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Aguascalientes Travel Guide

Mexico Travel Guide › Aguascalientes
Updated: December 30, 2020

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Aguascalientes is one of Mexico’s most dynamic modern cities, with a booming economy and a rich artistic history. We love its pristine colonial center, absorbing museums and its tasty street food.

Government Palace of Aguascalientes
The Government Palace of the State of Aguascalientes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Aguascalientes

Where is Aguascalientes?

Aguascalientes is the capital of the state of Aguascalientes, in the region of central Mexico known as the Bajío. Aguascalientes lies about 490 km northwest of Mexico City, 220 km northeast of Guadalajara, and 165 km west of San Luis Potosí. Non-stop flights to Aguascalientes take 3 hours 45 minutes from Chicago, 2 hours 55 minutes from Los Angeles, 2 hours 10 minutes from Dallas, 2 hours 5 minutes from Houston, and 1.5 hours from Mexico City.

How big is Aguascalientes?

Aguascalientes has a greater metro population of just under 1 million. The main city covers some 385 square kilometers.

What is the history of Aguascalientes?

Once the home of the Chichimeca people, Aguascalientes was officially founded in 1575 by Spanish captain Juan de Montoro Rodríguez, though it was little more than a pit-stop between Mexico City and the silver mines further north. Development remained sluggish and the city only started to grow in the 19th century, when several nearby villages merged together. The state of Aguascalientes was formally created in 1857 (before that the city had been tied to Zacatecas), and the 1914 Convention of Aguascalientes saw revolutionary leaders Francisco Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza meet for the first time. In the last fifty years Aguascalientes has morphed into one of Mexico’s richest cities, home to two large Nissan manufacturing plants, as well as hubs for Texas Instruments and Coca-Cola.

How do I get to Aguascalientes?

Aguascalientes is connected to the US by convenient non-stop flights from Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston, and frequent shuttles from Mexico City. Flights from Canada and Europe usually route through Mexico City or the US. The airport is 16km south of the city; taxis charge around 300 pesos into the center (prices are fixed according to a zone system). With luggage, this is the best option.

Within Mexico, first-class long-distance buses are an economical and comfortable alternative to flying – buses to Aguascalientes from Guadalajara (3 hours) and Mexico City (6 hours) operate hourly. Aguascalientes’s Central de Autobuses (bus station) is just 2km south of the center on Avenida de la Convención. There is a frequent bus service (9.50 pesos) from here to Plaza de la Patria (“Centro”), at the heart of town. With luggage it’s best to take a taxi to the hotel – these should use the meter, with fares unlikely to be more than 50 pesos.

Catedral Basilica De Nuestra Senora De La Asuncion
Catedral Basilica De Nuestra Senora De La Asuncion, in the Plaza de la Patria.

Can I use Uber in Aguascalientes?

Uber does operate in Aguascalientes (assuming phones have roaming, and the app works), but drivers are usually reluctant to pick-up from the airport due to hostility from the airport taxi union. However, Uber can be used to return to the airport for as low as 145 pesos. Once in the city, getting an Uber should be no problem, and can be cheaper than regular taxis.

Can I drive to Aguascalientes?

Driving down from the US border to Aguascalientes is relatively straightforward; the main highways are good, and virtually empty outside the towns. However, the Mexican border states of Nuevo León, Sonora, and Tamaulipas have been affected by drug cartel violence – driving at night is definitely a bad idea. Check the latest travel advisories at travel.state.gov or ask at the hotel. Cars also need a Mexican “Temporary Importation of Vehicle Permit”.

From Laredo, Texas the drive is around 490 miles (790 km) and takes around 9 hours non-stop. Aguascalientes is 830 miles (1335 km) from El Paso, Texas (16 hours), and 1430 miles (2300 km) from San Diego, California.
If renting a vehicle, it’s much easier to do this once across the Mexican border, as taking US rental vehicles into Mexico comes with all sorts of restrictions.

Do I need a car in Aguascalientes?

Most of the city center of Aguascalientes can be explored on foot making a car unnecessary. However, Ubers or local taxis (the meter starts at 13.50 pesos and most trips should be under 50 pesos) are available for those who prefer not to walk. Local buses charge a flat fare of 13.50 pesos but are unlikely to be needed.

football stadium Victoria
Estadio Victoria football stadium, home to the Mexican football team Necaxa.

When is the best time to go to Aguascalientes?

Aguascalientes boasts a year-round temperate climate, with the driest and sunniest months November to April. Rain is most common June to September. There’s no real “bad” time to visit, though it can actually get chilly December to January. March through May is probably best, when the weather is pleasantly warm, the days dry, and crowds low-key.

Where should I stay in Aguascalientes?

The best place to stay is right in the historic heart of Aguascalientes (the centro histórico), close to all the sights, best restaurants, and attractions. Motel chains have sprung up around the city, near the major highways, and can offer good rates, but these are all a long way from the action and it can be a hassle getting in and out of the center. Note that during the Feria de San Marcos mid-April to mid-May, rooms are usually booked solid and cost over 50 percent extra. We like the Francia Aguascalientes, an updated but atmospheric hotel from 1915, and the magnificent Quinta Real Aguascalientes, which was designed to look like a Spanish monastery. The best budget option is the El Giro Hostal (Allende 341).

What are the best things to do in Aguascalientes?

The best thing to do in Aguascalientes is to soak up the city’s colonial charm and history, and take in some of its excellent art museums. Start by sipping coffee at an outdoor café and taking in the scene on Aguascalientes’s main square, the Plaza de la Patria, also the location of the city’s impressive 18th-century cathedral, the Teatro Morelos (location of the famous convention between Zapata, Villa and Carranza in 1914), and the mural-smothered Palacio de Gobierno.

The Museo José Guadalupe Posada (Trujillo 222) is one of the highlights of Aguascalientes, dedicated to the macabre lithographs of the eponymous artist (Posada was famous for using skulls in his illustrations). The bold naturalistic work of local artist Saturnino Herrán is the focus at the Museo de Aguascalientes (Zaragoza 505), while the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo No. 8 (Primo Verdad, at Morelos) showcases contemporary art from the region, as well as the work of local painter Enrique Guzmán. It’s also worth checking out the Museo Nacional de la Muerte (Jardín del Estudiante, Rivero y Gutiérrez), dedicated to Mexico’s death rituals and folk images of death, including ornately decorated skulls (calaveras). The Museo Regional de Historia (Carranza 118) chronicles local history.

Be sure also to visit the Santuario Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Nájera 213), one of the most stunning churches in Mexico, as well as the Templo del Señor del Encino (Jardín del Encino), another gorgeous 18th-century church built from pink sandstone.

Real de Asientos
The town of Real de Asientos, a ‘Pueblo Magico‘ or magic town, a title given to particularly beautiful romantic towns in Mexico.

What are the best things to do around Aguascalientes?

Aguascalientes makes a good base to explore the surrounding area. Highlights include the hot spring baths that give the city its name (literally “hot waters”), the Baños Termales de Ojocaliente, some 4km east of the center (take a taxi or “Ruta 12” bus along López Mateos).

What are the restaurants in Aguascalientes like?

The restaurants in Aguascalientes are excellent. The city is known for bírria (slow-roasted barbecued lamb, shredded and served with a bowl of piquant broth), best experienced at Mercado Juárez (aka Mercado de la Bírria), at Victoria and Unión, crammed with cheap food stalls. Other specialties include lechón al horno (roast suckling pig), served at no-frills joints such as Lechón Pascualito (Jesús Díaz de León 101), atole (a sweet corn- and chocolate-based drink), and addictive desserts made with guava (guayaba). Our other favorites in Aguascalientes include Cenaduría Farolito (Moctezuma 105), an old-fashioned café open since 1922 right on the plaza; Durería El Rey del Duro (Matamoros Nte 207) which knocks out tacos and crispy pork rinds (chicharrón or “duro” in Aguascalientes); Mitla Restaurante (Madero 222), another old-fashioned Mexican buffet restaurant operating since 1938; and La Saturnina (Carranza 110; lasaturnina.com), a lovely courtyard café.

What currency is used in Aguascalientes?

The Mexican peso (often pre-fixed with a “$” sign) is the currency of Mexico. Most major shops and restaurants in Aguascalientes accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to have some peso cash on hand for museum entry and small purchases like bottled water and snacks. ATMs and banks are easy to find in central Aguascalientes (a couple of banks with 24hr ATMs are on the north side of Plaza de la Patria) – a better rate of exchange can be found at ATMs than at casas de cambio.

Is Aguascalientes expensive?

It’s easy to visit Aguascalientes on a modest budget. To save cash, stay in the cheaper B&Bs or hostels (budget Airbnb deals are also a viable option), and eat at local restaurants and taco stalls. Buses and taxis are cheap, and museum entry is rarely more than US$2–3.

Is Aguascalientes safe?

Aguascalientes has generally avoided the drug violence that has affected other parts of Mexico. Take the usual precautions, especially at night, and keep valuables in room safes.

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Zacatecas Travel Guide

Mexico Travel Guide › Zacatecas
Updated: December 30, 2020

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Zacatecas is one of our favorite historic Mexican cities, a colonial gem crammed with gorgeous old buildings, churches, and museums. It’s setting in a valley between two hills is spectacular, and there are also tours of the old silver mines and a cable car ride high over the rooftops. Wandering its cobbled streets and leafy plazas, it’s easy to feel transported back to classical Spain.

View from Cerro De La Buffa mountain
View from Cerro De La Buffa mountain, with beaded folk art and jewelry for sale and a view of the city of Zacatecas below, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Frequently Asked Questions about Zacatecas

Where is Zacatecas?

Zacatecas is a city in the central region of Mexico known as the Bajío and is the capital of the eponymous state of Zacatecas. Zacatecas lies around 600 km northwest of Mexico City, 300 km northeast of Guadalajara, and 560 km southwest of Monterrey.

Non-stop flights to Zacatecas take 1 hour 25 minutes from Mexico City, 2 hours 20 minutes from Dallas, 2 hours 40 minutes from Tijuana, 2 hours 55 minutes from Los Angeles, and 3 hours 50 minutes from Chicago.

How big is Zacatecas?

Zacatecas has a greater metro population of almost 140,000. The city lies on the edge of the Sierra Madre Occidental and covers some 444 square kilometers.

What is the history of Zacatecas?

The indigenous Zacatecos mined silver and precious metals in the hills here long before the arrival of the Spanish, but it didn’t take long for the conquistadors to grasp the area’s potential. The modern city was initially founded as a Spanish mining camp in 1548, with the Zacatecos quickly subdued. For the next three hundred years, the silver mines of Zacatecas enriched the city, Mexico, and the Spanish Empire. During the Mexican Revolution in 1914, Zacatecas was the scene of fierce fighting when Pancho Villa’s División del Norte captured the city, completely annihilating the forces of Victoriano Huerta. Today Zacatecas is flourishing once more, its economy boosted by increasing trade between Mexico and the USA.

Palace of the Governor
A plaza downtown outside of the Palace of the Governor, with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption behind.

How do I get to Zacatecas?

Convenient non-stop flights connect Zacatecas with Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles in the US. There are also non-stop flights to Tijuana airport, which is directly accessible from the US border near San Diego. Otherwise, most other flights route through Mexico City (there are no non-stop flights from Canada or Europe).

Zacatecas airport is 27km north of the city center. The only way to get into the center is by taxi; airport taxis charge a fixed rate of around M$400 (ask the hotel to arrange one for the trip back).

