Mexico Travel Guides for Backpackers

The best museums in Monterrey!

Monterrey is one of the most important cities in Mexico, next to Guadalajara and of course, Mexico City. If you’ve read some travel guides to my country, you’ll know that we are (thankfully) full of amazing museums. Monterrey is widely known for its modernity and progress, and also as a center for conventions, conferences and summits. But we’ve got our hands full of museums as well! I’ll proudly present to you some of the best places of cultural recreation in the north.  Upon arrival, the first thing that will pop into view is our beautiful mountains. In fact, Monterrey is also called the City of Mountains, and that’s because we are surrounded by them! Fun fact: our glorious mountains (yes, I do love them and the beautiful landscapes they gift us) protect us from hurricanes and tropical storms; once they touch land, they are broken down by the mountains. The famous Cerro de la Silla, a saddle-shaped peak, has become a city trademark and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city… and in most of your souvenirs!  And it is right here, in the middle of these wonderful views, that some of our most famous museums can be found. I’ll guide you through some of them but first, let me introduce you to the beautiful city of Monterrey.  A Mexican industrial hub Monterrey is one of the main industrial hubs of Mexico, and our highlights include telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, TI, and engineering so, if you’re looking for a suitable place for your business, you might have found a winner! Since it has tons of modern industrial parks and cutting-edge infrastructure to organize events, I can assure you that you will enjoy your stay.  So, what can I see in Monterrey? Monterrey combines contrasting natural and urban landscapes; history and antique traditions converge in antique buildings, cultural and entertainment spaces, as well as modern financial and industrial hubs. You’ll find great ecological parks, breathtaking waterfalls, museums, theme parks… even a planetarium! Visitors are pleasantly surprised by the clash between Mexican charm and modernity, as well as the regio cordiality (inhabitants of Monterrey). If you seek a city rich in culture and tradition, may I take you to some of the best museums in-city?  The best museums in Monterrey! You might (or might not) know that Monterrey is actually a cultural nest, although most people think that there’s nothing to be seen when they come over for business matters. However, I would like to introduce you to my top (favorite) five, so buckle up! 5. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo MARCO (Museum of Contemporary Art) This museum is distinguished by its architectural beauty, a true masterpiece created by internationally recognized Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. As a space dedicated to the promotion of international contemporary art that emphasizes the dissemination of Latin American visual arts, MARCO usually exhibits top-notch well, exhibits, by world famous artists. You can’t miss it: there’s a beautiful exhibit in the door called La Paloma (The Dove), a […]

A local's guide to Tulum: a jewel of Mexico's Riviera Maya

What the greatest moment of your life? It is not a difficult question, but to answer may not be easy. In my case, this is a moment that lasted 4 months, at 7 time zones away, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. The Erasmus program and the desire to put myself to the test took me on a plane to the Mexican east coast, where Tulum stands out for its unparalleled beauty, with its important Mayan archaeological complex overlooking the sea. I spent 4 incredible months in Tulum, and during the day, as an archaeologist, I studied the ancient Mayan people of Tulum, at night, under the Mexican moon, I enjoyed a lighter and more exotic version of my life, between a Mexican beer and a Latin dance. I could not know that this would have been the most memorable experience of my life (or at least, until now), that Mexico would teach me to get by on my own, to appreciate myself and always be myself. City Of The Dawn Originally its name was Zama, in the Mayan language it means “city of the dawn”; the current name, Tulum, means “wall”, is a clear reference to the mighty walls erected to protect the city. Tulum was built with a strategic position on the Caribbean Sea, to control commercial ships and possible invasions by sea. Visiting the archaeological area allows you to discover the history and traditions of the ancient Mayans. When I travel, I always look for advice and recommendations from locals, out of the usual tourist guides. Let’s face it! who, better than locals, could show the city?   My List Of Favourite Places And Things To Do: Visit the Mayan ruins on the sea There are many excursions to do and things to see in Tulum, but undoubtedly the main attraction is represented by the ancient Mayan ruins. The beauty and magic of the place are given by the particular position of this complex. Just above the sea! The Mayan buildings were the first to be sighted by the Spanish coming from the sea in 1517; And today, as then, they leave you breathless. The entrance ticket costs 70 Mexican Pesos (about 4 Euros). For those who have a photographic camera or GoPro, there is a surcharge on the admission price but do not worry, it is just a few euros. For a completely different experience, you can travel to the Coba ruins, situated right in the jungle, where you can climb ‘El Castillo’ and enjoy the views. Discover eden in Paraiso Beach Paraiso means Paradise… a name, a guarantee! Tulum Playa Paraiso Cenotes – one of the greatest Mexican wonders These natural freshwater pools are where rainwater collects, and are typical of the Yucatan area. in the Tulum’s nearby there are many, the main ones are Cenote Dos Ojos and Gran Cenote. Cenote Dos Ojos (two eyes) is so named because of its conformation, consisting of a series of underground channels and two distinct caves, like two eyes. This […]

8 places to visit in Monterrey, Mexico

In the northeast of Mexico, just below the Texas border, you can find Monterrey in the state of Nuevo León. Although it isn’t specifically known for its tourism, more and more foreigners are visiting Monterrey as multinational companies continue to settle in this industrial hub. Monterrey has many places that are worth visiting and that will provide you with a good time. From gorgeous mountain views all around to the colonial city center, there is something for everyone. So if you ever find yourself wondering what else to visit in Mexico besides Mexico City or Cancún, head north. These are some of the places you can’t miss if you ever visit Monterrey. What to do in Monterrey Parque Fundidora Horno 3, Fundidora Park Parque Fundidora is one of the biggest green areas in the city. This huge park, with old structures from a former steel plant, now functions as a public park. These old structures are now part of Horno 3, a museum dedicated to the city’s industrial history. There are bikes available for rental around the park or you can bring your skates to get a good workout. Parque Fundidora also has an ice rink, an art museum (Centro de las Artes), a small cinema that shows mostly independent films (Cineteca) and a kid’s museum that has several other locations around the country (Papalote Museo del Niño). This park is also often used for massive outdoor concerts such as P’al Norte and Hellow Festival. Río Santa Lucia Río Santa Lucia Nearby Parque Fundidora, Paseo Santa Lucia is a riverwalk with guided boat tours. It is the longest artificial river in Latinamerica and it is surrounded by multiple murals of local artists and huge fountains. The tour explains most of Monterrey’s history and it guides you along many of the most important landmarks of the city. Along the river, you can find various restaurants and coffee shops that are ideal for spending the afternoon. There are also two very interesting museums near the entrance: Museo del Noreste and Museo de Historia Mexicana. MARCO MARCO is one of the most important museums of contemporary art in Mexico. It always has different temporary exhibitions from both international and national artists that are worth checking out and an outdoor sculpture garden with impressive pieces from their permanent collection. MARCO is also known for its distinctive architecture; it was designed by famous Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. The main entrance has a large bronze sculpture of a dove by the artist Juan Soriano. You can visit the museum for free on Wednesdays. Barrio Antiguo Barrio Antiguo Barrio Antiguo is the historical quarter of Monterrey. Some of the oldest buildings in the city can be found here. Most of its streets are cobbled, making you forget that you are in one of the most industrial and modern cities in the country. Barrio Antiguo is full of small restaurants, cafés, and bookshops with a much more relaxed vibe than many places around town. […]

Discover the sun, sand and surf of Mexico's beautiful Sayulita!

