Mexico City's Museums Are Driving Tourism

The Ixtapan Spa, Yoga and Fitness Resort in Istapan de la Sal, Mexico

Mexico City’s draws are numerous, but museums usually top the list. The sprawling capital is home to some 150 buildings designated as museums. And La Casa Azul is one of the most popular. The famous “blue house” where the artist Frida Kahlo was born, lived and died is in the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood of Coyoacán in Mexico City. 

A new book, Frida Kahlo at Home, explores the influence that La Casa Azul and other Kahlo homes had on her life and work. 

“Frida was not really known outside of art circles during her lifetime and then was mainly known as the wife of muralist Diego Rivera. In the 1970s her work gained some attention and she began to be a symbol of feminine power. A major biography of Frida was published in 1983. But what really made Frida a household name was the movie starring Salma Hayek that came out in 2002,” the book’s author, Suzanne Barbezat, tells Travel Agent

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Barbezat is the Mexico expert for About.com, and founder of Discover Oaxaca Tours

“Interest in Frida continues to grow, with exhibits being held in various cities around the world drawing record crowds and merchandise of all sorts bearing Frida's likeness becoming more and more popular. As I mention in my book, ‘Although she was very much a woman of her time, her work remains astoundingly relevant. In the age of selfies and oversharing, her many self-portraits speak to us on a level that is very contemporary,’” said Barbezat. 

Phyllis Stoller, founder of The Women’s Travel Group, launches all her Mexico itineraries from Mexico City. 

“Without question, the museums are really wonderful. Our Mexico City trip includes the Anthropology Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Frida Kahlo area. We also visit two of the well-known modern museums. Of course, we also visit excellent restaurants, take a walking tour of downtown and take day trips to the pyramids,” Stoller tells Travel Agent. 

The proximity of Mexico City is a key selling point. 

“It’s as exciting if not more so than places that can take ten hours to get to. Airlift is expanding. Even Southwest flies there. And the peso is such a bargain now. It makes things so crazy inexpensive there,” said Stoller. 

High-end hotels are also beckoning visitors with ongoing promotions. 

“The Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City (which just snagged a slot on the AAA Five-Diamond list) is offering a third night free. The St. Regis Mexico City is also running some great specials. The fact is that the neighborhoods of Mexico City are fabulous. Uber is cheap and reliable there. With all the direct flights available now, you can do an upscale weekend there for very little money,” Meg Austin, a nationally-recognized travel specialist with The Travel Society based in Vail, CO, tells Travel Agent.

Sixty-five miles — and a world away — from Mexico City lies the town of Ixtapan de la Sal. It’s home to renowned mineral springs and the Ixtapan Spa, Yoga and Fitness Resort. The resort was founded decades ago in the style of a traditional European fitness spa. Nestled in the Sierra Madre foothills, the destination spa is surrounded by small villages and colonial towns.

“Ixtapan de la Sal is like the Hamptons for wealthy Mexicans from Mexico City. President Pena Nieto has a home there. It’s a town where you can walk around. You can also take day trips to pre-Columbian ruins,” said Stoller.

The Ixtapan spa offers fitness and yoga classes, plus 40 treatment rooms. There’s an eight-hole championship golf course. And restaurants serve Mexican, Continental and spa cuisine.

Agents interested in experiencing Ixtapan might consider an upcoming fam trip taking place June 4-11. Facilitated by Stoller, it will explore the topic of “How to Become a Group Leader.” 

“The fam will focus on how to be a group leader for any group you might want to sell. We’ll talk about how to write ads for the group, how to use social media and how to send a soft-sell email. We’ll go over lots of marketing techniques,” said Stoller. 

The fam includes transfers from Mexico City, plus a week of healthy food, exercise, body treatments, and walks. 

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