mexico-expert - help please.
i will soon be in mexico and have to decide now whether i should volunteer (environmental) in a city/town called ZIHUATANEJO or in MARQUELIA..? i dont know anything about those two cities, hence i need help. where should i go? they are both almost equally close to mexico city, but does anyone know how far it is by bus? hours? and to the guatemalan border ? and is it expensive to travel by bus in mexico? has anyone tried volunteering at a turtle project on the pacific side of mexico? ohh, i really hope someone will reply soon as i have to apply asap.. (and now that i have started this thread..i should also ask about any negative experiences at the mexican guatemalan border..(from mex to guatemala)..do i need to prove onward travel? return ticket? it will be by bus..and i hope i wount be sent back..i will not be having any tickets or anything, but plan is to go south..)..thanks in advance guys..
Well, I'm no Mexican expert--but I'll try to help out with your query.
Both of these cities are in the state of Guerrero along the coast. The capital of Guerrero is Acapulco--also on the coastline--and is one of the top five major beach resorts in Mexico. Zihuantanejo is on the coast about 150 kilometers by car north of Acapulco and Marquelia is about 70 kilometers south of Acapulco, also along the coast. The Ixtapa/Zihuantanejo area is a major resort area in Mexico and Zihuantanejo itself is a fairly large city, while Marquelia is actually quite small--so I guess where you volunteer depends on what you are interested in. Marquelia is thus about 230 kilometers closer to Guatemala than Zihuantanejo is.
The state of Chiapas (at the south end of Mexico) and where you will need to pass through, had some major trouble about two years ago when the state was fighting separatist armies that wanted to make this area a separate country. Nowadays the major problems are in the north of the country, and the southern area of the country is pretty quiet (except out in the Yucatan, which is nowhere close to either of the cities you mentioned.)
You can fly directly into Zihuantanejo by booking a ticket to the Ixtapa/Zihuantanejo airport. In fact, the airport is actually much closer to Zihuantanejo than to Ixtapa (Ixtapa is right on the beach while Zihuantanejo is very slightly inland). Marquelia is much harder to get to, since you will need to fly to Acapulco, and then take a bus south the 70 kilometers to get there. When you take this road, you will pass two large lakes located right near the Pacific Ocean--so I don't know if that is where the turtle refuges are, but I'm guessing that's where they are.
Note: Even from Marquelia, it is still about 500 kilometers at least (and probably a bit farther--maybe 600 kilometers?) to get to Guatemala, and then another 50 kilometers to Guatemala City). You will be in a beautiful part of Mexico, though--that some people believe is one of the nicest part of the whole country. (The town of Puerto Escondido just a few kilometers south of Marquelia is said to be the most beautiful resort city in the country.)
Hope this helps--enjoy
Edit--I don't know anything about the rules for crossing the border each way once you get to Guatemala. You'll have to check with the Mexican consulate or Guatemalan consulate near you for this information. It would seem that flying from Acapulco or Zihuantanejo to Mexico City and then on to Guatemala directly might be the easiest way--rather than taking a very long bus trip.
Here are a weblink that might help in this regard:
[ Edit: Edited on 30-May-2009, at 14:35 by Calcruzer ]
Hey Alev ~~ I live in Mexico, outside the city of Oaxaca. 1st class bus fare is reasonable in Mexico, but not dirt cheap.
The thing to remember is how mountainous this country is, so trip times might be much longer than indicated by the number of kilometers between destinations. Do you have a good travel guide that covers that subject?
The only turtle refuge I know about is this one: http://www.tomzap.com/turtle.html on the Oaxaca coast. My neice went there & loved it.
You don't say how long your planned trip is, but I stress that you should consult a guide book to figure out how much time is needed to get to the places you want to go -- that can really eat up time. It might help you decide which things are really important to you, so that other destinations can be cut out, if need be. Calcruzer is giving you some very good advice!
Either think about flying between some of your destinations, or define a smaller radius for the trip so you can comfortably get from place to place by bus. Personally, I like to put a limit of no more than six hours spent on a bus at a time.
I've heard varying stories about getting into Guatemala, so check out the link from Calcruzer and some guide books.
According to Bixa's link, the turtle sanctuary is near Puerto Angel is about 150 kilometers farther down the coast (farther south, towards Guatemala) from Marquelia--about 230 kilometers south of Acapulco and 380 kilometers south of Zihuatanejo. It is about 30 to 40 kilometers south of Puerto Escondido.
The easiest way to get there is to fly into Puerto Escondido and then take a bus from there to Puerto Angel.
Interesting thread for me as i fly to mex city on friday so have been looking into different itineries & travel optons
I'd also like to do some wildlife/conservation volunteer work, I nearly booked with a diving conservation project but changed my mind as i'm sure I'll be able to find something when i get out there, without paying agency fees etc
have you booked your volunteer work now?
I plan to go from mexico city into yucatan penisula then Belize & guatamala through CA to panama. when i get to panama I may fly down to peru or if I've time, take a boat into colombia and get to Peru through ecuador.....great adventure
I've read the buses in mexico are very good but distances can be huge. To get to cancun from mex city takes 24hrs by bus and 2 hours by plane, a flight will cost £70, I think the bus is a similar price, so I'm flying
I agree with Bixa, 6-8 hours on a bus is enough - I still have nightmares about a 32 hour journey from Laos - Vietnam, a flight cost £100 and took 2 hours!
flights in CA get expensive when you cross borders internal flights for mexico are good value, a couple I found were Mexicana Airline & Taca
you don't seem to save any money booking flights early so I intend to make decisions on the road, good to be flexible, you'll meet people and may change plans a little,
watever you end up doing you'll have a great time,
thanks everybody for taking the time to answer my questions. this website is extremely useful.
drav: no, i havent booked the project yet. it is a shame that we are not leaving around the same time. my plan is to do exactly the same countries as you to finally end up in vosta rica/panama in order to fly to sout america (or by boat to colombia)..anyways, im sure we will have a great time anyway. im very excited, thats for sure... are you planning on taking malaria tablets while in central america? and are you travelling solo? which countries are you planning to visit in south america and for how long? lots of questions, i know
l would avoid any road trip in Guerrero
especially the Zihuatanejo Acapulco road
zetas ambushed some undercover police van or car last week blocked the road and just started shooting, imagine if you get caught in the middle they just shoot you
last week also in downtown Acapulco they had a shootout with the police that lasted six hours, people locals or tourist that get caught in the middle just get shot, a father and his son were shot to death on purpose just
to show they mean business
not to scare you but those are the facts
low cost airlines are really cheap and they dont charge extra for every bag or charge you to go to the washroom
like in europe
try volaris.com or interjet.com
those are world class low cost airlines, avoid taca or avianca
roadtrips in Oaxaca seem to be pretty safe and so is the state of Chiapas and the landscapes are beatiful
[ Edit: Edited on 15-Jun-2009, at 18:30 by renatolaza ]