Help with planing for Mexico and Central America

Sep 23rd, 2018, 07:56 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Sounds great! Buen viaje. Don’t miss tacos at Las Ranas in Puebla, folk art museum in Mexico City, and search out the guy who makes handmade knives from car parts in one of the Oaxaca villages. Some of our all time favorites.
glover is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2018, 09:25 AM
  #42  
 
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Greetings Crellston. I do follow along even when I'm quiet. Sad to say my plans have had to be cut short by life beyond my control. So, though I'll still have a 3-4 week visit in SC, I must return home mid-Nov. I'll be sorry to miss you.
MmePerdu is offline  
Sep 25th, 2018, 11:45 AM
  #43  
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That’s a shame MMePerdu. Maybe next time..

Thanks Glover. Can you remember the name of the village? I collect knives and this guy sounds fascinating!
crellston is offline  
Sep 26th, 2018, 01:42 AM
  #44  
 
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Hi Crellston. The knifemaker is named Apollnar Aguilar and lives in Ocatlan de Morales near Oaxaca. If you google him you’ll find a wiki article and I think even a couple videos. I took back knives for both brother and brother in law and they were delighted. His work is very interesting and studio is really fun to see.
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Sep 26th, 2018, 07:16 AM
  #45  
 
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Totally understand why you're missing out Yucatan this time but do make sure you come back! It's such a great part of the country and it's easy to get to Cuba from here too. I'll look out for a future thread from you on Yucatan exploration since I live here and write about it all the time. Have a fabulous trip.
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Sep 27th, 2018, 01:33 PM
  #46  
 
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In Zacatecas, check out the Quinta Real hotel, not necessarily to stay there (although it's a great property, but pricey). It's an old bullfighting arena converted into a hotel. But just for drinks, the bar is located on the lower level where the stables for the bulls used to be. Cool place. We stayed there last May. It's located just uphill a few blocks from centro, under the old acueducto. Also in centro is the 'Quince Letras", the oldest still operating cantina in town. It's kind of a dive, but it's become somewhat of a tourist attraction.
I see on another forum you'll be spending a night in Queretaro where we used to live. I'd recommend checking out the Hercules microbrewery. It's housed in an old textile mill that is still semi-operational. The menu is somewhat limited, but its a good place to maybe meet some locals as patrons share picnic table as they eat and/or drink. It's located at near the beginning of Queretaro's acueducto, so if you took a taxi (10 minutes from centro) you'd get a nice view of that, too. There is another restaurant on site as well, Planta Alta Cocina.
baldone is offline  
Sep 29th, 2018, 12:24 AM
  #47  
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Thanks for the suggestions Baldone. Quinta Real does look amazing - we may have to visit for a drink and Quince Letras is exactly the sort of place we would seek out so that is definitely on the list in Zacatecas. Thanks also for the suggestions for Queretaro, as we have only the one night there I am just sorting our the bus schedules from Guanajuato and on to Puebla so as to maximise the time we have to explore so this really helps me to hit the ground running.
crellston is offline  
Sep 29th, 2018, 06:54 PM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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you are gonna love mexico!!!! the cenotes, the pyramids, the beaches in cancun..... Mexico has been the best country I have gone to vacation.
Costa Rica is a good place to go, if you like the nature, if you go, you make sure to visit and picnic in a volcano.
Cuba Is also beautifull!!!! but is a trip that you should do to spend the entire vacation there
joao_elportu is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2018, 03:42 AM
  #49  
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Thanks for the suggestions and good wishes Vineland and joao.

Our itinerary which was;
Mexico City 6nts
Zacatecas 3
Guanajuato 3
Puebla 5
San Cristóbal de Los Casas 7
Oaxaca 7
Mexico City 1

Has now been extended by just over a couple of weeks which will take us over the Christmas period. Any suggestions as to how to spend this extra time would be appreciated. My thoughts include:

Oaxaca Coast, Yucatán, Veracruz. Morelia/ Guadalajara, the western side of The Bajío.

Although most reservations are cancelable, I am loath to change anymore than absolutely necessary. The exception being Oaxaca, which wouldnt impact too much on other stuff.

The more I read te more I think that, even with the 6 days, allocated, I am shortchanging Mexico City.