Never-ending sunshine, beautiful local people, and an endless supply of foraged mangos and coconuts. The longboarding paradise of Sayulita in the Nayarit region of Mexico offers an unforgettable experience for any lucky enough to find themselves there. My time in Sayulita was meant only to be brief. Though once I sat on my board in the stark blue water, looking back on the adorable little coastal village, I knew this wouldn’t be the case.   Waves of Sayulita As I’ve already alluded to, surfing is without a doubt Sayulita’s biggest drawcard. Mexican and international visitors alike come to its little stretch of coastline and learn to surf on the calm beach break of Playa Sayulita. However, don’t worry, this is not to say there aren’t more advanced breaks for the regular surfers to play with. Some of Mexico’s best surfers come to Sayulita, and in particular, for longboarders, it is a much sought out spot. No matter your skill level, Sayulita’s mix of reef, point and beach breaks make for the perfect surf trip. If you’re new to the sport, the town has an abundance of surf schools that offer private or group lessons, surf trips and board rentals. Remember to tip your instructor! They’re usually very passionate about what they do, know the spots inside and out, and genuinely want to see you stoked off that first wave! Sayulita itself has a beginners bay at the south end of the beach with small waves perfect for learning, as well as 2 main breaks further up – a left and a right on the main reef, perfect for logs on small conditions, and when a bigger swell hits is also really fun for shorties and twin fins (my personal favourite). While we’re on the topic of the reef, though it means you’ll be paddling above beautiful sea life, onto slow peeling waves, I urge you, do not put your feet down in the water! The abundance of sea urchins in the area means if you don’t keep your feet up when you fall, you’ll be dealing with some nasty spikes buried into your foot that are quite literally a pain to remove. La Lancha, Burros and San Blas Surf Spots Aside from the main Sayulita breaks, there are many nearby spots available for a fun surf trip. La Lancha and Burros, both around 30 mins drive from Sayulita pick up bigger swell and offer left and right breaks with the occasional barrel. Fewer crowds and a walk through the coastal jungle to get to these spots is all part of the fun. Most surf schools will offer half-day trips to these locations with boards included. Just take a stroll along the beach and you’ll find a plethora of surf school tents to choose from that can cater a trip to your desires. They will usually charge around USD 50-80pp for a trip. That being said, don’t be surprised if you see prices advertised in USD, the Mexican Peso is the […]

Explore Mexico: Visit Puebla and its Surroundings

When I told my family I was going to study in Puebla, Mexico, most of them imagined a small “pueblo”. For some reason, in Italy and at least around Europe, not many people have heard of this wonderful Mexican gem. It is not even a small town, the city is the 4rth biggest in Mexico. Visit Puebla is being surrounded by colonial architecture, enclosed by the breath-taking view of the vulcano Popocatepetl, in one of the gastronomic centres of the tasty Mexican food culture. Having lived there, I can assure that visit Puebla, is definitely something you don't want to miss when in Mexico. Its central position would make Puebla an easy and enjoyable stop. Or if you're planning to move to Puebla, short or long-term, rest assured, you won't be disappointed! This vibrant city is chosen by many nationals for its universities and it is growing at a rapid speed. Sunset in Puebla But what is there to do in Puebla? Visit Cholula and fall in love with its Cathedral If many haven't heard of Puebla, Cholula, the “Pueblo Magico” only 15 minutes from Puebla centre is even less known to most who haven't been to Mexico. What a shame! Cholula's cathedral, its pyramids, its colorful buildings, the ancient streets… Cholula is really a magical place. The pyramid is the largest in the world, its base and volume are greater than those of any other pyramid. Yes, the largest pyramid is not in Egypt! Also, it is the largest monument ever built by humans. I bet you did not know that one too! The beautiful cathedral built on top is a later addition that during the night gets lighten and adds to Cholula's  magical charm. Cholula – Iglesia de la Virgen de Los Remedios Cholula's cathedral at night Walk around Puebla's Zocalo Like many colonial cities, the historical centre of Puebla is organized around a main square with an imponent cathedral. During the weekend, the main streets spreading out from it are filled with markets selling mainly artisan art. El Callejón de los Sapos, translated as “The Frogs' Alley” is one of the most popular street where you can buy local art and vintage pieces. The colorful Frog's Alley, the street of vintage art Visit Museo Amparo and The Barocco Museum Museo Amparo is a free-entrance museum with a wonderful terrace to enjoy Puebla from above and most of all, the best place to go for those interested in Mexican and Latin American art from pre-Colonial times to the contemporary art. The Barocco Museum is worth a visit even just for its white architecture. The entrance is free every Wednesday and the interactive exhibits on the history of Baroccan Art and Architecture are definitely worth a visit. Eat Mexican Street Food : Enjoy the traditional Cemita Cemita is a “torta” from Puebla. It is basically a sandwich with meat, avocado, onions, cheese. As simple […]

A day in Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico

Isla Mujeres is the perfect day trip from Cancun, Mexico. Besides from being a change of scenery from the gigantic resorts, is very easy to get there by yourself and very cheap in comparison with the other Cancun tours. Most people go in the morning and return at the end of the day, and one day is enough! How to get there You will need to take a ferry boat from Cancun (or Playa del Carmen), and the trip takes around 1 hour. The ports in Cancun are: Puerto Juárez, Playa Tortugas, El Embarcadero and Playa Caracol, the last three are in the hotel zone most used by tourists. The main company that does this route is Ultramar, and the rates go from $8 to $15 the trip and $21 the round trip if you book in advance in their web site. When I went, we bought directly at the port. How to explore the island The island doesn’t look very big on the map, but to get to the other side of the island and to all the entertainment that it offers you will need a little help. The best and most common way to move around is renting a golf cart, you can rent by the hour or for the day (which I did and recommend). Once you get to Isla Mujeres there will be a lot of people offering tours and even golf carts for rent and if you walk a little will you see a lot of companies that rent the carts too. Of course, you can choose one tour or just go to the beach and stay there all day, then isn’t worth it to rent the golf cart. There are taxis on the island too, they are expensive but depending on your plans it can be your best option. Don’t be afraid, the cart is very easy to drive and it’s almost impossible to get lost, people usually use the main road that goes around the island. And they will give you a map of the attractions on the island. What to do in Isla Mujeres Playa Norte The most beautiful beach on the island and considered one of the best beaches in the world by TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice in 2019. The beach is just 10 minutes walking from the port. Punta Sur In the opposite side from Playa Norte, Punta Sur is known by the sculpture park but for me, the best part was the cliffs by the sea, which provide an amazing view. Garrafón Natural Reef Park You have to pay to get in and it’s not cheap. The park offers zip lining, pool, snorkel, kayak, restaurants, and an amazing view of the bay. La Tortugranja Is a place where they take care of turtles, you can see all kinds of different species in all sizes. They have a refuge for the eggs, baby and really big turtles. You can even buy their food and feed them yourself. You need to pay […]

What is really worth doing in Cancun?

