Looking for the best cultural holiday destinations? A luxury holiday in Mexico offers mystical Maya history, storied cities, ancient towns and a vibrant blend of cultures alongside idyllic beaches for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Luxury cultural holidays don’t need to stay within the confines of museums and galleries. At SevenTravel, we believe that you can also connect with a destination’s culture through its food, music, literature and the locals.
The perks of using a luxury travel company to design your cultural holiday means you can tailor your luxury cultural holidays to exactly suit your interest and tap into our Travel Designers’ first-hand knowledge for a unique trip. Let our list of things to do in Mexico inspire your next luxury cultural holiday with six experiences worthy of your bucket list.
Explore the ancient ruins of Chichén Itzá
It wouldn’t be right to start a list of cultural travel experiences for your bucket list without including one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichén Itzá. On your luxury holiday in Mexico exploring the ancient Maya sites is not to be missed and if you’re only going to do one, we’d recommend Chichén Itzá.
Steeped in mystery, this Maya city was once the political and economic centre of the Maya civilization. The iconic stepped pyramid El Castillo (The Castle) has ninety one staggered steps on each side, with a final step at the top making a total of 365 – one for each day of the solar year. This pyramid is a perfect example of the Mayas’ innovation in astronomy and science. Twice a year, at the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun casts light and shadow to create the jaw-dropping appearance of a snake that gradually undulates down the stairway of the pyramid and unites with the enormous snake-head sculptures at the base of the stairway heads.
Paint an alebrijes in Oaxaca
Not only is Oaxaca considered one of the best places to try authentic Mexican cuisine (more on that later or skip ahead) but it’s also known for its traditional crafts and artisanal heritage. Creativity has been oozing out of Oaxaca since pre-Columbian times and one of the most captivating representations of this is through the brightly decorated animals known as alebrijes, pronounced ali-bri-hes. These fantastical creatures originated from the dreams of an artist in the 1930s and have since become celebrated across Mexico and beyond.
On the outskirts of the capital city is San Martin Tilcajete – a town that provided inspiration for the Pixar film Coco – where you can meet the famous wood‐carving alebrije community. Take part in this age‐old tradition and artistry with a private workshop with a local artist to paint your own alebrijes as you uncover the fascinating history behind this Mexican folk art
Tour the magical canals of Xochimilco in Mexico City
The magical waterways of Xochimilco (hoh-chee-meel-koh) have become a must-visit cultural destination in Mexico. Once surrounding the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, which is now modern-day Mexico City, you can set out to explore this UNESCO site by a traditional trajinera, a colourful gondola as you learn about the ingenious techniques the Aztecs used to grow crops. Today, flowers have replaced the crops that once grew in the canals on the ‘chinampas’, creating a beautiful display of floating gardens that once made up most of the entire city of Tenochtitlan.
Fall under the spell of mariachi music
It is believed that music reveals the soul of a person, and Mexico has given rise to a number of different musical styles that can be heard throughout the country. None are more lively and catchy than the sounds of a mariachi band. Mexican culture is characterised by the presence of this style of music and you’ll easily hear the melodies and cheerful voices without trying too hard. Mariachi bands can be found serenading passers all around the country from its birthplace in Jalisco to Mexico City’s famous Plaza de Garibaldi, under the arches of Tlaquepaque’s El Parián, and throughout Guadalajara.
Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City
With more than 150 museums in Mexico City, it’s an ideal place to start your luxury cultural holiday. Known as one of Mexico’s greatest artists, Frida Kahlo is an icon of Mexican culture. The Frida Kahlo Museum, or La Casa Azul, was once the lifelong home of the artist – who was born, raised and ultimately died within her home. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1950s as the decor has been carefully maintained and, as you wander around the museum, it’s difficult not to sense the artist’s presence among the many artefacts, photographs, and personal items on display. For an intimate look at her life, her influences and her work, a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum is a cultural experience not to be missed.
While you’re in the neighbourhood, there are several intriguing stops in the area, including the Casa Leon Trotsky Museum (he once lived in La Casa Azul until his affair with Kahlo), the Diego Rivera Museo Anahuacalli and the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares.
Tuck into seven mouth-watering moles in Oaxaca
Did you know that Mexico’s food has been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list? The only other country that has been awarded this status is France. No luxury holiday to Mexico would be complete without sampling its national food, which varies from region to region. In Oaxaca, the variety of regional dishes is impressive, ranging from crickets, tlayuda, tetela, enfrijoladas and moles. Described as the Land of Seven Moles, Oaxaca is the place to sample the traditional moles, with each region in Oaxaca (of which there’s seven) specialising in a unique mole.
What is a mole? It is a very complex and historic sauce from Mexico that can contain more than thirty ingredients, which gets its name from the Nahuatl word molli meaning a group of thick sauces. The secret to a good mole is the blending of the flavours and the ‘low and slow’ cooking method which creates this intense, rich sauce that is served over turkey, pork, chicken and vegetables. The mole negro is the most famous and it heavily features chocolate (and chillies), which gives it its deep colour and moreish flavour. It is also the most elaborate, intimate, and time-consuming of all the moles, making this particular mole a labour of love and therefore a must-try.
This blog post has been provided by luxury, conscious travel company, SevenTravel. Please visit their website for more information on once-in-a-lifetime trips and experiences, all around the world.