13964
Mexico
Mexico City: History, Art, Culture, and Politics
Immerse yourself in the cultural heart of Mexico and learn from experts as you explore renowned museums and national monuments while gaining insight into its neighborhoods and politics.
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 13964RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,049
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 6 L 7 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit, Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner
Mexico City, D.F.
D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After arriving at the hotel, check in and then take some time to unpack, freshen up, and relax. Program Registration: At 6:30 p.m., come over to the Road Scholar table in the hotel lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, enjoy a welcome dinner featuring a buffet with Mexican and International Cuisine, including a variety of salads, soups, main dishes, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, fruit water, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the days ahead.

DAY
2
Teotihuacan Archaeological Site, Basilica de Guadalupe
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City

Activity note: Walking up to 2-1/2 miles; standing up to one hour.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a buffet featuring Mexican and international cuisine including a variety of hot dishes, bread, pastries, yogurt, fruit, plus coffee, tea, juice, and water.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. All transportation will be provided via bus unless specified otherwise. An instructor will conduct all sessions in the classroom; a certified expert will lead field trips and excursions. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Departing the hotel via bus, our field trip begins with a visit to the Teotihuacan Pyramids and its archaeological site, where our local expert will introduce us to Teotihuacan and how it became the 6th largest city in the world between 150 BCE and 450 CE. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the pyramids are the centerpiece of the holy city that once hosted a population of at least 125,000 people. Some of the most famous temples include the Temple of the Plumed Serpent and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of salads, soups, main dishes, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, fruit water, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our field trip continues to La Villa de Guadalupe, where we will learn about the old and new Basilica, as well as the Capuchinas Convent, and stand on the Antrio of the Americas. The basilica is the most visited sanctuary in Latin America housing the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Learn the story of St Juan Diego and the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1531. Originally the site of a shrine to a mother goddess, the conquistadors destroyed the chapel adapted the location into the parish, eventually building the Old Basilica that was completed in 1709. Due to a sinking foundation, the New Basilica was constructed next to it from 1974 to 1976 creating a dichotomy of old and new.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Mex City History, Historic Center, Alameda, Fine Arts Palace
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City

Activity note: Walking up to 2-1/2 miles. Standing and walking in museum for up to 45 minutes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will then meet with our instructor at our private meeting room for an introduction to the history of Mexico City. Founded as Mexica-Tenochtitlan by the Mexica people in the early 14th century, it is commonly referred to as Tenochtitlan. According to Mexica mythology, they were signaled by their principle god Huitzilopochtli to build their home where they saw an eagle resting on a cactus with a snake in its beak. For nearly two centuries, the city prospered and expanded as the capital of the Aztec empire, until falling to Spanish conquest in 1521. We will then board our bus to go to the Historic Center of Mexico City, traditionally known as El Centro and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our first stop will be the Aztec Ceremonial Center Templo Mayor, where we will learn how in 1978 a crew of workers discovered the monumental sculpture of Coyolxauhqui, and changed the government plan from building the Tenochtitlan museum to The Project of Templo Mayor. The Templo Mayor was the site of the main temple of Tenochtitlan and regarded as the center of the world by the Aztecs. It was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, and Tlaloc, the god of rain and agriculture. We will then walk to the Templo Mayor Museum, which holds some 7,000 pieces recovered during excavations of the site.

Lunch: At a local favorite restaurant, enjoy a three-course lunch, with fruit water, coffee, tea, and water available.

Afternoon: We will then board the bus and set out into a different part of the city with our local expert. Our field trip will take us to the Alameda, the Museo Mural Diego Rivera, and the Palace of Fine Art. Once the Aztec market, the Alameda was dedicated as greenspace by Viceroy Luis de Velasco on the western edge of the city in 1592. The park became the blueprint for the traditional Mexican park, inspiring others around the country. We will make a stop at the Museo Mural Diego River to admire the famous mural Sueño de una tarde domincal en la Alameda Central, meaning Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central. Painted from 1946 to 1947, the 51 foot long mural depicts famous individuals and events in Mexican history. Walking across to the eastern edge of the Alameda, The Palace of Fine Arts was built in the place of the first National Theater of Mexico in the early 1930’s. Here, we will have an opportunity to explore the marvelous interior. Primarily a combination of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, the grand building is divided into the main hall with smaller exhibition rooms, the theater, and the institute’s offices.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
City History,National Palace,Casa Azulejo, Ballet Folklorico
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; standing for approximately 45 minutes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will continue our series on the history of Mexico City, focusing on the colonial period and as the capital of New Spain. We will then board the bus and set out into the city with our local expert for a filled trip to the National Palace, the seat of the executive branch of the Mexican government. Located in Mexico City's main square, much of the materials remain from the original palace that belonged to the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a plated three-course meal, plus coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will tour La Casa de los Azulejos, or House of Tiles, which is an 18th century mansion known for its exquisite blue and white tile work from the state of Puebla. At the end of our field trip, we will return to the hotel for some time to relax and freshen up.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a plated three-course meal, plus coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Walking from the restaurant, we will cross the street to Palacio de Bellas Artes – Palace of Fine Arts – to enjoy a presentation of the Ballet Folklórico of Amalia Hernandez. This piece reflects the various genres and art forms from across the country through both dance and music.

