MEXICO (Estados Unidos Mexicanos)

(Officially; United Mexico States)

PART  1. GENERAL INFORMATION

PART 2. BLOGS, Pictures & Gallery

PART 3. VIDEOS

PART 1. GENERAL INFORMATION

Capital city: Mexico City

Population: 130 million

Currency: Peso

Km travelled: TBA

Days in: TBA

Languages: Spanish,

GENERAL INFORMATION

Many think Mexico is part of Central America. (like us) but it is country of southern North of America and the third largest country in Latin America after Argentina and Brazil. Mexican society is divided by wealth and poverty, with little middle class wedged between the rich and poor. (minimum wages have just been raised to 6USD per 9-hour day) Mexico has 32 states and the 10th most populous country in the world. Since 2007 over 130000 people have died due to drug related conflicts. However, this has not stopped tourism with over 39 million visitors every year.  Mexico despite the challenges it faces as a developing country, Mexico is one of the chief economic and political forces in Latin America. It has a dynamic industrial base, vast mineral resources, a wide-ranging service sector, and the world’s largest population of Spanish speakers. Mexico City the capital, is one of the most populous cities and metropolitan areas in the world. More than half of the Mexican people live in the centre of the country, whereas vast areas of the arid north and the tropical south are sparsely settled.

TOURIST HIGHLIGHTS

Info websites

  1. https://worldexpeditions.com/Mexico/Adventure-Touring/Highlights-of-Mexico
  2. https://www.tucantravel.com/tour/highlights-of-mexico/cmp
  3. https://www.visitmexico.com/en/where-to-go/heritage-cities

 Mexico has a fascinating history going back thousands of years through the Mayan, Aztec and Olmec cultures that have left Mexico with a rich heritage of stunning archaeological sites. And some of the most famous beach resort cities in the world, Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Playa Del Carmen, and Cozumel.

MEXICO CITY

Mexico’s most populated city with a staggering 24 million residents! Mexico City is a dizzying blend of culture and tradition. Near Mexico City where we view the huge Sun and Moon pyramids at Teotihuacan. Must do visits Coyoacan, Xochimilco, Historic centre and many museums

OAXACA & SAN CRISTOBAL                                                                                      Discover the cultural ancestry of the Zapotec people and spend time in the rarefied climes of San Cristobal de la Casas and the magnificent Sumidoro Canyon. San Cristobal de las Casas and explore this lovely city in a guided tour. With winding cobblestone streets and colonial Spanish architecture, San Cristobal maintains a lovely old-world feel mixed with strong indigenous roots.

PALENQUE

the stunning jungle ruins of, with its dramatic Mayan step pyramid architecture and Chichen Itza, recently declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

CANCUN

The world-famous beach resort of Cancun located in Quintana Roo. located at the azure blue Caribbean, soft white sandy beaches (coral sand) and crystal-clear waters. Must do visits, Temple of the scorpion, Xel – Ha aquarium and Secret river.

MERIDA

Merida, “The White City”,

Visit Uxmal (meaning “built three times”), listed as World Heritage, is considered one of the Maya cities that is most representative of the Puuc style,

CHICHEN ITZA

one of the largest and most prominent Maya cities. Nowadays, Chichen Itza is undoubtedly the best-preserved Maya site on the Yucatan peninsula. Recently declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Close by is the sinkhole of Ik-Kil which is arguably one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico.

BAJA CALIFORNIA

The most northern and western states in Mexico. It is the world’s second-longest peninsula, just over 1200km long, highlights include Espiritu Santo, Cabo Pulmo, San Ignacio, Todos Santos, Loreto, Tijuana, Lands end and Bahia Conception

TULUM

A perfect culture and Caribbean combo, Tulum has a sleepy, bohemian feel, Mayan people still live here and fishermen still fish. But the word is that developers are moving in. Lest hope Akumal and Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, get spared?

ZIPOLITE

Palm-lined Pacific shores, dolphins playing, fiesta of food stalls, superb seafood, beach massages. Amazing place according to others

ACUPULCO

Worldwide a well know city, unfortunately it has been announced it also is the second most dangerous city in the Americana’s. But it has natural beauty environment, golden sand, tropical weather, warm sea water and a huge nightlife. Most famous are the cliff divers jumping of the 35-meter rock.

Climate

Because of its vast size and topographic diversity, Mexico has a wide array of climatic conditions. More than half of the country lies south of the Tropic of Cancer. In this area ocean air are the main sources of precipitation, which is heaviest from May through August. Tropical hurricanes, spawned in oceans on both sides of the country, are common in the coastal lowland areas from August through October. Northern Mexico is dominated by the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, and arid and semiarid conditions predominate over much of the Mexican Plateau.

Mexico City

Winter; 8 degrees at night to 25 degrees during the day

Summer; 15 degrees at night to 30 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to October

Veracruz

Winter; 20 degrees at night to 26 degrees during the day

Summer 25 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to October

Cancun

Winter 20 degrees at night to 28 degrees during the day.