Thanks.
crellston is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2018, 04:12 PM
  #50  
kja
 
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The only parts of Mexico I've visited as yet are the Yucatan Peninsula (not just the state) and Chiapas, and I've already noted many of my recommendations for them. If you decide to include these areas (in addition to delightful San Cristobal de las Casas), I'll be happy to elaborate.
kja is offline  
Oct 25th, 2018, 06:44 PM
  #51  
 
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Random comments:
Are you including Guadalajara & Morelia in the western Bajío?
I found Guadalajara to be the one big city in Mexico that I have no interest in returning to. That's just me.
I like the Oaxacan coast. I'm not sure I could spend 2 weeks there, however. And it's a long drive from/to Oaxaca De J.
6 days in CDMX is OK to get a good feel for the city. You may come away wanting more, or not. You should know after your week there. If you return to Mexico, odds are that you'll fly into MEX on your next trip and you can see more the next time.
I already posted some of my thoughts on Veracruz. The gulf coast beaches, while not Cancun-ish, are virtually devoid of foreign tourists. The ruins of El Tajin likewise are far off the gringo trail, and are unique in their style. So much history in this state. Pretty much everything that made Mexico what it
is in our modern era came through Veracruz. You could also delve into the Puebla highlands with a tour of Veracruz.
baldone is offline  
Oct 25th, 2018, 11:54 PM
  #52  
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Sorry for the confusion baldone, I am always getting my east and west confused - a big problem for someone who travels as much as we do! I did mean to say the EASTERN part of the Bajío in my previous post - Sierra Gorda, Huasteca Potosina etc. but I have decided t omit this area on this trip, probably in favour of San Miguel and Michoacan - Morelia (plus some of the smaller towns and countryside in that region).

Kja -

With this route my plan was to spend Christmas in Guadalajara, and then head back to MC for one night before our flight out. the basis for this was that being a large city, there will be more going on over the holiday period, more restaurants open etc. plus, my wife loves mariachi (my own preference is for Carlos Santana or Stevie Ray Vaughan but hey!). given your comments I may reduce our time there.

I was planning to leave Veracruz until our next trip and head that way to the Yucatan but looking at the bus routes it seems we could go that way on the way back from Oaxaca and then maybe on to Puebla from there, in which case I would need to switch our existing time in Puebla to some of the other smaller towns around MC

Many thanks for your suggestions. You have given me a lot to think about!!

KJA - Even with the extra time Yucatan is off the list for this visit. we will include it on our journey down to, or up from Guatemala. we have got a week in San Cristobal and plan to get out and about in Chiapas from there so will no doubt come back with questions. highly likely we will do an overnight trip to Palenque - it sounds so impressive that it won’t be a problem visiting twice.
crellston is offline  
Oct 26th, 2018, 05:55 PM
  #53  
kja
 
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I think the first set of comments you addressed to me in your last post are really intended for baldone, but I could be mistaken.

As for the comments that are for me, well, I’m confused. You had stated, in your last post (#50), that Yucatan was back on the list, and this most recent post seems to say both that it is and is not in your plans. Either way, I’ll trust that if you want me to comment further on the Yucatan, you will let me know, and until you do, I’ll assume it is not under consideration.
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Oct 28th, 2018, 08:10 PM
  #54  
 
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Of course, San Miguel/Queretaro is my home turf, so feel free to post a question
baldone is offline  
Oct 28th, 2018, 11:06 PM
  #55  
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Sorry Baldone/kja I and confusing myeself at the moment! My initial comment in my prevupius post was, of course, directed at Baldone.

Some specific questions re San Miguel / Queterero;

We have an overnight stop in Queterero on the way back south from Guanajuato (I have noted your comments on where to check out when there for that afternoon/ evening). Is it worth spending more time there en route to Morelia?

San Miguel sounds delightful if a little touristy and v.expensive in comparison with everywhere else we are going. Worth 3-4 nights? I am struggling to find reasonably priced accommodation that has decent reviews.

Finally, a question re Veracruz, either for this or our next trip; is it possible/advisable to travel by bus from Mexico City - Veracruz - Mérida?

