2 weeks in Mexico, late November

Old Sep 25th, 2018, 09:10 AM
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2 weeks in Mexico, late November

Hey guys! A group of friends and I will be visiting Mexico in late November of this year and we're just looking for tips and suggestions on these places. Also wondering what the weather will be like in these locations at this time of year. We've heard it will be dry and sunny, moderate but chilly in the higher altitude places. We are all in our mid 20s, enjoy hiking, food, architecture, history, and art. Half of us speak Spanish. For some of us it is our first time to Mexico. We've gotten most of the logistics planned. We'll be flying into Mexico City, renting a car, and driving most of the trip. Toward the end of the trip we'll be taking a one way flight from Guadalajara back to Mexico City to fly home. I understand we're doing a lot in a short time frame, but that's how we prefer to travel, and we have a limited amount of time available.

We are American. We are wondering about how much money you think would be sufficient to bring with us for this kind of trip. We will be using Airbnb and will be splitting transportation costs among 6 of us, so our main costs will be eating out, going out for drinks, and admission costs to museums and other attractions.

- Mexico City (3 days) - Teotihuacán, Zócalo, Museo de Antropología, Chapultepec Castle, La Condesa, Museo de Arte Moderno, Museo Nacional de Arte, Museo Frida Kahlo & Coyoacán. Anything major we're missing? What are some cool, colorful neighborhoods to check out? We're planning on doing street food for the most part, but are there any particular restaurants you recommend? Recommendations on nightlife?

- Taxco (1 day) - day trip from Mexico City. Looks like a beautiful town to walk around and explore for a day.

- Izta Popo National Park, Cholula, & Puebla (2 days) - Best trails to hike in the national park with the most outstanding views?

- Querétaro (1 day) - mainly just passing through on the way to San Miguel to check out the architecture. Anything in particular we can't miss?

- San Miguel de Allende & Guanajuato (2 days) - more interested in Guanajuato than San Miguel, as it seems less touristy and in my opinion looks more vibrant and colorful, but we definitely want to at least check out San Miguel.

- Guadalajara & Tequila (3 days) - definitely plan on taking a tour in Tequila and doing a tasting for our friend's birthday. Would love recommendations on that!

Last edited by jmcuellar94; Sep 25th, 2018 at 09:12 AM.
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Old Sep 25th, 2018, 10:40 AM
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To clarify movements from place to place and get a better feel for useable time for sightseeing in any given location it's usually the nights, rather than days, we count. Two "days" can mean 3 nights to get 2 full days, or less, particularly if travel time isn't accounted for. So before doing any fine-tuning, plot your travel & stops on a calendar to see if what you're asking is really what's feasible, even with a preference for speed.
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Old Sep 25th, 2018, 02:14 PM
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We are wondering about how much money you think would be sufficient to bring with us... main costs will be eating out, going out for drinks

That's impossible to say or even estimate without knowing what you have in mind in more detail. Are you going to be eating street tacos or dining in high class restaurants? You can eat for 20 peso. Or you can eat where 1000 peso will not cover your bill per person. What kind of places will you be going out for drinks, and how many of them?
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Old Sep 25th, 2018, 03:05 PM
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Also keep in mind that one-way drop-off fees for rentals are pretty steep. So much so that most tourists don't even consider one-way rentals. And you don't really want to drive in metro Mexico City. Nor is there any benefit in driving to Queretaro/San Miguel/Guanajuato. I can see having a car while in that area, but not to drive from CDMX. Even if a handful of people would mitigate some of the rental expense.
As a side note, I lived in Queretaro for a year and now in between Queretaro and San Miguel. I can recommend a couple of good spots for food and drink as you fine-tune your itinerary.
As another side note, the only tequila distillery (Corralejo in Penjamo) in Guanajuato state isn't too far from Guanajuato city, housed in an old hacienda. If you're set on actually going to Tequila, never mind. But I think if you could eliminate the Guadalajara leg, you'd be better off.
And some random thoughts: Late November can be downright cool, even down into the high 20's especially at the higher elevations of GTO and SMA. The 3 most popular neighborhoods for tourists in Mexico City are the historic center, Roma, which is more 'hip' with loads of bars and great food everywhere you look, and nearby Condesa which is somewhat more fashionable and upscale. Xochimilco is a hoot on the weekends. Beer and tequila flow fairly freely. A series of recent studies by SECTUR show that Guanajuato actually gets nearly twice the tourists that San Miguel does. But the former is more of a college town, so it has that vibe while San Miguel gets a lot of 20-30 somethings from CDMX on the weekends. San Miguel has some 100 art galleries. Admission cost to museums and such are so low it's almost ridiculous. Most are closed on Monday, except for Teotihuacan. I think if you skipped Taxco, you'd get a similar vibe from Guanauato and San Miguel. Or maybe add Bernal near Queretaro where you can climb/hike the Pena. And you don't lose an entire day as you would by going to Taxco. And check out my not too long ago trip report about Leon. They've got a pretty active nightlife, more adult than Guanjuato.
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Old Sep 27th, 2018, 11:21 AM
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well, I'm going to a couple of those places in late November, also.