Cancun is a well-known destination in Mexico, famous for the white sand, blue ocean beaches, and big resorts. The city by the Caribbean Sea has so much entertainment that you can stay there for a very long time and don’t get bored. But if you don’t have that much time, what is really worth doing in Cancun? That really depends on your way of traveling, independently if you are a night or day person, if you like history or if you want to spend all day at the beach you will find plenty of things to do, here is my opinion of what should be on your itinerary: Visit one of the Mayan ruins – Chichén Itzá The Yucatan Peninsula is marked by the Mayan culture and there are a few archaeological sites that you can visit on your trip to Cancun. The most famous ones are: Cobá, that is the only one that you can go up the stairs in the pyramid; Archaeological Zone of Tulum, that has a very cool story since it was the port of the Mayan civilization and it’s on the beach, so it has its own unique view of the ocean; and my favorite Chichén Itzá, that was the capital of the Mayan people and is where the Kukulcán pyramid is,  one of the new 7 wonders of the world. Besides from being far from Cancun, about 2h each way, for me if you are choosing just one archeological site, Chichén Itzá is the one to go, is the most interesting one. Visit a different city or Island – Isla Mujeres If you get bored of the beach in front of your resort, there are a few other options that you can choose to spend your day: Tulum, not just the ruins Tulum has also a beautiful beach; Playa del Carmen, it’s not a large resort kind of city but it has all the same attractions as Cancun but attracts younger tourists; Cozumel, is an Island closer to Playa del Carmen and is more peaceful than Cancun or Playa del Carmen, and it is one of the top places to do scuba diving; and Isla Mujeres, which I think is the easiest one to go to from Cancun, you can go by ferry, rent a golf cart and you can get to know the entire island in one afternoon. Choose one of the parks of the Xcaret Experiencias – Xcaret The Xcaret Experiencias is a tourist company that has a lot of different services in Cancun, but the most famous ones are the Parks: Xcaret, Xel-Há, Xplor, Xavage, and Xeses. Each one is unique and has its own proposal. Adventure, culture, and contact with nature you just need to choose. For me, the best one was Xcaret because it combines everything, and if you go don’t miss the night show that presents in a beautiful way the whole history and Mexican culture. Nightlife – Sr Frogs and Coco Bongo The main street in Cancun is full of […]

Cenotes – the Mayan treasure at Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

You may think that the Yucatán Peninsula, in Mexico, is a destination of only all-inclusive luxury hotels by the Caribbean Sea and pool parties all day, that’s not true. The Mayan Riviera has a very rich Maya Culture that is worth exploring, maybe the most famous are the archaeological sites, like Chichén Itzá and Tulum, but the real natural treasure is the Cenotes, deep pools of crystalline water flowing from underground rivers. Cenotes played a very important role in the Maya religious belief system, and to the survival of the people since it was the main water source around there. The secret wells, revered by the Mayans, are now tourist spots, especially for those who love nature and adventure. The Peninsula has thousands of Cenotes and a lot of them are open to tourists, doesn’t matter if you are in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum, they are spread across the entire Peninsula. The Cenotes have different formats, like an open lake or a pool, a cave, an underground lake and even all of those combined. No matter the format, they are for sure all amazing and unique in their own way. What you need to know before going: You can go with a tourist tour that you can book by yourself or with your hotel. The first time I went I booked the tour with the company Xcaret Experiences, the Xenotes Tour. They picked us up at the hotel early in the morning, took us to 4 different Cenotes where we did snorkeling, zip lining, kayaking, and rappel. The second time I visited the Mayan Riviera I went to two Cenotes by myself, we rent a car put the name of the Cenote in the GPS and hired a guide to accompany us when we arrived. It was very easy to find, and it was much cheaper. All the Cenotes have a cost for the visit, some you will have to hire a guide, especially the ones that go into a cave, but remember that these locations are a bit remote and they probably won’t accept credit cards, so bring some cash with you (the local currency is Mexican Pesos, but all Cenotes that I visited accepted Dollar as well only the conversion wasn’t very good). Remember, Cenotes are secret locations and some villages still use the water from them, so be responsible and take your trash with you when you leave. Body products, like sunscreen and insect repellent, need to be biodegradable, and in some Cenotes, they will ask you to take a shower before going in. Practical Tips: The water is very cold, in some of them you can rent neoprene clothes; They are very deep, the use of lifejackets is mandatory; They let you take your own camera, but make sure that it is waterproof before going; If you are planning to visit a Cenote on a cloudy day, choose a Cenote that is a Cave and reserve the open ones for the sunny days; if […]

Top Five Attractions in Cholula, Mexico

If you want to dive deep into Mexican culture, and history, visit Cholula, —a small town which has gained the esteemed title of pueblo magico— located in the region that was once home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations. Cholula reflects an indigenous legacy, while also containing a rich colonial heritage. This picturesque town stands out as an important cultural center of Mexico for its puzzling Mesoamerican architectural remains, awe-inspiring pyramid, delicious Poblano dishes and drinks, and a strong sense of mestizo culture identity. Located at only 7 kilometers west of the state’s capital, the lesser-known pueblo contains enormous cultural and historical significance. Cholula houses the largest pyramid in the world, and oldest in Mesoamerica, under what seems to be a nature-made hill, topped by a 16th-century Catholic church. This sole structure is in itself already a perfect display of the Mexican essence: a mixture of pre-Columbian culture and Spanish colonial influence. The sight of the bright-yellow-colored chappell upon a hill dominates Cholula’s skyline, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Cholula also offers a unique array of mestizo food, indigenous snacks, and pre-Hispanic drinks that make it a wonderful foodie destination. Learn more about the best that Cholula has to offer with this list of the top five attractions in the lovely Puebla pueblo. 1. Walk around Cholula’s ruins Cholula’s archeological site is massive, and its pyramid, the Tlachihualtepetl (which means man-made mountain in Nahuatl), is actually the largest temple in the world. Besides this incredible structure, there’s also an open field with a self-guided tour through the pyramid’s south and west ceremonial grounds, and 280 meters of underground tunnels. You may access the pyramid and church atop for free and is available by foot; only about a ten-minute walk (more like a hike!), of long stairs that start downtown, at the pyramid plaza. The hill is easy to spot since it’s the highest point in town, and there are signs to access the main stairs. The open-field ceremonial grounds and underground tunnels have an entrance fee of $70 Mexican pesos (as of 2019, about $3.5 USD), they are self-guided and have informative signs in Spanish and English throughout the way. Altogether these sites will certainly transport you to Toltec times and invite you to know more about Mexico’s history before the Spanish conquest. 2. Visit the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios Besides its rich indigenous heritage, Cholula also has some colonial legacy, most notably its Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios, a beautiful building that dates back to 1574 and is decorated with all the opulence of the time, including gold-plated interiors. The church is my second-favorite structure in Cholula, (only topped by the impotent pyramid underneath it), because of its breathtaking beauty. There is no entry fee to the church, though voluntary donations are welcomed. Apart from this impressive church, Cholula is also home to some of the state’s most colorful colonial streets and downtown square, which you will see from almost anywhere […]