Within Mexico, first-class long-distance buses are an economical and comfortable alternative to flying – to Zacatecas, there are frequent long-distance bus services to the cities of northern Mexico, the Bajío, and Mexico City (6–8hr).

Can I use Uber in Zacatecas?

Assuming phones have roaming, and the app works, Uber is available in Zacatecas and can save up to 50 percent on journeys to and from the airport, though drivers may be reluctant to pick-up thanks to hostility from the airport taxi union. Email the hotel for advice on the latest situation. Once in the city itself, there should be no problems using Uber.

Can I drive to Zacatecas?

Driving down to Zacatecas from the US border is relatively straightforward, and plenty of Americans and Canadians take their own vehicles – the main highways are good, and virtually empty outside the cities. However, care should be taken in choosing a route, as the Mexican border states suffer from high levels of drug violence – driving at night should definitely be avoided. Foreign vehicles also need a Mexican “Temporary Importation of Vehicle Permit”, arranged at the border.

From Laredo, Texas the drive is around 422 miles (679 km) and takes around 9 hours non-stop. Zacatecas is 765 miles (1231 km) from El Paso, Texas (15 hours), and 1370 miles (2205 km) from San Diego, California.

vibrant city street
A pedestrian street in the vibrant city center.

Do I need a car in Zacatecas?

Cars are not necessary in Zacatecas. Once in town, it should be able to get around on foot, though taxis (and Uber cars) are easy to find. Meters in regular taxis start at 11 pesos (minimum 25 pesos for rides in the center).

When is the best time to go to Zacatecas?

Zacatecas lies at well over 2000 meters (6562 ft) above sea level, and experiences relatively dry, mild weather year-round. March through May tend to be the best months to visit – sunny, warm, and dry. June through October can be rainy, and winters tend to be cooler. As always, avoid Christmas, Easter, and all major Mexican holidays to avoid the crowds (it’s a popular destination for Mexican domestic tourists).

Where should I stay in Zacatecas?

Aim to stay in the atmospheric center of old Zacatecas, close to all the sights, best restaurants, and attractions. Motel chains have sprung up around the city, near the major highways, and can offer good rates, but these are all a long way from the action and it can be hassle shuttling back and forth.

Some of our favorites places to stay include the lavish but surprisingly affordable Hotel Emporio, the colonial Mesón de Jobito and luxurious Hotel Santa Rita del Arte.

For something really special, stay at the Quinta Real Zacatecas, tastefully incorporated what was once Zacatecas’ bullring. The best of the budget accommodation is no-frills Hostel Villa Colonial (Primero de Mayo 201, at Callejón Mono Prieto + 52 492 925 0749)

Zacatecas Cathedral
The facade of the Zacatecas Cathedral.

What are the best things to do in Zacatecas?

Start by simply wandering the cobbled streets and historic colonial plazas of Zacatecas. The city’s gorgeous, pink sandstone cathedral is one of the best examples of Mexican Baroque architecture in the country. Nearby, the old market, Mercado González Ortega, has been converted into a chic shopping mall. As befits such a historic city, Zacatecas is also crammed with absorbing museums. The Museo Pedro Coronel (Plazuela de Santo Domingo) showcases the modern, abstract, and Catalan art collected by local artist Pedro Coronel (including work by Picasso and Miró). Pedro’s brother Rafael founded his own beautiful museum, the Museo Rafael Coronel (Callejón de San Francisco 65), set in an old Franciscan mission and built around a vast collection of traditional masks.

The Museo Zacatecano (Dr. Ignacio Hierro 307), housed in the old mint, chronicles the history of the region, while the Museo de Arte Abstracto Manuel Felguérez (Cristóbal Colón) displays the abstract paintings and sculpture of local artist Manuel Felguérez, inside a converted prison. The Museo Francisco Goitia (Enrique Estrada 102) highlights the work of yet another Zacatecan artist, Francisco Goitia.

The mining history of Zacatecas is the focus at the fascinating Mina El Edén, where guided tours take you deep inside the city’s old silver mine.

Once done with the city sights, take the Teleférico (cable car) up to the Cerro de la Bufa, the huge rock that dominates the city, for spectacular views and the Museo de la Toma de Zacatecas, which recounts Pancho Villa’s desperate attack in 1914. There’s also a decent zipline up here, Tirolesa 840.

What are the best things to do around Zacatecas?

Zacatecas makes a good base to explore the surrounding area. Highlights include the traditional silversmiths at the Centro Platero de Zacatecas and the ornately decorated church in neighboring Guadalupe, the ruins of the great Mesoamerican fortress at La Quemada (56 km south of Zacatecas), and the picturesque town of Jerez (53 km west of Zacatecas). Buses link all these sites with the city, though it’s best to take a guided tour to visit La Quemada (easily arranged at the hotel).

The view from the Cerro de la Bufa hilltop above the city.

What are the restaurants like in Zacatecas?

Zacatecas restaurants are good – primarily Mexican food, though standard American dishes (burgers and the like) and Italian food are widely available. The local specialties include “asado de boda” (braised pork with chocolate and orange zest), and anything “zacatecano”, usually involving a sauce of poblano chilies and cream. We love Acrópolis, an old-world café with its own impressive art collection, and cozy Dorados de Villa (on Plazuela de García), which knocks out excellent moles and enchiladas. The best place for a relaxing coffee (and free wi-fi) is Il San Patrizio Caffé (Hidalgo 403). For a splurge, book a table overlooking the old bullring at La Plaza, in the Quinta Real hotel.

What currency is used in Zacatecas?

The Mexican peso (often prefixed with a “$” sign) is the currency of Mexico and Zacatecas. Most major shops and restaurants in Zacatecas accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to have some peso cash on hand for entry fees and small purchases like bottled water and snacks. ATMs are easy to find in central Zacatecas – and generally get a better exchange rate here or inside banks than at currency exchange booths.

Is Zacatecas expensive?

Zacatecas is not expensive. Hotels in Zacatecas are reasonably priced given their quality, and eating out is rarely expensive. Transportation is inexpensive and fees to enter museums are low, typically one or two US dollars equivalent (tours of the mine and trips on the cable car are closer to US$5).

Is Zacatecas safe?

Zacatecas has generally avoided the drug violence that has affected other parts of Mexico making it a safe destination to visit. US State Department travel warnings generally apply to the western part of the state of Zacatecas (south of Highway 45 and west of Highway 23) and not the city itself. Take the usual precautions, especially at night, and keep valuables in room safes.

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The Best Wines & Wineries in Valle de Guadalupe

Mexico Travel Guide › Best Baja Wineries
Updated: December 30, 2020

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Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe – Tips & Advice

  • Where is Valle de Guadalupe?
    Valle de Guadalupe is a compact wine-growing region lying just inland from the Pacific Ocean, in the northern Mexican state of Baja California – 40 km northeast of Ensenada and 70 km (43 miles) south of the US-Mexican border. The villages of San Antonio de las Minas in the southwest and Francisco Zarco and El Porvenir in the northeast are the main settlements in the valley.
  • When To Visit Valle de Guadalupe
    Wineries are usually open year-round for visits, but the busiest period for Guadalupe is during the Fiestas de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest Festival), late July through August when the grapes are picked and crushed. However, the valley is very hot at this time – climate-wise it’s more comfortable (and less busy) to visit in the Fall or Spring. The best time is late March to early May when the valley is bursting with flowers and the vines are beginning to bloom.
  • How to visit Valle de Guadalupe
    The most convenient way to visit Valle de Guadalupe is with a vehicle (assuming there is a designated driver). Plenty of Americans and Canadians take their own cars, crossing the border in Tijuana or Tecate. From Ensenada, Hwy-3 (dubbed “La Ruta del Vino”) cuts inland into the valley; most of the wineries are located on dirt roads that branch off this highway (and most are well signposted). It’s also possible to rent a car in Tijuana or Ensenada (taking a rental car across the US border can be complicated/expensive).

    In addition, a service dubbed “uberVALLE” offers day-long, round-trip Uber rides to the Valle de Guadalupe from Ensenada – just select “valleX” in the Uber app (the driver will wait at the various vineyards).

  • Guided tours in Valle de Guadalupe
    Numerous guided tours offer a no-hassle, convenient way to visit Valle de Guadalupe’s wineries – tours depart Rosarito, Ensenada, Tijuana, and even across the border in San Diego. Our favorites include Baja Viajes, Baja Wine Tours, and the fun, bespoke tours at Valley Girl Wine Tours.
  • Do I need to speak Spanish in Valle de Guadalupe?
    It’s always a good idea to know a little Spanish when visiting the wineries, though there are English-speakers at almost every vineyard in Valle de Guadalupe.
  • How much do wineries charge in Valle de Guadalupe?
    Most wineries charge for tastings, but not always for tours – costs vary widely, from as low as 50 pesos to 600 pesos, with an average of around 200 pesos for a tasting of five wines. Though showing up at the major wineries without a reservation is possible, it is best to call before visiting.
  • Where should I stay in Valle de Guadalupe?
    Our favorite spots to stay in Valle de Guadalupe include the Adobe Guadalupe, a charming six-room B&B, and stylish La Villa del Valle.
  • Restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe
    Our top pick for a gourmet Baja Med meal in Valle de Guadalupe is Laja, helmed by Chef Rafael Magaña Tinoco.
  • Safety in Valle de Guadalupe
    The Valle de Guadalupe is one of the safest parts of Mexico, though care should be taken driving through the border cities of Tijuana and Tecate.
  • TIP – Get oriented at a couple of small but worthy museums in Valle de Guadalupe
    The sleek Museo de la Vid y el Vino (just outside Francisco Zarco) introduces the history of wine-making in the region, while the Museo Comunitario Ruso in Francisco Zarco pays tribute to the valley’s Russian pioneers, settlers who came here in the early 1900s.
  • The 15 Best Wines and Wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe

    1. Adobe Guadalupe

    Their winery is one of the most atmospheric in the valley, with a Spanish Mission-style tasting room complete with bell tower and adobe arches. It’s also possible to stay in the charming B&B on site and have dinner at the restaurant.

    Best Wine – Gabriel – This Bordeaux-style red (blend, with 55 percent Merlot), with a dry and fruity taste was created by Adobe Guadalupe owner Tru Miller with winemaker Daniel Lonnberg.
    Location – Parcela A-1 S/N, Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings daily 10am–5pm (reservation recommended); 250–300 pesos
    Where to StayAgua de Vida

    2. Monte Xanic

    To visit the elegant Monte Xanic winery advance reservations are required – guards will only open the gate once they’ve checked a reservation has been made. Inside a tranquil man-made lake, breezy covered patio, and cozy tasting room can be found.

    Best Wine – Gran Ricardo – The connoisseurs choice for Bordeaux-style reds (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot) – pricey but worth it.
    Location – Francisco Zarco S/N, Col, 22750 Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings and tours daily 10am–5pm (reservations required); 250–300 pesos
    Where to Stay – Casa Pan y Vino

    3. L. A. Cetto

    L. A. Cetto is one of the oldest producers in the valley, with roots that go back to 1928; it’s now the biggest producer of table wines in Mexico (also noted for Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel). The vineyard features a spacious tasting room with rustic wood ceiling, tiled floor and floor-to-ceiling racks of bottles of wine, but gets very busy at the weekends.