The car cost is a given as you'll know that ahead of time, right? From your description, you just want to know food, museums, drinks, etc.

Of course it depends what you eat, but museums are generally cheap and food/drinks are cheaper than equivalent in US, so assuming you eat cheaply and don't do expensive drinks (eg, beer would be cheapest), I'd probably count on around US$25-50 per day.

Of course you don't have to bring all this money with you, do not do that. They have ATMs in Mexico, you know, I've been to several of those places you name and all cities have ATMs that I've been to in Mexico, definitely San Miguel, Guanajuato, Puebla, etc. The one disadvantage is that in some places in Mexico, I've noticed the ATM does charge a flat fee per withdrawal, pretty steep sometimes, and you cannot avoid it. But it's still better than carrying around all that money with you, for sure. I think in San Miguel and Guanajuato I tried several ATMs and they all had fees, for a few places, and I think Puebla also, I'm sure it's the policy of the national bank they belong to. I think it was a couple percent on some of them, and if I recall, Santander changed an expensive flat rate of maybe what would be around US$5. I remember Santander cheated me out of money in Puebla as the machine dispensed none but they charged my card anyway. I did get it back after seeing the charge and complaining to my debit card holder, however.

ANyway, I don't remember specifics as ultimately you can't avoid that. I don't have a feel for gas and how much you'll use anyway, but you'll have to guess that. I think gas is fairly expensive in Mexico now, more than in the US (eg, maybe close to $4 per gallon, it's around $1 a liter, I think).
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Old Sep 27th, 2018, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
We are wondering about how much money you think would be sufficient to bring with us... main costs will be eating out, going out for drinks

That's impossible to say or even estimate without knowing what you have in mind in more detail. Are you going to be eating street tacos or dining in high class restaurants? You can eat for 20 peso. Or you can eat where 1000 peso will not cover your bill per person. What kind of places will you be going out for drinks, and how many of them?
Do you have specific areas that you would recommend Suze ?
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Old Sep 27th, 2018, 12:45 PM
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No. I answered only the part of the question I have experience with. My general observation was about budget. The statement I made would true regardless of the town, city, or region.

How much money do I need for NYC? How much money do I need for Hawaii? Answer is always... depends what you are going to do.
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Old Sep 28th, 2018, 04:55 AM
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Well, in my case ... having been to every place you mentioned (Mexico City) I can attest to the fact that you will not be disappointed. Most spectacular would be imo, the pyramids, that you can visit on your own by talking the bus and the Chemultepec castle. Of course, Frida’s house in Coyoacan is a nice tour but arrive early. You forgot to mention the hop on - hop off city bus tour, that is a must and can be used to visit the castle and the museum, which are quite economical as entrance fees. As a matter of fact, Mexico City is quite affordable wether it is for taxis, entrance fees and shopping. We stayed in the Roma Norte neighborhood and close to Condesa which are simply overflowing with restaurants of every kind and for every taste and price. You will certainly not be disappointed. In closing, you might consider Xoxcimilco (not sure about spelling) famous for the canals... Mexico City is built on a high plateau and the nights might be a little cool, bring something warm. Mexico has à European flair and is not like the tourist beach town tourist traps like PV and PDC, you will come away with incredible memories and experiences that only Mexico City can deliver !
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Old Sep 28th, 2018, 10:24 AM
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is not like the tourist beach town tourist traps like PV and PDC

It's too bad people can't express enthusiasm for some places without putting other ones down. This person didn't mention a word about going to any of the "tourist traps" so why even bring it up?
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Old Sep 28th, 2018, 03:19 PM
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Mexico is cheap compared to European standards, when you go to high end restaurants (or told you are going to such places) you still end up paying less than 'normal' restaurants in Paris. So yeah, cheap.
We ate our best meal in Mexico city at El balcon del centro - also a hotel, we were on a balcony. Food was great except for crayfish (? Kind of lobster - langouset in french) that was too cooked. Good evening. About half what it would have cost in PAris (but maybe the 'langouste' would have been perfect)

Last edited by Moderator1; Sep 29th, 2018 at 12:49 AM. Reason: removing reference to a deleted post
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Old Sep 29th, 2018, 03:58 AM
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Very well said Thibaut, Mx City is definitely cheaper than Europe for just about anything including meals. I would sooner pay in Pesos than in Euros.
I have not been to the place you mentioned but have eaten in quite a few restaurants in the area and in other neighboring towns. It would be difficult for me to recommend a particular dinner as I forget all the places but for certain, not one of them was bad, actually they were all quite good...
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Old Oct 8th, 2018, 07:14 PM
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Thank you for all the advice, everyone!
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