10 Expert Travel Tips for Mexico You Should Know Before Visiting
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Laura Bronner
Laura was born and raised in New York. She graduated from college in 2010, and during her gap year, she decided to pursue travel as a full-time profession. Laura has visited thirty countries till now.
2nd Dec | 9 min read

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    At GAFFL, we love the opportunity to share expert travel tips with our readers. GAFFL is a global community where travelers can connect with each other, plan trips, and adventure together. In this post, Laura Bronner, who is the creator of Eternal Expats, shares her best tips for traveling around Mexico.

    Laura was born and raised in New YorkShe graduated from college in 2010, and during her gap year, she decided to pursue travel as a full-time profession. Laura has visited thirty countries till now. She loves learning about culture, food, and people from the countries she visits, and as she puts it, "The world is a big place and I find that walking, laughing, and eating my way around it makes me happiest."

    You can learn more about Laura and her adventures on her blog Eternal Expat, over on  Laura Bronner (YouTube), or by following along her daily adventures on eternalexpat (Instagram).

    Mexico City

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    Why Should You Visit Mexico?

    I actually started out traveling in Mexico because I moved to Mexico City in 2016. My boyfriend got a job there and we decided to make the move. I spent much of the next five years traveling to as much of the country as I could and documenting it all on my blog. Mexico is a stunning country that is mostly famous for its beaches, but it is also home to incredible history, outrageously delicious food, and towns and cities that should not be skipped on a backpacking trip around Mexico.

    Eternal Expat Mexico Travel Tips

    Tip 1: How Much Time Do You Need To Travel Throughout Mexico?

    I spent five years traveling around Mexico and there are still lots of places I haven’t seen. It is an enormous country and if you want to explore even part of it, a month would be a great amount of time to dedicate to traveling the country.

    If you only have two weeks, you’ll have to choose just a few parts of the country. Most people start in Cancun because of the large international airport. Once you fly into Cancun you can spend a week visiting places like Tulum, Bacalar, Merida, and Chichen Itza.

    From here you can fly into Mexico City, which deserves at least 2-3 days of exploring. This is home to some of the country’s best restaurants as well as the Aztec history that you won’t want to miss.

    With a few days left, you can head to Puebla and Cholula or you can hop on a quick flight to the west coast and land at Puerto Escondido Airport. Puerto Escondido has become something of a backpacker hub in the last few years and if you love to surf or you want to learn, this is the place to come. Enjoy beers on the beach, great hostels, and plenty of cheap but delicious food.

    Bacalar

    Tip 2: The Best Places To Visit In Mexico

    Mexico City is one of my favorite cities in the planet. You may argue that I'm biased because I lived there for five years, but there is so much to see and do in this massive metropolis. Explore Aztec history at the Centro Historico, visit Diego and Frida's paintings and lives in Coyoacan, and eat delicious tacos at any time of day or night pretty much wherever in the city.

    There are museums dedicated to art, history, and even tequila. The city has the most museums in the world, second only to Paris.

    If I had to choose a second favorite place in Mexico it would probably be Baja California Sur. I spent a lot of time traveling this state in 2021 and I fell in love with its unpaved roads, small towns, incredible beaches, and amazing seafood. If you love the outdoors and want to find a place where you can hike, mountain bike, swim, and surf, then this is the place for you. My personal picks would be Cabo Pulmo, San Jose del Cabo, and La Paz

    Mexico City

    Tip 3: How To Plan A Budget For Traveling In Mexico

    In Mexico, you can travel as cheaply or as luxuriously as you like. If you just use public transit, eat street food or buy food to prepare for yourself, and stay at hostels or local family-run posadas, you can easily get by in Mexico on approximately $30 USD per day. If you increase your daily budget to $50, you can stay in a very lovely Airbnb or VRBO and dine at somewhat finer restaurants that will most likely be friendlier to your stomach.

    Budget Hotel or Airbnb: $25-30 per night (cheaper if sharing with friends!)

    Meals: plate at a local market for $2-4 USD, tacos 50¢-$1 each (you will need 3-5 to be full depending on the size

    Drinks: beer at the supermarket 75¢, beer at a bar $2-5 depending on the bar and type of beer

    Surf lessons: $20-50 per lesson depending on where in Mexico you are

    Entry to Archaeological sites: $5-30 USD depending on the state (different states charge different taxes).

