Cancun Itinerary: 2 Days to One Week

SPRING BREAK BABY! If that’s what comes to mind when you think of Cancun then well, you’re not wrong. Cancun is a world renowned party destination with the hottest bars, beaches and people. It is one of the most easterly points of Mexico and sits on the Caribbean Sea. This makes it the ideal location to sit back and sun bake with a pina colada, before really getting the fiesta started by checking out it’s bustling night life.

That is a fantastic way to spend a vacation, sure. But there is actually much more to Cancun than cocktails and hangovers. The entire Yucatan Peninsula is rich in culture and history. The area was once inhabited by the Maya people up until the 15th century. There are signs of their civilization all around this region, in the form of ruins and pyramids. It is estimated that 1 million people in this region currently speak Mayan (Yucatec) and three times that are of Mayan descent or hold Mayan names.

So before you book your next trip to the Yucatan Peninsula and travel to Cancun, check out the ultimate Cancun travel itinerary for you to make the most of your stay.

Where to Stay in Cancun

Budget: Mayan Monkey Hostel – One of the top rated hostels in Cancun, this budget option is perfect if you’re looking for some fun! They have everything from 12 bed dorm rooms to beautiful suites with a balcony! This stylish hostel has air-conditioned rooms,  swimming pool, an on-site restaurant and bar.

Mid range: Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina – At $100 for a double room, this is a great option for a mid-range budget that doesn’t want to sacrifice luxury. With a modern decor and stunning swimming pool, what more could you ask for?

Splurge: Haven Riviera – If you’re planning a honeymoon, special birthday trip or just want to treat yo’self, you want to book a luxury all inclusive in Cancun. The Haven Riviera is a gorgeous beach-front property with all the amenities to make sure you’re living large. With over 14 bar and restaurants to choose from, you’ll be in absolute heaven!



Cancun Travel Itinerary: 2 Days 

With just a short stay in Cancun, you’ll first want to check out the most popular beach of the area: Playa Delfines. This absolutely picture perfect stretch of beach is sure to kick start your vacation vibes. White sands and more shades of blue and turquoise water than you’ve likely seen before. It’s one of the largest public beaches and is situated on a very interesting thin stretch of land. Just a road running down the middle, the open ocean to the east and a lagoon to the west, with not much distance between them.

Playa Delfines is really close to the airport and to the hotel zone, so getting there is super simple. Hop off your plane, jump onto one of the many convenient Cancun transfers from the airport and you’ll be checked into your hotel and off to the beach in no time! Now it’s time for the beach vacation to really sink in.

After a sufficient tan top up and dip in the Caribbean sea, a trip to La Isla Shopping Village is next on the cards. It’s an outdoor mall of sorts with every item you can think of. Fancy restaurants, chocolate parlors, ice cream, Mexican and international food – it’s got it all. A great place to relax and people watch.

Now chances are you’re in Cancun because you’d like to experience the legendary nightlife. Where better to experience this than at Coco Bongo‘s live show. Performers, theatrics, bubbles, foam cannons, live bands and DJs. Featured in MTV, Rolling Stone and Billboard Magazine, amongst others.

Following a night on the tiles, Day 2 calls for more relaxation and some Caribbean snorkeling. A really breathtaking and unique experience to Cancun is the Underwater Museum. The Museum consists of a number of different sculptures that are designed to help coral growth. This attracts marine life and in turn becomes and excellent snorkeling spot. Scuba can also be done here.


Cancun Itinerary: 3 Days 

How about checking out one of the new 7 wonders of the world? Mexicos most visited archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage site, Chichen Itza. A glimpse into an ancient world, built by the Mayan people around 600AD, it is one of the largest known Mayan cities. The most famous temple is known as El Castillo. It’s the main image associated with this city. However, Chichen Itza is much more than that. There are sacred cenotes, intricate stone carvings and designs, as well as a multitude of crumbling ruins.

The Mayan people built incredibly well designed cities, with special focus being on acoustics of large speaking areas to help project ones voice. There is also a ball court where the infamous Mayan ball game was played, with some matches thought to end in beheading.

Check out this highly rated Chichen Itza tour.



Cancun Itinerary: 4 Days

This region of the world boasts an incredible network of fresh water cenotes. The word ‘cenote’ means sinkhole. The reason for the hole is usually due to the rock being limestone. The limestone bedrock at some stage has collapsed, allowing ground water to sprout up. These cenotes are very sacred to the Mayan people as they believed it was a gateway to the Gods and the underworld.

One of the most spectacular cenotes to check out near Cancun is Dos Ojos. The cenote is part of one of the longest underwater cave systems, with an all year water temp of approximately 25c. Insanely clear waters and the sounds of birds chirping make for a magical experience.



Cenote Dos Ojos is a fairly straight forward drive from Cancun. You can pick up a car rental from Cancun airport and get yourself over here. It will come in handy for a few of the other recommended spots also.

As well as swimming, there are a few tour agencies that offer scuba diving. It is known as one of the must-do dive sites by locals and tourists alike.


Cancun Itinerary: 5 Days 

If I’ve some how not managed to stress the rich culture and history of the Yucatan Peninsula enough just yet, then maybe a trip to Tulum will help you see! There really aren’t that many places in the world with so many archaeological sites, so well preserved in such a close vicinity. It really is the best opportunity you’ll have to dive deeper into a world long gone, so I’d recommend visiting as many of these areas as you can.



Tulum was one of the last cities built by the Mayan people and was used as a port. It held strong for 70 years following the arrival of the Spanish, but unfortunately the new settlers brought with them previously unknown diseases. This is thought to be one of the leading factors of Tulum’s demise.

The ancient city is situated on 40ft cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Once you have toured the ruins you can head to the stunning nearby beach. There are coral reefs just off-shore, making it an ideal location for some snorkeling or scuba diving.

Want to check out Tulum, cenotes and the Coba ruins in one day? Check out this affordable full day tour.



Cancun Itinerary: One Week 

With some more time to explore the area slightly outside of Cancun, I would wholeheartedly recommend a quick trip to Merida. Merida has been twice voted the American Capital of Culture. It is centrally located within the Yucatan Peninsula, making it an idea satellite base to explore some of the more inland sites and attractions.

Merida’s cultural blend comes from the Mayan heritage, dating back as far as 2,600 BC, and the influence of the Spanish conquistadors. The concoction of cultures has produced a truly unique city, with its own characteristics found no place else. Rituals and beliefs from the old world and the new have created a vibrant identity within the city, where locals can be heard speaking Mayan whilst drinking coffee in front of colonial haciendas.



The food in Merida is like no other. My favorite restaurant is La Chaya Maya – serving a traditional Mayan menu with ancient ingredients. They even make their own tortillas in house. There is a large weekend market in Plaza Grande, outside of the Cathedral in Merida’s historical district. The best of the best in local street food is available here, as well as an assortment of souvenirs and other craft-shops.