Best Places To Go Walking Around Tepoztlan, Mexico

If you think it’s hard to find exotic Mexican food like the one you watched on TV, let me tell you the place is just an hour from Mexico City. The mystic energy that came from the mountain that gives its name to the town, it’s vegetarian prehispanic cuisine, and the vast offer of rites to purify one´s soul, are seductive traits for an unconventional traveler. The picturesque of the “Place of the copper ax”, which is what Tepoztlan means, seems to charmingly embrace three dimensions in time: the life of native Mexicans, the architecture of Spaniards during the conquer, and the eclectic vibes from European foreigners! There are 7 activities to experience the unparagoned energy of the town, of which 3 are not to be missed if it’s your first visit. I used to be a tourist guide and have wandered all around the town, but here are my must see places and must do activities in Tepoztlan.   Tepozteco Mountain   Tepozteco mountain is easily spotted when entering the town. At first sight, its peak seems reachable, but when you start to climb it, you’d have no idea how it looked an easy task. The elevation is 600 meters high and is wrapped by foliage that helps protect you from the sun’s rays. And and the steps that are in the first half of the hill, make the trip more bearable. You can also enjoy spotting wildlife! Tepozteco is home to 12 endemic reptiles,  among which stands out a poisonous lizard that is in danger of disappearing; the enchaquirado lizard. But if you don’t happen to see any, do not fret because you will hear the concert of 42 species of birds that inhabit the Tepozteco. My tip Enjoy a mojito in your trek! You can find this fresh beverage in every corner of Tepoztlan.   Tepozteco Archeological Site It’s at the top of the Tepozteco peak! Please note that before entering the archeological site, there is a large Ahuehuete tree, also known as Montezuma cypress and is sacred for the natives. Some locals believe that their ancestors planted it to indicate the entrance of the ceremonial center. And about the archeological site, it was built to pay tribute to their god of fertility and at the solstice, people climb to the top to get charged up. By the way, this pyramid has inarguably the best view of the landscape. Tepozteco Archeological Site Schedule Open Monday through Sunday from 9 am to 5:30 pm. Ticket: $55 MXN   Market Of Exotic Food   The main market is between the kiosk and the church Ex Convento de la Natividad. In order to enter, you have to go down some stairs and maybe you won’t see much due to slight haze from the roast of the exotic dishes. Think of it like the triumphal entry to the pre-Hispanic delicacies. You should try “itacates”, a triangular-shaped blue tortilla filled with different stews. But “tlaltequeadas” are not to be missed! They are […]

Top 3 Cafes in Oaxaca City

Coffee is a rich part of the gastronomy of Oaxaca and Mexico. A frappe or a shot of espresso can be found almost as easily as a taco or juice stand on almost every busy corner. Here’s a list of my favourite spots that offer a mixture of an excellent brew, absolutely yummy offerings, relaxing atmosphere, great prices and excellent wi-fi! A.M. Siempre Cafe First on the list is A.M. Siempre Café. Popular with locals and expats alike, this café is definitely a must-visit-at-least twice in all of Oaxaca. The promise of 100% organic ingredients is evident in the first bite into any of their menu items, especially those including the ‘in-house’ bread and the coffee is signature Oaxaca richness. Location and ambience The cafe is located in La Colonia Barrio de Xochimilco (without traffic, about a  5-7 minutes drive from the main city square) and a valet is onsite to assist with parking. This is partly due to the fact that the neighbourhood is recognized as an official UNESCO World Heritage Site so parking space can be tight but the police presence is constant. If you’re taking a cab, be sure to let the driver know let the driver know that the entrance to the street is close to the children’s library, or say “cerca de Biblioteca de infantil”. If he still has no clue, ditch the cab!* As you exit the vehicle, head left past the chained barrier that blocks car traffic. The building is on the left with a noticeable sign. Immediately upon entering, you’ll be drawn into the beautifully seamless indoor and outdoor ambience. The courtyard towards the back is always a great spot. I especially recommend heading to the cafe on Sunday mornings for brunch where the live entertainment is the perfect complement to the 30-45 minute wait if you’ve ordered food the menu (other than the coffee of course!). If live music isn’t your vibe, then help yourself to one of the many books in the bookcase or take a quick walk over to the beautiful children’s library. Taxi Tip-In the 6 months I’ve lived and travelled throughout Mexico, I’ve spent more than a month in 4 culturally and geographically diverse states.  I’ve seen time and again, older cab drivers are safer, unlikely to hike fares without rationale and know the quickest routes to just about most streets you’ll want and need to get around to. They will most often be your best bet. Food and Service Thankfully, you won’t be toe-tapping in vain. I’ve visited A.M. with enough frequency to now have full assurance that their promise of incredibly tasty food that is  100% organic is something they take very seriously, hence seriously worth the wait. The menu is stacked with both breakfast and lunch items with a separate insert with a vast array of hot and cold beverages. Whether fluffy eggs, bacon and toast, the classic beef burger or traditional Oaxacan meals, this cafe offers a little bit of everything for everybody.  Other than […]

The best local travel guide for Guadalajara Mexico.

Guadalajara is the third biggest city in Mexico and is no wonder every Mexican wants to move to this city. It has so many beautiful places, amazingly delicious food, many great Mariachis, a lot of job opportunities and oh gosh don’t even get me started on the exquisite Tequila and Mezcal.  It’s very simple to move around the city and even though it doesn’t have an excellent metro system it is always easy to access a bus or a cab that can take you to whatever is the place you want to go, but I’ll get into all the details further on. Main attractions in downtown The centro of Guadalajara like every other centro in any city or town in Mexico, is a very traditional place where people will always find many churches and historic buildings to visit. What I love the most about every centro in Mexico is that every historic place that you will want to see is around the same square mile so you can easily just walk around and get to everyplace you want to go, that saves you a lot of time. Rotonda de los Jalisciences Ilustres You should start in the cathedral of Guadalajara, (location: Av Alcalde 10, Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara) take some time to go inside and admire the majestic sculptures and architecture it has. In front of the cathedral you will find Plaza Guadalajara surrounded by historic buildings that are now government offices. At the right hand side of the cathedral (if you are standing outside of it and are looking at the Plaza Guadalajara) you will see the Rotonda de los Jalisciences Ilustres an emblematic monument, and to the left side of the cathedral you will find Plaza de Armas. Behind the cathedral we have Plaza de la Liberacion and the incredible Teatro Degollado (this one is a must). Teatro Degollado Historic buildings Around this main places I’ve just mentioned you will see several museums and government offices. Keep walking towards the back of the Teatro Degollado and you will see Plaza Fundadores, then Plaza Tapatia and at the end the wonderful Hospicio Cabañas, a neoclassic building that used to be the home of many orphans back in the1800’s. Eleven blocks from the cathedral you will find yourself with the Templo Expiatorio (location: Calle Manuel López Cotilla 935, Centro, Americana, 44100 Guadalajara) a historic church with Italian mosaics, a clock tower and stained glass. Templo Expiatorio If you can visit all this buildings both during the day and at night time you’ll have fully lived the Guadalajara historic experience because at night they all light up and it’s just such a lovely view you can’t miss. Most delicious food to try out Food, the best existing thing ever! It’s not because I’m Mexican, but out of all the food I have ever tried Mexican is by far my favourite. All the flavours, the colours, the mixtures, the textures it’s just complete food porn. Guadalajara and the state of Jalisco in general have many […]

