2 Week Backpacking Mexico Itinerary
Guest Post by Nathan from The TRVL Blog
Mexico is such a beautiful country, one which I would recommend that everyone visits during their lives! It’s not only beautiful, but also damn huge. If you’re looking to explore the country from head to toe, you will need at least 3 months. Reality is, a lot of people don’t have that amount of free time to travel. That doesn’t mean to say that you can’t enjoy Mexico in a much shorter amount of time… Say 2 weeks. To see all the highlights in just a fortnight follow my 2 week backpacking Mexico itinerary.
My top tip if you’re planning on backpacking Mexico for 2 weeks would be to not cram everything in. One, you will be way too tired to enjoy anything. Two, you’ll be sat on bus most of the time. No one goes to Mexico to sit on a bus, do they? Stick to one area of the country.
Mexico is a country which has it all; delicious food, stunning beaches, historical cities, ancient ruins and of course, tequila. With the following 2 week backpacking Mexico itinerary, I’ve ensured you have a taste for all of the above without rushing from place to place.
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2 Week Backpacking Mexico Itinerary
Mexico City – 4 days
Guanajuato – 2 days
Guadalajara – 3 days (1 day in Tequila)
Puerto Vallarta – 3 days
(Plus travel days)
Recommended time in Mexico City – 4 days
The best place to start off your 2 week backpacking Mexico itinerary is Mexico City. The sheer size of Mexico city is astounding! I wouldn’t recommend spending any less than 4 days exploring the Mexican capital, especially if you’re arriving on a long haul flight. That way, you have a bit of leeway and you won’t burn yourself out trying to cram in as much as possible in a short amount of time.
Where to stay in Mexico City
There’s a huge amount of choice when it comes to deciding where to stay in Mexico City. In my opinion, I wouldn’t look past Roma neighbourhood. It has got everything you need and it makes an excellent base.
My recommendation when it comes to hostels in Roma would be Metro Hostal.
It’s a new hostel which offers dorm beds and private rooms. The location is absolutely perfect, a short walk away from Roma’s bars and restaurants, as well as a metro stop.
Things to do in Mexico City
If you have a love for architecture, delicious food, cool bars, interesting museums and bustling markets, then you will love Mexico City.
I would spend a day exploring Mexico City’s architecture, including; the historical centre, El Angel de la Indepencia and a wander around the quaint Roma and Condesa streets.
Another day should be dedicated to meandering around Chapultepec Castle, followed by Museo Nacional de Antropología. It might sound a bit odd to dedicate a full day to a castle and a museum, but you will understand once you get to the museum. The amount of displays and information to take in is mind boggling. You’ll be thankful for the rest afterwards.
During one of the days make sure you head out of the city to wander around the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Forget about taking a tour and jump on a bus from Autobus del Norte (a bus ticket will set you back 100 MXN). Entrance to the pyramids is 70 MXN per person. Teotihuacan is a sight to behold, you can spend a few hours exploring them high and low.
Where to eat in Mexico City
A Torta Stand
There’s no shortage of small food stands selling the capital’s favourite fast food, tortas. You practically find at least one in every neighbourhood. If you’re feeling peckish, stop at your nearest one and order a Torta de Milanesa and prepare for food heaven!
Okay, okay, I’m a huge advocate of sticking to traditional local eateries while travelling. However, this market is something else. The standard of Mexican classics with a modern twist on offer is amazing. It costs slightly more than your usual street food dish, but it’s worth it for a treat!
La Casa de Tona
A traditional Pozole is a must-try for any trip to Mexico and La Casa de Tona is famous for their Pozole! Where better to tuck into a steaming hot meaty, beany soup?! If you’re feeling hungry and brave, then get yourself a Grand Pozole.
Mexico City to Guanajuato – 5 hour bus
Recommended time in Guanajuato – 2 days
This university city, located a 5 hour bus journey from Mexico city, is deservedly touted as Mexico’s most beautiful city and shouln’t be left off your backpacking Mexico itinerary. Of course, beauty is in the eye of beholder and everyone has different opinions, but I guarantee you will never forget the views over Guanajuato.
Google Guanajuato and the first thing you’re met with is pictures of a city awash with colour.
Sometimes looking at pictures of a place before you head there can set you up for some serious disappointment. Not this place. When you enter the city on the narrow windy roads, you’re eyes will be met with the same bright colours!
Where to stay in Guanajuato
Guanajuato is home to some great hotels and hostels. If you’re looking for a place with a real homely feel with a friendly, welcoming owner, then Corral d Comedias Hostel is the place you will want to stay!
Things to do
Spend a couple of days exploring the city, taking in the sights, eating local food and drinking coffee.
If there’s one thing you should do while you are in Guanajuato, it’s to dance through the streets with the nightly Callejoneadas! Even if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s an amazing experience, soaking up the atmosphere while the Estudiantinas get the crowd going with traditional Mexican songs.
