Days 1-5: San Miguel

The trip was 9 50+ women who went to high school together reunited with a visit to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The city is super quaint and colorful and has cobblestone streets (and hills) everywhere (so be sure to wear running shoes or equivalent so you won’t trip or twist an ankle) and is a great place for this type of girls trip. Couple notes:

-Wander wander wander

-Taxis are cheap

-Really nice vibe and people

-Large expat community

-Lots of great restaurants

Mon Day 1: 

Flew into Leon airport in the afternoon. I had booked a ride ahead of time online via BajioGo – $24pp for the 1.5 hour van ride to the house we were staying at in San Miguel. Arrive early evening and had dinner at the house via a couple who came in to cook for our group of 9. Beautiful house was booked via HomeAway had a pool and was about a 15 minute walk from the city center. Those who had arrived the day before did a walking tour of the city center that morning.

Tues Day 2:

This was cooking day. An expat couple Lee Duberman and Richard Fink ran a restaurant in Vermont for many years until they retired to San Miguel. They now offer cooking classes upon demand (contact them via their website or email at and they also host popular pizza nights on their rooftop every other Sunday when they are in town (you can also ask to be on their mailing lists – this is how they publicize the pizza nights as well). They also have 3 rooms they run as a B and B. Our full day included:

Walking up the (steep) hill to their home

Going to the bustling tuesday market as Lee purchased items from her favorite vendors Back at their house we joined Lee as she prepared over 7 dishes/sauces etc from scratch, explaining to us along the way what she was doing – and we helped in some of the prep as well. Gives so much appreciation for all the work that goes into a big Mexican meal like this. 

After prep was done we enjoyed margaritas on their rooftop deck, followed by the incredible meal

After a walk home we swam and relaxed for the evening after this special day with a wonderful, talented couple. 

Wed Day 3

From Lee the day before we learned about a great local class. From 10-11am we joined a salsa/exercise class. Super fun and only cost about $1.50!. Check schedule but it’s walk in and offers other classes as well. It’s a must!

Right around the corner from the class is the Mercado de Artesanias.  Definitely work exploring as there are great buys on silver jewelry, crafts, bags and textiles (the textile store is towards the very end on the right that sells rugs, napkins etc and is the only one there that sells those specific items). There is no hard sell, no haggling – it’s very calm and casual and not a stressful market experience. Much purchasing was done! 

Lunch at La Bella Italia on the square. (another great lunch place very close to the market is the Inside Cafe, where we went another day but would be great to do before or after the on their rooftop -breakfast and lunch spot). La Bella Italia was a great location right on the square so you get a sense of where things are/what’s going on. 

Post lunch we wandered the streets around the central square exploring all the little hidden shopping spots. 

Afternoon swims, leftovers for dinner

Thurs day 4

In the morning we walked up (maybe 40 mins up hill) to the botanical gardens and wandered for an hour or so. It was nice but not a show stopper. Took taxis back down to lunch., coz

Lunch at popular breakfast/lunch spot Lavanda. It has a great inside cozy courtyard and is known for its egg dishes (although all were good). There can be lines for brunch given its popularity.

1.5 hour massage at The Spa. It’s right in the downtown area and offers massages, facials etc. I booked ahead just that morning and it was great – and can’t beat the price – $30 for 90 minutes.

Dinner at The Restaurant – beautiful courtyard dining. 

After dinner we walked to the main square to hear music, as there was a festival starting that night. 

Then we walked to rooftop drinks at the beautiful Rosewood Hotel to end the evening with a sweeping view of the city.

Fri day 5

Some of our group left early morning.

Late morning quick trip back to market for a couple of last things!

Lunch at Inside Cafe. Great casual breakfast and lunch spot with coffee bar and rooftop casual dining. Bring your laptop to catch up on work or come with friends to hang out . Know. For their grilled cheese (‘best on earth’) but great salads and other breakfast fare as well

4:30 Took 4 hour bus to Mexico City via Primera Plus which we’d booked online ahead of time for $25 (very large comfy bus with individual video screens, reclining seats). Arrived Mexico City North bus station  8:30pm and got cab to our B&B The Red Tree House (a bit hectic finding a cab after our Uber couldn’t’ find good place to pick us up).

