3 weeks in Mexico, first timers from Australia

Old Apr 16th, 2024, 07:47 PM
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3 weeks in Mexico, first timers from Australia

Hi, its been a while between trips. We've been fortunate enough to be treated to flights to Mexico, b/class. Our Daughter and Son in Law will be attending a wedding in Sayulita about an hours drive from Puorto Vallata and have asked us to go too and watch the grandkids for 4 days while they attend the wedding celebrations.

Lots of researching has begun, so far our 'plan' is the following, with lots of questions and info to be gathered.

We'll arrive 5.30pm January 30 into LAX and the others will arrive on the same flight the next day.
We will fill in that day (no need to site see here as we've done that) and then on the 31st we will all fly to PV, at this stage we are looking at an airbnb that appears to be a condo in the Hyatt resort Sunscape. We will have two nights together, thinking we will hire a car and go to Las Caletas for the day (thoughts?) and then on the 4th drive them to Sayulita and have a look around there and then head back with the kids for four nights of just kid activities, swim/pool/playgrounds etc.
Then drive back to collect them on the 7th have one last night together before going our seperate ways.

Now the trip gets 'interesting', we've done a lot of the US and have never been to Mexico, in fact I'm not sure it was on our list but on preliminary research I don't know why, it looks amazing. Our interests are restaurants, markets local food local wine local tequila eating and walking to all the local sites.

I'm thinking we'll only tackle two more places, don't want to spend too much time in airports but I'm guessing long distance driving would not be ideal/safe?

So Mexico City and Oaxaca have really got me excited but am wondering if we should do one more as well? We will have two full weeks before making our way back to LAX for the flight home via Honalulu (another place we haven't been). I know my husband would love to visit some aztec/mayan sites, so any suggestions would be amazing.

I read a fantastic TR that suggested the Red Tree House B&B in Mexico City, it looks perfect so I have booked 5 nights there............but can still change my mind/plans. We will be eating at lots of local stands and suggestions by our Hosts and also I'm binge watching Eva Lonogorea Searching for Mexico and Somebody Feed Phill, Mexico and there are a lot of notes being taken.

Can't wait to hear any and all thoughts and suggestions.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 07:18 AM
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You can easily spend two weeks between Mexico City and Oaxaca. If you want to add a third the usual suspect is Puebla. But you mentioned that you would like to see Mayan sites (you'll see Aztec in MC). The major Mayan ruins are in the south of the country on the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas. You might consider skipping Puebla and flying to Merida, from which you can visit Chichen Itza, Uxmal, the Ruta Puuc, etc. Farther afield lies Palenque.

As far as driving south of the border, I never have. The bus system in Mexico is excellent, and not at all like that of the U.S. Don't know the reputation of buses in Australia, but Mexican buses are a good alternative to driving.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 07:59 AM
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Driving in Mexico is generally safe, especially away from the US border. But quite chaotic in and even around CDMX. Plus one way drop off fees are expensive. Fra is right, buses are safe & comfortable. In the central part of the country, the ETN bus line often has double decker buses for which you can reserve the front row seats for the view. For archeological sites, no doubt you'll be taking in Teotihuacan. Be sure to have a meal at La Gruta nearby. Oaxaca's ruins are primarily Zapotec, not Aztec or Maya. Since you're open to another week or so, on the way from PV to CDMX, some time in Morelia/Patzcuaro would be easy enough. Likewise some time in Guanajuato/San-miguel-de-allende/Queretaro. Both areas are worthwhile.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 08:29 AM
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I am no help with the rest, but I know Puerto Vallarta very well. If you have any questions about that part of the trip. suze
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 10:47 AM
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On our first trip to Mexico we visited many of the places mentioned above - indeed many were at the suggestion of Baldone. We are due to visit again later this year and whilst that trip is a little, uncertain at the moment , if it does go ahead then we will certainly revisit Mexico City and Oaxaca. Guanajuato is also on the list - it is amazing, fun town (think strolling muscians, great food and a stunning setting. Did think hard about a return to Morelia and Patzcuarao but decided upon the Yucatan instead where we haven't been before and plan on some time in Morelia , a roadtrip around the many archaeological sites and cenotes with maybe a beach town here and there.

