Welcome to our second destination Mexico. Depending on the date and border location the entry to Mexico can take a while. On our way from Flores (Guatemala) to Palenque (México) we spend 2 hours at the Mexican border in El Ceibo and could hardly unterstand the mumbling officials. At the beginning we had to go twice to the registration room for providing all informations about us. After this process we had to go to another house for the payment (possible with credit card) of the entrance fee of 580 MX$ (~26€) per person. Subsequently we returned to the first building for the official entry stamp (180 days). After that the officers scanned our bags for the last time. Our border control was very strict and so we had to submit our ginger and garlic at the baggage control. It was a crazy experience but in the end everybody was very friendly too us and we had no big issues.
After the challenging border control and 2 more hours of driving we finally arrived in Palenque. In Palenque we stayed for 2 days for acclimatization in the new country. For this we lived in the hostel T&C Camping which is located a little bit outside of the town for 235MX$ (~11€) the night. The place is really simple but have a good location for visiting the ruins. All rooms were air conditioned and they also had a good service if you need any help. Besides this they had a shared kitchen where we cooked for ourselves and saved some money. In the city near to the Centro de Autobusses ADO you find a lot of shopping facilities for example a huge Cherauli (similar to a Walmart) where you can buy everything what you need. Transport from the hostel to the ADO with a collective taxi was around 10MX$ (~0,5€) per person.
After our first night in the hostel we wanted to visit the famous ruins of Palenque. The best way to get there is by first taking a local collective taxi to the ADO-Station. From the hostel to the ADO the transport costed 10MX$ (~0,5€) per person. For getting a collective taxi you just have to stand at the street and wave with your hands to get pick-upped. From the ADO-Station you take a Minibus with the inscription “Ruinas” for 20MX$ (~1€) per person. On the way to the ruins you have to pay the extra entrance fee to the Nationalpark 36MX$ (~1,50€) per person. Some minutes later you will arrive at the entrance of the Ruins of Palenque. There you can buy a ticket with or without a guide. We decided to go without a guide (75 MX$ (~3,50€) per person) because it was cheaper and we could walk through the area as we liked. TIP: Before you go there buy some fruits in Palenque and take a lot of water so you can relaxe in the shades and enjoy the archaeological place.
After we checked out the Ruins of Palenque our next destination was San Cristóbal. If you want to get from Palenque to San Cristóbal you have two options. One way is to take a fast bus which goes through the mountains or take the long 12h overnight Bus with OCC (ADO) for 241 MX$ (~11€) per person. The problem with the bus through the mountains is that from time to time they get robbed. So if you take the way thought the mountains inform yourself about the current situation. The benefit of the overnight bus is that you safe money for the accommodation.
TIP: Book in advance because the price increase the nearer you get to the date of departure. If possible buy the tickets at the counter because sometimes the ADO-Website or partner sites like Busbud add some online fees. Also check the internet for some promotions codes if you book online. Besides this you can get sometimes discount if you book with the ADO-App from the smartphone. Another recommendation is to take warm clothes with you inside the bus because they can be freezing cold. Good bus-ride! 🙂
When we arrived in San Cristóbal our first impression was a little depressed because it rained like hell and it was compared to Palenque very cold. From the ADO-Station it´s possible to walk to the main points of the city and also to your hostel. Because of the heavy rain we took a shared taxi for 25 MX$ (~1,10€) to our hostel Gite del Sol. We really liked our simple hostel because it was cosy, their service there was really good and it costs 195MX$ (~10€) included breakfast for a double-bed. Besides this it´s located near to the center and also if your need to wash your clothes right above the street there is a cheap laundry service where we payed just 23MX$ (~1€) for 2kg.
On our second day in San Cristóbal we did a 3 hour free walking tour with Bee and her pink umbrella. The tour from the company starting every day at 10am and you can join them without registration. For us it was our first free walking tour experience and we enjoyed the time with bee. The Tour begun in the city center, she told us a lot about the history and we ate tasty local food, like Tacos and Mole. Our favorite place was called “Los Anafritos Chiapanacos Doña Conchita” which is operated by local ladies who go to the market every morning to buy fresh food and cook one of the best grandma food. For this reason they have every day another menu. We liked the “menu del día” for 65 MX$ (~3€) which included a drink, starter, main course and sometimes desert. Also their Mega Quesadillas for 45 MX$ (~2€) have an amazing price performance.
