1 month in Mexico

Monte Alban

After 2 months in Colombia, we passed 9 days in Yucatan peninsula, and then 5 weeks to visit Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico, the Pueblos Magicos of Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and finally Guadalajara (total 42 days).


Summary of our itinerary in Mexico

9 first days: Yucatan Peninsula
Day 10 flight Cancun => Tuxtla Guttierez
Day 11 to 13: San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 14: Villahermosa
Day 15 – 16: Palenque
Day 17: Bus Palenque to Oaxaca
Day 18 to 21: Oaxaca
Day 22 to 26: Puerto Escondido
Day 27: Return to Oaxaca
Day 28: Tehuacan
Day 29 to 31: Puebla & Cholula
Day 32 to 34: Mexico
Day 35 – 36: Querétaro
Day 37 – 38: San Miguel de Allende
Day 39 – 41: Guanajuato
Day 42 – 52: Guadalajara

We arrived in Cancun and visited in 9 days the Yucatan’s Peninsula by car


Chiapas

Tuxtla and Canyon del Sumidero

We took a an evening flight directly from Cancun (with VivaAirline 1500MX), slept in Tuxtla (Los Pinos hotel, 350$MX a double room) and went to Chiapa de Corzo in colectivo to visit Sumidero canyon. We paid 16 the colectivo + 465 the tour from Chiapa de Corzo. It left us directly to the terminal of Tuxtla to go to San Cristóbal.

Note: Those same tours start in Tuxtla (9.30am to 6pm, 500$MX) with the combo 2h30 boat cruise and view points tour.

San Cristóbal de las Casas

2h from Tuxtla (60$MX by colectivo) this charming fresh city located in a valley (2200m high) is the oldest town of the region. Founded in 1528 it was part of Guatemala until 1824, before the annexion of Chiapas to the Republic of Mexico.

We did a tour for tips (starting from the Wooden Cross place at 10am and 15pm).
Good local restaurant: Pisca de Canela

Villahermosa

Villahermosa is not so lovely AT ALL. The only attraction point here is Parque Museo La Venta where you will find artifacts of the Olmec civilisation (700 to 400BC) moved here from La Venta in the state of Tabasco.

Entrance to Parque la Venta: 53$MX
Bus from San Cristobal: ADO 510$MX

Palenque

From Villahermosa we took and ADO to Palenque in the morning, famous for its ruins and nice waterfalls all around.

After lunch we’ve visited Palenque ruins (colectivo 40$MX with return, entrance 85$MX per person). The museum only opens from Tuesday to Saturday.

Second day we took a colectivo to Roberto Barrios (nearby the market, 100$MX with return, 45min) and visited amazing waterfalls (entrance: 60 $MX).

Buses:
– Villahermosa <-> Palenque 100$MX around 2h
– Villahermosa – Oaxaca around 1200 but we had a promo 650$MX nightbus 14h!
Looking back:
You can also come to Palenque directly from San Cristobal but there are still conflicts around Ocosingo so be careful.
– We only visited the main site but you can also take a one (long) day tour for Bonampak and Yaxchilan (around 1300$MX).


Oaxaca

Oaxaca is the name of a region and a really nice city. We wanted to visited there the Museo de las Culturas but it’s closed Saturday Sunday and Monday… Instead we did a Tour for tips (starting at 11am in front of Hotel Marqués on the Zocalo) and discovered the best  “Chocolatin” in Boulenc restaurant. We stayed at Hostal Pueblo (300$Me per night for a double room and a rooftop). You have plenty of tours leaving every day around the town, but we preferred to do it alone (half day in Monte Alban and a full day at Hierve el agua).

Oaxaca de Juarez & Monte Alban

Monte Alban is a very impressive archeological site with magnificent view on the city. Those ruins have been built from 500bc to 500ac.

Hierve el agua

Nice petrified waterfalls in the middle of nowhere, with baths where you can swim.
Note: We waited 2h for the colectivo to be filled in with enough people (12 total). We missed the visit of Mitla ruins because of that…

Monte Alban:
– Entrance: 85$Me
– Bus: Leaving from Diaz Ordaz 407 – 90$Me with return
Hierve el Agua:
– Entrance: 50$Me + 15 for the road access
– Bus: From Terminal de 2da clase to Mitla, 40$Me with return (around 1h) and a touristic colectivo 150$Me with return

Puerto Escondido and Pacific Coast

Transportation Oaxaca <-> Puerto Escondido:
280$Me in colectivo Villa del Pacifico (7h40).
Note: if you want to sleep, prefer ADO buses.
Prices:
– Hotel May Flower: 500$Me a private double room
– Food: between 150 and 200$Me a ceviche, 100$Me a coctail, 35$Me a Corona, 160MX a burger

As Mazunte and the beaches around had been reached by Agatha storm, we decided to choose Puerto Escondido, a very nice and enjoyable city by the sea. You have boat tours leaving every day at 7am for 500$Me a 3h discovery of dolfins, turtles and whales (depends on the season).

We finally stood there 5 nights to take a break and visit the beaches around (be aware that there is a LOT the current and swim carefully):

  • Playa Principal: Water is not so clear than in the other places, even if it’s quite safe to swim there, but it’s a nice place to enjoy the end of the day.
    Direct access from the main avenue (Pérez Gazga).
  • Playa Zicatela: 3km of surfing beach, with a lot of restaurants with cheap beers (between 30 and 40$Me), it’s not recommended to swim here (and you shouldn’t).
    Access from Playa Principal or avenida Del Morro.
  • Playa Manzanillo and playa Angelita: Full of restaurants with deckchairs but also shadow to lay on the beach, the water is nice and beautiful.
    Access by stairs calle Quinta Sur.
  • Playa Carrizallilo: Full of restaurants and no shadow without them, it may be the perfect beach to start surf lessons but a bit hard to swim there.
    Access by stairs calle Focas.
  • Playa Coral: with only one restaurant in a complex with swimming pool, this one was the most quiet beach, still with strong waves but good for swimming.
    Access by shitty but nice walk from the Mirador Las Tortugas or 20$Me by the Hotel Posada Real Puerto Escondido.