    Best Wine – ‘Reserva Privada’ Nebbiolo – Rich, barrel-aged red wine, similar to Italy’s Barolo.
    Location – Carretera Tecate–El Sauzal Km 73.5, Valle de Guadalupe 22750
    Details – Tastings daily 9am–5pm; 50 pesos (100 pesos for reserves)
    Where to Stay – Encuentro Guadalupe

    4. Casa de Piedra

    French-born d’Acosta is generally credited with the renaissance of Mexican wine since the late 1990s. The vineyard name comes from the old stone building (Casa de Piedra is “Stone House”) in which the wine is now made – tasting takes place up the hill in a modest adobe building, with superb views of the vineyards below.

    Best Wine – Vino de Piedra – The signature red wine (Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon blend) from famed winemaker Hugo d’Acosta, aged 13 months in French and American oak barrels.
    Location – Carretera Tecate–Ensenada Km 93.5, San Antonio de las Minas, Ensenada, Baja California 22755
    Details – Tastings by appointment only (usually Sat & Sun 11am–6pm); Free
    Where to Stay – Posada San Antonio

    5. Château Camou

    The all-white winery building makes a stunning contrast to the arid surroundings, looming above the vineyards like a giant fortress. The tasting room features tables made of old oak barrels.

    Best Wine – Gran Vino Tinto – Very intense, ruby-red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend), produced at Château Camou in the Cañada del Trigo, a canyon in the northwest of the valley.
    Location – Domicilio Conocido s/n, 22785 Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings daily 11am–4pm (reservations required at least 15 days in advance); US$12–30 (258–646 pesos)
    Where to Stay – Casa Emiliana

    6. Viñedos Bibayoff

    The only Russian family-owned vineyard still open to the public – Bibayoff was established in 1906 by Russian emigres, and there’s an interesting history museum on-site.

    Best Wine – Zinfandel – An old vine Zinfandel that is a bit like a Spanish Rioja.
    Location – Rancho Toros Pinto, Ensenada
    Details – Tours and wine tasting by appointment, Tues–Sun 11am–5:30pm; 100 pesos
    Where to Stay – El Cielo Winery and Resort

    7. Villa Montefiori (Vinos Paoloni)

    Paoloni’s vines are all from Italian rootstock. His tasting room is sleek and contemporary, with two levels, floor-to-ceiling glass and a veranda.

    Best Wine – Nebbiolo de Guadalupe – Signature 100 percent Nebbiolo (aged 15 months in French oak), made by Italian-born winemaker Paolo Paoloni (the wines are sold under the “Paoloni” label in the US).
    Location – Parcela 26-1 s/n Ejido El Porvenir Km 9, Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings daily 11am to 5pm (reservations recommended); 200–450 pesos
    Where to Stay – Villa Toros Pintos

    8. Hacienda La Lomita

    Owned by Fernando Perez-Castro, the winery itself features a rustic Spanish Mission style, with a tasting room on the second level, most notable for its stunning murals by Mexican artist Jorge Tellaeche. Be sure to take a tour after the tasting to see more of his murals in the production area (he also designed the hip labels on the wine). Dine at the TrasLomita Restaurant on-site.

    Best Wine – Tinto de la Hacienda & Pagano – Two much sought after wines recommended from Lomita; the Tinto de la Hacienda (a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah, aged 10 months in second use French oak) is one of the best bargains in the valley, while the Pagano (100 percent Grenache) is a more full-bodied wine. It’s one of the few Mexican wines served at the celebrated French Laundry restaurant in California.
    Location – Fracc. 3, Lote 13, Camino Vecinal Parcela 71, San Marcos, Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings Wed & Thurs 11am–4pm, Fri–Sun 11am–6pm; US$12–21 (258–452 pesos)
    Where to Stay – Entrevalle Hotel Boutique

    9. Viñas de la Erre

    Winemaker and owner Ernesto Rochas’s tasting room stands like a large open-sided barn in the lee of a hill, furnished with wooden tables and chairs providing visitors with an expansive view.

    Best Wine – Mezcla Bordalesa Gran Reserva – Highly prized blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (85 percent), Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, aged 28 months in French oak, from winemaker and owner Ernesto Rocha.
    Location – Carretera Tecate-Ensenada 87.5 San Antonio de las Minas, Tecate
    Details – Tastings Fri noon–6pm, Sat & Sun 11am–6pm; 250–300 pesos
    Where to Stay – Casa Mayoral

    10. Bodegas de Santo Tomás

    The main vineyard actually lies south of the valley and Ensenada, but they operate a tasting room (“cava”) in San Antonio de las Minas (at the start of the Valle de Guadalupe).

    Best Wine – Único – Luscious Cabernet Sauvignon (60 percent) and Merlot (40 percent) blend from Baja’s oldest existing winery, with roots in 1791 (commercial production began in 1888).
    Location – (Cava San Antonio de las Minas); Carretera Federal No. 3, Ensenada–Tecate Km 94.7
    Details – Tastings daily 10am–5pm (reservations recommended); 200 pesos
    Where to Stay – En’kanto

    11. Barón Balch’é

    “Balch’é” means “sacred drink” in Mayan. Try and book a meal at on-site Tahal, an open-sided, breezy restaurant with stellar views across the surrounding desert and mountains.

    Best Wine – Balché Uno Premium – This intense 100 percent Grenache (aged in French oak for 36 month) is one of our all-time favorites.
    Location – Juanita Beltran s/n, Ejido El Porvenir, 22755 Ensenada
    Details – Tastings daily 11am–7pm; 140–330 pesos
    Where to Stay – Terra del Valle Bed & Breakfast

    12. AlXimia

    Helmed by mathematician Alvaro Alvarez-Parrilla, AlXimia is an eco-friendly winery that looks like a giant flying saucer – it’s a fun place to visit. Inside the giant dome, there are three floors where just about the whole process of wine-making takes place, from huge stainless steel fermenting drums to the French oak barrels in the underground “cava”.

    Best Wine – Magma – Fabulous, complex blend of Carignan (Cariñena; two thirds) and Grenache (Garnacha; one third), aged 24 months in French oak barrels – it’s a bit like wines from the Spanish Priorat region.
    Location – Camino Vecinal al Tigre Km 3 (enseguida rancho El Parral), Valle de Guadalupe 22766
    Details – Tastings daily 11am–5pm; 250 pesos
    Where to Stay – Rancho el Parral

    13. Viña de Frannes

    A boutique winery established by Ernesto Álvarez Morphy Camou, the founder of Château Camou (which is next door). The famed Bordeaux-based winemaker Michel Rolland acts as a consultant. Viña de Frannes winery is a little off the beaten path, where it can be enjoyed in solitude. The tasting room is a real highlight of the valley, a raised, minimalist-style wood and glass cube.

    Best Wine – Pater – Limited production Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 18 months in French oak.
    Location – Camino Vecinal al Rancho Cañada del Trigo, 22750 Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings Wed– Sun 10am–5pm (call ahead); 130–240 pesos
    Where to Stay – Ojo Azul Resort

    14. Corona del Valle

    Helmed by Hector Corona and family, Corona del Valle is a rustic chic winery – liberally decorated with distressed wood, antiques and recyclable items – known as the most family-friendly in the valley, with several play areas for kids. There’s also an excellent restaurant on-site (with kids menu) specializing in Baja Med cuisine.

    Best Wine – Tempranillo/Nebbiolo – This prize-winning blend of Tempranillo (60 percent) and Nebbiolo (40 percent), aged for 12 months in French oak, is another favorite of California’s French Laundry.
    Location – Carretera Tecate-Ensenada Km 89, 22760 Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings summer daily 1–9pm, winter 11am–7pm; 100–250 pesos
    Where to Stay – Contemplacion

    15. Vena Cava

    Founded by Phil and Eileen Gregory, Vena Cava’s premises are as much an attraction as the wine. Designed by architect Alejandro D’Acosta, they are built from reclaimed fishing boats and wood, and recycled bottles and tires, with a large outdoor patio. Don’t miss the celebrated food truck here dubbed “Troika,” for tacos, tostadas, churros, and fresh oysters.

    Best Wine – Preventa Big Blend – Another one of our absolute favorites, a dark and smoky blend of five different grapes; Syrah (25 percent), Cabernet Sauvignon (25 percent), Petite Syrah (19 percent), Zinfandel (17 percent) and Grenache (14 percent), aged 13 months in French and American oak.
    Location – Rancho San Marcos, Toros Pintos s/n, Ejido Francisco Zarco, Valle de Guadalupe
    Details – Tastings Thurs–Tues 11am–5pm (reservations required); 150–230 pesos
    Where to Stay – Santulan

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    Baja Beaches

    Mexico Travel Guide › Baja California Beaches
    Updated: December 30, 2020

    See Also

    Baja California Beaches – Tips & Info

    • When To Visit Baja California: Baja’s beaches are at their best from November through May when there’s great weather (and whale-watching Jan–Feb). Much of the peninsula shuts down during the broiling hot summers, though Los Cabos tends to be an all-year destination. Skip Christmas, Easter, and Spring Break (Feb/March) to avoid the crowds.

    • Los Cabos has the most development and most luxurious resorts, and some of the best beaches overall; the top beaches for quiet and solitude are along the Bahía Concepción, and Cabo Pulmo. The best beaches for surfing are around Todos Santos and Playa Acapulquito. The best beach for families is Playa Balandra near La Paz. The best beach for partying is El Médano in Cabo San Lucas.

    • Arrival: Other than Tijuana on the US border, Baja’s biggest international gateway is Los Cabos International Airport, 19 km north of downtown San José del Cabo, and a further 32 km from Cabo San Lucas. All the major car rental companies have desks here; otherwise, reserve a taxi or shared minibus in advance with Transportistas Josefinos, Cabo Transfers, or Los Cabos Airport Shuttle. Airport taxis are very expensive and will charge US dollars – local buses are a cheaper alternative. Buses also link the airport with La Paz (via Los Barriles, or via Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos)
    • Car rental is relatively straightforward and cheap in Baja California – beyond the congested roads of La Paz and Los Cabos, highways are generally empty and easy to navigate. Many beaches are hard to access without a vehicle, though buses do run up and down the Baja peninsula.

    • Time Zones: The state of Baja California (the northern half of the peninsula) follows Pacific Time (GMT-8) while Baja California Sur is one-hour ahead on Mountain Standard Time (GMT-7).

    • Cash is king: Most locally run beach restaurants and bars take cash only – take a wad of pesos to be safe (some places will accept US dollars but invariably at bad exchange rates). You’ll need cash to rent beach chairs and umbrellas.

    The 18 Best Beaches in Baja California

    All along the Baja coast, you’ll find turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, but Bahía Concepción, La Paz, and the remote settlements on the East Cape are the standouts. In complete contrast, right at the end of the peninsula, the booming resort of Los Cabos offers its own raucous blend of boutique hotels, watersports, gourmet restaurants, and nightlife.

    Our favorite is Playa El Requesón, on the Bahía Concepción. A magical setting on the edge of the desert, with wonderfully calm and warm water. Playa del Rosarito and Playa El Médano have a deserved reputation for partying and a vibrant nightlife. While El Saltito and Cabo Pulmo are great for beach lovers looking for a quieter, more relaxed experience. Plenty of shallow, calm beaches will appeal to families: Playa de Balandra and Playa el Chileno are the best.