A Mexican Travel Guide – The Unexpected Delights of Mexico City

I will be honest, Mexico City was never at the top of my bucket list. We have done Cabo, been to Cancun, but never ventured into the real Mexico with the assumption that it was a dirty, dangerous dump. How wrong I was! Mexico City quickly became one of my favourite places in the world. Where to Stay in Mexico City: Picking a place to stay can make or break any trip. Mexico City has an abundance of hotels scattered around the city with unique areas filled with character and charm and beautiful in their own quirky ways. Public transport is available, but taxi and rideshare companies are a cheap effective way to move about the city. Chapultepec Park We stayed at the Grand Fiesta Americana Chapultepec, with views overlooking the city, mountains and the lush greenery of the Chapultepec Park. Staying here felt refreshing having a pocket of green and somewhere to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Only a short walk up the road is an area called Polanco, for a great range of restaurants, ranging from cheap pub eats to upscale modern bistros. Centro Historico This is the main hub of Mexico City, this area is full of wonderful old historic buildings from the 16th century, and is a melting pot of restaurants, bars, street foods, markets, shops and anything your heart desires! This is where I found my love for cheap and delicious street tacos, Mexican bakeries, and just walking around seeing all the quinceañera dresses. It is the perfect place for those that enjoy to people watch. Roma Norte This was by far my favourite district in Mexico City. Roma is a colourful blur of breathtaking architecture, streets lined with tree canopies and the ‘it’ place for hipster bars, restaurants, and shops on every corner. This neighbourhood takes you away from the craziness of Centro Historico and gives you the opportunity to spend countless hours just wandering the streets and escaping the traditional tourist traps.   Top places to Eat & Drink in Mexico City: I was so pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of food in Mexico City. It is of the greatest places to enjoy cheap street eats or to enjoy a superb level of crafted delicacies. Of course, the everlasting search for the world’s best street taco is something I take very seriously. Never fear! Put down your compass, the search is over, it safe to say I’ve found the worlds best street tacos. Below are my top spots for meals you will never forget on your travels. Taquería Los Cocuyos (a.ka the best street taco in the world) – Historico Centro Located in the heart of the Historico Centro with a Spanish menu we did not understand, we ordered at random and were not disappointed. I can guarantee there will be a line out the front of the small shop. The meat on offer may look uninviting but be brave and follow your nose, as you will be rewarded with […]

Mexico´s Famous Wine & Cheese Route

If you are looking forward to traveling to Mexico for more than a week, make sure to check this out of your list. Queretaro’s Wine & Cheese Route, it’s most known for couples who look for a romantic-weekend-getaway. Have some wine and cheese, shop around, and do some sightseeing. Queretaro City is filled with culture, history, and delicious food. Now, I will tell my personal experience as I went with my boyfriend on a planned trip, our favorite places and monuments, along with recommended activities. Planning the Route We verified our budget to go to Queretaro´s famous Wine & Cheese Route. He wanted to see Queretaro since he had never gone before, and I was born and lived there for a while; I hadn´t been there in ten years. It was a new experience for both of us. Transportation: It was comfortable, I recommend Futura which is cheap but it´s not bad. Lodge: We used Airbnb and got a pretty good place for a fair price. We rented it for the weekend.   In Mexico City, the best place to go was the Taxqueña South bus station. The best way to arrive there is using the blue line of the subway or the light train. We used a van. I recommend you only use a van or bus if you are tagging along with a local, otherwise, it´s easy to get lost. The journey was very comfortable, it lasted four hours; the bus was nice and modern. They give food on the bus, but I would recommend buying an extra snack in case you get really hungry or are a picky eater. Queretaro’s best places When we got to Queretaro we decided to take an uber from the Bus Station to our Airbnb. Our host was amazingly kind and welcoming, it had been ten years since I had been there; everything felt new and familiar at the same time. The apartment was great, cool and adequate for the hot-dry weather. We left our luggage there and headed off to Downtown Queretaro on an uber. FYI: Even though Queretaro is now more of a city than it used to be, the fastest and easiest way to move around is either on an uber or renting a car. Downtown Queretaro´s Famous ‘Mantecado’ Neveria Galy is known for its famous ‘mantecado’. It also serves lime snow, and you can ask for ice cream with a splash of wine in your cup. This is my favorite place in DQ.   Preview of the Route There were many craftsman carts filled with quartz figurines and such; art galleries, and delicious restaurants. We headed to a little stand we had seen at one of the main streets. It was an information stand and we asked about the Wine & Cheese Route and the person there told us that we could purchase a guided tour for the next day. She explained which places we would visit and that we would get a customized glass. We then paid […]

The Ultimate Chilango Eating Guide

Sight-seeing is exciting but also requires a great deal of energy! So what better way to take a break than in a selection of places that will make you feel like a real chilango*, experience some of the local cuisine and forget all about the Nacho-Burrito-Fajita Combo and the tourist trap places.  Ready? Then follow this Chilango Eating Guide around some of the most important neighborhoods in my beloved Mexico City. Centro This is normally the place where every visit starts because let´s face it, it´s an amazing and never-ending place to be! The Zocalo with its visible historical layers overlapping astonishes you every time you see it. Tacos. So once you are around why don´t you have some tacos at Salón Corona? There are five branches located around Centro, most of them full, but there is always a possibility to get a table quite fast. It´s not a fancy place but the tacos are amazing, the service is fast and good, and the prices are even better! Cantinas. Other options are the very famous Cantinas of all sorts: The typical and touristy one is La Opera —with some bullets from Pancho Villa still visible on the wall— or if you feel adventurous you can always visit La Faena, a very bizarre taurine museum. Even if it´s just for seeing, it´s worth the visit! Full Menu. Another great option is the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México, they have an affordable menu and you will be amazed by the building and its wonderful stained glass ceiling.  Seasonal cuisine. Then visit Azul Histórico restaurant with a great menu, which changes according to the season. It is located in the inner patio of a beautiful building. Tip: Afterwards go to the rooftop terrace from Hotel Downtown Mexico, it´s a great place to relax and have some drinks while enjoying the view. Food with a view. If you want to make a pause and relax a bit, then a perfect spot to do it is El Mayor, a terrace on the rooftop of the Porrúa bookshop which has an amazing view of Templo Mayor and Zócalo.  Mezcales. If the evening comes while still being in Centro, then you can always try a Mezcal at Bósforo Bar. They have an exquisite assortment of Mezcales from around the Republic, which you can join with a blue corn Quesadilla with chapulines (crickets—yes the bug!) although you can always order it without.  Tipp: Check the Sunday Sunday website and try to get into these secret parties, because the view from there is unbelievable! Roma-Condesa Roma and Condesa are two of the hippest neighborhoods full of bars and restaurants to visit. But despite the large assortment, it is not easy to find a really good place to eat. So here a couple of hints for all budgets: Seafood. El Pescadito is a Sonora Style Fish Taco place with a very easygoing ambiance, affordable prices, and a very effective queue system that will get you in in a second. So don´t be fooled by the line outside! If you […]

