Colonial Cities of Mexico
Perfect Itinerary for 8 days!
A route full of history and colour…
(and awesome food, great people and better tequila!)
Let’s start by saying that Mexico is an endless country for tourism. There is so much variety and beauty that you’d need two lives to get to fully enjoy it.
With that said, we had 9 days (including flights) to do our best!
What to visit?
We love longer trips, where deciding “what to see” is not as much of a problem as “in which order” should we see it. But this was not the case. We had a tight schedule, and too many alternatives on the table.
OPTIONS. Should we go to Tulum and rejoice in perfect beaches with cool cocktails? Road trip across Chiapas and Campeche? Epic waves and awesome food in Oaxaca? Picture perfect waterfalls and nature in the Huasteca Potosina? These were just some of the options we were considering.
But coming from Spain, there was something we couldn’t overlook, given it’s so tightly knit into our past: THE ROUTE OF THE COLONIAL CITIES around the central area of Mexico and their amazing heritage and history. It would be a more urban trip, but from what we knew, it would be a beautiful and brightly coloured one!
Fine-tuning the itinerary.
Even after deciding what we wanted to do, we were still left with a lot more than we could take in 8 days. Time to fine-tune!
Convenience dictated that our base was going to be Mexico City (CDMX), where you can fly reasonably cheap from almost anywhere. From there you can either go South and visit Puebla, Cholula, Taxco… or West to Morelia and Pátzcuaro in the state of Michoacán.
But we felt there was more density going North (Northwest, actually) to find cities and towns like Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas…
That route would eventually lead us to Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, home of the mariachi music and tequila. From here we could easily fly back to CDMX to catch our return flight home.
In order to make this itinerary work we had to make one big decision. How to move around the area? Distances are key, and given the impossibility of seeing all we wanted to see if we travel by public transport, we decided that it would be our favourite kind of trip: a road trip!
Our go-to website for car rental is rentalcars.com; we always find the best deals here, and you can compare all the different models and companies very easily. This time it wouldn’t be just the two of us, so we chose a minivan: a Dodge Grand Caravan for just 127,33€, with National. But this is just the base price: keep reading for a detailed breakdown of our rental price.
INSURANCE. Our friends in Mexico recommended that we didn’t travel without a full insurance coverage. 3.000 MXN$ (140€) was the price we got from National to be fully insured.
This also added to the price, but when it comes to insurances and car accidents, we know it’s well spent! Want to know why we are so convinced?
Read all about our (just) three day honeymoon that ended with us being evacuated from Kenya in this post!
If you decide to do it like us, there is one little caveat that will make you spend some extra money: either you make it a circular trip, and you return the rental car at the same place you took it from (Mexico City in our case), or you’ll be charged a hefty extra for returning it at a different city.
We didn’t want the extra driving hours in a country we still didn’t know (it would’ve meant driving at night at some points, which we were strongly advised against by our friends living in Mexico), so we decided to pay the surcharge and return the car at Guadalajara airport. The extra cost was 6.000 MXN$ (280€) to pay at the airport.
You can also find the breakdown of our full trip budget in this post (coming soon).
As usual, we relied on Skyscanner.net for this one. We’ve been using it for so many years and we believe it’s the best travel search engine available, at least for flights.
We booked a direct flight Madrid-Mexico City for 623€ with Iberia (return trip per person). There were some cheaper options, but timing was key to maximize our trip’s possibilities.
Once we decided our itinerary, we booked the flight from Guadalajara to Mexico City first thing in the morning of the last day. The price of this one was 46€ per person with Volaris, without checked bags, which we didn’t need since we are getting better at fitting all our stuff into a backpack (cameras, lenses, laptop, etc. go on a smaller backpack, and as long as we are not bringing a huge tripod or a gimbal with us, it’s all fine with low cost airlines policies).
So after all this useful info, here is our final itinerary, which turned out great for the days we had, although in perspective, perhaps we’d give one more day to Mexico City. We’ll upload individual posts on each place to give you plenty of things to do and see!
Day 1. Madrid – Mexico City
Day 2. Mexico City: Zócalo (Centro and Coyoacán).
Day 3. Mexico City – Teotihuacán – Mexico City (Guadalupe).
Day 4. Mexico City – Querétaro – Peña de Bernal
Day 5. San Miguel de Allende
Day 6. Guanajuato
Day 7. Zacatecas
Day 8. Guadalajara
Day 9. Guadalajara – Mexico City – Madrid
If you have at least one more day than we had, spend it in CDMX, no doubt. Colonia Roma, Chapultepec or Xoximilco are worth a visit! And if you’re thinking of a longer trip, make it a round trip going to Pátzcuaro and Morelia from Guadalajara, or down to Puebla in a day-trip from CDMX. You can´t go wrong with any of those.
We hope this helps in planning your trip to Mexico! And we hope to go back soon and explore other areas of this beautiful country!