Mexico · 14 Days · 64 Moments · November 2008

South Mexico - Explore Culture & Nature

17 November 2008

Ferry to Cozumel The ferry roundtrip ticket costs about 25$ for adults. You can have a look at the timetable at the provided link of Ultramar. Cozumel is the biggest Mexican island and has great diving grounds! (Picture by Serge Melki, Flickr)
Food stands Near the beach, you will find local food stands with really great food. You can choose, there are stands with fresh fruits splittet in nice portions or great tacos with different sausages!
Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen - the European chic city - is the smaller and more quiet alternative to Cancun. White beaches, great hotels, food and things to do. Playa (as it’s locally known) hasn’t as clear water as in Cancún and also the beach sands aren’t quite as champagne-powder-perfect as they are further north, but still it grows and grows. The reefs here are excellent, and offer diving and snorkeling close by. Look for rays, moray eels, sea turtles and a huge variety of corals. (Pictures by Mycatkins, davidgordillo, Flickr)
Deseo - Design hotel You can decide if you want to go for a more expensive beachfront hotel or for the chic and minimal designer hotel Deseo which is also just a few steps away from the sea. We enjoyed the open-air lounge on the hotel roof, the pool and Jacuzzi. There is a great atmosphere in the evening when a live DJs spinning house music! See and be seen!

16 November 2008

"The Well of Sacrifice" Archeologists found out, that Mayans sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to their rain good Chaac. They recovered artifacts of gold, jade, pottery as well as human remains. (Picture by davidpedler, Flickr)
Cenote Xtoloc de Chichen Itza Placed North and South of the town there are two Cenotes which were respectively devoted to sacrificial use and to fresh water supply. If you go there in the morning, there won't be buses of people! There are some facilities where you can change into swimwear. It is an amazing place to visit! (Picture by
Chichen Itza Chicén Itzá means "at the mouth of the well of the Itza" and was one of the largest Maya cities. The place was attractive for settlement because of the two big natural sink holes that could have provided plentiful water. Beside the big pyramid, the "Templo de los Guerreros" (Temple of the Warriors) really impressed me! Don't forget to bring some historical info with you or hire a guide! (Pictures by grandvelasrivieramaya, memoflores, ex_magician, innerspirit, cpence, Flickr)

15 November 2008

The Lodge at Chichen Itza Only 50m away from the historical sight the Lodge is part of the Mayaland Resort. The Lodge sits on 100 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in the heart of the park, and even has its own entrance to the Mayan temples.
Shared Shuttle Service from Merida to Chichen Itza There are different options for shared shuttle services and you can ask the hotel for the best one. Here is the one we took: You have to call or email the company to confirm the date/time info/hotel name for your transfer at least 48 hours prior. Present a printed copy of your electronic voucher on the day of departure and everything will be fine! The duration of the transfer is 1.5 hours and costs around 37$.

14 November 2008

La Playita We asked some locals for a great place for lunch and drinks and they told us to go to La Playita. A Sandy-floored beachfront restaurant with fresh seafood and ceviche that will stay in your mind! Main course costs around 6-11$.
Fresh Water Springs I can't remember where the springs have been, but they looked like out of a movie. Clear turquoise water surrounded by mangroves and wildlife. Go swimming here! The boat tour will make a break here. (Pictures by Adam & Tess, Flickr)
The Celestun Biosphere Reserve This 591-sq-km Biosphere Reserve is home to a huge variety of birds and other animals, including the famous large flamingo colony. We watched the flamingos via a boat tour and it is best to come early in the morning though there is also the day's feeding after 4pm where the birds tend to concentrate in one area! Celestun's ecosystem is unique because of the combination of fresh water from the estuary and salt water from Gulf of Mexico. It is just amazing. Book a boat at the entrance - it costs about 1500 pesos for 2 hours and this price is for up to 6 passengers so share your boat for a cheaper price. Better take a telephoto lens and encourage your guide not to drive to close and keep a healthy distance! (Pitures by soyignatius, gildardo, Sergio Kasusky, kieranmcglone, Flickr)
How to get there? It is possible to take the public bus from Merida which is a 2nd class bus ride. It is safe and the buses drive from Merida about every hour from 5am to 8pm. The buses leaves at Noreste Terminal and the drive takes 2 hours for 47 pesos. If you want to go there with a grayling tour it is possible for $69 at the provided link.
Celestún As I am a big fan of the beautiful pink flamingos, I absolutely wanted to visit Celestún in the west of Mérida. It is a sleepy and cute fishing village with its nice beaches and the little square in the center! But the real experience here is the so called " Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Celestún", the wildlife sanctuary with flamingos as the mien attraction! If we had more time, we would have stayed here even longer! (Picture by warriorself, Flickr)

13 November 2008

Saturday - Free Show Every Saturday there is a free show of folk dancing, marimba, comedy and romantic trove music for tourists and locals alike. We watched from the street first but then we gathered a place at the terrace of the Hotel Casa San Angel and had a drink. It was a great evening with great atmosphere. (Picture by lifeasart, Flickr)
A Mayan Dinner "La Chaya Maya" (Pictures by sdavilae, broockpeterson, Flickr)
A Hammock for every budget! El Aguacate nowadays is well known under tourists. They sell hammocks for every budget from 20$ till 175$. The last prize is for a finely woven hammock out of cotton or nylon and takes them about two month to weave! The store is in the red-light district, but it is safe to go by day! As I am hanging in my hammock at home, I always remember my trip to Mexico! Great present as well!

