Mexico City with Jonathan Zaragoza
One Departure Only | May 15 - 19, 2020
Iconic Mexico City
Experience the city's ancient culture and unforgettable flavors with chef Jonathan Zaragoza
May 15 - 19, 2020
Book soon - limited availability
5 Days, 4 Nights
Mexico City, Xochimilco, Teotihuacán
Time seems to stop when you’re suspended in air at dawn, above 2,000-year-old monuments built for Aztec gods. As you gently float in a hot-air balloon, Teotihuacán pyramids sprawl out in full geometric glory, as the sunrise streaks the ancient stonework a dusty rose. Somewhere far away is bustling, enchanting Mexico City, with its endless clamor and jumble, its aromas of sizzling barbecued meats, charred corn, sharp salsas. But you’re not quite ready to return yet. You need to keep floating a little longer first, soaking in the quiet, the dawn, the gods.
Your travel companion is Jonathan Zaragoza. Executive chef of his family-owned Birriera Zaragoza in Chicago, Jonathan’s worked with some of the most acclaimed chefs, been honored as a StarChefs Rising Star and roasts a mean goat. He stresses the importance of family and food—the perfect things to revel in while exploring Mexico City.
If your idea of paradise is spending mornings sopping up cinnamon-tinged hot chocolate with freshly fried churros, afternoons sipping smoky mezcals and evenings cheering on masked luchadores, this trip is for you. We’ll float down ancient Aztec canals and tour vibrant neighborhoods. No matter how much you already know about Mexican culture and Mexican food, this journey will teach you, delight you—and leave you hungry for more.
The colorful street life of Mexico City, its open-air markets and outdoor murals
Ancient Aztec culture, from Teotihuacán pyramids to Xochimilco waterways
The flavors of the city, from smoky mezcals to sharp salsas and succulent barbecued meats
In the bustle of Mexico City, from ringside seats at wrestling matches to hip mezcal bars
3 Reasons to Travel with Jonathan Zaragoza
Jonathan is a culinary young gun who holds family and food close to his heart. He was on Zagat’s “30 Under 30” list when he was just 22, and has served as executive chef at his family’s eponymous south side Chicago eatery since 2016. On top of numerous partnerships and TV appearances, he was recently named a StarChefs Rising Star. Mexico City with Jonathan is going to be a roaring good time of heritage, flavors and fun.
Food is in His Blood
At 7, Jonathan was scrambling his own eggs. By 12, he was roasting goat with his dad. There’s a reason people can’t get enough of him and his food. Come to his Birrieria Zaragoza for the familia, stay for the birria.
He's the Goat Boy
Jonathan’s specialty is Birria Tatemada (oven-roasted goat). He and his dad studied in their home of Jalisco under a master birriero (goat roaster) with a 200-year-old recipe and no heirs to pass it down to. We think it’s not too far off from some kind of Aztec legend. To Jonathan, it’s a link between generations.
Outside of Birrieria Zargoza, Jonathan’s worked for Frank Brunacci and Andrew Zimmerman, helped start a Mexican food truck (in Dubai!) and has appeared on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, Univision, Telemundo, Cooking Channel and more.
Day by Day
Mexico City is home to wonderous ancient culture and unforgettable flavors. We’ll eat. We’ll drink. We’ll eat some more. And cheers to a once-in-a-lifetime experience highlighting the best of this mighty metropolis!
Day 1 | May 15
¡Bienvenidos a la Ciudad de México! Home to 21 million people, Mexico City is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere, and a food lover’s paradise. After settling into our apartments in the hip La Condesa neighborhood, we’ll hit the streets on a guided tour in search of the very best street food. We’ll stop by hole-in-the-wall joints with lines stretching down the block and genteel blue-tiled cafes. In the evening, we’ll visit a mezcalería to sample a range of artisanal mezcals, then mash our own guacamole in a molcajete and enjoy some delicious tlayudas. We’ll round out our Friday night with a classic Mexico City experience: great seats to cheer (and boo) along as luchadores, Mexican wrestlers colorfully dressed up as superheroes and villains, tumble and fly around the ring.
Day 2 | May 16
In Mexico City, street murals are almost a religion. This morning, we’ll make the pilgrimage to downtown’s Centro Histórico, where iconic, wedding-cake-like cathedrals and plazas give way to arcades of humble shoe shops and dark alleyways—perfect for exploring. First, we’ll visit the Cathedral and Templo Mayor to learn about the winding religious history of Mexico City from the Aztecs to the rise of Roman Catholicism. We conclude our art tour at Casa Pedregal, the modern and minimalist color-blocked home designed by artist Luis Barragan. We’ll have lunch at the adjoining Tetetlan restaurant and then walk the beautiful grounds of this space beloved by architecture enthusiasts and artists alike.
