Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Sunset over La Parroquia in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Sunset over La Parroquia in San Miguel de Allende. Photo: Traveler Miichael Ruma

Having visited numerous beach locations in Mexico, we hoped to learn more about the country’s colonial history and traditions with a visit to the Heart of Mexico…San Miguel de Allende. After contacting Wendy via her website, we were swiftly introduced to Zach Rabinor. Without any real knowledge of non-coastal locations in Mexico, we leaned significantly on Zach’s keen understanding of the Mexican landscape, culture, and food scene. Zach answered our call, listened deftly to our specific wants and needs, and fashioned a wonderful week of fun in Mexico.

Getting to San Miguel involved a short flight from Dallas to the Aeropuerto Internacional de Guanajuato. With a small number of flights each day, our arrival was seamless, efficient and enjoyable…unlike so many other large international city destinations. We were greeted by Jaime, our local driver guide for the week, and were whisked away to the Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende. Upon our arrival to the beautiful city of San Miguel, we were pleased not to have to worry about navigating its cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways in a rental car. Met with mezcal cocktails, we completed our check in and were guided to our suite with a gorgeous rooftop view of the Parroquia de San Miguel. Our room with a separate living room with dark woods and navy fabrics set the scene of a grand traditional Mexican hacienda with the soothing sounds of a small fountain with a central courtyard. The recipient of innumerable awards for hospitality, the Casa de Sierra Nevada provided a beautiful environment within steps of the entire town of San Miguel.

On our first morning after a relaxing breakfast, we were met by a private guide who introduced us to the walkable, but hilly city of San Miguel. We visited numerous parks, church squares, markets, and art galleries. While visiting La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, we experienced one of the hundreds of traditional religious celebrations occurring in the city nearly every other day. After a full day of sightseeing, we sipped some local wine and enjoyed our rooftop view of the city.

Receiving numerous suggestions on dining in San Miguel de Allende prior to our arrival, we sampled a contemporary Mexican restaurant, a resident sushi spot, as well as traditional street taco place with loads of locals in a residential part of town. Dishes included tuna tostadas at Ryoko, tacos with queso de Oaxaca and arrachera at Brasimix, as well as braised short ribs at Atrio. All the food delighted our taste buds and was enjoyed immensely.

After a private cooking class the following day and wandering around all the sights and sounds of San Miguel, we enjoyed a grand private tour of Cuna de Tierra, the first and oldest winery of Guanajuato. Met by the sommelier on property, we were poured a glass of Mexican Nebbiolo and driven in an all-terrain vehicle throughout the vines. Well informed of the history of the vineyard, its numerous awards, and extensive viticulture offerings, we then sat down for a delectable four-course tasting menu with wine pairing. We sampled Mexican rosé, semillon, cabernet sauvignon, and their flagship wine, Pago de Vega, a Bordeaux blend. Each of the wines paired well with the inventive menu and locally sourced ingredients. We purchased several bottles which we savored over the remaining nights’ cocktail hours before our trip concluded.

On our last two days in Mexico, we stayed in Guanajuato, famed for one of the largest silver mines in the world as well as its renowned university. We saw all the city taking in the Teatro Juarez, a market building built by Gustave Eiffel, and its maze of underground street tunnels. Well known for its culinary delights, we tried guacamaya, enchiladas enmoladas, and of course…churros. Our last night was spent dining at Casa Valadez and meandering Jardín Unión with its innumerable musical groups of Mariachis, norteños, and estudiantinas.

Enchanted by its markets, countless cafés and wonderful restaurants, endless activities, and diverse and caring people, we hold cherished memories of colonial Mexico. We would return to San Miguel de Allende in an instant for a future visit and would make it a longer stay to further immerse ourselves into the welcoming local culture and life there.

Tony Ford-Hutchinson and wife Jane at Monte Alban, a pre-Columbian archaeological site in Mexico.

Tony Ford-Hutchinson and wife Jane explored Monte Alban, a pre-Columbian archaeological site.

As our previous trips to Mexico have all been to resort areas, Jane and I realized we really need to go to Mexico City and beyond to understand what the country is all about, including its complicated history.

Zach organized an outstanding trip starting with 5 nights in Mexico City. We stayed in the boutique hotel Casa Polanco, right in the Polanco neighborhood with restaurants etc. all within walking distance. Zach’s office was able to snag reservations at top restaurants, including Pujol ,which was a short walk from the hotel and lived up to its reputation of being one of the world’s top restaurants. Our guide in Mexico City and the butterfly reserves, Jose, was exceptional and knowledgeable. He took us around for the next 4 days. Day 1 to visit Teotihuacan and then the City’s historical center. Day 2 a wander around the Southern neighborhood, including Frida Kahlo’s house. That evening a private, after-hours tour around the Museum of Anthropology. Day 3 a climb through Chapultec Park to the Castle and its museums. A complete change of pace and experience that evening with prime seats at a Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling) followed by drinks and snacks in a mezzcaleria. Day 4 an exploration of the modern architecture of the city, afterwards another great meal in the evening at Maximo.

Leaving Mexico City, we headed out into Michoacan to visit two of the Monarch Butterfly Reserves over two days. Seeing these large numbers of butterflies and climbing up to where they gather is a unique experience, and with the declining numbers who knows how long this will continue.

