Help me choose cities

Old Jan 14th, 2014, 07:44 AM
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Help me choose cities

Hey All,

I want to visit Mexico for the first time. I wanna experience different things in different cities.

I am planning to be there for 3 weeks total, visiting maybe 4 cities. I would love them all to be completely different from each other and unique. Two of the cities that i def want to go to are Mexico city and Cancun. Can I please get any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Daniel
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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If you want to experience Mexico, I wouldn't waste much time inside Cancun. It's a nice place to enjoy a beach vacation with some day trips, but it's about as Mexican as Las Vegas.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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The colonial towns Puebla, Queretaro, Morelia, Guanajuato, Cuernavaca, Oaxaca are all great places to visit.

Does your trip have to include a beach? If yes, at least go somewhere like Puerto Vallarta or Playa del Carmen. Cancun is Miami Beach that happened to find itself in Mexico.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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I agree, skip Cancun, stayed there once in 1999, never again. Too many high rises. Was just in the hotel zone again this past May when our rental car company picked us up from an Isla Mujeres ferry so saw about 2/3rds, has not changed. Go to someplace nice like Akumal or Tulum. Are you looking for a hotel or condo?
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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You say that you are already bound and determined to visit Mexico city and Cancun, then so be it. Keep in mind that Mexico city is in the Northwestern part of the country and Cancun is in the Yucatan Peninsula. With 3 weeks in total you will need an itinerary that gives you the maximum time for travelling and for visiting... and from which airport you plan to leave the country? If you start in Mexico city, then you will probably end up in Cancun. If this is the case, then add Merida (after Cancun) to your list of cities which will compare to Mexico city for it's grandeur, culture and everything else that is beautiful in Mexico. You can then leave in Merida or come back to Cancun (5 hour drive)for your departure. True, Cancun is a sort of tourist trap like many other coastal cities but at least you can say that you've seen it. I consider your travel plans as a very good mix and am convinced that you will never forget it... Good for you !
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 11:52 AM
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Thanks all!

@RAC I'm convinced, not going to Cancun. That was my beach place, but i would prefer Puerto Vallarta.

@suze, are the colonial towns similar to each other? Which ones would you choose out of all of those? Puerto Vallarta sounds like a great option, do you like it better than playa del Carmen?

@jamie99 Agreed about Cancun. What kind of towns are Akumal or Tulum, are they similar to the ones that Suze recommends?

@Rohelio I live in Washington DC, so that's where my starting point is. I don't yet where would I start, I would like to first have all of my cities in place. If not going to Cancun, would you still recommend Merida?
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 12:02 PM
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@jamie99 also, I'm planning to use airbnb for the whole trip.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for clarifying... In that case I would start with Mexico city, I am sure you will be there for close to a week. I am really supportive of the Mayan Riviera area for it's fantastic beaches and turquoise water and energy of the 5th ave.,but in this case I would have to agree with Suze and recommend PV, if not for it's proximity to Mexico city, then for it's restaurants and malecon and most certainly, it's sunsets. If you have time, then come on over to Playa del Carmen... nothing like it in the world !!!
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 02:51 PM
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A good guidebook or two should be really helpful. I found the Moon Guide particularly useful.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 03:02 PM
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Sorry I am no real help and have never been to the colonial towns I mention.

I always go to Puerto Vallarta (22 times and counting).

I only know from reading about them, and they seemed to fit what you were asking for in your post.

I've also never been to Playa del Carmen but it's a fun tourist beach-y town near to but better than Cancun.

Akumal and Tulum are more rustic that my suggestions, but also excellent ideas, depending what kind of a beach experience you seek.

How about... Mexico City, Guadalajara, then Puerto Vallarta? Those 3 should work beautifully together.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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Playa del Carmen for me is worse than Cancun, which was at least planned well--I've found PdC crowded, overgrown, chaotic, really, really touristy, lots of aggressive guys trying to sell everything from trinkets to timeshares working people as they walk by, etc.

