Backpacking in Mexico

Backpacking in Mexico

Mexico is amazing! Experience the colorful country and the welcoming population at your own pace. The itinerary is pre-booked and you get to experience Mexico’s absolute highlights.
Mexico has something for everyone – the trip takes you to some of Mexico’s coolest places. You need at least 17 days to catch up, but why stress, you can be out for up to 90 days and land at exactly the pace that suits you best.

The basic program is with flights from Scandinavia to Mexico City where you have three nights, four excursions and a bus pass included in the price. The route itself runs from Mexico City to
– Oaxaca – Puerto Escondido – San Cristóbal de Las Casas – Palenque – Mérida – Tulum – Playa del Carmen – Cancún, but you decide how long you stay at each location.

You start in Mexico City with a couple of days to get used to the time difference and maybe study some Spanish words. Here you should not miss a look at the impressive Teotihuacán ruins and the pulse of the world’s largest city. See calculatorinc for more culture of Mexico.

From the capital, the journey then continues to Oaxaca, which is beautifully situated on the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range. It is a charming little town with cobbled streets and a cozy center with good restaurants and bars. Just outside the city itself are the well-preserved Monte Alban ruins.

From Oaxaca you then go on to the Pacific coast and the surfing paradise Puerto Escondido. This is where some of the world’s largest surfing competitions are held, but there are also beaches with waves that are suitable for beginners. The city is characterized by a nice and relaxed atmosphere, there are good opportunities to enjoy a cold beer at one of the nice beach bars.

On to San Cristóbal de Las Casas which is best known for its beautiful, charming colonial buildings and Native American culture. On the streets you often meet the beautifully and colorfully dressed Native American women who sell the most beautiful crafts imaginable.

From San Cristóbal, the tour continues towards Palenque with stops on the way at the delicious waterfall Agua Azul and Misol Ha. In the lush rainforest of Palenque are hidden some fantastic Inca ruins and an exciting story about the Mayan king Pakal.

Mérida is the largest city in the Yucatán and the cultural capital of the area with many museums, galleries and educational institutions. The city has a nice center with surrounding pastel colored houses. On the road between Mérida and Tulum is one of the world’s new wonders – Chichen Itza, which you must not miss to visit before indulging in total relaxation on the Caribbean coast.

The last stop on the trip is the lovely beach towns of Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancún which are located along the part of the coast known as the Riviera Maya. Here you will find fantastic beaches, spectacular diving and all its forms of adventure and water sports. You can hardly find a better way to end an adventurous journey than a little time here.

Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia and arrival in Mexico City

Departure from Scandinavia to Mexico, most flights land in the afternoon or evening, but it depends on which airline you choose. You will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hostel, which is centrally located in the old city of Mexico City.

Day 2-3: Mexico City and excursion to the Teotihuacán ruins

Welcome to Latin America and Mexico City. The city is located at 2200 meters above sea level and the temperature may be a little surprising as it will be a little cooler in the evening than you might expect from Mexico. You have the day to get used to the new time zone, the new world here, new colors and sounds and not least all the new taste experiences. There is plenty to do here in the city, you can visit the old town, visit Zócalo which is the city’s real center surrounded by the presidential palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. You can visit Frida Kahlo’s home or have a slightly different experience during a wrestling competition in Arena Mexico. Day trip to the Teotihuacán ruins (included in the price): No visit to Mexico City is complete without a trip to the Teotihuacán ruins which are about 1.5 hours outside the city. Here you can climb the solar and lunar pyramids and get a wonderful view of the entire temple complex where more than 200,000 people lived. The Sun Temple is the third largest pyramid in the world (only Egypt has two that are larger).

Day 4- ?: Experience Mexico at your own pace based on the route included in your bus pass.

Today you can start your journey around Mexico. The route is predetermined based on your bus pass, but you decide accommodation and times yourself. The following routes are included in your bus pass:

Mexico City – Oaxaca (approx. 7 hours): Oaxaca has approx. 260,000 inhabitants and is located at 1500 meters above sea level. It is a charming, old colonial town with cobbled streets, beautiful churches and colorful houses. Around the town square – plaza – there are many small cafes, bars and good restaurants. This is also a good place to buy your travel souvenirs, either at the market or from the local street vendors. We recommend a hike or bike ride out into the mountainous areas outside the city. An excursion to the Monte Alban ruins built by the Zapotec people is also a must. If you are in Oaxaca at the end of October or the beginning of November, this is one of the best plastics to experience the Mexican holiday Dias de Muertos – Day of the Dead.

Day trip to Hierve el Agua, Mitla and Tule (included in the price): Hierve el Agua – a beautiful “waterfall” consisting of natural rock formations that look like a waterfall Mitla – an impressive zapotecruin. Tule – in this small town there is a tree over 2000 years old with a diameter of over 52 meters. Mezcal factory – Taste the famous Mexican brandy reminiscent of the national drink tequila.

Oaxaca – Puerto Escondido (approx. 11 hours): Puerto Escondido was formerly a quiet little fishing village. People still fish here, but visitors from all over the world have opened their eyes to this little gem on the Pacific coast due to the magnificent surf waves and the village is now slightly larger…. There are waves here even for beginners and the city still has a nice and relaxed atmosphere. Feel free to stay at the cozy neighboring beach La Punta or the slightly livelier Zicatela beach.

