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Take the chance to experience one of the most important cultural traditions in Mexico: Day of the Dead. This is a celebratory time of year to welcome loved ones back and remember them. Bring a picture of your loved ones to place on the altar. Make Pan de Muertos in a brick oven. Take a walk back in time and enjoy the simple pleasures of life in one of the most picturesque mountain villages in Mexico. Prepare delicious traditional Mexican dishes typical to the area and to the celebration, relax, and enjoy a one of the kind experience.
Welcome to Chef Ana´s mountain home that was specially designed for her culinary program. The property consists of 6 guests rooms all with private baths. Each room has a different design and are very comfortable. All rooms have a king bed and some rooms have the possibility of 2 twin beds or 1 king.
All rooms have french doors that open up to a common courtyard with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and steps from the open-air kitchen.
La Villa Bonita is built in a citrus orchard on a hectare of terraced land, complete with an herb and vegetable garden. The specially-designed open-air kitchen is complete with a living area, three sinks, lots of cooking and prep space as well as a 360-degree view of the majestic mountains. Above the kitchen sits the 16-person-capacity glass table with an incredible panoramic view of the Tepozteco mountains, the ex-convent, and the town below. La Villa Bonita is located in a very quiet residential area of town away from the downtown hum.
Your holiday takes place in the first week of Day of the Dead 2-week celebration.The first week is the most famous with a large celebration and the second (La Octava) which is celebrated by Tepoztecos and recognizes the departure.
Please note that the below itinerary is posted to give the guest a general idea of this 7-night package schedule on the day of the dead week. The schedule and lineup of dishes may change to take advantage of seasonal dishes, local celebrations, ingredients or the interests of guests. La Villa Bonita reserves the right to modify this schedule and the dishes contained therein. There are no 5-night or 2-night packages on this week.
Guests arrive at MEX (Benito Juarez Mexico City International) with airport pickup included. The trip takes 1.5 hours from Mexico City to La Villa Bonita and guests will be greeted upon arrival with a delicious homemade cocktail such as Chef Ana’s famous Margarita made with her own Calamondine Orange liquor as well as snacks such as guacamole, cheeses, home-made salsa, and tortilla chips.
Later that afternoon / evening guests will enjoy Chef Ana’s 4-course chef’s table gourmet dinner made from primarily local ingredients grown in the garden or from local providers. Dinner is served within the ample open-air kitchen with view of the valley below or above our kitchen in the elevated dining area with a 360-degree view of the mountains. Chef Ana will explain her dishes to the guests and also discuss how the week will unfold.
The day starts with Chef Ana’s famous big breakfast with fresh fruit, biscuits, homemade jams and jellies along with a new traditional Mexican main dish each morning. Guests will go to the local Tepoztlán market to select the best ingredients from Chef Ana’s local providers and bring them back for the first cooking session in the open-air kitchen. In the market today you will purchase the flowers and other items for the altar which you will make during the week.
Today guests will start with the preparation of Mole Negro which will be eaten tomorrow. The fellow foodies will learn how to make chiles rellenos with traditional Mexican white rice, a fresh bean salad, avocado salsa, and Tejocote pie for dessert. The cocktail of the day is a Mezcal Margarita and the “agua fresca” is Jamaica flower.
Today Chef Ana will teach you about the “nixtamalization” process as well as testing out the tortilla making technique using red, white, or blue masa made from ancestral corn varieties produced locally and make your own tortillas and place them on the comal with Mari your “ama de llaves” or mayordomo during your stay at La Villa Bonita.
Guests will enjoy a lunch of dishes prepared with drink service in the open air kitchen or the elevated terrace. After late lunch, guests will have an opportunity to take a walk into the downtown, relax around the pool with a good book or take a great nap! You are on vacation, it is up to you!
Today you will have breakfast and an optional yoga session (15 USD). Those who are not interested in yoga can have a leisurely morning after breakfast. After yoga guests will take the nixtamal to the tortilla mill to make into masa and come back to La Villa Bonita to prepare the altar. You are asked to bring pictures of your loved ones you would like to invite to return to be with you. You will have snacks and drinks and start cooking in the late afternoon. Guests will finish the Mole Negro and also prepare traditional Mexican red rice, candied squash, and chayotes in tequesquite. Foodies will practice their tortilla making technique with the masa that was ground earlier in the day. You will have evening dinner of the dishes prepared.