    1. Playa El Requesón, Bahía Concepción (43 km south of Mulegé)

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    A dazzling sandbar poking into the pristine, calm waters of Bahía Concepción. Perfect for kayaking and swimming (it’s warm and shallow). Camp on the beach (around 150 pesos) or stay in the nearest town, Mulegé. No freshwater (pit toilets only), but locals often swing by selling water, snacks, and fresh seafood. Note that parts of the beach are submerged at high tide, and it is popular with the RV crowd. Best accessed with your own transport.

    2. Playa de Balandra (27 km north of La Paz)

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    Superb option for families, featuring a sheltered, shallow bay (no more than waist deep) and warm water for swimming and snorkeling. No facilities and few vendors, though you can rent kayaks and shelter under small palapas set on the beach. Can get very busy at weekends. Stay in La Paz and take the local bus (45min), or drive (it’s a 2hr 30min drive from Cabo San Lucas).

    3. Playa el Chileno (15 km northeast of Cabo San Lucas)

    Best of the family-friendly beaches between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. There are toilets here (the only beach on this stretch that has them) and a shop that rents watersports equipment. Excellent for swimming, diving, and snorkeling, but gets very busy in high season and at weekends. Local buses regularly run down the highway between Cabo and San José – the beach is just off the road.
    Recommended Hotels: Chileno Bay Resort & Residences (luxury)

    4. Playa Santispac, Bahía Concepción (21 km south of Mulegé)

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    Gorgeous beach on the Bahía Concepción, just off the main highway, with calm water and heaps of soft white sand. Attracts the usual cluster of winter RVs (Dec-March), but there’s plenty of space to camp (under palapas) plus basic toilets, showers, and simple food options (Ana’s Restaurant plus local mobile vendors). You can also rent kayaks and snorkeling gear. Vehicles charged around US$10 for parking/camping per night.

    5. Playa del Amor (Lovers’ Beach), Cabo San Lucas

    This small wedge of sand near the tip of the Baja peninsula is incredibly picturesque, accessible only by boat from the Cabo marina or Playa El Médano. You can swim at Playa del Amor (facing the bay), but the beach on the Pacific side of the point – known as Playa Divorcio – experiences dangerous riptides. There’s excellent snorkeling at nearby Pelican Rock.
    Recommended Hotels: Hotel Tesoro Los Cabos (mid-range) • Casa Bella Hotel Boutique (boutique) • Hotel Maria Elena (budget)

    6. Bahía Santa María, (12 km northeast of Cabo San Lucas)

    Snorkel over reefs (rays and turtles hang out here) at both ends of this enchanting horseshoe cove, and swim at the warm, protected beach in the center. There’s a parking lot a short walk from the beach (signposted from the Cabo–San José highway).
    Recommended Hotels: Montage Los Cabos (luxury)

    7. Playa El Médano, Cabo San Lucas

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    Cabo’s premier swimming beach is the place to party. The main strip is heaving with beach bars, vendors, jet skis, and sunbathers. It’s an entertaining scene, but note that the main beach is over 3 km long, and usually deserted at either end. Baja Watersports organizes activities.
    Recommended Hotels: ME Cabo – Adults Oriented (luxury) • Bahia Hotel & Beach House (boutique) • Hotel Riu Palace Baja California (luxury)

    8. El Saltito (30 km northeast of La Paz)

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    Remote wilderness beach for travelers who like a little adventure. Getting here involves a bumpy ride on dirt roads that can become impassable when wet. There are no facilities and very few people. Good for strong swimmers only, with a steep drop-off and riptides, but with a stunning desert backdrop and wide swaths of virtually empty sand. Some people camp here, but independent transport is required – La Paz is the nearest main town.

    9. Playa El Coyote Bahía Concepción (28 km south of Mulegé)

    Popular bone-white beach (6.5 km south of Santispac), facing an idyllic crescent bay with crystal-clear water and gliding pelicans. Expect a small charge for camping and/or use of the beach palapas. The southern end is the best spot for swimming, while the northern end catches the best sunrises. Pit toilets only and no freshwater, but locals sell drinks and seafood.

    10. Beaches of Cabo Pulmo, (60 km northwest of San José del Cabo)

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    The pristine beaches of the protected Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, offer a wilder experience with a rare hard coral reef just offshore. Playa Los Arbolites (entry around 40 pesos) is ideal for snorkeling, with a huge variety of marine life, plus palapas, toilets, and showers (and snorkel rentals). About five minutes further south by car is Playa Los Frailes (free, no facilities), a picturesque cove with equally sensational snorkeling. There is no public transport to Cabo Pulmo – rent a car in Cabo or La Paz.
    Recommended Hotels: Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort (budget) • Bungalows Cabo Pulmo (budget)

    11. Playa Los Cerritos, El Pescadero (12 km south from Todos Santos)

    Wonderful, wide sandy beach justly popular with surfers and whale-watchers – whales are often visible from the shore. Rarely busy, despite being known for jaw-dropping sunsets. Mario’s Surf School rents surfboards and offers lessons. Rent a car in Cabo San Lucas (1 hr drive), or stay in the village.
    Recommended Hotels: Cerritos Surf Town Beach Hotel & Spa (mid-range) • Olas de Cerritos (mid-range) • Cerritos Beach Hotel (mid-range/luxury)

    12. Playa Acapulquito (5 km south of San José del Cabo)

    Tiny but beautiful sandy beach just south of San José’s hotel zone. AKA Old Man’s, this is an ideal surfing beach for beginners, while just around the headland lies the celebrated Zippers and La Roca breaks, with some of the best surfing in the region. Swimming is best during the late winter and early spring (the waves get bigger in the summer).
    Recommended Hotels: Cabo Surf Hotel & Spa (luxury) • Hotel Casa Costa Azul (mid-range)

    13. Playa San Felipe

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    San Felipe is a remote town on the Sea of Cortez, best known for sportfishing and off-road motorsports, but it also has a long, crescent beach and warm, emerald waters – it’s the best place to swim in northern Baja. It’s also known for its fish tacos and shellfish cocktails. Note that the upper reaches of the Sea of Cortez experience the world’s third-largest tides. There’s no airport – it’s a 2 hr 30 min bus ride or drive from the US border.
    Recommended Hotels: Stella del Mar (mid-range) • Sandollar Condotels (mid-range) • Hotel San Borja (budget)

    14. Playa de Tecolote (29 km north of La Paz)

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    Fine sands and excellent snorkeling right off the beach, just another 2 km north from Balandra. Unlike Balandra, this is a long, straight strip, facing Isla del Espíritu Santo and the open Sea of Cortez. There are also lots of places to eat and drink here, with a party atmosphere at weekends. Stay in La Paz and take the local bus (45 min) or drive (it’s a 2 hr 30 min drive from Cabo San Lucas).

    15. Playa Palmilla, (7 km south of San José del Cabo)

    Clean, safe 1.5 km-long beach close to San José’s hotel zone, though there are decent point and reef breaks when the surf’s up here (summer). It’s also popular for standup paddleboarding and whale-watching. Access the beach by following signs to the One & Only Palmilla resort and take the only dirt-road cut-off to the left.
    Recommended Hotels: One&Only Palmilla (luxury) • Villas Del Mar (luxury)

    16. Playa del Rosarito

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    The beaches of northern Baja are generally inferior to the south, but Rosarito deserves a shout out for its proximity to the US border (25 km) and great party atmosphere. It’s a wide swath of well-maintained and clean sand, lined with bars, hotels, and restaurants. With big Pacific swells, it’s also a popular surf location.
    Recommended Hotels: Rosarito Beach Hotel (mid-range) • Rosarito Inn (mid-range) • Del Mar Inn Rosarito (budget)

    17. Los Barriles

    Good beach in Baja, Mexico.

    Low-key resort town with wide, often empty sandy beaches. It’s primarily a sportfishing and windsurfing/kiteboarding (winter) hub, some 66 km north of Los Cabos airport, but the clear waters are also perfect for swimming and kayaking.
    Recommended Hotels: Martin Verdugo’s Beach Club (mid-range) • Hotel Palmas De Cortez (mid-range)

    18. Playa Hotelera (San José del Cabo)

    The long, wide strip of sand that makes up the waterfront and hotel zone of San José del Cabo is rarely crowded – despite the line of hotels, there’s plenty of space for walks, fishing, sun-bathing, and horseback riding. However, it’s not good for swimming: there’s a steep drop-off, rip-tides, and lots of surf (in summer). Some of the hotels will allow non-guests to use their pools and facilities if you purchase a day-pass.
    Recommended Hotels: Cabo Azul Resort by Diamond Resorts (luxury) • Hyatt Place Los Cabos (luxury) • Posada Real Los Cabos (budget–mid-range)

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    La Paz Travel Guide

    Mexico Travel Guide › La Paz
    Updated: December 30, 2020

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    Laid-back La Paz is often overlooked by visitors in favor of the resorts of Los Cabos, but it’s one of our favorite small Mexican cities. Its waterfront malecón is one of the country’s most attractive, the surrounding beaches are sensational, nearby Isla Espíritu Santo is rich in marine life, and the local restaurants – especially the fish taco stalls – are surprisingly good.

    playa balandra
    Gorgeous Playa Balandra just north of La Paz.

    Frequently Asked Questions about La Paz

    Where is La Paz?

    La Paz – not to be confused with the capital of Bolivia – is the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, facing the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). La Paz lies about 1470 km south of Tijuana and the US border, 150 km north of Cabo San Lucas, and over 1600 km northwest of Mexico City. Non-stop flights to La Paz take 1 hour 45 minutes from Tijuana, and 2 hours 10 minutes from Mexico City.

    How big is La Paz?

    La Paz has a greater metro population of just under 300,000 people. The city stretches for some 11km along the Bay of La Paz, part of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California).

    What is the history of La Paz?

    Originally the home of the indigenous Pericú people, the Spanish had little success colonizing the area around La Paz. Jesuit priests Juan de Ugarte and Jaime Bravo established a mission here in 1720, but it was abandoned 28 years later. La Paz didn’t really develop as a city until Mexico became independent, becoming the de facto capital of southern Baja in 1833. It grew rapidly thereafter, thanks to nearby silver mines, and a major pearl-fishing industry. American troops occupied the town in 1847 during the Mexican–American War, and in 1853 it was again invaded, this time by the US “filibuster” William Walker in one of his many attempts to create a Central American kingdom (he was quickly expelled by the Mexicans).

    John Steinbeck sailed to La Paz in 1940, a trip he recorded in The Log from the Sea of Cortez (he also based his novel The Pearl here), but by this time the pearl trade had almost completely collapsed, most likely due to disease among the oysters. Since the 1960s La Paz has flourished again as capital of the Baja California Sur, and also because of recreational fishing, pioneered by the likes of John Wayne and Bing Crosby.

    male con at sunset
    Sunset on the waterfront malecon.

    How do I get to La Paz?

    La Paz has a small airport with flights to major cities in Mexico, as well as seasonal (winter) flights to Dallas and Phoenix. From southern California, it’s easiest to fly non-stop from Tijuana, just across the border – from Europe and the rest of the world most flights route through Mexico City. From the airport taxis charge around 300 pesos into the city center – there’s not much alternative to this.

    La Paz is also a short (2hr 30 minutes) bus or car ride from the resorts of Los Cabos, making it a popular day-trip.

    Because of its relatively remote location, getting here overland can be very time-consuming. First-class long-distance buses run down the Baja peninsula from Tijuana (at least 24 hours), though these can be infrequent. Car ferries from Mazatlán can save time if driving from central Mexico. See Baja Ferries.

