MEXICO

Mexico is one of the best countries to travel to for any type of vacation and one of the most popular places for Canadians and Americans to go for winter or spring break. You can travel here on any budget, get here quickly and always find new activities to do.

When To Visit

It depends on where you go in Mexico as the climate in each states varies, but generally December to April are the best months as this is the dry season.

Getting There

From Canada, there are direct flights from Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal via Air Canada, West Jet Aeromexico and Interjet. From Vancouver, you can find these as low as $280 CAD round trip. What is great about flying Aeromexico and Interjet is that they serve alcohol for free on the flights until they run out so if you are going down for a celebration and want to get started early, and they are usually cheaper as well.

From the US, you can fly direct to all of the big cities in Mexico from most of the big travel hubs: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Austin, Detroit and a few other cities. Similar to Vancouver, you can come across many different flight deals to take you down to the city. Flight from LA can get as cheap as $100 for a one-way. You can find a lot of good flight deals on many different websites so if you know when you want to go, it would be worth putting a travel alert on Kayak so you know when the prices drop.

Before You Go

  • Make sure you don’t lose the immigration slip that they give you when you enter the country. They will ask for this when you leave.
  • Exchange some cash for Mexican pesos. Although most restaurants and stores take credit card, it is always good to have a bit of local cash on you in case you want to buy a snack or souvenir off the street or if you need to tip. At the time of writing this, $19 pesos was equivalent to $1 USD and $14 pesos was equivalent to $1 CAD.
  • Download the offline Google Maps of the city you are visiting so that you don’t have to roam to search for where you want to go.
  • Download a translation app that works offline if you don’t speak Spanish because most Uber drivers don’t speak English.
  • Make restaurant reservations before going, especially if you are a large group.
  • Mexico City is located 7,382 feet above sea level so some people may feel the elevation gain. Drink lots of water and make sure you use sunscreen.
  • Pack bug spray. Most cities in Mexico have mosquitos, so it’s best to pack some.
  • There is a lot of concern around the kidnappings and dangers in Mexico but if you use common sense and are not alone, you should be fine. It is best not to wear anything of value while walking around the city or going out because you may become a target to steal from.
  • If you are traveling in a group, it also is a good idea to connect with each other on the Apple “Find My” app so that if someone gets separated from the group you can see where they are.

MEXICO CITY

Mexico City usually isn’t on the top of the list for places to visit, but it is a great city for food, drinks and to go out and dance! A weekend trip here is ideal for a celebration with a group of friends. Or, if you are a foodie, take a few days and explore some of the great restaurants and bars Mexico City has to offer.

When to Visit

The best time to visit Mexico City is March to May and October to mid-November. This is when the temperatures will be highest with the least amount of precipitation. March to May is usually pretty busy so if you want to avoid the crowds, its best you visit in October or November. June through September is the rainy season but when it rains, it will only do so in short spurts.

Getting Around

Uber is very cheap in Mexico City and this is the best way to get around. It costs approximately ~$130 pesos (~$7.50 USD) to Uber from the airport to the Roma Norte area.

If you are a big group or are planning a long day trip, it might be worth hiring a driver for the day or for a few hours. David Braverman is a reliable drive that you can hire for a decent price. You can contact him on whatsapp +52 1 55 6672 6090. The only catch is that he doesn’t speak English. Just to give you an idea on price, it costs $1800 pesos (~$90 USD) for a group of up to 8 people (in a van), to hire him for 6 hours to go to Xochimilco and back.

Where to Stay

The Roma Norte area is the best area to stay in because it is one of the nicer areas of the city and is walking distance to many awesome bars and restaurants. Airbnb is a great choice in Mexico City because you can find some great places for a cheap price (compared to other big cities around the world).

