3290
Mexico
Mexico’s Origins: Silver, Culture and Revolution
Gain a deeper understanding of Mexico as you visit historic sites, cultural centers and archeological treasures while enjoying expert-led lectures on this fascinating country.
Rating (4.94)
Program No. 3290RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
3,359
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14 days
13 nights
35 meals
13 B 10 L 12 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrive, Check-in, Welcome Dinner
Guanajuato, Gto.
D
Hotel Camino Real

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 plated 3-course welcome dinner, plus coffee, tea, 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 day ahead.

DAY
2
Orientation, History of Guanajuato & Mexico, City Field Trip
Guanajuato, Gto.
B,L,D
Hotel Camino Real

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles throughout the day; city streets. Getting on/off a bus; short transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a plated hot breakfast 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. We will then be joined in the hotel conference room by a local expert for an introduction to the history of Guanajuato. This World Heritage Site is located in a narrow valley with a colonial town center built primarily from green and pink sandstone. Thanks to the plentiful mines in the area, Guanajuato became increasingly influential during the colonial era and was the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. We will then set out into the historic center of Guanajuato with our local expert via bus. After getting dropped off, we will walk to visit the Teatro Juarez for the opportunity to see the majestic and splendid interior. Since its inauguration in 1903, it has been the center and the headquarters of the most important artistic events in the city. Continuing our walk, we’ll see the main building of the Universidad de Guanajuato – one of the oldest and more prestigious universities in Latin America, founded in 1945. Today the university has several campuses around the state.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated 3-course meal featuring Mexican cuisine with soup, a main dish, and dessert, plus coffee, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, we will begin our introduction to the history of Mexico. This multipart presentation will cover the history of Mexico from pre-Columbian times to the modern day including segments on the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, the Spanish conquistadors, the Mexican Revolution, and more. Prior to dinner in our private meeting room, we’ll enjoy a social hour, with a cocktail, to become acquainted with more of the group.

Dinner: After a short ride to a local favorite, family-owned restaurant, we’ll enjoy a plated 3-course meal including salad, a main dish, dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Mexican History, Alondiga de Granaditas, Diego Rivera
Guanajuato, Gto.
B
Hotel Camino Real

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles; city sidewalks; periods of standing, up to 1 hour at the museum. Getting on/off a bus; short transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: In the hotel conference room, we will continue our introduction to Mexican history. At the conclusion of the lecture, we will travel by bus to visit the historic Alhondiga de Granadita. The building is now a museum and a symbol for the battle that was fought there on September 28, 1810, when the revolutionaries were fighting for the freedom and sovereignty of the Mexican nation. Admire the murals painted by Jose Chaves Morado from 1955 to 1966 depicting colonial Guanajuato. We will continue walking to Callejon del Beso – The Alley of the Kiss – and learn the tragic and romantic legend behind it.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Meeting at a selected spot, we will walk to the Museo Casa Diego Rivera, where a local expert will explain the importance of the most significant works before letting us browse the museum independently. This house where Diego Rivera was born is now a museum displaying the collection of Marte R. Gomez with work realized from Diego’s early years to 1956, just one year before his death. Born in 1886 in Guanajuato, Diego Rivera began to take classes at the Academy of San Carlos at the age of ten. By the age of twenty, he had more than two dozen works at the Academy’s annual exhibition and received a grant to go study in Europe. Returning to Mexico, his early works followed Mexican society and dealt with the Mexican Revolution, with his style expanding to include Maya and Aztec influences. Twenty years his younger, he married Frida Kahlo in 1929, to whom he remained married to for ten years. Boarding the bus, we will enjoy a panoramic field trip through Guanajuato up to a high vantage point where our local expert will point out and explain the importance of the historic buildings such Universidad de Guanajuato, Teatro Juarez, and la Iglesia de la Compañia, among others. From here, we can admire the variety of colors of the traditional colonial homes against the green hills.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like in Guanajuato. Offering over 100 dining establishments to choose from, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Mexican History, Valenciana Town, San Gabriel de Barrera
Guanajuato, Gto.
B,L,D
Hotel Camino Real