    Can I use Uber in La Paz?

    Uber does operate in La Paz (assuming phones have roaming, and the app works), but drivers are usually reluctant to pick-up from the airport due to hostility from the airport taxi union. However, it’s possible to get an Uber back to the airport for as low as 100 pesos. Once in the city, getting an Uber should be no problem, and can be cheaper than regular taxis.

    Can I drive to La Paz?

    It is possible to drive to La Paz. Driving down from the US border is relatively straightforward, and plenty of Americans and Canadians take their own vehicles – the main highway is good, virtually empty outside the towns, and is fairly safe (though driving at night should be avoided). There are many Mexican army checkpoints along the way, but tourists are usually waved through without problems. It’s important to fill up whenever a gas station is seen however and plan accordingly. The drive from Tijuana is over 1480 km (920 miles) and takes around 21 hours non-stop – most folks break the journey into two or three days. Another plus: foreign vehicles do not need a Mexican “Temporary Importation of Vehicle Permit”, as long as they stay on the Baja peninsula.

    If renting a vehicle, it’s much easier to do this once across the Mexican border, as taking US rental vehicles into Mexico comes with all sorts of restrictions.

    waterfront promenade
    Beautiful evening on the promenade in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

    Do I need a car in La Paz?

    It is not necessary to rent a car in La Paz. It’s relatively easy and cheap to get around on foot, by bus or taxi. It can be useful to have a vehicle to explore the coastline beyond the city – to Playa Balandra and Playa Tecolote for example – but these beaches are also served by public bus and taxi/Uber. Rental cars are easily arranged through the hotel or at the rental company offices along the waterfront.

    How do I get around La Paz without a vehicle?

    Most of the center of La Paz can be explored on foot, or call an Uber or take a local taxi. There are taxi stands on the malecón (bayfront) in front of Seven Crown Hotel and next to the cathedral on the plaza. Set the fee before getting in – most trips in the city should be 50 to 80 pesos. Local buses charge a flat fare of 10 pesos but are unlikely to be needed.

    When is the best time to go to La Paz?

    La Paz beaches are at their best from November through May when there’s great weather (and whale-shark watching). La Paz experiences broiling hot summers that are best avoided – also skip Christmas and Easter, to avoid the crowds of local tourists.

    cactus grove in mountains
    A cactus grove in the mountains surrounding La Paz.

    What are the best beaches in La Paz?

    The best beaches of La Paz are a short ride north of the city center but are definitely worth the effort. Our favorite is Playa de Balandra (27km north of La Paz). It’s a superb option for families, featuring a sheltered, shallow bay (no more than waist deep) and warm water for swimming and snorkeling. Rent kayaks and shelter under small palapas (palm shelters) set on the beach.

    Playa de Tecolote, another 2km north from Balandra, offers fine sands and excellent snorkeling right off the beach. Unlike Balandra, this is a long, straight strip, facing Isla del Espíritu Santo and the open Sea of Cortez. There are also lots of places to eat and drink here, with a party atmosphere at weekends.

    Take the bus to both beaches from the main terminal on La Paz bayfront; it costs around 50 pesos and departs on the hour between 10 am and 5 pm (on the way back the last bus leaves the beaches around 6:30 pm). Taxis also shuttle back and forth from the beaches, though Uber is a little cheaper – around 150 pesos each way to Baladra and a little more to Tecolote. The best beach within hiking (or at least biking) distance of the city center is Playa El Coromuel (4km north of the center). It’s a small but beautiful beach with a long pier, palapas, a few places to eat, and even a giant water slide.

    Where should I stay in La Paz?

    First timers to La Paz should aim for anywhere along the waterfront malecón, close to the action and well located to enjoy the city’s celebrated sunsets. There are hotels in all price ranges here. We like the modern Seven Crown, which has a fabulous rooftop bar and chic rooms. For something special try the Posada De Las Flores. The Peace Hostel (Rangel 112), is our favorite budget option.

    What are the best things to do in La Paz?

    Other than checking out the nearby beaches, La Paz makes a good base for exploring the rich marine life in the Sea Cortez. We recommend taking a boat trip out to uninhabited Isla Espíritu Santo; snorkeling trips off the island usually encounter sea lions, dolphins, manta rays, and, depending on the time of year, fin whales – between November and March its possible to swim with whale sharks. Recommended operators include Baja Outdoor Activities, Funbaja, and the Cortez Club at La Concha Beach Resort, especially for diving.

    On land, spend some time strolling the bayside malecón, one of the most attractive in Mexico, with sensational views of the mountains across the water, especially at sunset. The city’s simple cathedral, the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Paz, lies on Plaza Jardín Velasco (aka Plaza Constitución), three blocks inland. Nearby, the Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia is the best place to learn about the region’s history.

    What are the restaurants like in La Paz?

    Eating – especially seafood –is excellent in La Paz. Cheap Mexican street food and fresh fruit juice is sold at Mercado Francisco Madero on Revolución de 1910 (at Degollado), while the popular stand known as Taquería Hermanos González (Lerdo de Tejada, at Madero) serves some of the best fried fish and shrimp tacos in Baja California. Other favorites for fish tacos and seafood include Bismark-Cito on Obregón (at Hidalgo y Costilla), and Mc-Fisher at Morelos y Pavón 965. The best place for coffee is hip contemporary café Doce Cuarenta at Madero 1240, while La Fuente (on the bayfront) serves fabulous home-made ice cream.

    What currency is used in La Paz?

    The Mexican peso (often prefixed with a “$” sign) is the currency of Mexico and La Paz – most places will not accept US dollars. Most major shops and restaurants in La Paz accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to have some peso cash on hand for bus trips and small purchases like bottled water and snacks. Most banks and ATMs are on 16 de Septiembre near the waterfront and generally give better exchange rates than casas de cambio.

    Is La Paz expensive?

    La Paz in not really expensive. Hotels are generally good value, even near the waterfront – shop around to get bargain rates. There are plenty of cheap taco shops and Mexican diners along the bay also. All beaches are open to the public and free to visit, and transportation is relatively cheap.

    Is La Paz safe?

    Yes. La Paz has generally avoided the drug violence that has affected other parts of Mexico. Take the usual precautions, especially at night, and keep valuables in room safes. Theft of personal items from beaches does happen – never leave anything of value unattended, even on seemingly empty stretches of sand.

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    Tijuana Travel Guide

    Mexico Travel Guide › Tijuana
    Updated: December 30, 2020

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    The godfather of Mexican border towns, Tijuana has been undergoing something of a renaissance in the last ten years. Cutting-edge art galleries, museums, and dynamic culinary and craft beers scenes – in addition to the old-fashioned fun and bars offered on Avenida Revolución – make this one of our favorite cities for a short-break or day-trip south of the US border.

    Millennial Arch on Avenida Revolucion
    The Millennial Arch on Avenida Revolucion.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Tijuana

    Where is Tijuana?

    Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, set on the Pacific Ocean and right on the border with the US state of California. Tijuana is just 20 miles (32 km) south of central San Diego, 105 km north of Ensenada and around 2780 km by road from Mexico City.

    Non-stop flights to Tijuana take 2 hours 50 minutes from Monterrey, 2 hours 40 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, 2 hours 55 minutes from Guadalajara, 3 hours 15 minutes from Mexico City, and 4 hours 40 minutes from Cancún.

    How big is Tijuana?

    Tijuana has a greater metro population of just over two million and covers an area of around 637 square kilometers. The city lines the US border from the Pacific coast inland for almost 30km.

    What is the history of Tijuana?

    Tijuana was officially founded in 1889 on land previously inhabited by indigenous peoples such as the Kumeyaay, and Spanish cattle ranches. It really owes its existence to the US border – the city’s founders intended to profit from cross-border trade and day-tripping Americans. The city’s first racecourse opened in 1916, and Tijuana flourished after US prohibition in 1920 turned it into a party town for alcohol-starved Americans, Al Capone among them (drinking and gambling were permitted in Tijuana). Since the 1960s the city’s economy has diversified considerably, its maquiladoras (factories) receiving a boost from NAFTA in the 1990s. Though Mexico’s drug wars have taken a heavy toll in terms of tourism since 2008, today the city is far safer, with one of the most dynamic local economies in Mexico.

    border fence ocean city skyline
    The border fence goes directly into the ocean, with the San Diego skyline visible in the distance.

    How do I get to Tijuana?

    Tijuana Airport serves almost every major city in Mexico, though it currently hosts no international flights. From Tijuana airport, taxis charge around 250 pesos into the city – Uber drivers will charge less but are usually reluctant to pick-up (see below).

    San Diego Airport is just 34km and a short taxi ride (around US$60 on the meter) from the US-Mexican border at Tijuana, making San Diego the main entry point for visitors from the US, Canada, and Europe.

    Can I walk or drive across the US-Mexico border?

    It’s possible to walk or drive across the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, but we recommend walking across rather than driving (see below). Walk across the US-Mexico border at San Ysidro (“PedEast”), which is conveniently connected to the San Diego Trolley system (45 minutes and just US$2.50 from downtown San Diego), making day-trips possible. Leaving the US side there is no US immigration/customs check and relatively swift Mexican checks for pedestrians – there is no paperwork if going no further than Tijuana or Ensenada. Once across take a taxi (always waiting; should be US$5–6) or a 20-minute walk to Avenida Revolución, the main drag; it’s a well-signposted route via the footbridge over the Tijuana River. It’s safe during the day, but take a taxi at night. Allow more time heading back into the US, especially during morning and evening rush hours, when the wait can take several hours (there are always stringent immigration and customs checks re-entering the US, even for US citizens). The main border crossings are open 24 hours. Don’t forget a passport!

    border crossing station
    The San Ysidro border crossing station between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, United States is one of the busiest in the world.

    Can I use Uber in Tijuana?

    Uber does operate in Tijuana (assuming phones have roaming, and the app works), but drivers are usually reluctant to pick-up from Tijuana Airport due to hostility from the airport taxi union. However, an Uber can be taken back to the airport. Once in the city, getting an Uber should be no problem, and can be cheaper than regular taxis.

    Can I take Uber across the US-Mexico border?

    It’s generally not possible to take an Uber all the way from the US side to the Mexico side, though some drivers may agree to make the trip (it’s definitely not permitted to take an Uber from Tijuana to the US side). Instead, just take an Uber to the border, walk across, and order another one on the other side. Heading to the more central “Zona Río” section of Tijuana, it can be much faster (but not cheaper) to take an Uber to the pedestrian sky bridge dubbed Cross-Border Xpress or “CBX” that crosses the US-Mexico border at Tijuana Airport. Walk across (it costs US$16) and then order an Uber on the other side outside the passenger terminal – crossing here is much faster than at San Ysidro.

    Can I drive to Tijuana?

    It’s possible to drive to Tijuana, but it’s not recommended if only going to Tijuana. Driving across the border (and especially back into the US) can take several hours thanks to comprehensive customs checks, and once in Tijuana the roads can be congested and confusing to navigate. Try leaving the car at Border Station Parking, 4570 Camino de la Plaza (Mon–Thurs US$9 per 10 hours; Fri–Sun US$18 per 10 hours) in San Ysidro, and just walk across the border.

    Tijuana is just 20 miles (32 km) south of central San Diego, 130 miles south of Los Angeles, 360 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona, and 500 miles south of San Francisco.

