Mexico City and Surroundings

A 10-Day Sample Itinerary

Mexican Catholic Shrines

Take a pilgrim tour deep into Mexico City and outward to its beautiful surroundings with Catholic Heritage Tours. We provide a rich and meaningful experience in the heart of Mexico’s Catholic population.

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Flight to Mexico City

Depart the U.S.for your destination,Mexico City. There, your tour escort will be there to greet you at the gate and take you to your hotel. A little time to relax and settle in before a welcome dinner to give you a pleasant opportunity to meet your fellow travelers and plan on the days ahead. (WD)

 

Day 2: Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Tulpetlac and Tlalpan

After breakfast, begin your pilgrimage in earnest with a visit to the site of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Walk from the Basilica at the foot of the hill, where, inside, is displayed the Tilma of Saint Juan Diego on which Our Lady’s image is imprinted by a supernatural phenomenon. From there, ascend the hill of Tepeyac to see the whole complex which includes the original Basilica, where the apparitions took place, the first hermitage, the Indian Chapel and the Holy Water Well. Plenty of time to visit at leisure and pray will be allotted for this important visit. After lunch, head to Tulpetlac Church, site of the fifth apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Bernardino, Juan Diego’s uncle, when he was miraculously cured by her intercession. Then, enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure at the lovely colonial area of Tlalpan, a popular visit for its old buildings, houses and lovely plaza. Dinner is independent in one of the several very typical restaurants nearby. Return to the hotel for overnight. (B)

 

Day 3: Mexico City, historic downtown.

Today’s program includes visits to the main churches and buildings of downtown Mexico City. Start at the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest in Latin America. It is a beautiful colonial building of mixed styles due to the length of time it took to build. Inside, visit the fourteen chapels that are open to the public, then step next-door to the Tabernacle, a highly-detailed building used to distribute the Holy Eucharist and for archiving and registers. Next to the Cathedral, see the archaeological excavations of the main Aztec Temple on which the Cathedral was built. Continue walking to the Saint Dominic Plaza and Church, which is where the first monastery to be built in New Spain stood, and later became the first university and the seat of the Holy Inquisition during colonial times. Then, visit the Churches of Saint Francis and La Profesa, established by the Jesuits in the 16th C, and which is a site where historical events took place and known for its artwork by colonial-era artists. End the tour near the Santa Veracruz Square, to visit the Santa Veracruz Church, one of the oldest religious establishments in Mexico City, built by a religious brotherhood founded by Hernan Cortes. Then, the Saint John of God Church, and the Church of Saint Hipolito, where is housed a miraculous statue of Saint Jude Thaddeus. Enjoy lunch at a typical Cantina, then head to Xochimilco, a delightful and popular visit: There, a boat ride on the canals surrounded by the Aztec floating gardens will take you to the XVI C. Saint Bernardino Monastery. After a little free time, dinner, then overnight. (B, L, D)

 

 Day 4: Teotihuacán

After breakfast, head out of the city to nearby Teotihuacan to see the ancient pyramids of the Sun and Moon, and to experience the view from inside the extraordinary Temple of Quetzalcoatl. This archaeological site is a not-to-be missed attraction and for good reason. The imposing pyramid of the sun, which one can climb, although the arduous climb is not for everyone, is the third largest pyramid in the world. From its summit, or even that of the smaller pyramid of the moon, the views of the surroundings and mountains are stunning. Gain insight into the life of the Aztecs with a visit to the local museum. After a full half-day at the site, including time for souvenir shopping there, return to the hotel for some free time, to rest or explore further. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B, D)

 

Day 5: Mexico City: Museum and Xochimilco

This morning is dedicated to the National Museum of Anthropology and the nearby Museum of History, the former which holds amazing exhibits of pre-colonial Mexico and displays the culture of the civilizations that populated the region before the discovery of America. The other presents life in Mexico after the colonization. In the afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on the canals of the Aztec floating gardens, a delightful visit, and a stop at the XVI San Bernardino Monastery. Dinner and overnight in Mexico City. (B, D)

 

Day 6: Mexico City – Tlaxcala – Puebla

Leave Mexico City to head southeast to the colonial city of Puebla, Mexico’s fourth largest city, best known for the beautiful talavera tiles that adorn the buildings. En route, stop in Tlaxcala, a lovely colonial city, to visit the Blessed First Martyrs Shrine, which honors the three children who at the ages of 11 and 12 were clubbed and burned to death for their Catholic Faith. Continue to the Shrine of San Miguel del milagro, also in Tlaxcala, where St. Michael the Archangel appeared to Diego Lazaro in 1631. Visit the grotto with its healing waters. Then, on a hill above the city, visit the twin-towered Basilica of Ocotlan, one of the most lavish Churrigueresque churches in Mexico. The miracle of Our Lady of Ocotlan began in 1541 when Juan Diego Bernardino was graced by an apparition of the Blessed Mother, who provided him with some water that speedily restored the health of his relatives suffering from smallpox. Our Lady said her image would be found at the location of the miraculous spring from which the water had been taken; the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Ocotlan was discovered within the trunk of a fire-damaged tree. Enjoy some free time to explore Tlaxcala’s colonial downtown. Later in the afternoon, finish the trip to Puebla for dinner, with an offering of typical Poblano dishes. (B, D)