There is a great Airbnb on Avenida Alvaro Obregon 255 in Roma Norte. It was in the perfect location (walking distance from a lot of great restaurants and bars, 24-hour 7-11 next door and grocery store 3 blocks away) and could fit 7 people comfortably. It had a full stocked kitchen, great open living room/dining room space and a nice rooftop balcony. They also had 24-hour concierge/security service. It is on a busy street so if you are a light sleeper it is suggested to bring ear plugs. All the rooms are in a loft type build except for the master bedroom which has a door. So, the only negative thing is that once someone is up and talking, the noise travels and it’s likely everyone in the house will wake up too.

If you don’t want to stay at an Airbnb and prefer a hotel, here are a few options. Overall, hotels are very reasonable compared to the top hotels in other cities around the world.

  • Sofitel Mexico City Reforma – in the Reforma area with a view of The Angel of independence and the Castle of Chapultepec. This is a great spot to stay if you are traveling for work or are not on a budget. The rooms have great views from the city and their Club Millesime is amazing.
  • Ignacia Guest House – in the Roma Norte area
  • Zócalo Central Hotel – in the centro historico area
  • Las Alcobas – in the Polanco neighborhood
  • Four Seasons Mexico City – in La Condesa area (between Polanco and Roma)
  • Hotel Condesa DF – in La Condesa area closer to the Roma Norte area

What to Do

There aren’t many landmarks to see in Mexico City like in other big capital cities around the world. Most of your time spent in the city will revolve around eating and drinking. It is a great place to visit with a group of friends.

  • Walk around the Centro Historico and check out La Catedral Metropolitana, Palacio de las Bellas Artes and Templo Mayor. The Palacio de las Bellas Artes consists of murals by Mexican artists and a concert hall. It costs $70 pesos to get in, but Sunday is free. Templo Mayor is a UNESCO World Heritage site only a block away from the main plaza. Built in the 1300, this is one of main temples of the Aztecs capital city. Unless you are very interested in history, you might not need to enter the ruins as you can see them from outside. It costs $70 pesos to enter. Both the Palacio de Bellas Artes and Templo Mayor are closed on Mondays. Around the Centro Historico, you will also find a lot of shops and boutiques.
  • Frida Kahlo Museum (The Blue House) is a great place to visit if you enjoy art. Located in the Coyoacan neighborhood, this was the house of the late painter who became famous from her self-portraits. It is open Tuesday to Sunday and costs $230-$250 pesos depending on what do you visit. It costs and extra $30 pesos to take photos and if you are interested in a guided tour, this would be an additional $700 pesos for a group up to 20 people. Guided tours must be scheduled in advance.
  • Rent a boat in Xochimilco. This is a must if you are visiting with a big group. You can rent your own private boat for a few hours and cruise down the canals that were originally build by the Aztecs as a water transport system. We used the company Embarcadero Las Flores and it cost $1,200 (~$60USD) for a private boat that can fit up to 18 people for 3 hours. You can also pay for add-ons such as having them paint a huge sign with your name on it at the front of the boat or a loud speaker or mariachi band (I would suggest to bring your own portable speaker though because that’s all you need). You can bring your own alcohol and food but as you float down the river you can also purchase food, drinks and souvenirs from other vendor boats if you run out. There are also bathrooms along the river that you can stop at and use for $6 pesos. Make sure that your boat driver takes you to the best ones though because some are not as nice as others. It takes about an hour to get there from Roma Norte.
  • Visit the ancient archaeological complex Teotihuacán. Situated 40km north-east of the city, this historical site is known to link the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun. Teotihuacán is the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. If you are willing to get up early one morning, it’s worth booking a hot air balloon ride to watch sunrise and see the pyramids. There are many tour companies that offer this experience, and it will cost around $3,400 pesos including transportation to and from Mexico City and breakfast. If you do this though, make sure to bring a warm jacket as it is cold in the early morning.
  • Watch Lucha Libre on Friday night at Arena Mexico. This show features the most famous wrestlers. There is also a show on Saturday night at Arena Coliseo if you can’t make a Friday night with lesser quality performers but still fun! A ticket will cost you $250 pesos for the lower level seat and you can purchase this at the arena.
  • Eat tacos and drink tequila! Hop from bar to bar and restaurant to restaurant one afternoon in Roma Norte. See the sections “Where to Eat” and “Where to Drink” for recommendations.
  • If you are in Mexico City for 5 days or more, it might be worth looking into a one-night stay in San Miguel de Allende. It is a small town northwest of Mexico City that is known for its art and baroque Spanish architecture. It is a 3 and a half hour drive one way but is worth the drive.

