Morelia & Lake Patzcuaro // Guadalajara, its neighboring Towns & Lake Chapala

31.08. – 04.09.2019

Morelia is an amazing city – it is big, clean and has the most impressive church in Mexico. The city center is very well kept and shows a lot of history. Now, there are people that like avocado and then there is me! For dinner we decided it would be a good idea to have an avocado soup, guacamole, and avocado – the most avocado you can have in one meal! 🙂 But moving on to the city, we saw a fireworks show above the cathedral in the evening. The cathedral is nice but not as stunning as the Santuario de Guadeloupe that has to be the most beautiful and unique church in Mexico with such a surreal look that’s just so amazing and beautiful.

The next day, we decided to go to Patzcuaro, a famous lake in Mexico that is supposed to be the best place to go to on “Dia de Muertos” (so check it out if your’e around at the beginning of Nov). The islands have a charm to them that is hard to explain. Janitzio island is topped by a statue that is supposed to be bigger than the Statue of Liberty in NYC. Patzcuaro itself is a nice small town with colonial beauty and charm that has its own unique personality compared to the rest of Mexico. In a way, it feels a bit more lost in time than the rest since cars are not as present as in other cities.

Our next stop was Guadalajara – it could be a beautiful city with its churches and colonial-style houses but the fact that modern buildings, stores and businesses are so present everywhere takes away from the charm. It is Mexico’s second biggest and most important city.

To Chapala it’s a 30 minutes bus drive from Guadalajara’s old bus station. There, you are greeted by a nice lake with a charming little town including a nice promenade along the water. Now, if you really want to see something unique, you should also go to neighboring Ajijic where you can see a lot of very cool, colorful street art and retired Americans – since Mexico is cheaper than the USA a lot of them decide to move here.

An adjacent city to Guadalajara is Tlaquepaque which has a very nice vibe and personality to it. With its art, pottery, and mariachi everywhere, it is totally worth a visit! Especially along Calle Independencia, you’ll see a lot of interesting things and beautiful buildings.

Zapopan, another neighboring city and part of the urban footprint of Guadalajara, is also very charming. It has one of the most important cathedrals in this area and some other buildings that are very awesome. Furthermore, not very far away, the blue agave fields for making the Tequila can be found all over the place. Oh, and don’t forget to take a look at the colorful rings in one of the streets in the city center.

The Pacific Coast: Puerto Vallarta & Sayulita

05. – 07.09.2019

Puerto Vallarta is a very nice city with a beautiful promenade along the beach. We stayed in Hostal Vallarta Suites which is definitely recommendable – economic prices, nice rooms, a great location in the center, and a healthy breakfast on the rooftop – what else would you want?! We explored the seafront, the island and the beach close by. For an amazing view of the sunset over the sea, you should go up to the Cross on the hill – spectacular!

Our next destination was Sayulita – widely known as THE hipster hotspot at the Pacific coast. Well, what can I say… It’s expensive, tiny, and full of tourists. We stayed at MBoutique Hotel and regretted it: the internet was not working, some lambs weren’t either and the organization was just low level. I really don’t recommend going here… Choose wisely and spend your days at a nicer place on the Pacific coast.

The Colonial Cities in the North of the Central Plateau

08. – 15.09.2019

Arriving at Léon was, well, a bit underwhelming. An industrial city with a mixture of architecture and culture, it is famous for its leather products, the soccer team and a white cathedral with a very peculiar style. And we did see some street dancers doing the so called “Danza de los Machetes” (= Dance of Knives). Although small and not very impressive, we did find a very nice breakfast spot that day and even got another delicious cheesecake! 🙂 But I don’t think this is a necessary place to visit when in Mexico…

Talking about disappointments – Aguascalientes was supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. To tell you the truth, the city is quite dirty, streets where not very pleasant to walk in and the city center, although nice, was not as impressive as one might think. The Government Palace on the other hand was very pretty and very well kept for a colonial building. This is a city you dedicate three hours to and then move on to the real jewel of the North…

Now, when you see the list of the 15 most beautiful cities in Mexico and your previous two experiences were not that impressive, the city of Zacatecas appears even more astounding. It is gorgeous – the architecture is done in a pink stone that makes the buildings stand out, the churches are very pretty. The Alameda park is beautiful and we had the fortune of watching a parade with “Charros” (Mexican cowboys) on horseback. Zacatecas has so many things to do, for example the Eden silver mines and the Bufa Mountain and with its cable car. Oh, and by the way: if you do look for the Statue of the Sad Indian, look up! 😉 Zacatecas is a place where you should definitely make a stop at!