Besides the free walking tour we went on a day trip to Chamula. Chamula is a small town north west of San Cristóbal which is very famous for their indigenous population, the huge Sunday market and their holy church. The best way to get there is by taking a collectivo for 18 MX$ (~0,80€) per person from near the „José Castillo Tielemans“ Market. We mainly went to Chamula to visit the church. The entrance for the church was 25 MX$ (~1€) per person (only tourists) and you are not allowed to take pictures inside. Sadly, because it´s a very magical place. Especially on this Sunday when we went there it was a big church fair and the hole building was full with thousands of candles and peoples. They were praying, singing and also drinking Posh (local liquor) a shot as kind of cleaning treatment. We enjoyed it a lot and also liked the Posh :). Sadly Franz couldn’t take pictures of this magical place. So you have to go on your own and see it through your eyes!
In addition to this we can reccomend the Cañón del Sumidero. After some rainy days in San Cristóbal we really enjoyed our tour in the Canyon. We booked a tour through our hostel Gite del Sol for 350 MX$ (~16€) per person. Included was the transport to the one-hour distant Canyon, a two-hour ride with the speedboat in the canyon on the rio grande and the visit of 3 viewpoints. We didn’t expected it but we really enjoyed the tour. It was fascinating driving through the canyon and watch the green and huge wall from the top. Also the skipper of the boat always knew exactly where crocodiles, monkeys and birds were. Don’t miss the Canyon when your around San Cristóbal. Get motivated through the picture of the Canyon in our PhotoInspiration of Mexico 🙂
After San Cristóbal and more than one month traveling we wanted to go to some beaches and relax in the sun. A perfect place for this is Zipolite which is located at the pacific side of Mexico. The best way to get there is by taking a ADO-bus from the ADO-Station in San Cristóbal to the destination Pochutla. For saving money we took again an overnight bus which costed 580MX$ (~26€) per person with OCC.
Zipolite & Mazunte
Zipolite & Mazunte
After 12h nightbus from San Cristóbal we arrived at the bus terminal in Pochutla. When we went out of the bus taxi drivers „attacked“ us to pick us up and drive us to Zipolite. Don’t go with a taxi because they are extrem expensive compared to the local collectivos. Before we went to the collectivos we went to the huge supermarket Chedraui near the bus station to buy important things which you can’t buy at the beach and also asked for the location of the colectivos to Zipolite. After the shopping we walked to the pick up place of the collectivos to Zipolite which are just 200m away from the bus terminal. We paid 20 MX$ (~1€) per person for a 30-45 min drive along the coast. Don’t be afraid of the driving route. To pick up as many people as possible they drive over Mazunte and not over Puerto Angels. The final destination of the collectivos is at the town entrance of Zipolite. From there you have to walk 10-15 min and you are directly at the beautiful beach of Zipolite.
When we arrived in Zipolite we where really lucky with our Hostal Brisa Marina. It was our first time there so we didn’t know what to expect. But it´s the perfect place because it´s located directly right at the beach with an awesome view to the sea. We stayed there for 250 MX$ (~11€) the night for a private room with a double bed. Besides this the owner David was really lovely and helped us anytime for example with the real important questions of life: where to get good food?
After more than a week in Zipolite & Mazunte we tried a lot of restaurants and can tell you our favorites with delicious and cheap food. For breakfast (in Spanish desayuno) we loved Posada Mexico, which is just next to the hostel. We paid 60-80 MX$ (~2,50-4€) for a delicious breakfast like pancakes with fruits, yogurt with fruits and homemade granola or eggs with frijoles. All the portions where really big and not like the typical breakfast you get on other places. Check it out! 🙂
For lunch (almuerzo) or dinner (cena) we liked to go to Yada or Sal y Pimienta. At Yada they had cheap and good local food for around 60 MX$ (~2,50€). Sal y Pimienta is right at the beach and they have awesome burgers for about 70 MX$ (~3€). If you like pizza we would recommend you a place called Bacco. It´s near the restaurant Yada. They have amazing pizzas but you have to be prepared that it´s a little more expensive than the rest. We paid for one delicious pizza hawaiana 140 MX$ (~6,5€).
Besides the good and cheap food you can do a lot in Zipolite or just relax in hammocks at the beach. From the town you can easily explore the other beach places with the local colectivos (for price ask the locals or the driver). A nice place to visit for example is Mazunte, where you can see a stunning sunset at Punta Cometa Viewpoint. Another trip was the visit to Ventanilla, where you can make a boat trip and see crocodiles in mangroves. When you go to Ventanilla ask the locals about the current situation. We couldn’t do the boat tour because of the strong tide the ocean was connected with the mangroves and so the currents where too strong for going in by boat.
