cocktails that were themed after the many markets found in the city (which summed up our day perfectly after visiting Cuidela, Coyacan). They definitely have something to suit all tastes. A must do!
Do: Airbnb experiences. A new Airbnb venture but well worth it. Find experiences all around the world like Eliceo’s baking class. Learn how to make conchas (Mexican bread) and Tres Leches cake in his warm, cozy home and leave having made a new friend in Mexico City.
Shop: Goodbye Folk. Amongst the many markets (I recommend Cuidela, Coyacan), check out the three-level vintage boutique, Goodbye Folk. With finds from around Mexico, the store also offers bespoke shoes with shipping offered around the world. Take your time and go through all the racks and displays, you never know what you’ll find.
Shop: MisMezcales. The variety of artisanal Mezcals can be found in this boutique shop. The knowledgeable owners will help you navigate which distillation speaks to you.
See: Museo Nacional de Antropología. The largest museum in the entire county, it houses the most Mexican artefact in the world. You can easily spend half a day (or more) soaking in the displays of archaeology and ethnography. The majestic fountain in the inner courtyard is called “El Paraguas” or “The Umbrella” and depicts four different historical scenes around the column.
See: Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. Immerse yourself in the surroundings and acknowledge Mexico’s most famous artist’s inspirational home. It’s hard not to see why Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and their many pets took solace in Casa Azul. See her clothing, artistry tools and other belongings on display among many photographs she used in her process. Tickets sell out in advance, so it’s best to buy them in advance online.