non-touristy areas of mexico on the beach?
i vote for nexpa!
i backpacked from puerto vallarta to puerto escondido and this was by far, on the top of the list of non-touristy places that had palapas on the beach. the locals are SUPER friendly. you may encounter a beach bbq. mostly just good surf, calm wind, warm air, good food and peace. but yeah, you may bump into other travelers, mostly people driving or backpacking through mexico... not your average tourist.
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Coba, Quintana Roo
Visit the Coba Ruins, - 'The City of Ghosts''. One of the truly great Classic Maya sites. Approximately 50 square kilometers in size and over 6000 ruins , only a few of which have been restored. Walking trips, either with tours guides or alone is extremely easy - and safe.
Stay at the Hotel Bocadito in downtown Coba (~800 inhabitants) and try their Cochinita Pibil. The hotel is about $10.00 a night, a twin bed, cold water shower - nothing fancy.
I've been here about 10 times in the past 8 years. I'm getting pretty good at knowing this place and know many of the local people quite well. I'm no longer a 'gringo' but an 'amigo'. The people love talking with you. Its nice to learn some of the Maya language.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
Bob Marley's Bar in Cozumel
You have got to rent a motorcycle and travel to the north side of the island to visit Bob Marley's Bar. Its an open air hamburger shack and bar. They have Cold Corona's and beautiful scenery. There aren't any barstools, you just get your beer and walk behind the shack and there are hammocks set up. Think of the ultimate Corona commercial come to life... There is nothing better in this world. I met some people from the Netherlands that were hanging out and we all just laid in the hammocks in the sun and talked like old friends.Related to:
Beautiful and unspoiled beaches!
In Jan '09 I stayed for a week in Troncones - outside of Ixtapa at the Casa Firefly lodging. The beach is lovely and you will not see a better sunset. This is a very small village with several choices for lodging. My stay was just a hundred yards from the ocean in a bungalow. There is also at least one Inn and several restaurants. You will probably not find Troncones on a map but it is a half hour north of Ixtapa along the coast.
I actually slept under the stars in a hammock so I could hear the ocean. Wild horses visited in the night. The beaches there have turtle nests and it is a favorite place for surfers.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Budget Travel
always use a reputable guide.
we booked a taxi for the day to go to some waterfalls and a coffee plantation... big mistake
max our driver not only fell asleep at the wheel when driving through the mountains, massive drops on either side of car. petrifying. he also took us to some very unsavoury places along the way.
had to get out of car due to a flat tyre in massive thunderstorm and car fell off the jack and started careering downwards.
had to walk at least a mile and half down a very steep hill and as you know what you go down you have to climb up again. thought i was going to need oxygen.
we wanted him to stop car to rest but had some vicious dogs chasing us and it was too dangerous a place to stop. he said we may get shot. arrrgh.
coffee plantation was a complete joke. see photo... he stopped car pointed to a bean on a tree and said "coffee plantation"
he booked lunch for us that we was unable to eat, he did eat by the way, his own and ours.. the food was cooked in water from a dirty, infested trough. had typhoid written all over it. we were dehydrating fast as we could not get anything to drink either. total nightmare at the time. looking back it was an experience i am glad i had but we were lucky to be alive to tell the tale. so beware!!
To make matters worse it cost more than the official tour and they had a lovely lunch with real seats and paper.. see pics.Related to:
- Road Trip
Cerro de la Bufa, the highest peak in Zacatecas
The entrance of el mina is often packed with large Mexican families waiting for the Swiss-made teleférico, in which you travel to Cerro de la Bufa, and site of a chapel, several museums and marvelous romantic statues of Pancho Villa and other rebel leaders on horseback.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
Visit El Edén Mine in Zacatecas
The El Edén Mine is probably the most important silver and gold mine in the world. Since its opening in 1586 it dominated the world market for three hundred years. The polymetallic deposit produced mainly silver and gold, but also zinc, copper, iron, and lead. The mine followed the main lode right through the hill, crossing it completely. It was worked on seven levels, but today only the upper levels are open. Levels five to seven are flooded, the tour uses level four, where three more levels can be seen above.
The tour starts with a ride on a miners train though its 600m long tunnel Socavon La Esperanza (Hope).
The tour is focussed on the harsh living conditions of the miners and the techniques of mining. The miners life expectancy was between 30 and 40, as accidents were common and diseases caused by the mining conditions too. The mine was accessed with a system of ropes. The miners carried a load of 30 to 40 kilos of mineral on their backs out of the mine.
Exit is by elevator from Cerro del Grillo (Hill of the Cricket), 200m from the cable car station. The cable car will take you up the Cero de la Bufa (2,667m asl) with its museum, shops, and a great view of the city. The trip can also be taken in the opposite direction, down with the elevator, through the mine and a fast ride out on the train. However, both trips are one way trips and if you have a car, you should be prepared to return to it on the surface by foot or public transport.
