This is a capsule with a difference.. We will explore Mexico City and the pyramids of course… as also the Yucatan area with the famous Chichén Itzá. But we will cover it all in the flavor of chocolate. There are many legends about the world’s favorite sweet… But I will leave that out for you to hear in this experience. This impressed us almost as much as the ancient monuments, pyramids and temples in Mexico and hence we decided that it would be interesting to view all the history through the lens of a chocolate aficionado..
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This is a capsule with a difference… We will explore Mexico City and the pyramids of course… as also the Yucatan area with the famous Chichen Itza… But we will cover it all in the flavor of chocolate… Why chocolate you may ask… And rightfully so – let me tell you a short story about the history of chocolate…
Did you know that the word “chocolate” comes from the Classical Nahuatl word chocol?tl, and entered the English language from Spanish? Chocolate, the fermented, beverages dates back to 1900 BC – the Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the God of wisdom, and the seeds had so much value they were used as a form of currency. It was used by the Olmecs as a religious medicinal drink and then by the Mayans who believed that it is the food of the rain deity Kon.
After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, chocolate was imported to Europe. There, it quickly became a court favourite. It was still served as a beverage, but the Spanish added sugar or honey to counteract the natural bitterness. Within about a hundred years, chocolate established a foothold throughout Europe… And that’s how chocolate came to be the favourite of all of us across the world…
There are many legends about the world’s favorite sweet… But I will leave that out for you to hear in this experience…
This impressed us almost as much as the ancient monuments, pyramids and temples in Mexico and hence we decided that it would be interesting to view all the history through the lens of a chocolate aficionado…
Arrive in Mexico City, get transferred to your hotel and relax after a sampling the local food over dinner…
Head out to Coyoacan, the “place of those who have coyotes”, the place where Cortés prepared his war strategy for the conquest of the Aztecs. Walk around and explore this city which was one of the first colonial settlements and admire the museums, the paintings and the architecture.
Then on to Xochimilco, “The place of flowers” – one of the most picturesque and colorful areas of Mexico City, and one of the last remaining vestiges of the old Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan; Explore this old town with its canals, floating gardens and brightly decorated “trajineras” (the traditional Mexican equivalent of a gondola). Enjoy the lively atmosphere on the canals and enjoy a delicious local lunch on the boat.
Embark on a guided walking tour of the town visiting the Cathedral, Palaces and the ruins of the Templo Mayor, one of the most important temples of the Aztecs in their ancient capital city of Tenochtitlan. After a tiring day, head back to your hotel for some rest and recreation (B).
Hot-air balloon adventure
An early morning start to experience the Teotihuacan Pyramids like few people have done – looking down on them from the sky! This is a unique hot-air balloon adventure to catch breathtaking aerial views of the City of the Gods and its astonishing pyramids. Then cycle to San Martin Las Piramides, a small town near the pyramids of Teotihuacan, to see how the Pulque liquid is extracted from the Maguey plant to make the Agua Miel, a sap that turns into an alcoholic beverage which has been produced for millennia in Central Mexico. Have some of the heady brew if you wish, before a traditional light breakfast served by a local family in a beautiful countryside scenery. Next stop will be the archaeological site of Teotihuacan. Learn about, admire and climb the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon and walk down the Avenue of the Dead with a historian/archaeologist. Get back to Mexico City to freshen up at the hotel and head out for an authentic Mexican dinner at one of the traditional and colorful cantinas of Mexico City. (B)
Early in the morning, transfer to the Airport to take your flight to Merida. Get transferred to your hotel in the city and spend the rest of the day at leisure strolling around this quaint colonial town. (B)
Explore the thriving and historic Yucatan City discover its colonial architecture, churches and monuments and listen to the legends and stories behind this ancient city. Head out to a boutique Chocolate store and understand the various methods of extraction and preparation of chocolate – of course you can also taste the yummy products while listening to the legends of chocolate…(B)
World Heritage site
Head out for an excursion to the Uxmal Archeological Site, that means “built three times” in the Mayan language and though its name is a mystery, its beauty is not. As a World Heritage site, it is one of the best restored and maintained ruins in the Yucatan, and certainly one of the most magnificent. Its architecture, some of the most majestic of the Yucatan ruins, is characterized by low horizontal palaces set around courtyards, decorated with rich sculptural elements and details. And then on to a Chocolate Museum; for an interactive and cultural experience to learn all about the Cacao, taste a traditional chocolate drink; learn about the pre-Hispanic methods of ceramic making process and finally witness a Mayan Ceremony to round up a set of unforgettably educative experiences… If that’s not all, take in an intimate visit to a local Maya family where age old traditions are still maintained; a delicious earth cooked banana leaf wrapped meal of Pollo and Cochinita Pibil awaits, enjoy the meal while you learn about the seasoning and methods involved in preparation of this delicious traditional dish and learn about their daily life in a close encounter with culture! (B, L)
City of Izamal
Head out for a half day private tour to the City of Izamal where you will visit the magical Franciscan monastery and explore the mysterious Yellow City known as a Mexican Magic Town, enjoy a traditional lunch at Kinich restaurant spend free time in town and continue towards Chichén Itzá, at arrival settle into your lovely hotel and spend rest of evening at leisure. (B)
New Seven Wonders of the World
Explore Chichén Itzá; chosen as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. In its time, this amazing place was one of the largest cities with the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site. Your guide will introduce you to the daily life of the Mayans, the history of the over 1,500-year-old pyramids and the significance of the name Chichén Itzá. Then hop over to the “CHOCO-STORY CHICHEN”, a store that pleases the most demanding chocolate lovers with a variety of fine chocolates and cocoa products. Go for refreshing swim at one of the best Mayan Cenotes in the area, before heading to the town of Valladolid, the first capital city of the Yucatan, today a bustling Mayan city with a special colonial flavor. After a full day, head off towards Riviera Maya and rest of evening at leisure. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – 10:
Completely at leisure… Have fun, flirt with the sea, sip on tall drinks while reading a book, pamper yourself at the spa, go swimming, laze around by the sea, in short, have a super relaxed Caribbean beach holiday to work off the hard working travel of the last few days… (B, D everyday)
Head out to Cancun airport for your flight back home after a few days of culture, chocolate, history and hedonism… (B)