 

Day 7: Puebla – Cuernavaca

Tour the downtown area with visits to the magnificent Cathedral, and the Baroque Chapel of the Rosary at the Church of St. Dominic, one of the most elaborately decorated chapels in Mexico. Then, tour the Museum of St. Monica, built around an attractively decorated tile-and-brick cloister. This 17th century convent was used to hide nuns during the years of clerical persecution. In the church of the convent, there is a miraculous statute of Our Lord of the Wonders that depicts Jesus Christ carrying His cross, very much venerated by the locals. Later on, visit a ceramic workshop to have a glance at the manufacturing of the world-renowned Talavera pottery. In the afternoon, travel to Cuernavaca, a pleasant and attractive city, with enough time to settle at the hotel before dinner. (B, D)

 

Day 8: Cuernavaca – Malinalco – Tepotzotlán – Queretaro

Cuernavaca, nicknamed the City of Eternal Spring, has been a favorite destination for royalty and nobility from Aztec times. After a sightseeing tour of this lovely city, visit, in Tlaltenango, a neighborhood of Cuernavaca, the Church of San José and the Church of Nuestra Señora de los Milagros. The first is one of the oldest churches in Mexico, built in the early 16th C. Two centuries later Our Lady appeared to members of this village, prompting the building of the second church, built in 1730. From there, travel to Malinalco, where a miraculous crucifix, the Christ of Chalma, is venerated. When the area was being evangelized, in approximately 1537, the crucifix appeared miraculously, replacing one of the Aztec idols which was found broken on the ground. Continue to Tepotzotlán, a town which was a major educational center during the colonial period when the Jesuits established the College of San Francisco Javier in the 16th C. Visit the stunning Cathedral, whose walls are almost completely covered in gold decorations. Then, visit the beautiful cloister and Museo del Virreinato, with one of the largest collections of art and other objects from this time period. Afterward, finish the last leg of the trip to Queretaro, a colonial treasure recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city before checking in at the hotel for the night. (B, D)

 

Day 9: Queretaro – Guanajuato

This morning, enjoy visits to the Holy Cross Convent, from which the great missionaries of the time went forth to carry the Faith and Western Culture to the northern Regions. Afterwards, two sumptuous 18th C. churches: St. Clare and St. Rose of Viterbo. Each has profusely carved altarpieces that form a floor-to-ceiling tapestry of foliage, shells, cherubs, and clouds. Santa Rosa is also notable for its sacristy with life-size statues of Christ and the twelve apostles. Enjoy lunch downtown at the Independence Plaza, a charming square, then travel northwest to Mexico’s most beautiful mining city, Guanajuato, also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. There, start with a visit to La Valenciana. A silver and gold mine began here in the mid-1500s and boomed two centuries later. In gratitude for the wealth obtained, the most spectacular of Guanajuato’s churches was built. This 18th century building is dedicated to St. Cayetano of Siena. The Baroque interior has three splendid gold and polychrome altars and a pulpit inlaid with tortoiseshells and ivory. Then, in downtown Guanajuato, visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato. This 17th century church contains a bejeweled sculpture of the city’s patron saint, the Virgin Mary, on a solid silver pedestal. Reputed to date from the 7th century, it is considered to be the oldest piece of Christian art in Mexico. Some free time before dinner and overnight in Guanajuato. (B, D)

 

Day 10: Guanajuato – Tula – Mexico City

Return to Mexico City today. A stop in Tula de Allende will give you the opportunity to visit a very interesting archaeological site, the capital of the Toltecs. There, climb the pyramids to get a close-up view of the huge statues of warriors which stand guard at the top. The site also has several Chac Mool, the reclining figures portraying the god of rain, and ball courts, where the decorated stone hoops stand vertically instead of horizontally. After this respite, finish the trip to Mexico City with time to relax before a special farewell dinner to toast the success of your pilgrimage. (B, FD)

 

Day 10: Flight back to the US

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to the US. (B)

 

 

 

* (BB) Breakfast * (D) Dinner * (WD) Welcome Dinner * (FD) Farewell Dinner

 

 

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