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About our self drive tour of Mexico

You will find on this page a step-by-step summary of our 17-day trip to Mexico, from Mexico City to Yucatan at the end of October.

The route of our stay had been roughly planned before our departure but only plane ticket and car rental were booked in advance. So we had all the liberty to adapt our stages according to possible unforeseen events such as the weather or simply to adapt the course to our favorites and desires. We therefore found our accommodation from day to day without difficulty, most of the time at the hotel. We generally used the travel guides to find the good addresses.

Day by day

Paris - Mexico city

Departure from Paris to Mexico city where we land in the evening. Once the customs formalities are finally over (quite long) we rent our car and drive to the nearest hotel downtown Mexico to... have some rest!

Mexico city - Puebla

Bound for where we'll spend the night. Puebla is described as a 'baroque' city by our french guide. It is anyway a cool colonial city located at more than 2000 m above sea level. Puebla is worth stopping by.

Puebla - Villahermosa

Advice: if you rent a car, take the highway (cuota). We had the great idea to use secondary raods to enjoy the landscapes... but driving 500 km at 40 km/h behind 4 polluting trucks is not exactly what we were excpecting!
Apart from that, the only beautiful thing in Villahermosa is in its name (hermosa means beautiful in spanish). The air is humid and polluted, people are not welcoming. Nevertheless, this city is ideally located between Mexico and Yucatan, justifying the stop.

Villahermosa - Campeche

The road to Campeche runs parallel to the Atlantic ocean, offering here and there beautiful views and Campeche is a pleasant city which speciality is shrimp. The colonial past is also obvious.

Campeche - Progreso - Merida

Mérida is a large city where a lot of tourists stop as it is a good place to explore Yucatan. People are nice and the markets colourful and alive... we liked walking in the streets despite the heat (34°C).
On the contrary Progreso is a small village 20 minutes from Mérida, quiet, which only interest is the oceanfront. If you're lucky you'll see flamingos... we actually spotted only one.

Merida - Chichen Itza - Playa del Carmen

Chichen Itza ruins are spectacular and spread upon 300 ha. As we got there early, we avoided both the terrible heat and the flow of tourists arriving by bus around 10.30am.
So far, Playa del Carmen is not as touristically develloped as Cancun, then it is very pleasant to stay there and enjoy the beautiful beaches.

Playa del Carmen

Today we visited Tulum site which is not as large as Chichen Itza but almost equal as far as beauty is concerned: the site is located on cliffs above the cristaline caribbean waters.

Playa del Carmen - Isla mujeres - Puerto Juarez

Isla mujeres is an island surrounded by gorgeous beahces so we spent most of the day on a beach, enjoying the sun drinking margaritas.
We spent the night at Puerto Juarez not far from Cancun where we spent the evening. But it is really not our cup of tea, too touristical, hotels and restaurants out of sight...

Puerto Juarez - Celestun

Celestun! It's probably the village we enjoyed the most. PEACEFUL village where fishing is the main activity. Sure, Mexican gulf waters are not as beautiful as Caribbean ones, but the ambience was so calm and restful...

Celestun - Ciudad del Carmen

Transition day. Instead of Villahemosa we stopped at Ciudad del Carmen but it was not much better or much worse.

Ciudad del Carmen - Acayucan

Acayucan is a small colonial city quite cool but we only stayed for the night, didn't hav much time to explore.

Acayucan - Oaxaca

It took us 5 hours to drive 210 km from Tuxtepec to Oaxaca... you can imagine how bad the road was. Fortunately, Oaxaca is worth it.


Oaxaca is a colourful, alive and culturally rich city and it is an excellent base to explore the region.


In the morning we visited Monte Alban site located on a plain at 2000m from where the view is gorgeous. We spent the afternoon in Tlacolula where we enjoyed the market and the surroundings (desert, cactuses...).

Oaxaca - Cuernavaca

Cuernavaca is the city of eternal spring thanks to its exceptional climate. During the week-end it is crowded as people from Mexico city located only 1h30 away 'invade' the city.

Cuernavaca - Taxco

Taxco is not really a representative city of Mexico but it is special thanks to its charm. To realize that you have to stroll about in the streets.

Taxco - Mexico city - Paris

Back to Paris in the cold november rain... tough!