Guide and Tips for a Trip to Mexico

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references


From parrot-inhabited forests, to ancient Mayan ruins, to the super trendy nightclubs of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the Mexico does not disappoint anyone. Unfortunately, many tourists still live in Mexico in the luxury resorts of the Riviera Maya, but listen to me, even if you decide to stay in a resort, spend as little time as possible. For the rest, rent the car or jump on a colectivo to enjoy this beautiful country to the fullest. You will fall in love with it, it is not possible otherwise.



And if the Guacamole is addictive, the cevice and the Mezcal as well!

General information in a nutshell

When to go: the best time is from December to April. The other months are characterized by rain and in summer also by hurricanes.

Money, Credit Cards and ATMsCredit cards and ATMs are accepted everywhere, especially in tourist areas, and they are there and work.

Safety: the Yucatan Peninsula is quite safe. Be careful if you travel by car to the policemen who are often corrupt and may find some irregularities to take the bribe. In other areas of Mexico it is sometimes the case that you are robbed while traveling on public transport. To me apart from my encounter with the banditos nothing happened. Around and in Mexico City better be careful.

Public transport and transportation: buses are the means we have used and the network is efficient and you can get anywhere. Long-distance buses (such as ADO's) are reliable, new and fast. If you travel by bus, bring a sweatshirt because the air conditioning is always tight and it's cold. The small buses used for short journeys (colectivos) are old and ramshackle, but very cheap.



Wi-Fi Present practically everywhere, but often slow or spot.

How much does it cost to travel to Mexico?

Apart from the Yucatan and the sites with the most tourist influx, traveling to Mexico is cheap. Apart from Playa del Carmen which is expensive, the other areas are quite cheap especially if you travel by public transport and eat in the local markets.

Hotels and hostels: in Mexico you can find from extremely cheap taverns and hovels to super luxury hotels and bungalows, the choice is certainly not lacking. If you want to book in advance, you can also find excellent offers on booking.com. Here, too, prices vary a lot depending on where you are. The beach bungalows in Tulum and the hotels in Playa del Carmen are very expensive. San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas is much cheaper.

Restaurants: I love Mexican food even though as a vegetarian most of the time I travel I miss the best. Restaurants are more expensive (10-15-20 euros), but if you eat in bars and in the markets, the expense is low (4-6 euros).

Activities and guided tours: diving, snorkeling and activities done with agencies are quite expensive (but cheaper than here). If you want to save money, stay away from Playa del Carmen agencies that have absurd prices compared to what you spend on your own business.

What to pack

Although Mexico has a very large territory and with different climates, it is not difficult to know what to bring since apart from the evening or in San Cristobal (where a heavy jacket is essential) the temperatures are generally warm so you can only bring stuff light.



Put on light clothes: for women a linen or cotton tunic is perfect. Remember that in archaeological sites often the sun is violent and evil insects so it is not always recommended to wear shorts.

Shoes with sturdy soles: Since you will be trekking in the forest or climbing the Mayan ruins it is essential to bring shoes with a resistant sole and that does not make you slip. The same goes for the cobbled streets that are easy to stumble upon.

Personal safety: A money belt to hide the swag under your clothes is essential.

Protection: absolutely bring mosquito spray especially if you want to go to Palenque in the forest. Sunscreen is essential even if it is found everywhere. Bring a bottle of water and brush your teeth with it: even if the quality of the water has improved a lot in recent times, better not tempt fate, stomach ache is always around the corner.

What to do and what to see in Mexico

Visit the Yucatan Peninsula: the Yucatan Peninsula is a treasure chest full of jewels. From the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, to the white beaches of Tulum, to the colorful houses of Valladolid, there is never enough time to see it all.

Snorkelling with turtles!: Head straight for Akumal to experience the wonderful experience of swimming alongside sea turtles.

Climb the Ek Balam Ruins: the ruins of the ancient jaguar city are, even if reduced in size and less famous than their sister Chichen Itza, in my opinion unmissable, especially for the views worthy of a king that you can enjoy on the surrounding forest from the top of the Acropolis.



Cool off in the blue waters of a cenote: cenote are caves with fresh water (sometimes even salt water). the whole Yucatan Peninsula is full of them and if you turn your rented car on the roads every now and then you will see the signs: follow them. In the cenote you can simply bathe it is true, but the way to experience a real adventure is scuba diving!

Immerse yourself in Cozumel: in 1961 Jacques Cousteau defined Cozumel as one of the most beautiful places in the world for diving with water so crystal clear that it has visibility up to 40 meters! Seeing is believing.

Have fun and drive late to a Cancun bar: even if I don't like crowded places so much I have to admit that in Cancun there are some beautiful places where it is really worth spending an evening.

Get lost in the markets of San Cristobal de Las Casas: San Cristobal de Las Casa is one of my favorite places in Mexico. The colorful farmhouses, the cobbled streets are like experiencing a blast from the past. From San Cristobal visit the Sumidero Canyon and San Juan Chamula but don't miss the experience of wandering aimlessly in one of its colorful markets.

Spend two days in Boca del Cielo: does the end of the world exist? Sure, and it's here on the Pacific Ocean in Boca del Cielo. Not suitable for those looking for luxury and comfort, Boca del Cielo must remain a destination for few. Here you will have to settle for a simple cabana, a beach almost as long as infinity, the sunsets that only the Pacific can offer and the company of many small sea turtles.

Explore the Zocalo: stop at the Zocalo, the main square (as well as the heart) of Mexico City to observe the Templo Mayor and the Palacio Nacional. A short walk from the Zocalo is La Catedral Metropolitana, an impressive cathedral fortified with gold and a fantastic example of Spanish colonial architecture.
Don't miss the Palenque ruins and Agua Azul waterfalls:

Don't support irresponsible tourism: unfortunately, as in most tourist places, irresponsible tourism is a plague and is still rampant. From the photo with a poor suffering shark locked in a swimming pool, to the (forbidden) sale of shells, to the concrete eco monsters built directly on the beach and the related garbage, an earthly paradise has become a hell made for profit with no respect for nature, animals and even unaware tourists to contribute to the destruction of an ecosystem.

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