Where to Eat

There are so many great restaurants in Mexico City and it is impossible to get through all of them. I’m going to focus in and around the Roma Norte area as I personally think this is the best area to stay in and explore. Eating times in Mexico City are similar to Spain. Locals eat lunch at around 2pm and dinner at around 9:30-10pm. It is best to make a reservation at any restaurant you go eat at as the wait can get long.

  • Contramar – a seafood restaurant in Roma Norte that you must eat at if you are visiting Mexico City. This is one of my favourite restaurants in the world! It is best to go there with a few people so you can try a few different dishes. I highly recommend the tuna tostadas, the fish tacos al pastor, the aguachiles mixto, and the pescado a la talla contramar style. A reservation is a must, otherwise you will be waiting for a long time if you come at peak hours. Open 11am to 8pm. If you aren’t able to get a reservation and you don’t have time to wait, you can always order take out. They package everything up separately (sauce, toppings, fish, etc.) and the portions are bit bigger than what you would get if you ate in.
  • Mi Compa Chava – another great seafood restaurant with dishes from the Sinaloa region. Another place that is best to go with a big group of people so you can try more dishes. The Señora Torres and Taco de Botete are two dishes to try. Make a reservation if you can otherwise the wait can be long. Open 11am to 8pm.
  • Maximo – located in the heart of Roma Norte, this restaurant has many unique dishes and is great for a date night. A reservation is a must unless you go early (before 8pm). The menu changes daily based on what is available.
  • Taqueria Orinoco – if you want some great cheap tacos, or a late-night snack, this is the place to go. They have one of the best pastor tacos in the city. Open until 4am Sunday to Thursday, and 5am on Friday and Saturday, you will always find a line at this spot. The line moves quick though! If you are vegetarian, they can make avocado or cheese tacos or quesadillas. You can also ask for a few pieces of pineapple to add to them. You should also try the Jamaica water with guayaba.
  • Parámo – a great Mexican restaurant in the Roma Norte area. It is on the second floor and there is no sign on the restaurant door. They have a really cute small bar area as well. A great atmosphere for a small or large group. The shrimp tacos were amazing and if you are vegetarian, the poblano tacos were also delicious.
  • Huset – a great farm to table restaurant for rustic Mexican food. The octopus and gnocchi were delicious There is a beautiful terrace with lights that create a great atmosphere. It is best to make a reservation.
  • Azul Histórico – cute Mexican restaurant in the Centro Historico area located in an open-air courtyard covered by trees. They have a variety of tequila and mezcal tastings here and women are hand making the tortillas in the courtyard as well.
  • El Cardenal – a delicious breakfast spot in the city center. There are two locations in el centro historico area, one located on Calle la Palma next to Zócalo hotel and the other in the Hilton Hotel near Alameda Central Park. Make sure you try some of their house made breads – they are delicious!
  • Panadería Rosetta – a great bakery café close to Plaza Rio de Janiero in Roma Norte. Great spot for breakfast.
  • Hungry Beast Juice Bar – in case you are in need of a healthy juice after a late night out!
  • Rosetta – a great restaurant that serves contemporary Mexican and Italian cuisine located in Roma Norte. This is a great spot if you are looking for a romantic dinner.
  • Blanco Colima – a lounge and bar inside a beautiful former Arte Nouveau mansion in Roma Norte. They have a good breakfast menu and there is a dish with tortilla chips and avocado in salsa verde that is delicious.
  • La Docena – a great seafood restaurant in Roma Norte.
  • Cocina Conchita – another great seafood restaurant in Roma Norte that make excellent tuna tiraditos
  • Mercado Roma – a market that consists of many food stands. Sandwich and truffle fries at French Dip, tacos at Arbanus and churros at El Moro are recommended.
  • Por Siempre Vegano – a cheap vegan taco spot in Roma Norte with a variety of delicious vegan tacos. Each taco is between M$15 to 25 pesos and delicious horchata. They don’t serve alcohol here though but it’s open until 11pm daily.
  • Lalo! – a great place for Mexican brunch in the Roma Norte area. You can try escamoles (ant larvae) here is you want as well! Weekends can get busy and the wait can get long so it’s best to go on a weekday.
  • La Gruta – if you are headed out to Teotihuacán for a day trip, make sure to eat at this underground restaurant inside a volcanic cave for some authentic Mexican food.