There is a bustling art scene, numerous museums and some of the finest dining in Yucatan. Hope on a walking tour of the local cantinas and learn about Merída through your belly! Or take a Yucatan style cooking class that includes a visit to the local market.

Once you have spent some time sponging up as much culture as you can handle, the attractions beyond the city limits will easily fill the remainder of your days in this area.

Uxmal is touted as one of the most impressive Maya sites in Yucatan. The city is vast and considerably less busy than Chechen Itza. There is also a temple that you can climb up to take in the sights. The views from the top are astonishing as you can see the scale of Uxmal. You can also see other pyramids standing proud above the tree line.

Things To Do In Baja California Sur – Activities and Adventures

Baja California Sur in Mexico is the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula. The Pacific Ocean to the west, the Gulf of California to the east and a mountainous strip running down the middle. This combination allows for a whole range of adventures through the state. From sand, surf and Spanish learning; tequila tasting and baby turtles. There are so many things to do in Baja California Sur. We tried out a whole assortment of activities in order to compile the following list… the best of Baja Sur!


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Learn Spanish in Cabo

We believe that it is imperative to at least learn the basics of the native language of the country you are visiting. This is a mark of a culturally appreciative and respectful traveler. A ‘por favor’ and a ‘gracias’ goes a very long way. And let’s face it – us native English speakers have it pretty easy when it comes to traveling.

Spanish in Cabo is the perfect place for your Spanish learning needs, with classes for all levels and end goals. They are a small yet growing operation, with a real family feel. More than 20 years of experience teaching languages and history, as well as their multicultural diversity helps them achieve their mission, to spread the use of Spanish and to provide an idea of some aspects of the complexities of Latin America with professionalism and an open intercultural approach.”


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Courses on offer: multi-week, super intensive, online Skype lessons, cooking classes and basically any length you require!

We were at the start of a 2+ month trip around Mexico, so we opted for a 3 day crash course to get us set up with a good foundation to continue our learning as we travelled. Going in with a Spanish level close to 0, we were confidently introducing ourselves, discussing hobbies, interests and pass times, ordering at restaurants and starting to grasp the do’s and don’t’ of Spanish grammar. Loaded with a fresh bag of verbs in our vocab, we immediately noticed an appreciation from the local people as we tried our best to speak in their language.

Our teachers were Malena and Arabela. Their passion and patience creates a really comfortable learning environment. We not only learned some of the language, but the culture and history also. We were then taken on a culinary journey with Alan, as he showed us a simple recipe of enchiladas verdes, perfectly complimented with margaritas as we recapped our last few days of learning.

Spanish in Cabo can be found in both San José del Cabo and San Lucas. This area is at the southern-most tip of Baja, where the main airport is, and is a great starting point for your trip.


Cuervo’s House Tequila Tasting

Here’s an absolutely fantastic way to experience a history lesson of Mexican culture, whilst enjoying an evening out, sipping Tequila.

I really didn’t know a whole lot about tequila previously, other than its ability to quickly end my night. However, after an evening with Jorge Cuervo, I have a huge respect for the craft of making tequila and of course its place in Mexican culture. We were so inspired, we went to the town of Tequila in which the drink is named after in order to continue our learning (drinking).

The evening is hosted by Jorge Cuervo, a direct descendant of José Cuervo, whose name you will see on bottles in every drink store. José Cuervo is known for bringing tequila to the world. He is not the inventor, as tequila/mezcal was already being drank by the indigenous people of the area long before his arrival. What he did do, was bring in the distillery practices from Spain as well as distribution, sharing this drink with the world. Hence the drink being named after the town, not the other way around.


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Nowadays it is being celebrated as an example of multiculturalism between the Spanish and indigenous people. Profits were reinvested into the local community, pathing streets and generating income.

This is just a snippet of information provided by Jorge’s encyclopedic knowledge of tequila. I left wishing I had brought a note book. The evening starts off with a short video about the history to quickly bring you up to speed. After that, Jorge explains how to actually drink tequila (hint: it’s not with salt and lime), how to taste it and taking you down the path of deciding what type of tequila is for you.

The tasting is accompanied by delicious canapés that pair with each type of tequila being drank.

The experience at Cuervo’s House, located in San José was incredibly well put together and I would highly recommend fitting this into your schedule.


Where To Stay in Baja California Sur

Cerritos Surf Town

The best surf in Baja Sur will be found in the area of Todos Santos. This is a quaint town with them good beach vibes. If you head just 15 minutes further south, you’ll find Playa Los Cerritos. This long crescent shaped beach has a point break at the top end, consistently pumping out peelers that can challenge more intermediate – advanced level surfers. The waves mellow out as you move down and in shore, offering something for everybody. Even brand new beginners.

Cerritos is everything you could ask for from a surf spot. It’s much less crowded than other areas due to being slightly out of town, as well as being less developed. This allows for a great community feel on the waves, where everyone is encouraging one another. Rather than the infamous ‘locals only’ surf culture you may find in some places.

We stayed at Cerritos Surf Town in their beach front studio. With an unobstructed view of the ocean and the beach merely a few paces away – how much better could it get! Cerritos Surf Town offer a taste of the surf life, with the luxuries thrown in. Beach showers, swimming pool, hot tubs and a pool bar. There is also wellness program with massages and yoga, if you needed any more help mellowing out in such a beautiful location. The staff are incredibly friendly and will stop and nothing to ensure you are comfortable.


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Mayan Village Resort

If you are on a tighter budget and are looking for a beach shack get away, then the Mayan Village Resort is the accommodation option for you. Owned and operated by Cerritos Surf Town, these huts strip back to just the necessities. With that being said, they still have a swimming pool and you still have full use of the rest of the resort.


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CRT Surf School

Once in Cerritos, you should learn from the best. And the best are at CRT Surf School. This is their beach, they are the locals and they are surfers through and through. They have spent their lives playing at the break on Cerritos as well as chasing waves around the country.

The instructors are fully certified in surfing and first aid, as well as having the long running state champion and national competitor in their ranks. CRT also put themselves forward as volunteer lifeguards. This goes to show how much they love this beach and their passion for the waves – they want every body visiting to experience it safely and to have a good time.

We had a lesson with Juan on our first day and then continued to rent boards for the following 5 days. Their lessons are structured to a number of different levels. Level 1 starts from the complete beginning and getting you up to foam master. Once you are king of the foam they will take you out to the line up and explain how to read the waves and finding the right one for you. They can assist you onto the waves, before moving up a level again to flying solo. Even when you are confident enough to get yourself onto the waves, Juan’s guidance and expert knowledge will have you up and catching almost every wave that rolls through.

This was my first experience of a surf lesson and I can honestly say I wish I had taken one years ago.

By renting from CRT, you have access to all of their boards any time. This means you can start on a long foamy and as your skills increase you can swap out to shorter, more challenging boards. They are stationed on the beach every single day, meaning you can avoid the hassle of taking boards back to your accommodation. Just rock up in the morning, grab what you need and hit the surf!


