Tak's Travel Tips & When to VisitMexico.....

Mexico City Airport Landscape

Best Time to Visit Mexico

The best time to visit Mexico depends somewhat on the region as Mexico is big. However, as a general rule, the period between October and May is a good bet in most of the country.

However, if you know the region, we can figure out the best time to visit according to where you are heading.

The Best Time to Visit the Yucatan

The best time to visit the Yucatan / Riviera Maya (which includes Cancun & Tulum), would be November for shoulder-season deals with improving weather. December into April is prone to be high season with nice weather, and little rain but a higher levels of crowds—especially during the Christmas holiday and Spring Break which is scattered mostly around March. May is doable but humidity, temperatures and rain are rising throughout the month. June through August is when the humidity and temperatures are at their highest and September and October is when thunderstorms and rain are at their peak.

That said, if you are looking for whale sharks, you will want to visit June through September off the Yucatan peninsula – whether up toward Holbox or down on the Riviera Maya. December to April would be when humpbacks show up to a place like Holbox.

The Best Time to Visit Mexico City

The best time to visit Mexico City (CDMX) is March and April when the weather is quite nice. Late October and early November are good. November through February can get chilly at night but is a beautiful time as well. Thus really, the only time that isn’t recommended the rainy and/or hot summer/fall (sometime in May to early October) although rain generally comes through in the afternoon.

The Best Time to Visit Baja California

Baja California Sur is good to visit December through April for dry, comfortable weather. The best time to visit Cabo San Lucas for deals would be late Spring or early summer, such as in June, but generally anytime Mid-October to June would be a good idea depending on if you can stand high season rates and times.

February can be a good time to see the grey whale migration and isn’t as popular as it is around the Christmas & New Year holiday, etc.

However, thinking Baja is just Cabo, which is at the very most southern point would be mistaken. Northern Baja has vineyards and mountains, and there are numerous towns down the coastline on either side which make for interesting visits.

General Mexico Tips

Currency in Mexico is MXN but will often be noted with the $ sign. At the time of these notes, 10 Mexican Pesos (MXN) were about .50 USD. So 100 MXN is $5.00. A quick conversion, move the decimal left a digit and half things. So 750MXN becomes 75.0 and half of that is $37.50USD.

Mexico uses the same power plugs that one would find in the US. These may be called Type A/B.

Most locals don’t drink the tap water. However, in Mexico City, things are slowly changing. Of course, I would never underestimate the power of international conglomerates and the marketing muscle to keep people on bottled water rather than the clean tap water infrastructure.

In lieu of tap water, people may utilize garafons, which are the 20L (5 gallon) water jugs you might see on a water cooler back in your country. Do note that sometimes they are 20 gallons and sometimes they are 18 or 19. These can typically be refilled at a local filtered water business (or delivered) and are the best value. If you do buy in a convenience store, typically the worst value are the smaller containers.

Ideas for Gifts & Things to Buy in Mexico

  • Mezcal & Tequila are popular. Raicilla, a sweeter, stronger mezcal which could have mind altering properties if you dig far enough. Xtabentun, an anise, fermented honey and rum liquor. Flavored rums. Mexican Wine, mostly produced in Baja California.
  • Coffee & Chocolate (there is the more prolific “Mexican Chocolate” which is grainy chocolate and spices) but try to hunt down chocolate made from the Criollo cacao family. Great coffee from Guerrero can be found in Mexico City at Cafe Passmar in the Mercado Lazaro Cardenas.
  • For a bartender, a nice gift could be to pick up a molinillo which is a wooden frothing whisk. There are also pretty nifty hand carved wooden cooking utensils I came across which could suit anyone with culinary interests.
  • Roughly halfway between Mexico City and Acapulco lies Taxco which is a town known for its silver.
  • Pottery, Leather (Valladolid in the Yucatan)
  • Wool Textiles (Oaxaca)

Mango season is February to July.

Mexico City

A lot of people afraid of Mexico City (and Mexico) due to overactive fear–based media. Don’t worry about it, it is a cool city, although parts now can be a bit touristy.

Getting to downtown Mexico City from the Airport (I’d approximate an hour to be safe) although if you take a car in the super early morning it can be 15 minutes.

Obviously you can book a car, or catch a taxi. I will let you know the least expensive options that I have found. Note that if you have multiple people or just want convenience, take a car.

For the least expensive options, you have two options: the Metro Bus Line 4 and the Metro (subway) Line 5.

Option 1: The Metro Bus

For the Metrobus, look for the signs (which almost looks like an M3). Head through the exit. If you are at Terminal 1, you should be able to find the bus outside Entrance 7 (I believe between 6 and 7). If you are at Terminal 2, it should be Entrance 2 (I believe between 2 and 3 if my memory is correct).

When I used the machine, it was only accepting coins and no other method of payment. It returns no change either. So, if thats still the case, you might want to make a purchase and get change in coins inside the airport. It costed 10 MXN for the loadable card and 30 MXN for the fare (as of December 2021). Technically I believe you are supposed to have one card per person but in practice you can swipe twice if the card has enough on it.