What to do in Downtown Cancun

I know those images on your head when you listen to the word, Cancun. The white sand, a sea with those shades of blue so characteristic of the Caribbean, those Miami-like resorts, the shopping malls, and party party party! But Cancun is more than the hotel zone. Taking a walking tour in downtown Cancun is an interesting way of really understanding the place that you are in. In the downtown dynamics, local people (from Mayan roots, Mexicans, international residents) and some tourists converge and everyday life just happens. Markets I personally love visiting markets, where you can see all the exotic fruits that locals eat, and listen them speak their own language, buy handmade crafts and absorb all the sounds and colors that surround the place. In Cancun, we have Market 28, and Market 23, the first one is the touristic one, with souvenirs, crafts, and some restaurants, but the second one, may not be as pretty, but to me, it feels a lot more real. And if you let me give some travel advise, you should know that there are lots of crafts too, but as it is not touristic, is LOTS cheaper. Walking inside of the little stores is a color explosion, from the fruits and veggies shops, with all this shapes, textures and colors and with the herbs hanging down from the ceiling; to the esoteric ones, with that copal scent and the “holy death” figures and all the images of saints and luck items. Its also quite impressing, but in my opinion, the best of traveling is, opening your eyes to see those things that would be impossible to see where you were standing before, and get amazed, and try to understand this new different way of seeing life. City Hall and Las Palapas After a ten-minute.walk from Market 23 heading south, through Tulum Avenue, you will find the City Hall. If you have traveled around Mexico before, you may have noticed that in most cities, the City Hall is right across a huge Cathedral; that, is some heritage the Colony left, but in Cancun, there is not. Why? Well, it is a very young city. It was founded in 1971, and tho Puerto Juarez had been a fisherman village for many years, Cancun was created to attract tourism, as an alternative to raise Mexico’s economy. But the fact there is no religion involved, the citizens have adopted it as a symbol of freedom of thought. And right across the Tulum Avenue, through the little pedestrian streets, you can find Las Palapas, an open-air stage where you can sometimes watch some public events, and every night you can enjoy typical Mexican food (street food mostly) and local artist offering some handmade crafts, paintings, and street shows. All the area around Las Palapas shows the multicultural environment that Cancun has, and so you can eat some Italian pasta, or wine and tapas, or traditional Yucatan food, or dance salsa and bachata. And then just walk a few steps and […]

Get to know Monterrey, Mexico

Alright, I know, México is a land of traditions and vivid loud parties (takes one to know one) but believe me when I say that there are these quiet calm moments where you can see the other side of the coin and fall deeper in love with the land beneath your feet. Getting to know an entirely new country takes time, which is exactly why we will be getting to know one single city: Monterrey. Being one of the biggest cities in Mexico, Monterrey prides itself on being an industrialized city working every minute of the day. But, do not let that fool you; the city has everything you look for your trip – from celebrations and parties to nationally recognized museums and parks. Things to do in Monterrey The city offers a lot of possible adventures to fulfill your traveling. In this article, in particular, we’ll be focusing on places that are highly praised by foreigners. The places are a complete change of scenery from the typical traveling guides but they are worth experience first-handed; Museums + Art expositions Ecologic Parks + Wildlife sighting Most popular spots Best Places to Learn Some of the best ways to understand the rich history of Monterrey is to visit its most popular museums. Museo de Historia Mexicana This museum is one of the most visited ones because of its rich history of the city and Mexico in general; its exposition of the different decades through the years catches your attention from the beginning. The best moment to visit the museum is on Sundays when there’s no need to buy a ticket because the entrance is free for the entire day. However, be prepared for a crowd! It’s the best to choose an early time during the day to visit. Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey Also known as MARCO, this museum is well known for the diverse exposition of arts and sculptures it has hosted through the years; going from national traditions to foreign and exciting exposition about all kinds of topics. From experience, the best days to visit is on Wednesdays or Sundays, where there’s no entrance fee. One great advantage of these two museums is their location, only a small five-minute walk away from the each other surrounded by a safe area; it’s a good idea to plan an early trip where you can visit both museums on no-fee entrance days. People’s Favorite Spots Yes, walking, people. Work those legs and explore every corner these places have to offer! I promise you that what you find will enchant you in the best ways. The following places are some of the most visited because of what they offer in entrainment and knowledge. Parque Fundidora This park has one of the most known because of its history in the city; between the years 1900-1986, this park used to be a full-time company of iron and steel. Nowadays, the park offers different activities; it has an ice skating rink, the entire park to explore on […]

What you can do in Guadalajara

  You probably wonder what you can do in Guadalajara in a short time, and I´m here to try to help you with some places that you need to know when you go to one part of the country of Mexico Guadalajara is a big city known for the tequila, mariachis and squares and colonial monuments and you will be fascinated. I´ve been in Guadalajara for a short time (only 5 days) for my birthday but I think I need more days for know more about this city because is to big, that in 5 days you will miss places to know. I´m excited to share my little experience, the places you need to see and what you can do in 5 days. Places to visit in Guadalajara: El centro de Guadalajara. For nothing in the world you can miss this place, because is the most popular and all the tourist are there, taking photos, watching the sculptures, museums, the squares and colonial monuments that actually the people of Guadalajara use for work, I love the places that have green (like trees, plants, flowers etc) and you can find that in the center of the city. Mercado San Juan de Dios. The market biggest and cheap that I know where you can find whatever since bag, shoes, clothes, food, movies, handcrafts, souvenirs, technology, etc. You need to be patient and take care of your personal stuff because there are some many people and the hallways are smalls. Centro Magno Joyero. Here you can find jewelry, in Mercado San Juan de Dios you can find too but I don´t think is real but here in the Centro Magno Joyero I´m sure that yes it is and like the people say ¨In Guadalajara you can buy jewelry cheaper¨ I can say it´s true. This place is big too but they only sales jewelry and the people help you to find what you looking for because if they don´t have it they say you where you can find. Lago Chapala In the ¨Lago de Chapala¨ you can find craft fair with people that made a lot of stuff with his hands also you can watch how they do and buy, you can go in a bus or your car, can take pictures and eat there it´s a colorful place. In that place, you can see a ¨Isla de los alacranes¨ and you can go in a boat when I go they said that they are not working so I can go. Also, they have like shows with clowns, magic, singers, dances, etc. Bosque Colomos. I recommended ¨Bosque Colomos¨ because is big and green they have squirrels but fat and bigger and they are looking for food but they don´t let you feet them because they don´t leave you and sometimes the squirrels are scary, believe me, I don´t give them food but one of them run behind me and I was so scared because in my country the squirrels have scare of you they don´t […]

How to do Pachuca, Mexico, like a local.