The day starts with Chef Ana’s famous big breakfast with fresh fruit, biscuits, homemade jams and jellies along with a new traditional Mexican main dish each morning. Guest will go to the local Tepoztlán market to select the best ingredients from Chef Ana’s local providers and bring them back for your first cooking session in the open-air kitchen.
Today you have a traditional taco party with hand-made tortillas, guisados or stuffings such as potatoes with poblano strips, squash flowers, adobo with chicken, pork in purslane, along with peanut, cilantro, and molcajete salsas. The side dish will be squash a la Mexicana. The meal will be accompanied by horchata to drink, and arroz con leche dessert. The cocktail of the day will be micheladas (beer) with salsas.
After breakfast you will make your way to Hueyapan, Morelos in the mountains to experience the country life. The day will start with a demonstration in a cooperative of local women who have maintained their tradition of creating beautiful garments from wool. See the process, meet the women, and you will have almuerzo (mid-morning breakfast) with them. You will have an opportunity to purchase their garments as well.
Afterwards, you will make your way to a local breadmaker to learn how to make traditional Hueyapan Day of the Dead bread. This is a hands-on session and you will make some of the most delicious bread in a brick baked in a wood-fired oven.
For lunch, you will join Dona Reyna at her farm and family residence for a day of rural cooking. She will teach you how to make local Hueyapan dishes from ingredients that are foraged in the mountains with wild mushrooms, fresh beans, corn, chiles. This is a vegetarian lineup of dishes even though they don’t call it that. This is just eating as the locals do!
Today you will have breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and an optional yoga class at 9:00 a.m. You will have a late afternoon class starting with a fresh Mexican salad for lunch. Guests will create their calaveras or green squash carved out to place a candle inside. Today you will make your variety of tamales which is a traditional dish for Dia de los Muertos. Guests will learn how to make green tamales, red with chicken, cheese, mole negro as well as dessert tamales like strawberry and pineapple.
Tonight children and parents go from house to house to “pedir calavera” or ask for a treat for your calavera. Children are dressed as catrines, catrinas, skeletons, or devils. There is dancing in the town square and the opportunity to visit a local artist who creates a day of the dead exhibition each year. So you will have your day of the dead party in your house with your tamales and take a walk that evening to see the exhibition and the different houses and churches that are decorated around the town.
After your delicious breakfast, we will take a hike up to the Tepozteco pyramid. This is an athletic hike with stairs all the way to the top. After coming back from the pyramid, you will visit the Ocotepec cemetery to see the elaborate flower decorations of the gravesites. After going to Ocotepec you will have the rest of the day on your own to shop, read, relax - it is up to you! You have a day to enjoy on your own.
In the evening, enjoy an optional farewell dinner (at an additional fee) with Chef Ana as she prepares a 4-course chef’s table dinner. Feel free to come up to the kitchen as Chef Ana prepares the gourmet meal and enjoy a glass of wine as you reminisce about the week you had at La Villa Bonita.
After breakfast, your return to Mexico city airport will be organized and you can start counting the days until you return for a new culinary adventure.
Ana Garcia is one of the most vivacious traditional Mexican chefs and teachers in Mexico today. The inspiration for Chef Ana’s recipes and hospitality grow out of her long, rich family history in central and northern Mexico. She has taken this extensive knowledge and incorporated it into a culinary repertoire that includes traditional central and northern Mexican specialties, as well as nouvelle Mexican cuisine using traditional ingredients in new and gastronomically adventurous ways.
Tepoztlan, a “Pueblo Magico” (magic village) and one of Mexico’s most unique destinations is located about 5280 feet above sea level and roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes south of Mexico City making transportation easy (the organizer picks you up in the Mexico City airport and brings you back). Because of its incredible “eternal spring” climate, Tepoztlan is a year-round destination where award-winning packages take place.
Villa Bonita is located on the upslope of the Tepozteco mountains with a privileged perch above the town and an incredible view of the ex-convent below. There is only a 15-minute walk to the central downtown circuit so there is not an excessive amount of traffic in front of La Villa Bonita but you will be just minutes away from the centro and zocalo.