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Sea Kayak Baja Mexico

Kayaking is one of the finest pursuits of the marine natural environment. It allows you to share the waters with wildlife in a way that causes least disturbance. The lack of engine noise gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the serene landscape with all of your senses.

The Sea of Cortez is known as the ‘Aquarium of the World’, due to its rich diversity of marine life. Migratory species such as humpbacks, grey whales, killer whales, manta rays, leather back sea turtles and the 1.5m Humboldt squid can be found here during the right seasons. There are huge varieties of fish and of course dolphins in these waters. 


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Sea Kayak Baja Mexico is located out of Loreto, a city with mountains backing one side and the Bahía de Loreto National Park in the water on the other. SKBM offer a range of trips for the complete beginner to the expert paddler. One thing they all share in common is a guarantee of quality equipment and professionalism.

Trips range from one day, to multi-day camping expeditions covering different islands. If you have the skills and knowhow to safely carry out a trip yourself, then there are different levels of rental options available, from all food, equipment and guides included; to bare bones with just the boating gear and safety devices.


Whale Sharks & Espirit Island

La Paz is fast becoming one of the worlds best destinations for swimming with whale sharks. This is due to the predictability of the whale sharks heading to a nearby bay in order to feed. As the northerly fronts bring plankton and krill down, they pool in the bay areas. Animals always follow the food, meaning during the right time of the year (oct-feb), the whale sharks can be found in this area.

The world has gone through many changes in the last 10 years. What is acceptable in animal tourism has developed as we have learned from these animals. Certain countries are leading the charge when it comes to regulating viewings and interactions. Canada for example, has made it a federal crime to harass marine mammals, with clear guidelines for whale watching boats and pleasure craft alike. Washington State has followed suit in order to protect the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

La Paz has also gone through changes in the last few years, with increased government regulation on whale shark tours in order to protect the natural behaviors of the whale sharks and ensure they are not being negatively affected. For starters, the ‘opening day’ of the season is decided by the government. There needs to be at least 5 whale sharks in the area before any tour can begin. Once it’s open, each boat going out must purchase permits for all passengers, to be shown to officials before being allowed to leave the harbor. There are restrictions of distances for motorized vehicles and of course absolutely no touching of the animals.

It is great to see local communities taking steps to not only promote their environment and the wildlife that lives within it, but to protect it for generations to come. These changes can be brought out in other areas too, by people realizing the power of the tourist dollar. As a community of travelers, we need to ensure to only spend our money on ethical and sustainable tourism, creating a demand. If you are unsure, ask!


“What steps are taken to protect these animals?”

“How is it regulated?”

“Is this animal acting naturally or is it being forced to change its behaviour?”

“Does this animal want me to do this?”

side note – sometimes animals don’t know what’s best for them i.e. feeding wild animals


As well as whale sharks, a snorkel tour around Espirit Island is a huge must in La Paz. On this tour you will be able to swim in the ‘Worlds Aquarium’ – the Sea of Cortez. Again, I urge you to do your research into your choice of tour provider. Be sure you are happy with their practices of not only this tour, but other areas in which they operate. The good far outweigh the bad, and I am confident you shall make the right choice.


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Global Shenanigans – Expeditions

If you want an action packed Mexico adventure, whilst removing the hassle of researching and booking each aspect yourself – a guided trip with Global Shenanigans – Expeditions could be the best option for you. Specializing in multi-day, multi-sport adventure packages – let the experts do the work whilst you sit back and enjoy the trip of a lifetime! Keep an eye on their website to see upcoming trip dates and book your on a wild ride across the globe.

Adventure Travel in Mexico: Exploring Chiapas

Mexico is famous for its turquoise blue coastline in the east and rugged beaches in the west, but outdoor lovers might find that the southernmost region of Mexico, the state of Chiapas, is where the real adventure is. Traveling into Chiapas you can start to see the landscape changing, from the dry desert Mexico is known for, to a much more lush, tropical jungle.

We recently visited Chiapas with the team at LifeStraw, the water filtration company that is helping support safe drinking water around the world. The first half of our week was spent installing their LifeStraw Community water filters at rural schools that don’t have access to safe drinking water. It was an incredible project to help document, so be sure to check out our article and video recapping that program!

The rest of our week was spent putting their consumer water filters and bottles to the test around Chiapas! From jungle hikes and river rafting, to scaling ancient Mayan ruins and exploring the contemporary towns. Being able to fill up our bottles at any stream, lake, bathroom sink, and yes, puddle, without the risk of getting sick was so easy!

Here are some of our favorite locations for adventure travel in Chiapas, Mexico:

Adventure Travel in Mexico, watch our video below!

Palenque Mayan Ruins

Whether you’re a history buff or not, the Mayan ruins of Palenque are an absolute cannot miss in Chiapas. These ruins date back to the 7th century and saw the rise and fall of many prolific rulers along the way. While not as big as neighboring ruins like Tikal, there’s still so much to see at Palenque.

Climb the start of the Temple of the Red Queen and wander inside the dark passageways, imagining what it was like for explorers to unearth this for the first time. Next, climb to the top of El Palacio to get an amazing view of the Temple of Inscriptions, which stands over 27 meters high and runs 42 meters deep into the ground!

Around the backside of the archeological site And they believe only 10% has been uncovered, which means over 1000 ruins are likely buried far into the jungle!

We’re not normally tour people, but we really recommend hiring a local guide to take you around the site. These ruins are visually spectacular, but learning about the history of the civilization that ruled here is what really makes it interesting. If you want to do a little homework beforehand, NOVA by PBS has an amazing program on how historians cracked the code of Mayan hieroglyphs and were able to piece together a timeline of the civilization’s history. You can read more about that here: Cracking the Maya Code.



At Palenque, Jules also had a great opportunity to test out the original LifeStraw by taking a drink from one of the muddy puddles on top of the ruins. Needless to say he got some odd looks, but he was also the most hydrated out of the group as Palenque is HOT and doesn’t have many places to fill up safe drinking water.


Agua Azul

Agua Azul is a series of stunning waterfalls about 80 miles from San Cristobal de las Casas. It’s best to visit this site in the dry season, when the water is at its bluest. During this time the high mineral content of the water causes limestone deposits on the rock below, creating a bright shade of blue across the water.

Because of the relatively low slope of the falls, small pools form that you can swim in, or simply laze about for an afternoon. If you’re not looking to get wet, there’s a path you can follow up the side of the waterfall to reach or stunning views.



Misol Ha

This impressive solo waterfall in the Chiapas region is 35 meters high. You can swim in the murky waters below but don’t get to close to the falls, there’s a lifeguard on duty who isn’t afraid to blow his whistle! There’s a cave system behind the waterfall so you can actually walk along the path and feel the spray from just a couple meters away.

If you continue until the end of the rocky path, you’ll find a small cave. Just inside the cave is a man renting flashlights for 10 pesos and beyond him, at the back of the cave are….bats! Lots and lots of bats! If you have any sort of fear of these nocturnal creatures, I would avoid it. But if you’re chill with bats, head back and enjoy the cool, dark cave!



