Mexico....it's not just about the beaches

Old Feb 18th, 2010, 02:12 PM
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Mexico....it's not just about the beaches

Our first trip to Mexico was to the central colonial part. We chose that area because we are not especially interested in beaches. We spent 23 days, flying in and out of Mexico City.

From there we took a flight to Guadalajara. When we landed it was easy to go to the kiosk and pay for a taxi in advance. That was the drill at bus stations later on, very easy.

TLAQUEPAQUE

We spent our first five nights in Tlaquepaque at Casa de Las Flores. Our B&B was the perfect start to our trip. The host would serve dessert in the evenings and made it comfortable for guests to sit around the big table and chat. Most of the guests were there just for a couple of days, often to shop to furnish their houses on the Pacific coast.

We took a bus into Guadalajara for a day and then a taxi back to Tlaquepaque. We were glad we were staying in Tlaquepaque as Guadalajara was big and busy.

One day we hired a driver to take us and pick us up in Ajijic, the cute little town where a friend lives. She showed us some of her town and we had a nice lunch and visit. We also walked along lake Chapala.

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

A very comfortable 5 hour bus ride on ETN took us to San Miguel de Allende and our wonderful B&B. Antigua Capilla B&B was built just a year ago and it is top notch. It is the prettiest B&B we have ever stayed in. We didn't like SMA as well as other destinations because there are so many North Americans in the town. We were there a week and just frittered away our time. We were fortunate to like our B&B so much.

GUANAJUATO

We hired a driver to take us to Guanajuato. He knew exactly where our B&B was as he is a guide for that city. We loved Guanajuato and our host Hugo at the Alma del Sol was the best! I recommend that B&B because of Hugo and the location in the center of the old city.

Guanajuato is a lively city perhaps because of the university. The Estudiantinas from the university, dressed in medieval costumes, walk around town on weekends singing and playing instruments and people follow them. Of course we joined in the fun.

We stayed five nights. The rain started our last full day in Guanajuato; it was very unusual to have rain in February. Guanajuato was our favorite city.


QUERETARO

We took the Primera Plus bus to Queretaro. It rained both days we were there.....it really rained! Our B&B was actually only a B, as there was no breakfast. I think the historical part of the city would be pretty in the sunshine, not so much in the gray dreary rain. We stayed only two nights.


MEXICO CITY

Off to Mexico City on an ETN bus. When we got there our taxi driver was the only surly guy we encountered on our trip. He had a TV on the passenger seat and watched a boxing match on the ride to the Four Seasons in that horrible traffic. We arrived unscathed....

We stayed in Mexico City for three nights before flying out of MEX for home.

The Four Seasons is a beautiful hotel on a wide, tree-lined street. The first night it was raining so we didn't leave the hotel. We had a light dinner at the bar.

The following day we woke up to sunshine for the first time in five days. We took the hop-on hop-off bus in order to see parts of the city. It was a long and arduous trip (we never got off). I sat on the top of the double decker bus in order to take photos. We were impressed with the beautiful architecture in the city. That evening we ate at the pretty Four Seasons restaurant and it was the best meal of our whole trip.

On Saturday we had a guide take us to the pyramids about an hour away. He was a great guide, passionate about the history and funny as well. It was a six hour tour and well worth it. We stopped on the way to see the Basilica de Guadalupe.

That evening we decided to eat at a French restaurant as up to that time it was either Mexican or Italian, but there wasn't much French about it other than the name. We had a nice meal and then we walked home. (We had the hotel driver take us to the restaurant, four blocks away for $10 US.) We went back via the book and magazine booths set up in the median of the street and then stopped at the St. Regis Hotel for a drink. It seemed our concierge was concerned that we were walking around after dark, but we didn't feel threatened.

On Sunday we walked along the Reforma which is closed to traffic every Sunday from 8AM to 2PM for bikers, skaters and walkers/joggers. It was a beautiful day and it was fun to see so many people out and about. There were lots of families with young children and some dogs as well.

We don’t normally stay at a Four Seasons but booked a package, Mysteries and Wonders of Mexico, which made it a pretty good deal. The only negative thing I have to say about the hotel is that they charge for wifi. That is ridiculous when everywhere else we stayed had free wifi. Otherwise, we liked it.

The Sunday ride to the airport was quick and easy. The flight home was uneventful and Atlanta Airport was quieter than we had ever seen ......perhaps because it was Super Bowl Sunday.

Mexico exceeded our expectations and we are planning to return. We found our destinations to be safe, clean, colorful and friendly. Luxury buses are not expensive and are very comfortable. ETN is a wee bit nicer than Primera Plus.

I didn’t mention restaurants because we didn’t have any outstanding meals. We were told that International restaurants in Mexico mean Italian and we found that to be mostly true.