    Pedestrians walking near Plaza Santa Cecilia
    Pedestrians walking near Plaza Santa Cecilia, a historic Mexican square in the heart of the city.

    Do I need a car in Tijuana?

    It’s relatively easy and cheap to get around Tijuana by bus or taxi so a car is not necessary. It can be useful to have a vehicle to explore the coastline beyond the city – to Rosario and Ensenada for example – but these are also well-served by bus. Driving rental cars is not a great idea as these are sometimes targeted by thieves, and getting into even a minor road accident can result in protracted encounters with non-English speaking police.

    How do I get around Tijuana without a vehicle?

    It’s easy to explore the Zona Centro in Tijuana on foot, but to go any further (to the Zona Río, for example), take taxis or buses – buses are cheap but taxis are much more convenient in Tijuana, and much safer at night. Yellow taxis (“taxi económico”) don’t use meters and follow a fixed-rate fare system, while “taxis libres” (white color) use meters – to be avoid being overcharged, try to use taxi libres (always insist drivers turn on the meter). Fares within central Tijuana shouldn’t be more than 100 pesos. Uber charges slightly cheaper rates. Shared taxis (“colectivos” or “taxi de ruta”) are even cheaper, but not recommended for first-time visitors (or non-Spanish speakers).

    When is the best time to go to Tijuana?

    The summer months (June to October) are warm and dry, and are generally the best times to visit, though as a big city Tijuana is essentially an all-year destination. Winter is usually cooler, slightly wetter, and cloudier. It’s best to avoid Christmas and Easter when locals and domestic tourists fill the streets.

    Where should I stay in Tijuana?

    First-timers to Tijuana should aim for the “Zona Centro” anchored by Avenida Revolución, the main tourist drag. The city’s modern downtown, known as the Zona Río, has less character and less choice when it comes to hotels. The motels on the outskirts are only an option if driving a car. We recommend the centrally located Hotel Ticuán and Alou Hotel Boutique, or the Lucerna if preference is for the Zona Río.

    Centro Cultural Tijuana
    The iconic dome of the Centro Cultural Tijuana which features art, an IMAX theater, a botanical garden, and an aquarium.

    What are the best things to do in Tijuana?

    The heart of Tijuana is Avenida Revolución, aka La Revo, the celebrated main tourist street. It’s lined with bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Stroll the busiest stretch from the Monumental Arch at Plaza Santa Cecilia south for eight blocks or so to take in the scene, including Tijuana’s “famous” donkeys – painted to look like zebras. Here also is Caesar’s, where Caesar Cardini supposedly invented Caesar salad in 1924 (still prepared tableside).

    A few kilometers to the east, the Zona Río is home to gourmet restaurants, clubs, and modern buildings, as well as the city’s colorful traditional market, Mercado Hidalgo. Also here is the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT), housing theaters, art exhibitions, and an IMAX movie theater known as “La Bola”. It also contains the Museo de las Californias, a museum that charts the history of Baja California. Guided tours are a great way to learn about the city for first-time visitors – we recommend Tijuana Walking Tour, especially the taco tours. Locally-operated Turista Libre is another favorite.

    What are the restaurants like in Tijuana?

    The restaurants in Tijuana are extremely varied, ranging from classic Mexican street food to some of the best gourmet restaurants in the country. Tijuana is famed nationally for its taco stalls; “Tacos Las 24 Hours”, a tiny no-frills (and unmarked) stand at Niños Héroes 588; Tacos Salceados (Ermita Nte 30-A), which knocks out the best carne asada (grilled steak) tacos in the city; and sit down restaurant Tacos El Franc (Gral Rodolfo Sánchez Taboada 9257).

    Over in the Zona Río is the highly acclaimed food court Telefonica Gastro Park, as well as posh Mexican restaurants such as La Diferencia, Chef Miguel Guerrero’s La Querencía, and Misión 19, celebrity chef Javier Plascencia’s showcase for “Baja Med” cuisine (Mexican-Mediterranean fusion).

    What is the nightlife like in Tijuana?

    Avenida Revolución is the traditional hub of Tijuana’s legendary nightlife, with “La Sexta” (Calle 6, just off Revolución, aka Flores Magón) home to hip jukebox bar El Dandy Del Sur (no. 2030) and mescal specialist La Mezcalera (no. 8267). A few minutes’ south of La Revo by taxi lies Cervecería Tijuana (Fundadores 2951), one of the city’s acclaimed microbreweries with an excellent on-site tap house. Tijuana has experienced a boom in craft brewing in the last two decades, with Plaza Fiesta (a collection of bars and restaurants conveniently located in the same open mall) at Paseo de los Héroes 1001 in the Zona Río a good place to start for aficionados.

    Look out also for Cervecería Insurgente, which has taproom on Revolución (no. 933), and nearby Mamut Brewery, around the corner at Carrillo Puerto y o Tercera 8161. Highly-recommended Norte Brewing is at Salvador Díaz Mirón 8178, also off Revolución.

    Tijuana welcome sign
    Welcome to Downtown Tijuana.

    What currency is used in Tijuana?

    The Mexican peso (often prefixed with a “$” sign) is the currency of Mexico and Tijuana – though most places will accept US dollars a better rate of exchange (and therefore cheaper deals) are in pesos. Most major shops and restaurants in Tijuana accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to have some peso cash on hand for entry fees and small purchases like bottled water and snacks. ATMs are easy to find in Tijuana, on and just off Revolución (especially Av Constitución, running parallel one block west).

    Is Tijuana expensive?

    It’s easy to visit Tijuana on a modest budget. Unless it’s a public holiday, hotels are relatively good value, museums are free or charge nominal fees, and most restaurants are cheap – a filling meal of street tacos costs just a handful of dollars.

    Is Tijuana safe?

    Tijuana is safe for tourists – Revolución and the Zona Río are well policed night and day. Tijuana is a big city, and does suffer from crime, some of it drug-related – take the usual precautions, especially at night (get hotels and restaurants to order taxis), and keep valuables in room safes.

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    Where to Go in Mexico

    Mexico Travel Guide › Mexico Best Destinations
    Updated: December 30, 2020

    The 11 Best Places To Visit in Mexico

    1. Mexico City

    Best places to visit in Mexico: Mexico City

    Mexico City is a world class destination, a vibrant metropolis teaming with humanity. There is a rich and varied cultural scene, with 185 museums, 9 archaeological sites and 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites, plus fabulous food from fine dining restaurants to abundant street food. There is something for absolutely every kind of traveler.

    2. Guadalajara

    Best places to visit in Mexico: Guadalajara, Jalisco.

    Guadalajara is Mexico’s second biggest city, and the capital of the state of Jalisco. A less frenetic metropolis than Mexico City, it’s full of tree-lined boulevards, and home to both the Mexican institutions of mariachi music and tequilla.

    3. San Miguel de Allende

    Best places to visit in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende

    Located in Mexico’s central highlands, San Miguel de Allende is known for its thriving arts scene and cultural festivals, gastronomy, and baroque architecture. Once known for catering mostly to backpackers and budget travelers, the city now features many luxury and boutique hotels and high-end shopping, with a plethora of quaint bougainvillea filled alleyways to explore.

    4. Los Cabos

    cabo beach bay

    Situated at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is the coastal area encompassing the two popular resort destinations of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The beautiful waters and beaches offer a variety of water sport adventures and marine life, and the surrounding dessert more natural wonders to explore. There’s a pervasive party atmosphere spread out across endless bars and night clubs. Despite its natural beauty, the area is built up with look-alike resorts and all-inclusive hotels, large chain stores and restaurants.

    5. Puerto Vallarta

    Puerto Vallarta waterfront

    Surrounded by lush mountains and stretching around the beautiful Bahía de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s most popular coastal destinations. The malecón promenade runs along the beach downtown, with loads of waterfront restaurants and bars, and a collection of iconic sculptures. Puerto Vallarta is also popular with families and LGBTQ travelers. There are a number of smaller resort towns both north (Punta de Mita, Sayulita, San Francisco) and south (Mismaloya, Boca de Tomatlan, Yelapa) of PV.

    6. Zihuatanejo

    Ixtapa Zihuatanejo beach bay

    Zihuatanejo is a small resort area on the coast of the state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco. The city is slow and quiet but becomes quite touristy when cruise ships are in town. There are narrow cobblestone streets with small restaurants, boutiques and artisan studios, and a romantic waterfront sidewalk. Nearby Ixtapa is also attractive but has larger resorts and less of a local vibe.

    7. Oaxaca

    Oaxaca City street

    Oaxaca City is the gastronomic capitol of Mexico, also known for it’s architecture and natural beauty. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Handicrafts, ceramics, and rugs are popular with visitors.

    8. Merida

    folkloric dancers

    Merida is the quiet capital of the state of Yucatan, with a large Mayan population and robust cultural scene. There’s lots to see in the city and plenty of pleasant day trips to ancient ruins and natural beauty in the surrounding area.

    9. Tulum

    tulum beach sand

    Tulum is a small city on Yucatan’s Caribbean coast, known for its amazing beaches and well preserved Mayan ruins on a cliffside above the beach. A hip scene full of boutique shopping, small luxury hotels, and fusion cuisine blending modern techniques with traditional Mexican ingredients. Yoga, bike riding, and visits to cenotes in the surrounding jungle are popular activities, as are large electronic dance music festivals.

    10. Isla Mujeres

    Best places to visit in Mexico: Isla Mujeres

    Isla Mujeres is a small Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea off the Yucatan Coast near Cancun. It’s known for beaches, resort hotels, snorkeling, and scuba diving on the surrounding coral reefs. Golf carts are the main form of transportation around the island – which gives a pretty good approximation of the relaxed vibe on the island.

    11. Cancun

    Best places to visit in Mexico: Cancun, Yucatan.

    Cancun is known for its gorgeous powdery white sand beaches, large luxury resorts, and nightlife. A major tourist destination for decades, the city is divided into the Zona Hoteleria along the beach and Cancun Centro (the city) inland that has more local flavor and flare. Golf, shopping, and day trips to surrounding cenotes, water parks, and cultural sites are easily accomplished.

    Categories
    Travel

    Tulum Family Hotels

    MexicoTulum › Tulum Kid-Friendly Hotels
    Updated: December 29, 2020

    See Also

    Tulum Family Hotels – Tips & Info

    Tulum with Kids – The Best Hotels on the Tulum Beach

    • Tulum is a good year-round destination but the best months to visit are from December to April.
    • A note about Tulum hotels: Tulum’s hotels are simple and laid back. Don’t be expecting luxury amenities even if the price suggests that that’s what you’re getting. Service is on “Mexican Time” and might leave you disappointed if you’re expecting the sharp service of Cancun’s best resorts. That said, Tulum is my favorite beach spot in the Yucatan (and has way better restaurants than Cancun or Playa del Carmen). Just be prepared for laid back, relaxed, and easy-going service and hotel staff.

    The 14 Best Hotels for Families in Tulum, Mexico

    • Click the hotel name to check prices on Booking.com – my favorite website for booking hotels. Book 6 to 8 months in advance for the best rooms and rates.