Lacanja River Rafting

Before we went on our river rafting trip, the excursion was described to us as a lazy day floating down the river, with no actual rapids. While it’s true that we didn’t come across any “rapids”, we did have to contend with small waterfalls that sent us bounding down the river. And it was an absolute blast!

We went cruising down the Lacanja River with our local guides who were fearless in navigating the 2-3 meter drops. We ended up with a mouthful of water and I ended up in Jules’ lap at one point, but it was so worth it. During the quiet parts of the river, it was lovely to kick back and feel completely enveloped by the trees and wild plants around us.



After the river we went on a walk through the jungle, stopping by a small ruin that seemingly came out of nowhere. Our guides called it part of la Cuidad Perdida, which means ‘The Lost City’. In the middle of literally nowhere, it’s easy to see how they city was lost. It was an awesome reminder that ruins like these are hidden all over.

After finishing our tour with the guides we had a hilarious exchange where we gifted them a couple of LifeStraw products to try out and keep. They were extremely hesitant to try them out, but after seeing us use them in the river they gave it a shot. They were really surprised that the water tasted just like ‘normal’ water and especially interested in know it was now filtered and safe to drink.

Yaxchilan Ruins

The only way to get to these off-the-beaten track ruins is by boat, which just adds to the adventure. You’ll board the boat at Frontera Corozal and ride along the Usumacinta River, which acts as the border between Mexico and Guatemala. The boat ride takes about half an hour, but try not to sleep, because there’s plenty to see along the way. Aside from the gorgeous tropical landscape, you may get lucky and see a cayman or two lounging on the riverbed.

Once you arrive at the dock, its a short walk past the entrance to get to the ruins. Yaxchilan are some of our favorite ruins in southern Mexico, because you really do feel like Indiana Jones trekking through the jungle and coming across a clearing of incredible stone structures.



There are three main areas of structures, the first of which has a maze-like interior that is full of bats! The entire site is lush and green. At the top of the trees you can watch spider monkeys swing from branch to branch and hear the howler monkeys defending their territory with dinosaur-like screams.

This is just a short list of all the adventure activities in Chiapas you can do. Our guides in the Lancandon region also told us about overnight excursions through the jungle that require machate-ing your way through the brush. We’ll definitely be back!


What to Pack for an Adventure in Mexico

LifeStraw Filter or Bottle – Not only do you help reduce your single-use plastic for the environment, but you can also fill up wherever the adventure takes you. Stopped off at a dirty looking bathroom? Only got a muddy puddle in front of you? You’ll never get caught out without access to safe drinking water when you’ve got your LifeStraw product.

Plus, more importantly, for every LifeStraw product sold, the company donates one year of safe drinking water to a child in need. This program has singlehandedly provided tens of thousands of children in rural areas with safe drinking water, and was the whole reason we were down in Mexico to begin with!

Mosquito Repellent – If you’ve got sweet blood, the mosquitos are going to find you! Those buggers are out in the jungle in full force!

NO-AD SPF50 Sunscreen – Most of these adventure activities have you in the sun for hours. When you’re walking up and down the ruins at Palenque, exploring the ground, there is very little shade cover. Avoid getting burnt like toast! We’ve always used NO-AD sunscreen because it’s extremely affordable and works exactly like the expensive sunscreens.

Lightweight Pants – Travel pants may not be the most Instagrammable item of clothing you own, but they’ll save you from bug bites and scratches from brush in the jungle. They’re light, fold up small and also dry quickly. They really are the most practical item of clothing to travel with, even if they can be a bit bland.

Lonely Planet Mexico – Why stop at visiting Chiapas? Mexico is an incredible country with an infinite amount of places to visit. From the beautiful beaches of the Yucatan peninsula to the incredible cuisine of Oaxaca, Mexico has it all!

Travel Adapter – Most US based cords will work in Mexico, but sometimes you’ll only find the two prong outlets which won’t work for computer chargers, etc. The all-in-one adapters work particularly well because they also have USB outlets, so you can charge multiple devices at once. We’ve traveled with a few of this brand and have never had any problems.

Travel Insurance! – If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. You never know what’s going to happen out there, and you don’t want to blow your savings because you weren’t prepared. Get travel insurance! It has saved our butts a number of times over the years! From a lost camera in Indonesia, to Christine being hospitalized with dengue fever in Cuba.

Giving Back in Mexico: LifeStraw Community Water Filter Program

This trip and article was in collaboration with LifeStraw, a company that we’ve always supported and purchased products from, years before we worked with them. All opinions and thoughts are our own.

Growing up in the United States, where getting clean water was as easy as going to the kitchen, I didn’t think a lot about the issue of safe water. Water came from the tap, into a glass and then into my mouth. It wasn’t until I started traveling that I realized how privileged I was, just for the simple fact that I had access to safe water. Around the world, people struggle with access to this most basic human need. I didn’t quite grasp the magnitude of this issue until I started reading some pretty scary statistics.



Let me throw some numbers at you:

  • 844 million people around the world don’t have access to safe drinking water
  • 31% of schools around the world don’t have access to safe water
  • 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. That last statistic is especially heartbreaking considering how preventable a lot of these diseases are, if only the child had access to safe drinking water.


LifeStraw Partnership

It’s pretty apparent that safe drinking water is crucial for the health and education of children around the world. That’s why we’re SO excited to partner with LifeStraw, a water filtration company that is working to give developing communities access to safe water.



For every product sold, they provide one child with safe drinking water for an entire school year. Through their Doing Good program they’ve installed their LifeStraw Community filters in schools in Kenya and are currently expanding their program. With a handful of other bloggers and photographers, we were lucky enough to be invited to document their inaugural school visits in Chiapas, Mexico! The plan was to spend the first half of our trip visiting schools and the second half putting the personal filters to the test while traveling around the region.

We started the week in San Cristobal de las Casas, a city that Jules and I know pretty well. We stayed there for 2 months in 2013, posting up in a one room apartment near the historic city center. At that point our blog was just a baby, and visiting the city again on such a dream work trip really cemented for us just how far we’ve come. After all, our partnership with LifeStraw fit Don’t Forget To Move to a T; perfect mixture of adventure travel and responsible tourism.



LifeStraw in Mexico

Our first day in San Cristobal was spent learning about the filters, their function and how to set them up. Although we were eager to start the school visits, this introduction was very insightful and showed us that LifeStraw takes this process very seriously. The small conference room was filled with the local and international LifeStraw team, members of Chiapas Department of Health, filter distributors and a small group of us bloggers, photographers and videographers.



LifeStraw explained why safe drinking water is such an important issue in this area. Unlike the north of Mexico, which is dry, the south of Mexico has plenty of water. Unfortunately more than 90% of that fresh water is contaminated. Back home it’s common for a small amount of chlorine to be put into drinking water to kill contaminants, but the local indigenous population here is against this because of their traditions. LifeStraw is a great solution for these communities, because most of the water contamination is microbiological (ie. from bacteria and viruses) as opposed to chemical, which is exactly what LifeStraw can filter out!