If you haven’t visited the colonial cities- World Heritage sites- I urge you to think about going.

Here are a few photos of our trip. They are divided into destinations and are the last four on our list of trips on the top of the page.

http://web.me.com/pj2592/Travel/Mexi...aque_2010.html
Judi is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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nice trip report...

thanks for posting.
qwovadis is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Glad you had an enjoyable trip to Mexico. Enjoyed your tale, and photos. We have not been back for a few years, now, but your report makes us want to return.

nukesafe is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2010, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for reporting. This is great info.
MichelleY is online now  
Old Feb 19th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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Thanks. nukesafe, if you like B&Bs I would recommend all of the ones I mentioned. We don't usually choose B&Bs but were glad we did in Mexico as we met some very nice people.

I forgot to say that while in Tlaquepaque we went to Tonala to see the Sunday markets. It was quite a sight, two streets packed with small shops with the usual things. It was very crowded but I didn't see much being bought other than food. Every Sunday and Thursday the vendors pull all that stuff out, set it up, and at the day's end they have to put it all away.
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Old Feb 19th, 2010, 11:55 AM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip. I've been to Mexico many times, and we'll often combine a week of beach time with a week in the interior. There are some wonderful places to visit. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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Old Feb 19th, 2010, 04:28 PM
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It's a beautiful trip report! Thank you for taking the time to make such a significant contribution.

May I suggest something? Perhaps also reposting with a slightly different title? In years to come when people looking for help planning a trip to the colonial cities, & searching old posts... I don't think I'd know to open this one.
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Old Feb 19th, 2010, 08:46 PM
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I love B&Bs, and always stay in B&Bs or homestays abroad to get connected with the locals. Love your trip report!
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Old Feb 20th, 2010, 07:52 AM
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Reille, I think B&Bs are great in some countries like Ireland or the UK but less so in other countries such as Italy. We love meeting the hosts and other travelers as well.

suze, that is a valid point and I will repost with a link to this. I really didn't give it much thought when I posted with this title; I realized in my research that Mexico posts are almost always about the coasts.
Judi is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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And I love the details and work of your report. That's why I was thinking of the wording. If I am trying to reseach colonial cities (you're right, I always go to a beach!), say a year from now on the forum, I might not see or find this thread. Thanks again for a great trip report!! -suze
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Old Feb 21st, 2010, 08:18 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to post your travelogue and your photos - a nice way to start my Sunday morning.
hopefulist is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2010, 04:16 PM
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Nice to read your report about the colonial cities -- there are some really lovely ones in Mexico. Its too bad SMA has turned into such a mecca for North Americans. It used to not be so bad. Isn't Hugo just the best? We stayed at Alma del Sol before it had its official opening and it was made perfect by Hugo. Two other really nice cities to explore are Zacatecas and Morelia.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Enjoyed reading your report. We found Guanajuato the most beautiful Mexican city we've visited. If you're looking for colonial cities south of MC, try Puebla and Oaxaca. Oaxaca is nearly as beautiful as Guanajuato and has even more to offer -- Zapotec and Mixtec ruins, indigenous villages, arts, crafts and perhaps the most sophisticated cuisine in Mexico.
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Old Mar 14th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Judi, who was your guide for Teotihuacan? Sounds like you'd recommend him, correct?
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 08:10 AM
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Hi sealstep. Our guide was part of the package we booked at the Four Seasons and I have a feeling that he is booked for their clients. The tour was listed at $285 and I am sure you could find a good guide cheaper. He was great, though.

I am glad that we had a guide for Teotihuacan as we learned a lot.

I'm sorry I wasn't helpful but hope someone else can give you a recommendation.
Judi is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Love your website. Was it easy to create on the mac? Great post as well. We just did a "non coast" trip to Merida and Yucatan and loved it. Thank you
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Old Mar 17th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Thanks, Pinotmom. Yes, it is easy, but one has to belong to MobileMe which costs $100/year. An additional program, IWeb, is also needed.

MobileMe is multifaceted and you would have to evaluate if it is worth it. It has features that we can use when we away from home such as our bookmarks, contacts and calendar and mail that can be accessed by any computer with the proper password.

As you can see, we put a lot of little albums on our site as we do a lot of traveling. We think it is worth the cost but perhaps not everyone would think so.
Judi is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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I have both Mobile me and iweb, but haven't figured out all the best ways to take advantage of Mobile Me--especially while traveling. Your experiences and results are motivating though!
Pinotmom is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2010, 09:39 AM
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Great report, I agree getting away from D.F. and surroudings gives a much broader view of the country.
Having lived and worked in Mexico City for 3 years I found all the cities listed were great to visit.
Not on the list was Jalapa which was probably my favorite of the non-beach cities with San Miguel a close second.
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