    1. Cabañas La Luna

    Tulum Family Hotels: Cabanas Luna

    Rustic boutique hotel with spacious, family-friendly suites and a fantastic Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant on a wide stretch of white sand beach. Spacious rooms offer up to 2 bedrooms and sleep 4 to 6 guests, while the villa features 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a private pool.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 146 7737Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    2. Sueños Tulum

    Tulum Family Hotels: Suenos

    Located near the far end of the beach road. It’s quieter here but you can still walk to a few restaurants. Presidential suite is luxurious and perfect for family of 4. Small pool just back from the beach.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 119 3484Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    3. Jashita Tulum Hotel

    Tulum Family Hotels: Jashita

    Boutique, luxury hotel with 3 pools, beachfront service, and an exceptional restaurant. Their 2-bedroom Jasmine Penthouse sleeps up to 4 with 2 king beds, 2 bathrooms, an outdoor jacuzzi, ocean view terrace, and exclusive access to the hotel’s rooftop pool and bar. Located on an absolutely stunning, semi-private beach in Soliman Bay, about 10 km north of the Tulum ruins.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 875 4158Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    4. Alaya Tulum by Ahau

    Tulum Family Hotels: Alaya

    A beachfront hotel that is beautifully decorated and centrally located. Family villa has 2 bunkbeds and a queen bed (in separate rooms). Beach here is beautiful. Good restaurants nearby.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 159 1696Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    5. Una Vida Tulum

    Tulum Family Hotels: Una Vida

    Luxury, all-villa hotel in the Pueblo offering 1 to 3-bedroom suites sleeping 4 to 8, all with stocked kitchenettes and outdoor showers, some with outdoor bathtubs. Facilities and amenities include a gorgeous pool, in-room yoga and massage, free bicycles, and a cozy breakfast and lunch restaurant. Private dinners and tequila and mezcal tastings are available on request.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 240 5231Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    6. El Pez Hotel

    Tulum Family Hotels: El Pez

    Luxury hotel with a pool, an excellent bar and restaurant, a shared kitchen area for guest use, and great family suites on a small beach in a quiet bay. Most suites are 1-bedroom and sleep up to 4 with a king-sized bed, a sofa bed, and a private pool; 1 bedroom suites can connect to make 3-bedroom suites.The beach here is rocky, more popular for sunset viewing and fishing than for swimming, but guests of El Pez have access to the beach and playground at their sister property La Zebra.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 116 3357Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    7. Las Palmas Maya

    Tulum Family Hotels: Las Palmas Maya

    The best budget hotel in the beach zone, offering air-conditioned, open-plan family suites with 2 king beds and 1 sofa bed or 1 king and 1 queen, sleeping up to 5 guests. Their tiny restaurant serves breakfast until 3:00 p.m., plus they have a large communal kitchen for guests’ use. The hotel is on the jungle side of the road, a 30-second walk to the beach with free beach access at partner beach clubs.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 214 8914Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    8. Coco Village

    Tulum Family Hotels: Coco Village

    Amazing, condo-style, boutique hotel with spacious 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, all with full kitchens and in-unit washers and dryers. There is a shared pool in the garden area, and guest have free access to the famous beach club at their sister property Coco Tulum. Located in the Pueblo (downtown), within walking or biking distance to several of Tulum’s best restaurants.
    Hotel phone: +55 4169 2072Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    9. La Zebra Hotel

    Tulum Family Hotels: La Zebra

    Beach-chic, luxury hotel on a wide stretch of white, sandy beach with a rooftop infinity pool, playground, and free, weekly salsa dancing lessons. All open-plan suites are designed for 4 with a king-sized bed and a double twin trundle bed, a dual shower, and dual vanities; many suites include private plunge pools. Amazing food and drinks, a small spa, and friendly, attentive service round out the experience here.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 115 4726Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    10. Villas Geminis Boutique Condo Hotel

    Tulum Family Hotels: Village Geminis

    Affordable, upscale, pet-friendly studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom condos, most with full kitchens, some with outdoor soaking tubs. This gated hotel in the Pueblo offers a pool, garden, free bicycles, complimentary breakfasts, and discounts at nearby beach clubs. The hotel partners with a Mayan collective to arrange jungle retreats with Mayan healing rituals, cooking classes, tours of Sian Ka’an, and more.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 115 4726Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    11. Villa Las Estrellas

    Tulum Family Hotels: Villa Las Estrellas

    Rooms and suites are large, great for families, and steps from the sea. Centrally located on the beach road and an easy walk to several restaurants.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 879 0772Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    12. Zamas

    Tulum Family Hotels: Zamas

    Large bungalows sleep a family of 5. Great location (closer to town than most hotels) with restaurants and ice cream shop steps away. The beach here is not great but it’s an easy bike ride to great sand.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 145 2602Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    13. Naay Boutique Hotel

    Naay Boutique Hotel in Tulum

    Stylish boutique hotel in the brand new Aldea Zama neighborhood, halfway between the Pueblo and the beach. Spacious 1 and 2-bedroom suites sleep up to 6 guests. The main highlight is the hotel’s rooftop, which boasts an infinity pool, kids’ pool, infinity jacuzzi, and an outstanding bar and restaurant with jungle sunset views.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    14. Posada Yum Kin Hotel

    Tulum Family Hotels: Posada Yum Kin

    Affordable, all-suite hotel in the Pueblo with a pool, jacuzzi, massage room, and rooftop yoga. Suites range from studios up to 2-bedroom units, and all but 2 of these have a kitchenette or a full kitchen. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and though there is no restaurant onsite, the hotel can organize onsite lunches and dinners on request.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 160 0096Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

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    The Best Hotels in Mazatlán

    MexicoMazatlán › Mazatlán Hotels
    Updated: December 29, 2020

    See Also

    1. Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa – All Inclusive

    Best luxury resort in Mazatlán.

    Luxurious beach resort with 3 pools (one is adults only) and beautiful grounds. Quiet location but there’s a free shuttle bus to the Golden Zone shops, bars, and restaurants.
    Hotel phone: +52 669 989 0525Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    2. Hotel Playa Mazatlán – All Inclusive

    Best all inclusive resort on Mazatlán Beach.

    Great location in the heart of the Golden Zone (bars, restaurants, and shopping). Beach area is fantastic – clean and good swimming. Several pools and a superb infinity hot tub. This area is definitely too loud and busy for some (fun and energetic for others).
    Hotel phone: +52 800 716 9567Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    3. Casa Lucila Boutique Hotel

    Best hotel with view in Mazatlán Centro Historico.

    Charming boutique hotel in Mazatlán’s Old Town. Only 8 rooms. Top floor infinity pool is small but has great views of the ocean and sunset. Located an easy walk from the trendy boutique shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants of the Historic Center.
    Hotel phone: +52 669 982 1100Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    4. Las 7 Maravillas (adults only)

    Best boutique hotel in Mazatlán.

    Seven rooms each with their own theme and furnishings. Close to the Malecon (the pedestrian boardwalk along the beach) and plenty of bars, restaurants, shops, and galleries. Staff is excellent and very helpful.
    Hotel phone: +52 669 136 0646Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    5. Villa Serena Centro Historico

    Best apartment with kitchen for rent in Mazatlán.

    Family-owned hotel in the heart of the Historic Center. One and two-bedrooms suites have full kitchens and are great for groups or couples traveling together.
    Hotel phone: +52 669 194 0806Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    6. Casa de Leyendas

    Best hotel in Mazatlán Old Town.

    Good value bed & breakfast in the Mazatlán Old Town. There’s a small pool and charming courtyard (where breakfast is served). Great location in the Historic District and close to the water.
    Hotel phone: +52 669 981 6180Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

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    Tulum Hotels

    MexicoTulum › Best Tulum Hotels
    Updated: December 29, 2020

    See Also

    Tulum Hotels – Tips & Info

    • Tulum is my favorite beach town in Mexico. Great beach, food, nightlife, local vibe, and wonderful nearby sights.
    • There are two main areas to stay in Tulum: The pueblo (the town center with a local vibe, great restaurants, boutique and budget hotels; located about a 15-minute bike ride to the start of the beaches). And the beach (a long strip of luxury boutique beach hotels, trendy restaurants, and a relaxed touristy vibe).
    • Booking.com – The best site (and best prices) for booking hotels in Tulum.
    • Best Hotels on Tulum Beach: Mezzanine Jashita HotelCasa Malca – all of these are absolutely wonderful places to stay.
    • Best Boutique Hotel in Tulum: pretty much all hotels in Tulum are boutiques (there aren’t any large resorts) but if I had to pick one as the best it would be Mezzanine.
    • The best cheap hotel in the Tulum Beach area Las Palmas Maya, but it is located across the road from the water.
    • Tulum has the best beaches along the Yucatan coast. Great sand and swimmable surf.
    • December to April is the best time of the year to visit Tulum – but Tulum is a year-round destination and you can have a great visit any month of the year. September and October are the rainiest months but otherwise, I wouldn’t let the time of year dictate if you should come.
    • Book very early for the best hotels on the Tulum beach. Six months in advance is good, nine months is better.
    • High season is January, February, July, August, and late December, when it’s even more important to find hotels early.
    • Tulum does not have any mega-resorts or all-inclusives. The places listed below are small to medium-sized boutique-style hotels with lots of character.
    • My top tips for visiting Tulum are to eat some tacos al pastor, swim in a cenote, and rent a bike for geting around.
    • The food in and around Tulum is amazing and one of the highlights of the town. These are my favorite restaurants in Tulum.
    • If you’re worried about the seaweed on the Yucatan coast, then Tulum is a better choice than Cancun because there’s so much more to do here (swim in cenotes, boat tours of Sian Ka’an Biosphere, swim with turtles in nearby Akumal, great Mexican food in Tulum Pueblo). And the adventure parks Xplor, Xcaret, and Xel-Ha are much closer to Tulum than Cancun.
    • Tulum is great for families. These are the best hotels for families in Tulum.

    The 24 Best Hotels in Tulum

    Most of these hotels are walking distance to several restaurants and biking distance to town.

