Bored in Mexico. What to do, where to go?

Old Feb 9th, 2022, 10:11 PM
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Bored in Mexico. What to do, where to go?

Canadian traveling through Mexico alone. Iíve seen some amazing sights and eaten great food all along the way, but Iím completely bored after dark.
Iíve spent a lot of time traveling alone in other countries before, and never found myself unable to meet other travelers or even make friends with the locals, but here, I havenít had a conversation with anyone in weeks.
Iím not an antisocial person, so I donít think Iím the problem, but maybe I am. My Spanish isnít good at all, and Iím not bumping into English speaking tourists aside from a few older American couples who probably werenít interested in partying with me anyway.

Looking for suggestions of places to go where I can find normal nightlife with a mix of tourists and locals together. Would really rather stay away from the big resort cities like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta etc.
Classy wine bars and mezcal rooms arenít my thing either; I just want to drink the same beer that the Mexicans drink, listen to music, meet people, and maybe dance if the party is lively enough to allow it.
Iím dumbfounded that I havenít found a bar with live music or dancing yet.

What am I doing wrong here? Could covid be killing the mood, or am I just looking in the wrong places?

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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 08:55 AM
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I think that a big part of the issue is COVID - definitely. That is putting a damper on all kinds of things, but most notably meeting strangers and hanging out with them. People are still traveling, but they tend to be sticking to themselves more. Also, with COVID restrictions, things like live music and dancing in bars has been really curtailed pretty much everywhere.

The next issue is that because your Spanish isn't good, you need to go where English speakers are. I have found that Mexicans in cities are much more likely to speak English than in smaller towns. We heard a lot of English in Merida, for example, but not much in the smaller areas around Merida. Of course, if you are looking for other English speaking tourists/travelers, you'll have to go where the English speaking visitors are. Right now, that may mean going to some of the more touristy areas. Keep in mind that while a place like Puerto Vallarta does have big resorts, there is a lot more to the area than the resorts.

It would help to know where you have been so far - maybe people can give you some good advice for where to try next.
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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by november_moon;[url=tel:17331967
17331967]I think that a big part of the issue is COVID - definitely. That is putting a damper on all kinds of things, but most notably meeting strangers and hanging out with them. People are still traveling, but they tend to be sticking to themselves more. Also, with COVID restrictions, things like live music and dancing in bars has been really curtailed pretty much everywhere.

The next issue is that because your Spanish isn't good, you need to go where English speakers are. I have found that Mexicans in cities are much more likely to speak English than in smaller towns. We heard a lot of English in Merida, for example, but not much in the smaller areas around Merida. Of course, if you are looking for other English speaking tourists/travelers, you'll have to go where the English speaking visitors are. Right now, that may mean going to some of the more touristy areas. Keep in mind that while a place like Puerto Vallarta does have big resorts, there is a lot more to the area than the resorts.

It would help to know where you have been so far - maybe people can give you some good advice for where to try next.
Thanks for your reply.

I entered Mexico through Tijuana, left quickly to San Jose Del Cabo (didnít realize it was Cabo San Lucasí quiet twin, and a separate city), to La Paz, then to Los Mochis where I got on the El Chepe train, stopping for a couple days each in El Fuerte, Creel, and Chihuahua (amazing trip). Admittedly, none of these places are known as big party towns, and I knew that going in (still enjoyed them all enough for what they were), but still expected to find other travelers and somewhere fun to have a few drinks.
The weather was too cold up north, so I flew to Oaxaca city, which is where I am now. Everything Iíd read about Oaxaca indicated that it is a lively city with a fairly young crowd, and a good number of tourists around, which it does seem to be during the day, but at night, the bars around the central/historic district are very quiet, if not completely empty.

I realize that thereís more to the big tourist cities like Puerto Vallarta or Cancun than just the resorts, but those areas appeared to be relatively expensive, and Iím just used to staying a bit further off the beaten path when I travel - usually sticking to mid-size cities and adventuring into the smaller towns for a few days at a time.
In other countries Iíve always found stuff to do, and friendly places to hang out at night, but maybe this approach just isnít suited to Mexico without a better level of Spanish. It looks like Iíll have to adjust the way I do things here.

Last edited by ryan754326; Feb 10th, 2022 at 10:35 AM.
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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 11:05 AM
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I think this is largely just the reality of traveling during COVID. Nightlife has been severely curtailed so there is a lot less to do in the evenings, and then people just aren't mingling as much with strangers as they would otherwise. There is also less tourism in general, so the tourists that you will find are likely to be more concentrated in the resort-y areas.
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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 12:17 PM
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Try maybe Puerto Econdido. Surfing center, popular with Aussies.
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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by baldone;[url=tel:17332027
17332027[/url]]Try maybe Puerto Econdido. Surfing center, popular with Aussies.

Itís on my list. Waiting for my uncle to arrive at the end of the month and meeting him there.
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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 01:08 PM
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When I was last in Oaxaca, about three years ago, many young people gathered around Santo Domingo in the evening.

In Mexico City, during the same trip, there seemed to be many clubs in the Zocalo area.

Are you staying in hostels? They usually cater to a younger crowd.
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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo;[url=tel:17332040
17332040[/url]]When I was last in Oaxaca, about three years ago, many young people gathered around Santo Domingo in the evening.

In Mexico City, during the same trip, there seemed to be many clubs in the Zocalo area.

Are you staying in hostels? They usually cater to a younger crowd.

The Zocalo/Santo Domingo area is where Iíve been going at night. Restaurants seem busy enough until around 10:00, and thereís plenty of people walking the streets after that, but the many bars in that area are almost empty. I guess itís just slow here at the moment.