Summer 25 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June & Sept till Oct

Acapulco

Winter

Summer

Rainfall; June to October

Xalapa

Winter 15 degrees at night to 25 degrees during the day

Summer 20 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to September

Cabo San Lucas

Winter; 15 degrees at night to 25 degrees during the day

Summer; 20 degrees at night to 34 degrees during the day

Rainfall; Aug to October

 

 

CHIHUAHUA

Winter; 2 degrees at night to 20 degrees during the day

Summer; 20 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June to September

SALINA CRUZ

Winter; 22 degrees at night to 30 degrees during the day

Summer; 25 degrees at night to 35 degrees during the day

Rainfall; June and Aug to October

 

 

PART 2, BLOGS, PICTURES & GALLERY

 

Mexico City to Cancun

Feb 12, 2012, we said goodbye to South America, after 3 amazing years with lots of scenery and culture.

Central America is our next destination to explore but due to our truck being Right Hand Drive we had to give Panama and Costa Rica a miss hence we shipped to Vera Cruz in Mexico. Despite the many negative reports regarding break inns we were lucky and the motorhome arrived undamaged. Inefficiency in Vera cruz was the major issue but after 8 days we collected our truck.

10 minutes to Mexico City

Our first stop was Mexico City (officially known as Ciudad de México) the most populous city in North America. (I always thought Mexico was part of Central America) What a difference a day makes, no more beeping horns and well-organized traffic. Mexico City lies in a large valley in the high plateaus in the centre of Mexico and is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes that reach elevations of over 5,000 meters. Mexico City is located at an altitude of 2,240 meters.

Its location in the valley, which has no natural drainage outlet for the waters that flow from the mountainsides, makes the city vulnerable to flooding. Drainage was engineered using canals and tunnels starting in the 17th century. Mexico City primarily rests on what was Lake Texcoco.

Seismic activity is frequent there. Lake Texcoco was drained starting from the 17th century. Although none of the lake waters remain, the city rests on the lake bed’s heavily saturated clay. This soft base is collapsing due to the over-extraction of groundwater. Since the beginning of the 20th century the city has sunk as much as nine meters in some areas.

22 million people call Mexico City home, and this makes it the second largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere and the largest Spanish speaking city in the world. We were surprised to hear that over 700000 US citizens live in Mexico City and a large population of Canadians.

Mexico was a surprise city for us and we loved the atmosphere and the sights such as the Historic centre, floating gardens of Xochimilco, Plaza de la Constitution, Templo Mayor, The Markets; Central de Abasto, Tepito (sells everything and occupies over 20 city blocks) just to name a few.

Just north of town are the famous Teotihuacán Pyramids. Teotihuacan means, the place where gods were created. It is a mysterious area, dominated by the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon and the central Avenue of the Dead.

The city (settled as early as 400BC) had been abandoned for centuries. Teotihuacan’s origins, history, and culture largely remain a mystery. Our 4 days in Mexico City were not enough hence a second visit will happen once we explore the Southern and Northern Part of Mexico in 2021. We were expected in Veracruz where our ship with truck arrived. Veracruz also known as Heroica Veracruz is a major port city located on the Gulf of Mexico (and one of the most inefficient ones we have been dealing with in 16 years of overlanding and 8 RoRo shipments to date).

All up it took 8 days to clear the vehicle. Only once did we meet customs who inspected the truck for narcotics, the rest was all about paperwork. AMAZING. But we did enjoy the carnival in Veracruz and the food.

Veracruz has a blend of cultures, mostly indigenous, ethnic Spanish, and Afro-Cuban. The influence of these three is best seen in the food and music of the area, which has strong Hispanic, Caribbean, and African influences.

Veracruz mainly caters for locals and is not a popular tourist destination as many other resort areas in Mexico. The cultural centre of the city is its main plaza, officially named Plaza de las Armas but commonly called the Zocalo.

And it was here we spent most nights. It is occupied from morning to night with people playing dominos, selling food, cigars, etc. playing music, dancing, and other activities. It is more crowded in the evening, when roving musicians play music and people dance. After 2 days south of Veracruz getting our truck sorted, we left for the Yucatan area. Our first stop was Villahermosa which means beautiful village and is the capital city of the Mexican state Tabasco.

Our overnight stop was at the large swimming pool just before the town centre. Obviously, we had heard of snowbirds and US travellers in huge motorhomes. But after 16 years of travel I would never expect to drive into a parking lot of a swimming pool and meet 21 huge motorhomes with half of them towing small cars behind them! Not sure if we scared them but it took till around 5.30PM before they came out of their airconditioned motorhomes, they told us it was so hot?!?!? I thought this is why you come to Mexico? Anyway, a great night and we listened to all the dangers Mexico had and that we should not travel alone or camp in the bush. Next morning, we were charged 35USD for one night!!!!! The snowbirds told me this was cheap and most important safe?!?!? We started to wonder if you are that scared why would visit Mexico?

Our next destination was Calakmul ruins recognized by UNESCO as cultural Heritage. However, after the news we received from Australia plus the fact we were told the border with Belize could close we decided to bush camp near Calakmul and continue to Chetumal. We set up camp a few days later in Chetumal and by this time it became clear that the news we were following from the USA was not what the rest of the world was reporting and when the Australian Government urged everyone to come home while it was still possible we started to realize that the news given to the US people was not necessary correct.

Our first priority was to get the TIP for the scooter cancelled (Quintana Roo is a TIP free state). We made this a day out not just to cancel the TIP but also to explore Chetumal on the scooter. Chetumal means place of red wood and it has around 170000 inhabitants. The city is situated on the western side of Chetumal Bay and is the main trading gateway between Mexico and Belize just 15km south of the city. Because of its location on the Caribbean coastline, it is vulnerable to cyclones and cyclone Dean and Janet both Category 5 cyclones made landfall in Chetumal in 1955 and 2007. (Cyclones are called Hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere).

We loved our campsite in Chetumal and love this city far away from the Cancun tourist trap. Our few days in Chetumal became 8 days and lots of exploring on the scooter. During our stay we did not visit the lake of the seven colours and Bacalar, but we will visit this amazing part during our next visit. Internet became now important as we were looking for an earlier flight back home. By now it became clear airlines were reducing flights but both Mexico and the USA were still in a very relaxed mood advising citizens, they had it all under control!!! As we were waiting to get an earlier flight home, we enjoyed our journey north, beach hopping towards Cancun.

On the way we passed by Tulum the site of a pre-Colombian Mayan walled city. The city was crowded with tourists and it made us wonder if we also should stay in Mexico? Next, we met up with Martin and Paula Ex overlanders who now call Mexico home. Martin helped us with some issues we had (melted fuses) after plugging into the power supply while on a powered campsite. We could park in their garden in Playa Del Carmen. At the time in Australia all bars, restaurants and coffee shops had to close, playgrounds, sporting events etc. were called off, foreign tourists where no longer allowed into Australia and cruise ships were no longer allowed to dock.

However, in both Tulum & Playa del Carmen life went on as normal with thousands of tourists and parties every night. Like Tulum it was 20 years since we had visited this area and Playa del Carmen has recently undergone extremely rapid development with new luxury residential condominium buildings, restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues. Tourist activity in Playa del Carmen centres on Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, which stretches from Calle 1 Norte to Calle 40. A pedestrian walkway located just one or two blocks inland from the beach, Fifth Avenue is lined with hundreds of shops, bars, and restaurants. There are many small boutique hotels on and just off Fifth Avenue and on the beach.

Nothing reminded me of the originally small fishing town. Our next stop was Cancun, a tourist mecca for Americans and largely overpriced. Cancun consist of 2 areas: the downtown area and the Hotel zone. In 2004 we spent a week in Cancun but during this recent visit we did not recognize the city, lots of development, overpriced cafes and bars, the undeveloped lagoon areas now all under development. In short is has nothing to do with the Mexico we experienced while driving from Veracruz to Chetumal. Another area of concern are the violent acts related to drug trafficking between 2013 and 2018. Peaking in 2018 with in the month of January (Height of the tourist season) 33 murders in just one month and a continuing wave of violence and murders the following months. Most have occurred in the urban nucleus, and there have been various violent episodes with firearms in the so-called “Zona Hotelera” Maybe the above and incredible cost for food, accommodation and beverages and not being the Mexico people look for while travelling had something to do with a decrease in tourism in both 2019 and 2020 (before the Corona crisis).

We parked our truck around 30km East of Cancun and 23 km from the airport. Lucky, we found a flight out of Cancun to return home but were surprised to arrive at both Cancun and Dallas airport in the USA that it was life as normal without any checking. (this was March 23) the rest is now history and it now shows they left all by far too late. While we arrived in Australia, we were required to spend 2 weeks at home in Self Isolation.

Let’s hope this corona virus is going to go away soon and we can travel again. Our plan is to be back in Mexico Mid-August to explore Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

 

Stay safe and till next time once we arrive back in Mexico again

Pictures below are from our Previous visits to Mexico 2002 and 2004

PART 3 VIDEO CLIPS

  1. Mexico Part 1, Mexico City to Vera Cruz (truck arrives from Colombia)
  2. Mexico Part 2, Vera Cruz to Chetumal
  3. Compilation South America Part 1, 2016 to 2019
  4. Compilation South America Part 2, 2019 to 2020 (Under Construction)
  1. Mexico part 1, Mexico City to Vera Cruz (truck arrives from Colombia)

2. Mexico Part 2, Vera Cruz to Chetumal

3. Compilation South America Part 1, 2016 to 2019

4. Compilation South America Part 2, 2019 to 2020 (Under Construction)