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Author Topic: Some Trip Advice  (Read 3889 times)
dean
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« on: March 06, 2007, 05:48:49 AM »


Ok so I need a holiday.  Haven't had one in a year, so am planning on going away, just a short trip, overseas for two weeks or so.  Some friends of mine share this dream, so, butting heads together we decided on Mexico, sometime in November. 

Then it occured to me: maybe I can ask for advice here!

After Trevor's ravings about South Africa, it has got me in the mood for travel, and figured some of you folk may actually know a few handy tips or tricks for Mexico, such as important places to visit, advice on how to handle certain situations [eg in Indonesia, talking softly and slowly means you are being really serious, instead of shouting and flailing your arms]

At the moment, we're thinking one week in Mexico City, then going to Oaxaca for a bit, then a nearby coast such as Puerto Discondera or something.  One of my friends is kind of against going to the really touristy places like Cancun etc, so we're more looking for a nice way to 'experience the country' and see some cool sites.  Plus partying and lazing around.  Can't have a holiday without that!

We've decided on Mexico since it's something different [well for people here at least] what with people always trooping off to Europe etc.

So any tips?
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Trevor
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2007, 06:13:45 AM »

 BounceGiggle Twirling BounceGiggle Twirling BounceGiggle Twirling

Must rave about South Africa! I must rave about South Africa. The rainbow nation minus the rainbow because eish, she has been stolen. TeddyR

Incidentally concerning my ravings, I tried to go to a rave one night but the guy on the door told me "Bugger off, you're too old." I'm only 39!

Dean, come to South Africa: the climate is good, the people are friendly, you can drink the water from the tap, the food is great, the exchange rate from $ to SA rands is 7 rands for every 1 $. Mexico is great, South Africa is better.
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dean
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 07:36:28 AM »

BounceGiggle Twirling BounceGiggle Twirling BounceGiggle Twirling

Must rave about South Africa! I must rave about South Africa. The rainbow nation minus the rainbow because eish, she has been stolen. TeddyR

Incidentally concerning my ravings, I tried to go to a rave one night but the guy on the door told me "Bugger off, you're too old." I'm only 39!

Dean, come to South Africa: the climate is good, the people are friendly, you can drink the water from the tap, the food is great, the exchange rate from $ to SA rands is 7 rands for every 1 $. Mexico is great, South Africa is better.

Trust me, after your raving reviews, it's on the list.   Cheers  But for now, we must salsa, and say "Ola!" or whatever it is you do in Mexico other than visit museums of Mayan culture.  I really need to find out more...

Incidentally I did a subject at uni as part of the history side of my degree which was entitled "South Africa Under Aparthied" so lucky me, I know a bit of the history there.  Only a small part, sure, and probably not the proudest part, but interesting nonetheless.

Oh and raves, meh, you see wierder people out at raves than 39 year olds...
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Ash
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2007, 08:51:14 AM »

Don't drink the water there.
It'll make you sicker than a dog and is known as Montezuma's Revenge
I recommend drinking bottled water only just to be safe.

Read this for more tips
(For some reason this link starts you in the middle of the page...just scroll up to see it all)

And you'll be blown away at how much stuff your Australian dollars will buy you once you convert them to pesos.
Here's a useful currency converter.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 10:11:45 AM by Ash » Logged
Scott
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2007, 11:22:13 AM »

Well, I've been wanting to go to Mexico for some time now. While I have been over the border into Mexico I haven't really been to the interior parts of the country.

The Aztec and Mayan ruins are the main reason for going there for me and I really want to go to the Teotihuacan pyramid just outside Mexico City, but I here Mexico City it can be a dangerous city. There are many other temples mostly South of Mexico City.

I personally wouldn't want to go to a "Spring Break" destination like Cancun, but rather the West coast of Mexico like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. Places like Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Copper Canyon which is suppose to be bigger than the Grand Canyon in the U.S. would be part of my travel plans to Mexico.

Dean since I believe you are in college then you might want to go to Cancun.  Smile

Would love to go to Mexico. Some of my favorite films take place in turn of the century Mexico. Mexico is a great mix of Spanish and Native cultures.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 11:24:32 AM by Scott » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2007, 03:46:25 PM »

Living in South Texas, I deal with some elements of Mexican culture every day.

Like Ash says, stick to bottled water, although the more touristy places will have water that is okay to drink.
Avoid driving if you can; the traffic laws there are hazy (usually it's whoever has the biggest vehicle has the right-of-way no matter what), and the law enforcement can be corrupt (bribery is rampant, and Mexican jails are notoriously hard to get out of without the proper bribes). This is not necessarily country-wide, but there is some social turmoil there now, and that generally leads to further corruption.
Things are cheap there (compared to America, at least), but you have to be prepared to haggle a bit on most things and be careful that you get what you pay for.
Have fun, but don't get too rowdy (see comments about jails above).

