A one-of-a-kind natural and cultural adventure—the way only MTS can do it!
Mexico’s Spanish colonial heritage is unrivalled in the New World. The region’s wealth of gold and silver allowed the conquistadors to build dozens of elegant cities featuring lavish Baroque churches and palacios, cobbled streets, and orderly layouts that resembled the Spanish towns they left behind. The largest concentration of these colonial towns is in the mountains north of Mexico City, where silver once flowed in abundance from the rich veins below the surface.
Though art and arcitecture flourished during colonial times, the story is one of destruction as well as creation, as thriving pre-Columbian cultures fell under Spanish rule. But traces of the ancient cultures remain—many of their temples and monuments still survive, and locals still maintain age-old traditions. On this unique cultural journey, you’ll delve deeply into both of these worlds, which together create the vibrant mix that is modern-day Mexico. And you’ll discover the natural wonders of the highlands as well.
Your expert, private guides will bring the complex history and architectural legacy of this region to life as you travel from one astonishing colonial gem to another—all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll begin inSan Miguel de Allende, where you’ll enjoy a private, guided tour of the well-preserved historic center, and see the amazing collections at La Aurora, an art and design center in a former textile factory. Then it’s on to Guanajuato. This enchanting city was once one of the world’s largest producers of silver, as well as the site of the first battle of the Mexican War of Independence. You’ll tour the city’s most interesting sites, including the Museo y Casa de Diego Rivera and the Museo de las Mómias (Mummy Museum). Next is Patzcuaro, one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos, with its unique blend of colonial and indigenous cultures and famously friendly locals. You’ll visit the fascinating crafts villages surrounding Lake Patzcuaro, whose island of Janitzio is an important Dia de los Muertos ritual site; browse the renowned silver shops of Santa Clara del Cobre; and make an excursion to the Purepecha ruins of Tzintzuntzan, known for its unique, rounded pyramids called yacatas.
Just when you think your senses have been dazzled enough, we’ll take you to see one of nature’s most amazing phenomena—millions of monarch butterflies gathering at their wintering grounds in the high pine forests of Michoacán.The monarchs have traveled thousands of miles to reach these sanctuaries, and witnessing them as they cover the trees in thick blankets of orange, fill the skies with cascades of gold, and even alight on your hands is something you will always treasure. You’ll visit two separate sanctuaries—El Rosario and Sierra Chincua—on two separate days, taking fairly steep, moderately strenuous hikes of about an hour to reach the core of the nesting grounds at around 10,800 feet. (You can travel by horse, if you prefer.) Your guide will unravel the mysteries of their behavior as you enjoy a magical interaction with these delicate creatures. It’s one-of-a-kind experiences like these that set MTS trips apart, so join us on this remarkable natural and cultural adventure, steeped in the flavors, colors and traditions of central Mexico.
- Enjoy private, guided tours of three classic colonial towns: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and Patzcuaro, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Explore the archaeological site of Tzintzuntan, known for is unique, rounded pyramids called yacatas
- Enjoy a one-of-a-kind journey like only MTS can do it
- Visit the fascinating crafts villages surrounding Lake Patzcuaro, and the island of Janitzio, a famous Dia de los Muertos ritual site
- Witness one of nature’s most amazing phenomena—millions of monarch butterflies gathering for winter at El Rosario and Sierra Chincua Sanctuaries
Duration: 7 days Start Location: Leon End Location: Mexico CityDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Leon and transfer to San Miguel de Allende
Meet your driver outside of customs for your private transfer from Leon Airport to the small and charming colonial city of San Miguel Allende. Enjoy the afternoon on your own to explore the cobble stone streets and acclimatize to the crisp, clean high desert air.
(Available transportation from Mexico City Airport to San Miguel de Allende with additional supplement)
Day 2 : Guided half day tour of San Miguel Allende
Tour of San Miguel de Allende, experience the colourful buildings and enjoy the parks of San Miguel, you'll visit the Parroquia, the Oratorio, the Museo Casa de Allende; the house of San Miguel's most famous son and namesake, You will also visit Fabrica La Aurora, one of San Miguel's most unique destinations and wander through one of Mexico's finest collections of art, galleries, design, furniture and more.Afternoon at leasure!
Day 3 : San Miguel Allende/Guanajuato
This morning transfer to the incredible world heritage city of Guanajuato. We'll tour Guanajuato’s history and culture, rich as its mines full of silver during the colonial era. You'll visit the Zocalo, Teatro Juárez, Callejón del Beso, Alhondiga de Granaditas (si, Diego Rivera's house & museum and many more sites depending of your interests. Dinner at one of the best restaurants in town “El Jardin de Los Milagros” for a chef’s table experience.
