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Mexico

 
 
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Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 27 Jul 2011 05:55 
I am starting to have a look around for my annual 'out of Europe' trip. A few of my preferred options are not looking as likely now, so was just wondering if anyone had any ideas or advice on Mexico.
It looks like being a November holiday and Mexico has always been one of the places I assumed I would go, but never put much effort into planning. It also seems a good way of increasing my WHS tally very easily (9? within striking distance of Mexico City).
I was thinking Mexico City would form a decent base and perhaps head elsewhere for part of the trip. Are there any nearby sites that are 'Must sees' and any that are not really worthwhile?
I have been looking through the reviews on the site but there are a lot and after a while it is hard to tell which historic centre, set of missions or pre Hispanic remains really are great and which are just run of the mill.

Or if you can think of any alternatives for a good location for a 2-2.5 week break in November let me know.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 22 Apr 2014 13:18 
Three years later and I think I'm coming round to finally going on this trip.

Mexico City is a real WHS hotspot, Ideally I would like to see all the sites within a certain range but time restraints suggest some may have to be culled and at the I'm trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I'm heading back to reread Els, recent reviews, but to be honest I'm struggleing to pick out which colonial towns/ religious sanctuaries are great and which are just nice representations, so if anyone has any recommendations that would be great.

Likewise non WHS ideas for Mexico City would be very welcome.

As a mild thank you I managed to plot the Mexican T-list so if anyone is interested in that, here you go: Mexican T-List map

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 22 Apr 2014 15:31 | Edited by: Solivagant 
meltwaterfalls:
one pretty interesting site on Mexico's list is Las Pozas, Xilitla. It was unknown to me before but it is a rather crazy Surrealist Tropical Garden!

We visited Xilitla back in 2008 (you already have our route). For some reason I never got round to reviewing it. It is rather awkwardly located "goegraphically" but fitted in quite well on our route as we travelled from the Sierra Gorda missions down to El Tajin and on to Tlacotalpan. You will have a lot of top class things to see in Mexico and, whilst it is an interesting site and I am pleased we visited it, I personally can't envisage it having enough OUV and wouldn't go out of my way to see it. The roads in the area are twisty and slow with lots of topes (speed humps).
Monty Don featured it in his BBC program of a few years back titled "Around the World in 80 Gardens" (he had 2 other Mexican gardens too - the Chinampas in Xochimilco and a dry garden in the monastery in Oaxaca). See here for the relevant clip - it will give you a good idea of what it is like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdxsr0p489o
If you are interested in the story of the crazy rich English lord who built it then George Melly did a program on him and it - one ageing reprobate talking about another!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oosdgHLTGY

Given your interest in (Modern) Architecture and the fact that you will no doubt spend a fair amount of time in Mexico City I would definitely try to take in the Rivera- Kahlo home from Mexico's T List. I have reviewed it (and also recommend the Rivera Museum of Anahuacalli - see Wiki etc for more. Look at the 360 degree site!). Not relevant (yet!!) for WHS but worth seeing if you are in the area are the Satellite Towers (Goeritz and Barragan). They were iconic in the late 50s but suffer now from being surrounded by horrendous traffic - but still striking. See http://architecturerevived.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/satellite-towers-mexico-city.html

Author elsslots
Admin
#4 | Posted: 23 Apr 2014 00:17 
meltwaterfalls:
colonial towns/ religious sanctuaries are great

Near Mexico City, I think Puebla is the best.

And of course you have to visit the 2 modern architecture WHS in Mexico City itself!

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 24 Apr 2014 04:54 
Thanks for this, and the other information I received.

It just helps separate what is worth making time for and what is just worth a stop on the way to somewhere else. Or in European Terms sorting the Pragues from the Bratislavas.

The list of things to see in Mexico City keeps on expanding, on top of the usual capital city stuff it has also hosted the Olympics and 2 world cup finals (my other travel lists could be in for a good score on this one).

My weekend jaunts around London's travel bookshops have shown there is quite a dearth of guidebooks on the city and Mexico in general isn't really covered to the extent I would expect it to be, considering its size history and location. But I have plenty of them in my personal library to keep me going so mustn't grumble.

Author elsslots
Admin
#6 | Posted: 24 Apr 2014 06:37 
Mexico City has a lot to keep you occupied. As you know I visited it for 5 days earlier this year. My positives and negatives:

++
- Templo Mayor
- Antropology museum
- Coyoacán at night (2 plazas with lots of eateries and good atmosphere)
- Daytrip to Puebla by public bus
- UNAM campus (including Olympic Stadium)

- -
- Do not underestimate the altitude (2,250m)! I caught a cold and did not feel too great during all my stay in this area
- City center / Zocalo
- Casa Luis Barragan
- Bike Tour
- Chapultepec Park

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 12 Sep 2014 21:54 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Planned Itinerary (5 Days):
City Center/Zocalo/Temple Mayor
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Anthropology Museum
Chapultepec Park
Museo Soumaya
Frida Khalo Home & Museum
UNAM Campus
Coyoacan
Teotihuacan
Daytrip to Puebla

Considering (1 Addition):
1) Aqueduct of Padre Templeque (main arcade located 30 min. from Teotihuacan) 2015 WHC
2) Floating Gardens of Xochimilco (touristy kitsch and a bit pricey/crowded?)
3) Temple and Former Convent of Saint Michael the Archangel (Huejotzingo) (not far outside Puebla - 45 min, possible excursion)
4) Tecoaque (STILL CLOSED?)