We spend our afternoon admiring a more ancient art form: the floating gardens of Xochimilco, the last remnant of an expansive network of canals and waterways developed by the Aztecs, which we’ll explore by boat. We’ll cruise the canal on our floating party boat complete with plenty of drinks, color and our own mariachi band in tow!
Day 3 | May 17
Up, up and away! Our alarms will go off well before dawn, but for the best possible reason: a hot-air balloon ride over the majestic Teotihuacan pyramids. After gliding through the neon-pink sunrise, we’ll celebrate our landing with a hearty breakfast before exploring the pyramids again, this time by foot, in the cool of the morning with our local guide to bring the stories of this fabled site to life.
We’ll have lunch at a restaurant nearby, dining on a special menu of pre-Hispanic cuisine to pair with our historic morning. This afternoon will give us plenty of time to explore our neighborhood base of La Condesa and Roma on our own, with their Michelin-starred restaurants, chic boutiques, and marble-topped cafes. We’ll meet back up as a group tonight at our apartments to enjoy a fantastic dinner by hosted Jonathan melding all of his favorite flavors with Mexico City delights.
Day 4 | May 18
This morning we’ll head to the “creative center” that is the Coyoacan neighborhood. The home of famed artist Frida Khalo is a place bursting with history, plazas and narrow streets still preserved from centuries past. Here, we’ll tour the vibrant markets for tastings and lunch.
In the evening, we’ll learn about another hidden local treasure: Mexican wines from the country’s best vineyards. Winemaker and friend of Modern Adventure, César Margin, will introduce us to the history, terroir, and politics of Mexican wine-making as he leads us through a degustación. Our tasting will be paired with delicious bites that showcase the depth and scope of all we have experienced.
Day 5 | May 19
Ah, the journey of Mexico City is over. We’ll eat a final breakfast and pack up, then say adios to Mexico City and our friends. Until next time we meet!
Laredo ApartmentsMexico City
La Condesa, famed for its Art Deco mansions and fountain-lined parks, is one of the loveliest neighborhoods in Mexico City, a lush refuge from the teeming streets beyond. But (relatively) quiet doesn’t mean boring! With its distinctly international vibe, a hodgepodge of diplomats, hipsters, and young professionals, it’s the perfect place to feel like a local. Pop out for a late-night taco run, take in a morning espresso, or simply follow your nose as you wander the neighborhood’s stately streets and parks.
Mexico City may be the true city that never sleeps, but when you need to, head back to your home away from home to enjoy a sweeping view of the glittering city lights below, and maybe a nightcap of mezcal from the fully stocked kitchen. Rest up while you can—the city awaits!
Book Mexico City with Jonathan Zaragoza
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.
What does the price include?
Four nights at luxury apartment-style accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, lunches and most dinners; local beverages with meals; gratuities for local staff.
What does the price not include?
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverage not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
What are the arrival & departure details?
Our adventure begins at 9:00am on Friday, May 15, 2020 at the Laredo Apartments in Mexico City. The closest airport is the Mexico City International Airport (MEX). We recommend arriving on or before May 14 to ensure you are at our starting point on time.
Our last day is Tuesday, May 19, 2020. The closest airport is the Mexico City International Airport (MEX). Your flight home should be scheduled to depart at 2:00pm or later from here if you would like to join the included airport transfer.
Who is going on this trip?
Our adventures typically have between 10 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.
Who is leading this trip?
This trip is hosted and led by a Modern Adventure trip leader. They are experienced travel guides, representatives of Modern Adventure and your go-to for questions or concerns on the trip. Additionally, we’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
What travel documents are needed?
US citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Mexico, but are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. On arrival in the airport, you will be issued a visitor’s permit, known as a FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple). For citizens of other countries, please check with the Mexico Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
There are no single rooms on this departure. The spirit of this trip is to share and celebrate with a community of fellow Modern Adventurists. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
What are the accommodations like?
For this adventure, we use apartment-styled accommodations. Each unit has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and living space, accommodating up to four guests per apartment. Note that there is no elevator at these apartments. If you book as a single traveler, you will have a room to yourself, but will share an apartment with an additional one or two guests. Call for questions about the apartments.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
For solo travelers, there is an $800 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
What is the cancelation policy?
You may cancel on or before February 9, 2020 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel between February 10 and March 15, there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after March 16 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (See our Terms and Conditions for full details).
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Speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.
Text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018