I travelled around Mexico for a month and a major trouble I had was narrowing down what I wanted to do. In terms of both geography and regional variances Mexico is big. So I wanted share my best bits.
Best temple/ruins:Uxmal– I know Chichen Itza is the most famous but I much preferred Uxmal. It has a surprisingly diverse history and gets about a 10th of the footfall.
Best Cenote:Grand Cenote in Tulum– This is probably the most touristy one I visited but it wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded. The Cenote itself is the perfect temperature on a sunny day and they have a turtle sanctuary.
Best Town: Merida– The town itself adopted tourism as a trade a few years ago, as a result it has found the perfect blend of keeping its Spanish heritage and being tourist friendly. Check out my full guide here.
Best experience: Oaxaca Cookery school– In my opinion Oaxaca is best experienced through its food and this was the perfect day. Exploring the markets to understand the evolution of food in the area, understanding Mole, eating Grasshoppers and then making amazing food in a traditional kitchen-can’t understate how good this was.
Tulum has found a great blend.
Its far enough from Cancun not to be so commercial as to lose its Mexican identity but has certain infrastructure to be tourist friendly from the hippy vegan ice cream, to the 7 peso tacos, to the random person on the street selling coconut water. In conclusion skip Cancun, even Playa and head straight here.
What’s good-Cenotes, Food and Beaches.
Cenotes– Tulum has a load of Cenotes nearby by either taxi, collectivo (group shuttle), walking or biking. I went to couple and had a great time-I went to the Grand and Casa Cenote (great for diving). Each Cenote is unique so its worth going to as many as possible. Make sure to negotiate the price for Casa it went down from 500 to 110 Pesos.
Food– best ensalada verde(Green Salad) is Don Cafeto , Tacos Al Pastor for 7 peso tacos, best ever Gelato at Panna e Cioccolto, Mouth watering BBQ shrimp at Estrada and Pizza (which is so un-Mexican but so good) at Emily’s.
Beaches– A lot of Tulum’s main beach is ‘controlled’ by the private hotels/restaurants meaning it can be quite expensive to stay the day, well at least by Mexican standards. The one exception is La Eufemia.
A special note to the amazing hostel Mama’s Home plus the owner is hot.
In 2011 the town of Merida started its transformation to be geared towards the tourism trade and I must say it found the right blend. With its beautiful colonel architure, blend of street food/restaurants and numerous free activities its a must visit in any Mexican experience.
What to do
As always lets start with the free stuff. At 9:30am a company called Pink Cactus offer a tour devolving into three time periods-colonization, the golden period and modern Merida.
For 41 years on Thursday night a free concert happens in Parque de Santa. On Friday night in the square outside Catedral De Merida a traditional Mayan ball game is played. There are also numerous museums and galleries to explore, if you do the tour they will point them out far better than I can.
I would also take a day trip to Uxmal. I know everyone goes to Chitzen Itza but I much preferred these Mayan Ruins for a few reasons; you aren’t constantly sold items,you can climb the pyramid and it gets about a 10th of the visitors so you can get some amazing tourist free photos.
Lastly a special shout out to Ms B for sharing the experience and playing translator.
With its vibrant colonel architecture, memorizing churches and mouth watering street food this city is a must see.
What to do
The great thing about Oaxaca City is you don’t really need to make plans you can just walk and see the most amazing sights and smells. On the whole the best tip is to start in Zocalo the beautiful square and choice a direction.
I would try if you can to check out Museo De Las Culturas, Templo De Santo Domingo, the Catedral and check out one of the many markets to get a real flavor for the city.
My favorite activity– Oaxaca City screams food food food. Hence I would highly recommend one of the local cooking classes to learn about Mole, traditional ingredients and learn some amazing recipes
So I have finally got around to planning my Mexico adventure.
The Plan- Mexico City to Cancun
Starting in Mexico City with a slight detour to Teotihuncan then East to Veracruz and down to Oaxaca. Then further down to the coast at Monte Alban and Pureto Escondido for some Turtle watching.
Heading East to San Cristobel for some sight seeing and then on to Palenque. Up North to Merida, Uxal and Chichen Itza for some temples. Finally across to Tulum, Playa Del Carmen and Cancun for some relaxation.
Mexico Lovers-Anything missing? any advice?