This is it- the post you’ve been waiting for! All the juicy details on all the things I did, activities I partook in, tours I went on, museums I visited, and so on- including cost*. No doubt, by the end of this post, you will be able to build your own Mexican trip itinerary and if not, I owe you a discount on a 30 minute 1:1 travel consultation. No questions asked 🙂
Day 1- Arrived in Mexico City airport and found my way to my hostel. I explored the area a little bit on foot with some help from Google maps. I got some food at the hostel rooftop restaurant, but there are several restaurants in the area to choose from. I met a few others in the hostel and ate the tongue of a cow.
Day 2- Went on a free walking tour of the historical center put on by the hostel. Next, I went to Coyoacan, another neighborhood in Mexico city to visit the Frida Kahlo house (246.10 pesos), also known as Casa Azul because of it’s distinct blue color all over. Tips: Buy your tickets online to cut down on the wait time. Buy your ticket in your home country if you have to, in case internet service is not up to your expectation in Mexico City. Bring multiple types of credit/debit cards with you e.g. visa and mastercard in case either doesn’t work. In my case, I bought my ticket online, in Mexico, and my visa wouldn’t work but my mastercard did.
After that, I joined another free walking tour of the Coyoacan neighborhood. Schedule for this tour and the others they organize can be found at this site. My plan for afterwards was to meet with my new friends and head to Xochimilco to experience being on the floating boats, while listening to mariachi bands, on the way to see the doll island. However, due to poor coordination and heavy traffic, that plan was abandoned. I hear it is a fun thing to do- just plan ahead, get there during the daytime, know approximately how much it will cost, etc.
Day 3- I went to visit the pyramids at Teotihuacan. It’s about an hour from Mexico City by bus. This can be expensive depending on the tour company you pick. You can also find your way there on your own but you won’t have a tour guide. I recommend a tour guide. I went with the company at the site above- their price is 600 pesos (compared to others I saw for 2000 pesos) and you get a further discount of 150 pesos if you take one of their free walking tours prior to this one. Note that it is an early start and you will go by public transportation but those fees are included in the 450 or 600 pesos.
The Teotihuacan meeting place is in front of the Palacio de bellas artes but I never got enough time to visit it. It is a highly recommended tourist attraction as well. After I got back, I had lunch at Casa de Tono, which I highly recommend. Next, I visited the Palacio Nacional which is located in the historical center. It is a museum and also the Mexican equivalent of the White House but I don’t think the President is there much. One of the most fascinating things there is Diego Rivera’s [most?] famous mural depicting the history and future of Mexico. Next I checked out the 2 cathedrals in the historical center- breathtaking, as expected.
That same night, I attended Lucha Libre, after tasting some Mezcal. This event cost 600 pesos and was organized by my hostel. I recommend this attraction as it is very unique to Mexico City and can be rather entertaining.
Day 4- Free walking tour, again by the same company. This time, I got to see another side of Mexico City- Chapultepec park and surrounding areas. One could easily spend the whole day there as there are a lot of museums and monuments. The famous Angel of Independence statue is in the area- in fact, that is where the tour starts. Next, I went to the Museum of Anthropology. Main reason- to see the aztec calendar! However, the rest of the museum is pretty cool too. Finally, I ended the day with another free walking tour of the historical center. You got it right, same company :). Look out for Casa azulejos!
Day 5- It was time to say adios to Mexico City. I boarded a flight to Cancun and then took a bus ($13), right from the airport, to Playa Del Carmen (Avenida Quinta). Checked in to hotel, explored the area- mostly on Avenida Quinta (5th avenue), purchased excursions, saw the famous Coco Bongo (which I didn’t end up visiting during my stay but I hear it is quite the fun experience), and ended up in the main park where there were a few street artistes performing. Technically free but tipping is nice, especially if you take a photo with them.
Day 6- Excursion 1 ($50)- Got on a bus from PDC to Cancun, then got on a Catamaran (think party boat) at Cancun which sailed to Isla Mujeres. During the trip over, there was some time set aside for snorkeling, if you were into that. At Isla Mujeres, I spent some time sightseeing and walking around and relaxing on the beach, then the Catamaran went on to another part of Isla Mujeres where lunch was provided. By late afternoon, we started the journey back to Cancun and then to PDC.
Day 7- Chill day. It was Christmas day so I focused on resting, going to the beach to take a dip in the ocean, and enjoying a nice fancy Christmas dinner. After that, I took a walk around PDC, which turned into hunting for murals.
Day 8- Excursion 2 ($75)- Got on a bus to Chichen Itza, one of the seven new wonders of the world. Beware though, depending on the company you book through, they may take their sweet time to get you to Chichen Itza making stops along the way most likely in a bid to get you to buy souvenirs. Chichen Itza is definitely highly recommended.
Next, we were taken to a cenote (swimming optional, lifejacket optional but for a token fee of 30 pesos and locker fee of 30 pesos). That was fun and it was nice that it is fresh water, not salt water. Next, we made a fleeting stop in the city of Valladolid to look around before heading back to PDC.
Day 9- I took the ferry to Cozumel and hung out for the day. I got to snorkel for free! When I got back, I did a free walking tour of PDC. Oh you thought I was done with them free walking tours? 😉 Also, by the same company. Seriously, check them out. And no, this is not an ad.
Day 10- Caught the sunrise in PDC, walked along the beach one last time, took the bus to Cancun airport, flew home!
Things I didn’t do because I ran out of time/money (not already mentioned in the post) – visit Chapultepec Castle, eat at Mercado Roma, Visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica, visit Mama Rumba to dance/watch people dance salsa, visit Tulum, actually explore Cancun, visit another cenote, parasailing.
So there you have it folks, a compilation of what to do with yourself should you find yourself in Mexico for some days. I hope you enjoyed the list- anything you’d add for Mexico City and Playa Del Carmen? Let me know in the comment section!
Till next time, abrazos!
Header photo: Front of Palacio de Belas Artes. December 2018. Photo by Stranger.
*for some of the items, particularly where memory serves me well enough.