Due to its year-round average daily temperature of 83 degrees Fahrenheit / 28 degrees Celsius, Tepoztlan has become an off-the-beaten-path destination for those who want a wonderful climate with a picturesque, authentic, and traditional Mexican backdrop. Tepoztlan’s temperate climate with prevailing sunshine, its wonderful adobe facades, incredible local festivals, and ancient cobblestone streets attract Mexicans and foreign tourists from all over the world who seek a traditional, small-town environment.
Tepoztlan is one of the most unique, authentic, and safest places you can visit and has a lower crime rate most cities and towns in the US. You will get this understanding in the first 15 minutes after setting foot in the village. It is a place that time seems to have forgotten with time-honored culinary traditions, wonderful local produce, and a very enjoyable pace of life focused on family and friends.
Tepoztlan is made up of stubborn townspeople and subsistence farmers who vigilantly guard their traditions from change, which makes it an ideal destination for the “foodie” and the traveler seeks to experience a rich culture. “Tepoztecos,” as they are known here, appreciate the foreign tourist because you appreciate their culture. You can walk anywhere day or night and people will say “hello” to you, be cordial, but not overburdening.
This Magic Village with its mystical vibe is known as the “Sedona of Mexico” and consists of a very small, tight-knit community where people are very content with their lifestyle - a full social calendar that consists of constant cultural events, celebrations, and festivals during both the week and weekend. Tepoztlan is a piece of art without comparison - exquisite but not commercial. In Tepoztlan, you will hear the enveloping sounds of the community, the church bells, the rooster crowing, the occasional firecracker and the music wafting through the valley. So, enjoy your stay and when you go home, please tell everyone about your experience in the “hidden culinary jewel of Mexico.”
Chef Ana Garcia offers you a glimpse into a world that few outsiders ever experience. Become a part of Chef Ana’s culinary family for a week at her specially designed culinary hotel in the foothills of the Tepozteco mountain. Access a rich side of Mexico that few outsiders have ever seen - not as a tourist - but as a real member of the family.
As you select your daily ingredients, you will be warmly greeted by the butcher, the cheese maker, the fruit vendor, the baker, the strawberry producer as if you have lived in Tepoztlán forever. Take your corn to the mill with the local Tepozteco women to make the freshest tortillas you have ever tasted. Pick fruit on the grounds of La Villa Bonita’s organic orchard to use as an ingredient in the day’s meal. For Chef Ana, every great meal starts with great ingredients and at La Villa Bonita you will learn from the expert.
The local kids will say ¨buenas tardes” to you as you walk the ancient cobblestone streets in search of the perfect gift to bring home. Maybe after lunch, you will take the hike up to Tepoztlán’s pyramid perched on a mountain top. Or maybe you will just relax by the pool carved out of volcanic rock with a good book. La Villa Bonita offers a fun, safe, and culturally-interesting vacation all in one.
Included in the price you have daily breakfast, arrival dinner, and 4 meals (lunch or dinner) from the dishes you cook during the 4 cooking classes. Vegetarian, vegan, allergies, or special diets can be accommodated. Please contact the organizer prior to arrival so that they may accommodate your diet. There is dinner on the first night which is prepared prior to your arrival. Please let the organizer know through Whatsapp if you have anything you do not eat.
You can enjoy 2 yoga classes for the price of 15 USD each.
Mexico City International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Mexico City International Airport (MEX).
Airport pickup and return are provided to the Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) if you can meet the guidelines for the group shuttle. The trip will take about 1.5 hours depending on traffic on a very nice toll road. Once you have made a reservation, you will be send specific instructions on how to meet the shuttle.
For arrival in MEX, please arrive before 4:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. is ideal. You may arrive earlier, but there may be some wait time as other guests arrive. You can wait in the Urban Corner restaurant in terminal 1 which is the pickup point. The organizer will give you detailed instructions on how to get there.
If you cannot meet the pickup requirements, Uber is very good, reliable, and reasonably priced. If you do not want to wait for other guests or arrive after 4:00 p.m., you can take an Uber at about 60-70 USD which can fluctuate depending on demand or exchange rates. The fare does not include tolls which are reimbursed to your Uber driver through the app afterward (about 10 USD). So do not pay your driver for tolls as you will be charged twice. If you want to tip your driver feel free to do so. A tip of 100 to 150 pesos is recommended for good service.
Airport departure has more flexibility. If you would like to use the shuttle, your departure time should be after 12 noon. You may leave earlier for an additional fee. You will also have an Uber driver on call who charges 1300 pesos per trip (currently about 68 USD).
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.
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