Monday, May 12, 2008


I just returned from a few weeks traveling in Mexico. As usual, I didn't have any plans or itinerary so I just bought one-way plane tickets to Cancun and after that took buses to other places whenever I was ready to move on. Here is where I went:

Chichen Itza
Mexico City
San Miguel de Allende

The ocean and beach at Cancun were beautiful, but it was much too touristy for me so I was happy to leave there after just a couple of days. I took a bus across the Yucatan Peninsula to Merida and liked it much better. I was able to get a hotel just half a block off the Plaza Grande (main square or zocalo) and the room was good, the price was great, and the people working there were all very nice. I stayed for a week or so and on one day I took a bus to the Maya sites at Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labna. A few days later I also took a bus to the most famous Maya site at Chichen Itza. The Maya ruins at Uxmal and Chichen Itza in the Yucatan were amazing!

Finally, it was time to move on so I bought plane tickets and flew to Mexico City. Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world, but it is very easy to get around. There is a subway station in the airport and you can go anywhere in the city and have unlimited transfers to any of the dozen or so subway lines for 2 pesos (US$0.20)! I stayed in a hotel about 2 blocks from the zocalo (main square) in the historic center of the city. It was a very convenient place to stay and lots to see just by walking around in the area. After a few days there I felt like moving on so decided to take a bus to the beautiful little town of San Miguel de Allende. There are some Spanish schools in the town and I would like to do a homestay and study there sometime. I stayed a few days and then took a bus to Guanajuato -- an old and wonderful small city with a famous university in the centro so there were many young people and lots of energy.

My travel book says that for a few centuries Guanajuato was the richest city in Mexico because of all the silver mined around here and sent back to Spain. It shows. The centro has many beautiful old colonial buildings and houses. The center of the city is actually in a ravine with houses built up on both sides. The main street runs uphill down at the bottom of the ravine. The cobblestone main street is just barely wide enough for one car though and is one way so it isn't a big avenue. Very nice for walking and then heading up the steep side alleys and lanes (only walking, no cars or motorbikes). Many small plazas scattered around. This is the most European city in Mexico we have found so far.

All of the places were very interesting and the Mexican people are very friendly. I want to go to Mexico again and see other parts of the country. After Guanajuato I took a bus back to Mexico City and hung around there for a few more days and then flew back to Austin. Although I spent four years studying Spanish in high school and university I have forgotten most of it, but I do remember a few words and a few simple phrases. Communicating was a bit easier than in countries like Thailand because Spanish uses the western alphabet so it is easy to read signs, menus, etc.

I have a few photos from the trip in the Mexico gallery: