If you travel to Mexico you will discover flavors, nice places, and kind people. We will give you tips and itinerary ideas to travel to Mexico on your own
It is difficult for me to speak of this destination, as a destination to visit, since it is my country. Where I was born and raised. For me it was normal, what was not different. But little by little, I learned to see Mexico through the eyes of a traveler. In this post from Charcotrip blog de viajes we bring you the detail of activities, itineraries and tips necessary to travel to Mexico on your own.
- Do I need a visa to go to Mexico?
- Time difference
- Hotels in Mexico
- Which suitcase should I carry?
- Itineraries in Mexico
- Important events
Do I need a visa to go to Mexico?
Which countries need a visa? Can Europeans travel to Mexico without a visa?
Currently, there are 132 countries that need a visa to travel through Mexico. The complete list is on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you can check it here.
Even if your country is on the list of nations that need a visa, pay attention to the exceptions since residents, or if you have a visa, from other countries, such as the United States or Canada, you no longer need to go through the process visa for Mexico.
Citizens of the European Union generally do not require a visa.
To those who can enter Mexico without a visa: you must take into account that the validity of the entry is 180 days.
Arriving by air
If you arrive in Mexico by plane, then the cost of the immigration form will be included in the cost of your plane ticket. So you will not have to spend more money, when you go through migration you show the form they gave you on the plane and that’s it.
Arriving by land
In this case, things get a little more complicated. Because generally, when entering by land, at least my experience is from the United States, it will seem like there is nothing more to do after passing.
But no, foreigners have to go to the immigration office that is on the border and apply for the immigration form, which is filled there, but for payment, it is more complicated. Whether there is a bank branch nearby, you pay and go.
But if there is not, then the agent will give you a paper that must be taken to the bank in the following days, and you must have the payment receipt along with the form. However, don’t cheat, you have to pay.
In any case, whether by air or land, do not lose the piece of paper, always leave it with your passport. This document must be returned when you leave Mexico.
Con Francia/España la diferencia horaria son 9:00 horas. Excepto durante el periodo de cambio de horario de verano o invierno, un pequeño periodo en el que la diferencia es de 8 horas ¡cuidado con los Jet Lag!.With France / Spain the time difference is between 7 and 9 hours depending on where you are. Except during the summer or winter time change period, a small period in which the difference is 8 hours, beware of Jet Lag! You can check the time zones of Mexico here.
As always: the tips here either you travel to Mexico or to any country, are to try to adjust as soon as possible to the time of the country of arrival. One of the methods I used are to search for flights that arrive during the night so I can go right away to sleep and that helps to adjust.
The official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN)
To give you an idea here are some exchange rates:
1 US dollar = 20.21 MXN
1 euro = 20.63 MXN
(For reference, the dates of these exchange rates are in August 2022)
In several tourist places prices are handled directly in dollars, but always try to ask for prices in pesos, it will probably be cheaper.
To get to Mexico: from many countries, the most convenient thing is to travel by plane. Almost always the gateway will be the Mexico City airport, here we explain how to move between its terminals, although there are other cities that receive international flights as well. The country’s main airline is Aeroméxico.
Start by searching for a flight in the Skyscanner comparator
Arriving by land? It is possible, in my own experience I can only speak of the northern border, since I have not crossed the southern one. In fact, if you take a flight to reach a city near the border, such as Los Angeles or San Diego, crossing by land is possible. Of course, investigate before crossing with a rental car in the United States, since it may not be convenient.
Moving from one city to another
Distances can be enormous. This must always be taken into account when deciding on the means of transport. But basically the options to travel between one city and another in Mexico are: plane, bus or car. The train is not an option, since the existing rail network is dedicated only to cargo transportation, unfortunately. (except the touristic Chepe that travels from Sinaloa to Chihuahua).
In the cities
The options are:
- Subway: not in every city, but if it is present it is a good option.
- Urban bus: be careful that, generally, there are no fixed stops. In other words, the bus follows a defined route, but can stop at any corner. It is not like in other countries where stops are defined. This must be kept in mind.
- Combis (vans): they have a defined route like buses, but they can carry fewer people.
- Taxi or UBER: Taxis can be those of companies that you call and go to find you, but there are other types of taxis that have a defined route and fill up, which means it is not exclusive for a passenger. UBER works the same as in other countries, through the application (here you have a discount for your first trip).
Note: in some cities the taxi will be very picturesque, for example in Taxco we still had to see Beetle taxis.
