Our 23 day trip to Mexico

Mar 6th, 2019, 01:53 PM
  #1  
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Our 23 day trip to Mexico

We returned a few days ago from our 23 day trip to Mexico. This is the third year we spent part of the winter in Mexico and we plan to do the same next year. The trip was amazing (again) partly because of the great help I got fro Fodorites who were so giving of their time and advice, especially Baldone, but also crellston and others. The trip included 3 days in Puebla with a day trip to Cholula ,5 days in Morelia with a day trip to Patzcuaro, 3 days in Queretero, 3 days in San Miguel de Allende, and 5 days in Guanajuato.Add the travel days from place to place, and we were away 23 days. We flew into MEX and out of BJX.
Some of the highlights of our time in Puebla were:

Market day in Cholula on a Friday. Try to get to Cholula on a weekend so you can experience this. We got there on an open air bus which we got at the zocalo in Puebla. The trip lasted from 12-6 and included the 2 baroque churches outside of Cholula. The narration was in Spanish, but the tour guide graciously gave us an abbreviated narration in English which together with my prior research was enough to give us the information we needed to make this a wonderful day.

Lunch at Las Ranas and dinner at Casa Mundrugo. The tacos Arabe at the Las Ranas were delicious, filling and inexpensive. Lunch for 2 came to about $10USD including Cokes. The food and presentation at Casa Mundrugo were exceptional. To add to the experience, there is a very interesting private museum upstairs which is free, and there was music on the 2 nights we were there which started at 9PM (no cover charge except on Friday nightst for a jazz combo. Best of all, it was a 3 minute walk from our Hotel Colonial, an older hotel which was centrally located and had a charming dining room which served good breakfasts, which were not included in our hotel rate.


shelleyk is offline  
Mar 7th, 2019, 08:29 AM
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We took a bus from Puebla to Mexico City Norte, overnighted at Hotel Brasilia, a five minute walk from Norte and took a morning bus to Morelia the next day. This was done to break up a seven hour bus ride which is what we would have experienced had we gone directly from Puebla to Morelia.
Highlights of Morelia were:
Many dinners at Lu which we thought was exceptional. Weworked our way through much of the menu. We decided to stick with a winner after ouir first dinner there. The service was good. Our waiter spoke a little English. The drinks were fine. And the price for the quality of the food was very fair. We ate outside under the portico most nights, and were not too bothered by the vendors coming by to sell things or the musicians who played for tips.

The murals in the public buildings. They were not as extensive as the ones in Mexico City, but we enjoyed them never the less.

The day trip to the ruins and Ex Convent outside of Patzcuaro.

The high quality handicrafts sold in the Casa de las Artesinias. I am not a shopper, but I spent over an hour looking at the handicrafts, and actually bought a ceramic salsa dish and spoon.

We stayed at Casona Rosa which had its good and bad points. The location is good. It is a short walk to the central area. The room we had, the Colonial Room was large and comfortable, but several other rooms that we looked at were small, dark and were next to the kitchen and dining room which might bother some because of the morning noise. The breakfasts which were included in the rate were good. And Rose, the owner, although not feeling great, was an excellent hostess and resource for the area.
shelleyk is offline  
Mar 7th, 2019, 04:44 PM
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Looking forward to upcoming installments. I spent 8 nights in Dec. between Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas. For my next rip, Iím thinking Mexico City and Taxco, with either Puebla and Oaxaca or San Miguel and Guanuato.
MinnBeef is offline  
Mar 8th, 2019, 04:49 AM
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We love Mexico City. It has so much to offer if you are into museums, murals and history. We've spent a total of almost 2 weeks there on 2 separate trips and plan to return there next year as part of our winter trip. I thought Puebla, Oaxaca and Guanajuato were great choices for us, and we would return to any of them. We did not care for San Miguel de Allende.
shelleyk is offline  
Mar 9th, 2019, 09:13 PM
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Hi Shelley. I remember reading that Crellston didnít care much for San Miguel de Allende either. What about it didnít you like?
MinnBeef is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 06:51 AM
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Glad you had a great time Shelley. We too really liked Morelia, Guanajuato, Oaxaca and Puebla too and wished we had stayed in Morelia for Xmas rather than moving on to Guadalajara.

As mentioned by minnbeef, we too didn’t really care for San Miguel, I would imagine that the huge number of ex pats has radically changed the atmosphere of the town and certainly the prices. We found it the most expensive place in Mexico and the only place where we had major hotel problems.
crellston is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 10:46 AM
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There were several reasons we did not like San Miguel de Allende, aside from the fact that it seemed to be filled with more Anglos than Mexicans. The sidewalks are narrow and crowded making it very difficult to walk around. Add to that the traffic choked streets, and you wind up breathing in the exhaust while walking rather than the fresh air. Add to that the streets are filled with store after store selling high end merchandise for tourist or souvenirs neither of which we were interested in purchasing. We enjoy walking around authentic Mexican cities and villages and San Miguel did not fill that bill.

On the positive side, we found an excellent, fairly priced restaurant across the street from our hotel. The restaurant is Hecho in Mexico. Food and drinks were excellent and the ambiance was very nice. They even had a fairly good guitar player on one of the nights we ate there. We also found a good breakfast place-Cafe de la Parroquia.

I honestly did not find San Miguel de Allende any more expensive than the other places we visited. We just did not like it, and we were happy to leave and head for Guanajuato.