Besides this is also nice just walk along the beach in Zipolite, relax there, eat some coconut ice from the old man with his ice wagon for 20 MX$ (~1€), catch some waves with a surfboard, watch the sunset or check out the sky full of stars (PhotoInspiration of Mexico) in the night while you lay at the beach and hear the ocean soughing. All in all we felt in love with this magical place and can’t wait to come back.
TIP: If you would like to get in contact with locals we can recommend you Couchsurfing. In Zipolite we tried it for the first time and it was amazing. We went for example to different beaches and bouldering with Antonio or stayed with Paolo in his jungle house in Mazunte. Thought this you can safe a lot of money for accommodation and get in contact with local how have the best recommendations for all kind of things! Try it, you will not regret it!
After the amazing time in and around Zipolite we had to move on. To reach our next destination Oaxaca we took a local colectivo 20MX$ (~1€) per person back to Pochutla and the bus station. In Pochutla you find many tour operators which brings you to Oaxaca. Through the recommendations of our Couchsurfing friends we took a little Bus from Lineas Unidas to Oaxaca for 200 MX$ (~9€) per person. The terminal Lineas Unidas is located nearly the bus terminal or the huge supermarket.
TIP: Be prepared for this ride! The drive is really curvy and mountainous for 6 hours. So if you getting easy sick take some pills before and have a vomit bag ready, we had to us it 🙁
After a bumpy drive we arrived at the Lineas Unidas „Terminal“ in Oaxaca. Because of the ride we felt really sick but our Couchsurfing host Jessy was understanding and helped us. We first relaxed and on the first evening we went to a little garage place where a local grandma was cooking for the whole neightboorhood. It was so delicious and so so cheap (we paid 80 MX$ (~4€) for 4 people). Check out the place and enjoy one of the best food in Oaxaca! The place should be open from Monday to Saturday from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. They have no signs but just watch out for a blue gate and a old grandma cooking :).
On our second day in Oaxaca we explored a little bit the centre to get a first overview and went for some Mole con Pollo and Churros. In the afternoon we tried to give something back through helping Jessy during one of her English teaching lessons by talking over Germany with her local young students. We had a lot of fun with the kids and hopefully we could teach them somethings 🙂
On our last night with Jessy we went with some of her friends to a place called El Rincón Pozolero. The place is a little further out but if you interested in some delicious soups this is the place to go!
After some nice Couchsurfing days with Jessy we switched into a hostel called „Los Nardos“ for 240 MX$ (~11€). Its a nice place to hang out and explore the city. You can walk from there to the center, cook in the shared kitchen, have a simple but nice rooms and a rooftop where we enjoyed our breakfast or lunch while having a nice view over the city.
Other than San Cristóbal this time we explored Oaxaca by ourselves instead of taking a free walking tour. Oaxaca has many different local markets where you can get all kid of food, fruits-juices and candies. Also it´s nice just to walk around and explore the city center because it´s cozy and compared to other cities much more relaxed.
While exploring we had the chance to see a Mexican wedding right in front of the beautiful church Santo Domingo. Its was a pleasure to watch the spectacle. It was totally different to German weddings. They had so many dancers and a Mariachi Band that you had the feeling they celebrate a huge party with everyone. After the newlyweds left the church the wedding procession startet and we walked together with them until they arrived at the party place. We had such a lot of fun with them. Check out the PhotoInspiration of Mexico to see the pictures of the amazing event.
Besides this Oaxaca offers a lot of activities. Our highlight of our visit was to watch a Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) which take place ones a month on Sunday. We paid 100 MX$ (~4,50€) per person for a 3 hour fight with different contestants which also make photos with you before the show. If you have the opportunity take this experience with you. When you’re in Oaxaca watch out for posters which promote Lucha Libre. In our case the Lucha Libre took place near the Jardin San Franciso. If you want to see the picture of the crazy event check out our PhotoInspiration of Mexico.
If you want to do something chilled in the city we can recommend you the Jardín Etnobotánico for 50 MX$ (~2€) per person. This place used to be the garden of Dominican monks in the 16th and 17th century. Now it offers impressive plants which you can normally find all over Mexico.
On another trip we went to the famous Hierve el agua. It´s a set of rock formations with cascades of water so it´s perfect for a daytrip in the nature. To get there we took a bus to Mitla for 20 MX$ (~1€) per person and from their you have to take a colectivo for 50MX$ (~2€) per person directly to the Hierve el agua. After you arrived just follow the signs to the entrance and pay 25MX$ (~1€) per person.
