SOUL OF MEXICO TOURS
Archaeology Art Culture Gastronomy Geology History Nature & More
"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware."
- Martin Buber
LA PUERTA DEL CAMINO REAL
AN EXPLORATION OF MEXICO'S SILVER HISTORY
Join Jose Luis of Zihuatanejo Tours and Soul of Mexico Tours for a fascinating and adventurous two week exploration of La Puerta del Camino Real - the doorway to Mexico's Royal Road. This region is merely one small part of Mexico's important silver trade route, which is now protected as a UNESCO heritage. We will stay in three UNESCO cities & one Pueblo Magico ghost town. We will embark on a Jeep Willy ride to the Peyote Desert, ride on horseback to a sacred Huichol Temple, head into the depths of Mina el Eden, visit a maker of pre-hispanic instruments, and explore two historical mine sites. This exciting journey will put you in touch with a part of Mexico that is lesser-discovered by foreign visitors, adding to your sense of authenticity in a country mostly regarded for her beautiful but westernized resorts.
Please Note: This journey will lead you to altitudes of 9000 feet above sea level. Please be prepared for cold evenings, and lower oxygen levels.
JOSE LUIS - GUIDE
Jose Luis of Zihuatanejo Tours has been a licensed professional guide since 1998, offering expert tours throughout Mexico. This year, Jose Luis is collaborating with Soul of Mexico Tours to guide guests into El Bajio Region of Mexico's Highlands on a two week exploration of Mexico's Silver History.
How Many Moves:
Cost Per Person:
El Bajio Region
Mar 1 - 15, 2020
14 Nights / 15 Days
City & Adventure
BOOK BY DEC 15 FOR 10% OFF
1 Night in Mexico City
3 Nights San Miguel de Allende
3 Nights Guanajuato
2 Night San Luis Potosi
3 Nights Real de Catorce
3 Nights Zacatecas
1 Dinner Party Included
Return Transportation to Mexico City
Free Wifi in all Hotels
Tour for Spanish & English Speakers
Flight from Zacatecas to Mexico City
Dr. Rossana Quiroz Ennis Museum & Guided Tour of La Canada de la Virgin Archaeological Site
Walking Tour of Guanajuato City
Entrance to Mummy Museum
La Libertad Brewery
Visit Leather Shoe Maker
Alley of the Kiss Street Performance
Talavera Shops in Dolores Hidalgo
UNESCO Church & Convent in Atotonilco
Hot Springs in Atotonilco
Winery near Mineral de Pozos
Santa Brigida Historical Mine & Hacienda
Maker of Pre-hispanic Instruments
Visit a modern working mine
Visit textile weavers in Santa Maria del Rio
Walking Tour of San Luis Potosi
Willy Jeep Ride to Peyote Desert
Horseback Riding to Puebla Fantasma
Horseback Riding to El Quemada Temple
Entrance fees to Mina el Eden
Gondola Ride to La Bufa
Visit La Quemada Archaeological Site
Entrance fees to Mask Museum and more!
Meals are not included, though we will confirm what hotels include breakfast.
Zip Lines are not included
If you don't want to horse-back ride or ride the Jeep Willy, we will refund you the cost.
0) Land in Mexico City for early departure the following morning.
1) Visit Queretaro; Dos Buhos Winery; Stay in San Miguel de Allende
2) Visit Mineral de Pozos, Dolores Hidalgo & Atotonilco
3) Enjoy San Miguel de Allende
4) Visit Canada de la Virgen; Relocate to Guanajuato City
5) Visit the Mummy Museum & the city of Leon
6) Enjoy Guanajuato City; Evening Street Theatre
7) Visit Santa Maria del Rio; Relocate to San Luis Potosi
8) Enjoy San Luis Potosi
9) Early departure for Real de Catorce; Horseback Ride to Puebla Fantasma
10) Horseback Ride to El Quemado
11) Walking Tour of Real de Catorce; Jeep Willy ride to Peyote Desert
12) Depart Real de Catorce; Relocate to Zacatecas
13) Visit Mina el Eden & La Bufa
14) Visit La Quemada Archaeological Site AM / Free Time & Last Supper
15) Fly to Mexico City for departing flights
The Ogarrio Tunnel leading into the Ghost Town of Real de Catorce measures almost 2 KM long, and is narrow, with a low ceiling. If you suffer from severe claustrophobia, we ask that you please watch this video before booking this tour. Last year, we had one guest with us who has claustrophobia, but she was able to watch this and assess that she would be okay. This tunnel can take up to five minutes to drive through - so we prefer you to be pre-warned. If you suffer from claustrophobia, we recommend you skip the two underground mine excursions, as these are narrow, dark and unnerving, even for those who don't take issue with being underground or confined.