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles; periods of standing in museums. Getting on/off a bus; short transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: In the hotel conference room, we will continue our introduction to Mexican history. After the history lecture, we will board our bus to go for a field trip to the 18th century mining town of Valenciana where we will visit the Valencia Mine and Mining Museum led by a local expert. The mines of the area were very important not only to the region but to the country, this was one of the richest and most productive silver mines in the world. Impressive churches and residences were built with all the wealth this mine brought to the region. We’ll then return to Guanajuato for lunch.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Guanajuato, we’ll have a 2-course plated meal, plus coffee, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll transfer to the Museum Exhacienda San Gabriel de Barrera. Comprised of the grounds, gardens, and workspace of the 17th century estate, it was named for Gabriel de Barrera who established a family dynasty of ore-concentrating mills until it came into state ownership 300 years later in 1975.

Dinner: At a local restaurant a short ride away, enjoy a plated three course meal plus coffee, tea, lemonade, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Mexican History, To San Miguel de Allende, Field Trip Walk
San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
B,L,D
Posada de La Aldea

Activity note: Driving approximately 48 miles; about 1.5 hours. Walking approx. 1.5 miles; about 2.5 hours; narrow sidewalks, cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: In the hotel conference room, will continue our lecture series on Mexican history. Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll transfer to San Miguel de Allende enjoying the scenery as we travel through the countryside. Upon arrival, we’ll check into the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant, we will have a plated meal featuring Mexican and international cuisine, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: In our private meeting room at the hotel, we will continue learning about Mexican history through a presentation. We will then begin a walking field trip in downtown San Miguel de Allende, including a visit to Nigromante Fine Arts School. With a local expert, we will visit the prestigious Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez “El Nigromante” – a former monastery that was converted into a fine arts school in 1938 that has been forming artists of various disciplines for generations. In the interior of the institute, we will observe the murals by Pedro Martinez and a room with David Alfaro Siqueiros’s unfinished mural. Continuing to the Jardin Allende, we’ll stop in this center plaza, a popular spot to relax and listen to mariachis. Next, we’ll stop at the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, an emblem of the city with its neo-gothic façade and tall towers, which can be seen from most parts of town. With our local expert, we’ll go inside to see the oil paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, a large German organ brought in in the mid 19th century, and carvings of saints including one of St. Miguel Arcangel.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Mexican History Lecture, Free Time
San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
B,D
Posada de La Aldea

Activity note: Minimal walking during group activities; more dependent on personal preference.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet features a variety of selections including a hot egg dish, breakfast meats, fruit, yogurt, bread, and more, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: In our private meeting room at the hotel, we will continue with the next in the lecture series about the history of Mexico. Following our history class, take some time on your own to see and do what interests you most.

Lunch: On your own to sample the local fare.

Afternoon: Free time to enjoy the afternoon continuing to explore San Miguel de Allende on your own.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Mexican History, Atotonilco, Dolores Hidalgo, Talavera
San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
B,L,D
Posada de La Aldea

Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile throughout the day; city sidewalks. Driving approx. 28 miles roundtrip; about 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our private meeting room, we will continue the sequence of Mexican history. Our first field trip of the morning will be in Antotonilco where we will visit the Sanctuary of Atotonilco. Nicknamed the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico,” it was built in the 18th century after a priest had a vision of Jesus. The complex is known for its rich Mexican Baroque murals completed by Antonio Martinez de Pocasangre over three decades. Colorful and ornate on the inside, the exterior of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, inducted in 2008, resembles a fortress with its 32 foot tall walls and 65 foot clock tower. It is still used as a place of religious worship. Next, we’ll set out for a field trip to the city of Dolores Hidalgo, known as the Cradle of Independence. Upon arrival, we will visit the church where Father Hidalgo rang his bell and gave the call to arms known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), which marked the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence on September 16, 1810. While here, we will also visit the Independence Museum to admire artifacts, paintings, and murals related to the independence movement.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Dolores Hidalgo, we will have a plated meal featuring a local specialty, plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: As we return to the hotel in San Miguel de Allende, we will make a stop to visit a Talavera Pottery factory for an opportunity to witness the delicate process of pottery making, from working the clay to decorating and firing the pieces. Brought to Mexico by Spanish colonists, pottery development became very successful in the Puebla region thanks to the accessibility of fine clays and the demand for decoration and tiling in newly established churches and monasteries. As a local expert shows us around the facility explaining the process, we will see employees at work carrying it out. We’ll then resume our journey back to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant across the street from the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal, plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
To Queretaro City, Museums, Churches, Historical Landmarks
Queretaro, Qro
B,L,D
Hotel Mirabel

Activity note: Driving approximately 45 miles; about 1.5 hours. Walking up to 1 mile total throughout the day; city sidewalks.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In our private meeting room in the hotel, we will meet for our final session focused on Mexican history before checking out of the hotel and loading the bus for our transfer to Queretaro City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be one of the most dynamic cities in Latin America. Upon our arrival, we will enjoy a panoramic field trip via bus for an overview of the city. Our first stop will be at a strategic point to admire the colossal work of the aqueduct, a project started in 1726 and completed 12 years later as a way to provide the city with clean water. Just over one mile long, the aqueduct is made out of sandstone with 74 towering arches, some as high as 100 feet. Our expert will offer commentary on its construction as we take a look up close. Next, we will visit the Pantheon of Illustrious Queretanos, a permanent honorary shrine to those who fought for the freedom of the Mexican people. Afterwards, we’ll then spend some time at Santa Cruz Convent and learn the legend behind the tree that bears thorns in the form of a cross that simulate the nails of the crucifixion of Jesus. We will then check into the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant, we will have a 3-course plated meal featuring a selection of main dishes plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Continuing our exploration of the city, we’ll make visits to the Queretaro Art Museum, Santa Clara Church, and Casa de la Marquesa. At the Queretaro Art Museum, we will explore one of the most prestigious cultural centers in the city with its 15 exhibition halls and a collection of masterpieces from the 17th to 19th centuries. Our next stop will be the Santa Clara Church, a temple built as a convent in 1607 that is now famous for its ornately carved interior, gilded altarpieces, and delicate exterior work. We will continue to Casa de la Marquesa, built in 1756 as a mansion belonging to Marquesa de la Villa del Villar del Aguila. Its façade is Baroque, with beautiful ornamental details carved in stone, highlighting the door frame that rises to the second floor with a molded cornice framing the noble shield. At the end of our walking field trip, you may choose to walk back to the hotel or ride the bus.

Dinner: In the historic center, we will enjoy great food, excellent service, and a beautiful setting at a local restaurant with a 3-course plated meal, plus coffee, tea, fruit water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to set out for a walk independently along the main plaza of Queretaro back to the hotel and see the city come alive after dark. Continue with a walk back to the hotel, or ride the bus.

DAY
9
Regional Museum, Cerro de las Campana, Benito Juarez Film
Queretaro, Qro
B,L,D
Hotel Mirabel

Activity note: Minimal walking throughout the day during group activities; flat surfaces. Minimal driving.

Breakfast: At the hotel we will have a buffet featuring a hot egg dish, breakfast meats, fruit, yogurt, bread, and more, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Our day will begin with a field trip to the Cerro de las Campanas and the Regional Museum. While here, we will learn from a local expert about the historical importance of the site and how, on June 19, 1867, the Liberal government of Benito Juarez ordered the execution of three opponents from the conservative party: Emperor Maximiliano de Habsburgo, General Miguel Miramon, and General Tomas Mejia. This event marked the end of the second French intervention. We’ll then visit the Regional Museum of Queretaro where we will receive an introductory talk given by a local expert before enjoying time for independent exploration to browse the many displays ranging from pre-Hispanic Mexico, Spanish occupation, archaeological sites, religious paintings, and others.

