Tuesday, July 20, 2021

30 Days Pandemic Summer Solo Trip in Mexico

2020-2021 America Pandemic Adventures Filipino Solo Trip
November 27, 2020 to December 27, 2020

My 114th country visited on my journey beyond #lakbay100, 93rd solo backpacking trip, 4th country in North America and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure. Mexico served also as the first country on my 2020-2021 America Pandemic Adventures Filipino Solo Trip, the new normal of traveling.

Mexico is officially called the United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos). Mexico is ranked as the 7th major destination for foreign visitors, according to the World Trade Organization. Much of the tourist industry revolves around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. Its extensive coastlines of more than 10,000km include the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Mexico has pleasant and warm weather, unique food, art and archaeology, pyramids, music, history, museums, haciendas, superb architecture and 21st century cities, weather from snow mountains in the Sierras, to rainy jungles in the Southeast and desert in the Northwest. 

30 Days Pandemic Summer Solo Trip in Mexico (Mexico City)

30 Days Pandemic Summer Solo Trip in Mexico (Mexico City)

30 Days Pandemic Summer Solo Trip in Mexico (Mexico City)

timezone - UTC -0600H to -0800H   capital - Mexico City    language - Spanish    currency - Peso (MXN)
1. Mexico is home to the largest pyramid in the world
2. Mexico is also home to the world’s smallest volcano in recorded history.
3. The longest and largest underwater cave system in the world is found in Mexico
4. Mexico is one of the largest countries in the world
5. The border between Mexico and USA is the busiest crossed international border in the world
6. The subway system in Mexico is the cheapest in the world at 5 pesos per journey
7. Chocolate was discovered and originates in Mexico
8. Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world
9. World’s smallest dog the Chihuahua is named after the state that it comes from


Preparation: Flight Abu Dhabi to Mexico City transit in New York  380 USD
Day 00: Nov. 26, 2020 Thu / New York Transit
Day 01: Nov. 27, 2020 Fri / Mexico Arrival
Day 02: Nov. 28, 2020 Sat / Puebla (Cholula) 
Day 03: Nov. 29, 2020 Sun / Teotihuacan
Day 04: Nov. 30, 2020 Mon / Cerro del Ajusco
Day 05: Dec. 01, 2020 Tue / Tula 
Day 06: Dec. 02, 2020 Wed / Monte Tlaloc
Day 07: Dec. 03, 2020 Thu / Mexico City / Uruapan
Day 08: Dec. 04, 2020 Fri / Paricutin Volcano
Day 09: Dec. 05, 2020 Sat / Guadalajara
Day 10: Dec. 06, 2020 Sun / Tequila
Day 11: Dec. 07, 2020 Mon / Teuchitlán
Day 12: Dec. 08, 2020 Tue / Bus Trip
Day 13: Dec. 09, 2020 Wed / Monte Alban
Day 14: Dec. 10, 2020 Thu / El Tule
Day 15: Dec. 11, 2020 Fri / Oaxaca
Day 16: Dec. 12, 2020 Sat / Villahermosa
Day 17: Dec. 13, 2020 Sun / Palenque
Day 18: Dec. 14, 2020 Mon / Palenque
Day 19: Dec. 15, 2020 Tue / Campeche
Day 20: Dec. 16, 2020 Wed / Campeche
Day 21: Dec. 17, 2020 Thu / Mérida
Day 22: Dec. 18, 2020 Fri / Mérida
Day 23: Dec. 19, 2020 Sat / Valladolid 
Day 24: Dec. 20, 2020 Sun / Valladolid (Charger lost) 
Day 25: Dec. 21, 2020 Mon / Cancun
Day 26: Dec. 22, 2020 Tue / Coba
Day 27: Dec. 23, 2020 Wed / Tulum
Day 28: Dec. 24, 2020 Thu / Playa de Carmen
Day 29: Dec. 25, 2020 Fri / Isla Mujeres (Christmas Day)
Day 30: Dec. 26, 2020 Sat / Cancun
Day 00: Dec. 27, 2020 Sun / Cancun to Belize

GRAND TOTAL: $22,602 + $3,767 = 1,381 USD

30 Days Pandemic Summer Solo Trip in Mexico (Mexico City)

30 Days Pandemic Summer Solo Trip in Mexico (Mexico City)


Airport Immigration Issues: In AUH, strict Airline Check-in Counter was looking for an outbound flight ticket as my flight from AUH to JFK is transit only. I insisted that the airline responsibility is on their flight destination only (JFK) and not on the final destination after the transit (based on my experience). They still insisted their "so-called" rule, I was on the counter for almost 30 minutes. Good thing I have an outbound flight from JFK to AUH at a very later date and they accepted it. In JFK, no questions asked for outbound flight, I have only one way flight from JFK to MEX. In MEX, I told that my Mexico outbound is via bus trip land travel only from Cancun to Belize, the Officer accepted it even though I didn't show any proof of prior booking. Conclusion, AUH airline check-in is like in MNL (be careful) and also the usual perks of being Philippine passport holder. 

