Author, activist, founder of Fat Girls Traveling and friend of Intrepid Annette Richmond recently hosted her first Tailor-Made tour in Mexico, focusing on female empowerment, relaxation and – of course – a big dollop of adventure. She tells how it all went.
Did you know that Mexico has been producing wine for over 400 years? I recently explored Mexico’s hidden gems—including two wineries—with four other plus-size travelers. The ladies are members of my fat-positive travel community Cool girls on a trip and were the first to join me on one Bespoke Intrepid Tour.
Two great things about Tailor-Made Tours are that you have a locally based Intrepid manager and the ability to customize your trip, which allowed me to adjust the itinerary to make it more accessible. I was also able to add day trips to places like the natural hot springs at Grutas Tolantongo.
Relaxation and female empowerment were the focus of my Mexico’s Hidden Gems Adventure. We started in Mexico City, where I was able to accomplish one of my travel goals: to visit La Casa Azul (also known as the Blue House or the Frida Kahlo Museum) in Coyocoan. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter, a feminist, the original selfie queen, an activist and one of my biggest inspirations. She was born, lived and died in Casa Azul. Her ashes rest in a pre-Hispanic toad urn in her bedroom. You can feel her energy throughout the property.
During the drive from the hotel to Coyocoan, I shared some of the stories I had learned about Frida over the years. Just as she created her first painting “Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress” in an attempt to win back her lover. How she developed a drinking problem after divorcing Diego. How Diego supported her financially even when they were not together when she had significant medical bills.
After an emotional and educational start in Mexico City, we headed north to Grutas Tolantongo, where the group got to enjoy themselves and relax in the thermal hot springs, which not many know exist in Mexico.
We enjoyed tacos, fried fish, quesadillas, chicken, and cold cervezas for lunch at the restaurant at Grutas Tolantongo, then headed through the mountains to Querétaro, Mexico. This central Mexican state is known as the birthplace of Mexico’s independence, which was made possible by an independent woman.
Our local guide, Jason, took us on a walking tour through Querétaro, stopping at the statue of Corregidora Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez. Josefa was a mother, activist, rebel and supporter of the Mexican War of Independence. She was married to Miguel Domínguez, the Mayor (or Corregidor) of Querétaro, Mexico and had a desire to help.
She started by helping the indigenous people of Mexico along with the Mestizo and Criollo communities. Eventually, she convinced her husband to organize more political meetings in their house. These meetings quickly became revolutionary. The historic center of Querétaro – where their home still stands – is a World Heritage Site.
Mexico’s War of Independence was scheduled for December 8, 1810. However, on September 13, Spanish authorities imprisoned Josefa in her bedroom to prevent her from exchanging information with her co-conspirators. She still managed to get a warning out, which allowed the leaders to declare war on Spain early, on September 16, 1810.
After our hike through Querétaro, we went to the first of two wineries on our itinerary. Mexico has been producing wine for hundreds of years, and Querétaro is now the second largest producing region in Mexico after Baja California. We visited Freixenet where we explored the vineyard by train and San Lucas Vineyards where we had a walking tour and wine pairing. For one of my travelers, it was their first time visiting a winery and having a wine tasting.
For the occasion, I bought a charcuterie board for us to share and another bottle of bubbly – the Freixenet winery is known for its sparkling wines. After sharing another bottle, a couple of us bought a bottle to go, including our first time! Exploring a vineyard by train, a tasting followed by charcuterie and more wine, what more could you ask for? One bottle left! No wine?!
Finally, our tour took us to Guanajuato, Mexico, a former mining town with winding underground tunnels and colorful houses in the hills. The siege of Guanajuato made the Spanish realize that a larger rebellion was taking place that they needed to take seriously.
On September 28, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo and Ignacio Allende brought their rebel army of up to 50,000 angry natives and impoverished soldiers to Guanajuato. They were joined by miners and laborers from Guanajuato, including miner Juan José de los Reyes Martínez Amaro, known as “Pípila”.
The Spanish forces in Guanajuato decided to fight and made a large, fortress-like public granary (Alhóndiga de Granaditas) their base. The wealthiest Spaniards moved their families and wealth inside and fortified the building as quickly as they could.
Jason explained how Pípila strapped a large, flat rock to his back and walked to the large wooden door of the granary with tar and a torch. The stone protected him when he put tar on the door and set it on fire. This allowed the rebel army to enter the granary and win The Siege of Guanajuato.
It was incredible to explore some of Mexico’s hidden gems and learn so much about the country’s rich history and culture. I will definitely be hosting more custom tours with Intrepid; visiting for a day or two is just not enough time! I would happily host this tour again and all the ladies who traveled with me said they would return to find out even more about this beautiful and exciting country.