Coming from a non-profit background, Jules and I can be pretty critical of any type of giving back program. There’s a current trend for companies to add some sort of “giving back” angle to their business model. Whether their intention is to actually make a positive impact or just sell more product, it can be hard to tell. With LifeStraw, there’s absolutely no question, their first priority is to bring safe drinking water to communities around the world!

One of the things that solidified our trust in LifeStraw is the company’s history. To give you a bit of background, LifeStraw started from their parent company, Vestergaard. Vestergaard developed a technology to filter out Guinea worm larvae from water. From over 3 million cases in the 1980s, today, the LifeStraw filter has helped reduced cases of Guinea worm to only 25. In the next few years, this will be only the second disease eradicated in the world, and the first without a vaccine. That’s pretty darn impressive.



So to say that LifeStraw knows what they’re doing in regard to public health is an understatement. By partnering with the local government, LifeStraw also insures the longevity and sustainability of the program. With locals partners it means there are people on the ground for maintenance in case anything breaks. It also means that the local LifeStraw team can work directly with the Department of Health to install new filters around the region. No need for international staff to fly in, no need for voluntourists to come help out. It’s simply the community helping the community.

And that’s what we really loved about this trip. There was no BS. No one from LifeStraw inflating our egos or making us international bloggers feel like we were being flown in to save the day. Our role was simply to document and share with our audiences to spread the word. The real work was done by the local staff of LifeStraw, the government officials and the staff and volunteers at each school.


LifeStraw School Visits

Not that we didn’t stick out like sore thumbs as two fair skinned blondies. The moment we stepped out of the van we were swarmed by dozens of children, all dressed in traditional Mayan clothing. They climbed on Jules and examined my hair, asking me if it was “pintada” (painted). I think they were pretty disappointed when I told them yes, it’s dyed! Despite their enthusiastic and inquisitive questions we tried our best to redirect their attention to the LifeStraw presentation given by Rodrigo, Julio and Jorge – the local staff members of our group.



One of the teachers stepped in to translate from Spanish to the local Tzotzil language. The presenters did an incredible job teaching the kids about the importance of safe water and quizzing them with hygiene questions like “how long should you wash your hands for?” One kid shouted out “2 hours?!” I like your enthusiasm kid, but that’s a little overkill.

The children were trained on how the LifeStraw Community water filter works and two kids were chosen to be “Guardian Angels,” helpers to maintain the filter throughout the school year. Then they all lined up, not quite one by one (let’s be honest, it was a mad rush) to taste a glass of the safe, filtered water. The response was incredible. They were so excited to have water that tasted fresh.



And the great part is, LifeStraw doesn’t just drop off filters and hope for the best. The team on the ground schedules regular visits to the schools to ensure everything is working well and that the filters are being used correctly. Within 2 days, the 3 teams on the project reached 16 schools and provided over 2,500 school children with access to clean drinking water.



Reality of Impact

While those are some pretty incredible numbers, it can be hard to really understand the impact on the ground. It wasn’t until our visit to the last school that it really hit me. They had just finished the presentation and the kids were gathering their backpacks to head home for the day. One of the members of our team pulled us aside to show us something.

He held up a cup of unfiltered water from the tap, where the kids normally get their drinking water. Placing the clear cup on the table, we were able to look down and see two tiny squiggles moving around in the water. It took me a second to realize these were living organisms and not my eyes playing tricks on me. Julio explained that these were mosquito larvae and it wasn’t surprising to see them considering the water source was a stagnant underground container.



Although it’s unlikely those larvae wouldn’t cause harm if ingested, mosquito infested water can be a sign of far more harmful organisms like parasites. This shocking visual was a reminder that the project isn’t just some feel good service project, it’s a crucial program for public health.

And it doesn’t stop there. Better public health can lead to higher graduation, especially for girls who are often tasked with staying home from school to take care of sick siblings. Providing access to safe drinking water can have a snowball effect on the community. Better health means more school days for children and more work days for adults, which means a better educated and more economically prosperous community. Not to sound cheesy, but these filters do more than just give safe water, they give people a chance to live healthy, happy lives.



What Can We Do?

So now that you’ve seen what a HUGE impact LifeStraw is having in Mexico and around the world, I bet you want to know how you can help! If you’ve ever felt a calling to help out abroad, this is your chance! Here are some actionable things you can do to spread the word and support the mission:

o Purchase LifeStraw products, so you can help give one child, one school year of safe drinking water! Shop LifeStraw on Amazon or on their site directly.

o Follow LifeStraw social media or sign up for their email list at to stay up to date with their progress.

o Like, forward, share the posts to spread the message to friends and family.

o Donate to their 501-c3 Safe Water Fund.


Nuevo Vallarta Travel Guide

When it comes to vacationing in Mexico, there are a few destinations that tend to outshine the rest of the country; notably Cancun, Cabo, Tulum, just to name a few. But the typical hot spots better move over because there’s a new destination in town, Nuevo Vallarta! Located within Mexico’s Pacific Treasure, an appropriate name for the Riviera Nayarit region, Nuevo Nayarit is right on the Pacific coast. Within the Riviera Nayarit region there are several pueblos (towns) perfect for a Mexican getaway. And if you’re looking for a luxury holiday, look no further than the city of Nuevo Vallarta.

Just 25 minutes from it’s more famous neighbor, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta is an up and coming destination filled with everything you need to get your Mexican luxury vacation on. Nuevo Vallarta is a 3 mile long strip of sandy white Mexican beach lined with classy, upscale resorts. Perfect for dipping your toes in the water, kicking back with a cocktail and soaking up that vacation sun.



Side note: We always encourage our readers to travel authentically and to explore the local culture of everywhere you visit, but even we understand the worth of a good ol’ fashioned vacation. If you’re looking for a luxury getaway that still lets you get a taste of Mexico, check out Nuevo Vallarta. Here are our top picks for where to stay and what to do:


Where To Stay in Nuevo Vallarta

If you’re looking for a little luxury then you look no further than Marival Residences Luxury Resort. Operating since 2010, this 4 diamond resort is clean, sleek and perfect for any luxury seekers. The Marival Residences Luxury is a sister hotel to Marival Resort and Suites, located right next door. And although some may prefer the amenities (4 pools!) of the resort, we recommend staying at the residences.



The minute we entered our penthouse room, we instantly felt like vacation royalty. The room was huge and immaculately clean with modern decor. It felt more like an apartment (hence, the name residences) than a hotel room, with a full sized kitchen, living room, master bedroom with ensuite and guest bathroom.

Having just come from road tripping the US, having this much space was such a luxury. We joked that the king size bed was bigger than our entire van (it was!). But the piece de resistance of the room was found when we meandered upstairs (yes, our residence was double story!) to find that we had our own private rooftop pool! It was so relaxing spending the afternoon in our pool, overlooking the beach. Even better when we ordered room service champagne to drink poolside!