12 November 2008

Another option: Irish Pub This is also a hip stop in Mérida! The outdoor terrace on the Paseo de Montejo is amazing! Great food as well!
Fuego Bar - music and mojitos! The outdoor bar at the Piedra de Agua hotel is an insider tip for excellent Mojitos and lemon daiquiris decorated with basil leaves! When we were there on Friday evening, local groups played jazz and blues - it was fantastic! We had some pizza topped with huitlacoche!
Dulcería y Sorbetería Colón Don't forget to have a sorbet at Sorbetería Colón on the north side of the plaza! It is a nice place to relax some minutes! Costs around 2-3 USD. (Picture from
Catedral de Merida great architecture (Pictures by exfordy, brongaeh, Flickr)
Plaza Grande (Pictures by ruffin_ready, smikulen, Flickr)
Mérida Mérida (not to be confused with the other three being in Spain, Venezuela and The Philippines) is the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán and the largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula! It has almost a million people, but I’m talking about a small part of it, the part around its main square. 60% of all inhabitants are of the Maya ethnicity which is the highest percentage for all cities in Mexico. The Spanish spoken in the Yucatán is different and you will even recognize that as non-native. Explore this safe city with it's pastel mansions, flourishing restaurant scene and evening promenades! (Picture by spanianytt, Flickr)
Exquisite Rosas & Xocolate One night for two person costs around 300$. (Pictures by
Flight to Mérida A domestic flight from Villahermosa to Mérida costs around 177$. Check for cheap flights and book in advance! The flight time is 1h05min for a distance of about 560km, which would take about 7+ hours per car.
Drive to Villahermosa From Palenque to Villahermosa you can again take an ADO public bus for 12$.

11 November 2008

Palenque Pictures by Carlos Adampol, auldhippo, compaifecundo, James Gaither, waywuwei, Flickr)
Forest Hideout or Hotel? As the new city of Palenque isn't very appealing, many travelers take an accommodation between the city and the ruins. There are about twenty hotels from 2stars till 5stars boutique hotels. We decided to go for the funky forest hideout "El Panchán" at kilometer 4.5. Expect to meet many animals like monkeys and be prepared that you really sleep in the middle of the jungle! There are different types of accommodation and we took the confortable room with private bathroom. Be prepared - they only take cash no credit cards. We loved the El Muchos restaurant with its italian and mexican cuisine. (Pictures by elpanchan)

10 November 2008

Breakfast at Hotel Bo Hotel Bo is another great hotel in San Cristobal. You always wanted to try soap de gato (and no there is no cat in it)? This is the place to go! A fantastic mash of of tortillas, chorizo and black beans. Although this is a designer hotel with a great Mexican touch the prices are affordable.

9 November 2008

Ukulele, banjo and guitar! Revolution time at Cafe Bar Revolución! Every night life music for the youngish and international hip crowd! Tropical night, Danza Esperanza and other great events are waiting for you! Don't miss a night out there and try the sophisticated cheese plate on the menu! Check their Facebook - Website for news and acts. (Pictures from CafeBarRevolucion)
Mexican food at La Paloma They have really delicious traditional Mexican food! You will have to speak a little bit Spanish because their English is not pretty good, but the menu is in both languages! Great things to eat: Chile en nogada (stuffed peppers), moles, the corn fungus called "Huitlacoche" or chiles rellenos. A special thing is the squash blossoms, which make their appearance in soup and stuffed with cheese! Enjoy your meal!
Textiles like artworks There are hundreds of talented women in the highlands around San Cristóbal and they started cooperating throughout their villages in order to sell their artworks. The textiles of these women are the lifeblood of San Cristobal and the women still use back-strap looms, an old weaving technic. Some pieces are made within a week other take a year to create and the prices reflect this. You can buy pieces inside the Madre Tierra Restaurant, where you can find the shop "Balamil". (Picture by Frenchiearoundtheworld, Flickr)
Exquisite pieces at Sna Jolobil This is a shop of 800 consolidated weavers who sell more expensive textiles from different villages.
Eat Your Greens El Punto is perfect to have lunch for moderate prices. It is a real insider tip: off the beaten track and a goldmine or green vegetables. They serve brick-oven pizza, pasta and other italian dishes and the most iterating ones are the zodiac-namend salads! You can pay with credit card, they take Visa, American Express and Mastercard. (Pictures by Armand A., Becca A., foursquare)
Local Stands In front of the Church of San Sebastian there is a huge square and everywhere you will find local stands with beautiful handicrafts and textiles. Support the people and take something with you as a gift or just for personal memories! (Picture by katdeem, Flickr)
Horseback to Chamula Arrange this guided horseback ride into the countryside through your hotel. I can really recommend to do this because you can explore a very special route through hills and valleys and see the real life on the countryside. We had to ride for about 7 miles to reach the indigenous village of San Juan Chamula. Start early around 9am to have enough time later on to have lunch back in San Cristobal. (Pictures by tessamaki, Luis GonGod, germeister, elidoturco, Flickr)