TIP: This time you don’t have to bring a lot of food. They offer at the place a lot of typical and cheap food. We would recommend just to take snacks and enough water.
Besides Mitla another attraction is the market in Tlacolula which is near Oaxaca and on the way to Mitla. It´s one of the biggest local market in the state Oaxaca which opens his doors every Sunday. We went there on one day with some friends. To get there just take public bus in the direction of Mitla for 20MX$ (~1€) per person and jump off at Tlacolula. After you arrived just follow the crowd and explore the endless market where you find everything you can imagine or need.
After the nice time in Oaxaca we decided to went further on to the capital of Mexico and our last destination Mexico City (CDMX – Ciudad de Mexico). For the transport from Oaxaca to we decided to take a second class bus from the AU-Bus-Terminal-Periferico (Autobuses Unidos). It was a recommendation of our both Couchsurfing friends Jessy and Antonio. These are the same busses as ADO or OCC offer but just without a toilet and way cheaper. For journeys around 5 – 7 hours its ok to travel without this „luxury“. We trusted our friends and it was a perfect decision. The night bus was same comfortable but with 310 MX$ (~14,50€) per person much cheaper compared to ADO (~550MX$).
TIP: If you are a person which needs more often a toilette don’t be afraid to take a second class bus. The bus makes more than once a pause where you can relieve yourself :). Also if you have the possibility check out for example ClickBus for this connection. There you can buy tickets from AU. Sometimes the tickets at the counter can be more expensive when you buy them on the day of departure.
Mexico City (CDMX)
After a good sleep in the cheap second class bus we arrived really early in the morning at terminal de norte in the capital of Mexico „Ciudad de Mexico„ (CDMX). To safe money and get more into the local life we organized ourself again a Couchsurfing place. For CDMX we really recommend you Couchsurfing because you have thousands of host and the accommodations are much expensive compared to the other places we went to in Mexico. To get from the terminal to the Couchsurfing place of Marcos we took a secure Taxi for 123 MX$ (~6€) to the district Chapultepec. Compared to the local buses it was expensive but we felt much more safe with this option because it was super early in the morning around 6 am and we had no idea which buses bring us through the million metropole to the right place. If you need a secure Taxi just watch out for signs at the Terminal, tell the person at the counter the address where you want to go and they guide you to the taxis which are waiting in a separated area.
TIP: After on week in CDMX we wouldn’t take again a taxi and instead going for the super cheap and well build Metro-System. With the safe Metro you get easy through the whole city and it only cost 5 MX$ (~0,25€) per person!
What to expect and to do in CDMX? First of all its an amazing city with which we felt in love! The city offers a lot of beautiful things to do and has delicious cheap food.
If you visit Mexico City we can recommend you to stay in the district of Chapultepec. It´s a very nice clean, safe and relaxed area from where you can explore the city very easy and have the opportunity to get away from the loud city within 20 min of walking to the near Park of Chapultepec (free entrance). In the Park we spent a lot of time. You can watch there the curious squirrels coming towards you and climbing on you shoulder. Also we went to the Zoo (free entrance) which is in that park too and enjoyed taking pictures of their animals. Besides this you can also just go for walking, relax on a blanket and get out of the stress.
When you are more interested in history and local traditions you should visit the Museo of Antropologica for 75 MX$ (3€) per person. There you can see the famous “Aztec calendar” which is in reality a Sun Stone and a endless number of antic things. The museum is very impressive and is located at the north end of the Park of Chapultepec. So if you go there combine it with a walk through the beautiful park!
Alongside Park Chapultepec CMDX has a lot more to offer. When you want to explore the city center we can recommend you to jump off at the Metro station Hidalgo and walk from their to the next Metro station called Zócalo. On the way you will cross the typical touristic areas and buildings like Alameda Central (park to relax), Torre Latinoamerica (tower viewpoint), Av. 5 de Mayo 20 (historic city center), Palacio de Bellas Artes (art museum) and the Plaze de la Constitucion (huge famous square). Enjoy the tour 🙂
For the Torre Latinoamerica we recommend you to go there when it´s dark so you can see the whole size of CDMX by night. The tower offers two options of viewpoints. When you taking the elevator to the top they will ask you if you want to eat and drink something or only want to see the city from above. In dependence of this they will bring you to a different floor. When we visited the tower Lisa had birthday so we decided to go for the restaurant. It wasn’t the cheapest meal (min. 200 MX$ per dish) we had but the view over the city was impressive and it was nice to celebrate here birthday like this.