    Tip 4: It's Possible To Live On A Monthly Income Of $1000 Per Month In Mexico

    Again, this depends on where you choose to live, whether you are happy to share accommodation, what sacrifices you are willing to make, etc.

    You can find an apartment in a city like Oaxaca for $100-300 USD per month, which would mean you have quite a lot left over to enjoy your life in Mexico.

    However, if you want to live in Tulum, San Miguel de Allende, or an upscale neighborhood in Mexico City, you may struggle to live on only $1,000 per month. It’s possible, but you will have to make more sacrifices than in cheaper places in Mexico.

    Oaxaca

    Tip 5: How To Pack For A Long-Term Trip In Mexico 

    Mexico has many different climates. You should consider your itinerary when packing for a trip to Mexico. If you plan to stay only around the Caribbean, you can pack summer clothes for the entire trip. It will almost always be hot and humid there, regardless of the time of year.

    If you plan to come to the mountainous region of Mexico and visit places like Mexico City, Guadalajara, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, or Queretaro, you will want to make sure you pack layers. It can be pretty hot during the day, especially between March and July, but the temperatures can really take a dip in the evenings once the sun goes down. Most of these cities are at quite a high altitude, so you will want to pack accordingly.

    The mountainous region of Mexico also experiences a wet season between June and early October which means that it rains almost every single day here. Pack waterproof shoes, a good rain jacket, and an umbrella if you plan to visit during that time of year.

    Hiking Iztaccihuatl

    Tip 6: Best Season To Travel To Mexico

    November is my favorite month everywhere in Mexico. The weather is really lovely and warm at the beaches, it’s still nice and hot in the mountainous region. The wet season is over, the skies are blue, and the climate is consistent. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold.

    It’s also a little bit too early for the snowbirds as it’s just before the high season begins in the beach towns around Mexico, so it’s more affordable, you have more accommodation options available, and you can book at the last minute without worrying too much about tours or hotels to be fully booked out.

    Pena de Bernal

    Tip 7: Travel Safety Tips For Mexico

    If you follow the same safety precautions that you take whenever you are somewhere you have never been before, you will be just fine in Mexico. If you are a woman traveling solo, try to stick to busy places, and don’t walk alone at night, especially in big cities like Mexico City. Uber exists in most places in Mexico, so you can always hop in one of those if you aren’t sure how far you are or if you don’t have anyone to walk back to the hostel with. 

    Tip 8: Visa Requirements For Entering Mexico

    There are 66 countries that do not require any visa to enter Mexico. These include the UK, the US, Canada, and all EU countries. You can see the full list of countries on the Mexico government website here. If you are from a country that is not on this list, but you have a valid US visa you can also enter freely. Those that enter on the visa waiver receive 180 days.

    Tip 9: How To Get Around Mexico

    Mexico has a fantastic bus network that is one of the most affordable and reliable ways to get around the country. Depending on what part of the country you are traveling in, you can find the following companies: ADO, OCC, Primera Plus, ETN, and Aguila.

    It’s also always a good idea to check flight prices if you are coming into or going out of Mexico City. The city is a hub for the country and flying into and out of it is incredibly affordable with budget airlines like VivaAerobus or Volaris.

    Tip 10: The Best Mexican Cuisine

    Mexican tacos are of course something most people are familiar with, but the fillings might be new to you. Some that you should try are tacos de pastor, suadero, mixiote, lechon, and cochinita pibil.

    But it’s not just about tacos in Mexico (although if you only ate tacos during your trip I wouldn’t blame you). There are also soups like pozole, slow-cooked meats in consome like birria, and breakfast favorites like chilaquiles or molletes. 

    San Cristobal de las casas

    Some Of My Favorite Experiences In Mexico

    Some of my favorite moments in Mexico have simply been discovering amazing local restaurants and getting to try new food with kind people. Tacos Memo in San Jose del Cabo comes to mind as does the endless list of Ceviches at Mariscos Paseo Del Centenario in Cabo San Lucas. There are the cooking classes I’ve taken around the country where I’ve learned how to make my own tortillas or my own pastor sauce.

    One amazing experience that I’ve had that I will never forget was taking a sunrise hot air balloon ride of the pyramids at Teotihuacan. Located about an hour north of Mexico City, this is one of my favorite places in the country and to be able to float above it with a glass of champagne was truly unforgettable.

    Teotihuacan

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