The view of this city from afar is one of the highlights, so take the sweaty walk up to the viewpoint where Monumento al Pipila stands and prepared to be stunned.
Where to eat
All you need to remember is Tortas de Carnitas. This little crusty bread roll is topped with moist, mouth-watering pork and fiery salsa, what more could you want in life?
A crowd favourite in Guanajuato. El Paisa serves up some of the best Al Pastor – served up on soft tacos – in Mexico.
Guadalajara & Tequila
Guanajuato to Guadalajara – 4 hour bus
Recommended time in Guadalajara – 3 days
Guadalajara is Mexico’s second most populous city. One which sometimes gets overshadowed by the capital, Mexico City. However, it holds its own as a destination and it deserves a few days spent exploring it as much as possible.
Where to stay in Guadalajara
Look no further than Hostel Hospedarte Centro. Once again, you have the choice of private rooms for those looking for a little privacy and dorm rooms for those on a budget, the choice is yours! It’s a clean hostel that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Things to do in Guadalajara
The colonial influence and neoclassical design with many of the buildings in the centre of Guadalajara means that you could easily spend a couple of days alone exploring the magnificent buildings. You’ve got a couple of options, either take an organised walking tour (which are free) or wander around at your own pace and explore the historical centre freely.
Buildings to make sure you visit in the Historical Centre – Plaza De La Constitución, Plaza de la Rotunda, Plaza Guadalajara, Teatro Degollado, Plaza Fundadores, Escudo de Armas, Plaza de Iberoamérica, Cabañas Cultural Institute.
Where to eat in Guadalajara
While you’re in Guadalajara, I would highly recommend grabbing yourself one of the local dishes, Tortas Ahogadas – which is basically a pork sandwich drenched in tomato salsa. It’s a humble, moresome and messy meal!
Birrieria las 9 Esquinas
The local delicacy in Guadalajara is Birreria, which is a goat curry. That might not sound the most appetising to most people. However, believe me, Birria is delicious and it will no doubt leave you longing for more.
Visiting Tequila for the day
You’ll have no better opportunity to visit the town of Tequila and drink tequila, where they distil tequila in the home of tequila… Enough tequila?
Drinking one of the world’s favourite drinks in its birthplace, what could be better than that?!
In Guadalajara you will spot plenty of places offering tours to tequila. My advice, save your money and take the short bus ride from Guadalajara and book a tour at one of the distilleries yourself. It’s as easy as it sounds, trust me.
A return bus ticket will set you back 160 MXN and the bus takes 1.5 hours each way, so it’s best to set off early from Guadalajara! Once you’re in Tequila, head to one of the many distilleries and book a tour. Many offer English speaking tours. La Rojena provides an interesting and informing tour with plenty of tasting involved, all for 385 MXN per person.
Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta – 5 hours
Recommended time – 3 days
After spending your time exploring the very best of Mexico’s cities, you will be more than relieved to spend a few days of your backpacking Mexico itinerary relaxing and lounging around in Puerto Vallarta. If you love spending time doing absolutely nothing on the beach, then you’re in luck. If you don’t, not to worry, there’s plenty to do and see on this Pacific coast town.
Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta
In all honesty, getting around is so easy in Puerto Vallarta, it doesn’t matter a great deal where you stay. If I’m to recommend anywhere, then it would be Chanclas Hostel Vallarta. This is arguably one of my favourite hostels in Mexico. A humble hostel with a fantastic atmosphere!
Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Like I said, beach fans, you’ll be in your element. Make a bee-line to one of the best beaches on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Playa las Gemelas. You won’t believe this beach isn’t one of the white sand beaches on the Yucatan Peninsula, the mainly crowd free calm-ish clear waters and white sands ensures you’re in the perfect setting for a relaxed day. Playa las Gemelas is located around a 20 minute drive from Puerto Vallarta. However, it’s easy to get there, just jump on a bus from the central bus station.
Puerto Vallarta isn’t just a lazy beach town, there’s tonnes to do and see. If you’re looking for more of an active day than lazing around on the stunning beaches, then get some comfortable walking shoes on and make your way up to Cerro de la Cruz. The panoramic views from the top will leave you in awe (after you get your breath back from the sweaty hike to the top!)
Where to eat in Puerto Vallarta
Food Park Vallarta
With four tacos and a beer for 100 MXN, you can stuff your face to your heart’s content. That’s of course, if you’re not sick of tacos yet (trust me, you can never be sick of tacos).
Love seafood? Then you’ll love El Coleguita. The portions are big and the food is cheap. There’s literally nothing to not love!
After what should be an amazing trip the last thing on your 2 week backpacking Mexico itinerary should be to head back to where you began for your onward flight. Traveling from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City should take about 12.5 hours
Nathan is a budget traveller on a mission. That mission is to show you that you don’t have to have tonnes of cash to travel to new and exciting places around the world. He does this through The TRVL Blog. The TRVL Blog covers an ever-growing list of destinations across Asia, Australia, North and Central America.