Mexico for 1 month, advice needed

Old Jul 10th, 2014, 10:51 PM
  #1  
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Mexico for 1 month, advice needed

Hello internet,

I am planning on doing a 1 month solo-trip around mexico. I will most likely fly in and out of Mexico city or Cancun as they have the most attractive airfares. I backpacked through nearly all of Central America last spring. I loved it but the more expensive airfare and the fact that I've been there already are discouraging me from going back, so I decided on Mexico.

I don't feel like rushing around too much this trip and would be happy to stay in one place for up to a week or so. I'm not interested in the resort towns and am hoping to avoid the most touristy areas. I've been to Tikal in Guatemala so ruins are not a priority of mine though I'd be happy to visit some it is not too far off my path.

Ideally I would like to get in some surfing (I'm a beginner/intermediate), maybe some scuba diving, though again not a priority, definitely some beach time, experience some Mexican culture and just chill out a bit. If you guys have any suggestions for towns/cities with lots to do and a good vibe I would love to hear them.

I hope to do this on a backpacker's budget of around 40$ a day, though I am willing to splurge when necessary (eg. Scuba). I would be traveling by bus, staying in hostels and eating street food whenever possible (much to the chagrin of my digestive system). I would love to hear your suggestions of places I should check out. Thanks in advance!!
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 12:00 AM
  #2  
kja
 
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You might want to look through the Moon Guide, Rough Guide, and/or Lonely Planet guidebooks -- you might be able to get them through your local library or bookstore. IME, these guides give good coverage of sightseeing options and opportunities for sports and other activities; they also generally provide a range of options for housing and food than span the price gamut.

Enjoy!
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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Check out www.ado.com.mx for the first class bus service routes and prices. The prices are very reasonable and the buses are nice. Prices on the site are listed in pesos, which uses the "$" sign - this is a source of confusion sometimes since there are places in Mexico (more touristy areas) where prices are quoted in USD. There are also 2nd class buses for less money - they stop a lot more than the ADO buses, but they also serve some of the smaller areas.

I agree about Rough Guide and Lonely Planet books to help get your plan started - I am not as familiar with the Moon Guides.

If you fly into Cancun and are around the Yucatan Peninsula, I would definitely recommend spending some time in the city of Merida. It is a great city - lots to see, great atmosphere. There are good street markets and festivals, a huge permanent market, some good museums and art, and a lot of cool architecture. The city does have some tourism, but tourism isn't it's reason for being, so you get a good mix of stuff - it really feels like a city for the people of Merida, not visitors. Most of the tourists are independent folks visiting that you would see in any city and then the occasional influx of a tour group when a cruise ship docks in Progresso.

For beach time - I have not been there yet, but Isla Holbox is on my list of places to visit. It is north of Cancun and it just seems like a really cool place to hang out for a while - low key, basic restaurants and bars on the beach, totally unpolished.

When we were in the area, we also really enjoyed the Ruta Puuc area south of Merida - there are some small Mayan sites there along with Uxmal and also some fortified convents and haciendas and some interesting small towns. I am not sure of the logistics of visiting without a car though.
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 09:56 AM
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I suggest you go over to the Thorntree forums on the Lonely Planet website and post your plans in the Mexico forum. many backpackers who spend mucho time in off the beaten path and non-touristy places in Mexico on that board. lots of first-hand experience with MX hostels and cheap eats there too.
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 11:36 AM
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Years ago Playa del Carmen was packpackers heaven, my first time there was 1999 and they were just starting to pave the roads... There were, and still are a great deal of Hostels in Playa along with cheap eats. As you might well know, all hostels hand out all the info you need to get around and purchase various things. You can buy your own food at Mega or Wal-Mart and eat in the community kitchens available to all. The colectivos are just grand for getting in and around the city. They are located at the corner of calle 2 and Avenida 20. For appr. 50 peasos, you can find yourself in Tulum 40 minutes later, they depart when the van is full, which is about every 10 minutes or less in the high season. In Tulum you can stay right next to the ocean in a cabin.. It is called Diamenta K. There is no electricity but they have a great restaurant on the beach, I must caution though that prices there have gone up. November_moon mentioned Merida which I highly recommend, again same thing as Playa for hostels but so much more to see and experience, especially on week-ends and dont forget that Merida is less expensive than the coast. Puerto Morales, 1/2 hour south of Cancun is a quiet little town to relax and recoup. Another great point mentioned is Holbox island which is today, what Playa was 20 years ago. It takes a while to get there but once arrived, you will want to stay. The favorite pass time there is watching the sun go down by the warf, this place is hammock heaven... I only wish I was your age again... happy trails !
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 01:20 PM
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Re surfing, San Blas on the west coast used to be the surfer's haven. Definitely off the beaten path.
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 01:26 PM
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Stoners point is the big surfing area in San Blas, lessons there.

http://www.stonerssurfcamp.com
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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Puerto. Escondido is one of the top ten surfing spots in the world. The town's nickname is the Mexican Pipeline. but unlike hiatal co! which is also in the state of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido has stayed pretty much away from being a total tourist spot because it is more remote and a smaller bay (hiatal co is lovely, 9 bays and beaches, but it is likely too touristic for you regarding your description of what you are looking for.

I went to both San Blas and Puerto Escondito in my 20s. I am a lot older now, and when I look online at the current state of those two towns, they look like they have developed, but not in a bad way-- in a good way, with better and safer water supply and small hotels and places to stay now.

I love the Caribbean coast of Mexico like Rohelio, and I have a place in playa del Carmen but as much as I love it, and as many young people from all over the world you would meet there in the hostels, I think it likely has too many tourists for you if you stick to your terms in your posting. Tulum can be a more remote and wonderful beach location, esp. If you stay on the beach. Beach and eat and drink and relax, and swim in cenotes, scuba dive, ruins at Tulum on the beach (although lots of tourists there), Coba, etc.

Merida might be a good fit for you. And Oaxaca city and Oaxaca valley towns also, as there are far fewer tourists in Oaxaca than there used to be before the 2006 uprising and violence and the drug war scares being so hyped up in the press in the last few years. It's perfectly safe in my experience, have been there 3 times in the last 4 yrs.

Another fascinating area is lake Patzcuaro and all the cool towns around the lake, in Michoacan.
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 02:05 PM
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Oops that should say "unlike Huatulco"
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 05:31 PM
  #10  
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After some more research and this forum's helpful advice I have come up with a rough itinerary. Hoping to get some feedback on it.

July 17ish Fly into Mexico City

4 days Mexico City
3 days Puebla
4 days Oaxaca
5 days surfing and chilling around Huatulco (could definitely use more advice on where the best beginner surfing is)
4 days Tuxtla Gutierrez/San Christobal de las Casas (hopefully catch an overnight bus to Merida)
4 days Merida
4 days Tulum for some beach time and diving

August 17ish fly out of Cancun

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!!!
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 05:37 PM
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kja
 
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I only know your last 3 stops, but that part (at least) sounds good to me! FWIW, I greatly preferred San Cristobal de las Casas to Tuxtla Gutierrez. (Nothing wrong with the later; it's just that I loved San Cristobal!)
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Old Jul 12th, 2014, 04:40 AM
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You are leaving yourself some leeway which is great as you know Mexico is full of spontaneous opportunities , great planning...
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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I'm no surfer, but I think you'd do well to investigate Zipolite and San Agustinillo in addition (instead of?) to Huatulco. Less touristed, caters more to backpackers than Huatulco.
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