8 November 2008

La Viña de Bacco At San Cristóbal’s first wine bar, you will feel the ultra alive atmosphere of a Mexican night. Right in the heart of the pedestrian area La Viña de Bacco offers a large selection of Mexican options, starting at a reasonable M$18 per glass. Every glass arrives with a free tapa of smoked fish or chorizo or other great delights which you can enjoy till midnight from Mo - Sat!
San Cristobal de Las Casas? The state of Chiapas is bordered by Guatemala to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Mayan population in this state is large: about 1 million strong. And San Cristóbal functioned as a cultural and commercial heart with it's colonial architecture, great handicrafts and textiles and dark-roasted coffee! Explore! (Picture by Gаme of light, Flickr)
Casa del Alma This hotel was a good choice. Nicely decorated with regional touches and right in the heart of the city it was ideal for us. They have moderate prices and great food. (Pictures from Casa del Alma)
Transfer to San Cristóbal It is approximately an one hour drive to San Cristóbal. There is a Shuttle that goes directly from the Airport to the City for around 178 pesos. It leaves at 9am, 1pm, 4pm and 8:30pm every day. You can check the time in advance on the ADO website which I have provided. Just insert Angel Albino Corzo Aerop to San Cristobal de las Casas.
Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutiérrez A domestic flight from Mexico City to Tuxtla costs around 80$ - 135$. Check for cheap flights and book in advance! The flight time is 1h25min for a distance of about 840km, which would take to much time per car or public transport.

7 November 2008

Pyramids of Teotihuacan Teotihuacan was a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city. We haven't been there, but if you want to go, it is a great chance to do so starting from Mexico City. We got the tip, that it's better to go with tourist buses because there were some muggings on public buses! (Pictures by artotem, auldhippo,, Deb Stgo, Flickr)
Fabuloso! Cacao with Mexican Style At Princesse Cacao you can taste Mexican chocolates. Some Historians say, that chocolate was invented or at least refined in "Tabasco" and "Chiapas", two south Mexican states! (Picture by Ya-Bing, Flickr)
Pit Stop with fresh oranges At the entrance of the largest park of Mexico City, the green lungs, you should make a quick bit stop to grab some freshly peeled, spice covered oranges for a few pesos!
Rent a bike It is free to rent a bike with helmets from one of the vendors set up in front of the Museum! The government lends them for free and here you can get them without queuing up (compared to the kiosks along Paseo de la Reforma). The Paseo de la Reforma is closed to cars on Sundays until early afternoon so bicyclists can enjoy the street recreated in part on the Champs-Èlysées. We drove along till we pass completely around the Angel of Independencia! (Picture by Robert Blackie, Flickr)
The National Museum of Anthropology This amazing museum contains the world's largest collection of ancient Mexican art. we could have spend a whole day there, but you have to take at least some hours to explore the rooms. You can take the metro to either Chapultepec or Auditorio station and follow the signs from there. The admission is 57 pesos and the opening hours are from 9am to 7pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays! (Pictures by Dainis Matisons, ewen and donable, H. Silenus, Artotem, Flickr)

