I have long wished to travel to Mexico. Between media reports of how unsafe it was, of potential kidnappings, shootings, etc, it felt like taking a chance. Then, I heard several podcasts on Rick Steves, Amateur Traveler, and read several blogs about living and traveling in Mexico that changed my mind. In addition, one of our close family friends, the K family, traveled to Guanajuato and its surroundings about a year ago, and had a thoroughly enjoyable experience. That sealed the deal for me!
For our flights, we used 30K Chase points, transferred to British Airways Avios, to book direct American Airlines (AA) flights from DFW to Mexico City. And another 30K Avios, from Leon airport to DFW, also on AA.
All our stays, except the last night, was booked using Airbnb. We stayed four nights in Mexico City (CDMX), two nights in Queretaro, one night in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) and one in Leon before catching an early flight back to the US. The last night we stayed at a Homewood suites in Leon, close to the airport.
Our itinerary for the trip looked like this:
Day 1: Land in CDMX, store luggage at Airbnb, lunch, explore Chapultepec Park, Castle and National Anthropology Museum.
Day 2: Free walking tour of the Centro Historico, lunch, explore further, including Palace of fine arts, Lucha libre match etc
Day 3: Coyoacan trip including Frida Kahlo museum and explore some, then Uber to Xochimilco for the boat ride
Day 4: Teotihuacan tour in the morning followed by food tour in the afternoon
Day 5: Travel to Queretaro and local sightseeing that afternoon
Day 6: Sierra Gorda biosphere reserve, all day
Day 7: Cheese factory tour, Bernal visit, winery tour and Tequisquiapan, then drive to SMA, explore SMA in the evening
Day 8: Finish SMA, travel to Guanajuato, spend most of the day there before leaving for Leon hotel
Day 9: Catch red-eye flight to DFW
In addition to our accommodations, we made a few other reservations ahead of time.
- Booked the free Centro Historico walking tour using the Freetour website. We chose the Mexico a pie company as they had good reviews and the timings suited us. Ultimately, we were very satisfied with the tour.
- For our day in Coyoacan, we booked the Frida Kahlo museum tickets and chose a 10:30 am entry. This ensured we had sufficient time to get there and didn’t have to waste time waiting to purchase tickets.
- We thought about booking Lucha Libre and Xochimilco tickets ahead of time but that didn’t seem necessary, so we didn’t pursue those.
- The last one was for Tasty Bites Vegan food tour.
- For our trip to Queretaro and Guanajuato areas, we used a guide recommended by the K family, an enterprising young man named Uriel Pena who runs Bike Tour Queretaro. He would take us around for the last four days of our trip.
Now that we have finished the trip, a few things come to mind:
Mexico City is located at an elevation of about 7380 feet. Keep this is mind while planning the first day or two. Push lot of fluids, keep the sightseeing easy.
Read about the Metro in CDMX. Although we went only once, it was an enjoyable experience for us. We downloaded the Mexico city Metro Mapway app, but didn’t have to use it. You can read all about Mexico City metro here, on Northern Lauren’s excellent guide.
Carry lots of cash and change
Uber is very convenient to get around CDMX. We rode an Uber taxi all the way to Teotihuacan and back.
Carry toilet paper roll and hand sanitizer. At the Lucha Libre restrooms, the stalls didn’t have any, but toilet paper was available in dispensers near the handwash area. I was lucky to be behind a group of women who went to the dispenser first before entering the stalls and I followed suit. In the Queretaro area, we paid 5 pesos per person for a small roll of toilet paper that the attendant handed out in public restrooms. Most had hand soaps and paper towels to dry with.
Carry swim clothes and water shoes, if the weather is good in Queretaro, the Sierra Gorda is a great location to swim in.
Take antihistamines if you are prone to allergies. We normally carry them anyway, but found them to be helpful in the Queretaro area where the Jacaranda trees were in full bloom.
I am listing below all the blogs that I perused prior to our Mexico City trip.
- My wanderlusty life
- Claire’s footsteps (most of our itinerary was patterned on this)
- Amateur Traveler (audio podcasts)
- Rick Steves’ radio show
- The Culture Trip (has a wide variety of articles on mexico city and mexico)
- Hidden Corners (for Coyoacan)
- Eternal Expat (for Coyoacan)
For bus travel from Mexico City elsewhere:
- Sightdoing.net (we ended up driving by Uriel’s car from Mexico City to Queretaro)
For Queretaro and Guanajuato areas:
- Always a gringa (has many articles on this area)
Follow us over the next few weeks as we relive our Mexico experiences.
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