Mexico City-Guanajuato-Guadalajara-Vallerta

Old Sep 8th, 2022, 06:54 AM
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Mexico City-Guanajuato-Guadalajara-Vallerta

I'd love any thoughts you Mexico lovers could give me on my draft itinerary for our trip to Mexico at the end of February 2023! After three nights in Mexico City, our plan is to travel by bus to Guanajuato for 3 nights, then another bus journey to Guadalajara for 3 nights. We'd then fly to Puerto Vallarta for five nights relaxation and exploration before flying back to Mexico City for our return flight to Scotland.

We have been to Mexico once before with visits to Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, Palenque, and Yucatan peninsula.

Do you think 3 nights in Guanajuato is about right? I guess we only need a day to explore the city so if you agree, can you suggest anything else we could do on day 3 that would be manageable?

Any thoughts on this and the itinerary in general would be gratefully received!
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Old Sep 8th, 2022, 09:20 PM
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I have spent a lot of time in Puerto Vallarta. I can help with that if you have any questions.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 11:30 PM
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In the context of your overall trip, three nights sounds about right in Guanajuato. I think we spent four there but as part of a much longer trip around Mexico. The central area of the city is comparatively small but there is a lot to pack in as any guide book will tell you. I suppose you could tray and do it all in one very full day, but what would be the point unless you have somewhere better to be? Three nights would give you two full days to explore which for me is the very minimum I allocate to anywhere when we ar travelling. At night the town comes alive with crowds of revellers following the strolling Mariachi bands - street theatre at its very best! Another reason to hang around awhile. Along with Morelia, Oaxaca, Patzcuaro and Zacatecas, Guanajuato was one of our favourite places in Mexico and one to which I would be happy to return.

As far as your other destinations are concerned, three nights for Mexico City seems very light for such a huge place and for one where there is so much to see and do within the city, to say nothing of the places within a days travel. We spent five and three nights there at the beginning and end of our trip which seems about right for us.

We were not that taken with Guadalajara but to be fair it was over the Christmas holidays and for a couple of day much was closed down and the remainder of our time there it was pretty quiet. We did seriously consider cutting short our time there and heading back to Morelia or Mexico City early.

Puerto Vallarta we did look at as an option when planning our trip but having read up on it extensively, decided it wasn’t our sort of place. I am sure some people love it but resort type locations have never really been our thing. We too like a few days relaxation at teh end of a trip but for us that usually manifests itself as a stay in an apartment in a city rather than a beach. Again to put this into some sort of context, we weren’t that enamoured of San Miguel de Allende and decided to leave before our allotted time was up as it felt to us more like an ex pat enclave than a Mexican town.

Given the time you seem to have, if it were my trip, I think I would skip both Guadalajara and PV and add in more time at the end in Mexico City or even Puebla which is close by and a combo of Morelia and Patzcuaro. Just my necessarily subject opinion!
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Old Sep 10th, 2022, 11:24 AM
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Puerto Vallarta is snowbird/cruise ship central in February. I'm not sure I'd go there for "relaxation". It is probably my least favorite place in Mexico. Mazatlan I liked a bit more, or even Acapulco.
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Old Sep 10th, 2022, 04:26 PM
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I do love Puerto Vallarta. And the way I do it is not a "resort destination"! That is not a fair observation except from a very small point of reference from people who have not actually spent time there (renting condos, staying for a longer time, not off cruise ships, etc.).

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Old Sep 10th, 2022, 06:14 PM
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February is not the same as the off season, which was my point.
Snowbird: "A snowbird is a person who migrates from the colder northern parts of North America to warmer southern locales, typically during the winter. The southern locales include the Sun Belt and Hawaii in the United States, as well as Mexico and the Caribbean".

Resort destinations which include a lot of beachside bars, restaurants and hotels and condos are not my cup of tea no matter how much time I have to spend. I grew up in a few of those, been there, done that.

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 10th, 2022 at 06:20 PM.
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Old Sep 11th, 2022, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
I do love Puerto Vallarta. And the way I do it is not a "resort destination"! That is not a fair observation except from a very small point of reference from people who have not actually spent time there (renting condos, staying for a longer time, not off cruise ships, etc.).
OK you love Puerto Vallarta but please accept not everyone likes that sort of place. It would not be my idea of a great place to relax by the beach and I really do not have to go there to appreciate that. Such is the advantage of being able to research ones options online.

It may well be exactly what the OP is looking for, if so fair enough. The OP has asked for opinions and these have been provided. It is the primary purpose of these forums to put forward alternatives and venture different opinions rather than just repeating the old mantras. I can remember when planning my trip their a few years ago Baldone strongly recommending that I visit Veracruz as a less touristy beach destination. I didnít but maybe I should have and maybe that could be an option for the OP to consider?

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Old Sep 11th, 2022, 04:44 AM
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OP have you seen TDiddy's excellent post-pandemic trip report covering over 3 months in Mexico?

