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Mexico Travel Guide | Things to Know Before You Go

February 20, 2020 in Lifestyle, Travel - 7 min read

If Mexico is not yet part of your ‘dream travel destinations’, you have been thinking of it in all the wrong ways. Being in Mexico will make you want to live life differently and develop a whole new perspective. I spent 5 nights in Tulum, Mexico and this is, so far, the best trip I have had. From the culture, to the music, to the food, to the beaches, to the people, Mexico is beautiful through and through. 

I went there in February and was surprised to find out that it was actually winter because the ‘coldest’ it got was 28˚C/82˚F. Was I complaining? Oh no way! I was in desperate need for a hot vacation for my birthday since New York was deep in winter. This is something that you will either love or hate about Mexico, it’s pretty hot all year long with some rainy days here and there. Nonetheless, if you are hoping to visit this beautiful country in the near future, here are some guidelines that will be useful…

CURRENCY IN MEXICO

Mexicans use ‘pesos’ as their currency. During my stay, the exchange rate to USD was 17.70 – 1 USD = 17.70 Mexican pesos. One of the things that fascinated me about the pesos was that 10 pesos was a coin, then from 20 – 500 pesos you get notes.

LANGUAGE SPOKEN IN MEXICO

In Mexico, they purely speak Spanish which is a bit tricky if you are a foreigner with no knowledge of Spanish besides the basics, like greeting, saying Thank You and Goodbye. Out of all the Mexicans I encountered during my stay, only about 3 knew English – not even at the airport could I get much help. However, this alone adds to the experience because I had to learn Spanish on my trip and since then, I have been inspired to learn more Spanish.

VISA TO MEXICO

Before planning your trip anywhere outside your country, I highly advise you to check the VISA requirements for that particular place and you don’t even have to go to your local embassy to find out, you can simply visit Visa HQ. 

You do not need to get the Mexico visa if you have a valid visa or permanent resident of USA, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, or Schengen countries (selected European countries)

GETTING AROUND

There are various ways of getting around in Mexico depending on where you are. Going from the Cancun airport to Tulum is pretty easy. You could either rent a car (which by the way is not as cheap as it is on the internet), take the shuttle taxi or take the ADO bus. The first 2 options will slightly break your pocket but if you are looking for a convenient option, then the ADO bus is the one for you. Tulum is 2 hours away from Cancun and you can take the ADO bus to the city centre for only $17/300 pesos. 

If you want the full experience of Mexico (highly recommended) you should take the colectivo which is a taxi/ that goes around picking up and dropping people off at different stops, and you can also request a random stop. From Tulum, you can take the colectivo to go see the Mayan ruins, to go to adventure parts, Playa de Carmen, the beaches, downtown and back to the city centre and all you pay is 20 pesos which is barely $2, for Playa de Carmen you might have to pay a little more. 

Another option is renting a bicycle for the day which range from 120 – 150 pesos for the whole day. The best thing about cycling in Tulum is that the roads are completely flat so if you have no intentions on getting a work out session during vacation, you don’t have to worry about it, you’ll be cruising.

WHERE TO STAY

When it comes to accommodation in Mexico, you could never run out of options. Instead, you might struggle to actually decide on where you are going to stay. If you are traveling to Tulum and want to have yourself a guaranteed good time, book your stay with Che Tulum Hostel & Bar.

This is the best place to stay in if you want to meet new people, experience the culture of Mexico and party literally every single night. The staff is absolutely amazing, very welcoming and willing to make sure you enjoy your stay, they also offer tours to the cenotes and the ruins so do not miss out on all the fun. 

WHERE TO EAT IN TULUM

One thing I couldn’t stopping while I was in Mexico was eat! First of all, because the food is good and secondly because every meal is so affordable. I cannot give you a list of all the places I went to because that alone needs it’s own article but I will give you the best spots to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner…

BreakfastMatcha Mama
This is a popular place which I had planned to visit during my stay, there are 2 locations in Tulum (one in the city centre and one downtown). Matcha Mama is famous for it’s açaí bowls and smoothies which will also make you feel better after a hectic night out.