DAY
5
Mexico City History, Anthropology Museum, San Ildelfonso Mus
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City

Activity note: Walking up to 1-1/2 miles over the course of the day; standing for some time at the museums.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After breakfast we will join our instructor to continue with the series on Mexico's History; today the subject will be Neoclassic Art in the Independence Century. After the lecture, we will board the bus to go to the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, or the National Museum of Anthropology, one of the most visited museum in Mexico. A large and prestigious museum built in the 1960s, housing over 52,000 pieces in 23 exhibition rooms, it displays pieces from the Teotihucans, Toltec’s Mexicas, Mayans and other cultures. One of the most important items you will see is the Aztec Calendar carved in stone.

Lunch: At the Anthropology Museum Restaurant, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of salads, soups, main dishes, dessert, plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will board our bus to go to the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso. Currently a cultural center in downtown Mexico City, the college is the most important of the many founded by the Jesuits in the late 16th century, offering both a secular and religious education until the expulsion of the Jesuits from all Spanish territories in 1767. The building was renovated in the 1990’s to serve as a public center and to promote local culture, businesses and a museum.

Dinner: At local restaurant we will enjoy a plated three course dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Mexican Art, Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco,The Floating Gardens
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City

Activity note: Standing in museum, walking up to 1 1/2 miles

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our meeting room with our instructor, we will continue learning about the history of México; the lecture today is about famous Mexican muralists. On today’s first field trip, we will ride to Museum Dolores Olmedo Patino for an opportunity to admire one of the most important collections of Diego Rivera’s paintings as well as some of Frida Kahlo’s work. Explore the beautifully decorated gardens in the property. After exploring the museums, we will ride south to the borough of Xochimilco.

Lunch: In Xochimilco, we will board the trajineras – brightly colored boats resembling a gondola – and enjoy a two-course meal, plus water, as we explore lake Xochimilco and the canal system.

Afternoon: Continuing our ride on the trajinera, we will learn why this vestige of the pre-Hispanic area has been designated as a world heritage site. Established on the shores of Lake Xochimilco, the borough of Mexico City has retained its own identity from the capital just to the north. Xochimilco was built on artificial islands called chinampas that created more that 100 miles of canals that connected many settlements in the Valley of Mexico – what is roughly comparable to the modern day Federal District. We will return to the hotel in Mexico City for an opportunity to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: We will ride to a local restaurant for a three-course meal, plus coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
National and Modern Art, S Angel, Coyoacán, Frida Kahlo Mus
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico City

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our meeting room with our instructor, we will have the last of the lectures covering Mexico’s National and Modern Art. We will then visit the neighborhood, or colonia, of San Angel. We will visit the Bazar del Sabado, where local artists show and sell their work. Our next stop is Coyoacán, where we will walk through the Jardin Centenario and cross the street to the Parish of San Juan Bautista. One of the oldest parish churches in Mexico City, it is believed to be the site where Hernan Cortes came to worship.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Coyoacán enjoy a two-course meal, plus lemonade, coffee, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will continue walking in the neighborhood of Coyoacán. Once an independent village on the shore of Lake Texcoco, Coyoacán welcomed the Spanish and served as the headquarters of Hernan Cortez and the conquistadors. Its name comes from a Nahuatl word of which the exact meaning is unknown but most likely means “place of coyotes.” Visit the Frida Kalho Museum, also known as Casa Azul, with our expert. The museum is housed in the building where Kahlo spent most of her life and was donated, along with its contents, to be a museum in her memory by her husband Diego Rivera. Here we will admire many exhibits for Frida’s work, as well as some personal items that are on display. The museum displays works of art by the couple and other artists, in addition to displaying the lifestyle of Mexicans artisans and bohemians in the first half of the 20th century. After visiting the museum, you can walk in the beautiful gardens on the property.

Dinner: Hotel buffet. The Group Leader will review the program and discuss airport transfers for tomorrow when the program concludes.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
Mexico City, D.F.
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!