Looking for Mexico winter location suggestions
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Jun 28, 2012 2:48 PM Last Post By: alterigor
Jun 23, 2012 1:49 PM
Looking for Mexico winter location suggestionsI'm planning to spend this December, January & February in Mexico and am looking for suggestions of where to settle down. I may decide to do a bit of traveling while I'm there (maybe even pass into Guatemala) but mostly I'm thinking I would like to stay put in one location so I can really soak up the culture and meet people. My wishlist: on or close to the beach, not TOO touristy (some tourism is okay, but I also want to mingle with the locals), good bus transportation in, out, and around, a younger, bohemian crowd, live theater, artist community, spanish classes, scuba diving lessons, inexpensive accomodations such as hostels or rooms to rent, not a huge city, within a day's bus ride to D.F., and a daily temperature range of 50-90F. If possible, to be near some ruins would be great.
The places I've visited before are D.F. (liked it a lot, but the pollution gets to me after a few days), San Miguel de Allende (loved it, but saw mostly the retirement age crowd), Morelia (really liked it but am looking for something with less of a modern city feel), and Isla Mujeres (loved it but too touristy in the winter).
Those are my preferences at the moment but I'm open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!
Edited by: Mex_Bound
Jun 23, 2012 3:49 PM
1My suggestions for favorite places on the Pacific Coast of Mexico that meet your specs would include Zipolite Beach in Oaxaca.
You might also like Puerto Escondido, 40 miles to the northwest. Puerto Escondido might be even closer to your needs since it offers a PADI shop, lots of long term rentals, and good first class bus service to just about anywhere. (small airport also)
Zipolite fits your chilled out specs and the low cost lodging. Rents at Zipolite run from 200 USD and up. Less on a monthly basis
Scuba diving is available from boats out of nearby Puerto Angel, an inexpensive colectivo ride away. Nightlife consists of a few weekend music clubs and a stroll-in movie theater. Internet cafes are available.
We vacationed there for four weeks in December and January and paid 12 USD/ night with Wifi and daily maid service.
We took day trips by collective cab to Mazunte, Puerto Angel, San Augustinillo, and Ventanilla's lagoon tours.
(Christmas, New Years and Easter could be crowded as these two weeks are high season)
Check well ahead of your trip because this area was recently hit by a hurricane and there was some damage. This could all be repaired by winter. Zipolite and Mazunte were hit harder than Puerto Escondico
Another place that we like is Zihuatanejo in Guerrero State. The town is far more developed than Zipolite but still has a laid back Mexico vibe. Winter tourism is way down so there are lots of inexpensive rents. Bus service is good to much of Central Mexico including Morelia, Guadalajara, and DF.
Zihuatanejo offers a great harbor, small-wave beaches, SCUBA, sport fishing, and a beach walkway for recreation. Reach good surfing to the north and south by the extensive combi or collective cab system. Lots of bars and clubs. Zihuataneo was once winter home to many US and Canadian visitors so there are some language schools there and private teachers. Many of the local people speak English and Spanish.
One more that I like, San Blas near Tepic in Nayarit State. Eco tours and deserted beaches, about 200 miles south of Mazatlan, once noted for its surfing waves.
Jun 23, 2012 3:59 PM
2Ok - Let's take your wish list in order - -
Close to the beach and a days bus ride from the DF?? Pacific coast/ Acapulco/Zihuat area or somewhere in the state of Veracruz on the Atlanitc side
Not to touristy - That leaves out Acapulco and, maybe Zihuat depending on your tolerance.
Good bus transport - Most of Mexico has decent bus service.
Younger, bohemian crowd, live theater, etc - Ain't gonna happen !! There is no San Miguel for young people on the beach.
Inexpensive on the beach over the holidays ain't gonna happen, either. You're talking peak local
tourist time. The whole DF goes to the beach from mid-Dec to mid-Jan.
You're not gonna get everything on the list. Time to go back and prioritize. You'll probably have to go
someplace that isn't easy to get to from the DF, if you want inexpensive beach over the holidays.
You can probably find Spanish & SCUBA instruction on a beach but that's about it.
If you're willing to give up the beach, there are college towns, like Xalapa that might meet your needs.
You could bus to the beach, on occasion, or relocate after the holidays.
Jun 23, 2012 4:03 PM
Jun 23, 2012 5:45 PM
Jun 24, 2012 1:13 PM
6Xalapa is not really close to the beach, unless something happened in the night and I slept through it. While I have never personally been there, my niece says it is one of her favorite places in Mexico. High enough not to have too many mosquitoes. Low enough to not be too cold in winter. A lot of nice things, a nice city, according to her.
If you would be willing to take the bus into Vera Cruz when you wanted to be in the ocean, Xalapa would probably be a good place for everything else, though I am taking my niece's word on that.
Jun 24, 2012 1:16 PM
7In case someone wonders why I would take my niece's word on a place I have never been, over the 29 years I have known her, she has proven to be very accurate when she tells me I will like something. We are very, very close, and have been for that many years. I still think of her partly as a sweet, 11 year old girl, and she is 40 years old now.
Jun 24, 2012 2:42 PM
8Most beach places you get no culture and lots of tourists. Mazatlan has some good of both. Anywhere at the beach in winter is tourist season.
The Melaque area is a good bet I think. You really have to speak Spanish and come to Colonial cities to get Mexican culture, but Colima area is not a bad idea. I always have a good time in Zihuatanejo, although it is far from major theatre etc. You know, "artist communities" are founded by people who move into them.
Jun 26, 2012 4:26 PM
10Not to mess up things....but....I agree with everything good about Xalapa, except one of the coldest weeks of my life was spent in Xalapa in January. Chipi-chipi rain the whole time, no sun, nothing--including heat in the buildings.
Jun 26, 2012 5:34 PM
11Cuernavaca or Tepoztlan. They are very close to DF and close to Acapulco. Wonderful temperature in winter and lots of things to do. I think after San Miguel de Allende, Cuernavaca is top regarding spanish schools. There are scuba diving lessons in some of its rivers (like las Estacas) and plenty of activities to do like paragliding, ski, snorkeling, white water rafting, underground rivers exploration, etc. in nearby Cuautla, Tequesquitengo Lake and Cacahuamilpa. Very close to the silver town of Taxco. Excellent transportation system with every 15 minutes buses to Mexico City and plenty of cheap accomodation. The big plus is that there are important ruins around like Xochicalco, Teopanzolco and Tepoztlan. Enjoy.
Jun 26, 2012 6:13 PM
12@ #11 -- could you please provide, if possible, more details re underground rivers explorations around Cuernavaca?
Jun 26, 2012 6:51 PM
13Its a ways south of Cuernavaca- near Chilpancingo- but probably the largest cave system in the area. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grutas_de_Cacahuamilpa_National_Park
There is another cave nearbye with Olmec paintings - Juxtlahuaca
I'd go on a Saturday, as they are not a major attraction and you'll need a guide to gain access
(They keep the door locked)
Jun 26, 2012 10:49 PM
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