Itinerary for road trip in Mexico

  1. OAXACA
    1. Oaxaca de Juarez
    2. San José del Pacifico
    3. Mazunte & Zipolite
    4. Puerto Escondido
    5. Oaxaca Itineraries
  2. CHIAPAS
    1. San Cristobal de las Casas 
    2. Comitan de Dominguez
    3. Palenque
    4. Chiapas Itineraries
  3. YUCATAN
    1. Tulum
    2. Zoom on the Chichen Itza Ruins
    3. Playa del Carmen
    4. Holbox
    5. Mérida
    6. Zoom on the Uxmal Ruins
    7. Laguna Bacalar
    8. Zoom on the Calakmul Ruins
    9. Yucatan Itinerary
  4. MEXICO & PUEBLA
    1. Mexico City
    2. Zoom on the Teotihuacan Ruins
    3.  Puebla
    4. Zoom trekking Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl
    5. Mexico Itinerary
  5. Tips & More
    1. – Get around –
    2. – Excursions – 
    3. – Food –
    4. – Some tips –

Visa – nothing to do in advance, a 6-month tourist visa is granted to you when you arrive at the airport.

Health – no specific vaccine is required, never drink tap water and avoid ice cubes, protect yourself from mosquito bites, watch out for small scorpions.

Currency – you can change your Euros to Pesos at a very attractive rate at the airport. Keep some US $ with you just in case.

Language – Spanish


OAXACA

Located in southeast Mexico, the state of Oaxaca is known for its mountains, beaches that border the Pacific, its culture and its culinary specialties.

Oaxaca de Juarez

#city #culture #food #fiesta

Known for its colorful streets, cultural wealth and culinary specialties, Oaxaca de Juarez, capital of the state of Oaxaca, is one of the country’s gems.

Get lost in the streets of the city center, visit the municipal mercado, have lunch at La Cosecha mercado, visit the textile museums and the numerous art and craft galleries, stroll through the cemetery, climb up to the auditorium to admire the city from above at sunset, grant yourself a dance at the Zocalo in the early evening, taste the different Mezcal in the city’s mezcaleria and dance to the rhythm of a banda at Txalaparta until the middle of the night.Go off to discover the petrified waterfalls of Hierve el Agua, the textile and Mezcal factories, admire the largest tree in the world El Tule and the ruins of Mitla (1 full day). Discover the Monte Alban’s ruins and admire the Oaxaqueña mountains from the top of the pyramids.

+ free tour / themed tour

Sleeping – Iguana hostel (private rooms & dormitories, rooftop, breakfast included – 200$ Mex / bed).

– Getting around – taxi (40$ Mex / ride).

San José del Pacifico

#mountain #nature #♡atfisrtsight

From Oaxaca, go to San José del Pacifico or San Mateo by Colectivos ride, two villages perched at an altitude of over 2,600 meters, admire the most beautiful sunset in the state with or without consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms, sleep in wooden huts under a ton of blankets and grant yourself a hike in the enchanting Oaxaqueña forest.

– Sleeping – Hostel La Cumbre (photo).

– Getting around – on foot or tuk-tuk.

Mazunte & Zipolite

#beach #hippy #naturism #♡atfirstsight

From San José del Pacifico, climb in a Colectivo towards Mazunte, a hippy village with a unique atmosphere that borders the Pacific coast. Visit the turtle museum and the Ventanilla reserve where you will meet crocodiles, iguanas and monkeys, drink cocos fríos on the beach between two sessions in the powerful waves of the ocean and go to Punta Cometa for a breathtaking sunset. Festivals & parties punctuate Mazunte evenings.

Lovers of naturism and psytrance parties can also spend a few days in Zipolite where nudity erases the ego. Cross the beach while naked and swim in the waves without having to think of the risk of losing your swimsuit. Walk to Playa del amor. Watch the sunset from the beach before heading to Adoquin for dinner and a chat with the nomadic artisans who enliven the street with their jewelry, art and Mezcal stands.

Sleeping in Zipolite: Hostel El Peyote (Cabanas on stilts on the beach, 350 $ Mex / night).

Travel between Mazunte & Zipolite: Collectivo or Taxi.

Puerto Escondido

#surf #fiesta #beach

Accessible by plane from Mexico City, by Bus or Colectivo from Mazunte / Zipolite & Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido is known to be one of the major surf spots in the world. Admire the technique of surfers at Playa Zicatela who try to ride waves from 3 to 7 meters, try out tacos and micheladas at Adoquin in the early evening, party at Zicatela (Bar Fly, Piedra de l’Iguana) until the end of the night. Take a surf lesson at Punta Zicatela, relax on a deckchair in the afternoon before a sunset volleyball game. Take your breakfast at the mercado Benito Juarez and stroll through the aisles of flowers, fruits & vegetables, meats, fish, crafts, clothing, then go to Playa Carizalillo or Playa Coral where the ocean is less stormy and swimming more pleasant. Dine in one of the restaurants in Rinconada. Veg out at Playa Bacocho and release the baby turtles at sunset.