People will say this is super quick because of dedicated lanes, but first, it wasn’t fully dedicated and second, there are a bunch of stops. The biggest downside to this option is that it doesn’t really serve many areas (like Condesa). This is a better option if you are staying in the historical center (Centro Histórico de la Ciudad). If you are staying there, this can be a much better idea.

Option 2: The Metro (Subway)

IF YOU DON’T HAVE MUCH LUGAGGE, and aren’t a princess, and it goes to where you are going, I’d suggest potentially taking the subway. For staying in or around Condesa, and as I travel light and don’t mind the adventure, I like this method best.

From Terminal 2, leave from Exit 1, walk straight until you are off the airport property, take a left hand turn and walk along the street and you will run into the Pantitlan metro station. To get to Condesa area, take the 9 Train and that should do it. I wouldn’t do this late at night and I wouldn’t do this if you scare easily or can’t hold your own. The other option is you can take a shuttle to Terminal 1 and then connect to the Metro (Terminal Area) from there.

This latter option is what people typically may comes across or suggest, but it requires transfering lines and so forth. I wouldn’t want to waste my time with that, unless, once again, your destination is on one of those lines. But for Condesa, I like the Pantitlan station option.

Also, I would advise that you DO NOT take the metro heading into Mexico City in the rush hour morning and DO NOT take the metro heading towards the airport in the rush hour evening. It reminds me of the metro train chaos in Manila. It is mobs of people and pandemonium if you aren’t familiar with whats going on. If you have no bags and all the time in the world, you can attempt it. If you have any checked baggage, I would think you may regret it.

The metro fare as of December 2021 is 5 MXN. A reusable card can be purchased from the machine for an extra fee. It is tapped on the machine and you are done.

Otherwise, here are some random facts on CDMX

When walking, don’t blindly trust pedestrian signals as with any city until you observe how things work. That said, Mexico City drivers get an unfair rap – they drive normally for a city in my experience. Also, you can cross streets against the signal as that is quite common.

Many/all museums are closed on Mondays

The most touristy areas at this point would be somewhere in the vicinity of Condesa, or more broadly, Zona Rosa, Roma Norte, Condesa, or Hipodromo. At this point I think there are better options but that is a good start.

San Cristobal de las Casas

This is a city located in Chiapas, served mostly by the Tuxla Airport (TGZ). Many seem to love the town but I found it to change depending on season. In the rainy season, I found it very difficult to walk in due to the non-uniform sidewalks and excessive traffic and exhaust. The pedestrian area was touristy in a local tourist way. I found the east of the town to have a far better vibe than the western half. I did not find it to be a nature-based town which is what it seems to be billed as. However, there is a super cool art scene there with great street art. However, when I visited in March, it felt much better with less people, great weather and a better vibe.

The people are great and the food is good if you do a little exploring. Make sure wherever you stay in not on a main road otherwise you will hear loud cars and motorcycles throughout the night.

Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita & San Poncho

Puerto Vallarta is a large city with a reasonably well polished tourist and expat infrastructure (i.e. condos, pedestrian zones, etc) on the western (Pacific) coast of Mexico. There were some cool art galleries there.

Many foreigners and tourists visit Sayulita, which was a small fishing town with great nature. At this point, it seems to be designed to primarily serve visitors and tourists and caters to the surfing and yoga traveler. It still has some great authentic restaurants if you look around, along with great local people. However, you are definitely not going to be the only foreigner here.

Some talk about how San Pancho (legally called San Francisco) is the authentic town versus Sayulita which I don’t really agree with. To me, both of them are very tourist-based towns, with the difference that Sayulita has more of the party and surfing aspect and is certainly a larger town, while San Pancho has more of the upscale feel with far less nightlife.

One Word of Caution for Visitors to Sayulita

I would advise that if you come across a Canadian going by the name of Kyra Hamilton in Sayulita, you think twice before trusting her deeply or renting from her in any circumstance. She proved herself to be an extreme liar with a very high penchant for manipulation. She is prone to bouts and threats of aggresion and violence.

She often gains the trust of new visitors in town by talking about how she is a disadvantaged divorced single mother who got a raw deal in life when in reality she comes from a very nice and successful family and obtained (although her actual ownership is legally dubious) a multi-million dollar property in Sayulita through her divorce. She does not need to work a standard job (and doesn’t work one) yet plays the victim card at every turn. Not many people who are able to lounge at the local beach bar throughout the week claim hardship over it.

Local hard-working Mexican laborers even get the same sob story as she relentlessly beats them down on price for their labor, while at the same time charging excessive rental amounts for her poorly maintained property which suffers from burst pipes, electrical outages and internet issues.

She cannot be trusted at all. She threatened me with physical violence and stole 6,132 MXN (approximately $300USD) from me. I observed her screaming at tenants, entering without authorization, unilaterally changing rental terms on tenants, throwing tenants out with no place to go as a result of her untethered, emotional tirades, and depriving tenants of unused rent paid. She changed terms on me and wouldn’t listen to any reason or proof whatsoever. But apart from the money, the biggest issue is that she has a history of violent behavior, which has occured with me and others. You have been warned.

My Travel Adventures in Mexico

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Tak

New York, NY
Internationally-published photographer with a passion for creative food, fine products, unique cultures and underground music. Twitter / Instagram / Email

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March 2022