Upon checking in realized we were one suitcase short….! The staff at Red Tree House COULD NOT HAVE BEEN KINDER OR MORE HELPFUL (this night and for the duration of our stay). We had aa two bedroom/living room/kitchen apartment which was so reasonably priced. Two of our group of 3 were having stomach issues and not feeling well and they took incredible care of us. The following day a miracle occurred as the taxi driver BROUGHT BACK the suitcase that had been left in his trunk. We had nothing but kindness from everyone we encountered on this trip. 

Sat day 6 – Mexico City

Note: There is tons to do in Mexico City and we barely scratched the surface. There are lots of museums (and we only had time for one), lots of great restaurants and things to do. We didn’t have time to visit the pyramids either. We loved what we did though and fit a lot into a couple of days.

Took Uber to Freida Khalo Museum. (Ubers are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP and great way to get around!!!)  Had tour booked ahead via Context Tours (worldwide tours with incredible guides). The informative and completely enjoyable 4 hour tour (10:30-1:30) included:  

Frida Khalo Museum

Trotsky House

Diego River mosaic mural

Frieda and Diego house

Lunch at Hotel del Angel which is right across street from the Frieda/Diego homes and has a beautiful restaurant and inside the courtyard for drinks/snacks.

Wandered the Saturday market which is walking (or Uber) distance. 

Dinner at Califia Taqueria- casual chain that has super good food and is open until 3am. 

Sun day 7

Downtown ‘Centro’ morning: 

-National Palace to see the Diego murals – incredible (be sure to have ID when you enter as you leave it and then pick it up at the end – one per group). 

– We skipped the tour of Templo Mayor as the line was too long but we were able to view the ruins from outside (just missed the museum with prehispanic pieces)

– Visited Metropolitan Cathedral in the central square

– Walked down Madero Street – a pedestrian street with lots of people and stores. 

– Decided not to go up the Latin American Tower (you can get a great view of the city)

– Went to the Folk Art Museum (Museo de Art Popular) just off the Madero Street – really enjoyed the collection that showcases Mexican handicrafts and folk art in a beautiful space

– Grabbed a bite of tacos

– Wandered the Condesa and Roma districts. A lot was closed due to it being Sunday but enjoyed walking from Red Tree House up Amsterdam Ave around the far side of the park and then in Roma walked up Zacatecas and took a left on Orizaba and walked up to the Plaza Rio de Janeiro. Good restaurants in that area are Lalo! (a popular breakfast spot but also serves lunch) and Macelleria. 

– Dinner at El Capital in Condesa which was enjoyed by all

Mon day 8

Note: lots of museums and activities are closed on Mondays so plan accordingly! 

We took a 10am-12 Roma street art tour via Street Art Chilango – booked via Airbnb. Street Art Chilanga offers tours on Saturday directly and also offers tours via Airbnb Experiences. Our tour ended up being a private one, which was great, and our guide Chris was so knowledgeable and friendly that the two hours flew by and we loved seeing the murals of the area and learning about the artists and the histories and meanings of the (ever-changing) pieces.

Grabbed luggage and grabbed Uber to the airport!

Sunday March 24

Fly to Mexico City & Uber to Casa Decu in Condessa.