01. Mexico tourism, ranks as World's Top 7 most visited country, includes both World's Seven Wonders (Chichen Itza) and World's Seven Natural Wonders (Paricutin Volcano).

02. The Top 7 Awesome Pyramid Temples Archeological Zone (all UNESCO sites, which usually featured in Hollywood movies and History episodes) are (1) Teotihuacán near Mexico City, (2) Monte Alban near Oaxaca, (3) Palenque near Palenque Town, (4) Edzna near Campeche, (5) Uxmal near Merida (6) Chichen Itza (Seven Wonders of the World) near Valladolid and (7) Coba near Cancun (numbered from north to south). All of them can be visited easily on a budget and public transportation. I visited them all out of curiosity ignited by Ancient Aliens episodes. For me, the top three not to missed are Chichen Itza ($497), Teotihuacán ($80) and Palenque ($80). I visited 11 pyramid temple archeological zones but unfortunately climbed (walked up to top) only 1 (Ek Balam) among these 11 step-pyramids.

03. Paricutin Volcano (2,774masl, world's youngest volcano and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World) trekking in Angahuan is recommended to have guide and horse ride (It was freaking hard to do it on self-guided). You will shoulder guide fee, your horse, your guide's horse and tip for a total of less than $1,000 (depends on your negotiation). I did a self-guided solo major day hike (difficult back trail) with 817m elevation, 37km back trail distance for 13 hours (the newest longest distance record I have on a dayhike, got lost for more than 3 hours as I tried to push for circuit trail), the hardest summit assault I ever did and budget DIY transportation.

04. I hiked on a budget self-guided solo basis the (1) Cerro del Ajusco (3,951masl elevation, Mexico City's highest mountain and Mexico's Top #11 highest peak), (2) Monte Tlaloc (4,131masl elevation, Mexico's Top #9 highest peak) and (3) Paricutin Volcano (2,774masl elevation, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Word). I did these major hikes within a week only, successfully summitted, and considered difficult hikes especially the Paricutin Volcano (Proud Pinoy Achievement!). No registration fees and no national park fees to be paid.

05. Cost of tourist living is cheap except in Cancun and Yucatan Archaeological Parks. Mexico City subway metro ride is only 5 MXN ($0.25). Delicious tacos, even on the streets, costs less than a $1. For bus trips, ask first for the schedule of ORIENTE, MAYAB or other companies (cheaper) before taking the ADO (expensive). 

06. Yucatan Archaeological Parks (Mayan Pyramids) entrance fees are expensive because there's an additional fee (national park fee) on every Mayan pyramids aside of $80 (4 USD) general entrance fee. I visited Uxmal, Ekbamal and Chichen Itza and paid on average $460 (25 USD) for each park. 

07. Almost all tourist attractions (except for museums and Tula Ruins) and public buses are open to public despite the pandemic. Some Archeological Parks are closed on Mondays. 

08. There are lots of colectivo taxis going to El Tule and Mitla from Oaxaca, Palenque ruins, Edzna ruins from Campeche with cheaper fare. Most tourist attractions have colectivo van / taxi transportation. 

09. On airport arrival, Mexico doesn't require Negative PCR Test. All tourist must register their updated health status on https://afac.hostingerapp.com/. 

10. On airport departure, my next destination (Belize) requires negative PCR Test valid within 96 hours. I just google map the word "laboratorio" and fortunately there are clinics near my location. I found Salud-digna Clinic (www.salud-digna.org) for $950 (50 USD) PCR Nasal/Oral Swab Test with 3 days result, appointment and physical passport is required. Unfortunately, all clinics provide Certification in Spanish only. This test serves as my 10th PCR Nasal Swab Test (traveled to 7 countries across 3 continents within 5 months, all negative result).


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