MEXICO SOLO TRAVEL GUIDE

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! MEXICO TRAVEL GUIDE 2024
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR MEXICO SOLO TRAVEL

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BIENVENIDO A MÉXICO!

Gwen in Mexico

Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 28 years of solo global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my guide to Mexico travel, all from my Mexico solo travel, so you plan and book your solo Mexico trip with ease. What are you waiting for?

MEXICO: DID YOU KNOW?

About Mexico

Mexico – the 14th largest country by landmass, and the 11th most populous, is home to 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza (a 7th wonder of the world). Wow!

Mexico is also home to tequila (the country’s official drink), mariachis, El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), beer, the inventors of the birth control pill and color TV, Salma Hayek, chocolate, white sand beaches and beautiful coastal resorts, margaritas, professional wrestling, 59 varieties of corn, Plaza de Toros – the largest bullfighting ring in the world, telenovelas (soap operas), Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and, of course, tacos, tortas, tamales and tostadas (a.k.a. “Vitamin T”).

Mesoamerican artifact_Mexico Travel Guide

Languages in Mexico

The official language is Spanish; however, other regional majority languages include Nahuatl, Maya, and Mixtec. There are 68 indigenous languages spoken in Mexico. Additionally, English is very popular in Mexico with many Mexicans considering English their second or third language.

Mexican Culture

Over 80% of Mexicans are Catholic making Mexico the second-highest population of Catholics in the world (second to Brazil), which is interesting because the first birth control pill was invented by Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cardenas, a Mexican.

Mexico City’s the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered one of the most highly visited pilgrimage sites in Mexico. Built on Mesoamerican civilizations going back 13,000 years, Catholicism was brought by the Spaniards when they colonized Mexico in the 16th century after conquering the Aztecs.

Mexico eventually became a sovereign nation with its independence from Spain in 1821. Throughout more changes and the Mexican Revolution, Mexico is now officially known as the United Mexican States, comprised of 31 states, including the capital, Mexico City.

Family is one of the most important elements in Mexican society and families are typically large.  Mexicans enjoy hosting parties at their homes. 

Tequila_Mexico Travel Guide

Mexican cuisine is widely diversified depending on the region you visit, still rice and corn are considered Mexican staples in addition to its tequila made from the agave cactus.  Soda is also widely popular in Mexico.

Mexicans are considered a warm, inviting and colorful people undoubtedly deriving from diverse indigenous and Spanish influences, which also reflect in their clothing, music and art.

Popular Activities in Mexico

Fútbol (soccer) is considered the national sport and baseball is also very popular. Mexicans may also enjoy fishing, tennis, swimming, bicycling, track and field, jai alai and going to bullfights or rodeos. Mexicans may observe the traditional siesta and enjoy participating in fiestas (parties) based around the family, religion, traditional cuisine, and holidays with music, dancing and even piñatas.

Popular Mexican Tequila Tours and Activities

Guacamole and chips Mexico City_Mexico Travel Guide

MEXICO TRAVEL PLANNING

Mexican Currency

Mexico uses the peso (MXN or $). Exchange rates are usually favorable for U.S. citizens at about 2 to 1. Check throughout your travel planning phase on any exchange rate changes.

Tipping in Mexico

Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules.  That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated. 

What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc.  For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.

Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.

Veggie hummas and bread_Mexico Travel Guide

Mexican Holidays

It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.

Therefore, a key activity to do in your early Mexico travel planning stage is to know the national and local holidays in Mexico.

MEXICO TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

Travel Documents for Mexico

From the U.S., you will need a valid passport at time of entry.  A Mexico travel visa is not required if your stay is less than 6 months. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Mexico. It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.

If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

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Vaccinations for Mexico

Vaccinations may be advised or required for Mexico depending on your Mexican destination. Also, be aware of water quality and altitude advisories. The U.S. State Department provides up-to-date required vaccination information to visit Mexico. It is advised to always check for any Mexico travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.

If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

Frida Khalo mural Mexico City_Mexico Travel Guide

MEXICO TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Electronics for Mexico

Want to use your 110 V electronics while traveling in Mexico? Mexico’s voltage is 127V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz and use both Type A and Type B adapters, like the U.S. Therefore, U.S. electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) should not require a voltage converter in Mexico.

Remember, most smart phones, tablets and laptops don’t require a converter, but double-check your device(s) before you leave home.

Although you don’t have to bring an adapter, check your electronics – if you have one requiring a 3-prong outlet you may want to bring a Type B adapter just in case.

If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to Mexico, you can check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.

Cyber Security While Traveling

Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.

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CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES

Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Mexican destinations, all from my travel in Mexico, to plan your best Mexico solo travel.

The more I travel Mexico, the more that gets added to this Mexico Travel Guide. Keep checking back.

Mexico City

I recently visited Mexico City in 2022. Until I write about it, here are my recommended things to do in Mexico City I enjoyed.

Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Mexico City

It has been many years since I was in the following Mexican destination. If revisit this destination in Mexico, it will be updated. Until then, here are my recommended things to do in Mexico (from what I’ve already enjoyed or would do when I revisit).

Cancun

Recommended Things to Do in Cancun

HOW TO BOOK MEXICO TRAVEL

It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.

No Mexico guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun Mexico things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo trip to Mexico.

Cheap Flights to Mexico

With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to Mexico, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to Mexico now.

Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to Mexico

Mexico Places to Stay

Second in importance to buying airline tickets to Mexico is finding the best place to stay in Mexico for your Mexico solo travel. Develop your Mexico travel itinerary now and find the best Mexico travel accommodations to knock one more travel planning item off your solo travel list.

Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in Mexico

Getting Around Mexico

Mexico has all forms of transportation, including Carpoolworld, Uber, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area).

Of course, you can easily get a taxi or find a rental a car in Mexico if it better suits your Mexico travel itinerary.

Find the Best Deals on Mexico Rental Cars

Mexico also has regional buses and a limited, regional passenger train, Chepe Express.

Things to Do in Mexico

Here are some of the top things to do in Mexico to book for your Mexico solo travel.

Best Mexico Food Tours and Activities

MEXICO ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Mexico. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

Air Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ground Transportation

Try to avoid flying in Mexico by taking a regional bus or the regional train, Chepe Express

When booking a rideshare in Mexico, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Mexico.

The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Mexico are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter.

Explore Mexico Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals

Coyoacan market flags_Mexico City_Mexico Travel Guide

Accommodation Tips

Look for Mexico accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Mexico Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

Chapultepec Castle Mexico City_Mexico Travel Guide

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Mexico certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find accommodations in Mexico implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Booking.com Travel Sustainable accommodation. Booking.com started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.

Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in Mexico

Eco-Friendly Things To Do

Mexico has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Mexico. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

Top Mexico Ecotourism

Eco-Travel Products

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect Mexico’s environment. 

For more ideas on how to travel with the planet in mind, read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

Teotihuacan_Mexico City_Mexico Travel Guide

MEXICO TRAVEL SAFETY

Before You Go

Always consult your government’s Mexico travel advisory for your Mexico travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.

Buy Mexico travel insurance and international medical insurance for your Mexico solo travel to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.

Safety in Mexico

Yes, there may be some dangerous areas around the U.S.-Mexican border, and petty and violent crimes, including kidnapping, exist in the Mexico during the day and in tourist areas. However, this should not deter you from visiting Mexico. 

As always, be smart and take precautions while traveling. Try to link up with other tourists who have recently visited your Mexico destination. These will offer great insights and advise. A lot of the “Mexico is violent” hype is mostly just that: hype. Remember, millions of people visit Mexico yearly and Mexico would like to see those tourist dollars keep coming back, especially in the high-tourist areas like the Mexican Riveria. I was in Mexico City in 2022 solo and never felt unsafe.

My number one rule for Mexico would be to not keep your ID or cash in your pocket or made easily visible. Beyond that, my standard tips for solo and female solo travelers (or any traveler for that matter) are:

  • always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
  • always be “street wise”.
  • always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
  • never leave your food or drink unattended.
  • keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
  • be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
  • research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
  • if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.

MEXICO BUDGET TRAVEL

Best Time to Visit Mexico

Certainly, anyone would like to avoid the hurricane season in Mexico, which is June through November, and experience the drier season, yes? Consider this dry season (peak season) is when the costs will go up, of course, but there is still a good time to go when weather is warm and prices lower:  April and May. 

Touristy areas, like Cancún, Riviera Maya, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mexico City – are going to be pricier than the lesser known cities or regions of Mexico. If you’re not afraid to explore and have done your safety research, Mexico can offer inexpensive travel destinations.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico City_Mexico Travel Guide

Budget Accommodations

Staying in Mexico hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in Mexico, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.

Many hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in Mexico – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.

Don’t overlook exploring hostels in Mexico if you’re on a budget.

Reserve Your Mexico Hostel

Best Time to Book Travel

Mexican resort areas could be pricey depending on your Mexico destination. The sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.

Ready to book Mexico solo travel? Don’t miss out and find the best Mexico travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money when traveling to Mexico.

Book Mexico Travel Early to Save Money

la Iglesia de Coyoacán Mexico_Mexico Travel Guide

PERSONAL STORY

Like Canada, my country also borders Mexico and, like Canada, it’s amazing how little time I’ve spent in Mexico. I have been to Cancún, Tijuana, and Mexico City. Yet, I confess this is not enough considering all that Mexico has to offer. Top on my Mexico bucket list are to go scuba diving, see the Baja Peninsula coastline, whale watch, dive, and do some tequila tasting. Yum. Yes, and hit some of those amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites, like the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.

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