Like Scott, the highlights of a trip to Mexico for me would include mainly Mayan ruins, although I've heard that they have become quite touristy. Mexico has some beautiful places and people; I don't mean to make it all sound scary, but you should be as prepared as possible for all eventualities.
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dean
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2007, 08:35:26 AM »


The Aztec and Mayan ruins are the main reason for going there for me and I really want to go to the Teotihuacan pyramid just outside Mexico City, but I here Mexico City it can be a dangerous city. There are many other temples mostly South of Mexico City.

I personally wouldn't want to go to a "Spring Break" destination like Cancun, but rather the West coast of Mexico like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. Places like Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Copper Canyon which is suppose to be bigger than the Grand Canyon in the U.S. would be part of my travel plans to Mexico.

Dean since I believe you are in college then you might want to go to Cancun.  Smile


I'm just out of University [don't call it college here] by about a year, so hey, I suppose I'm still in the age bracket [especially since most people I know are still studying]

But we're staying away from Cancun.  We don't really want to go to those sort of places.  Might be fun, but it's a bit away from the other places we're going, so we're giving it a miss. 

I did hear that Acapulco is having raging street battles at the moment, and if you're lucky you can find body parts on the ground.  So maybe not there either.

But after doing a bit of reading, Copper Canyon sounds awesome, and like I said we're probably doing Oaxaca too.

Teotihuacan is a must for me.  That place looks stunning.
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Scott
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 11:05:50 AM »

Keep us up to date Dean. Give us a full report in November if you decide to go to Mexico.
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raj
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2007, 02:01:23 PM »

It's not only the water in Mexico -- if you have ice in your drink it is probably coming from the same source as the water.  No ice.  To be on the safe side, stick to beer.  Cheers
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Ed, Ego and Superego
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2007, 02:36:58 PM »

Hey I saw this today:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/DESTINATIONS/03/07/mexico.affordable.ap/index.html

-Ed
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CheezeFlixz
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2007, 11:28:20 PM »

Try sneaking across the boarder and see if you get the same benefits they get here ...

Seriously I worked in Mexico and Central and South American 6 months a year for many years. I never had trouble with the water but some did, guess I was use to it.

Stay away from tourist traps, you'll get ripped off. (Cancun etc)
Don't use dollars, you'll get ripped off.
While most areas speak English you'll get better deals in Spanish.
Haggling is a way of life, never pay sticker.
Use taxi's find out the rate from an hotel and then ask the driver before you ride. Knowledge is power.
Chinca de Madre is not a complement.
Find a good guide that's fair you'll have a better time.
Grab a guide book, know where you want to go and what to do.
You need a passport now so get one well in advance of your trip.
You can bring I think $400 back duty free, never claim more, never claim $0.00
If you're flying get you booze at the duty free shop or find those rare local brews and pack well.
Take the bands of the Cuban cigars and put them in a Mexican (Hecho en Mexico) box.
Always check the exchange rates, everyday they change. Most hotels will do a market rate exchange, or have your bank do it before you leave.

That's enough for now.
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dean
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2007, 03:31:20 AM »

Try sneaking across the boarder and see if you get the same benefits they get here ...

Seriously I worked in Mexico and Central and South American 6 months a year for many years. I never had trouble with the water but some did, guess I was use to it.

Stay away from tourist traps, you'll get ripped off. (Cancun etc)
Don't use dollars, you'll get ripped off.
While most areas speak English you'll get better deals in Spanish.
Haggling is a way of life, never pay sticker.
Use taxi's find out the rate from an hotel and then ask the driver before you ride. Knowledge is power.
Chinca de Madre is not a complement.
Find a good guide that's fair you'll have a better time.
Grab a guide book, know where you want to go and what to do.
You need a passport now so get one well in advance of your trip.
You can bring I think $400 back duty free, never claim more, never claim $0.00
If you're flying get you booze at the duty free shop or find those rare local brews and pack well.
Take the bands of the Cuban cigars and put them in a Mexican (Hecho en Mexico) box.
Always check the exchange rates, everyday they change. Most hotels will do a market rate exchange, or have your bank do it before you leave.

That's enough for now.


That's some great advice Cheeze.  That's some of the stuff I'm after [you know, little tips that make the trip easier etc]

Not sure about what we can bring back duty free etc [different laws for different countries] but that Cuban cigars idea is awesome.  I'm assuming you take the bands off them because of some import tax/ban on Cubans in the US?