Marival Residences Luxury Resort is an all-inclusive resort that includes all alcoholic drinks and meals! If you’re not sold on all-inclusives (we know, they sound a little cheesy), read all about why we think everyone has to do a Mexican all inclusive at least once in their lives. Let’s just say, you don’t get in full vacation mode unless you can leave your wallet at home.


What to Do Around Nuevo Vallarta

Ziplining in Puerto Vallarta

Unless you want to lay on the beach or sit poolside all day with a good book (hey! No judgment!), there’s plenty to see and do in the area. With the all inclusive package at Marival Residences each guest is gifted one free tour in the area.

We chose to do the Canopy River tour, which was right up our alley of combining adventures and responsible travel. Canopy River is a local eco-tourism company offering a variety of outdoor activities at their beautiful location. They’re committed to environmental sustainability, focusing on using sustainable tourism to protect the surrounding forests. The tour company was started by a group of farmers who wanted to protect their land from deforestation. Now the company is a cooperative with over 25 farmers who share the profits and are able to support their families.



Canopy River offers a variety of adventure tours including ziplining, river rafting and ATV-ing, and we choose to soar above the tree tops! Cruising through the trees and zipping over the rivers you can see why the beautiful forests of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit are a perfect spot for ziplining. We finished our afternoon among the trees with a tequila tasting, because, Mexico! After a fun, but tiring afternoon in the sun we were happy to get back to our private pool.



Spa Treatment in Nuevo Vallarta

If you’re looking for an extra dose of relaxation, check out Melange World Spa at Marival Residences. The spa lobby and amenities are beautifully designed. Before and after your massage you can take a dip in the outside hot tub and plunge pool, or get your sweat on in the sauna. What’s even better, you can order a drink to have outside while you enjoy your soak. Champagne + hot tub = full relaxation (obv, drink responsibly!)



The spa has a variety of treatments named after different countries in the world. I had the Mexico Agave Experience (when in Mexico!) which was true to its name, with a small cheese taco and margarita waiting for me in my massage room. The Mexico experiences was more of a skin treatment than a massage, with a full body exfoliation and facial. They also lathered me in a luxurious lotion and wrapped me up in foil like a burrito (I said it was Mexican!).

If you’re into skin treatments, you’ll love this, but if you prefer more of a standard massage I would recommend one of their other options. The Italy Vendimia’ Wine, for example, has you stomping grapes, then soaking in a wine bath while drinking a glass of vino and then enjoying a full body massage. Sounds good to me!



Day Trip to Sayulita

If you have time on your trip we recommend getting out of the resort and enjoying a day trip to one of Riviera Nayarit’s beautiful pueblos. We spent the afternoon at Sayulita, a bustling beach town popular with surfers. For those that want to pick up some Mexican souvenirs, Sayulita is a great place to do a little shopping. Don’t miss grabbing a picture on one of the pedestrian only streets, with their iconic colorful flags hanging from above. Before we left, we had lunch at Don Pedro’s right on the beach and loved the food!



Where to Eat

If you stay Marival Residences you’ll have no shorter of food options. Our favorite was the casual dining restaurant right by the pool called Lemon Grass. You can start your meal with chips, salsa and guacamole and wash it down with a frozen mango margarita. They also have delicious fish tacos and fried calamari, as well as some refreshing salads. As it is with most all inclusive resorts, if you’re looking for really authentic Mexican food, let’s be honest, you’ll have to get out into town. If you end up doing a day trip to Sayulita, Punta Mita or another Riviera Nayarit town, definitely grab some street tacos!



Marival Residences also has a stunning rooftop restaurant, Insu Sky Lounge, where you can enjoy upscale tapas in a beautiful setting. Even if you eat elsewhere, definitely grab a drink there and watch the sun set over the beach. Lastly, don’t miss the resort’s newly opened beach club, Mozza Mare. You can grab a yummy meal at their beachside restaurant, then spend the afternoon kickin it in the infinity pool or lounging at one of the cabanas on the sand. Mozza Mare is also available for private events, with fun elements like fire dancers and a mariachi band!



The only thing we wouldn’t recommend is getting room service. As much fun as it can be to have breakfast in bed, the food is notably better in the restaurants and you may as well take advantage of the resort atmosphere. The resort also has a delicious breakfast buffet that you don’t want to miss. Did someone say made-to-order breakfast quesadillas?! Yes please!

Every once in a while everyone needs an all inclusive vacation to relax to the fullest. We recommend checking out Riviera Nayarit, and specifically Nuevo Vallarta, with its endless options to enjoy. Our penthouse at the Marival Residences Luxury Resorts made us feel like a king and queen and our experience zipping through the trees at Canopy River and lounging by our private pool were exactly what we wanted out of our vacation.

Thanks to Riviera Nayarit and Marival Residences Luxury Resort for hosting us during our stay in Nuevo Vallarta. As always, all opinions are our own.

Why You Need To Get Yourself To An All Inclusive Resort in Mexico


We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled budget backpacking program to bring you this urgent announcement: Get yourself to an all inclusive resort in Mexico. Now!



Yes, we know, it’s a big jump from our normal articles about pinching your pennies. You may be wondering why we budget so thoroughly if we’re just going to blow it all on one ridiculous week of over-indulgence at a flashy resort.

Because dear friends, why the hell not? We spend so much energy searching out the best deals, cheapest accommodation, most budget-friendly meals. We skip over-priced cocktails in lieu of homemade rum and cokes and cook cheap meals in even the grungiest hostel kitchens. And, for the most part, we enjoy the challenge and authenticity that these experiences bring. But it’s also exhausting. And sometimes we just need a vacation, ya get me?! Here’s why you should book yourself into an all inclusive in Mexico:


All inclusive Takes The Stress Out Of Money

I don’t know about you guys, but I hate money. I hate dealing with it, I hate having to remember to bring it out, I can’t be bothered going to the ATM and I’d rather just forget about it all together. Unfortunately the real world is not Burning Man and we can’t just barter our way through life. Luckily, at an all inclusive you don’t have to worry about dealing with cash. Paying up front for your room, food, alcohol and everything in between means being able to leave your wallet at home (just remember to bring some singles if you plan on tipping). The best part is not having to agonize over every purchase like you do when you’re traveling on the cheap. Feel free to over-indulge!


There’s Something For Everyone

No matter what kind of holiday you’re looking for, Mexico has a resort for you. From the 20-somethings looking for a good party, to couples wanting a secluded romantic getaway, to families with young, energetic children. There’s seriously something for everyone. We passed an absolutely gorgeous resort in Cancun that caters to gay men. Your options are endless.



“The point of an all-inclusive is to have a good ol’ fashioned toes in the sand, margarita in hand holiday.”


No, It Won’t Be The Most Cultural Experience, But..