Pachuca de Soto Pachuca de Soto, commonly known as Pachuca, is the capital of Hidalgo, a state in central Mexico. With a sprawling population of roughly 250,000, Pachuca has both a big-city feel and tiny-town hospitality. Locals are friendly, street food abounds, and the soft 5’o’clock sun turns the city gold. While not as famous as Mexico City or Cancun, Pachuca holds its own when it comes to sights to see, things to do, and experiences to live. I lived in Pachuca for one year and am very excited to share a little with you about the city that became my home. Get ready…to live Pachuca like a local! Soccer Museum National and International Hall of Fame, Soccer Museum The Centro Interactivo Mundo Fútbol, or Soccer Museum, is an attraction in Pachuca you would be sorry to miss. “Why is the national soccer museum in Pachuca, and not Mexico City?” you may ask, and here is your answer: in the early 1900s, soccer was played by miners in and around Pachuca to not only relax and have fun but also to develop necessary skills such as teamwork. From there, soccer spread to the rest of Mexico and it became the beloved sport it is today. Walking or driving past the Soccer Museum you are likely to do a double-take; the National and International Hall of Fame is literally a giant soccer ball! A whopping 125 feet high and 100 feet wide, this part of the museum is both impressive and unique. Notice that the word interactivo is part of the museum’s name. After passing through the hall of fame, you come to the gaming half of the museum. Test your soccer skills with a variety of interactive games, including life-sized foosball! Don’t be afraid to let out your inner-star as you run, jump, kick, and play your way to the top. Do you have what it takes? I definitely didn't, but I still had fun!   Macromural Pachuca Se Pinta It all started in 2014. Through a peace and social justice program called Nos Mueve la Paz (Peace Moves Us), the neighborhood Las Palmitas was selected to host a mural-painting project. The aim was not only to make Pachuca more beautiful and bright but to bring neighbors together in an effort to confront violence and delinquency in the notorious altos barrios (high neighborhoods) of Pachuca. The mural was finished in 2015 and titled Macromural Pachuca Se Pinta- Macromural Pachuca is Painted. Even from afar, it made my day brighter every time I passed it. Street Food Mexican Corn on the Cob Mexico is famous for its tacos, and somehow burritos (which actually aren’t Mexican) but that’s hardly scraping the tip of the Teotihuacan Temple of the Sun when it comes to street food in Mexico.  A common snack is elote, or Mexican corn on the cob. This savory treat is a grilled corn on the cob smeared with mayonnaise, covered in queso fresco (fresh cheese) and finished off with a large pinch of chili powder and several squeezes of lime juice. […]

Via Ferrata, Ruta Vertigo in Monterrey

What is Via Ferrata? For those who do not know what Via Ferrata is, it is a protected climbing route that includes several features like steel cables, ladders, suspended bridges, etc. All of these additions, make the entire route easier and more friendly even for new climbers. Via Ferrata can be located in many parts of the world and fortunately, there is one in the beautiful great city of Monterrey, Mexico, which is a city surrounded by canyons and mountains, in the ones you can do several activities. Monterrey is known for being an industrial city but it also well known for having amazing mountains that are excellent for hiking and climbing. Many people from Mexico and even expert climbers from other countries come to Monterrey to try its mountains. So if you are passionate about climbing and adventure I would highly recommend you to come to Monterrey and give it a try to Via Ferrata. In order to be part of this amazing experience, you need special equipment as a helmet, harness, and more. When I decided to do this great adventure, I did not have any equipment because it was my first time doing something similar. Fortunately, there are several experienced tour companies that take you to do the climbing with an experienced guide. Some of them include the transportation, equipment, and even some snacks since the whole experience can last up to 8 hours or more. Let the adventure begin… I contacted a company called Geo Aventura and they are really professional. In their tour, you have to climb two mountains “Pico Independencia” and “Pico 15” that are about 300 meters each. The tour starts early so you have to be in the ecological park “La Huasteca” at 8 a.m. Our guide took us from the entrance of the mountain to the point of starting. He provided us the necessary equipment in order to be safe the whole trip. You are also allowed to bring with you a small backpack in the one you can carry your water or some cereal bars. I highly recommend bringing 2 liters of water especially when you are doing it during summer since the temperature can rise up to 40° C. Another good advice is to use leggings that cover your legs totally and a long sleeve shirt. You don’t want to get burnt! Don’t forget your sunblock!! Suspended bridge and ladder The first step to start Via Ferrata is to do some hiking up to the mountain. It can be tiring so it would be good to train your core before doing something similar. The route is 90% vertical so it is when the real adventure starts. You start climbing up using the harness and the steel cables. If you are not afraid of heights there is nothing to worry about, but in case you are a little afraid I would recommend to not look down while climbing. Remember, you will be completely safe since you are using special equipment. […]

Michoacan, Mexico: is it safe to visit?

Mexico Travel Advisory According to, “travelstate.gov.” certain areas of Mexico are given a range of levels to determine if its safe to travel for Americans. The list is from 1-4; 1 being the lower end( nothing to worry about) to 4(ye who enters here abandon all hope).  We all see it in the news, anything bad happens whether it be here, Mexico or any other country; bad news sells best. We are drawn to it, we look away but we still listen or peek at the horror. Is that all Mexico is though? Is it just drugs, theft and murder? Or are we looking through a lens of what the media portrays? Well, I traveled to Michoacan, a level 4(do not travel) state of Mexico. I will tell you my experiences; the good, the bad and some tips for your travel. Before Traveling to Mexico My wife and I decided we wanted to go to Mexico. My Father and Mother both met in Mexico. I haven’t been there in over 10 years. I had enough vacation time saved up, and we had a dependable vehicle to make the trip. My own mother was worried about the trip, last time she went was via the plane but the thought of actually driving through Mexico scared her. I was surprised. She even brought up the travelstate.gov map of Mexico. I told her it would be fine, but that planted a seed in the back of my mind of doubt and worry. I did some research, some said it as bad as the middle-east. Which of course all I knew about the Middle-East is what I see in the news, so that didn’t help. Then I took a step back. I knew there had to be people that travel there all the time. Which I did find a facebook group that did that. I read through the posts, asked some questions and my doubt got a bit smaller. The worries were still there. There are so many reports of travelers being robbed and or murdered. I was set on taking this road trip and there was no turning back. We went on Amazon and bought a few things for the long 3200-mile round trip. We got our Subaru ready and packed her all up. Mom and Dad in the back and my wife and I taking on the first shift. We left Kansas City, and we were on our way to one of the most dangerous places in the world.   Helpful Tips Before Crossing The Border If you are going to drive to the border please realize its a lot more steps then just flying in. You can actually get everything ready before crossing the border. You will need the following: Get a vehicle permit (roughly $400 refundable deposit) If you are still making payments on the car you will need a letter showing permission from the title holder Mexican Insurance (American Insurance will not cover anything in Mexico) Get a visitor’s permit (roughly $24 per person) Crossing The Border There is a lot of bad stories about Laredo, TX. Echoes of the Cartel. It’s the last city before that part of […]