Our next stop was Oaxaca, a place we have always wanted to visit, and it did not disappoint. Zach’s team arranged several private artist studio tours. Many artists have made Oaxaca their home. We walked all around the town, ran into a Carnival procession and met multiple wedding processions. All unexpected. Our guide, Lenny, took us around the archeological site of Monte Alban, the city’s markets and many churches and other interesting sights. He too was very knowledgeable. With so many great restaurants and bars in Oaxaca, what is there not to like!

After all this activity we planned 4 days of R&R in a tree-house accommodation in the extensive grounds of the One&Only Mandarina resort, north of Puerto Vallarta.

Finally we flew to Tijuana, walked across the border from the air terminal (very easy) to meet our son in San Diego. Quite surreal.

All in all a great trip to Mexico. Thank you Zach for understanding our needs and wants and delivering on them.

This was our second trip with Zach’s team, and once again, Zach and Jose did a fantastic job. As with all of Wendy Perrin’s fixers, the logistics were impeccable, enabling us to relax and enjoy our trip.

We’ve been to Mexico several times on our own. Last year, we contacted Zach’s office because we were looking for a unique experience. During our first call, Zach gave us an overview of his favorite Mexican places and experiences, and this conversation became our guide. We went to CDMX and Morelia to see the winter habitat of the Monarch butterflies. While we had been to CDMX before, our experiences this time were unique, and the pilgrimage to see the butterflies was an experience we will never forget.

This year, we chose Oaxaca. We had been 20+ years ago and had fond memories, so we decided to visit again. And, of course, we wanted a completely different experience. Given last year, our expectations for this year were high, and Zach exceeded them.

Zach and Jose listened carefully to what we wanted, and they delivered, including the right blend of guided time and time on our own.

We met and interacted with local people, which is important to us when we travel. These encounters included a visit to his farm with a Mezcal master and a day with a gallerist that included visits to artist studios. Both were lots of fun.

The highlight of our trip was the day we spent with award-winning chef Alejandro Ruiz. We began with a visit to the Central market with Alejandro and one of his chefs—we were the only Americans there. Shopping with him, watching what he chose as he planned the menu in his head was a treat. We followed the visit to the market by joining his kitchen staff to prepare a multi-course meal for the three of us. We were expecting a cooking “lesson”; instead, we were chefs (of sorts). And we couldn’t have asked for a better tutor (btw, Alejandro was a teacher before becoming a chef). We learned a ton; Alejandro was patient and fun to be with, in no way fitting the stereotype of a famous chef, and we had a great time.

The whole Oaxaca experience came together with our stellar guide, Carlos.

We are looking forward to our next visit to Mexico with Zach and team.

Teotihuacán pyramids in Mexico.

The pyramids of Teotihuacán from a hot-air balloon. Photo: Marian Robinson

We had a spectacular trip to Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende November 2023. After an initial call with Zach and Jose, senior trip planner, Jose proposed an initial itinerary that was interesting and thoughtful, and the planning went quickly and smoothly under his guidance. We loved Mexico City & our guide Ariushka & driver Oscar, who are both excellent. The traffic in Mexico City is legendary, and we were so grateful to have Oscar as our driver to navigate the city; we would never have been able to cover so much on our own. And our guide Ariushka was perhaps the best guide we’ve had in all our many years of travel. She reviewed our itinerary in its entirety, and made sure to add any additional activities she felt would enhance the trip.

We started the trip with a Food Tour exploring Centro Historico. The next day we very much enjoyed visiting San Angel, Coyoacan & floating down Xochimilco waterways. We loved visiting Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo’s childhood home). Unfortunately, the other home where Frida lived with her husband Diego Riviera was closed, but we did drive by it. The next day we had a very interesting culinary experience at Milpa Alta where we harvested edible NOPAL cactus and enjoyed a delicious breakfast. We then went to a traditional mole factory. After that chef Jorge Correa & Laurencia Melo taught us how to make tortillas and other Mexican dishes. Chef Jorge prepared a delicious four-course lunch that was memorable.

We enjoyed a private visit at the National Museum of Anthropology the next evening that should not be missed. During our stay in Mexico City, we also visited the Park, the Chapultepec Castle, Modern Museum & explored many charming neighborhoods and art galleries. It was a rich and rewarding experience. On our way to San Miguel we had a private tour of the Teotihuacán pyramids, including our first hot-air balloon ride, which was fabulous! Next on to San Miguel, which was as charming as we had hoped. We stayed at the Rosewood, which is a beautiful property. We loved exploring San Miguel, and walking around the cobblestone streets & ducking in and out of art galleries, museums, numerous shops, and cafés.

We went to the intriguing city of Guanajuato, where there are underground roads and streets. The colorful panoramic vistas of the city are simply gorgeous. We spent a day visiting San Miguel’s art and artisan scene with studio visits, another highlight of the trip. We are very impressed with the itinerary that Jose prepared for us and the level of detail they put into every experience. We especially were impressed that we had a Trip advisor — Gina (via ‎WhatsApp) who checked in with us multiple times a day to make sure everything was going well. Gina was available 24 /7 and went out of her way to be helpful (for example, every day she asked us if we wanted her to make a dinner reservation or if we needed any other kind of assistance). We were celebrating birthdays, and there were so many birthday cakes & touches I lost count. Thank you!!! We are extremely impressed with how well run Zach’s office is and highly recommend them for any trip to Mexico (and I understand they now cover Costa Rica). We will definitely use them again for our next trip to Mexico! Thank you Wendy for this amazing recommendation!

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