Planning a 2 week trip to Mexico; recommendations?
May 11, 2019 1:45 PM   Subscribe

My partner and I are currently planning a two week trip to Mexico at the end of October and are looking for recommendations.

Currently we've got as far as 3/4 days in Mexico City, head down to the south east to visit some historical sites (Calakmul or Palenque maybe? Chichén Itzá looks like it's super busy), and then to some small town on the Pacific coast for four days. Possibly Sayulita on the central coast, or some as yet undecided small relaxed town in Oaxaca.

Any suggestions for places to visit, see, stay or other tips gratefully received.
posted by Faff to Travel & Transportation around Mexico (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I highly recommend travelling through Copper Canyon via train. Breathtaking vistas, great vibes; amazing in nature and people. We took 10 days doing that last August but you could spend less time.

In Yucatán, consider spending a few days around Mérida and renting a car to take day trips to a bunch of temples. We visited Uxmal, Mayapán and smaller, less crowded (sometimes empty) temples. It was nice being able to go at our own pace and stop anywhere we wanted.

For Chichén Itzá, we stayed at the Mayaland hotel for a couple of nights because it has a private entrance so this meant we go in early, dodge the queues and get in before the crowds came. The hotel was surprisingly less expensive than I thought it'd be.

Hope this helps and that you have a great holiday!
posted by mkdirusername at 4:45 PM on May 11, 2019

You could spend the entire two weeks in Mexico City, but here are a few things to do there:

The Red Tree House is a wonderful place to stay in La Condesa. The owners are warm and welcoming and very helpful with recommendations. Regardless of whether you stay there, you'll want to do a lot of wandering around La Condesa and Roma - eating, shopping, looking at street art, and watching the dog obedience classes in Parque España.

-Go to the Secretariat of Public Education to see Diego Rivera's first big mural project - dozens of fantastic works focusing on laborers and the Mexican Revolution. Hardly anyone else was there when we went, and a nice maintenance guy beckoned us into a locked stairwell to see some inaccessible murals.

-Visit Salón Tenampa in the evening for some beers and great mariachi music. There will be several bands roving the premises and taking requests, creating a wonderful cacophony.

-It may or may not be obvious, but the Museo Nacional de Antropología is not to be missed. I also really liked the Templo Mayor.

-Take a taxi or rideshare out to Xochimilco and hire a trajinera boat (about 500 pesos per hour if I recall) for a leisurely cruise through the canals and chinampas. The boats are large enough for like 20 people, but you can get one for just the two of you. When the michelada guy comes by on his boat, be sure to flag him down (or ask your captain to). The micheladas he makes will be enormous and refreshing, with sweet chamoy sauce running down the sides.

-Go to Ciudadela or one of the many other artisan markets around the city.

-If you happen to check out Mercado Medellín, definitely go outside to eat some tlacoyos made by the women on the SW corner of that block (Campeche and Medellín).

Nearby Mexico City the Teotihuacan complex, to the north, is very impressive and Tepoztlán, to the south, is a lovely small town surrounded by green-covered cliffs and full of great food. Both are easily reached by bus. If you're trying to see more regions of the country, however, you can probably skip these.
posted by theory at 5:46 PM on May 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

Cut your list of destinations in half. And then in half again.

posted by turkeyphant at 3:09 AM on May 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

My husband is from Mexico City so I am so lucky to get the inside scoop of best places to go. I'd do:

3 days in Mexico City
3 Days in Valle de Bravo (stay here...omg amazing house, pictures do not capture amazingness). It's a mountain town maybe an hour and a half drive out of Mexico City. My husband jokes it's the Mexican Switzerland.
1 week at Mazunte (super remote surf town in Oaxcata) stay at Oceano Mar.
posted by KMoney at 6:41 AM on May 12, 2019

Mexico City is great, but theory's answer has you covered above.

In terms of ruins, how are you planning on getting around? We visited Calakmul and it was really cool, but it was really out in the middle of nowhere (we rented a car and drove from Cancun-- it was around 8 hrs both ways if I remember correctly, and not a particularly interesting drive-- lots of highway through the jungle). I haven't been to Palenque, but it's even deeper in the jungle, although I think you can go there en route by bus from Mexico City to Merida, so that's an option. If you just want to visit an impressive ruin that isn't as crowded as Chichen Itza, my advice would be Uxmal, Ek Balam or Coba.

In the Yucatan if you have a car I really enjoyed the Ruta Puuc, which is a driving path that takes you past several small ruins and other interesting sites. I also loved just looking for cenotes on the map and going to as many different ones as we could find. Merida is a nice city, but if I had to choose I'd add more days to Mexico City rather than spend a lot of time there.

I agree that you are planning a lot for two weeks. The beaches in and around Tulum are very built up but they are beautiful -- if you're already planning on being in that area I would advise to go there rather than trying to get up to Oaxaca. There's also the Sian Ka'an biosphere next to Tulum for empty beaches and mangrove swamps.

Or, skip Yucatan and go to Oaxaca. Mayyybe squeezing in Palenque, but it would be a lot of additional travel time.
posted by geegollygosh at 6:51 AM on May 12, 2019

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