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Five weeks in Mexico

St Albans, United...
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Five weeks in Mexico

Hello,

I'm a 21 year old guy from London, and I'm planning a five week trip to Mexico (solo) this summer, and I wanted to make sure that my plan is a sensible one, particularly in terms of time.

I don't really believe in going anywhere with a detailed itinerary pre-planned, but as a rough guide, this is what I'm thinking:

- fly into Mexico City

- spend one week there (inc Teotihuacan)

- travel, north, and spend 7-10 days seeing San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and San Luis de la Paz

- head to Oaxaca (probably via Mexico City), for a week

- 10-14 days in Chiapas (San Cristobal de la Casas, Palenque, maybe Cañón del Sumidero)

- return to Mexico City and fly back

Does that sounds feasible in terms of timings? I take it that bus is by far the best way to travel around, and while I'm a student, I have enough money to pay for fast/direct services. If I'm going to be pushed for time though, I'd rather cut something out from my plan, since I'd rather be less ambitious and get to properly see places than whizzing around in order to 'tick off' as many places as possible. That said, all the places I've mentioned look amazing!

Is there anything that I'm stupidly missing out, or needlessly including? And with it being the rainy season, should that affect my plans? I don't mind spending a couple of hours in the afternoon inside, but if there's a risk of some days being total washouts, should I add in extra days in places so that I can still see them properly?

Any answers/advice would be fantastic.

Thanks!

Queretaro City...
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1. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

Do you mean San Luis de la Paz or San Luis de Potosi? San Luis de la Paz is a small town that is not usually on anyone's tourist itinerary but maybe you have some special interest there. If you mean San Luis de Potosi then there's really not a lot there and you might be better off spending 1-2 days in Queretaro especially if you have an interest in Mexican history. Otherwise you are OK but you will face some long bus journeys in southern Mexico.

San Miguel de...
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2. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

Your plans look pretty good and not too rushed. As you say, you can always trim your itinerary and change your plans if you hit on a place you really like. Bus travel is the way to go and you can do some of the longer stretches overnight if you have the stamina. I am not sure if overseas students qualify for the 50% student discount; check that out and get an international student card if they do. In that event you might need to buy your bus tickets a day or two ahead, as most companies only have a certain number of discount tickets. You are doing the well-trodden gringo trail, so will be able to find dorm accommodation if you can't afford single rooms everywhere.

Good you are missing out the coast, as it will be hot and humid with the possibility of hurricanes. Palenque is the only hot place on your itinerary. Sumidero can be done on an organised day trip from SCC, as can Yakchilan and Bonampak (well worth it). Traditionally, it rains afternoons and at night during the rainy season, but climate change is taking its toll and there have been more overcast, wet days in the past few years, Friends of mine were in SCC the summer before last and it rained much of the time they were there, but didn't interfere with their plans. An umbrella will suffice.

Try to be in Oaxaca for guelaguetza. If so and if you don't want to queue for hours for the free seats, see if your hostel or B&B will buy you a ticket to sit up closer. Tickets go on sale quite soon I think. Ask on the Oaxaca forum. Indeed, feel free to come back on any of the individual forums with more specific questions as and when you think of them.

Get a good guidebook: check out the options in a bookstore or library. I personally prefer RG over LP these days, but it is a matter of personal taste. Bring a smart phone or tablet if you have one. Internet is universal and will enable you to plan ahead for your next destination. If you don't have any Spanish, try to acquier a smattering before you come. Or even consider taking a weeks of lessons somewhere on arrival.

Edited: 05 April 2014, 14:02
San Miguel de...
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3. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

San Luis de la Paz is the only place you mention that you can miss. You can drop off in Dolores for an afternoon en route between Gto and SMA.

Edited: 05 April 2014, 14:05
Edmonton, Canada
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4. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

That sounds like a great itinerary; you'll be hitting almost all of my favourite places in Mexico, and you're giving yourself a good amount of time to see them. A good plan, and the advice above is sound.

I like the Rough Guides too, but my favourites are the Moon books. Moon takes four books to cover most of your itinerary (looking at 'em right now), and a Rough Guide for the whole country would cover the rest, but who wants to carry five books? (I solved that for my latest trip elsewhere by getting an eReader, but I don't think Moon books come in that format.)

San Miguel de...
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5. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

Agree with the others to eliminate San Luis de La Paz. Unless you have friends/family there, there's not any real reason to go. Probably the only other thing you might consider (if you can afford it) is flying to Tuxtla (to get to San Cristobal) from Oaxaca via Aerotucan, and then maybe Volaris from Tuxtla to MEX to finish up. It might buy you a couple more days to sight-see, not to mention a little rest. Like #2 mentioned, night time bus travel is certainly doable, but by the end of your trip you might start to suffer some bus-lag. But maybe that's just the old guy in me thinking out loud. Plus, depending on your dates, Volaris from Tuxtla to MEX is about the same price as a bus. I saw flights in the $1,000-$1,300 peso range while the 13 hour bus trip is $1,100.+. And as #1 mentioned, some time in Queretaro would not disappoint.

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

Some good tips here. I might suggest that a week in Oaxaca is a bit longer than you need. You might want to consider two days in Puebla on the way to Oaxaca. If you do want some beach time without the resort feel, try Puerto Escondido or Puerto Angel.

Mukilteo, Washington
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7. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

I'll agree with others that you have a good plan. Generous even. And having a rough itinerary while being flexible with it is good planning.

Up to 14-days in Chiapas is a lot. You can find plenty to do there- it's a special place, but you could also add more time to Oaxaca as there are lots of day trips and overnighters out of there, or have time to spend a week in the Yucatan.

At any rate, you're going to love that trip.

BC
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8. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

Pretty good plan, just a long way back after going north, to travel south-east. Could you fly into Guadalajara instead for a reasonable price, to avoid doubling back?

Make sure to visit Dolores Hidalgo, you can do it as a day trip from Guanajuato if you want. Such a nice little place with great history, ceramics and ice cream (every try octopus flavour??).

I stayed 15 nights in Chiapas--a wonderful spot! But I was not there in rainy season. Don't miss Yaxchilan and Bonampak. The walk up to the top of Cascada El Chiflon is great, easy to get to by combi from Comitan.

I also really liked Moon guide for Chiapas, lots of it is available online for information. You should check out the thorntree forum, lots of good advice for your sort of travel.

Edmonton, Canada
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9. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

I was mistaken. The Moon books *are* available in electronic format.

This makes me happy. :)

St Albans, United...
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10. Re: Five weeks in Mexico

Wow, thanks for sharing all your wisdom everyone! Really useful stuff.

I'll swap San Luiz de la Paz for Queretaro and Dolores Hidalgo, which both look really good. Stopping off at Puebla on the way to Oaxaca sound like an excellent idea, too.

I think that's my (rough) plan pretty much sorted then - very exciting! Some Moon books are on their way as well.

Thanks again everyone - very much appreciated!