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Travel Tips



The price range for a double room at a middle class hotel is around 50 US$. We preferred not to stay at too cheap places for reasons of safety and hygiene. I booked most of the hotels in advance via the internet. It depends on the season if advance reservation is required but we wanted to make sure we knew where we would rest our heads, and it was convenient to be able to tell the taxi drivers just where we wanted to go. The disadvantage with booking in advance was that we were already fixed in our travel itinerary. The reservation itself usually was no problem. Many hotels request at least a one-day deposit for any length of stay by traveler's check or wire transfer, which I was trying to avoid as it would have been to inconvenient and expensive to do this for every hotel we wanted to stay at. For all the reservations I made, it was sufficient to e-mail or fax my credit card number as a guarantee, one hotel was even satisfied with a simple e-mail confirmation. Only one problem occurred when a hotel charged my account immediately - five months before our arrival - and it didn't even say on their website that advance payment would be required!! When I complained I was told that advance payment was common practice in Mexico and that they would refund if I cancelled in time. Well, I wondered if that would really work out... Eventually I did cancel and after some misunderstandings and delays from the bank, I did get my money back after several months, not to speak of the difference in the exchange rate...

The hotels we stayed at:

Another hotel recommended to us:

Two hotels we planned to stay at and which looked good:

More Hotel links:


The Mexican bus system is surprisingly well organized. The busses were very punctual and it was easy to find your way around. There were airport-like security checks. It is advisable to travel first or luxury class and to make reservations a day or two in advance whenever possible as sometimes busses can fill up quickly. Most cities have separate bus stations for the different companies. I bought a good travel guide which lists the connections from city to city and this was a great help.

For the first eight days we had a bus or minivan with chauffeur, which cost us 175 US$ per person. Renting a car is very expensive in Mexico, which was one of the reasons why we didn't take a rental car for the second week. Another reason was the heavy Mexican traffic, especially in the large cities. And another good reason, which we found out later, is the high toll which is charged on the motorways and which seemed to us pretty unbelievable!

The best option for transportation in the cities are taxis. Taxi fares are typically only a few dollars, so it's a comfortable and fairly inexpensive way of travelling. Bargaining should be attempted, but tips are not required.


We got ourselves vaccinated against Hepatitis A&B (this should be done at least six months in advance) and Typhoid fever (10 days in advance) and we brought some medication against Montezuma's Revenge, and this came in handy in some cases. In Mexico there are pharmacies at every corner and you can fill up your supply cheaply. Malaria vaccination is advisable for some regions, for example there is no risk of malaria in areas above 1000 m. There is some risk in Oaxaca, but Oaxaca city is at 1500 m altitude.

Food and Water

To avoid Montezuma's Revenge drink only hot beverages (such as coffee or tea), canned or bottled beverages, beer and wine. It is wise to request your drinks without ice (sin hielo). Don't brush your teeth with tap water. Avoid any raw food like salads, uncooked vegetables and fruit, unpasteurized milk and milk products, raw meat, and shellfish. If you peel fruit yourself, it is generally safe. Food that has been cooked and is still hot is generally safe. The only eateries that still may be unsafe are the roadside vendors. At the chain restaurants VIPS and Sanborns you can eat everything, including fresh salads and fruit without problems.


There are money exchanges everywhere and the procedure is easy. You only have to produce your passport. Usually both traveler's checks as well as cash in US dollars are accepted. Not all the banks change traveler's checks, or if they do it often takes longer. For cash you get a better exchange rate. At the time of our stay one dollar was worth approximately 9 pesos.

I found Mexico to be quite expensive, at least compared to German standards. Eating at restaurants costs about the same, maybe it is slightly cheaper, but drinks are often even more expensive. For a dinner for two we usually spent around 160 pesos plus 10-15 % tip, which should be left on the table. At the chain restaurants VIPS and Sanborns you can pay with a traveler's check.

Internet cafés are frequent and inexpensive. Taxis around town usually cost 15 - 40 pesos. Hotels are cheaper than in Germany, but not the international chains.

Personal Safety

We heard that it is advisable to take only taxis dispatched from official sites (sitios) and not the green VW Beetles and to avoid displays of wealth in order to be on the safe side in Mexico City. Trying to be sensible we didn't have any safety problems during our entire trip. Nevertheless we did pass some areas, especially in Mexico City and in Acapulco, which we were glad to get out of and we were careful to hold on to our belongings.


The time difference between Central Europe and Mexico City is seven hours.

International phone calls, even with a phone card, are very expensive due to a luxury tax. With a 30 pesos phone card (Ladatel) it seems like we were able to talk only for one or two minutes, and we were cut off when still 10 pesos were left on the card! Those we could use only inside Mexico.

Entrance fees to museums or archeological sites are usually around 35 pesos. There is a free entrance on Sundays and holidays!

During our entire trip we saw only one cockroach!


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