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

Afternoon: Take some time for free independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Rendezvousing in our private meeting room back at the hotel, we’ll watch a film focusing on Benito Juarez, one of the most influential figures in modern Mexican history. Leading “La Reforma del Norte” or “The Reform of the North,” he is credited with bringing federalist, liberal policies to the Mexican government.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of main dishes, sides, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Bernal, Ezequiel Montez Botanical Gardens, Free Time
Queretaro, Qro
B,L,D
Hotel Mirabel

Activity note: Driving approx. 35 miles one way; about 1 hour. Walking approx. 1 mile during group activities; up to 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out with the Group Leader, we’ll head to the town of Bernal, a popular pilgrimage point thanks to the Peña de Bernal, one of the highest monoliths in the world rising to 1,421 feet. Bernal recently acquired the title of “Magical Town,” meaning the town has significant cultural, historical, or natural sites. While here, we will visit different galleries, historical places in town, and a weaver’s shop for a demonstration on rug weaving before enjoying some time for independent exploration. We will then return to the bus and ride to the town of Ezequiel Montes where we will visit the town’s botanical garden. Take this opportunity to explore on your own and see the many species of plants cultivated and displayed, among them a large variety of cacti.

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

Afternoon: After returning to Queretaro, enjoy an afternoon of Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. At the conclusion of our free time, we will regroup at a predetermined time and place to return to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
11
To Mexico City, Museo Nacional del Virreynato
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico

Activity note: Driving approx. 130 miles; about 3 hours, with stops. Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; flat terrain; periods of standing up to 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will load our luggage and transfer to Mexico City for our final three nights. En route, we will stop and visit the “Museo Nacional de Virreynato” with a local expert. The Museum of the Viceroyalty of New Spain is the former College of San Francisco Javier and is widely considered one of the country’s best museums thanks to both its aesthetics and its collections.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Tepotzotlan, we’ll have a 2-course plated meal, plus coffee, tea, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Then we’ll continue the transfer to Mexico City and check into the hotel upon arrival.

Dinner: At a local restaurant across the street from the hotel, we’ll have 3-course plated meal plus coffee, fruit water, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Teotihuacan Archaeological Site, Basilica de Guadalupe
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico

Activity note: Walking up to 2.5 miles throughout the day; periods of standing up to 1 hour; dirt paths. Driving approx. 30 miles each way; about 1.5 hours.

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

Morning: Transferring from 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, explaining 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 Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and the Temple of the Plumed Serpent.

Lunch: At a local 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: Our field trip will then continue 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 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 the hotel, 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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Aztec Historical Center, Anthropology Museum, Ballet
Mexico City, D.F.
B,L,D
Hotel Casa Blanca Mexico

Activity note: Minimal driving; short transfers. Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; approx. 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Leaving the hotel via bus, we’ll travel to the Historic Center of Mexico City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our first stop within the large Historic Center will be at the Aztec ceremonial center known as Templo Mayor, where we will learn how a crew of workers discovered the monumental sculpture of Coyolxauhqui in 1978, and changed the government plan from building the Tenochtitlan museum there to completing the project of excavating 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. 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 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: One of the most visited museums in Mexico, we will explore 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. We will then board the bus for transfer to our farewell dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, our delicious plated farewell dinner will feature 3 courses, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: Walking from the restaurant, we will cross the street to Palacio de Balls 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. We’ll then return to the hotel. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
14
Program Concludes
Mexico City, D.F.
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is 12:00 Noon. Driving approx. 6 miles; about 1/2 hour. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll then check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport via motorcoach. 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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