Akumal and Tulum, on the other hand, still have good vibe. See also Puerto Morelos.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 04:35 PM
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I'd suggest Guanajuato (see if you can fly into its airport, BJX. This is a beautiful "silver city" very lively, with good restaurants, significant history (the revolution in particular) and a lively young crows. Two or three nights.

Bus to Mexico City. The greatest city south of New York. Museums, ancient ruins, vibrant arts scene, great food. Four or five (or six) nights.

Bus to Puebla, two hours south of MC. Colonial city, good markets, food. Day trips to Cholula and other historic sites. Two or three nights.

Bus to Oaxaca, four hours south. The most serene colonial city. Local arts and crafts, ancient ruins of two civilizations, the best food in Mexico, and the most laid back zocalo. You'll want to stay. Four or five nights.

Fly home via Mexico City.

Don't be afraid of the buses. They are clean, safe and comfortable. And a bargain. Take first class or deluxe. One of my expat friends says you haven't been to Mexico if you haven't taken the bus!
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 04:54 PM
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The crows are lively but the crowds are livelier still.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 07:19 PM
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@Rohelio, I think I actually would prefer Playa del Carmen instead of PV.

@kja, Thanks you i will definitely look at a guide book. I read Rick steves for my Euro trip and it was very helpful.

@Suze, I actually am also thinking of Akumal as an option.

@RAC I'll take that into consideration.

I think so far I have a couple of options and they are;

Mexico City, Oaxaca, Marida, and PDC.

Although Guadalajara and San Cristobal de las casas are nice options
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Old Jan 16th, 2014, 09:41 AM
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Guanajauto is my favorite city in the World. If I was 10 years younger I'd move there.
How's that for an endorsement?
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Old Jan 16th, 2014, 10:46 AM
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Stew -- Maybe we ought to stop speaking of Guanajuato in such glowing terms -- we might turn it into another SMdA!

I'll be interested to hear your impressions after a long stay in Oaxaca. I hope to do that myself someday, should retirement ever arrive.
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Old Jan 16th, 2014, 10:51 AM
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Too late. I'm already convinced I want to visit Guanajuato, if I can ever tear myself away from the beach/ocean.
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Old Jan 16th, 2014, 04:36 PM
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VERY GOOD FRA!
At 71 I do not think it will happen in my life.
Yes I am anxious to spend a month in Oaxaca. I can not believe it's as lovely as Guanajuato but I am going with an open mind (or at least as open as I can be). Gto not only lovely but with the University & the auto plants so prosperous compared to much of Mexico.
Anyways I will report back.
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Old Jan 16th, 2014, 09:29 PM
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Oaxaca is way different than Guanajuato, but marvelous too. Do not neglect to visit as many outer villages and towns as you can.
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Old Jan 17th, 2014, 05:10 AM
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Hey dsauna,
I read that you would appreciate PDC over PV. Well, I lived there for close to a year and I have to say that both sides of the country are marvelous and have lots to offer. Also that both cities(PV and PDC) are tourist destinations so you should not be concerned about safety. If pushed, I would have to choose PDC and the whole Yucatan Peninsula for it's Archeological sites, turquoise waters, white powdery sand, nearby colonial cities (Merida, Izamal)not to mention fantastic side trips to Akumal, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Progresso, Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza and countless more. There are over 300 hotels in PDC alone. Did I mention La Quinta (5th ave.) which is now several miles long, all encompassing Ma and Pa shops to high end boutiques, bars and restaurants gallore and this is all 1 to 2 blocks from the world famous beaches, Mamitas, Shangri-La near the popular beach bars, Mamitas, Canibal Royal, Wah Wah and many more. As a matter of fact, we were scheduled to go to PV this winter but decided to head on back to Playa for 2 months instead...If you do go, try to time it with Carnival week celabrated in many areas but the biggest and most colorful parade is in Cozumel on the last day. I know that we will be there, on the upper floor of the restaurant accross the ferry dock where we were last year... ))
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