Fly to Mexico City, spend about five days there, then bus to Morelia for a couple of days, then taxi to Patzcuaro for three days, staying at Villa Victoria, and finally on to Guadalajara for three days. Fly home from there. Gorgeous!
Driving a car in mexico is rewarding - other drivers are courteous. However road direction signs are few and misleading and some get vandalized. Everybody gets lost. Bring your own satnav with the right software. You could buy one with the local hire cost! You will cut hours from your journeys.
At the lodge at the Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an we slept in a bed inside a tent set inside a thatch-roofed hut. Outside our cabin was a private patio and on our stoop was a hammock. The beach, with a few thatch umbrellas, is only twelve feet or so below, but to protect the vegetation on the dune you had to find the way to a wooden ladder. The lodge has no electricity except in the restaurant/reception area, though you can borrow a lamp after dark. There’s salt water in the taps and showers (but in Mexico you have to use bottled water anyway). Meals are on the roofdecks and from here we watched a vast sunset over the lagoon, followed by Venus and then the undimmed stars.
Centro Ecologico Sian Ka'an (CESiaK) Federal Road (307) Cancun-Tulum, #68 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Tel: (52) 984-871-2499 info@CESiaK.org
My tip for a great train journey is the Chepe from Los Mochis to Creel in Mexico, commonly known as the Copper Canyon Railroad.
The journey starts at around 06:00 from Los Mochis on the Pacific coast and over the course of the next nine and a half hours travels 300km and winds from sea level to an altitude of around 2400 metres to the old logging town of Creel, Chihuahua.
The journey begins travelling through scrub and desert before moving into lush greenery, mountainous backdrops and eventually, the canyon itself. The Copper Canyon, a huge network of canyons which in total dwarf their more famous neighbour in the USA, the Grand Canyon, (which would fit inside it). The journey crosses over 40 bridges with huge drops on either side and climbs the canyon by traversing the steep sides, the train switching back on itself numerous times to climb to the top. As the altitude changes so does the vegetation, from the tropical plants on the canyon floor to the fir forests at the top.
The highlight of the journey is a brief stop at Divisidero, a spot allowing 100 mile views across the canyon. The canyon can be seen to fall away beneath your feet and the spectacular colours and variety of flora can be appreciated from this spot.
The train does carry on to Chihuahua but the journey demands a stop in Creel, a town that has more than a little of Twin Peaks in the air. While the town itself is unremarkable, the rock formations, waterfalls and hot springs that can be accessed from it, on foot, mountain bike or 4x4 are stunning and it is well worth spending some time here. From Creel a bus can be taken that shadows the train line to Chihuahua city but reaches its destination quicker (5 hours), and has a more regular service.
The tickets come in first class and economy. The first class train has comfortable seats, a bar and a dining car, it is also possible to open the windows between carriages to appreciate the scenery first hand. A first class ticket one way train costs around £50, the economy train leaves later and takes longer but is cheaper. Aero California fly to Los Mochis and from Chihuahua from Mexico City, the journey is better taken from the coast as from Chihuahua the best of the scenery may be hidden by darkness. Casa Margerita's Plaza Mexicana offers basic half board accommodation from around £30 per room per night.
The world capital of silver, colonial city of Taxco, in the state of Guerero. Three hundred stores with silver, that's very impressive!
Two hours (on the bus) away from Mexico City, there's a colonial city of Taxco - the world capital of silver.
The best museum on western hemisphere and probably the best museum in the world.
All the collection and exhibits are absolutely local and genuine, from Mexico alone, were not looted, stolen or in any other way "brought" from other countries for display.
Paseo de la Reforma and Calzada Ghandi
Mexico City, 11560 Mexico
+52 5 286 5195
9am - 7pm, Tue-Sun
Buying tickets for Lucha Libre in Mexcio City can be tricky. If you turn up at the ticket booth on the night (as the guidebooks suggest) you'll find it difficult to avoid all the ticket touts who'll do all they can to prevent you purchasing a ticket from the ticket window (we tried several times, and failed), forcing you to pay over the odds to buy tickets from them instead.
You can avoid all this by getting your tickets in advance from Mixup, Ghandi or Liverpool stores. They charge a small booking fee (about M$12 a ticket), which is an awful lot less than you'll end up paying a tout at the venue.
Ticketmaster concessions in most of the Mixup, Ghandi or Liverpool stores across Mexico City.
Usagui is a very reasonably-priced authentic Japanese restaurant. Much the best in the city, as evidenced by the numbers of Japanese that throng there on the weekends. It does not do Mexican/Japanese food, like some of the cheaper neighbourhood 'puestos' do, but the real deal. Closed Mondays.