Hmm... I'd have to look into that for Australia...
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CheezeFlixz
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2007, 09:50:41 AM »

Guess I didn't realize you were from downunder ... cigars shouldn't be a problem unless you travel to the US after Mexico, they are illegal here do to bans of Cuban goods here. They are legal in Canada so they should be legal in Australia, you know being British and all.

Check out ...

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/worldguide/destinations/north-america/mexico/
http://www.justmexico.org/
http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/regional/regional_1174.html USA Travel Site
http://wikitravel.org/en/Mexico Wiki guide

I traveled internationally for years Mexico is I guess a little like India (somewhat) ... some very well off and most living in shanties shacks so to speak (No that bad but not that good). Mexico is very corrupt in politics, legal and police. Know where and phone numbers of your embassy and consulates are just in case. Know that calling out of Mexico is very pricey and their telecommunication network is not what you are use too. It can be hard to get out, lines aren't secure, calls are often dropped. Cell coverage is limited and wishy washy in areas.

Do you know how long you are going for? Where you are going? etc etc.

I'm a history junky I would go to the runes which are all over southern Mexico, I'm also a food junky so I ask the local where to eat and find those hidden away mom and pop places to eat. I've found that if a place looks awful and nasty, they have great food.

Oh unless you know your way around travel in at the very least pairs, never alone unless you know the language and where you are. I never had any trouble there, alone or other wise, but then again I'm a big ol' boy and 250 ... not and easy target for mugging.

I never had any trouble in hotels either, but I didn't leave valuables or money laying about in my room while gone, many hotels have lock boxes, use them.

EDIT:
Current exchange rates ...
1.00 AUD = 8.64294 MXN 
1.00 USD = 11.1397 MXN

You can get this at http://www.xe.com/
« Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 11:33:36 AM by CheezeFlixz » Logged

BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2007, 04:06:34 PM »

Well, I've been wanting to go to Mexico for some time now. While I have been over the border into Mexico I haven't really been to the interior parts of the country.

The Aztec and Mayan ruins are the main reason for going there for me and I really want to go to the Teotihuacan pyramid just outside Mexico City, but I here Mexico City it can be a dangerous city. There are many other temples mostly South of Mexico City.

I personally wouldn't want to go to a "Spring Break" destination like Cancun, but rather the West coast of Mexico like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. Places like Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Copper Canyon which is suppose to be bigger than the Grand Canyon in the U.S. would be part of my travel plans to Mexico.

Dean since I believe you are in college then you might want to go to Cancun.  Smile

Would love to go to Mexico. Some of my favorite films take place in turn of the century Mexico. Mexico is a great mix of Spanish and Native cultures.


Just to back up what Scott says, Copper Canyon is larger than our Grand Canyon, but you have to take the train. There are few if any roads in that area of Mexico, and if they are, they aren't paved. What use to be known as the American Orient Express, use to run a train tour through there, which was the one I was on, though they no longer go to that area of Mexico. Tauck Tours still runs a train tour through Copper Canyon, which is on the high end scale of tours, but there are some more inexpensive American tours that run trains through the Canyon. Or, if you don't want to take an escorted tour, the Mexican railroad runs a train through the Canyon that services all the small towns in the Canyon. Enjoy your trip to Mexico. I've been there three times. The train trip. A ship's cruise to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. And a ship's cruise to Puerto Vallerta and Cabo San Lucas. And next year, another ship's cruise, this time to Acapulco.
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dean
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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2007, 03:14:43 AM »


Well, to answer Cheeze's question, I'm planning on going for two weeks.  There's four of us, two guys, two gals [no hanky panky mind you, we're all friends  Wink ]  Since it's in November the trick is to book the flight first.  The earlier we book the cheaper it is, and unlike you lads and lasses in the states, a ticket for us to Mexico is pretty hefty, somewhere in the AUD$2000-3000 mark.  Ouch... 

So we can take more time to figure out the details.  Definitely buying/borrowing some travel guides like lonely planet etc.

I also imagine it will be similar to Indonesia.  I went to Yogyakarta and Bali years ago, and Yogyakarta is part of the most densley populated island in the world, Java.  I think the population for Mexico City is pretty close to, if not bigger than, the entire population of our country.

Indonesia was an easy travel, but I'd say that's mostly because I had been learning Indonesian in school for three or four years or so, which no doubt made it alot easier.  I plan to learn a bit of the language, because I'd be insane not to, but I won't know a fraction of what I should.


At the moment in terms of our basic plan of attack, is to go to Mexico City for about a week or so, then Oaxaca, and then maybe a nearby beach town like Puerto Discondera or something [all this is according to my friend.]

We're thinking of staying in some private rooms at various hostels, and maybe a hotel for a few nights, just to save a bit on money since the airfare is putting a big hole in some of the expenses [as you'd imagine].

Oh and cheers for the Copper Canyon advice BoyScoutKevin...
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