– Eating – La Olita (tacos), Panaderia Nomada (coffee & pastries), Grandpa (tacos), Café Olé (crepes), Benditos Ristorante (pizzeria).

– Shopping/crafts – best store in the world : Xibalba, on the beach of Zicatela (jewelry, clothes, coffee, bakery).

Getting around by taxi (40 $ Mex / way).

– Sleeping – Hostel Buena Onda (directly on the beach, cabanas & dormitories), Chaak Hostal (quiet, rooftop), Pipeline hostel (surfers) , Villa Casa Bibi (a haven of peace in a magical environment).

– Excursions –  Laguna de Manialtepec, release of turtles in Bacocho, Eco tourist center of Ventanilla. Where to find ? Beach vendors, agencies at Playa Zicatela & Punta Zicatela, ask your host!

– For longer stays – drop by Laguna de Chacahua, Agua Blanca, Roca Blanca, Mazunte & Zipolite.

Oaxaca Itineraries

achievable in 2 weeks or more

CHIAPAS

Located in south of Mexico, the state of Chiapas is known for its old communities, waterfalls, mountains, handcraft and popular for its proximity with Guatemala.

San Cristobal de las Casas 

#culture #nature #fiesta

Accessible by bus from all the main cities of Mexico or by plane (land at Tuxtla then take a Colectivo 1h15). San Cristobal de las Casas is a colonial city perched in the mountains of Chiapas, lively, colorful, known for its political art. From the Zocalo, go up the main Real de Guadalupe street, which is full of cafes, restaurants, shops and authentic art galleries to the Real de Guadalupe Church to admire the sunset sitting on the steps or enjoying a homemade snack at Café SurAsur. The region is known for its Amber, you will find the most beautiful stones at the best price. Watch a report on Mexico, Chiapas, the environment or culture at Kinoki, a small cinema with disconcerting charm. Lose yourself into the city and admire the city’s colorful streets and dazzling churches. Attend a concert at the Paliacate or the Revolution.

Take a morning to go to the Canyon del Sumidero, which you will cross by boat – dominated by some 1000 meters of uneven limestone cliffs – alongside crocodiles, iguanas, raptors and monkeys. Discover the village of Chamula, enjoy the Posh’s market tacos, alcohol of the region flavored with mango or apple. Visit the Church of San Juan Chamula, unique in its kind and attend the rituals of the Chamula families who keep watch over the thousands of candles covering the ground. If you are motorized, do not hesitate to go deeper into the mountains at north of Chamula to admire the steep mountains of Chiapas. Back in San Cristobal, have a drink on the rooftop of the Casa de Frida and spend a techno night at the Mercaltos. Spend a bucolic afternoon at Arcotete Park (get there by taxi or colectivo from San Cristobal de las Casas, about 15 min), admire the caves, the river and treat yourself to a forest zipline crossing ( $ 100 Mex / pers).

– Sleeping – Hostel Mirador (family), Posada del Abuelito (festive).

It is not recommended to travel at night in Chiapas (except by night bus) + the road that connects San Cristobal to Palenque is dangerous. Use public transportation rather than motorcycles or private cars.

Comitan de Dominguez

#city #laguna

Take advantage of your stay in San Cristobal to spend a few days in Comitan de Dominguez, located 2 hours’ drive away. Lose yourself in this charming city and spend a relaxing afternoon at the Laguna Miramar or the Cascade Del Chifon.

Palenque

#pyramids #nature #♡atfirstsight

Accessible by plane or bus from most Mexican cities, Palenque is one of the largest and most beautiful archaeological sites in Mexico still preserved from mass tourism thanks to its remote location. The Maya site is set up at the edge of the jungle facing the plain. Enter the park then find a guide at the entrance of the archaeological zone to visit the site and continue by a walk in the jungle. At the end of the day, take a tour through the museum

– Sleeping – El Panchan (hostels in the jungle).

Between San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque, stop for a few hours at the waterfalls of Agua Azul or Misol-Ah.

Day trip available from San Cristobal and Palenque.

Chiapas Itineraries

Achievable in 10 days and more

YUCATAN

Yucatan, the most visited region of Mexico, is full of wonders: beaches, archaeology, Cenotes (underground lakes), paradisiacal lagoons, jungle, islands. For a first trip to Mexico, a detour to Yucatan is almost inevitable.

Tulum

#beach #ruins #cenote #turtles

Located 2 hours drive south of Cancun (airport), Tulum is also accessible by bus from Mexico City, Chiapas or Oaxaca. Swimming with turtles in Akumal, archeological sites, cave diving in the Cenote Dos Ojos, diving in Puerto Morelos along the coral reef, farniente (lazing) or fiesta on the beach, there is no lack of activities, you can easily spend a week in Tulum. The ruins of Tulum are located by the ocean a few hundred meters from the hotel zone. From Tulum you can also visit the archaeological sites of Chichen Itza on foot and Coba by bike. Have dinner at the Zebra and dance salsa to the rhythm of a banda. Tulum is home to the country’s most psychedelic full moon parties.

– Sleep – Cabanas Zazilkin (cabanas on the beach with feet in the sand), Che Tulum Hostel & Bar (in town, festive).

– Eating – El Asadero, The Zebra.

Zoom on the Chichen Itza Ruins

It is the most emblematic site and one of the most touristy in Mexico, which is still worth it. Preferably to be visited out of season or early in the morning from Tulum, Cancun or Playa del Carmen (about US$60/pers) and make a detour to the magnificent Cenote de Ik Kil located a few minutes away from the ruins by car. To discover cenotes less popular with tourists : Cenote des Palomitas, Cenote de Xcanche, Cenote d’Agua Dulce. If you have more time, spend the night in the beautiful Valladolid.

Playa del Carmen

#fiesta #playa #city

The capital of the Yucatan fiesta, Playa del Carmen has a rich night life, many festive hostels and immense turquoise beaches to party day and night. Many activities leave from Playa del Carmen (Chichen Itza, Tulum, Valladolid, Cancun, Cozumel, etc.).

Holbox

#beaches #chill #whaleshark #♡atfirstsight

A paradise on earth, a small island located north of Cancun, the majority of Holbox is a nature reserve accessible only by kayak. You will be able to see whale sharks, a rich fauna and flora. It is the ideal place for lazing around on a hammock above the water and for bike rides.

– Sleeping – Tribu Hostel

Mérida

#city #crafts #fiesta

A former colonial city, Merida is a medium-sized city located inland. Stroll through the streets of Merida, visit the Museo Fernando García Ponce-Macay located in the Zocalo near the Cathedral of Merida San Ildefonso, and make a detour to the Casa de la Cultura del Maya. From Merida, visit the majestic ruins of Uxmal and the Cenote of Nayah and Noh Mozonh, both in Pixyá.

Zoom on the Uxmal Ruins

To visit from Merida, you can also sleep there. One of the largest and most beautiful sites in Mexico, totally preserved from tourism, the ruins include a palace, a pelota court and two huge pyramids that will take your breath away.

Chichen Itza vs. Uxmal : of these two splendid sites, Uxmal offers a more intimate experience. 

Laguna Bacalar

#turquoise #kayak #paradise #aloneintheworld

Located in the south of Yucatan, 2 hours drive from Tulum, Laguna Bacalar (lake) is a firm favorite. Spend the afternoon on the lagoon in a kayak and swim between the mangroves. Take advantage of your stay in Bacalar to discover the Cenote Azul.

– Sleeping – Hostel Casa Eek Balaam (one of the few hostels), Cabanas Hostal y Camping Magic Bacalar (affordable).

Zoom on the Calakmul Ruins

Located between Yucatan and Chiapas, the archaeological zone of Calakmul is in the heart of a huge national park. The pyramid of Calakmul is monumental and the natural setting in which it is housed is unique.

If you continue your journey to Chiapas or Oaxaca, take the time to discover Calakmul.

Yucatan Itinerary

Achievable in 2 weeks (except Bacalar & Calakmul: add 1 week)

MEXICO & PUEBLA

The two major cities of the country have a lot to offer, culture, museums, volcanoes, pyramids, markets, architecture, festivals. A must visit in order to understand the magnitude of modern Mexico.

Mexico City

#city #capital #pyramids #culture #fiesta

The colonial districts, museums, markets, parks, canals, the pyramids of Teotihuacan, make a detour through the capital in 3-5 days.

Start the visit of the historical center by the main square: the Zocalo bordered by the Cathedral and the National Palace. Behind the square is the Templo Mayor, walk up the Francisco I. Madero pedestrian avenue, make a detour through the Casa de los Azulejos (House of Earthenware), then walk to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, located in the central Alamendra Park. On your left is the Latinoamericana Tower, which offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city. From here, you can go to the Avenida de la Independencia which is full of cafés such as the Emir coffee shop, where you can enjoy the delicious and economical Pozole de Santa Rita.