Depart Mexico City by 6:30 AM for breakfast in the colonial city of Santiago de Queretaro. We will explore this picturesque city, departing after lunch to tour the Dos Buhos Winery. Check into our hotel in San Miguel de Allende and enjoy the evening for free time.
Notes: Please prepare coffee in your room, as there are few coffee shops open this early. We will have ample water in the van so you can refill your water bottle.
Depart San Miguel de Allende for the ruins of Santa Brigida Ex-Hacienda & Mine in Mineral de Pozos. We will descend into a working mine, visit an instrument maker, have lunch then head for Dolores Hidalgo. Here we will visit some Talavera shops, sample ice cream at the plaza and witness the location where Father Hidalgo’s infamous Cry of Dolores was delivered. From here, we will head for the hot springs in Atotonilco. As the hotsprings close at 5 PM, we will have just enough time to make a short stop at the impressive Sanctuary of Atotonilco, fondly referred to as Mexico’s own Sistine Chapel. Returning to San Miguel de Allende, we will have the evening for free time.
Notes: Please have breakfast early and be prepared to leave by 8:15 AM. Bring your bathing suit and towel
Meet in the hotel lobby at 8AM. We will first have breakfast, directly followed by our walking tour of San Miguel de Allende. Following this, you have the rest of the day to explore on your own.
This morning we depart San Miguel de Allende for Guanajuato City. Along the way, we will meet Dr. Rossana Quizo Ennis for a personalized tour of the ancient religious centre of Canada de la Virgen. We will have lunch at the onsite museum before making our way to the UNSCO city of Guanajuato.
Notes: Please have your luggage in the hotel lobby by 8AM so we can depart directly after breakfast.
This morning we will visit the Mummy Museum. We will then depart Guanajuato City for an afternoon of fun in the commercial city of Leon. Stopping first at La Libertad Brewery, we will make our way to visit the Neo-Gothic Church, Mercado La Luz and a leather shoe maker, who will show us how shoes are tailored by hand. Our final stop will be for an early dinner party with Chef Israel of El Arrecife! We will return to Guanajuato City by nightfall.
Notes: If you have sensitivities to death or bodies on display in museums, please be warned that the Mummy Museum is sinister and disturbing to some guests. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, please let us know prior to visiting Leon. Leon is famous for it’s leather production, so this may be distressing for some visitors. We will try our best to find another activity for you while the others tour the leather shops.
This morning we will meet at 9 AM for a walking tour of Guanajuato City, followed by an afternoon of free time. Our walking tour will include the Alhondiga de Granadita, where Father Hidalgo’s head hung in a basket on one of the corners for 10 years. We will also visit Diego Rivera’s birth home and the Hidalgo Mercado. After lunch, we will break apart for free time. This evening, please meet us at the Juarez Theatre by 7:50 for an evening street theatre performance. (We will show you where this is during our walking tour).
Notes: Please also wear comfortable shoes for the street theatre performance, as we will be walking.
This morning, we will depart our neighbourhood after breakfast for the Victorian neighborhood of Guajanuato. This is a chance to see just how ornate and opulent a city the riches of a mining industry can build. After lunch, we will begin our journey to the textile town of Santa Maria del Rio – with San Luis Potosi as our final destination.