The Big Mexico Trip
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Old Sep 13th, 2022, 09:47 AM
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OK you love Puerto Vallarta but please accept not everyone likes that sort of place. It would not be my idea of a great place to relax by the beach and I really do not have to go there to appreciate that.

But the OP *asked* about Puerto Vallarta, I have no idea what "that sort of place" means and I didn't bring it up out of the blue, it's right in the title of this thread. You feel you do not need to have visited a place know all about it. I have been to Vallarta 30+ trips so feel confident sharing real life experience and observation. I did not see them asking for other options.

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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 10:52 AM
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Just a point of clarification because a poster raised the comparison - Puerto Vallarta is nothing like Cancun. Other than that, I won't get into the middle of this argument. I love Puerto Vallarta, others don't. Who cares.

Last edited by tom42; Sep 14th, 2022 at 10:54 AM.
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 11:09 AM
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I'm laughing that it might be an issue frequently re-visiting a destination. I go to Puerto Vallarta about twice a year to just chill. It's a very convenient flight for me & the weather is usually perfect when I'm trying to escape the cold. I'm pretty happy reading by the pool, taking a bus into town to wander around and have dinner & watch the sunset from the Malecon. The setting next to the Bay of Banderas is beautiful. I stay in the Marina district and walk the beach every morning. There are no vendors bothering me and we've been rewarded several times by a baby turtle popping out of the sand and making its way to the water. Now if you want gorgeous turquoise water then Puerto Vallarta is not the place to go, but it works for us when we just want to relax. I'll be there in November!

I hope you enjoy your trip!
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 08:04 PM
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The OP said: "I'd love any thoughts you Mexico lovers could give me on my 'draft' itinerary for our trip to Mexico"
A draft is "a formal suggestion, or a drawing in its original state, often containing the main ideas and intentions but not the developed form". My interpretation Indicates that indeed suggestions, including alternative itineraries, would be welcomed.
Crellston said: "Given the time you seem to have, if it were my trip, I think I would skip both Guadalajara and PV and add in more time at the end in Mexico City or even Puebla which is close by and a combo of Morelia and Patzcuaro."
I agree. With a caveat that I'll add later.
The OP said: "Do you think 3 nights in Guanajuato is about right? I guess we only need a day to explore the city so if you agree, can you suggest anything else we could do on day 3 that would be manageable?"
I agree. With a caveat that I'll add later.
Suze said: "Attempting to assist the OP who is going to Puerto Vallarta". Maybe is, maybe isnt. See definition of a draft.
Tom42 said: "Puerto Vallarta is nothing like Cancun."
Agree. With a caveat I'll add later.
Caveat #1. Skip Guadalajara & PV. As Crellston already suggested. A far more rewarding itinerary, imo, would be, given your interests & previous Mexico travel history, is to substitute Morelia for Guadalajara. Morelia is one of Mexico's most beautiful colonial cities and much more manageable than Guadalajara. Add in Patzcuaro for a complete visit. Even as just a day trip.Then, instead of PV, bus to Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa/Troncones. Way, way more relaxed than PV. Then continue on to CDMX. I think it would be a wonderful, fabulous, fantastic, a perfect end to an exciting Mexico trip.
Caveat #2. 3 nights in Guanajuato is fine. Although one often leaves a place wondering about more. But my suggestion (complementing caveat #1), would be to bus to Leon from Guanajuato and spend a few hours in the Zona de Piel (leather district). The district has a carnival atmosphere, but a good eye can find some really good bargains on leather goods. There are some Chinese knock offs, so be aware. Lots of good street food stalls. The bus station is right in the center of the district. Store your luggage in the bus station and go shop. Then take a bus to Morelia. Primera Plus is the 1st class line.

Last edited by Moderator1; Sep 18th, 2022 at 06:02 AM. Reason: remove unnecessary personal comments
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Old Sep 15th, 2022, 07:29 AM
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I did go to Cancun first and then PV. I don't say I've discovered the "real Mexico" (whatever that even means). Just that I discovered a place I enjoy way more than Cancun. I wonder if all of the Mexican families who I see strolling the Malecon know that they're fake Mexicans. Point being, it's a stupid distinction. Like saying Venice is not the real Italy or that it is fake. Sure there are areas that are more commercialized and built to accomodate tourists more than other areas. That doesn't make them fake. Those areas are as real as any other part of the country. Just different. It all depends on what the person traveling is looking for. If someone wants a quiet place or place less frequented by tourists, then Puerto Vallarta would not be a great choice. If someone wants access to nice accomodations, beaches, and a myriad of good restaurants, then Puerto Vallarta would be a good choice.

Last edited by Moderator1; Sep 15th, 2022 at 02:49 PM. Reason: removed quote of a deleted post
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Old Sep 15th, 2022, 12:36 PM
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Perhaps considering Puerto Vallarta at the end because PVR interntional airport is a good hub for flights to the UK?
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Old Sep 15th, 2022, 02:16 PM
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Several posts have been deleted. Arguing about where people have or have not visited and why is not productive and seems to be a personal vendetta.
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