Where to Drink & Go Out

Mexico City has a great nightlife scene. Roma Norte and Polanco districts are two good areas to go out in. Since dinners start late in the city, people don’t normally get to the clubs until 12:30-1am. Most clubs and bars check your purse before you enter and may pat you down. If you are carrying any sort of pills on you, even Advil, they will take them away at the door, but you can get them back when you leave. It is best though if you leave any sort of medication at home though.

  • Licoreria Limantour – a lively, two-story, Art Deco-inspired space, perfect for a cocktail and just ranked 4th bar in the world! Just get the bartenders to recommend something based on the alcohol you are feeling that night.
  • Blanco Colima – a bar inside a beautiful former Arte Nouveau mansion in the Roma Norte area.
  • Xaman – an underground chill bar across the street from the Marriott Reforma Hotel. They have strong incents burning inside but very creative drinks. You can even get the a group drink that they will hang from the ceiling. There is no sign that says Xaman but there will be a bouncer sitting at the top of the stairs.
  • Gin Gin – a bar only a few blocks away from Fountain of the Cibeles in the Roma Norte area.
  • Café Pariaso – a Cuban style club right next to the Fountain of the Cibeles in the Roma Norte area where you can dance! There may be a wait to get in but it’s worth it – a very fun spot.
  • Hanky Panky – a speakeasy taco stand that offers a selection of unique cocktails and just was rated on the top 50 bar list in the world. A reservation is a must but even if you have a one, you could be waiting for up to an hour or two if it’s a late reservation. Personally, it’s not worth the wait but if you still want to check it out, it’s best to make a reservation for the first seating if you don’t want to wait at all. They managers aren’t accommodating at all if you wait for a long time or miss your reservation by a few minutes.
  • Terraza Roma – another good place to get a drink in the Roma Norte area.
  • Panic Botanic – a bar/club in the Polanco district where you can dance a bit as well around the tables. They play a good mix of American and Spanish music.
  • La Santa – a club in the Polanco district. Opens at midnight and closes at 5am. It doesn’t get busy until around 2am. There will likely be a line to get in so if in a big group a table reservation could be worth while.
  • El Balcón del Zócalo – a rooftop bar in the city center that overlooks the Catedral Metropolitana and the main plaza. Great place to stop at for a drink if you need a break from walking around the Centro Historico.
  • Mama Rumba – if you want a place to salsa, this is where you should go. They charge $120 pesos cover per person and the people who salsa here are very good. There are tables around the bar and people will get up to dance for a song they like around the table and sit down again. The crowd is around the 35-45 age group but you can find some younger couples and groups as well.
  • Balmori Roofbar – nice place in Roma Norte to grab a drink with a group of friends. They have a DJ playing music, normally house music.

CABO SAN LUCAS & SAN JOSE DEL CABO

Located on the tip of the Baja California Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are known for their beaches and nightlife. It is a great area to go if you want to party, relax or just spend time doing activities on the beach with your family. Cabo San Lucas sits on the Pacific Ocean side while San Jose del Cabo sits on the Sea of Cortes.

When To Visit

Cabo has great weather year-round but the best time to visit is from March to May and October to mid-November as this is when there is less tourism and accommodations are cheapest. August and September are the rainy season months but the annual rainfall in Cabo and this rain usually comes with the storms.

