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Mexico! 2022 trip report and 2023 itinerary feedback!

Mexico! 2022 trip report and 2023 itinerary feedback!

Old Oct 29th, 2022, 10:07 PM
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Mexico! 2022 trip report and 2023 itinerary feedback!

Last January I embarked on a 6 week solo trip through Mexico. I worked remotely Monday to Thursday and took the last week in CDMX off of work to explore fully.

I started in Puerto Vallarta for two weeks and loved the small city on the beach, extremely walkable, amazing food and nice cocktail bars, art gallery scene, felt totally comfortable as a solo traveler, walking and meeting friendly expats and locals, tons of English spoken to ease my transition to Mexico, and lots going on at night to do after work (and totally safe walking around and doing so).
Did not like: soo touristy

Next was a weekend in Sayulita. I found lots of millennials and had a great time, but one night was enough. It was fun but otherwise thought it was over crowded and over priced. I would go back for a weekend but not a priority.

Then Guadalajara. This was a beautiful city and I loved the historical center (and so walkable!) As well as the cute little boutiques. Tlaquepaque was fun for an afternoon and I loved all the galleries. A local friend showed me around some great restaurants and bars especially around Colonia Americana. Loved the night markets too.
I was underwhelmed by some of the museums. Almost nothing was in English in contrast to PV where everything was in English - so I definitely need to brush up on my Spanish before going back. Didn't feel safe walking around at night and sometimes it was hard to get an Uber.

Guanajuato! This city took my breath away. Absolutely gorgeous. Requires patience for getting lost. Packed with Spanish speaking tourists. Gorgeous little plazas for sitting and people watching with a drink or pastry. Pretty small. Very difficult and stressful to get an Uber from the bus station to my hotel. Loud!!! The university singers are a wonderful thing but go late into the night, every night.

Queretaro! In some ways I thought the city center was almost as beautiful as Guanajuato but less hilly and easier to navigate. The museum buildings were stunning even if the art was less so. Off the beaten path, not so much tourism, but more to do if you speak Spanish fluently as it's a bigger city with cultural events.

Mexico city! I was honestly disappointed after the beauty of the other cities. So much traffic and such big distances between attractions made walking harder, Uber was more essential. Loved Airbnb experience to tour the pyramids nearby, and loved xochimilco. The anthropology museum was GIGANTIC. I was underwhelmed by the restaurants and bars after the other cities which I found more charming, but maybe I chose poorly. Free walking tour was disappointing. Frida Kahlo house was a little disappointing but it was over hyped for me so my expectations were unrealistic. Loved the Diego Rivera murals and belles artes.

Reflections: It was an incredible trip and ultimately was ready to leave each city after the time I had there, but taking a bus every weekend was exhausting. I'd prefer to stay in places for at least 2 weeks at a time instead of 1 week. Or perhaps fly, even though I hate flying. Puerto Vallarta was the perfect size to feel manageable and safe with plenty of cultural things to do as well as the ability to just enjoy walking or sitting outdoors and people watching in the evening. Guanajuato and Queretaro were the most beautiful to wander and explore, and I loved the more local feel, though I don't think either one would be great for more than a week. If I had to rank my experiences with 1 most eager to return and 6 my least eager I'd say:
1 Puerto Vallarta2 Guanajuato
3 Queretaro4 Guadalajara
5 Sayulita

Next trip ideas for Jan/Feb 2023:

I'd like to spend some time in Oaxaca, maybe two weeks? I've never been there! Also maybe Puebla? I've heard San Cristobal de Las casas is really nice but it seems so far from anywhere else? I am also considering going back to PV for a week and flying from there to Puebla/Oaxaca. I'm not eager to return to CDMX but it's a great hub for flying and could give it a few more days. I've also heard good things about San Miguel de Allende and Morelia. What would you recommend for a 6 week itinerary based on what I liked and didn't like?
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Old Oct 29th, 2022, 10:43 PM
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Consider deliberately timing your stay somewhere so that it coincides with a local festival or celebration. For example, the town of Chiapa de Corzo in the state of Chaipas has its "Fiesta Grande" each year from approximately Jan. 8 to Jan. 22. Google " Chiapa de Corzo fiesta grande" to access lots of pictures and videos. That's near the larger city of Tuxtla, Gutierrez. Tuxtla is about an hour's bus ride from San Cristobal de las Casas. There are flights between CD MEX and Tuxtla.

And, during February some towns and cities in Mexico have carnivals right before the beginning of Lent.

Last edited by chrisdaniel0933; Oct 29th, 2022 at 10:47 PM.
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Old Oct 30th, 2022, 05:37 PM
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Nice trip report, thanks.
With 6 weeks, you'll have many choices. Oaxaca is a beautiful city, back in the day my wife and I spent a month or more there for a number of years, primarily to study Spanish and get away from cold Midwestern winters. We'll be going back in a couple of weeks for the first time post pandemic. We now live on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende, off the highway to Queretaro.
Morelia also is a lovely city, and there are plenty of towns in the area that are easily visited. Patzcuaro, Uruapan, Santa Clara del Cobre, etc.
3 of our favorite bigger cities are Leon, Zacatecas & San Luis Potosí.
Puebla is usually our stop on our way to/from Oaxaca. It could also serve as a base to make a loop through Veracruz. Orizaba, Veracruz City Xalapa/Coatepec/Xico are easy to visit. Although there'd be bus travel, but distances are relatively short.
And it is true that San Cristobal is hard to get to. We flew from CDMX to Tuxtla.
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Old Nov 1st, 2022, 03:32 AM
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Hey. Thanks for the report. I am in Oaxaca at the moment. Haven't seen much yet but already love the city. I am staying at Hotel Escondido Oaxaca, it is perfect for minimalists
As for the city, Ive already been to Iglesia De Santo Domingo. Almost every inch of its interior is covered in gold which is quite astonishing
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