In San Luis Potosi, we got a Korean style Airbnb for a change – really cool and unique! 🙂 The city consists of many colonial buildings in pink color and is very well kept -thats why it became a UNESCO world heritage in 2010. It does have its own personality and we were even able to look at a Mexican military base. Not as nice as Zacatecas (and not so much to do), but definitely one of the better cities in this part of Mexico.

The city of Queretaro is gorgeous, the colonial buildings are amazing, and the food is delicious. A UNESCO world heritage, the city center is definitely worth spending some time in order to explore. And I totally love the colorful Mexican dolls that are handmade and typical for that region. I would highly recommend going to Queretaro since it’s a city you will love and enjoy so much!

San Miguel is a beautiful little town. Being the cultural capital of Latin America for 2019, it has a lot to offer. As soon as I had arrived, I enjoyed walking the streets at night and watched a show at the cathedral. The next day, I chilled on the roof terraceof our beautiful boutique hotel Casa Oratorio with a gorgeous view and as soon as the sun was out, I went out and explored the town a little bit more. The city center is gorgeous, clean and very special. I really liked this town and had a wonderful time here!

My favorite city in Mexico! Guanajuato is known as one of the cultural centers in Mexico and that shows! At night, there are “Callejoneadas” – groups of people that walk around the city center singing and playing music instruments – a lot of fun in a very special atmosphere. The buildings are gorgeous and the food is really good! Oh, and don’t miss out on the view from one of the lookouts around when you’re here! Nevertheless, the most amazing part of it all is the Mummy Museum. It is very different and full of stories and personality – even includes the tiniest mummy on earth.

Later on, on the way back from Xilitla, we took a night bus, stopped by in Tequisquiapan – the geographical center of Mexico – and moved on to Bernal. Being the place with the 3rd largest monolith on earth, it is a nice tiny town with some cool buildings and a cool vibe! It is possible to hike the monolith up to a certain point but from there on, you need to climb. Amazing views!

From Rainforest to Pine Trees: La Huasteca

17. – 22.09.2019

Having arrived in Xilitla on a night bus, we stayed at Casa Caracol Hostel. Located just right in front of the Edward James Surrealist Gardens, the hostel has a lot of personality and charm. One feels like Alice in Wonderland – definitely one of my favorite hostels on that trip! Crossing the street, you go into the gardens and I have to say this is something very outstanding! The gardens are amazing with all these magical structures and there is a waterfall with pools you can swim in. Definitely one of the coolest things in Mexico and worth a trip!

From Xilitla, we went around the area of Huasteca Potosina a little more. In the morning, we were taken to the Swallows Basement, a 550m deep sinkhole where many birds live and as soon as the sun comes out, all of them come out in tiny bird tornados – an amazing thing to see! Mexico does have some very particular things and this is one of them! Afterwards, we went on canoes on a river towards a very nice waterfall and a nearby Cenote in order to take a dip.

Arriving to Pachuca is a simple thing – being so close to Mexico City, there are a lot of transport options to get there. This place is known for its delicious pastries and, let me tell you – we finally found a great Mexican all-you-can-eat buffet here! J The city itself has some nice buildings and parks, but the more interesting places are the Pueblos Magicos in the area around.

Mineral del Chico is a nice quite town with a charming city center. It is in the middle of El Chico National Park and, thus, it is mandatory to do some hiking. We went up the Peña del Cuervo, a mountain surrounded by forest and with a very interesting voice distortion at the very top. Oh, and we hopped on a four wheeled cart to check out some places in the surroundings, like a witch house, the river, and some waterfalls.

The next day, we went to Mineral del Monte – a mining town with a very cute personality. It has some very interesting and nice buildings all over the place and I would totally encourage a stroll around the city center and up to one of the mines which feature a great view. Totally worth a half-day trip from Pachuca.