The mine is located in the center of Zacatecas.Add to your Trip Planner
Trek through the interior and jungles
Don't just spend the whole time at the resorts. There built-up and the towns that are linked to them are rather depressing. The best part of the holiday was spent travelling through Mexico's jungle and provincial towns that were wonderful and gave me a more intimate insight to this country that I'm glad I experienced.Add to your Trip Planner
Mayto Turtle Camp
Mayto Turtle Camp is located about 2 hours south of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Located about 30 miles off the main road and down a deeply rutted, dirt road, this camp is located on a nature reserve and is run by volunteers from the University of Guadalajara. It was a fabulous experience though a lot of hard work. You sleep in tents, cook you own meals and clean up after yourself. Don't expect to be pampered because you won't be. Every night, we patrolled the beach, walking in loose sand for six kilometers or more (very tiring) looking for nesting sea turtles. The first night, we found one just finishing her nest. After watching her make her way back to the ocean, we excavated her nest and removed 102 eggs which we re-nested in a protected area. That night we discovered 2 nests. The next night, we had one. The third night, there were 13! The night before we arrived, there were 26. We cleaned out old nests, removing dud eggs and debris. It was a disgusting, but necessary job. Afterwards, we checked viable nests to find hundreds of babies hatching. Over the course of two days, we released 400 hatchlings into the ocean. Sometime between October 31 and November 10, 2007, the eggs that we rescued and re-nested will hatch with an estimated 1600 baby turtles to be released. It was a rewarding experience that really enlightened all of us as to the plight of these turtles. Of the 1600 babies to come, only 1% will live to the 25 years required for them to breed. This camp is run by volunteers with donations from people like us. Please take a few moments to view the photos I will be posting over the next few weeks and if you can make a donation, it would be great. Ariel is the wildlife program coordinator and can give you info in regard to a donation or if you want to make the trip. I would highly recommend this to any eco-minded adventurers out there.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Work Abroad
Lake Zirahuen (seera-WHEN) is a pristine lake set high up in the pine-clad hills 12 km from Santa Clara del Cobre. It is an excellent example of a high country Michoacan lake, since Lake Patzcuaro has become polluted and touristy.
As we drove higher and higher in the hills towards Lake Zirahuen, the cool air became pine-scented and it was almost like we were back in the foothills of Alberta, during the spring. In fact, we passed several cowboys on horseback, with their trusty dog trotting alongside them, looking like they came straight out of a western.
We saw not that many people at the lake, or on the roads, even during the high tourist season, and it appeared we were the only gringos around. The lake is a popular area with locals, and there are many cabins you can rent to "get away from it all" Lake Zirahuen is also known for it's delicious Pescado Blanco (native whitefish) that many food stalls by the lake sell, grilled over an open fire.Add to your Trip Planner
Mexico's Best Regional Museum is in Jalapa
Anyone intirgued or curious about the mesoamerican cultures of central and northern Mexico as well as VeraCruz should definitely stop at Jalapa- a beautiful city- on the main road between Mexico City and Vera Cruz on the Gulf.
The museum is thoroughly modern in design and would complement any city anywhere in the world. There are scores of ancient Mexican cultures on display here that are undeservedly overshadowed by the Aztec. The sculptures and artifacts are of stunning beauty and surprising composition- an art experience that many visitors will discover is entirely new to them.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
NOT the touristy face of Tijuana - but look !!
Tijuana has many community projects and one of them is the Christian Mission. I ran into a priest who worked there during my stay and they are doing a fab job.
It is worth having a look away from the touristy centres into the shadows of Tijuanas streets... .where poverty reins and you will get a real taste of the Mexican friendlyness... it amazed me that dispite their problems, they have such a happy disposition ... and the kids i met were lovely and I remember drawing funny animals on napkins for them ... which was met by endless wishes and laughter.... ! :D
The community projects are vital to provide education and a place of peace and fun for the children... so if you are not too busy shopping for that bargain leather handbag ..... ask for a tour of the REAL Tijuana !Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
- Work Abroad
Relax in Puerto Vallarta
With over 2 million tourists visit Puerto Vallarta annually - making this resort town the second most visited destination in Mexico. Although Puerto Vallarta is best known for its beaches, it offers an extremely wide variety of other attractions. The town has a pleasant climate, great scenic beauty, world class accommodations to suit every budget, numerous quality restaurants, excellent shopping, a vibrant nightlife and many opportunities to engage in several watersports activities and sightseeing excursions.
The town itself has the look and charm of a colonial Mexican village with its picturesque buildings and cobblestone streets.
Puerto Vallarta is situated on Mexico's Pacific Coast in the State of Jalisco. The town sits on the shore of one of the world's largest bays - the "Bahia de Banderas" or "Bay of Flags" (see map). The Sierra Madre mountains form a majestic backdrop to the town.
Winter is the high season for travel to Puerto Vallarta, as the weather is somewhat cooler and rain showers less frequent than in other seasons.
Unlike other Mexican tourist destinations such as Cancun, Puerto Vallarta was not a planned resort town. In the 1960s, Puerto Vallarta was a small fishing village of about 10,000 residents. The town became world famous in 1964 when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton stayed there during the filming of Tennessee Williams's "Night of the Iguana." The press followed the couple, and many reporters began writing about the beauty and charm of the region. Shortly thereafter, the town began receiving an increasingly large number of visitors and considerable investments in tourist facilities and infrastructure were made. Today, Puerto Vallarta has about 300,000 residents and is one of the world's top resort towns.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
Some 65 km north of Mexico City lies small town of Tule De Allende. While aproaching it, you'll notice many factories but the old center with fortified monastery is quite pleasent. The main reason to go to Tula is to see the remains of ancient Toltec indians capital. The site is rather small, but with it's 4,5 m tall stone warriors worth a visit.
My Tula PageRelated to:
- Historical Travel
Botanical gardens in Toluca
For someone interested in plants and stained glass a stop in Toluca to visit the Botanical Gardens would be special. It resides in the center of the city in an art nouveau stain glass building originally built as 'El mercado de 16 de Septiembre'. (Think --Gare de Paris with a stain glass roof and Japanese tropical botanical garden.) While in Toluca you also might visit the watercolor museum.Add to your Trip Planner
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