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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Arriving in Mexico

Unbelievably pulled off a trip to Mexico with just a little over a month of planning, it was a bit of a challenge. Tripadvisor was most helpful.

Immigration and Visa:

No visa is required for Filipinos arriving in Mexico with US Visa, provided such person is traveling from USA.  For non US visa holders or US visa holders but not arriving from USA, may apply for Mexican visa in Manila.

Mexican Embassy

150 Legaspi Street, Makati City, 1229 Kalakhang Maynila
(02) 812 2211

For someone who’s not used to traveling alone, arriving in Mexico City by myself sent jitters to my nerves.  More so, when this country is often negatively portrayed by media.  I was pleasantly surprised how pretty safe and clean Mexico City is sans the graffiti here and there.  Immigration official was exceptionally chatty, our laughter was heard across the hall.  He asked why I came in alone, where’s Manny Pacquiao and if I do boxing.  


Customs check can be tricky.  Luggage go through x-ray.  Upon exit, one shall push a button, if it’s a green light, you’re cleared.  If it’s a red light, your luggage will be opened and assessed taxes.  Tourists are not spared.  

On a separate flight, one of our companions got the red light.  Her luggage was opened, she just came from New York and did some shopping at the outlet store there.  She was assessed with taxes on the things she bought which she intends to bring back to her country.  She was asked to pay U$500 but settled with U$200.  Be forwarned when touring cross-country, remove the tags of the new stuff you bought.

Airport Transfers:

Most of our airport transfers were arranged through  They offer the most reasonably priced private transfers.  They also offer shared airport transfers at a fraction of a price.  Since I was arriving alone, I did just that.  They do not reply to inquiries via email but they do answer phone calls.  It can be difficult though because of language barrier.  Another friend of ours booked the chichen itza tour with them, they were happy with the services provided by its partner experiencias excaret

Tour Guide: Royal Cars
For Mexico City tours, we booked private tours through  It takes a while for them to respond and provides very little detail on the itinerary.  I could not find any other reasonably priced and reliable tour operator, so I banked on the good reviews on tripadvisor and made extra effort to reach them by long distance phone calls and email.   I simply emailed them places I want to go and the sites I want to see.  Basically, my reservation was made based on trust, and they did not disappoint.  Although the suburban was a bit cramped for a long ride for 7 pax, we were comfortable with the van.  We did the Mexico City Historical Centre Tour, day tour to Puebla, 3d/2n tour of Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende with them.  The guides may not be exceptional but they were good and nice; and randomly stops anywhere they find interesting such as a taste of street food.


Taxi is cheap.  In Mexico City and Merida, we did not have any untoward experience taking a metered taxi.  In Cancun, taxis are fixed at 120 mxn per trip while bus is fixed at 9.5 mxn per trip.

Mexico City Hotel:  Holiday Inn Express Reforma

In Mexico City, we chose the area of Reforma.  Holiday Inn Express Reforma is conveniently located in an upscale neighbourhood right next to Reforma 222 shopping mall.  It was reasonable priced at $119 per night with breakfast and free wifi.  One can get special “friends and family” or corporate rates for IHG group of by booking through this link:

Merida Hotel:  Casa del Maya Bed and Breakfast

Casa del Maya Bed and Breakfast was nice and cozy.  It's personalized services by the owners were a plus.  Breakfast was absolutely delish.  It's location may not be best but it's a good 15-30 minutes walk to almost anywhere like the Historic Centre and Paseo Montejo.

Cancun Hotel:  Casa Magna Marriott

Casa Magna Marriott is a beach front hotel, away from the malls or row of restaurants.  The hotel itself has a number of in house restaurants serving Thai, Japanese, Argentinian and Continental cuisine.  There's a few selection of pricey seafood restaurants, Mc Donalds and convenience store across the street.  We chose this for it's reasonably priced non-all inclusive room rates.  Breakfast was good mix of mexican and international cuisine.  The hotel guests were mostly family.  The beachfront was nice and quite.  It's a good 5 minute walk to the bus stop and about 15 minute ride on the bus to the strip.

Post trip accounting: (1 USD = 12.7 MXN)

U$487 San Francisco to Mexico City, Cancun to New York with Aeromexico
$58 Mexico City to Monterrey with Interjet
U$71 Monterrey to Merida with Volaris

Mexico City:
U$19 shared airport transfers with
U$117/night Holiday Inn Express Reforma (Mexico City)
U$244/night Hotel 1850, Guanajuato
U$153/night Real de Minas, San Miguel Allende 
U$57 8 hour city tour with (450$ for group of 8)
U$73 day tour to Puebla with ($580 for group of 8)
U$225 3/2n tour to San Miguel Allende and Guanajuato with ($75/day)
U$50 food tour with

Street food: 40 mxn per meal
Casual dining: 200 mxn per meal

U$138 Casa del Maya Bed and Breakfast for four
$525mxn airport transfers for four
$600mxn day trip from Merida to Chichen Itza
$1050mxn day trip from Merida to Tulum with drop off at Cancun

$142/night Casa Magna Marriott
Casual dining: 300 mxn per meal
Hotel dining: 500 mxn per meal

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