After spending over three amazing weeks in this super inspiring country I wanted to share my top tips on places to visit as well as the route we took which you can find at the end of the post! If you’re looking for my post on Mexico City then head here where I round up my top ten for the Capital city!
Tulum has a reputation as a spot for ‘trust fund hippies’ which is kind of undeniable, but we loved it for it’s street art and chilled vibe. Don’t feel like you have to stay at a beach location to enjoy it as we had the best experience at Hotel Tiki tiki in Tulum town with it’s Miami beach meets mid century style. This place was a dream and with bikes included; exploring was easy! We also had our hire car and this was a great for visiting the local cenotes!
The area has super porous sandy soil so there are no surface rivers, they are all underground with ‘Cenotes’ being their connection to the surface! Ancient Mayans believed them to be gateways to the afterlife! Dos Ojos was our fave, especially as there was a bunch of Spiny Tailed Iguanas wandering about! We also visited the Tulum ruins which have an awesome costal & tropical location and here we spotted some great local wildlife too including a couple of White-nosed coati which are super cute!
While on our Yucatan roadtrip we headed in-land to see Chichen Itza which I totally recommend, especially paired with the Mayan episode of the fall of civilisations podcast as it’s so interesting! We also took in the Aztec episode on the drive between Oaxaca and Puebla which was awesome as you’re learning about the place you are in but thousands of years before; Geek out!
Chichen Itza is awe inspiring and mega hot, we spent half a day wandering around before driving to stay the night in Valladolid. So glad we decided to stay here, as it was totally our cup of tea; the whole town is a treasure trove of cute architectural details with an overall look that feels so uniquely Mexican. Colourful walls are everywhere and this place just put a big smile on my face! I really recommend wandering around as it’s a small town and great to discover on foot. Calz. de Los Frailes is especially pretty with colourful bunting down it’s length, cafes boutiques and a fab folk art shop called Kux Tal
Holbox a.k.a. Paradise is stunning and designed for tourists, with amazing boat tours and beaches! As we visited in the middle of their winter the weather wasn’t exactly super hot so we stuck to our bikes and had a brilliant time riding around, taking in the island and photographing all the gorgeous hand painted signs and fun hotels like “Los Tigres” we even managed to spot a couple of distant Flamingos out by Punta Cocos. I loved Clandestino coffee for a delicious brew and Roots pizza because there is always time for pizza! This is an excellent place to relax as it’s got those chilled Caribbean vibes and it’s super small so you can’t run yourself down ‘doing all the things’ like you might in a city!
From Sketchbook to hand made screen print: Opposite a limited edition inspired by the fruit shops and typography of Holbox 😀
Puebla is crazy as it’ feels so European that I kept on forgetting I was in Mexico! There is a huge amount of beautiful churches in every single hue from bright orange to lemon yellow! The main thing we loved though was the antique shopping!!! Puebla is THE place to go if you want to find unique Mexican pieces from masks to pottery! Calle 6 Sur is lined with antique shops and we spent most of our time working our way methodically through each one! Also I have to mention that this was where we finally found the Mexican party shop of dreams!! After looking out for the whole of the holiday and having no luck we finally stumbled across Artemex Papel Picado which was; paper decoration perfection! You can find it here Also as you can see from my photos the city is famous for it’s beautiful painted ceramics and if you head to the Parian market you will see loads!
It’s totally possible to visit this amazing studio as part of a tour and that way you’re guaranteed to see it, but none lined up with our dates so we chose to hot foot it out of Oaxaca City in a hire car which we picked up a day early for this purpose. Finding the address for the studio was a little confusing but this is the place! When you arrive cross your fingers and bang on the metal gate! Hopefully a member of the family is home and happy to admit you! We were met by José García Antonio’s lovely Wife and Son who were amazing; showing us around their incredible studio which is filled in every corner with ceramic beauties! There is years and years of work and we wanted to buy so many things! But had to be super selective because of – getting things home! They had also recently fired a bunch of pieces which were all stacked up in the kiln and hot to the touch! So amazing to see their work in progress; this family and their technique is totally unique and they are world renowned as folk artists, so this was a magical moment! If you decide to go I highly recommend stopping at Azucena Zapoteca for delicious food and colourful surroundings!
Quite simply Oaxaca stole my heart, this city is so beautiful and friendly and inspiring to me! The highlights were the markets which are a visual feast; Mercado Benito Juárez is incredible and there’s also an artisan market, as well as tourist and local markets dotted about! We stayed in a beautiful and pink hotel! City Centro thanks to Kristabel’s Oaxaca blog which was great as we could borrow their bikes and explore even more of the city! I recommend stopping for an out of this world coffee at the lovely Café Brújula’s and strolling around the artisan shops around Santa Domingo. Oaxaca’s also where we had the best food of our trip and we loved Baltazar and Boulenc! Check out all the amazing typography and colour below, it’s no wonder I fell head over heels for Oaxaca!!!
Thanks so much for reading! If you’ve got any questions or comments then drop them below I’d love to hear from you! Jacqueline x
A NOTE ON THE ROUTE:
Mexico is a big country and after getting some advice we chose to take two internal flights, really bad for the environment (I paid to offset the carbon, but still not good) we decided that we will probably never get to go to Mexico again so let’s see as much as possible in one scoop!
So a quick route roundup: we flew in and out of Mex City and paused there for a few days each time. We took an early flight to Cancun before hiring a car and driving down the coast to stay in Tulum, we then turned inland visiting Chichen itza and staying in Valladolid before driving north to stay a couple nights in Holbox we then drove back to Cancun to take a flight to Oaxaca where we stayed for a couple of days before hiring a car and driving around the province a bit before heading north on the toll roads to Puebla and then Mexico City! Boom done that was the route we chose and honestly the driving was pretty straight forward except for the need to put speed bumps everywhere in Yucatan be warned!