Journey Mexico happily celebrated their 10th anniversary this month by joining the Puerto Vallarta and Cancun staff in Mexico’s capital, Mexico City. Very appropriately, the celebration fell over a holiday weekend when Mexico itself was celebrating the anniversary of their Independence- their 203rd birthday.
The 25 staff members flew into Mexico City Friday night and had a weekend planned full of private tours, site inspections, and luxury experiences. Staying in the Four Seasons Mexico City, the night started with a welcome cocktail and dinner where Owner, Zach Rabinor, spoke about the trials and triumphs that the company has experienced since its creation in 2003. The once South and Central America tour guide had seen most of Latin America but it was Mexico that really captured his attention. Fueled by a strong passion and drive, Zach created Journey Mexico with his wife, Rebecca Scotti in Suite G, and though confronted with Mexico travel obstacles like Swine Flu and reported heavy narco-violence , they persevered and continued to grow year after year. Within 10 years, Journey Mexico was able to establish 2 offices (Puerto Vallarta and Cancun) with additional team members in Mexico City, and a dedicated staff all equally passionate as the vision that started the company. Accompanied by the Director of Sales and General Manager of the Four Seasons Mexico City, everyone savored the superb dinner menu and the cherished the night.
Saturday morning, the group boarded the private transportation as the day called for a typical itinerary that many Journey Mexico travelers experience in Mexico City: visting Coyoacan, La Casa Azul, and San Angel Sabado Bazaar. We arrived to Coyoacan and La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo Museum minutes before it opened where the line to enter was already formed — and quite long. As one would expect with Journey Mexico services, we by-passed the line with priority access and our guide, Juan Carlos, opened our eyes to just ‘Frida Kahlo paintings on the wall’ and explained the concepts and intricacies behind her famed art work.
The drizzling and overcast day didn’t damper any moment of our exploring. We were provided umbrellas as we strolled through Coyoacan and enjoyed a lunch at the must-visit restaurant, Los Dazantes. Mid-day we made our way to the San Angel neighborhood of brightly painted colonial era homes, mansions and haciendas. The community transforms on Saturday as tourists and locals visit for the Bazaar Sabado which is a market held along the cobblestone streets in San Jacinto Plaza and features a lovely mix of jewelry, ceramics, glassware, and household items. At night, we headed to the beautiful St. Regis Mexico City for a tour of the 189 room, ultra-modern hotel and to enjoy a private dinner prepared by their house chef.
The next day, the team visited La Basilica de Guadalupe, the second most visited Catholic church in the world; and the stunning archaeological zone of Teotihuacan famous for the enormous Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. Our guides, Martin and Juan Carlos yet again dazzled us with their expert explanations of the importance and details of each place. Despite our large group, with two guides assisting us, everyone was able to ask questions and roam in different directions to visit and learn about what interested them most. This component is what Journey Mexico prides themselves on – it’s not a cut and paste tour, our guides allow and encourage you to step out of the box for a unique and memorable experience.
After a long day of getting to know some of Mexico City’s most important sites, everyone was anxious for the night to come because it was the night of ‘El Grito’ for Mexico’s Independence Day. Decked out in red, white, and green, dazzlingly accented in the colors of the Mexican flag, each staff member made their way down to meet in the Four Seasons DF lobby. We headed to to Hotel Downtown, a new boutique hotel by Grupo Habita just blocks away from Mexico City’s Zocalo. The atmosphere was amazing, chic and patriotic! When 11 o’ clock struck, we all watched as President Pena Nieto stepped out to deliver the grito, shouting !VIVA! in unison with the rest of the country. Not only was it a bonding moment for the staff, but a bonding moment with the country we all call home. Ten of the staff members (including myself) are not Mexican by birth, but Mexican at heart, and to be in Mexico City during this nationalistic moment was heartwarming for each and everyone one of us.
The long weekend was coming to an end and we fit in some more site-inspections at Las Alcobas and La Condesa DF before heading to the airport to go our separate ways. Before our goodbyes, Zach, Rebecca, and Matteo had arranged for a surprise raffle in which seven of our staff member won hotel stays at some of Mexico’s finest and most luxurious hotels: Viceroy Riviera Maya, Banyan Tree Mayakoba, St. Regis Mexico City, St. Regis Punta Mita, Hacienda San Angel, Hotel Esencia, and Imanta! A special thank to all the hotels who supported this Journey Mexico celebration, it was a weekend full of memories and learning and we hope for another successful 10 years for Journey Mexico!