There are direct flights from many cities around the US and Canada which makes it an easy trip for a long weekend but is also a great place to spend a week-long vacation with friends or family. From the US, you can fly direct from LA, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, SF, Seattle, Denver, Austin, Chicago, SD, Atlanta, NY, Salt Lake City, Portland, San Jose, Charlotte, Detroit & Minneapolis. From Canada, you can fly direct from Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

Getting Around

Uber is the best and safest way to get around. If you are traveling with a large group, it might be worth looking into hiring a driver as it’s sometimes hard to find cars at prime times. There are vans that can carry up to 14 people. Flights land in San Jose del Cabo, so if you are staying in Cabo San Lucas, make sure to allocated an hour (depending on the time of day) to get to the town from the airport.

Where to Stay

If you can, try to stay on the beach as it this is likely where you will be spending the majority of your time. There are lots of great Airbnb options that are more reasonable than hotels. If you don’t end up staying on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, there are lots of restaurants where you can rent chairs or get a complimentary chair if you eat and drink there. Hotel accommodations in San Jose Del Cabo tend to be more expensive as this area has been built up in more recent years but if you decide to stay in this area, you likely will spend most of your time at the hotel.

Cabo San Lucas

  • 1 Hotel – a great spot right on El Medano Beach walking distance from the marina. Great for a long term stay if budget isn’t an issue as each unit is an apartment with its own plunge pool and full kitchen. There is also a great gym.
  • Hacienda Beach Residences – located on El Medano Beach right next to 1 Hotel also great for long term stays as all units are apartment and homes.
  • ME Cabo – located on El Medano Beach, this is a great hotel to stay at if you’re looking for an all inclusive. They do provide only accommodations options as well.
  • Waldorf Astoria – if budget isn’t an issue located right in the pedregal between a cliff and the ocean on Wejulia Beach.

San Jose Del Cabo

  • Viceroy Los Cabos – built in 2018, this stunning hotel is located on Playa Hotelera and has incredible architectural designs, 6 restaurants, a rooftop bar and a spa.
  • Acre – if you want to experience sleeping in a treehouse. They have 12 treehouses that all have beds and bathrooms and your stay includes a morning yoga class.
  • JW Marriott Los Cabos – built in 2015, this Marriott property also offers all-inclusive. Here you can also relax at the spa or play golf on their 27 hole course.

What to Do

There aren’t many landmarks to see in Mexico City like in other big capital cities around the world. Most of your time spent in the city will revolve around eating and drinking. It is a great place to visit with a group of friends.

  • Rent a Private Boat – go around the bay, see the arch, stop at Lovers Beach and snorkel & cliff jump at Pelican Rock. Contact Eric if you are interested +52 624 151 4458. It cost $500 USD (cash) for 4 hours and can fit 12 people. You can bring your own food & alcohol on the boat, and you are able to listen to your own music if you bring a USB stick.
  • Go on a Banana Boat Ride – costs $10 USD per person and fits 12 people. You can find lots of people that can take you in front of Mango Deck on Playa El Medano.
  • Scuba Dive in Gordo Banks – from Nov to Jan, dive here to see tons of hammerhead sharks. The water its clearest at this time. Below are a few dive shops that offer this experience.
    • Dive Cabo
    • Cabo Shark Dive
    • Baja Shark Experience
    • Latitude Encounters
  • Relax by the Beach – the beaches are a great place to hang out, swim, relax and enjoy a drink or meal.
  • Get a Massage – you can hire Veronica to come to where you are staying for a massage. She is really great and will bring her own table and set up wherever you like. She only takes cash and it costs $1000 pesos for 60 minutes or $1300 pesos for 80 minutes. Her number is +52 624 135 4992. The best way to contact her is via WhatsApp. She doesn’t really speak much English but can communicate via translation.
  • Get a Mani & Pedi – you can also hire Araceli to come to your place to give you a manicure and/or pedicure. She does both both regular and acrylic nails. She isn’t as professional as a going to a salon but she’s convenient and her services are well priced. She only takes cash and it cost 350 pesos for a regular pedicure or 450 pesos for an acrylic pedicure, and it costs 150 pesos for a regular manicure and 250 pesos for an acrylic manicure.  Her number is +52 777 251 4273. The best way to contact her is via Whatsapp. She doesn’t really speak much English but can communicate via translation.
  • Go Fishing – this is a great place to catch yellowfin tuna during the months of June to November. You can also catch sailfish, grouper, mahi mahi and marlin.
  • Play Golf – there are many golf courses located around Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo that you can choose from.