6 November 2008

Surf & Turf at Distrito Capital This is a sleek restaurant located in the hotel "Distrito Capital". Enjoy a spectacular view from the skyscraper towards the volcanoes beyond the city! They have suf and turf so just decide if you go rather for sea bass marinated with guajillo peppers and garlic in a pineapple sauce or Steak with guacamole and prickly pears!
Floating Party In the days, when Mexico City was the Aztrc capital named Tenochtitlan, this network of of shallow canals connected artificial islands where farmers grew food for the city. Xochimilco is also named "the floating gardens" and is somehow used as party and hang out spot. You can hire your own wooden colorful boat called trajinera for a small fee to enjoy your own party with a hired mariachi band or just join some boats which sell things like tacos & beer.
Diego Riviera In the Palacio Nacional you can find Diego Riviera's impressing murals. Full of detail and color you will be impressed of Frida Kahlo's husband - believe me. It is really worth a visit. (Pictures by Aidan McRae Thomson, Flickr)
Hidden Gem - Museo Dolores Olmedo The Museo Dolores Olmedo is a less touristy gem of a private art collector. Here are some of Kahlo's famous canvases. Look for the self-portrait showing her spine as a broken stone column. (Pictures by petrus.agricola, Flickr)
A must visit: Museo Frida Kahlo Most visitors head to Frida Kahlos former home called the "Casa Azul" or "Blue House". The house of Frida, painter and wife of the muralist Diego Rivera, reflects her love of color and Mexican folklore. (Pictures by LWY, jagelado, Flickr)
Bazaar del Sabado This is a Saturday flea market where locals and tourists mix up to get great deals on handicrafts like jewelry, blankets or baskets.You can have a chat with the local artists and get lost in the colorful products. Very close there is the San Angel flower market with little stalls displaying amazing and funny flower arrangements. (Photgraphs by i_amici, chivacongelado Flickr)
Tacos at Beatricita Also foreigners maybe in for a surprise at Beatricita, known for tacos de guisado (which means cooked). In this taco version, tortillas are rolled around fillings that are slow-cooked stews. You can have a variety of sauces to chicken versions and there is an especial good filling flavored with pumpkin seeds.
Start with an art injection In a renovated lumberyard in San Miguel, you can find the Kurimanzutto Gallery featuring contemporary artists! The architecture is great!

5 November 2008

La Botica Do you know the blue cats called Mezcal? It was once called the poor man's tequila in Mexico and was historically sold in the US with a worm floating inside. Today the trend is still alive because it was embraced by trendsetters a few years ago - so visit La Botica! They serve up over 30 varieties!
El Péndulo - a café / bookstore This is a great cafe and bookstore which we found by accident. It is called El Péndulo (the Pendulum). It has a good, though typical, restaurant, a café section, and tons of books. We were told that on Saturdays and Sundays there is even live music.
Food in Polanco The posh district of Polanco is the main hub for Mexico Cities foodie scene. In the streets named after famous writers like Aristoteles, Oscar Wilde or Edgar Allan Poe, you can find different restaurants but I would suggest to go to an old favorite of the young and moneyed Mexicans: the Ivoire, a French-Mexican place. It has moderate prices between 15$ - 22$.
Parque Mexico This is a place where locals go with their dogs and mix up with hipsters and some tourists to have a walk or visit espresso bars. (Photographs by saturdave, Omar Omar, Flickr)
Mexico City The largest Spanish-speaking city in the world with a population of about 20 million people, Mexico City is always re-creating itself as a cultural leader. The time to visit this city has rarely been better than now: a rising contemporary art scene and great new hotels, nice little coffees and a much cleaner city!

4 November 2008

Airbnb - functional loft with green terrace This absolutely amazing apartment from Monica is located in the Roma district of the city. It is well equipped with everything you need (wifi, fully equipped kitchenette…) and easy access to the public transport system like subway lines or Metrobus. For details have a look at Monica's Airbnb Profile. The patio is the best, especially for breakfast or for a last drink in the night! And I forgott to say: the price is 69$ per night! (Pictures taken from Airbnb)
Taxi Tips Avoid taking a cab at the airport because of safety reasons! It is much better to organic a pickup from your hotel or if you hire a licensed taxi from inside the airport.
When to go? No time is a bad time to visit Mexico! There are two main seasons: Rain season and dry season. - The dry season from mid-October till April - The rain season from June till mid October You have to decide if you want to go for lush, green landscape and some rain or brown landscape and less rain! As July and August are the peak holiday month it is better not to go on these month because of higher room prices and tourist crowds at the beach destinations! The southern part of Mexico is fairly hot and humid from May to September. Check from June to October: it is Hurrican Season around Yucatan and the southern Pacific coast so always check weather forecasts (I prepared the link)! November has a lot of advantages: weather is milder, rainy season is over but it isn't brown already, hurricane season is drawing to a close and high season hasn't begun yet! And there are even some festivals!
Safety Tips - Don't take too much cash with you - Withdraw money at cashpoints only during the day and better inside buildings like hotels or banks - Make a photocopy of your documents - Don't wear jewels and other expensive things - Never stop with a car/taxi on open streets - Only travel during the day - Only take taxis from official taxi stands (Sitios) - If you are the victim of a robbery do offer no resistance! - Do not consume alcohol on the streets - it is forbidden!
Medical Information The CDC is a great resource when checking health information. Have a look at the provided website for further info. routine vaccines: - measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine - diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine - varicella (chickenpox) vaccine - polio vaccine most travelers need: - Hepatitis A - Typhoid some travelers need: - Hepatitis B - Malaria - Rabies