Dinner at Califafor a variety of tacos, pastors, beers, guacamole, wine, etc …

Monday March 25

uberxl to Museo Suyama – opened at 1030. Got thru security – has to check backpacks and candy – and walked spiral staircase to top and worked our way down. Kind of an obscene amount of art – top floor mostly Rodin – looked like a Rodin graveyard – and then some girlandaios and Cranach and tons of others. Entry contained rodin’s doors of hell and the thinker. Ubered to sanborns house of tiles for a terrible lunch (taquitos, weird wings for Duncan, guac, enchiladas in green soup, chiliquilis) but an interesting building … with an orozco mural in the stairway … strolled to post office to see Art Deco stairwell and birdcage elevator and quite an impressive space for a post office. Walked to public education building and signed in and say three floors of Diego Rivera murals painted in 1924-25 … amazing depictions of life of the rich and the poor … walked to metropolitan cathedral via a stop for drinks (temp around 80 and a bit windy) – a hodge lodge of designs – a smaller cathedral attached that they called a tabernacle and then the big cathedral which is the seat of Roman Catholic Church in Mexico … ubered to Roma and met Chris our guide for the Street Art Chilango tour – a two hour walk around roma where we learned about the different street artists and movements and graffiti artists etc … went to el Moro for churros and “little consolations” – churro ice cream sandwiches … Uber back to hotel. Dinner at Azul – sat upstairs and had chicken mole, tortilla soup etc . . .

Tuesday March 26

Up early, Kate and I went for juices nearby at ojo … super yummy. Ubered to coyocan for our Context frida Diego love story tour and got there early .. so we walked around … found a good market but it wasn’t really open … Met our guide Julio left of museum door at 10:15 … we had 1030 tickets so he talked about the house and then we went in and sat in the garden and learned other stuff before we entered the house … had only one photography ticket per group and it fell to me. it was amazing to see her art, her studio, her daytime bedroom with mirror above the bed for self portrait, the nighttime bedroom … the urn with her ashes .. her easel and wheelchair … the gardens were beautiful and the house next door had an exhibit with her clothing, jewels, some givenchy riffs of her clothing. Walked from there to Leon Trotsky’s house – very barricaded from the steeet cause of threat of Assisination, Windows were plastered over, he had a few study areas where he worked on writings and again nice gardens where he grew cacti and raised chickens. Got in an Uber and drove to theater that had a huge Diego mosaic mural above it … and then drove to sant angel to the studios of frida and Diego … separates by a bridge. Didn’t see fridas but Diego’s was cool with all these Judas’s and artifacts etc … a cacti fence surrounded it. Ubered back to hotel and walked to Mercado Roma for a drink. Walked to Merkava for dinner …. middle eastern food – pretty amazing … roasted cauliflower, hummus, couldn’t make empanadas or lamb due to power outage, chicken Kabab s for girls, meat kebabs that looked like long sausages for the boys. walked back to hotel …

Wednesday, March 27

Up early, grabbed coffee and croissant at ojo and took uber to museo templo mayor .. met Ignacio our Context Tour guide and had a nice tour of the museum … After, we went around the corner to the Palacio National – there was a short line and we went in to this gorgeous cloistered complex where the President lives but also where Diego painted a ton of murals. One couldn’t wear sunglasses inside and security was tight cause it is the Presidents residence. Then we walked to the belles artes … but only walked in … and then walked across alameda park to the Diego mural museum to see dream of a Sunday afternoon in alameda park – fab. Took Uber to to Polanco. We went to el bajio for lunch around 145 – good guacamole and tacos and quesadillas and tostadas and cervezas … walked to Oronco – I got candlesticks and placemats and then walked to Lagos DF and Irea? And adidas and Zara. Polanco is the hi end of CDMX and in places it felt like Paris. Still, not a lot of stuff we were tempted to buy … oh, I got a short rain coat at Zara. Uber back to hotel – went for pizza dinner at ardente – super good – part of the Napoleon pizza group … Walked back to hotel.

Thursday, March 28th

Girls went to Ojo for sit down breakfast … Lee and I had avocado toast with eggs and sprouts and truffle something … I had a green juice and some of Martha’s almond croissant … kate had plainish croissant …walked around hotel with Lee and then said our goodbys … we ubered to anthropology museum and loved the space and focused on Aztecs and Mayan … big school groups in track suits were crowding up the place.