So you’re not exactly going to find yourself coming back culturally enriched after a week at a resort, but that’s not really the point. The point of an all-inclusive is to have a good ol’ fashioned toes in the sand, margarita in hand holiday. If you’re a budget backpacker traveling long-term, this is the perfect way to end months on the road in style. If you only have a short trip, don’t miss out on the real Mexico behind the walls of a resort. Balance your time by exploring the cultural sites and then spending your last few days relaxing by the pool. Most resorts will even offer day tours to surrounding sights.


It’s Not As Expensive At It Sounds

An all inclusive brings to mind an image of fat, rich Americans and Europeans ballin’ it up. But resorts are not exclusively for the rich and middle aged. Young travelers and budget backpackers can find really amazing deals using sites like First Choice. Go ahead, give it a quick search. You may be surprised what’s in your price range. After all, you’re paying for your accommodation, every meal, snacks, beverages, booze and often-times activities. It’s also a fun challenge to see how much you can eat and drink to get your money’s worth. I know we did! At my first all-inclusive in Cabo San Lucas we even received complimentary massages and a champagne and chocolate-covered strawberry gift basket! Talk about luxury!



Taking a week off to enjoy an all-inclusive may seem like the farthest thing from the “authentic experience” we usually seek out, but there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then. Backpacking on a budget can be exhausting and physically demanding. In our experience, it’s more than worth it to splurge for a few days and indulge in food, drink and plenty of sun!



Have you ever been to an all inclusive resort in Mexico or elsewhere? What was your experience like? Let us know!


Top 5 Reasons to Backpack Mexico

Top 5 Reasons to Backpack Mexico

Top 5 reasons to backpack Mexico…. Only 5?! We could easily give you 50! Even after 6 months of dragging our tattered backpacks around Mexico it still feels like we only scratched the surface. Mexico, a country rich with both cultural history and contemporary traditions, is a must see location with anyone keen on backpacking through Latin America



Delicious Food

Look beyond what you think might be classical Mexican food in tacos, nachos and burritos (not that they alone aren’t delicious); Mexico has so much more to offer. From the fancy restaurants of the cities to the tiny street vendors all over country, the selection of choices in Mexico is mouth-wateringly massive. Of course there’s lots of corn based products, cheese and deep-frying, but there’s also a lot of fresh veg products on offer for the health conscious travelers out there.

Check out of our personal favorites; sopes, bombas, elotes and quesedillas!




The Coast

Who wouldn’t like to kick it on the Pacific Coast for a couple of months doing nothing but surfing, catching rays, eating fresh seafood and drinking cocktails? Luckily for you it’s totally possible in Mexico! And you don’t have to spend a fortune making it happen. If you can travel in the quieter months you’ll score a cheap beach rental and be able to make your dream a reality! Tap into your inner beach bum and pack that bag today.

Mexico’s coast is also home to a number of wicked surf spots, so if you’re up for a wave don’t forget to pack your board. They vary in level of difficulty so there’s always something for everyone.




Lucha Libre

Pack your spandex and Lucha Libre mask, it’s show time! Wrestling is at the heart of Mexican culture, with its awesomely terrible acting, corny story lines and epic rivalries. Catch weekly shows in the capital and believe us, you won’t be disappointed. Mexico City puts on a wicked show of lights, music and atmosphere to make it a certain show stopper. Otherwise jump at any opportunity to watch it around the country. It almost gets better the poorer the production.


The Ruins

Aztec, Mayan, coast, desert or jungle; take your pick with Mexico’s selection of ancient ruins. Take an Indiana Jones-like trek through the jungle of Palenque, scale the heights of Tenochtitlan or cruise though the coastal remains at Tulum. Each set of ruins tells their own unique story of Mexican heritage and history.




The Capital

Forget Man on Fire’s portrayal of Mexico City, where kidnappings and police corruption run riot, the country’s capital is fast becoming a booming hub of culture, art, music and nightlife. With an exceptional public transport system (that costs next to nothing) you can jet around the city and check out all the amazing sites with ease. Be sure to check out the Museum of Anthropology, the historical plazas of the city center and cultural sites like Frida Kahlo’s house and the Diego Rivera murals, just to name a few.



Think we missed something? What else would you add to the list?


Misadventures in Camping at Lagos de Montebello

Ever have those moments when traveling where everything seems to be going absolutely wrong? And then things get worse? Somehow those moments of sheer disaster are always the ones that you look back at and think, “Wow. What an adventure.” This was one of those times.



“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect”


We had decided to go camping at Lagos de Montebello on the recommendation of our roommates in San Cristobal, Chiapas in the south of Mexico. Fifty-nine gorgeous lakes spread out over thousands of acres, it sounded like the perfect weekend getaway. We packed up our double hammock, some canned food and our trusty Swiss Army knife and were ready to rough it.

But when we got to the campsite, well, there was no campsite. Only a rundown park by the lake. By park, I mean a shabby patch of grass, some trees and a couple of benches.

A little thrown, we began scanning the area for a suitable place to hang our hammock. We tried a number of different combinations of trees, all with gaps either too big or too small, before we found something that would work. A Mexican family that had just wrapped up a BBQ stood watching us, from their truck. We tensed up waiting for questions, to be kicked out or worse, to be laughed at. But they greeted us warmly and offered their leftover firewood. Just as they were pulling away, I asked how safe it was to camp in the area.

“Muy seguro” they all confirmed, very safe. Still, I noticed a look of concern pass over their faces. Maybe it was just a reflection of my own worry.


{ our “campsite” }

I tried to put on my balls of steel, seasoned traveler face, but I was nervous. If anyone back home knew I was spending the night in a hammock in the middle of a dodgy park in Mexico, they would think I was nuts. Still, here we were.

While the campsite wasn’t what we’d hoped for, the area was gorgeous. The lake was huge, the water a deep blue and completely placid. All around us we were surrounded by brush and distant mountains.

After a long, but successful, attempt at building a fire we cooked a dinner of canned beans & corn wrapped in tortillas. With full bellies, we actually began to enjoy our adventure. Nestled up in the hammock, we read our books until the last of the daylight dwindled. After some maneuvering in the double hammock, we were ready to sleep. It was a bit drafty, but my nerves were finally calmed.



Not long after we fell asleep, I awoke to the sounds of crunching of leaves. I opened my eyes to see a completely new scene. A thick mist had enveloped us, making it difficult to see even the trees around us, looking like a replica of a horror movie set. I still heard the crunching and finally I could see a black outline of a man making a bee-line toward our hammock. I had woken up and landed in the middle of a scene from Mexican Friday The 13th.

I wanted to scream but all I could do was whisper to Jules to wake up. After a few nudges, he finally did. Jules shouted out and the man stopped just a couple feet from us.

“Soy policia! Todo bien!” He shouted back and then just as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared out into the mist.

I wanted to cry. If there had been a Ritz Carlton down the street, I would have paid an exorbitant amount of money just to say in the lobby. We tried to convince ourselves that he was, in fact, the police, checking to make sure we were safe. But my scary movie watching, overactive imagination made me terrified. The next couple hours I lay alert in the hammock. My mind flashed with fear of cartel kidnappings and every horror villain I could think of.

