I recently travelled through every state in Mexico, and it took me 5 months to see the country in great detail.
I thought I would share some tips & my POV about how Mexico is looking, if you’re interested in coming here. Remember, this is just my opinion from what I learned in this trip.
Mexico has every single weather known to man, jungles, deserts, mountains like the alps, cloud forests, pristine beaches, you name it. Except for tundra, everything else is in.
there’s currently a drought in the central part of the country.
stay downtown and don’t look fancy
The narco wars do not happen in tourist places. If you stay downtown, travel light, and don’t look fancy you’ll be fine. I was in over 100+ towns and some named the “danger capitals” of the world. I did not get robbed, no insecurity, took tons of footage with my GoPro & iPhone and I was fine. The cops are doing a fine job keeping security high on the downtown. But still. Don’t go around wearing jewelry or a Gucci suit.
Fake news and rumors about narco wars are all over the place. Don’t get me wrong, cartels are fighting themselves and the police, but they never go against the civilians or tourists. There are cities where narcos protect tourists from harm (as some consume the drugs they sell).
the road & car
I traveled by car in a Mitsubishi mirage 2018, which is an ok ride, and no issues to report. except for the road from Puebla to Cuetzalan, it’s a terrible road. Get an off-road car if you can.
Maximum speed is 110 KM/hr in every toll road, but depends. don’t go too fast, 120 KM/hr should be tolerated, but don’t speed-up, I got a ticket for speeding at 141 km/hr and it was around 300 USD, but they charge 150 USD if you acknowledge your fault and promptly pay. Don’t argue with the cops, they have hand-held speed radars and it’s the first thing they show you. Don’t try to payoff the cops if you are “gringo” or of a whiter skin, they may charge you ridiculous prices for letting you off the hook. Although i did not find corrupt cops, you can never be too careful.
This is important – Mexico has ejidos, which are pieces of land owned by communities. They can govern themselves and put a toll on highways. If civilians stop you and ask you to pay to go across, just pay up. It’s their right to ask for tolls and there’s nothing we can do. In some states, like Chiapas, they become aggressive if you don’t pay for traveling through their lands. It’s safer to pay the toll.
Archeological sites and national parks are mostly closed in the entire country,. only the most visited are open. Check the “instituto nacional de arqueologia” website https://www.inah.gob.mx/ or ask in forums if a specific archeological site or national park is open. Do your research, don’t end up wasting hours arriving just to be turned back, like I was (many times).
If you are telecommuting, driving and must leave the hotel, get a current inverter from AutoZone. I got a 250 watts inverter and telecommuted from the back of my car when I needed to leave the hotel.
Also, check the 4G coverage in nperf.com for the cities/roads you’re driving through. Most major highways have 4G, yet there are towns & cities with terrible internet speed.
try to stay in closed parking lots to avoid being seen with your laptop if you do that, or you can just go to a nearby Starbucks in major cities, whatever works for you.
Cash is King
Most small business take cash only, try to keep around 2000 pesos for emergency in case you need it. There are tons of ATMs, and the cheapests ATM fees are in Banbajio > Santander > Banrejio, in that order.
This is important – always decline conversion when getting money from ATMs, or you’ll be charged a markup. stay away from BBVA & HSBC, they do they conversion with 6% markup and you cannot refuse. there’s a santander ATM in every “palacio municipal” in the country, which is incredibly affordable.
Meals are inexpensive
You can get a good breakfast for two for around 5 USD, and there are tons of dishes to choose from.
the cost of living is really low, and prices are unbeatable if you come from a wealthier country.
I couldn’t give you a recommendation on what to eat because every city has different typical dishes.
Always check the room before you buy it. There are hotels with bad hygienic standards, and out of 100 I found 3 of them with roaches. Check the restroom and see if it’s dandy before you buy it. red flags of roach infestation include post signs about “food not allowed” in the room,. if you see post signs about “food not allowed” in the room, don’t take the room. If they don’t let you check it before you buy it, and come-up with a covid excuse, just get out of there.
The Wi-Fi sucks in most hotels, so try it out before you get the room. i got a lot of BS hotels telling me they had good Wi-Fi, and it sucked. Negotiate, ask to try out the internet, they will let you try it every time.
Always check for the time to leave, in some hotels it’s 11 am, in most is noon, and rarely after 1 pm. If it’s a popular chain like fiesta inn or more expensive hotels, you can ask them to store your luggage after you leave.
Prices vary from a low 15 USD/Night to 50/USD night per room. In some hotels they charge for the room, and in a few they charge per person. if you are travelling on a budget ask for “habitacion sencilla”, some hotels will try to sell you a king or queen room if you don’t check.
Mexicans are truly amazing persons, warm, friendly, well-mannered folks. they are always willing to help or lend out a hand whenever you need it. It is incredibly rare to find unfriendly people. Try to do some small talk if you know Spanish, you’ll find so many unbelievably friendly folks that you’ll have splendid memories of.
In my trip I found a deep love of Mexico and realized there are places that compete or outshine many european towns (for a tenth of the price!). it’s an enormous country, and there are soo many things to see,134 pueblos magicos, beaches, national parks, and so on that I could write for hours.
Before travelling I was afraid of the roads and insecurity and the usual, but after my trip I can’t wait to go back to the places I was in, or explore a state in more detail.
Let me know if you have questions about pueblos Magicos, I visited every single one (except for