Iím not staying in hostels. Rented an Airbnb for a month here in Oaxaca.
Iím not exactly young either, at 37, so I donít know how well Iíd fit in with the hostel crowd. I have no problem hanging out with them myself, but would prefer a more mixed crowd. I donít mean to offend anyone, but the man-bun/dreadlock types tend to be pretty cliquey in my experience.
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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 08:31 AM
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Have you tried the Oaxaca Lending Library? Seems to be a sort of English-speaking community.

https://www.oaxlibrary.org



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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo;[url=tel:17332283
17332283[/url]]Have you tried the Oaxaca Lending Library? Seems to be a sort of English-speaking community.
I hadnít heard of it, but Iíll check it out. Thanks!

I donít use Facebook, so thatís probably hindering me in finding groups to associate with. Iíve always just been able to meet people organically in the past.
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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo View Post
Have you tried the Oaxaca Lending Library? Seems to be a sort of English-speaking community.
I was about to post a suggestion yesterday about OLL, but then didn't as the crowd there tends toward the geriatric. But you never know & since you're there already, definitely have a look. The language exchange sessions may be of interest as the Spanish-speakers there to learn English tend to be younger and if you're interested in improving your Spanish it's a good opportunity.


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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu;[url=tel:17332325
17332325[/url]]I was about to post a suggestion yesterday about OLL, but then didn't as the crowd there tends toward the geriatric. But you never know & since you're there already, definitely have a look. The language exchange sessions may be of interest as the Spanish-speakers there to learn English tend to be younger and if you're interested in improving your Spanish it's a good opportunity.
Sounds like itís worth a look, at least. If I can meet some locals who want help with practicing English then that would be great.
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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 12:43 PM
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I’m not staying in hostels. Rented an Airbnb for a month here in Oaxaca.
Not the best idea if you want to meet people. Even a hotel with a bar would be better, and a proper B&B or pension better still if you don't want to go the hostel route. Have you looked for walking tours or day tours? (They are plentiful in Europe, don't know about Mexico.)
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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd;[url=tel:17332381
17332381[/url]]Not the best idea if you want to meet people. Even a hotel with a bar would be better, and a proper B&B or pension better still if you don't want to go the hostel route. Have you looked for walking tours or day tours? (They are plentiful in Europe, don't know about Mexico.)

Fair enough, but I like to have some privacy when Iím not out on the town.
Iíve stayed at hostels a few times while traveling in Asia, and was confronted with drunk people stumbling in throughout the night at the best of times, and backpackers screwing on the bunk above me at the worst of times.
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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
. . . Have you looked for walking tours or day tours? . . .
This group, Hoofing It In Oaxaca, has group hikes around the countryside & villages outside the city. I've gone on several & enjoyed them very much, nice people. Check with them if you're interested. They're also affiliated with OLL. Schedule of hikes goes to the end of March. They do get booked up in normal years but who knows now.

https://www.hoofingitinoaxaca.com/

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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 03:45 PM
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Fair enough, but I like to have some privacy when I’m not out on the town.
Plenty of privacy in hotels, pensions, B&Bs. Also, many if not most hostels have private rooms, so you can sleep alone but mingle in the public rooms, which is what you were asking for.
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Old Feb 12th, 2022, 12:45 AM
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When we were in Oaxaca some three years ago, it was quite lively day and night so I can only assume that its current quietness is down to the pandemic and lack of tourists. Prior to that we were in San Cristobal de Los Casas which was even livelier with both domestic and foreign tourists. If anything , it was too lively for my tastes! Guadalajara was also very lively , though to be fair, it was in the run up to Christmas. Morelia was also pretty buzzing when we were there and, along with Oaxaca, these were was probably our fav places in Mexico.

As others have suggested, not speaking, Spanish will be a major factor in not mixing with people. I have taken Spanish classes in many different places, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador and found them to be a great place for meeting people, Spanish and English speaking AND you get to learn Spanish! Staying for a month, would give you plenty of opportunity for lessons say 3-4 mornings a week. Staying in an AirBNB won’t be helping with meeting people. Hostels will be by far the best accommodation choice for meeting fellow travellers. You don’t have to share a dorm, most will have private en suite rooms these days and common rooms or bars for meeting others.
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Old Feb 12th, 2022, 08:00 AM
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Crellston --

Were you staying at the Quinta Real in Oaxaca? We were there three years ago, and a British couple had the room next to us. They kept catching us sitting outside our room between tourist excursions. Be funny if it was you!
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Old Feb 12th, 2022, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo View Post
Crellston --

Were you staying at the Quinta Real in Oaxaca? We were there three years ago, and a British couple had the room next to us. They kept catching us sitting outside our room between tourist excursions. Be funny if it was you!
Not guilty Iím afraid! It would have been funny though! We stayed at the Hotel con Corazon. So named because itís profits go towards supporting the education of underprivileged children in Oaxaca. Apart from support for a good cause, it is also a great place to stay.

We were only saying the other day to our housekeeper in Pasadena who originated from Guatemala, that now that we have ceased our full time travelling, Mexico and especially Oaxaca is a place we would love to return to some day and carry on south to Guatemala.
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Old Feb 12th, 2022, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by crellston View Post
Not guilty Iím afraid! It would have been funny though! We stayed at the Hotel con Corazon. So named because itís profits go towards supporting the education of underprivileged children in Oaxaca. Apart from support for a good cause, it is also a great place to stay.

We were only saying the other day to our housekeeper in Pasadena who originated from Guatemala, that now that we have ceased our full time travelling, Mexico and especially Oaxaca is a place we would love to return to some day and carry on south to Guatemala.
Seems a very worthy mission for the hotel. We'll be heading back ourselves, probably next year around this time.
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