A historic walk through Guanajuato, México

If you are looking for a place to travel full of history, colorful streets and so many things to do: The city is your perfect place. Guanajuato is a city in the state of Guanajuato. I believe that’s one of the reasons this city is so famous; you hear the name once, then the second time it has to get stuck in your head. Even though this city is not the capital of this beautiful state, it is definitely a city you have to visit when you come to Mexico. It is situated in the north center of Mexico and it borders with Jalisco, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Michoacán, which are some other main states in the country. Because of its location, the weather can go from sunny and hot, to chilly in the same day, but I consider it never gets too hot. You can always walk around its beautiful streets without feeling like you’re going to pass out because of the heat. To start off, you should know a little bit of its historical context because it is what makes visiting this city such a complete and wonderful experience for everyone, especially for history and art lovers. The city, back in the 1540s, was very important for the Spanish people because they found a lot of deposits of gold. About 270 hundred years later, on September 15, 1810, Mexican Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave the Grito de Independencia, in front of the Alhondiga de Granaditaswhich was the first battle against Spanish troops. Then, 50 years later, there was the French intervention because of the gold, but the Mexican fought against it. Finally, in 1870 the mining was reactivated, and a lot of new projects were started, projects that now a day are the must-see locations of this city. Since I am a literature student, I was very excited to visit this city because everyone told me it was full of museums, art and even better, references to famous writers. I did a 5-hour road trip with all my family last spring break and it was a wonderful experience, the only problem was that there was a lot of people because those days were Días Santos, when every catholic person does the pilgrimage, and since Guanajuato is a city with a lot of churches and religious culture everyone wants to walk to those churches. You may think it’s not that big of a problem, but let me tell you, Guanajuato has some of the tiniest aisles I’ve walked through. You can sense the feeling of arriving in Guanajuato being kilometers away. Everything becomes historical, the streets are not of pavement anymore, and all the walls are built of bricks. If you plan on arriving in Guanajuato in a car, like me, you have to pay attention the first minute you enter the city because the streets look so much alike that you can get lost very easy. Downtown The ideal thing you should do is […]

Taxco de Alarcon: Enchanting Mexican Town Near Mexico City

Taxco de Alarcon is the perfect pueblo mágico in Mexico to fall in love with. Its enchanting streets filled with small-town Mexican culture, food, music and vibes will seduce you and make you want to set up your own little shop and never leave. What Is A “Pueblo Mágico”? I’ve been to quite a few pueblos mágicos (literal translation: “magical towns”) in Mexico. This term was introduced by the Mexican government to define Mexican small towns that give visitors a seemingly magical experience due to their rich cultural aspects, — whether it be the food, colonial-style architecture, historical importance, beauty, or as in most cases, all of the above. Juan Ruíz de Alarcón Street in Taxco New Favorite Town in Mexico I didn’t think any other place in Mexico could be more enchanting than San Miguel de Allende, but after visiting Taxco, I have a new favorite pueblo mágico. What’s surprising is It took me a little over two years of living in Mexico to finally visit Taxco. I always heard foreigners talk about how much they liked Taxco, but I never really heard the locals talk about it, so I figured maybe it wasn’t that great. After visiting I realized two things I wish I had realized earlier, — Taxco is way underrated and as great as my foreign friends described it. Nevertheless, the wait was worth it as I never imagined that such a special place was only a 2.5-hour drive away from home (Mexico City). What makes Taxco so special and different from other pueblos mágicos? For starters, its colonial architecture sits on a mountain at about 5,833 ft. of elevation. Thus, not only do you see it at an elevated angle as you drive up, but you also notice varying levels of street height throughout. With that said, you do want to be careful when exploring Taxco streets, as most don’t have sidewalks and are very steep and narrow. If you have a bad knee or are a clumsy person like myself, you will need to be extra careful. A plus side to this street structure is that it looks quite picturesque along with the stone pavement. The buildings you will find in Taxco are mostly white with red roofs, depicting Spanish-style architecture. I found that while most small towns in Mexico (especially pueblos mágicos) have colonial-style architecture, they usually have multi-colored buildings as opposed to one dominant color throughout. You can see picture examples below. Downtown Veracruz: Note the different-colored buildings. Downtown Taxco: Mostly white Zócalo Almost every pueblo mágico has a zócalo, which is considered to be the center or main part of downtown. It is the town square equivalent. You will always find the main Catholic church in these zócalos, and it is usually the biggest and most beautiful church in town, as pueblos mágicos tend to have many churches. You will also find quite a few places to eat at the zócalo, as well as many street vendors of art, accessories, clothing, crafts, […]

The best of the Mayan Ruins near Playa del Carmen

Now there is plenty to do in Playa del Carmen itself, but you can’t come to Mexico without exploring at least one of the nearby Mayan ruins. There are three ruins easily accessible from Playa del Carmen: Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum and, my advice? See them all! Each one offers a unique experience and atmosphere, almost a different filter through which you can look back in time. Of course, you may not have time to see them all and so you’ll need to choose. I could tell you my favorite (it’s Coba, definitely Coba) but that may not be the best choice for you. So, let me describe the best way to see each of these magical places and I’ll do my best to capture the feel of each one amidst the details of transportation and logistics. Chichen Itza This one is the “must-see”. It’s the Eiffel tower of Mayan Ruins- famous, prestigious and very, very crowded. Transportation If you’re coming from Playa del Carmen, I would suggest that the best way to get there is to rent a car. If you’re traveling alone or don’t want to rent a car, the next best option is to take the ADO bus. Air-conditioned, fast and comfortable- the ADO bus will take you straight to Chichen Itza for around 350 pesos (which, compared to a tour bus is an incredible deal.) However, if you have even one other person, I’d say it’s definitely worth it to rent a car. There are plenty of deals you can find on the internet and walking around Playa that put it in a similar price range with the added benefit of comfort, independence, and fun road-trip vibes. It’s about a 2-2.5 hour drive to Chichen Itza on a straight and easy to navigate highway. You will be pressured to pay for private parking that will “save you hours of waiting in line” but I would advise against it. The public parking is very close and free and I’m not convinced the private parking saves you any time at all. So I recommend waiting and just buying the entrance tickets at the gate. Timing It’s a two-hour drive- so leave early. Or leave late. But if you land in between you’ll end up wandering around the ruins under the noon sun amidst a swarm of humans that leave you more breathless that you were expecting. Arriving early is the standard advice and honestly I do think early would be good. Personally, I left late and it worked out just as well. Maybe even better. You see, early you’ve got tour buses and morning people to contend with, and of course, all the people that heard that “the earlier the better” have also dragged their butts up there. I think the best time to be in Chichen Itza is the end of the day. The tour buses have left, which frees up a significant amount of space. In fact, most people have had their fill by now […]
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