Overlanding the Americas: Mexico
We spent 47 days in Mexico, traveling down Baja and then taking the ferry to Mazatlan before visiting Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido, and San Christobal de las Casas. We entered Mexico in July 2017. Here is our complete budget breakdown.
Sonja: Bahia de los Angeles (Baja), swimming with whale sharks in an uncrowded bay
Chris: The cosmopolitan feel of Mexico City, including excellent food + great parks
Ben (age 6): The crocodile sanctuary at Playa Ventenilla and El Rollo, Mexico’s greatest water park (but only on the week days)
Emma (age 3): The fruit smoothies of Puerto Escondido and horseback riding on a finca south of Acapulco
Mexico was our cheapest country in North and Central America. Pemex gas stations were plentiful (except for one stretch in Northern Baja) and lodging was inexpensive. We could feed our family of four for $15usd for dinner. The exchange rate was 17 mdx = 1 usd.
It was also easy: We liked the big supermarkets (Mega and La Comer) and had no trouble filling prescriptions in local pharmacies.
We particularly loved the ‘small’ towns of Puerto Escondido and San Christobal; the food was excellent, we found inexpensive lodgings, and both cities were somewhat pedestrian friendly. If we have any advice, it’s don’t drive in Mexico City.
Park your vehicle in a campground near Pyramid of the Sun and take a cheap Uber ($20) into town. We were so impressed by Mexican driving, it is truly an art form. In 47 days in the country we only saw two accidents; we observed four accidents within our first two days in Guatemala.
Despite the horror stories, we didn’t have a single problem or unpleasant experience with t
he police or army anywhere in Mexico. Checkpoints were common, particularity in Baja and Acapulco/Oaxaca, but we were never searched or seriously grilled. They always questioned where we were headed and where we’d come from. Nothing more.
We never drove at night and had only a few instances where people had strung ropes or barricades across the road, erecting a ‘citizen toll’ booth. These were mostly on small backroads, never the main highway. We used toll highways frequently as they were in better shape than the free roads. The worst part about Mexico? The topes (speed bumps)! They were often unmarked and handmade, particularly in Chiapas. Aside from the horrible bumps, we adored Mexico and can’t wait to return.
Places we wished we’d visited: Yucatan and Quintana Roo. I’d had loved to have spent time exploring underground cenotes and snorkling along the coast but we ran out of time. Also: Oaxaca City, again nixed due to lack of time.
Mexico Blog Posts
(In chronological order)
Baja – Ensenada: beaches, puppies, and an animal sanctuary
Photos from Above – drone photography (haven’t lost it yet!)
Bahia de los Angeles – swimming with whale sharks
Cabo Pulmo – Mexico’s only Pacific aquatic national park
Southern Baja – Sun and sand. And sunburns
Mainland Mexico – crossing the Sea of Cortez without sinking
Teotihuacan – The pyramids outside of Mexico City
CDMX – Parks, traffic, and amazing food in Mexico’s largest city
Basalt Pillars + the Caves of Tolantongo – Cool geologic features and crowded camps
Honest Reflections of the Trip Thus Far
San Miguel de Allende + Nevado de Toluca – PLUS an awesome water park
Acapulco – Lazy days and a turtle hatchery
Puerto Escondido – Surfing mecca and a farm stay
The Crocodile Sanctuary – Ben’s favorite spot in Mexico
San Christobal de las Casas – A gorgeous town and excellent food