LunchBurrito Bar/Amor
I had my first ever burrito when I was in Mexico and the way they were so good, I am a little skeptical about eating them anywhere else, or even making them myself for that matter. Burrito bar has a variety of burritos to choose from, I had 2 chicken burritos for only 120 pesos and 

DinnerMil Amores
When I asked one of the staff from the hostel where I can get the best Mexican food, I was directed to Mil Amores and you would probably assume that’s a bias choice but he was completely right! The restaurant, I kid you not, has about 10 pages of food and drinks options. I had dinner here almost every night because the food was so filling, so tasty and also so affordable and it was 2 blocks away from the hostel. i couldn’t be happier.

WHAT TO DO IN TULUM

Tulum is probably the best place to go if you are into sightseeing when traveling because there is so much to see and do. There are ancient ruins that you can visit and learn about how they actually came about, there are swimming holes which are natural and safe to swim in, there are beaches which are clear blue and cold to keep you cool in the heat, there are shops where you can buy the most beautiful souvenirs and there is art pretty much in every corner you turn to.

Here are some of the places I visited and loved:
1) Cenote Cristal – this was part of the tours offered at the hostel, it is a nice secluded cenote
2) Mina restaurant – I had my first ever Pina colada here and the restaurant has it’s own private beach area at the back
3) SFER IK museum – there are 2 locations for this museum, the one I went to is downtown and it was temporarily closed but be sure to check out the one in Francisco Uh May which is not so far from Tulum
4) Coco Tulum – this is a restaurant right at the beach, it’s a nice white restaurant with different kinds of seating areas including the swings and Mexico is so popular for
5) Tulum Beach – the beaches in Tulum are all pleasant, the only drawback was the seaweed but if you don’t pay mind to them, you’ll thoroughly enjoy swimming there
6) Ahau – this is a hotel area but it is also open to the public, here you can find the ‘Love Yourself‘ sign
7) Aldo’s Italian Gelato – probably the best ice-cream I have had in a while
8) Santino bar – a compact bar with the best reggaeton music and I met the kindest bartender here
9) Paradise beach –  I went there with intentions to see the all-so-famous leaning tree but they cut off the top of it, despite my heart being shattered to see that, Paradise beach was still paradise
10) Pancho villa restaurant – another restaurant by the beach, although I didn’t quite enjoy the food, I absolutely loved the vibes
11) Tulum Mayas Ruins – you can take a colectivo for 20 pesos from the centre of Tulum to the ruins and pay 80 pesos to enter, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on if you don’t get a chance to see the Chichen Itza ruins in Yucatan
12) Lolita Lolita – this is a clothing shop but more famous for it’s ‘Follow that Dream‘ sign outside

That’s it for now, be sure to do some research on things to do and places to go before you take a trip to Mexico because you will regret every second you waste not doing anything in a country so beautiful. You will return back home with a guaranteed tan and sleepless nights and it will all be worth it.

9 Comments

  • andile February 20, 2020 at 06:27

    I’m glad you enjoyed your stay

  • questionsfromateenager February 20, 2020 at 08:22

    I would love to visit Mexico one day! It looks beautiful. x

    • Mbalenhle February 26, 2020 at 14:34

      Everything about it is beautiful!😍 it was a perfect escape from the cold weather in New York 🥴

  • Urban Suburban Girl February 20, 2020 at 09:07

    That hostel is super cute! I love Mexico.. still haven’t been to Tulum though! Hopefully soon!

    • Mbalenhle February 26, 2020 at 14:33

      Oh you will absolutely loooove Tulum ☺️

  • […] Related | Mexico Travel Guide – Things to Know Before You Go […]

  • Travel with Karabo April 11, 2020 at 19:36

    The accommodation looks stunning. Definitely hope to visit Mexico in the near future.

  • Leave a reply

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    Hi! I am Mbalenhle Khuzwayo, but everyone calls me Mbali for short. I am a lifestyle blogger who focuses on mental wellness, travel and social media marketing. Sign up to the monthly newsletter for insights on the personal side of my life and exclusive tips Read More

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