I'm looking for general info on travelling in Mexico and maybe its southern neighbors - daily budget, best ways to get around, what the accomodation is like etc.
If I am flying into Cancun, how easy will it be to travel around? Any major safety issues? I'm not a resort person, so I would be getting away from Cancun as soon as possible. How is it further inland in terms of avoiding the spring break crowd? Is it easy to find budget accomodation? How much can I realistically see in 14 days?
Reason I am asking is that there are sometimes (usually in spring) very cheap charter flights from Europe to Cancun. Less than 300 EUR return. Last time a fare like this came under fingers I could not go because I would have needed to leave the next day. I was standing in the travel office and did not have the guts to say "yes", pay and run home packing. I was too much chicken to do it without at least some online research, so I now want to be prepared the next time it happens.
[ Edit: Edited on Aug 14, 2007, at 5:01 AM by t_maia ]
Here's the bit--you can rent a car, but they are expensive and you will need to get Mexican insurance. For this reason, a bus is much cheaper--but very uncomfortable for the most part.
As far as getting away to someplace cheaper--anyplace inland is cheaper--anyplace along the coast is still relatively pricey--although rates can be found that are cheaper than in the major hotels in Cancun. If you go stay on Isla Mujeres (just north of town), prices will be about 1/3 to 1/2 cheaper. To really get the cheaper deals, go to a major city like Merida out west of Cancun--or else be willing to stay in a place off the beach in Playa del Carmen or in the cheaper parts of Cancun.
I understand that crime is almost non-existent out in Merida, but can be somewhat bad in the downtown parts of Cancun (but not so much in the tourist parts). A bus to/from Merida will probably take you 8 to 10 hours each way, but then everything will be easy-going from that point on. (Oh, and make sure you only drink bottled water--or the Mexican beers, which are excellent)
Oh, and don't forget to visit Chichen Itza on your way either to or from Merida (it's ranked one of the top 10 "New Wonders of the World"--and the only one in North America)
Get out of Cancun AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Travelling around by bus is cheap and easy.Safety issues well i was in Mexico for 6 weeks and never ever had a problem at all.Just be sensible like in any country and you should be fine.
I stayed in youth hostels all around Mexico and they were all fine except one which had bedbugs but thats all part of travelling.
6 weeks for me was perfect and my route was:
Mexico City,Teotihuacan,San Miguel de Allende,Guanajuato,Taxco,Puebla,Oaxaca,Puerto Escondido,San Cristobal de las Casas,Palenque,Agua Azul,Campeche,Merida,Valladolid,Chichen Itza,Playa Del Carmen,Cancun.
I remember walking around a local market in Merida and it was amazing.Not one tourist in site and me with a freshly shaven head walking around in the blazing sunshine getting so many looks from the locals.Not in a bad way though.Its just you dont get many baldheaded gringos walking around there haha.It was great.
thanks so far and sorry for not getting back sooner. But I need to ask some more specific questions:
1) Average daily budget for travelling in Mexico. What is the minimum if you are really scrimping? Is it possible or recommended to camp to save money, or is staying in hostel/hotels more sensible? What is the average cost for a hotel or hostel off the beaten track in southern Mexico? Cost for self-catering?
2) Which guidebook do you recommend? I like the Lonely Planet series, are there any other options? And if LP, which book? I saw "Mexico", "Yucatan" and "Guatemala, Belize & the Yucatan". I'm tempted to get the latter and do a tour of the three countries - is this possible in two or three weeks or would I be biting off more than I can chew?
3) Is it difficult to get by without speaking any Spanish?
Here's some good info on your budget for Mexico: How Cheap is Mexico Really?. Camping is possible, I'd suggest getting a guide book to find out places to camp.
I really think trying to do 3 countries in 2 weeks is a lot, especially if you have to get back to Cancun to fly out. Unless there is something specific you want to see in Guatamela or Belize, you'd probably find everything you are looking for in Mexico - beaches, Mayan sites, jungle, diving or snorkelling, etc.
If you do travel to another country, they speak English in Belize, which makes the whole not speaking Spanish thing a little easier.