Puebla’s region

Tehuacán

After those quiet days on the Pacific coast, we went back to Oaxaca just for a night (after a 9h colectivo) and made a stop in Tehuacán.
The city center is nice but nothing crazy, only the Zocalo and terrasses look nice. But we were there to visit a very nice archeological site: Tehuacan piramids.

Colectivo Oaxaca – Tehuacan: 200$MX
Hotel Tehuacan: La Casa Colibri (350$MX small studio)
Taxi to the ruins: 180$MX
Entrance to the pyramids: 70$MX

Puebla city

With it’s beautiful historical center, this city might be in my top 3 of Mexico! Nice churches (with the amazing Capilla del Rosario), the bohemian streets and handcraft market of El Sapo, one of the oldest theater of Latin America, Palafoxiana library… there is a lot to see here! We visited the Museo Amparo with its precolonial artefacts, and Museo de las Muñecas, colection of scientific tools and a weird reduced head of a momified woman.

To go there: From Tehuacán, Reforma Norte 118 take a Colectivo to Puebla Terminal (2h, 100$MX)
Taxi: we paid 100$MX from the terminal to the center, 56$MX to go back there with Uber
To sleep: Hostel Vee Yuu, 350$MX a double room

Cholula

This small town owns the biggest pyramid of the World! Larger than Guizeh, it has been evaluated at 4.45 millions of m3. You sadly won’t see a lot, as it had been entirely covered. The Spanish built a beautiful yellow church on the top of the hill, destroying the temple for its stones.

From Puebla to Cholula: You have a bus around Puebla’s market leaving you on the main road of Cholula, few blocks from the city center (30min – 10$MX)

Mexico city: See the dedicated post


From Mexico city to Guadalajara

On our way to Guadalajara (where we have our flight to Vietnam), we took one week to visit the beautiful colonial cities classified as “Pueblos Magicos” full of history and nice architectures.

Querétaro

1h30 from the Terminal Norte of Mexico city, you have this very cute village full of nice churches, places and green spaces. You have plenty of houses and museums:

  • Casa de la Zacatecana where a woman made her husband killed, and killed herself the murderer and burried both of them in the house which is now haunted
  • Museo Regional in a XVIs century franciscan monastery
  • Casa de la Corregidora, now used as Palacio del Gobierno, where the wife of the governor informed the resistance of the arrival of the troops
  • Other tematic museum like MUCAL, Calendar museum, or Museo de Arte
From Mexico City: 286$MX Primera Bus Terminal norte (1h30). Then from Querétaro Terminal you can take a bus to the Alameda, the main avenue few blocks from the city center (11$MX).
To stay: El Petate Hostel (500$MX a double room).

San Miguel de Allende

Very historical and cute city, with a pink cathedral and a lot of churches, a Mirador (point of view), great market and great (but expensive) rooftops.

We visited the Museo Historico de San Miguel, Casa natal de Ignacio Allende where we learnt all about the city and the revolution (65$MX).

We stood there 2 nights but if you have more time you can also visit a nice Botanic Garden el Charco del Ingenío, 5km from the center and Atotonilco, a nice village nearby.

To go there: ETN or Primera Bus from Queretaro terminal (1h30, 96$MX), then you have a purple city bus just in front of the station (8$MX).
To stay: Hostal Catarina (615$MX a double room).

Guanajuato

Maybe the most original city we ever been: built between hills, the streets look like a labyrinth, with underground galeries and charming architecture everywhere! Silver and golden mines made this city famous, as 2/3 of the metal were extracted from here.

The monument of Pipila offers you a nice view of the city. The huge statue represent Juan Jose de los Reyes, famous for burning the Alhondiga de Granaditas where Spanish were hidden. You also have a nice legend about Callejon del Beso (I will let you discover it), Hidalgo market, the University, Don Quijote museum or Teatro Juarez… So many beautiful stuff!

We walked 4km to the Valenciana mine (you also have buses going there) which wasn’t so interesting as you only see one galery… At least we have learned the importance of the region and saw the church decorated with the gold coming from the mine… You also have el Museo de las Momias, too creepy for us!

Every night you have a great tradition: Las Callejoneadas, where Mariachis play their music in the streets, telling the stories and legends of the city with huge groups following them! A must do (see the video).

To go there: ETN or Primera bus (180$MX, 1h30) then from the terminal you have buses going to the very center (6$MX).
Hotel: Casona del Truco (476$MX a double room).

Guadalajara

Last step of our journey in Mexico, but also on this continent, we stayed in Guadalajara to take a good rest before going to Vietnam. We found a very nice accomodation close to Chapultepec avenue (great area for the nightlife).

We sadly chose the only rainy day to visit the city center. We discovered the huge Orozco’s murals in the Palacio del Gobierno (400m2 of painting) and went to the Regional Museum. The Degollado theater was closed and with the rain we decided to pass the visit of Instituto cultural Cabañas with its 23 patios, and the Mercado Libertad with its 3 floors…

Accomodation: La Paz & Love hostal, 354$MX a double room
Taxi from the bus terminal: 170$MX
Bus to go to the center: 10$MX from Chapultepec
Museums: Palacio del Gobierno was FREE and the Regional museum 85$MX

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