There are some details of our time in these places and lot of photos in our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/mexico/ which may provide some ideas.

I too watched the Eva Longoria series (a couple of times!). Haven't heard of the Feed Phill show so might have to look that up.The food in Mexico is truly amazing, especially that at street and market stall. The variety of cuisines is truly amazing. As keen cooks we will be leaving plenty of space to stock up with dried chillies , spices etc. After our first stay in CDMX we were eating breakfast at a taco stall a block along from our hotel that we decided not to book breakfast at any of our other hotels.

Great result bagging The Red Tree House! I tried but could only get a 2 bed apartment which we don't need.


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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 03:47 PM
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How lovely to wake up to such helpful responses, thank you all so much.

suze "I am no help with the rest, but I know Puerto Vallarta very well. If you have any questions about that part of the trip. suze"

We will be in PV for 7 nights with the Grandkids 3 & 9, four of those nights it we will have the kids on our own. We've decided the day we are all together we will go to Las Caletas, any other fun places to visit with the kids that you could suggest, would be fantastic.

Fra_DiavoloThe major Mayan ruins are in the south of the country on the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas. You might consider skipping Puebla and flying to Merida, from which you can visit Chichen Itza, Uxmal, the Ruta Puuc, etc. Farther afield lies Palenque.

Woh I love this idea, I see its a 1.5hr flight from Oaxaca to Merida, so certainly looks dooable. Any thoughts on the best way to visit each site, tour guide?

So far I have only booked 5 nights in Mexico City, we then have 8 nights before we need to get back to LAX, it appears that what ever order we do it, Oaxaca or Merida to LAX the flight will be via Mexico City.
Any thoughts on which order to do it, does it even matter and should we split each into 4 nights?


bald0ne Driving in Mexico is generally safe, especially away from the US border. But quite chaotic in and even around CDMX. Plus one way drop off fees are expensive. Fra is right, buses are safe & comfortable. In the central part of the country, the ETN bus line often has double decker buses for which you can reserve the front row seats for the view. For archeological sites, no doubt you'll be taking in Teotihuacan. Be sure to have a meal at La Gruta nearby. Oaxaca's ruins are primarily Zapotec, not Aztec or Maya. Since you're open to another week or so, on the way from PV to CDMX, some time in Morelia/Patzcuaro would be easy enough. Likewise some time in Guanajuato/San-miguel-de-allende/Queretaro. Both areas are worthwhile.

Would a bus work between any of these places? Love the idea of a bus to see some country side and avoid airports which are such time wasters. La Gruta looks amazing, thank you.

crellston I too watched the Eva Longoria series (a couple of times!). Haven't heard of the Feed Phill show so might have to look that up.The food in Mexico is truly amazing, especially that at street and market stall. The variety of cuisines is truly amazing. As keen cooks we will be leaving plenty of space to stock up with dried chillies , spices etc. After our first stay in CDMX we were eating breakfast at a taco stall a block along from our hotel that we decided not to book breakfast at any of our other hotels.

Great result bagging The Red Tree House! I tried but could only get a 2 bed apartment which we don't need.


Very happy with my booking for The Red Tree House, now to find something wonderful in Oaxaca. Re Somebody Feed Phill, in Australia its on Netflix so i'm guessing it will be the same in the US, I've added the link to his website for each city.
https://www.philrosenthalworld.com/cities/mexico-city
https://www.philrosenthalworld.com/cities/oaxaca