Walked to a very cool starbucks and strolled through Chapultepec Park … then caught an Uber to Luis Barragan house. We were 45 mins early so we sat in the garden and walked around … at 1230 they let us in and we put on our blue booties and began our hour tour of his house and studio. Amazing. Fun use of pink and yellow … ubered to Lalo in Roma for a yummy lunch – stuffed zucchini flowers with mole and jam, Kate got carbonara and Martha and I split a corned beef sandwich on great bread … walked to Roma quince … cool but bought nothing … then walked to carla Fernández via delicio – nothing – then walked to 180 – nothing – and to Rosetta bakery – jammed – and then up to candy shop – disappointing. Got in uber to market – I got a frida picture and Kate got a felt heart tassel … then we ubered to Downtown shops where downtown hotel is … nice shops but nothing … and ubered back to hotel. Got beers at corona store and sat on roof … then went to la capital for dinner. Pleasantly surprised after an initial thought that it was not going to be good .. lots of Americans … had guac with fried plaintains and potato chips … and shrimp tacos that were rolled and a beef tortilla thing … kate had penne with goat cheese but she didn’t eat much of it … margaritas for mms and Kate, Spanish white wine for me. Walked back to hotel.


Up early and coffee on roof and packed and went to ojo for purify and almond croissant split. Great people watching. checked out of hotel around 830 and ubered to airport.

Three day trip to Mexico City. We stayed in a wonderful B and B named Red Tree House in the Condessa neighborhood. People at Red Tree House were so helpful and knowledgable. They serve a yummy, authentic Mexican breakfast every morning. We stayed in a lovely 3 bedroom apartment which was perfect for our family of 6. Highlights included 2 Context Tours, the Making of Mexico and the day trip out to the Pyramids. Both were great. Trip to Frida Kahlo Museum and Diego River and Frida studio were both worthwhile. Our Street Art Walking Tour with the group called Street Art Chilango in the Roma neighborhood was really interesting. We also loved the Museo Suyama and the folk art museum called Museo de Arte Popular. Great dinners at Azul and La Capital, both within walking distance of the Red Tree Inn. Great breakfast spot near hotel is called Ojo, which has great juices, smoothies, pastries and sandwiches. Best meal was in Roma at seafood restaurant called La Contramar. Great shopping for market goods at Mercardo Artesenal Mexicano. We found fun baskets, jewelry, bags etc. Uber is readily available and so cheap.

Hotel:We stayed at the Playa Mambo. Small huts on the beach. Run by a young couple from S.America. There are tons of places, just make sure that it’s on the beach and not across the street from the beach.

Town:There is no need to go into the town of Tulum. Just stay at the area on the beach! The Tulum beach road where all the hotels are is a great place to ride a bike and explore the few shops and restaurants.

Car:recommend having one – much easier to get around than taxis etc. Unless you plan to just be at the beach and not go to ruins, cynotes etc. If you are just at beach then maybe don’t need one.

Food:There is one totally hip spot – just before the Amansala Resort which is where all the stars etc go but I can’t remember the name!!!! I think it may be El Tabano….which is on the list I’m sending.

Activities: SOOOO many things to do besides the awesome beach!Ruins:

-We went to the ruins at Coba that are not right in Tulum (there are Tulum ruins super close by) but were told that you can’t climb on those any more etc and that the other ones which are about half hour drive are one of the last ones that you can climb up to see the area etc. They were really good. We got a guide for the first part and then rented bikes and a little bike tuk tuk type thing and explored the rest of the ruins that way (a long walk). Our bike driver guy also acted as a guide. Totally worth doing these ruins. There is a cynote right next to the ruins as well but Taber was sick so we didn’t go.

-Cenotes:HAVE TO DO THESE! There are lots of these underground swimming rivers/holes etc in the area. You can go on your own or you can go on a tour. We did a tour which cost a lot more but our guides were TERRIFIC and took us to three very different ones.If they want to do them on their own, the three we went to were:

-Dolphins etc: En route from the airport you pass the place where you can swim with dolphins, manatees etc – it’s within a huge complex. We did this and it was really fun! The one we did was called Dolphin Discovery.

-Rio Secreto:A bit of a drive from Tulum (closer to Playa Del Carman) this is a place where you do a few hours walking and swimming through an underground river in caves. Was beautiful and we loved that too!

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