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.
Program No. 13964RSBLOG
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,299
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
In Transit, Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner
Mexico City, D.F.
D
Hotel NH Mexico City Centro Histórico

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

Afternoon: After arriving at the hotel, checking in, and getting your room, take some time to unpack, freshen up, and relax. Program Registration: 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, we’ll enjoy a welcome buffet dinner featuring Mexican and international cuisine with a variety of salads, soups, main dishes, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
2
Orientation, Lecture & Historical Center, Templo Mayor
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel NH Mexico City Centro Histórico

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; flat terrain, busy sidewalks; periods of standing up to 1/2 hour at a time.

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, water.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. 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. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Next, we’ll be joined in our private meeting room by our instructor to receive the first in a series of lectures on 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 principal 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. Leaving the hotel, we’ll walk to The Templo Mayor, this 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. After seeing the ruins, 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, we’ll have a 3-course plated lunch with fruit water, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will walk to the San Ildefonso School Museum, known locally as 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. We’ll then continue our expert-led field trip to the Headquarters of the Secretariat of Public Education to admire some of the murals painted by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and other muralists. Back at our hotel we will have our social hour with an opportunity to know more about our fellow travelers.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated 3-course meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
National Palace, Anthropology Museum, Ballet Folklorico
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel NH Mexico City Centro Histórico

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles; periods of standing and walking in museum up to 1 hour; flat terrain, city sidewalks.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will then meet with our instructor to continue our lecture series on the history of México City, focusing on the colonial period as the capital of New Spain. Then, setting out on foot with our local expert, we’ll walk into the city for a field trip to the National Palace. The National Palace is the seat of the Mexican government’s executive branch. Located in México City's main square, much of the materials remain from the original palace that belonged to the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II. Accompanied by our local expert, we will then walk to the Historical Center to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, constructed over a period of two centuries from 1573 to 1813. We’ll learn about the problems they faced during construction and the problems they are facing now to stabilize and maintain the magnificent building suffering from sinking on the unstable soil.

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

Afternoon: Next, we’ll head to the exhibition rooms of one of the most visited museums in México accompanied by our local expert, the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, or the National Museum of Anthropology. Built in the 1960s, this large and prestigious museum houses over 52,000 pieces in 23 exhibition rooms. Among its collections are pieces from the Teotihucans, Toltecs Mexicas, Mayans, and other cultures. One of the most important items we will see is the Aztec Calendar carved in stone. After the presentation, we will have some time to explore the museum independently.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a 2-course plated dinner with coffee, tea, 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
4
Teotihuacan Archaeological Site, Basilica de Guadalupe
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel NH Mexico City Centro Histórico

Activity note: Walking up to 2.5 miles throughout the day; periods of standing; dirt paths. Driving approx. 30 miles one way; about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Departing the hotel via bus, our field trip will begin 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 meal 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 will 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. While here, we’ll also 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 and 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. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal, plus coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure

DAY
5
History Lecture, Alameda Central, Fine Arts Palace
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel NH Mexico City Centro Histórico

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles total throughout the day; periods of standing in museum flat terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our meeting room with our instructor, we will continue learning about the history of México. The focus of our lecture today will be on famous Mexican muralists. Then set out for our filed trip continuing to explore more of México City: the Alameda, Museo Mural Diego Rivera and the Palace of Fine Arts. Once the Aztec market, the Alameda was dedicated as a greenspace by Viceroy Luis de Velasco on the western edge of the city in 1592. The park became the blue print for the traditional Mexican park, inspiring others around the country. We will make a stop at the Museo Mural Diego Rivera to admire the famous mural Sueño de una Tarde Dominical 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 the eastern edge of the Alameda, the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) was built in the place of the first National Theater of México 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

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a 2-course meal with water, fruit water or tea included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will start the afternoon with a stop to gaze at the Latin American Tower and learn why this skyscraper is one of the most important landmarks for México City. Then continue our walk to Casa de los Azulejos, or House of Tiles; this is an 18th century mansion known for its exquisite blue and white tilework from the state of Puebla. Our next stop is the Postal Palace, also known as Main Post Office. Built in the early 20th century by the original architect of The Palace of Fine Arts, the building features a variety of architectural styles creating a unique masterpiece. Continue to the Palace of Iturbide for today’s final stop. Constructed between 1779 and 1785, the palace was a prominent count’s wedding gift for his daughter featuring three floors, a mezzanine, and two fortified towers. The Palace has been renamed the Palacio Cultural Banamex to promote the culture of México City. Back at our hotel at the private meeting room we will have a presentation on México Today.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Mexico’s Art, San Angel, Coyoacán, Frida Kahlo Museum
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel NH Mexico City Centro Histórico

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles total throughout the day; flat terrain. Driving approx. 22 miles roundtrip; about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our meeting room with our instructor, we will have another presentation of our series of lectures, this time covering Mexico’s National and Modern Art. After the lecture and aboard our bus we'll head out to 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 Cortes and the conquistadors. Its name comes from a Nahuatl word of which the exact meaning is unknown but most likely means “place of coyotes.” While here, we’ll visit the Frida Kahlo 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 Mexican artisans and bohemians in the first half of the 20th century. We will also be able to enjoy some of Diego Rivera's work and, during some time for independent exploration after visiting the museum, you can walk on the beautiful gardens on the property.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in San Angel, enjoy a 2-course meal, plus lemonade, coffee, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will start walking in the neighborhood of Colonia San Angel and visit the Bazar del Sabado where local artists show and sell their work. With a local expert, we’ll see much of Mexico’s native art. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel,

Evening: At Leisure The Group Leader will then review the program and discuss airport transfers for when the program concludes. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
7
Mexican Art, Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco Floating Gardens
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel NH Mexico City Centro Histórico

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles total throughout the day; periods of standing in museum flat terrain. Driving approx. 35 miles each way; about 2 hours total. Getting on/off trajinera boats; ride is about 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant

Morning: In our meeting room with our instructor, we will continue learning about the history of México. The focus of our lecture today will be on famous Mexican muralists. Setting out via bus, we’ll ride to Museum Dolores Olmedo Patino for field trip with a local expert during which we’ll admire one of the most important collections of Diego Rivera’s paintings, as well as some of Frida Kahlo’s work. While here, we’ll also have an opportunity to explore the beautifully decorated gardens on the property.

Lunch: Aboard the trajineras, we’ll enjoy a delicious 2-course meal with water included; other beverages available for purchase. As we ride along in the boats, we’ll explore Lake Xochimilco and the canal system from a unique perspective.

Afternoon: Continuing our ride aboard 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 than 100 miles of canals and connected many settlements in the Valley of Mexico – what is roughly comparable to the modern day Federal District. We will then get off the boat at the dock and return to the hotel in Mexico City for an opportunity to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a tasty farewell buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At Leisure The Group Leader will then review the program and discuss airport transfers for when the program concludes. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

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

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 12:00 Noon. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. Driving approx. 5 miles to the airport; about 1/2 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll then board the bus 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. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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