On your left, going up Independencia Avenue, you will find the Chinese district, further on the mercado de la Independencia, and on your right the rich Popular Art Museum (MAP). At the end of the avenue, head south to the Ciudadela handicraft market also known for its silver. You will also find the famous San Juan market nearby. Retrace your steps and cross the central Alamendra Park and then walk up the Lázaro Cárdenas axis to Garibaldi Square where you can listen to the many mariachis and taste Mezcal, Tequila and traditional Mexican cuisine.

Further south, discover the districts of La Condesa, La Roma and the Chapultepec forest. Stroll through the green and lively streets of La Condesa and La Roma, which became famous thanks to the film of the same name, which are full of small restaurants and cafés. From there, head to the immense Chapultepec Forest and don’t miss a visit to the Chapultepec Palace, which recounts the colonial history of the country, before lingering for several hours in the Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City, which is full of jewels from the pre-Columbian Mexican period.

Zoom on the Teotihuacan Ruins

Go by Uber or by cab (20€ one way) to Teotihuacan and admire the unavoidable pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. Allow 2-3 hours on site. After the visit (with or without a guide), walk up the street of restaurants and sit comfortably at the Milagro de San Juan de los Lagos and enjoy a mollé or chilaquiles or other Mexican dish. Return to Mexico City by cab or bus (at the del Norte bus station).

 Puebla

#city #culture #volcano #gastronomy #♡atfirstsight

Lose yourself in the streets of Puebla, admire the many churches including the cathedral located on the Zocalo and enjoy the lively markets of the city center ( El Parian, 6 oriental, 8 pondante, Calle 6 sur). Visit the Church of Santo Domingo. Taste the Mexican artisanal beers at the Puente de Obando.

Take half a day to go to Cholula by train from Puebla (30 min), visit this small town with disconcerting charm known for the yellow church, erected on the pyramid of Cholula which is superimposed on the Popocatepetl volcano. Also visit the magical village of Cuetzalan.

Zoom trekking Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl

For trekking and nature lovers, there is a hike to the Iztaccíhuatl volcano, which offers the most beautiful view of the famous Popocatepetl still in activity (and therefore impossible to climb). The hike and the view are to cut off the sulfur, if you hesitate: GO FOR IT.

– How to get there –

The easiest way is to go through a travel agency in Puebla or by booking online (pick up at your hotel until the entrance of the La Joyita hike and return to your hotel), count about 120€/pers. Hiking guide.

The most economical way is to get there by your own means (count 5/6 hours of travel time, not including the return trip). From Puebla, go to Cholula to take the first minivan (6h15) direction San Nicholas de los Ranchos, get off in Santiago, take the minivan direction Paso de Cortez, once there, pay the entrance fee, then find a vehicle to the Joyita where the hike starts (15km round trip, from 4000m to 5216m).

Mexico Itinerary

Achievable in 6 weeks and more

Tips & More

– Get around

By bus -companies such as ADO for inter-regional trips or Collectivo for intra-regional trips. www.miescape.mx 

By plane – interesting rates out of season, beware of delays. Low cost companies: Viva Aerobus, Interjet, AeroMar. 

By taxi -once there, the cab is cheap and convenient (20-40$Mex/journey).

Excursions – 

In the street you will always find tour sellers who offer the best rates, you can also go to the “tour” travel agencies whose cities and tourist places are full of them.

Most excursions are by default in English & Spanish.

Food

Markets, mobile stalls in the street, comedor, restaurants, enjoy yourself at every corner, even in the least frequented places. 

Specialties : tacos, tlayudas (large tortillas filled with red beans, vegetables and meats), mollé, caldo de pollo (chicken soup, rice and vegetables) chilaquiles, tortas (Mexican sandwich).

– Some tips –

Phone -4G in Mexico is included in some packages (Free) + Wifi very common in public places. Otherwise, you can easily get a local sim card (purchase in OXXO, stores present throughout the country) to have 4G continuously.

Season – Winter is the most touristic and beautiful period because the streets are decorated for the end of the year celebrations. In summer there is a risk of rain. The Feast of the Dead in November and Holy Week in March offer a unique experience in Mexico.

Tippingpropinas (tips) are highly recommended, give what you can, otherwise count about 10% of the total score to servers, guides and drivers. 

Budget – Meals: from $2/pers. and per meal, beer/water $1 – Lodging: from $5/bed or room/night – Transportation: $20 to $50 for a long night bus ride, $1 or less for local public transit rides, $2 for cab rides.

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Published by Amé

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