At the end of an arduous journey from Ciudad Valles lies the sanctuary that is Edward James' surrealist castle, close to the suburban village of Xilitla. The scenery is spectacular, with the castle and the surrounding flora co-exisiting beautifully, as ravines scramble up walls and giant wells are integrated into man-made construction. We stayed at the Posada Casa James, which has no number but is on the way to the castle itself. You are transported into a wonderful world of flora, fun and fantasy. Well worth the visit, despite the long ride there!
They call the shared sleeping area of this beach-side guest house 'Stars', and it's not hard to see why. Swinging beds are open to the elements, set high on top of a cliff with the most magnificent views of the Pacific. All come with mosquito net, palm roof shade and locker. Waking up to watch the sunrise over the bay, complete with the sound of the waves is truly something magical. As an added bonus, you will be hard pressed to find a better view from the open bathrooms. If you don't fancy sleeping so close to nature, there are other room options - all just as lovely. The vibe is relaxed, and delicious food is served from the simple terrace cafeteria on the beach.
Calle Rinconcito, Mazunte, Mazunte 70946, Oaxaca, Mexico
Bus from Oaxaca City to Pochutla, then a taxi or 'collective' (shared van) to Mazunte.
$80-$100 per person per night, or $120-$160 for two people per night.
Comala, known as “White Village of America” is a little Municipality of the State of Colima on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. It has a beautiful square and around it there are the "Portales of Comala", restaurants of a kind where you ask for a drink and they put the food ("Mexican antojitos"). You can eat with the "mariachi music" and with Colima's volcano and pass a good time. You have to taste the local drink "the Ponche of Comala"
Isla Holbox is technically a peninsula but you can only reach it by ferry following a three hour bus trip from Cancun. The roads are all made of sand and you get around by golf cart or on foot. On a trip there this past November tourists were conspicuous by their absence and we had the long beach pretty much to ourselves. The Ida y Vuelta hostel provided a good base just a block from the beach - a simple, clean cabana with bathroom cost just $20 a night. You can eat at the food stalls around the town square for next to nothing or splurge $10 on a whole grilled fish for two at Miriam's. Compared to other beach resorts and islands in the Yucatan Isla Holbox is still unspoiled - however the mosquitos can be bad in the wet season and the crowds arrive in the summer for the whale sharks.
Monte Alban is less well known than many other pre-Colombian sites in Mexico but it is in a spectacular location on top of a levelled-off ridge at the point where three valleys meet, just outside of Oaxaca city. Views from every vantage point are magnificent, with forest-clad mountains seeming to stretch infinitely towards Guatemala and beyond.
Mexico was the first stop on a world trip my wife and I did a few years ago and this location was significant to me as it was the first time I had been overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of nature. The feeling of eternity among the ruins with the stunning Sierra Madre backdrop made me feel insignificant. However I was surprised at how comforting this actually was. Truly awe-inspiring.
I visited Mexico as a self-funded school trip when I was 15. This was one of the hotels in which we stayed. It was phenomenal. Everything from the rooms to the fine dining and swimming pool were beyond excellent. The hotel itself is a converted jail with its fascinating tunnel network still intact and open to visitors. Amazing memories from this trip.
A garden dedicated to wild orchids, OM has 450 species including the impressive large white blooms of epidendrum parkinsonianum and the tiny pinky purple nagliella purpurea. Temperate zone species arch from the branches of trees along paths to the tropical greenhouse with its jungly arrangement of branches like a miniature dense rainforest. If you’re lucky, Cisco the orchid man himself will be around to talk about his passion or Xun the Mayan gardener will answer questions. OM is at the foot of the mountains but only a 15 minute walk from the centre of town and has other air plants, pink tree cactus flowers and red and green bromeliads, as well as orchids. The whole garden is beautifully laid out with ponds and sculptures, a cool place in both senses.
Periferico Norte 4, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
+52 (967) 678-5727
This bus will take you from La Paz (Turista bus station on the Malecon) to Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos and San Juan del Cabo. It cost us about MX$250. The Aguila bus also goes from the same terminal but stops in more places.
Just one word of warning: the bus station in Cabo San Lucas is about 2km from the city centre. It is walkable depending on where you are staying. Walking may be the only option as there were not taxis when we arrived.
Malecon (La Paz)
This is a hotel that immediately becomes a home away from home.
It is not on the beach and is not a resort hotel. However, if you are looking for something that is smaller and more personal you can do no better than here.