When you walking through the Alameda Central park you have to check out the Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia for 100 MX$ (~5€) per person. Normally we are not so into museums but this one totally blowed our mind and is the best museum we ever visited so far. It´s demonstrates impressively every kind of oppression, expulsion and violence of people around the world, beginning with the Holocaust and following with similar cruelty. It sounds weird to go in such a museum but the informations are transmitted in a way which you never seen before and there will be no minute of boredom. We spend there 4 hours and were surprised how fast the time run. The museum will open your mind, make you think about yourself and what you can appreciate. So go for it!
Besides activities in the city you can do a lot around Mexico City. On the one hand we can advice you to go on a boat trip – gondola ride near Xochimilco. There you find hundreds of the famous colorful boats which look almost like they are from Italy. It´s a huge fun to sail through the channels with hundreds of other boats and everybody is celebrating and dancing. To get on such an event you can look out for agencies in CDMX or when you’re enough people you can book it on your own for 500MX$ ~23€ per hour to celebrate for example a birthday. We were lucky and did it over a Couchsurfing Event where a person organized everything from the transport with the metro Tasqueña, further on the train to Xochimilco and also the boat tour. All in all we payed 150MX$ (~7€) per person for the whole day on the boats and 100 MX$ (~4,5€) per person for the transport which included an expensive Uber-Taxi in the night to get back safe to CDMX.
Another must see place around CDMX are the pyramids of the sun and moon. The cheapest way to get there is by taking the Metro to the station „Autobuses del Norte“ for 5 MX$ (~0,25€) per person. At the Terminal del Norte you take a bus to Teotihuacan for 54 MX$ (~2,50€) per person. After almost one hour of driving you will arrive at the archeological place. There you have to pay the entrance fee which is 75 MX$ (~3€) per person. After the entrance just walk about 20 – 30 minutes to reach the beautiful pyramids 🙂
TIP: Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, water and snacks as it can be really hot during sunny days. Depending on the season also a rain jacket. When we were there a strong rain shower surprised us on the top of the pyramid.
Next to the beautiful attractions in and around CMDX the city offers places with amazing delicious and cheap food. If you want to eat the best Tacos you ever eaten you have to go to the Tequilo Restaurant or this near streetfood stand. Both restaurants are run by the same family and offer the same food. They have various tacos and menus for around 50 MX$ (~2€). At Tequilo you get the amazing food at daytime and on the other place in the night after 8 pm till 6am. The restaurants are good located so you can reach them easy from the Metro station Hidalgo or Juarez. We loved the food! Especially the tacos with grilled chicken breast, avocado, grilled cheese and cream sauce. Just delicious! Check the pictures below to get some appetite 🙂
When you’re around in the old city center the best recommendation from our Couchsurfer is to go to the Casa de Toño. Here you can get cheap traditional local food which is yummy and costs around 50 MX$ (~2€) per person.
After the lunch you have to go to El Moro Churreria where you get the best sweat Churros combined with a hot Chocolate all over CDMX. They have open 24/7 so you can go there any time. We went there couple of times and miss this place. For 4 delicious Churros with two hot Chocolates you have to pay 112 MX$ (~5€). Don’t leave Mexico City without going there! 🙂
When you are interested in the cuisine of real Mexican food you should check out the experience with our lovely friend Lilly from Mexperiencias. On your individual tour you go on a local market with her, buy the freshest ingredients and fusion them later at here place to some authentic Mexican food. It´s a lot about having fun together, enjoy delicious food and safe a lot of money compared to other street food tours!
All in all Mexico City is just an amazing place with thousand of opportunities and we felt in love with it. Thanks for the time and sorry for the long text ;). For us its so far one of the best countries we ever visited. Adios México! Nos gustaría mucho!
P.S.: If you´re interested in some beautiful and fascinating pictures of Mexico check out our PhotoInspiration of Mexico.
Bucketlist for the next adventure
Bucketlist for the next adventure
Mexico is such a huge country that its impossible to see everything in the 4 weeks. Because of that we decided to make a bucket list for our next travel to Mexico over the places we would love to see. We hope to inspire you with this for other regions and also show you different options how you can explore the country.
For us there are two areas which we totally missed. It´s the north and the east. In the North of Mexico you find huge and amazing mountain Landscape (for example Barranca del Cobre) which are comparable to the Grand Canyon in the USA.
On the other hand you find in the east dream beaches or can explore a unique underwater world around Tulum, Cancún and the Isla Mujeres. For the second option we can recommend you to check out the german website of our friends Julius and Franzi from stadtlandboard who travelled there 2 years ago and had some crazy nice experiences! 🙂