Somehow I managed to fall into a restless sleep, my body completely exhausted from the day. Around midnight I woke up again. Not to any creatures lurking in the dark, but to a relentless rain beating down on us. We decided to wait it out, hoping the rain would pass. But instead it just got heavier and we were forced to flee to a nearby shelter. We used our flashlights to gather up our belongings and hang up the hammocks once again. After settling back in, we tried to sleep but the rain landed on us in horizontal sheets.


{ our shelter from the rain }

In the morning, we felt like we’d been through war. After 2 years of traveling, it was easily the worst night sleep we’d ever had. With creaking bones, we returned to the clearing to revive the coals from the previous night’s fire. We heated up the leftovers and sat down to enjoy our breakfast. As the day got lighter and warmer, we began to relax and enjoy the scenic view. Our relaxation was limited though, as noisy children began to spill out of the school across from us. They assembled on the black top nearby and stared wide-eyed at the two homeless looking gringos making breakfast over a fire in their park. I can only imagine the rumors that must have been flying around that school about us.


Exhausted, achey and feeling pretty defeated, we decided to take a short hike around the area before heading home. In the daylight everything looked much more inviting. The cold began to lift and the lake was absolutely picturesque on such a clear day. We walked along a trail until we hit a marker that signaled the official border with Guatemala. After some obligatory picture taking (look ma, I’m in two countries at once!), we stopped by the nearby gift shop, well more of a shed stockpiled with handicrafts.


{ on the Mexican/ Guatemalan border }


On the walk back, just around the corner from where we slept, we finally spotted the actual campsite. On a beautiful patch of grass overlooking the lake sat two wooden shelters perfect for hammocks. Nearby there was a lovely lodge complete with bathrooms and a restaurant. We contemplated staying another night to take advantage of the luxurious amenities, but couldn’t bear the thought of another cold sleep in the hammock. As we walked away we cursed ourselves for not walking a bit further the day before to find this paradise oasis. But as we talked over the night’s events, we realized that we may have not gotten the best night’s sleep but we did truly “rough it” and we now have a badass story to tell.






Have you had any misadventures while traveling? Were they worth the story or just a big fiasco? Tell us your most disastrous traveling moments! 


Budget for San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

Total Budget for San Cristobal de las Casas – $350 a month

The number one question we get from people when they hear we have been backpacking for over a year is, “how do you not run out of money?!” Or something to that affect. We usually respond with a vague answer about saving up in our respective countries and traveling cheap, but I think people always wonder if we have some sort of secret pyramid scheme or drug smuggling business we’re getting rich off of. So for transparency’s sake, I thought we’d write out our one month budget for San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico.

San Cristobal de las Casas in the hills of Chiapas, Southern Mexico. It’s safe and in the dry season (November to May) the weather is perfect. Charming cobblestone streets lead to Real Guadalupe, a pedestrian only street lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. The town draws a lot of artists and musicians, so on any given night you can watch an art expo and then listen to quality live music in the street. It’s a fantastic place for a new expat or first time traveler to settle down for a few weeks.

After finding a local women’s cooperative to volunteer with, we ended up living here for 2 months. For a grand total of 350 dollars a month each. Yes, that’s right, $87.50 a week. Lets see how we did it.


Rental Cost for San Cristobal: 2000P/ $150 shared, $75 each

Our home for the 2 months was a private room in a shared apartment. The location was perfect, just a couple blocks off Real Guadalupe. The room itself was spacious and (simply) furnished, which was a big selling point for us. Kitchen, hot water and wifi were all included. Other travelers, students and expats would rotate in and out every few weeks, which always kept things interesting. It wasn’t luxurious living by any means, but after a couple of weeks it became home. Cheaper options are definitely available, but for the location it was reasonably priced.



Cooking Costs in Mexico: $130 each

So we’ve discovered that one of the biggest ways to cut back on traveling expenses is to cook for yourself. It can be time consuming and annoying but trust me, if you’re traveling long-term, eating at restaurants will eat up your budget. Just because we cooked for ourselves, doesn’t mean we ate like peasants. Because we had a bit of time on our hands, and access to fresh ingredients, we were able to make homemade pizza, slow cooked pasta sauce and handmade pesto.  The market in San Cristobal is manageable and has anything you’ll need. Buy where the locals buy is always our motto. We did a big market shop about once a week and found fresh fruit, veggies and spices for low prices. To reward ourselves for staying in and cooking, we occasionally splurged on more expensive groceries like quality cheese and natural yogurt.


Cost for Eating Out in San Cristobal: $30 each

Okay, so sometimes you just need to say f*&k it and eat at a restaurant. Whether you’re tired, hungover, or just need a break, eating out can be a affordable way to treat yourself. We ate out on average about once a week and went to mid-range places.



Going Out for Drinks: $40 each

Long gone are our days of getting wasted every night. If you’re on a month long trip, you can swing it, but if you’re traveling long term it’s just not sustainable. Not only is it a drain on the wallet, waking up hung-over every other day is a real trip-killer. So aside from the occasional happy hour or after dinner nightcap, we saved our drinking money for special party nights. There are some good drink specials around town, but nothing beats sharing a Cajuama (liter size beer) from the grocery store amongst friends. Also if you run into Rum Fandango, a bottle costs 42 pesos ($3.50). Mix that with a little Coke and you’re set for the evening.


Day and Weekend Trips from San Cristobal: $50 each

Chiapas is said to be the most beautiful region in Mexico. San Cristobal is the perfect jumping off point for short trips around the area. The quiet town of Chomula and the waterfalls at Chiflon are easy day trips from San Cris. A bit further out there are the Mayan ruins in Palenque and the breathtaking lakes at Lagos de Montebello which make for fun weekend getaways. We used public transportation to get to all of these locations, but there are tour agencies that can help you organize transportation.


Transportation Costs: $5 each

The center of San Cristobal is fairly small and you can easily walk wherever  you need to go. Taxis can take you out of the center to, for example, the fairgrounds, but can be pricey. Cheap collectivos are also available for short trips around San Cristobal or to the surrounding towns. Most leave from the market area and cost about 6 pesos (50c).

Getting to San Cristobal de las Casas is also easy from anywhere in Mexico, as long as your ok with taking a long bus ride. Otherwise you can fly in, but where’s the fun in that!


Miscellaneous- $20 each

This is the category I’m putting all our random everyday life purchases in. Toiletries, the occasional water bottle (although most of our water is free, using our life saving Steripen) and the very occasional souvenir, although we’re not big souvenir people. (We did, however, enjoying getting to know a small group of young street seller of San Cristobal who gave us some really interesting stories about their life and culture).



So there you have it, a one month budget for San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. You don’t need to save thousands of dollars to spend a month or two enjoying a foreign country. If you keep an eye on your budget, you’ll be able to travel for a lot longer than if you blow all your money on expensive restaurants and alcohol. Traveling slowly and cooking the majority of your meals significantly helps keep down costs. So what are you waiting for? San Cristobal is the perfect place to start your overseas adventure!




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