The rooms are beautiful and very comfortable, coffee and water were provided and breakfast is included in the price. Breakfast was served each morning under shelter and consisted of a fruit plate, coffee/tea, homemade smoothie or juice and a savoury or sweet dish (pancakes, breakfast burritos etc) depending on the day of the week.
It is away from the beach but is easily walkable and the managers and their families were some of the friendliest most hospitable people I've encountered travelling. They would assist and arrange with whatever we needed.
I would have no hesitation in going back to The Bungalows were I to return to Cabo San Lucas.
We had a wonderful time at Casa Conde! Jacobo and Jorge did an amazing job welcoming us to their city. We loved the fresh juice and traditional breakfast and they were excellent in suggesting interesting places to visit. The house was clean, funky, affordable and made us feel very at home. It was located within a short walk to the park, Condesa, and metro stations.
A lovely B&B in Oaxaca City, centrally located, wonderful friendly staff, beautiful leafy courtyard.
If you want a relaxed, friendly and funky base in Mexico City - stay at Casa Conde in San Miguel Chapultepec. Jacobo and Jorge are fantastic hosts (and cooks), the house is in a great location with a 10-minute walk to La Condesa, 20 minutes on the metro to the Centro Historico and short walk to Bosque de Chapultepec. You can even borrow bikes to spend a day riding in the park and visiting the museums and art galleries. The house is filled with arty riffs on Mexican icons, the famous pinata sound system and is a great place to hang out after a hard day exploring amazing Mexico City. Cannot recommend Casa Conde highly enough - do yourself a favour!
I stayed here for three nights and I'd highly recommend it. It's a fantastic bed and breakfast in a refurbished townhouse, with lovely patios and great breakfasts. The decor is just beautiful, with polished wood floors and high white walls. The multilingual owners are friendly and helpful, and it's close to the metro at San Cosme which is about three stops from the very centre of the city. Some (not all) of the rooms have a shared bathroom- a bit unusual in such a high-spec place- but if you don't mind the inconvenience of sharing, these are particularly good value.
My family spent two weeks exploring Cancun and area. We rented a car and drove to Chichen Itza. My son loved it. The ball court was very interesting. We also did the ziplining with Selvetica (highly recommend) and we went to Xplor park. Lots of fun for the kids.
My family loved this place! We spent the day exploring this ecopark. My son loved the underwater river. There are floating inner tubes for the beach. There are animals and Mayan exhibits through out.
100% recomended, Quite, Clean , Safe, well Located, near to the beautiful bosque de chapultepc, museo tamayo, museo de antropologia and many other interesting places, good beds. Very good atention, Superb Breakfasts, the owner are very friendly and helpfull with tips and orientation, you fell that you are in your home, relax and enjoy this unique mexican B&B, price is worth it !!!
An excellent restaurant serving authentic, traditional Mexican ingredients in a modern style in a beautiful open air courtyard. Prices are high by Mexican standards so take advantage of the three course, 85 pesos lunch served only on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2.30-4.30pm and make sure to try the complimentary shot of single village mezcal bottled especially for the restaurant.
Alcala 403, about 5 minutes walk north of the Zocolo.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yfzabz9
A beautiful island, close to Cancun but more orientated for those who wish to enjoy a nice relaxed atmosphere as supposed to Cancun's tackified hotel zone. The island is only about 12km long so getting around is fairly easy with plenty of taxi's or if you prefer you can hire bicycles, mopeds and even golf buggies. Lots of nice relaxing bars and restaurants on the beach and some amazing snorkelling and dive sites nearby. I stayed in the PocNa hostel geared for the backpackers out there. At only 100 pesos a night (around £5) including breakfast it is a price that cannot be beaten. With a beach bar and all the islands eateries within walking distance this is a perfect place for those on a very tight budget.
Isla Mujeres can be reached by ferry costing about 70 pesos from Puerta Juarez just north of Cancun. There are plenty of regular buses from the centre of Cancun costing around 5 pesos. Once on the isle of Mujeres the PocNa hostel is just a short walk from the docks and all the locals will be able to direct you.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yag3e7p
Enjoy a week immersing yourself in Mexico's most artistic and alluring town. Art, politics and passion are the lifeblood of this wonderful place. In the morning, study silk screen printing with the proud members of the Taller Lenateros cooperative. In the afternoons delight in the town’s incredible art and craft from impromptu street sellers, to modern Mexican art galleries.
Calle Flavio A.Paniagua 54,
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas Mexico
Tel./Fax: ++ (52) (967) 678 51 74
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycoq876
Take a bus to San Cristobal de las Casas from Mexico City or Oaxaca City.
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