Many thanks
crellston is offline  
Oct 29th, 2018, 06:55 PM
  #56  
 
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Re: San Miguel: It is touristy on the weekends as the chilangos come up from Mexico City. Not unlike how the rolos flock to Villa De Leyva on the weekends, but San Miguel has like 5 times the population and there's much more to do in the immediate area. But that's pretty much the case with any city within 5 hours of CDMX on the weekends these days. Midweek really pretty quiet, unless there's some holiday. 3-4 nights depends on your interests. SMA is quite artsy-fartsy, lots of galleries and such. Probably more restaurants per capita than any city in Mexico in all price ranges. Many will have live music most nights. Day trips might include Dolores Hidalgo, Atotonilco (on the road to Dolores, it has its sanctuary that's referred to by some as the Sistene Chapel of Mexico, if you're into old religious artwork and old churches), and the semi-ghost mining town of Mineral De Pozos, all of the above could be easily visited in one day with a driver or by renting a car. There are 4 hot springs near Atotonilco. There are some minor Otomi ruins, Virgen De La Cañada, nearby but only accessible only by reservation and with a tour group, as they're on private property, but well developed. There's the well-regarded botanical gardens. So, it all depends on your interests.
Hotels do raise prices considerably on the weekends. I don't know your budget. My favorite moderately priced hotel when I wasn't living there was Best Inn Monte Verde, under $40 US midweek. Some others might include H 18, Casa Sautto, & Aquí Es Mexico. A short ways from centro but still walkable might include Real De Minas, La Casona, & Misión San Miguel. If there's any you're curious about, I can advise mostly about location. Anymore, I tend to rely more on Google reviews rather than TA's.
Re: Queretaro. I lived there for a year in part because it has an attractive, lively, walkable center with plenty of good eating options. I think it has the largest colonial center of any city in Mexico apart from CDMX. Plenty of history, as the plot for Mexican Independence was hatched there. That said, unless you want to do day trips to Bernal (a quaint colonial town with it's hikeable peña), and/or Tequisquiapan, you could probably get a good feel for the city with just 1 night, given your semi-structured schedule.
baldone is offline  
Oct 30th, 2018, 01:54 AM
  #57  
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Thanks Baldone, your post was immensely helpful! The comparison with VDL, where we ended up spending much more time than planned, really put it into context. I will have a look at those hotels and make sure to engineer our stay midweek to avoid the crowds.

Thanks also for the day trip recs. where would b the best place to hire a car an driver , or is it ok to just hire a taxi for the day?

Last edited by crellston; Oct 30th, 2018 at 01:58 AM.
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Oct 30th, 2018, 07:59 PM
  #58  
 
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Best of my knowledge, the only car rental agency is Bajiogo. They're also a travel/tour agent and have airport shuttle services too. They're located in centro, in the same building that also has a great breakfast spot, La Parroquia. Their website doesn't work too well, you'd have to call to reserve in advance which I believe they require. Bajio Go That said, Dolores and Atotonilco are easily accessible by public transportation or taxi. You can get to Pozos by bus, but not up to the mine ruins as there's no taxi service in town. Here's a trip report I did some time back:
Mineral De Pozos mini-trip report. I'm sure any taxista would be happy to be hired for the day, but a driver that knows how to get to Pozos would be better. You may opt to not even go, but it's an option for part of a day trip. And if you do get out to Atotonilco and/or the hot springs, there's some good eats out that way-La Burger and Smoked N Low, a BBQ place run by a Brit that lived inTexas. Where there's smoke, there's Keith. - Don Day in SMA One of my favorite places near San Miguel in Atotonilco is Mama Mia's Campestre; beautiful outdoor setting (plus indoor indoor too in their lodge), pizza, pasta and their craft beers on tap which they also have in their centro location.
https://m.facebook.com/mamamiacampestre/
baldone is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2018, 11:28 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 4
in mexico you should visit several Cenotes, and make scuba there, and visit the pyramids...... those are wonderful
joao_elportu is offline  
Nov 5th, 2018, 08:04 AM
  #60  
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Many thanks to all of you who have contributed to this thread. I am not used to planning our travel in advance so your advice and suggestions have proved invaluable.

We fly out of Heathrow on Wednesday and will be dining in Mexico City that evening.

Our final itinerary, after much vacillating and deliberation, looks like this:

Mexico City 6 nights
Zacatecas 3
Guanajuato 3
Queterero 1
Puebla 4
San Cristóbal (and maybe Palenque) 7
Oaxaca ( and environs) 7
Mexico City 1
San Miguel de Allende 3
Morelia 3
Pátzcuaro 4
Guadalajara 5
Mexico City or Queterero 2
Fly home.

Really looking forward to it and can’t think why we have left Mexico for so long!
crellston is offline  

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