The Mega Metropolis Mexico City

17.-21. Aug / 15.-16. Sept / 22.-24. Sept 2019

CDMX (= Ciudad de Mexico) is a huuuge city (the second biggest in the world) where we stayed in one of the nicest airbnbs ever! 🙂 We decided to start discovering this metropolis by strolling around in the city center. There is a lot to see: the big main square, the cathedral, the government palace, and lots of museums and churches. There are also many houses with beautiful colonial architecture while having a walk in the streets. And in the Zócalo (“Plaza de la Constitución” – birthplace of México’s Constitution), we did not only see the city’s most visited tourist attractions – the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor with its Aztec relics but also a regional food expo and a lot of traditional Aztec dancers! It was very colorful and fun!

For our second day in the city, we went to Chapultepec Park & Castle which used to be the residence for the Aztec rulers as well as later the Mexican presidents. With more than four square kilometers, this is the largest park of CDMX. These days, the park is popular for its lakes, sports facilities, the botanic garden, the zoo, and several museums. You can take a nice, relaxing stroll there – and be sure to eat some mangos! Now also a museum, the castle is in some ways very simple but it has some majestic rooms and offers a great view of the city from up the hill.

South of the city, you can find Mexico City’s floating fiestas in the UNESCO-listed ecological reserve Xochimilco, where you will be going along the canals (Yes – México City used to be a lake!) on small colorful boats called “trajineras” while enjoying the music, the views, and the food sold from other boats. Don’t miss the flower gardens and the island of the (creepy) dolls! Oh, and I would definitely recommend going there on a weekend since it is way more fun than on work days! And make sure to hire some mariachis who will sing for you.

Being the city with the most museums in the world, one of Mexico City’s most important of these is the Museum of Archeology and History. As spectacular as the building itself is its vast collection, which includes archaeological finds from extinct Indian cultures along with details of the lifestyles of contemporary Indian inhabitants of Mexico. It is filled with statues, objects and relics of the most important prehispanic cultures as well as modern crafts and tiny representations of ancient life. Here, you can even see the Aztec Sun Stone – commonly known as the Aztec Calendar. Oh, and also make sure to check out the Soumaya Museum of Art when in CDMX – it’s free of charge and an impressive building.

On September 16th in 1810, México started its war calling for the end of the Spanish rule. The celebration of the Mexican Independence Day begins in the evening of September 15th when at 11 pm the President along with all the mayors of each state and city gives a speech called “El Grito (de Dolores)” (originally held by the Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo) and people respond with “Viva!” to whatever Mexican hero the speaker is remembering. This is Mexico’s largest, noisiest and most important party – with a lot of drinks, food, and dancing on the streets. The celebration is crowned by enormous fireworks in each and every city all over the country. What a vibrant, unforgettable FIESTA MEXICANA!!! 🙂 And make sure not to miss the big parade on the following day due to a hangover!

Lucha Libre is unique – it’s a mixture of a comedy and a drama. The fights look so real and so fake at the same time. This Mexican version of wrestling with colorful masks and characters is very melodramatic and acrobatic. People usually cheer for either the good guys named “Tecnicos” or the bad ones named “Rudos”. They engage in a fight with half show, half reality where they throw themselves at each other with slaps, bumps, big jumps, and grabs. This show is very unique and interesting – definitely a must-see when in CDMX! Afterwards, we went to the restaurant & bar high up in the Torre Latinoamericana – a skyscraper downtown – in order to have a birds-eye view of the city from high above.

UNESCO-listed Teotihuacán is one of the most important archeological sites in México. With both the Sun Pyramid and the Moon Pyramid as the main features connected by the Avenue of the Death, this ancient city is just amazing. Now one thing is going to the ruins – a whole other experience is getting up in very early morning and going on a hot air balloon ride for sunrise with the Teotihuacán pyramids as the main backdrop. It was spectacular – I loved it! Definitely unforgettable and an amazing goodbye (for now) to México! Thank you, Asis! 🙂

And of course, we went to explore the ruins and their surroundings afterwards, as you can see: