If you’re looking for a truly immersive travel experience in 2019, why not join us on this wonderfully colourful journey through central Mexico.


Join Horticulturalist Sandy Pratten and Artist, Kerri Ainsworth, for a 14 day adventure in what is considered the jewels of colonial Mexico and centre of Arts and Culture. The adventure includes exploring a variety of gardens, some grand and others, secret courtyard gardens hidden behind ancient stone walls with elaborately carved wooden doors, that heave when opened, just waiting to be discovered.

Armed with sketchbooks, record your rich visual experiences while visiting some of the country’s best botanical gardens, elegant private gardens, hidden behind stone walls and rooftop terraces. Highlights include the floating gardens of historic Xochimilco, Frida Kahlo’s studio and gardens, the private courtyard gardens in San Miguel de Allende, a printmaking workshop in historic Guanajuato and the surreal sculpture gardens of Las Pozas in the remote, mountainous jungle north of Mexico City.


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Sandy Pratten trained at Ryde College of Horticulture has been director of her  own Landscape Design business for more than 30 years. She is a guide at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and has lectured in horticulture for over 15 years. Sandy is passionate about travelling and exploring new landscapes and is one of our most popular escorts, having led trips to India, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Myanmar, Cuba, Morocco and Sicily for the Foundation & Friends.



Kerri Ainsworth is an Artist and Set Designer with over 25 years’ experience working in the film, television and events industries. Her creative career has included illustration, set design, installation art and teaching. Kerri has a Degree in Drawing and Masters Degree in Design from the University of NSW, specialising in Public Art Installation, Event Design and Sustainable Practice. Inspired by her passion for art and travel for people, like herself, looking for a more authentic and memorable travel experiences, she founded ART Travel Adventures. Kerri has travelled extensively throughout Latin America and speaks Spanish.


Cosmopolitan and cultured, Mexico City is buzzing with life from old-school cantinas, intriguing museums, inspiring Baroque and La Belle Epoch architecture, boating along ancient canals and a pre-Hispanic history that goes way back to Aztec times.


A centuries-old, picturesque town its warm and gracious people, 16th and 17th-century architecture, narrow cobblestone streets flanked by high adobe walls pierced with magnificent doorways, art and crafts, sun-baked colours and near-perfect weather. Take-your-breath-away private gardens are hidden behind stone and stucco walls.


Dominated by an impressive giant rock that is the third-largest monolith in the world, pretty and quaint the streets of Bernal are paved with stone and lined with flower-filled balconies and charming streetlamps.


Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Guanajuato is a charming colonial town situated in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains. Imagine walking through winding cobblestone streets, of colourful colonial buildings, sketching your surroundings from quaint coffee shops and piazzas. Or printmaking in a studio, inside the walled garden of a 17th century hacienda, where delicious lunches are served in a secret walled-garden each day. And sunset drinks on a rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the town and the sound of music in the air, from the troubadours wandering the streets, strumming their guitars and singing. There seems to be music and fascination ‘round every corner. Come and and join us. You’ll never want to leave!


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The floating gardens of Xochimilco are a series of ancient canals where the Aztecs once planted and cultivated their crops. Canals dot the landscape in Xochimilco, enchanting the senses with their natural beauty. Flat-bottomed boats called trajineras travel these waters, as they have for hundreds of years. Produce and flowers grow in abundance in this exotic atmosphere. What makes Xochimilco so fascinating is its embodiment of traditional Mexican culture. These canals and gardens represent a living example of an ingenious agricultural practice that was invented long ago.

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Las Pozas was the life’s masterpiece of Englishman Edward James, one of the most eccentric and interesting twentieth-century collectors of surrealist art. It is a surrealistic labyrinth of waterfalls and ponds in a subtropical rainforest interlaced with towering sculptures. Edward James arrived in the town of Xilitla at the end of the 1940s and was captivated by the splendour of the landscape, where he created a fantastic home (where we will be staying). He designed a sculpture garden that defies any architectural label and allows a glimpse of something moving between fantasy and reality. The construction commenced in 1962, employed 150 people, including carpenters, bricklayes and gardeners, and continued until his death, twenty years later.


Casa Azul in Mexico City, the famous former home, garden and studio of artist Frida Kahlo, in the bohemian neighbourhood of Coyoacan. The museum is full of her works and those of her husband Diego Rivera.

The House & Garden Tour in the historic town of San Miguel de Allende, gives visitors a peek behind the private walls of homes and haciendas in and around the town. Thanks to warm days and cool nights, flowers jump with crisp colour. The gardens include lush walled courtyard gardens, where orange trumpet blossoms cascade down the blue and purple walls, rooftop terraces, dry gardens of cactuses and succulents, tropical vegetation and more. Add to the mix paintings and folk art, as well as inspiring, vogue-like interiors.

El Charco del Ingenio Botanic Gardens, an outstanding Nature Preserve. Here you’ll discover three habitats on your leisurely walk along nature trails. The dry chaparral is a scrubland dotted with Mesquite, a favourite Texas barbecue wood, Huisache with yellow, fuzzy pompom blooms, the Peruvia pepper tree with its gracefully drooping leaves, and the curiously shaped cactuses and grasses.

San Gabriel de Barrera gardens and hacienda in the colourful town of Guanajuato was built at the end of the 17th century. This grand hacienda with its tranquil gardens, was the home of Captain Gabriel de Barrera and provides an insight into nobel lifestyles of the viceregal period.



Hugo Anaya is a master printmaker and Guanajuato local. He studied his craft while living and working in Portland, Oregon for over a decade. His work has been featured in galleries across Mexico and in the United States. The workshop is held in his large studio, where he makes creating artworks great fun!

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to create artworks in the Mexican tradition. We spend the morning in the workshop, followed by a delicious lunch in the garden. The late afternoon is for wandering around and exploring. No experience is necessary.

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Art Travel Adventures Pty Ltd

Phone: +61 (0) 417 033233