Notes: Please have your luggage downstairs by 8 AM so we are ready to depart directly following breakfast. If you need to do laundry, please have it prepared by morning so we can hand it over to the front desk upon check-in this evening.
This morning we will enjoy breakfast and a walking tour of this magnificent and under-rated colonial city. If anyone is interested, we can take an evening bus tour of the city.
This morning we will depart San Luis Potosi by 8 AM for the curious ghost town of Real de Catorce. Upon arrival in this crumbling but picturesque village, we will enjoy an afternoon on horseback to the ruins of Puebla Fantasma. Pack your wits and your telephoto lens, if you have one – this journey offers incredible vistas and views from 11,000 feet altitude to the Peyote desert at 6,000 feet altitude below (if it isn’t foggy!)
Notes: Please have your luggage downstairs by 7:30 AM for departure directly after breakfast. If you suffer from claustrophobia, please do not miss the video of the Ogarrio Tunnel – as this is the only way in and out of the town. Please ask us about the horseback riding!
This morning, we will meet for breakfast at 8 AM, departing by 9 AM for our second journey on horseback – to the sacred Huichol temple of El Quemada. The ride takes about 1 hour each way, and requires a short (15 mins) but steep hike up to the final destination – a peak situated at 11,000 + feet altitude. Upon returning to Real de Catorce, we will enjoy a free afternoon to wander the town and browse through the fun stores.
Please Note: Though this trek is less steep than the trek to Puebla Fantasma, the foot-work is tricky for the horses. We will move slowly, but please be warned this ride is more challenging than a beginners ride on a flat and grassy field.
This morning, we will head out on a walking tour to the far reaches of the small village, to explore the old cock-fighting stadium, an old bull ring, and the ruins of an interesting church that has burials right up to the entrance, and even under the floors. From here, we will hitch a ride on horses to the centre of town – where we will climb into a 1950’s Jeep Willy for a sensational (if not hair-raising) adventure down a ravine-edged, hand-built road, dropping us to 6000 feet in the space of 1/2 an hour, or so. We will stop at a beautiful and interesting mine site, then head to the desert in search of the elusive peyote.
Notes: The Huichol people are strictly forbidden from sharing peyote with visitors, and it is considered offensive to ask. The Peyote ceremonies are highly sacred, and not to be confused with entertainment or tourism.
This morning we will depart Real de Catorce, heading for the fantastic UNESCO city of Zacatecas. Upon arriving in the city, we will head immediately for lunch, followed by a visit to the Rafael Coronel Mask Museum. We will check into our hotel on time to rest a little before dinner.
Notes: There is only one bathroom stop between Real de Catorce and Zacatecas, besides the one right outside the Ogarrio Tunnel.
Following breakfast this morning, we will walk up to Mina el Eden for a short (and very dark) ride into the depths of darkness – where a fossil museum is housed alongside an amazing tour of this historic mine. We will ride an elevator back to daylight, climbing a short distance to a gondola that will carry us across the colorful scenery to La Bufa. For those of you who love adrenaline, here’s your chance to ride on zip lines. From La Bufa, you have the opportunity to climb to the top of the mound, browse in the small shops, purchase beads from Huichol women, enjoy the scenic vistas of the city, and rest. From here, we will ride the gondola back and head back down into the city to continue exploring.
Notes: If you suffer from claustrophobia, it would be wise for you to skip the Mina el Eden experience. For those who love night-clubs, you have the unique opportunity to have a drink in the worlds only night club that is built inside a mine – as the club is open on Fridays from 4-11.
This morning we will head out to the ancient city of La Quemada. Built up the side of a desolate hill with barren surroundings, this razed city holds much mystery to archaeologists, and is a picturesque beauty to behold. We will return to Zacatecas for lunch and our last afternoon of free time. This evening, we have reservations at a beautiful hotel-restaurant, that is built inside of an old bull-fighting ring!
Sadly, this is our day of departure to Mexico City. We hope you have had a wonderful time exploring the Bajio region, and Mexico’s silver history. We hope you consider joining us for another tour in future – and wish you a safe journey home!