Thank you all again and keep it coming.
Dx


Last edited by aussiedreamer; Apr 17th, 2024 at 03:49 PM.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 06:21 PM
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*Would a bus work between any of these places? Love the idea of a bus to see some country side and avoid airports which are such time wasters. La Gruta looks amazing, thank you.*
Yes, however, it's a long trek from PV to the nearest city I mentioned, Morelia. Like 8 hours. You could break up that trip with a night or 2 in Guadalajara, but that's not my favorite city in Mexico. But then 8 hour bus rides aren't that appealing either. As you investigate bus routes, keep in mind that schedules for the 2 main 1st class carriers in central Mexico are ETN (as previously mentioned) and Primera Plus, and their schedules & fares are typically only posted about 2 months in advance. But the schedules rarely change, so what you see for next week will almost certainly be the same in January.
https://etn.com.mx/
https://www.primeraplus.com.mx/
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 11:04 PM
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Your post-Vallarta time apparently will be limited to just two weeks, or as a practical matter perhaps slightly less than that. If your three destinations during that time will be (1) the city of Morelia, (2) the nearby attractive small, highly Indigenous town of Patzcuaro, and (3) Mexico City, then covering that ground by bus would make sense. Otherwise, save time by instead flying from PV to Mexico City.

My favorite Mexican city is lively Guanajuato. So, consider busing to an intermediate destination, such as Queretaro (a beautiful, very prosperous city) or Tolantongo Canyon (worth going out-of-the-way to enjoy), before busing onward to Guanajuato. Later from Leon's airport, located an hour's drive from Guanajuato, you could fly to Los Angeles non-stop. Tolantongo is my favorite non-urban Mexican destination. A hot springs river flows out of a cavern there. That extraordinary beauty spot is visited by many Mexican families. To avoid crowds and assure getting a hotel room, don't go to Tolantongo on a weekend or holiday.

If you decide to divide your time between Mexico City and Oaxaca, do the scenic MC-Oaxaca bus journey (or MC-Puebla-Oaxaca) during daylight. Later you could save some time by flying Oaxaca-MC, on your way out of the country. Chris Daniel

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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 01:56 PM
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I probably would just do two places, including a week in Mexio City. January is about as good a month as any for the Yucatan, so perhaps check out crellston's trip planning thread. Merida is quite close to Uxmal, a major Maya site. You could also include the Ruta Puuc sites.
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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 04:32 PM
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There is a pretty nice zoo in PV the kids might enjoy. We took a city bus to get there but then had to walk aways to the main entrance. Take insect repellent if you go.

we took a boat to Las Caletas. Enjoyed my day there.
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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 10:06 PM
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Where are you staying in Puerto Vallarta? Will you be right in town (Zona Romantica or Centro)? Or Hotel Zone, Marina, Nuevo Vallarta, Southshore? So 7 days total, some with the family, some you've got the kids on your own?

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Old Apr 23rd, 2024, 03:03 PM
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I can see spending 4-5 days in Mexico City but more than that what would you do? Genuine question just wondering if I missed some things
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by isaiahmacdonald8807
I can see spending 4-5 days in Mexico City but more than that what would you do? Genuine question just wondering if I missed some things
Considering that one can barely scratch the surface in 4-5 days, you probably did miss some things. Or have you not been and just asking in general what there is to see?
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Old Apr 24th, 2024, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by isaiahmacdonald8807
I can see spending 4-5 days in Mexico City but more than that what would you do? Genuine question just wondering if I missed some things
On our first trip we spent 5 nights (4 days) on arrival in Mexico City and another 2nts (I day) before departing. It was enough to see the key sights but not enough to see everything. IMO, with a relatively short visit you have to be selective and decide whether to focus on the one destination or add in another. FWIW, f I had week to play with I would split 4 nts Mexica City and 3 in another location maybe Guanajuato or Puebla.
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Old Apr 27th, 2024, 05:27 PM
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Sorry for the delay and thank you all so much. I am looking into all your suggestions, I've double checked and we are 4 nights Mexico City at the Red Tree House B&B from Jan 8 -12 at this stage we need to be back in Mexico city for a flight to LAX on the 21st, managed to get AA flights with FF points. So thats a balance of 9 nights to explore , flight isn't till 4pm on the 21st but would idealy spend the 20th in Mexico City pre flight.

suze Where are you staying in Puerto Vallarta? Will you be right in town (Zona Romantica or Centro)? Or Hotel Zone, Marina, Nuevo Vallarta, Southshore? So 7 days total, some with the family, some you've got the kids on your own?

W
e will be in the Hotel Zone I believe, yes 7 nights total inc 4 with the kids on our own.
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