Day 4 : Guanajuato/Patzcuaro
After breakfast you will be picked up and privately transferred to the highland colonial gem of Patzcuaro (3:00 hrs.). Mid-day arrival and check in to our lovely hotel located right off of the Central Plaza followed by a guided tour of the city center. Upon deeper exploration, the cobble stone streets and 17th century Architecture give way to the Tarascan and Purepecha traditions of the indigenous inhabitants in a delightful blend of modern Mexico that piques your interest and imagination.
Day 5 : Patzcuaro/Isla Janitzio/Santa Clara del Cobre/Tzintzuntzan
Today we'll have a full day tour of Janitzio island and the fascinating crafts villages that surround Lake Patzcuaro. This picturesque lake, is accented with the now famous island of Janitzio, one of the most important and visited villages for Dia de los Muertos ritual celebration. We'll climb the several hundred steps to the top of the 140 ft. statue of Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon up onto his wrist to view the lovely panorama or simply relax in the small park at his feet enjoying the view. We will continue on to Santa Clara del Cobre for lunch of Tarascan fare. The island and surrounding villages offer a window into pre-Columbian times and the friendly Purépecha indigenous people who are glad to share a smile or invite you into their work shops to browse the rich crafts traditions. Continue on to the Purepecha ruins of Tzintzuntzan for a brief, but interesting visit before returning to your hotel.
Day 6 : Patzcuaro/El Rosario Sanctuary/ Zitacuaro
An early start today, about 7:00 am your guide will meet you at your hotel lobby to begin with your adventure. You will make a four and a half hour journey to“El Rosarito” Sanctuary. Upon arrival will walk uphill to catch your first experience of the Monarchs butterflies.
After this amazing experience we will continue to Zitacuaro’s charming hotel and our home for the following two nights. Evening at leasure.
Day 7 : Monarch Butterflies
This will be our second visit to Sierra Chincua Sanctuary, We'll start in the morning around 9:00am. We'll walk up hill to find the best observation point. You can hike up hill or use the help of a trusty horse if desired. Your second sight of the butterflies can be quite strenuous, but it is well worth it!
NOTE, your visits to the sanctuaries depends on the location of the migration and local conditions – if necessary we'll amend the sanctuaries visited to ensure your enjoyment of this experience.
Day 8 : Zitacuaro/Mexico City Airport
Early morning 8:00am, you will be bet by your guide at the hotel lobby for your private transfer (2 1/2 hrs) to Mexico CIty Airport.
Important note: Please do not schedule flights earlier than 2:00pm.
End of Services
DATES: Best time to go: January - April, November - December Departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.
Hotel MatildaSan Miguel de Allende
Where past, present and future combine, and a unique hospitality experience unfolds. The quaint flair of a magical colonial town meets the most forward concepts in contemporary lifestyle to captivate the savviest traveler. Hotel Matilda takes the colonial San Miguel aura beyond, into the realm of vanguard style and elegance. While welcoming guests in a setting steeped in a rich historical past, we embrace the latest trends in premium hospitality with a keen eye for artwork and ambiance, a green mentality in operations, and a passion to provide enriching new cultural and personal experiences. - See more at: http://hotelmatilda.com/#/hotel/the-hotel/
Quinta Las AcaciasGuanajuato
Quinta Las Acacias, was built in a XIX century French style mansion, which is listed by the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) and restored in 1998 creating a luxury hotel bringing attention to service and design joining/mixing the classic European style furniture and antiques with the Mexican handicraft beauty; such merge, creates an elegant and welcoming atmosphere in all the rooms and areas which invite the guests to relax and enjoy an unforgettable stay.
A spectacular view of Guanajuato's mountain can be enjoyed on the outdoor Jacuzzi and/or having a pleasant relaxing afternoon in the garden of cactus.
Casa de la Real Aduana Boutique HotelPatzcuaro, Michoacan
Patzcuaro’s foremost accommodation, is a small luxury hotel located in the heart of Colonial Patzcuaro. This stylish hotel is housed in a 16th century manor that has been designated a historical landmark, close to Patzcuaro’s celebrated lake, surrounded by Purhepecha Indian villages, pre-Hispanic pyramids and Colonial convents.
Rancho San Cayetano HotelZitácuaro, Michoacan
Rancho San Cayetano is a modern hotel surrounded by 13 acres of Mexican countryside.
Quiet comfort, relaxing atmosphere is San Cayetano.
The most convenient location for visiting the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries, near the city of Zitacuaro, Michoacan, the Rancho also offers a short walk to Coatepec de Morelos, with its 16TH Century Church, a place appearing in the Humphrey Bogart film “Treasure of Sierra Madre”, plus trips to the small villages of the surrounding hills and valleys. (Read more about historic Zitacuaro.)
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.