The colors of the Mexican flag, displayed in our favorite ingredients: tomato, green chile, and onion.
The colors of the Mexican flag, displayed in our favorite ingredients: tomato, green chile, and onion.

Our Vision


The mission of Soul Food Mexico is to introduce our guests to what we consider the soul and food of Mexico.


Through customized culinary and cultural vacation packages, we will open your eyes to a little known but entirely unforgettable side of Mexico which we are sure you will fall in love with and take home with you in more ways than one. 


Learn to make your own tortillas on a comal de barro made by potters in nearby towns, of clay dug from the soil of their patios. Taste pulque, known here as the drink of the Gods – an alcoholic, medicinal beverage made from fermenting the aguamiel produced by great maguey cactuses. Meet local artisans who create beautiful work using the resources they have readily available. Visit nearby archaeological sites. Close your week with us by taking a temazcal – a traditional steam bath ritual representing rebirth.

Our Food

The food of the state of Tlaxcala is well-known throughout Mexico for its prehispanic ingredients. While much of modern Mexico’s cuisine stems from plants and animals brought to the continent by the Spanish, the foundation of Tlaxcaltecan food is the incredible, diverse plant life abundant in Central Mexico. Mexican food was largely vegetarian prior to the Spanish conquest, as none of the animals now seen as essential to contemporary Mexican cuisine were native to Mexico. Indigenous tribes imaginatively utilized corn, beans, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even insects to compose their meals. Reflecting our roots, we offer our guests a customizable, but mostly vegetarian kitchen. We are happy to adjust to our guest’s specifications: our kitchen and classes can easily be made vegan or can include meat dishes upon request.

Our Location



Soul Food Mexico is housed in a historic, restored seventeenth century agricultural hacienda. The hacienda is located between two tiny villages on the outskirts of Huamantla in the state of Tlaxcala.


From here, you will experience the tranquility of small-town life in rural Mexico while also having the unique opportunity to discover a Mexico lifted from hundreds of years ago. For the duration of your visit, you will feel like the hacendados of this hacienda, with access to all of our shared indoor and outdoor spaces including the kitchen, dining room, game room, patios, gardens, and our remarkable baroque chapel. From the roof of the chapel, you will observe magnificent sunsets, the twinkling of lights from nearby towns in the distance, the majesty of La Malinche, the beautiful inactive volcano that is our neighbor, and on clear days your view will reach the Pico de Orizaba in Veracruz and Iztaccihuatl in Puebla.


Tlaxcala is located in the altiplano, or high plain, elevated from the neighboring states and surrounded by mountains. We are bordered by the states of Mexico, Puebla, and Veracruz, and are easily accessible from both the Mexico City and Puebla airports. The major cities of Tlaxcala are Tlaxcala, the capital of the state, Apizaco, and Huamantla. The climate is temperate year-round, quite warm during the day, but quite cool in the evenings thanks to our elevation and our proximity to the mountain. Our dry season lasts from November to April and our rainy season from May to October, rainfall occurring more frequently in the afternoons and evenings. Each of our rooms are equipped with either a gas heater or a wood burning stove to provide cozy warmth during the chilly winter evenings.

The climate and soil fertility here ensure that our gardens are productive all year long. We are always able to offer our guests that which we harvest in house: fresh seasonal fruit from our main patio, salads featuring homegrown lettuces, spinach, arugula, herbs, and vegetables, hearty eggs from our fabulous hens, and fresh teas from our medicinal herb garden.  Our philosophy within the hacienda is to utilize everything that we have available at our fingertips without wasting anything, and to share with our guests the joy of seeing exactly where your food comes from.

Our Team

Javier Zamora Rios


Javier Zamora Rios is the owner and proprietor of Hacienda Santa Barbara. Native of Huamantla, Javier loves to share his passion for Tlaxcaltecan culture and food with newcomers to the area. Javier is passionate about preserving the original essence of the hacienda and in conserving culinary and cultural traditions of his native Tlaxcala. Beyond only the food, Javier is also excited to introduce our guests to the temazcal - a ritualistic steam bath representing rebirth and reconnection with nature and the elements. 

Joel Pérez


Joel Pérez was born in Nealtican, Puebla, and lived many years in New York City where his interest in the vegetarian cuisine initiated. Brought back to Mexico by a desire to reconnect to his roots, he now calls Tlaxcala home and works tirelessly to ensure that the hacienda is moving closer to self-sustainability. After realizing the abundance of ingredients that are unique to Mexico, he began to experiment more with the vegetarian culinary art. He finds soul healing from sharing his salads and creations [all collected from our greenhouse] with our guests and seeing their happy faces.

Ambien Mitchell


Ambien Mitchell was born and raised in North Carolina in the southern United States and lived and worked many years in New York City before arriving to Tlaxcala, her home away from home. In love with her life in Mexico, she helps select seeds and to design the hacienda’s gardens and shared spaces. She also leads the hacienda’s educational outreach, giving English lessons in the local communities. Humbled and amazed by everything she learns in Mexico, she is excited to share her admiration with visitors. She and Joel will serve as your guides and translators for the duration of your visit.

Maria Alejandra Mila Juárez

Maria is from and lived the majority of her life in Chapultepec, Huamantla. When Maria was thirteen years old, her mother passed away. At this point, her father began guiding and teaching her how to cook in the traditional tlaxcaltecan style of her mother. From then on, she has always been the chef of her household. She worked several years as a personal chef in Apizaco and in Mexico City before returning to her roots in Chapultepec. For her, the most important and representative dish of Tlaxcala is the mole tlaxcalteca because of the unique combination of ingredients required to create the delicious flavor. Maria is our resident maestra of maiz (corn), making us fresh, handmade tortillas and atoles using ground corn harvested from her own land. She is excited to meet you and share her knowledge with you!

Maria Elena García Montes



Doña Elena is one of Tlaxcala's most celebrated experts in traditional tlaxcaltecan cuisine and often appears at expositions around the state. Elena lives in the small community of Javier Mina, which sits on the border of Tlaxcala and Puebla and in the skirts of La Malinche. This unique location allows her to be our resident expert in the incredible variety of mushrooms that grow in La Malinche, and thanks to her dehydrating, we are able to have delicious and diverse mushroom varieties year-round. 

Galo Hernández Martinez


Galo is from the nearby San José Teacalco, where he lives with his mother and son. Galo learned to cook traditional tlaxcaltecan cuisine from his mother and learned to be a temazcalero from his father - knowledge he is now passing on to his son. Galo is our expert on medicinal and culinary herbs that are native to the area - many which grow like weeds in the fields! In addition to being a talented chef and an excellent temazcalero, Galo is a skilled masseur. His massage services are always available to our guests!

Carlos Hernández Juárez


Don Carlos began working at the hacienda under previous ownership, when he was only twelve. His first job within the hacienda was taking care of the young calves. After working some years outside, he returned to work within the hacienda once it was opened to the public as a hotel/restaurant. Don Carlos maintains our gardens and patios, is our faithful night watchman, collects firewood for our guests with the help of Enrique, his loyal donkey, and tells the best legends and ghost stories. He is our resident expert on the history of the hacienda, and is happy to answer any questions!

Gabriel Luna Victoriano



Gabriel Luna Victoriano was born and raised in Chapultepec, Huamantla. He is the hacienda’s maestro of construction and reparations, but is also our resident renaissance man thanks to his vast knowledge of animals, plants, and natural resources. Gabriel handles all reparations and new construction within the property, and also faithfully leaves us his sheep to help us produce compost for our gardens. 

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