Hotels in Mexico
During our trips in Mexico we have stayed in several hotels, here are a few:
- Mexico City: Hotel Habana, Hotel Castropol
- Taxco: Hotel Mi Casita
- Oaxaca: Hotel Las Mariposas
- Puebla: Hotel Virrey de Mendoza
- Mérida: Hotel La Misión de Fray Diego
- Playa del Carmen: Iberostar paraíso beach
Which suitcase should I carry?
It is a difficult question, to begin with it depends on the season, in addition to the places to be visited. For example, if you visit during the summer in the North you have to go prepared with light clothes, since it is dry heat, the sun hits hard. But for example, at the same time, but in Mexico City the summer climate is rather mild and with many rains. If you visit the South, the heat will be humid.
That said, it should be noted that there are laundries available in many cities. So you can wash clothes without problem.
Itineraries in Mexico
Every time I return to Mexico, we try to visit a new region and discover more places in this big country. But it’s really big, so we couldn’t see everything. And what we have seen has not been in just one time. There have been several short trips. So here I leave you with the itineraries we have done in Mexico.
Depending on the time you have available to travel to Mexico, one of the golden tips that must not be forgotten is: define beforehand in which area of the country you want to concentrate. There are so many things to see that it can be overwhelming.
My first solo trip to Mexico
Discovering Mexico with Vicente
This was the first time that Vicente toured Mexico, this time I returned to the places I had visited the previous time when I traveled alone. The places we visited were: Guadalajara, Querétaro, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, México City (Chapultepec castle, Teotihuacán, Coyoacan, Diego Rivera’s murals in the SEP). Don’t miss the FREE Tour of Guadalajara.
The Maya Riviera
Puebla and Oaxaca
- Day 1 – touring Puebla
- Day 2 – breakfast, visit Cholula (castel, our Lady of los Remedios and zócalo)
- Day 3 – touring the center of Oaxaca, The Chapulines (grasshoppers) in the market Benito Juárez de Oaxaca
- Day 4 – Visit of the Archaeological Zone de Monte Albán, the Santo Domingo de Guzmán Convent and the Casa Juárez in Oaxaca
- Day 5 – Tree of Tule, Hierve el Agua, Meanders of Mitla and visit to the archaeological site en Oaxaca
A trip through central Mexico
- Day 1 – Arrival in Cuernavaca and walk through the city
- Day 2 – Xochicalco and more of Cuernavaca (Museo Cuauhnáhuac)
- Day 3 – Taxco
- Day 4 – journey from Taxco to Mexico City (and how to deal with a sick stomach)
- Day 5 – Xochimilco
- Day 6 – Tula and the Atlantes
- Day 1 – Touring Merida, show of La Vaquería
- Day 2 – Going from Merida to Chichen Itza, visit of Chichen Itza,
- Day 3 – Great museum of the Mayan world of Merida, guided tour of the center of Merida
- Day 4 – visit of Uxmal and Kabah
- Day 5 – Homún cenotes (Santa Bárbara)
Don’t miss this Merida Guided Tour
Touring the CDMX
This time we returned to Mexico City, when it changed its name, it was no longer the Federal District.
- Day 1 – visiting Los Pinos and the Latin American Tower
- Day 2 – Guadalupe Basilica, Yamasan Ramen House
- Day 3 – visit to the National Palace, Tacuba café, craft market
- Day 4 – Palace of Fine Arts, the house of the turkey
Don’t miss the FREE tour: Tour of Mexico City
Other places to visit
- Ensenada and La Bufadora, in Baja California
- Magdalena de Kino, Sonora
- Mexicali, Baja California
If you travel on some of these dates, you will have the opportunity to witness some of our most important festivities:
- September 15-16: Independence is celebrated. On the night of September 15 the celebration takes place and on the 16th there is no work, keep this in mind since many businesses and places will be closed.
- November 2: Day of the Death. Before the date, colorful altars are already being seen in various parts. A special celebration, we explain what an altar of the dead is made up of in this article.
Other important tips to know before you travel to Mexico:
- Food: in Mexico, we love it spicy. Having said that, don’t be afraid if you do not feel very confident with the spicy food, you can always ask that they do not put any, or that they put just a little. We know that not everyone eats it with the same joy as us. On the subject of food, if you are a vegetarian or a Muslim, keep in mind that flour tortillas have pork grease. This is better to know because it is not something obvious, but now you know it 😉
- Sellers: do not feel ashamed of saying NO, there are times when they can be very insistent. If you are really not interested in the item they sell, then it is better not to start a conversation so as not to waste their time (or yours)
- Cash or card: although card payment is being used more and more, do not run out of cash. Because you can still find yourself in the situation where cards are not accepted. But don’t carry too much cash either, to walk quietly on the street.
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