Where to Eat

If you aren’t staying at an all inclusive, there are many great places to go eat.

  • Gardenias – for cheap delicious tacos
  • Taco Guss – for cheap delicious tacos
  • Bar Esquina – for a nice non-Mexican dinner, known for their pizzas
  • Toro Latin Kitchen – my favourite spot for a nice dinner but not walking distance from the Cabo San Lucas city center 
  • The Office – for lunch or dinner with your feet in the sand after hanging out on the beach  
  • Mi Casa – for traditional Mexican food, great for large groups located right in the center Cabo San Lucas
  • La Lupita – casual spot for tacos
  • Nick San – a Japanese fusion restaurant in the center of Cabo San Lucas; great if you catch your own fish and want a restaurant to cook it for you
  • Café at 1 Hotel – for delicious sandwiches
  • El Paisa – a cheap local spot for tacos
  • El Huerte – a farm to table restaurant in Cabo San Lucas open for breakfast and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday
  • Flora’s Field Kitchen – a farm to table restaurant located at Flora Farms in San Jose del Cabo with a great atmosphere; a reservation is a must

Where to Drink & Go Out

The night life is constantly changing, bars close and new bars open over the years, but two spots that have stuck around for decades and are places you must visit if you want to have a good time are El Squid Roe and Mango Deck. El Squid Roe is open until 3am every day and has college bar vibes with an MC standing in the middle of the club to get everyone excited. Mango Deck is a beach day club that is open daily and known for their swimsuit contests. A great spot for bachelor, bachelorette, and birthday parties.

OAXACA CITY

Famous for its incredible food and as the birthplace of mezcal, Oaxaca is growing in popularity amongst cities to visit in Mexico. With only two direct flights from the US (Dallas and Houston) you will have to connect through Mexico City, but the trip is well worth it if you love food!

When To Visit

The best time to visit Oaxaca City is during the spring and fall months – from April to May and September to November. These months avoid the wet season, high season and the unbearable heat. Three full days is good amount of time to spend in the city.

Getting Around

The city center isn’t big so the best way to explore and get around is by foot. You can easily hail a taxi as there are always many driving around the city. Yellow taxis are able to take you anywhere. They will charge $40-80 pesos per ride within the city center depending on where you are going. Red and white taxis are “collectivos” and these shared cars take a specific root and pick people up along the way filling up the car for a price of $10-12 pesos depending on where you’re going.

When you land at the airport, go to the Taxi stand and order one there. It costs $105 pesos per person in a shared taxi or $410 pesos for a private car going to one location. To get back to the airport, it’s best to get your accommodation to book a car and this should only cost $250 from the city center. Make sure you have pesos with you when you land or pull some out of the ATM to pay for your taxi.

Where to Stay

There are many great places to stay in the city center and for a reasonable price. Airbnb has lots of options as well.  

  • Grana BNB – a hip design-oriented boutique hotel with 15 rooms ranging from ~$150 to $200 USD set in a 16th-century mansion restored by architect and owner Luis Carbonell
  • Pug Seal – a design-forward boutique hotel with 20 rooms ranging from ~$270 to $400 USD per night
  • Casa Vertiz – a formal colonial casa that has a nice courtyard restaurant costing ~$100 to $150 USD per night
  • Casa Catrina – a boutique hotel with six rooms costing ~$130 to $260 USD per night
  • Casa Oaxaca – a boutique hotel with a pool and seven rooms ranging from ~$265 to $400 USD per night
  • Gran American Fiesta – a larger high end luxurious modern hotel with many amenities including a gym, spa, pool and room service costing ~$250 to $350 USD per night