    1. Mezzanine Hotel – luxury

    Terraced balcony overlooking a palm-lined beach

    Superb, oceanfront, boutique hotel with refined, economical ‘non-view’ rooms, sea view rooms, and master suites, all with mini bars, yoga mats, and coffee/tea baskets (delivered daily). The 2 master suites add coffee makers, soaking tubs, bluetooth speakers, lounge areas and large private terraces overlooking the beach. Mezzanine has a pool, Thai restaurant, bar, lovely long beach (steps from the hotel), and is a short bike ride from the Tulum ruins.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 131 1596Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    2. Jashita Hotel – luxury

    Jashita hotel pool

    Family-friendly, luxury boutique hotel with 3 pools (kids’, adults’, and rooftop adults’ pools), beachfront service, daily yoga, and a spa with shaman ceremonies. Their wide range of rooms and suites all include king-sized beds, welcome wine and chocolates, and private terraces; honeymoon suites and the penthouse suite add private pools. Their all-day restaurant Pandano offers a delicious Mexican-Italian menu with especially great lobster and handmade pasta along with creative and classic cocktails. Located on an absolutely stunning, semi-private beach in Soliman Bay near Casa Cenote and about 10 km north of the Tulum ruins.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 875 4158Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    3. Casa Malca – luxury

    Casa Malca pool

    Stylish, art-focused hotel with 3 outstanding restaurants, a creative bar, a beach club, 2 pools (1 is underground), complimentary bicycles, and free sunset yoga on the rooftop terrace. Each design-forward suite features an eclectic mix of antique and contemporary décor and original artwork from owner Lio Malca’s extensive private collection. The hotel is kid-friendly all year long, except for the weeks surrounding New Year’s Eve when it becomes an adults-only spot during Tulum’s EDM festivals. Located on a white, sandy beach within a 10-minute walk of Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve and several of Tulum’s best restaurants and bars.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 167 7154Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    4. La Valise Tulum – luxury

    woman walking down a sandy path at a luxury beachfront hotel in Tulum

    Luxurious, boutique hotel with spacious rooms and a suite, 24 hour air conditioning, 2 heated plunge pools, and a gorgeous stretch of beach. Service is impeccable and highly personalized. Their onsite restaurant serves breakfast and lunch indoors or on the beach, while their sister restaurant Nü serves creative Mexican fine dining under the stars. Located on the southern end of Tulum’s hotel zone in a quiet beach stretch within walking distance of several fantastic restaurants.
    Hotel phone: +1 305 999 1540Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    5. La Zebra – luxury

    La Zebra hotel beach

    Beach-chic, luxury hotel on a wide stretch of white, sandy beach with a long rooftop pool, playground, and free, weekly salsa dancing lessons. All family-friendly, open-plan suites are designed for up to 4 with a king-sized bed and a double twin trundle bed, a dual shower, and dual vanities; many suites include private plunge pools. Amazing food and drinks, a small spa, and friendly, attentive service round out the experience here.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 115 4726Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    6. TAGO Tulum – luxury

    TAGO Tulum room

    Stunning, beachfront luxury hotel. Rooms are huge with large glass sliding doors opening to their own private plunge pools. The onsite restaurant offers a Mexican-Mediterranean fusion menu with indoor or outdoor, beachfront dining. The beach is well-maintained with an abundance of sun chairs and fantastic beach service. Hotel phone: +52 1 984 871 1310. • Hotel website

    7. Ahau Tulum – luxury

    Ahau Tulum hotel beach

    Wellness-focused, pet-friendly, beachfront hotel with outstanding food, eclectic rooms, and an extensive program of yoga, meditation, and healing rituals. Their onsite restaurants use fresh, organic, local ingredients in partnership with Mayan farmers and offer top-notch menus for vegans and meat-eaters alike. The beach here is amazing: sandy and swimmable, well-organized with beach beds and hammocks, well-served by the beach bar and grill, and with their own kite surfing school. Ahau is in the heart of Tulum’s beach zone, walking distance to amazing restaurants and nightlife.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 147 5225Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    8. Nômade Tulum – luxury

    Nômade Tulum hotel

    Family-friendly, wellness-centered hotel with a gorgeous pool, free daily yoga, and a well-kept beach about a 10-minute walk from Sian Ka’an biosphere. Luxury tents, suites, and villas fuse boho style with modern perks, including air conditioning in all units (even the tents), private pools, and outdoor showers. Dining is fantastic at their vegan/vegetarian restaurant Macondo and at their super fresh seafood restaurant La Popular. What sets this hotel apart, though, is its focus on incorporating Mayan culture into all aspects of the hotel, including the menus, healing rituals, ceremonies, and ever-changing events program.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 803 2243Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    9. Cabañas La Luna – luxury

    Cabañas La Luna seaview

    Rustic boutique hotel with spacious, family-friendly suites and a fantastic Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant on a wide stretch of white sand beach. Spacious rooms offer up to 2 bedrooms and sleep 4 to 6 guests, while the villa features 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a private pool.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 146 7737Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    10. Una Vida Tulum – luxury

    Una Vida Tulum

    Family-friendly, luxury hotel in the Pueblo (downtown) offering studios and 1- to 3- bedroom suites sleeping up to 8, all with stocked kitchenettes and outdoor showers, some with outdoor bathtubs. Facilities and amenities include a gorgeous pool, in-room yoga and massage, free bicycles, and a cozy breakfast and lunch restaurant. Private dinners and tequila and mezcal tastings are available on request.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 240 5231Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    11. Mi Amor – luxury

    Mi Amor hotel pool

    Adults-only, luxury boutique hotel with an infinity pool, upscale restaurant and bar, and a cozy 2-room spa. Rooms and suites are designed with couples in mind, all with king-sized beds, 24-hour air conditioning, and private terraces; ground floor rooms feature private plunge pools. Mi Amor is located in the Tulum Ruins national park at the north end of the hotel zone, walking distance to the ruins, a beach club, and a handful of restaurants. The beach here is rocky, but it’s just a 5 minute walk to sandy Playa Paraiso at their sister property Mezzanine.
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 188 4273Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    12. Encantada Tulum – luxury

    view of thatched umbrellas and a palm-lined beach from a balcony hammock

    Romantic hotel with 8 spacious rooms, all with king-sized canopy beds and private terraces with hammocks. Dining is exceptional at their onsite restaurant and bar and at their sister restaurant Nü across the street (they share the restaurant with La Valise). Encantada is located on a wide stretch of white sandy beach at the quiet, south end of the hotel zone within walking distance of several amazing restaurants and bars. 
    Hotel phone: +1 650 212 6782Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    13. Sueños Tulum – luxury

    Luxury hotel with pool on Tulum Beach

    Chilled-out, beachfront, artsy eco-hotel with Mayan-themed, beautifully decorated suites featuring hand-painted tiles, outdoor sitting decks, hammocks, porthole windows, and solar powered electricity. The lone penthouse has sofa beds, a stone hydromassage jacuzzi, a terrace, and 360˚ views of the ocean, jungle and lagoon of the Sian Kaan Biosphere. Sueños Tulum also offers complimentary breakfast, a yoga studio, fire pit, pool, and restaurant.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 119 3484Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    14. Dune Boutique Hotel – luxury

    Dune Boutique Hotel Beach

    Adults-only, boutique hotel with an amazing Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant, beach club, a pampering spa, and daily yoga. Romantic rooms and suites include 24-hour air conditioning and private terraces, some with private plunge pools. The beach here is one of the best in Tulum: sandy, swimmable, and protected by a reef, which makes for gentle waves.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 238 9529Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    15. El Pez – luxury

    El Pez Hotel Bali Beds

    Family-friendly, luxury hotel with a pool, an excellent bar and restaurant, a shared kitchen area for guest use, and well-appointed rooms and suites on a small beach in a quiet bay. Most suites are 1-bedroom units that sleep up to 4 with a king-sized bed and a separate living area with a sofa bed and private pool. The beach itself is rocky, more popular for sunbathing and fishing than for swimming, but guests of El Pez have access to the beach at their sister property La Zebra. 
    Hotel phone: +52 1 984 116 3357Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

    16. Coco Tulum Hotel – luxury

    5 Star Hotel on Tulum Beach

    Cozy cabanas, rooms/tower rooms with ocean/garden views in a laid-back, beachfront, eco-hotel. Has budget cabanas with shared bathrooms, high-end tower rooms with splendid views with terraces, and a lone suite with jacuzzi. Has a beach bar, temazcal, yoga classes, Mexican-Italian restaurant and many good restaurants within walking distance.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 688 8592Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    17. The Beach Tulum – moderate

    The Beach Tulum

    Adults-only hotel with a river pool, jacuzzi, full-service spa, and 2 restaurants, including the well-loved Ziggy’s Restaurant and Beach Club. Rooms are minimalistic yet elegant, and all include a private jacuzzi or plunge pool. Perks include 24-hour air conditioning, free bikes, free yoga, live music nightly, and tequila, mezcal, and wine tastings throughout the week. The beach here boasts powdery, soft, white sand, and there is a little cenote onsite, too.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 157 9645Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    18. Hotel Cabañas Tulum – moderate

    Hotel Cabañas Tulum

    Beachfront hotel offering a pool and a holistic spa. Its spacious rooms and suites feature up to 3 bedrooms; many include private jacuzzis. The sister property of The Beach Tulum, Cabañas Tulum shares the same fantastic swimming beach and Ziggy’s Restaurant and Beach Club, along with its own restaurant and beach bar Frescoes. Minimum age for hotel guests is 14.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 871 1132Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    19. Alaya Tulum – luxury

    Alaya Tulum hotel beach

    Beautiful, beachfront boutique hotel with airy, light-filled beach cabanas/apartments, villas and suites having wooden floors, floor-to-ceiling windows with bi-folding doors and terraces. Apartments add small kitchens. Has a Latin American restaurant, outdoor eco gym, yoga lessons, kitesurfing and paddle surfing. The beach is a hotspot for sea turtles/nesting sites (during the season).
    Hotel phone: +52 984 159 1696Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    20. Naay Boutique Hotel – luxury

    Naay Boutique Hotel Pool

    Stylish boutique hotel in the brand new Aldea Zama neighborhood, halfway between the Pueblo and the beach. Family-friendly 1- and 2-bedroom suites sleep up to 6 guests. The main highlight is the hotel’s rooftop, which boasts an infinity pool, kids’ pool, infinity jacuzzi, and an outstanding bar and restaurant with sunset views over the jungle.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    21. O’ Tulum Hotel – luxury

    O' Tulum Hotel

    Adults-only hideaway north of Tulum with only 12 rooms sharing 3 pools, rooftop yoga, and a wonderful restaurant overlooking the beach. All rooms include king-size beds, 24-hour air conditioning, private terraces, and swim outs or jetted plunge pools; half of the rooms add indoor soaking tubs. The beach here is rocky, but the hotel is just a 10-minute walk (or a 2-minute ride on one of their free bikes) to the gorgeous, sandy, swimmable beach at Soliman Bay and about a 20-minute walk (5-minute bike ride) to Casa Cenote, one of the best cenotes in the Tulum area.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    22. Coco Hacienda – luxury

    Coco Hacienda Hotel

    Charming boutique hotel in the Pueblo with 2 pools, a jacuzzi, a small spa, and a wonderful all-day Mexican restaurant serving an especially great brunch. Rooms all include 24-hour air conditioning and king-sized beds; Casitas add jetted baths and private patios with hammocks. Guests here have access to free bikes and discounted entrance to the beach club at their sister property Coco Tulum.
    Hotel phone: +52 884 688 8592Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    23. Hotel Tiki Tiki – luxury

    Hotel Tiki Tiki

    Trendy boutique hotel with a pool, bar, and in-room massage. Tiki Tiki is located in the Pueblo, walking distance to Tulum’s vibrant restaurant and bar scene. A design-forward hotel, the decor blends Art Deco, retro ’60s, and beach-chic styles in its 15 unique rooms. This hotel tends to attract a younger crowd, especially honeymooners, couples, and bachelorette parties.
    Hotel phone: +52 884 688 5005Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    24. Be Tulum Beach & Spa Resort – luxury

    Be Tulum Beach & Spa Resort

    Super-stylish, beachfront, spa resort with 2 pools having a lineup of fantastic designer suites with cowhide rugs, leather chairs, and private balconies. Depending on the type, suites may have private plunge pools, indoor copper tubs, roof top solariums/terraces with pools, private gardens/pools, and small kitchens. Be Tulum also boasts two restaurants, a raw food bar, beach bar, yoga studio, meditation classes, and a spa.
    Hotel phone: +521 984 132 6215Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    25. Hotel Bardo – luxury

    hotel bardo pool

    Elegant boutique hotel of contemporary luxury surrounded by lush greenery on the outskirts of the Tulum Pueblo. A large pool, excellent Milum restaurant and Kinky Room bar with lounge, temazcal and large yoga and meditation practice space. Villas are large and private, with semi-outdoor showers and splash pools.
    Hotel phone: +52 984 807 1433Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

    Tulum Hotel Map

    Tulum Hotel Map and Where to Stay on Tulum Beach
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