These are my general plans, I will be using public transportation. Are there any specific Camino Real related sites in Mexico City, or is it just the Zocalo? I am not particularly interested in the Luis Barragan House, nor am I interested in making the day trip down to Xochicalco. However, I am considering the possibility of combining Teotihuacan with the Aqueduct of Padre Templeque which is located nearby (30 min). Does anyone know if this is feasible? What are transportation options from Teotihuacan?

Els, based on your evaluation of Chalpultepec Park I am slightly hesitant. Is there a highlight there worth visiting (beyond the Museum of Anthropology), but not spending more time than I need to? City-wide, any restaurant, hotel, museum, or transportation recommendations/suggestions? My trip will take place in December.

Author elsslots
Admin
#8 | Posted: 13 Sep 2014 09:35 | Edited by: elsslots 
winterkjm:
Is there a highlight there worth visiting (beyond the Museum of Anthropology), but not spending more time than I need to?

No, I don't think there is. What I did like to see (both times that I have been there) are the voladores next to the museum. They perform in a field right near the entrance.

For transportation: metro of course. Works fine. I did not write down any restaurant names, but I liked those around the square in Coyoacan (maybe also because my B&B was close).

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 16 Sep 2014 11:31 
Museo Soumaya - I wasn't aware of this, thanks for highlighting it.

I was also thinking of the Teotihuacan with the Aqueduct of Padre Templeque match up, hadn't looked in great detail, I am slightly dubious about there being much in the way of standard transport links between the two as the aqueduct seems reasonably remote and not especially famous. But if I find anything in my hunt I will let you know.

One additional thing to bear in mind December is prime time for the Monarch butterfly colonies and they are reasonably close (c.80 miles) though I'm not sure if logistics may push them beyond a reasonable day trip.

Brave move on Casa Barragan, being so close to a new WHS but not visiting would niggle me, but if you aren't interested then it is probably a good move, apparently there are things worth doing that aren't on the World Heritage List, who would have thought it :)

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 16 Sep 2014 11:58 | Edited by: winterkjm 
meltwaterfalls:
Brave move on Casa Barragan, being so close to a new WHS but not visiting would niggle me

I am content in visiting at least 4 WHS & 2 TWHS. That being said, perhaps I should now consider the Monarch Butterfly site...thanks for the suggestion.

Mexico is just next door to me (so to speak). I will slowly but surely visit many highlights of the country.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 16 Sep 2014 12:52 
meltwaterfalls:
One additional thing to bear in mind December is prime time for the Monarch butterfly colonies and they are reasonably close (c.80 miles) though I'm not sure if logistics may push them beyond a reasonable day trip.


The sanctuaries are further out of Mexico DF than this - Most day trip offerings are from Morelia. There are no doubt day bus tours from Mexico DF but I can't find any on the Web - I found 1 company offering tours by minibus but it needs 4 people to make it worthwhile - still around $100pp. They offer 2 different locations one taking 11 hours return and the other 9.5 hours (both Els and I saw them at Rosario which is 11 hours.)
http://www.toursbylocals.com/TBL/WebObjects/ToursByLocals.woa/1/wo/tZfSJ3c5nVfjhWJqgh 6Ktw/0.19.9.3.11.1

Author elsslots
Admin
#12 | Posted: 16 Sep 2014 13:08 
meltwaterfalls:
December is prime time for the Monarch butterfly colonies

I wouldn't say that, February would be the best time. In the coldest months (December and January) they are not as active. Even when I visited, on Jan 17, the sun came out only intermittenly. The butterflies "stay in bed" when the sun is not shining and the temperature is too low.

So - however beautiful this site is, I woúldn't advise on trying to reach it on a day trip from Mexico City in December.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 16 Sep 2014 19:58 
I definitely appreciate the advice!

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 5 Oct 2014 17:20 
I thought I would ask what peoples thoughts on Car rental are.

Of course it would only be for outside Mexico City but having read Els blog, even the airport seems to be a tough place to drive away from, perhaps LA was a good dry run.

Is it fairly straightforward and comfortable to drive to the colonial cities (Morelia or are there local hindrances that are worth keeping in mind?

Author elsslots
Admin
#15 | Posted: 6 Oct 2014 01:05 | Edited by: elsslots 
meltwaterfalls:
Is it fairly straightforward and comfortable to drive to the colonial cities

From my experience earlier this year, I would say:
- Mexico City airport & around: as I said, I wouldn't do it again; the ring around Mexico City is so busy and the signposting is terrible, while there are excellent buses to take you to the main cities (even from the airport directly)
- Colonial cities (Morelia, Queretaro etc): the main highways are OK (toll roads often), but it is difficult to get into the city centers; you also have to consider parking (I left my car a few times at shopping malls outside the center and took a minibus or taxi in). Actually you need a car when you want to see as many colonial city WHS as possible, but for a more relaxed trip I would suggest public transport
- Yucatan: very easy to drive, much less traffic

Having a car surely added to my stress levels during that trip, but without it you can't see so many WHS in such limited time.

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