What to Do

Almost all your time spent in this city will revolve around eating. Below are a few activities you can do between restaurants:

  • Mezcal Tasting – as the birthplace of mezcal, this is something you should do. Arrange a tour and tasting at a finca nearby to get the full experience. You will be impressed by the amount of work it takes to make a bottle of mezcal. Mezcouting offers customizable tours.
  • Ethnobotanical Garden – take a tour to see all the plants and learn about the history. Tours happen at scheduled times and only some are in English so it’s best to check at the front gate for more info. It costs $100 pesos per person to enter. Closed Sundays.
  • Day Trip to Monte Alban – this UNESCO world heritage site is located only 15 minutes outside the city. It is the oldest archeological site in Mexico.
  • Explore the Markets & Wander the Streets – there are many shops to buy local goods and handcrafts, many art galleries to see and markets that sell everything from souvenirs to chapulines (grasshoppers) as a snack. The Mercado Benito Juarez is the best for buying souvenirs but make sure you negotiate the prices.
  • Hierve el Agua – a natural cliffside wonder with springs pooling into a swimming hole and petrified waterfalls overlooking stunning views. It is about 1.5 hours outside of the city on some unpaved roads so its best to go first thing in the morning to beat the crowds.
  • Microenormous  Immersive Theater – if you are looking for something different to do, try this immersive show that will activate and stimulate your five senses. This 1.5 hour show is offered in English or Spanish and starts every half hour from 7pm to 11pm.

Where to Eat

Oaxaca city is known for its incredible food, including world class restaurants local markets and street food.

  • Pitiona – modern Mexican menu with a great rooftop view of Templo de Santo Domingo
  • Casa Oaxaca – traditional Mexican menu with a great rooftop setting overlooking Templo de Santo Domingo
  • Tierra del Sol – traditional Mexican menu with a rooftop terrace. They have a great bakery downstairs as well as a Atoleria, which serves atole – a hot corn and masa-based drink.
  • Memelas Doña Vale – for delicious memelas (a local Mexican food) located in the Mercado de Abastos a few minutes outside of the main city center area. Doña was featured on the Netflix show “Street Food in Latin America” and her memelas and tomatillo and morita salsa live up to the hype!
  • El Mercado 20 de Noviembre – definitely go to this market one day for breakfast or lunch or a snack (it is not open for dinner). There are so many great food stands serving local dishes for a cheap price – try a tlayuda, quesadilla, caldo or moles here. Visit the pasillo de humo, which is a long hallway full of meats available for grilling. There you can choose what you want to eat and they will cook it and serve it to you right there with a side of tortillas, salsas and beer.
  • Tacos del Carmen – a taco stand near the Templo de Santo Domingo open from 8am to 3:30pm serving delicious chile relleno tacos and the empanada amarillo con pollo is not to be missed! Go early as the amarillo con pollo will run sell out. Closed on Sundays.
  • Hawaii Jugos y Tortas – located in the Mercado Benito Juarez this place is great for fresh juices and tortas for a cheap price.
  • Boulenc – great place for breakfast if you’re craving non-Mexican food but the line can get long. If you don’t want to wait, go to the bakery next door and order some savory and salty items. Their nudo and English muffins are amazing.
  • Pan:am – great place for breakfast but the line can get long  
  • Origen – a higher end restaurant that offers a la cart or a tasting menu for $1,250 pesos per person
  • Nois – a more modern tasting menu experience
  • Kiyo Café – a great spot to get your morning coffee
  • Organic Market The Harvest – a covered outdoor market where you can find something to eat, coffee, handmade good and much more

Where to Drink & Go Out

  • Mezcaloteca – small mezcal tasting bar (make a reservation)
  • Selva Oaxaca – names one of the top bars in Latin America
  • Sabina Sabe – good bar for cocktails
  • Terraza Los Amantes – for a rooftop drink with a nice view of the Santo Domingo Temple

PUERTO ESCONDIDO

This hippie surf town is a great place to come and relax by the beach for a few days. It is not easy to get to but because it’s not a North American tourist town yet, it is much cheaper than any of the other beach destinations in Mexico.    