Puerto Escondido – San Cristóbal de Las Casas (approx. 13 hours): San Cristóbal is a beautiful city at 2200 meters above sea level with about 160,000 inhabitants. The city is best known for its vibrant Native American culture and beautiful, colorful colonial buildings. You can definitely spend a few days here exploring the city where new and old traditions go hand in hand. At the city market you can buy beautiful and colorful clothes, hammocks and amber jewelry at really good prices. From San Cristóbal you can make excursions and visit Mayan villages such as San Juan Chamula and Zinacántan. Here you can almost feel how time stands still. The women are still dressed in their beautiful, colorful clothes and at holidays just as the men. Always remember to ask politely before photographing someone. The indigenous people have never had the same rights as the ordinary Mexican people. In this very province, the left-wing movement EZLN, better known as Zapatistas, has fought for increased rights. This fight has been both violent and bloody and you can not fail to get acquainted with history when traveling in this part of Mexico. There are still strikes and roadblocks, but not something you as a visitor need to worry about, you just follow instructions and advice.

Day trip Agua Azul and Misol Ha waterfalls and the Palenque ruins (included in the price): Between San Cristóbal and Palenque you have an excursion to two beautiful waterfalls. There is of course time to jump in and get a cooling dip. Agua Azul consists of several different waterfalls and is a popular excursion destination, especially on weekends and holidays. There is also a large selection of food and souvenir shops. Misol Ha is located at an altitude of 35 meters and there is a small path you can walk to see the waterfall itself from above. The last stop on the excursion is the spectacular Mayan ruins at Palenque. Deep in the lush rainforest are these ruins that are engulfed by the jungle and you feel like Indiana Jones when you walk here. You can climb some of the pyramids and get a nice view of the area. You can also visit some of the ruins that have not been cleared at all but still look like they did for many, many years ago. You also get the exciting story of the Mayan king Pakal retold by the local guide. Note that the excursion starts in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and ends in Palenque so you should remember to bring your luggage. Modern Palenque does not have much to offer but is best known as a starting point for visits to the fantastic surrounding Mayan ruins, so maybe a day or two is enough here to experience the contrast between new and old.

Palenque – Mérida (approx. 8 hours): Mérida is the largest city in the state of Yucatán with about 1 million inhabitants. It is also the cultural capital of the area with many museums, galleries and educational sites. In the oldest parts of the city you will find many beautiful, pastel-colored houses and churches – especially around the cozy main square – the plaza. Mérida is, among other things, the starting point for excursions to the largest Mayan ruins in the Puuc region; Uxmal and Kabah as well as Celestun National Park, best known for its rich bird life with large flocks of flamingos during the period between December and August.

Day trip Mérida – Chichen Itza ruins – Tulum (included in the price): Chichen Itza is one of the world’s new wonders and the most visited Mayan ruin in Mexico with about 4,000 visitors a day. At the autumn and spring equinox, there can be up to 10,000 visitors in one day. Chichen Itza is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the country’s most well – preserved Inca ruins. Prepare for a fantastic experience that you share with many during the day – and not least with the lemming train of souvenir vendors on site. Note that the excursion starts in Mérida and ends in Tulum so you should remember to bring your luggage. Welcome to Mexico’s wonderful Caribbean coast, better known as the Riviera Maya. Tulum is one of the most popular places on the coast but has still managed to maintain its laid-back and relaxed atmosphere – here the pace is completely different than in e.g. Playa del Carmen and Cancun. You can either live in Tulum itself which is about four kilometers from the coast or down by the beach. There is a road along the coastline and here are restaurants, bars and hotels side by side on both sides of the road. Accommodation options are available in all price ranges from camping to luxury resorts. You can reach most things either on foot or by bike. In Tulum you can make an excursion to beautiful Sian Ka’an National Park with its exciting flora and fauna. If you still have a craving for Mayan ruins, Tulum also has interesting remains that also have an exceptionally beautiful view of the sea. Remember to bring swimwear if you make an excursion here! There are also many cenotes in the area. A cenote is a natural gulf that arose during the last ice age, these cenotes and underground river systems were indispensable and sacred to the Mayan Indians. You can both swim and dive in the larger cenotes and it is an incredible experience.

Tulum – Playa del Carmen (approx. 1 hour) Playa del Carmen has a completely different pace than Tulum with hotels and resorts. The beach is fantastic and has slightly smaller waves than in Tulum as it is sheltered from the island of Cozumel. Many cruise ships dock here and then there is life and movement on the city’s main street Avenida 5. Here is a large selection of restaurants, bars, clothing and souvenir shops. Here are all kinds of water sports and especially diving is popular.

Playa del Carmen – Cancun (approx. 1 hour) Cancun is an even bigger holiday destination than Playa del Carmen and especially popular with American tourists. For that very reason, you will find many American hotel and food chains here, plus you speak significantly more English here than elsewhere in Mexico. This is a city with speed and a lively nightlife, especially during the American spring break. If Cancún is too hectic, you can always go out and stay on the cozy little island of Isla Mujeres where you will find a relaxed Mexican atmosphere. There are no cars on the island but you walk, bike or ride a golf cart. If you travel during the period June – August, you can make excursions and look for whale sharks outside Isla Holbox.

Day?: Departure from Cancun to Scandinavia

Your trip ends in Cancun and when you are ready to go home again, it is from here that you fly.

Day ?: Arrival Scandinavia

Arrival time depends on which airline you have chosen to fly with.

Overnight stays

Three nights at a hostel in Mexico City

Backpacking in Mexico

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