Last edited by shelleyk; Mar 10th, 2019 at 11:00 AM.
shelleyk is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 04:09 PM
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Shelley you bring up a good point that sometimes I forget about. San Miguel doesn't have the attractive and functional pedestrian andadores like for example, Oaxaca, Leon, San Luis, or Guanajuato. They've closed a couple streets, but they just ended up looking like, well, closed streets. And I don't know if that can ever be resolved. The traffic is due to the massive influx of visitors/part-time residents from Mexico City, Queretaro etc., as few foreign tourists have cars, and those of us that live here won't drive into centro on the weekends. I would guess that over the last 5-6 years no less than 20 gated communities have been built primarily for weekenders from CDMX. And there are more being built. Traffic will get worse before it gets better. 1 'solution' proposed was to close centro to car traffic on weekends and holidays and build 3 large parking lots on the outskirts of town, and then have tourist shuttles take people to centro. Regular buses, taxis and residents could still go. San Miguel also lacks a lot of street food vendors as they've been banned for the most part from centro. I don't know if that's due to the UNESCO status of the city or just some poor decision by some local government hack. About the closest you can get to street food are the cheap restaurants and taco places on Salida a Celaya. There's easily a couple dozen, most have breakfast and/or lunch for 50-70 mxn, and tacos are usually 5 mxn. But no ambiance.
Coincidentally, the owner of Hecho En Mťxico is from Omaha where I'm from. And our daughter-in-law was their nanny when she lived in San Miguel. Not that that adds anything to the post.*
baldone is offline  
Mar 11th, 2019, 08:37 AM
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We were in San Miguel de Allende for 3 days during the week. I can't imagine how crowded it would be on a weekend. I'm thinking it might seem like a large cruise ship docking in a port with narrow streets, and all of the passengers are trying to sightsee in a small town town with very narrow streets. Definitely not for us.

However, we did visit Queretero after visiting Morelia, and we liked the historic center very much. It had nice wide streets for walking, beautiful Spanish architecture, several nice tree shaded plazas, an interesting calendar museum, and some very good restaurants. We especially liked Restaurant Bar 1810 for dinner and La ..Zandunga for breakfast. Both were an easy walk from our Hotel, Casa Allende, a small boutique hotel with friendly and efficient staff who spoke some English and always greeted us with a smile.

Additionally, we used a driver who came highly recommended. He drove us from Queretero to San Miguel de Allende and from San Miguel to Guanajuato. He speaks English, has a comfortable SUV and is prompt and reliable. His name is Geraldo and his numbers are 415 113 8930 and 415 156 4986 .His email is [email protected].

I think Queretero is off the radar of many tourists, though I don't know why. I encourage you to spend a few days in Queretero if it fits in with your itinerary. We are glad we included it in our trip.
shelleyk is offline  
Mar 11th, 2019, 09:27 AM
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Great trip report. Glad to hear someone visiting and appreciating Queretaro where I studied Spanish for a month. I particularly loved the entertainment in the Jardin Zenea, the dancing. I actually liked San Miguel de Allende, where I visited for a day tripóit wasnít as overrun with tourists as I expected.
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Mar 11th, 2019, 01:52 PM
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We actually lived in Queretaro for a year, but rarely made it centro because of, ugh, traffic. It was horrible, as it can be in many big cities in Mexico. But that's not much of an issue for tourists that stay in centro. We too like 1810, I think our favorite in the city. Just had dinner there the other night.
baldone is offline  
Apr 11th, 2019, 02:54 PM
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Hi Shelleyk - loving the trip report. We are taking a trip Nov - Jan in Costa Rica and Mexico. Our final three weeks are already booked in Zihuatenejo, but we are looking at other places for the month of Dec. Have added Mexico City based on all the things I have read here. Thinking about going to one more city around MC before heading to Oaxaca. Which did you like better, Morelia or Pueblo. Thinking of maybe 3-4 days in one of them after a week or longer in MC. Looking at them due to the proximity. We don’t want to do a lot of exploring this trip, 2 days here, 2days there etc. Thanks




Tdiddy12 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2019, 05:30 AM
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We liked them both, more than enough to return to either. Both are worth at least 3-4 days.
Morelia has a smaller feel than Puebla, which is a big city. It is 4 hours by bus from Mexico City and not on the way to Oaxaca. Puebla is a 2 hour bus ride and on the way to Oaxaca. If convenience is important to you I'd chose Puebla, but if you don't mind spending the extra time on the bus, I'd chose Morelia, and include a day trip from there to Patzcuaro. Either way, you can't go wrong. BTW, we are returning to Mexico City for the third time in 4 years for our next winter vacation. If you like big cities and museums, give it plenty of time.
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 13th, 2019, 06:09 AM
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thanks for the suggestions. We will look at both and decide! We are probably going to fly to Oaxaca from MC. By the way I was talking to friends last night and telling them we were going to Mexico City and they said doesn't it have a lot of air pollution? I remember hearing that over the years but I haven't read anyone mentioning that. What is your take on that? Living in LA , I'm not stranger to smog, although it is measurably better here than we moved here 30 years ago.
Tdiddy12 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2019, 06:30 AM
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Enjoying your report.

​​​About air quality: We went to Mexico City in February 2017 and had no problems. Our hosts said that the government has done a lot to improve it. She also said it varies by time of year, and we were coming at a good time.

As you probably know, the city is in kind of a bowl. I did some reading before we went, and one book said that some factories that had been on the rim of the bowl were relocated. Hopefully the regulars on this board can explain it better.





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