When To Visit

The best time to visit Puerto Escondido is during the dry season which runs from November to March. The temperature is ideal and there aren’t many bugs. You can get a feel for the city in 3 full days, but many backpackers and nomads stay anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month as they stay and learn how to surf.  

Getting Around

There are three main areas of Puerto Escondido: the Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Zicatela and La Punta. Within each of these areas, you can easily walk to any place. There is no Uber in Puerto Escondido so the way to get around, between each area, is by taxi. A taxi from Playa Zicatela to Playa Carrizalillo should cost $50 pesos (but most taxi drivers will ask for $70). Playa Zicatela to La Punta should be $80 pesos.

Where to Stay

La Punta is a good place to stay for a younger vibe with more bars. Playa Zicatela is also a good option with beautiful sunset views, but you can’t swim on Zicatela beach because of the current.

  • Bungalow Zicatela – a reasonable hotel located right on Playa Zicatela with a pool and great rooftop to watch sunset.
  • Selina – located steps from the beach in Zicatela, this is a great option if you want to meet people, if you are traveling alone or a digital nomad.
  • Casa Joseph – newly built boutique hotel (opened in 2022) located on Playa Zicatela. A great place to stay if budget isn’t an issue and you want to just stay and relax at the hotel.
  • Punta Zicatela Hotel – located in La Punta with beautiful views of the area.
  • Airbnb – there are also lots of Airbnb options that are very reasonable

What to Do

  • Surf or take a surf lesson – $650 pesos for a semi private lesson, 2 students with 1 instructor, on Playa Carrizalillo (the best beach to learn how to surf) with Jesus. $900 pesos for a private. He grew up surfing in Puerto Escondido and was great. He was also more reasonable than other options.
  • Watch the sunset on Playa Zicatela – rooftop of bungalow zicatela has a great view, but also you can buy your own drinks and sit on the beach
  • Go Fishing – you can catch mahi mahi, tuna, sailfish, red snapper and rooster fish. It costs $5000 pesos for 5-6 hours on a private boat (23 ft) with new engines that can fit up to 6 people. Contact Levy on WhatsApp +52 954 100 9263 and he can take you out one morning (https://www.puertofishing.com/). If you catch a fish, it will costs $100 pesos to gut and fillet (this is for a 8lb mahi mahi – it will be more for a bigger fish). You can see a ton of sea turtles and dolphins while fishing as you will most likely go 20-25 miles off the coast.
  • Hang out at the pool or beach – enjoy the sun and relax!

Where to Eat

  • Los Molcas – great cheap tacos, only open for dinner starting at 5pm but stays open late
  • Chicama – Peruvian restaurant in La Punta (closed on Tuesdays)
  • La Olita Zicatela – great cheap tacos, opens at 3pm
  • Mercado Zicatela – great place for lunch with a view of the ocean. Here you can find cheap tacos, groceries, and souvenirs. 3 fish tacos go for $120 pesos, Vege Express has vegan tacos, 4 for $60 pesos.
  • Agua Sala – great for sunset dinner on Zicatela beach
  • Food market in La Punta – for a casual meal or snacks
  • Ice Cream at Playa Carrizalillo – there is an ice cream man that sits at the top of the stairs at the entrance of Playa Carrizalillo and his ice cream is delicious. It cost $20 pesos for 1 scoop or $40 pesos for 2 with a waffle cone.
  • El Cafecito – for a cheap meal with big portions. There are two locations, one in the city center and one in Playa Ziactela.

Where to Drink & Go Out

This isn’t really a big town for nightlife but there is always one bar that is busy each night, rotating daily. La Punta is the place to start and then the crowd normally makes their way to Playa Zicatela at around 11:30-midnight.

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