The British owner/chef at Brasserie serves delicious, reasonably-priced Mediterranean food in an atmospheric old house with a beautiful terrace. A leisurely mojito recommended while you soak up the ambience. Open only Weds/Thurs/Fri for lunch & dinner.
Usagui: Manuel Acuña, 1&1/2 blocks from Avenida Americas, Colonia Sta. Teresita. Look for the big yellow rabbit on the right.
Brasserie: Priscilliano Sanchez #1171, immediately on the right hand side of the road triangle. Zona: Chapultepec/Centro.
An amazing and huge area with a great variety of cactus. Part of it has signals and paths to move around; there is an old dam which is now used by migrating and local birds. There is another wilder area, great views, beautiful birds and these magnificent plants: cactus of all kinds. A beautiful green area in the magnificent town of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
Very pleasant cafe, bookshop, and CD store in the heart of Condesa. I spotted Carlos Monsivais sipping coffee on a table opposite and felt very much the intellectual about town. Good selection of fiction, history, art books (in Spanish).
Nuevo León 115, in Condesa.
This restaurant is about 45 minutes out of town, near Zaachila. It has excellent food and it's also great to go with kids. It's an open restaurant with hammocks around and lots of fun for kids and the food is great - try the mole with turkey or the pit barbacoa of goat or lamb in avocado leaves.
Also good antojitos (especially the tlayudas) and other Oaxacan specialties that you’d find in an outdoor restaurant. Unless you have a car, you’ll need to hire a taxi by the hour and have him wait.
This restaurante is about 45 minutes out of town, near Zaachila.
Nearest town to the ruins, stay the night (very cheap and one nice restaurant) and walk into the ruins in the morning - be the only people there for a few hours before hundreds of coaches arrive (get amazing photos not covered in people!) Get there by bus instead of paying top dollar for a tour.
Puerto Morelos is just outside on Cancun, but a world away. It's a small resort, quite different from package holiday central of Cancun. There's great beaches also - highly recommended.
San Miguel de Allende is a historic small city in the heart of Mexico, about 3 hours by car north of the capital. It's a great place to use as a base for exploring old colonial cities such as Guanajuato. It is also a wonderful place for artists and for people who want to take Spanish courses. There are quite a few Europeans who live here full or part-time and a lot more Americans, but it still retains the feel of Mexican city. Near to the town are a group of swimming pools fed by hot springs. Look it up on the internet and you'll see why so many people come here to visit and end up living here - like me!
San Miguel de Allende, State of Guanajuato
Lovely town to walk around and get a feel for the real Mexico away from the crowded, tourist beaches of Yucatan. Stay in the Casa Mexilio - it's quirky! (www.casamexilio.com)
We drove from Cancun on lovely straight, empty roads!
This hotel has a good restaurant and bar and is centrally located. The hotel is spotless and the service excellent. We used to stay at Hotel Catedral, but it was often booked up. This is a better alternative, same price, better deal and better situated.
It is a couple of blocks from Parque Alameda, Bellas Artes, Paseo Reforma and all that area contains in Centro Historico. $40 to $60 for a suite! Recommended. Free internet.
Guerrero No. 12, and Puente Alvarado, opposite a small park. Tel. 55668333
"El Ministerio de Educacion Publica" houses an incredible collection of Diego Rivera murals.
These are his early murals (the 20s) and are on three floors surrounding an open courtyard with jacaranda trees.
Calle Argentina No. 28, Centro Historico, near Donceles. Free admission.
I visited Puerto Escondido in September and stayed in an enormous, ocean front home with a group of friends. The price, per person, was unbeatable and came with a cook, butler, driver and maid. They prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner if desired. I have never experienced this type of architecture - the living area is completely open air covered by a large palapa. The bedrooms and entertainment room are enclosed and air conditioned. Right next door is an equally impressive, yet slightly larger house which had a wedding party arrive the day we were leaving. If and when I get married, I think this may be the place where I will go. Between the two homes, I it can accommodate 30-35 people.
I also learned how to surf. We went fishing and caught a boat load of Yellowfin Tuna - 27 to be exact as well as one Sailfish which we let go. Also got to see a lot of schools of dolphins jumping all over the place and a whale spouting in the distance. I can't wait to go back and am considering purchasing land and building there. I heard the prices have been going up quickly but from what I saw there are still some good deals to be found.
I found the property at www.puertorealestate.com
The place I stayed was Desclaza which is next to Rubio.
I flew from NY to Mexico City to Puerto Escondido (PXM). One of my friends flew into Huatulco which was about 1 hour 15 minute drive south.
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