Mexico Travel Tips
Elements of Spanish, North American and traditional Mexican influences combine to make this country one of the most colorful and vibrant additions to any travel itinerary. From Mayan ruins and jungles filled with parrots and howler monkeys to the bustling nightclubs of Cancun to the seediness of Tijuana and everything in between, Mexico has a lot to offer travelers. There are also 26 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country.
- Accommodation: Hostel prices can be as low as $10 USD per night, although $15 USD is more realistic, especially in the bigger cities. Hotels will start around $20 USD per night.
- Food: Mexican food is very affordable, By purchasing food from street vendors or local markets you can expect to spend around $15 USD per day. If you eat at some of the sit down restaurants or in the tourist areas, expect to pay about $25 a day for food. You can get some pretty bad-ass tequila for as cheap as $15.
- Transportation: Most of Mexico is served by buses, with longer journeys usually $13. Taxi fares start from $1 USD in most cities.
- Activities: Diving is likely to be the most expensive activity you choose to do here, with day trips usually costing over $130. Entrance to the many Mayan sites in the country is around $10.
Money Saving Tips
- Eat market food – Mexico’s markets are a great place to eat inexpensively, and also to stock up on food for day trips.
- Travel off-season – By traveling between late April and early December you can pick up bargain accommodation, food and travel rates.
Top Things to See and Do
- Visit the markets - Mexico’s markets are a great place to experience traditional food, pick up a bargain, and purchase plenty of souvenirs. Head to the Ciudadela market in Mexico City or Oaxaca for folk art.
- Chapultepec Park – Chapultepec is one of the largest city parks in the world, encompassing the Mexico City Zoo, Atlantis (marine life park), La Feria amusement park and the world class Museum of Anthropology. The park is a must if you are visiting Mexico City.
- See Chichén Itzá – Chichen Itza is a large Mayan archaeological site located in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula. The site has been declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is thought to be the best Mayan sites in Mexico. The most impressive structure on the site is the 78 feet tall Temple of Kukulkan, or the Castillo as it is often known. The site also boasts elaborate wall carvings, a ball court, and intricately designed columns.
- The Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución) – The Zócalo is at the heart of Mexico City as it also encompasses the Templo Mayor and the Palacio Nacional. Situated just off the Zócalo is La Catedral Metropolitana a magnificent cathedral fortified with gold and a beautiful example of Spanish colonial architecture.
- Explore Tulum – Many visitors combine sightseeing with a day’s swimming and relaxing on the beach but Tulum is also situated right next to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – prime trekking ground for those who want to experience jungle wildlife living amidst pristine rainforests and Mayan ruins. I really enjoyed the ruins here. It’s beautiful setting and the beach swimming around Mayan ruins was an amazing experience.
- Visit a Volcano – Mexico has over active 30 volcanoes. Most volcanoes are found within national parks and these offer some of the best hiking and mountain biking in the country. Popocatepetl frequently features in the top 10 lists of must see volcanoes in the world but as it is closed to climbing due to being so active, tourists favour Paricutin and Orizaba.
- Go diving – The seas surrounding Mexico make for some of the best diving spots with their diverse marine life, coral reefs (including the second largest reef system in the world, the Great Maya Barrier Reef) and excellent visibility. Aside from diving, the waters are popular with snorkelers, sports fishermen and more or less any water sport under the sun.
- The Day of the Dead – On November 2nd, Mexico celebrates this yearly festival. Contrary to its name the festival is a vibrant and lively affair with celebrations for those who are gone but not forgotten. If you want a real taste of Mexican culture then the sights and sounds of this festival are an interesting experience.
- Party in Cancun – Depending on what you’re looking to do, Cancun can offer you a crazy fun, party in the sun, or enjoy quiet and hidden local markets and restaurants. On the one hand, you have spas, resorts, and picturesque beaches. On the other, you have Mayan ruins, archeological sites, and little nearby villages.
- Get active – Laying around on the beach is great and all, but there is a ton of stuff to do. Consider surfing, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, sea kayaking, zip-lining, caving, and more. Mexico is a great country for the adrenaline junkie.
- Get lost in Mexico City – This urban sprawl has a major downtown and plenty of culture to check in to. Hostels are cheap here and there is no end to museums to explore, night clubs to dance at, and crazy streets to wander. Rent a bike and ditch your itinerary.
- Ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera – Outside of Gunajuato, this is a great place to escape to for an afternoon. Now a museum, complete with beautiful, manicured gardens, this was once the home of descendants from the Conde de Rul during the 17th century. This home is another product of the prosperous mining of the surrounding area.