Mexico city-Oaxaca solo trip

Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 08:08 PM
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Mexico city-Oaxaca solo trip

I am a man planning a solo trip to Mexico, approximately in May 2023. My vacation time from work resets in the 3rd week in June. That is the date my trip needs to be over. The maximum amount of time I would ask for off of work is 10 days; my work is every weekend, and on Memorial day.

My rough approximate partial itinerary might be:

Saturday: Flights from Detroit to Mexico City.
Sunday: Museo Nacional de antropología
Monday: Museo Soumaya (Carlos Slim's art museum)
Tuesday: Museo Firda Khalo. Possibly Mercado de Coyoacán or Antojitos Mexicanos market Juanita. Back to Centro Historico. Possibly Palacio de Bellas Artes, Alameda Central park, walk past various monuments.
Wednesday: Zócalo, Templo Mayor, museo del Templo Mayor, Palacio Nacional (Diego Rivera murals), various monuments
Thursday: Zona arqueológica Tlatelolco, possibly museo Franz Mayer, Monumento a la Revolución
Friday: Day trip to Teotihuacán
Saturday: Day trip to Tula
Sunday: Is this when I should end my trip because my dad can't see why a trip should be more than a week? Otherwise Plane or bus to Oaxaca de Juárez. Find hotel, walk past various monuments.
Monday: Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo
Tuesday: Day trip to Monte Albán
Wednesday: Flights back to Detroit OR expand the trip with Puebla or other sites or cities and move Oaxaca de Juárez and Monte Albán to near the end of the trip. Or start the trip in Oaxaca de Juárez and end in Mexico City.

Can I safely eat produce I could buy at a grocery store or market? How can I wash it if tap water is not safe to drink? Does fruit that I wouldn't peal at home have to be pealed before eating it in Mexico? In Florida and Spain I didn't eat restaurant food even once. Can I (safely) do the same in Mexico? I would try to not eat too much fruit.

Is there any chance solo travel to Mexico is too dangerous?

Would taking the bus to the ruins outside Mexico City and Oaxaca City be safe enough?

The elevation of my current suburb in south-east Michigan is approximately under 7 hundred feet. I understand that Mexico city's elevation is over 7 thousand feet.

If this matters I am 39. I haven't figured out whether I will stay in hostels, apartments, or typical hotels. My budget is: spend what is necessary to have a safe enough trip and not a peso more. I could afford the equivalent of 4 thousand US dollars including plane tickets and everything. But if I can make my trip cost 2,500 dollars, while still staying safe and not sacrificing much, for example, I will.


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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 08:47 PM
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I have traveled solo to Mexico quite often, but only to the beach towns. I have never been to Mexico City. In your shoes I would probably trim down the itinerary instead of trying to go all over the place. If you have 10 days, pick one place... Oaxaca or Puebla. Have you looked at Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Merida?

Have you traveled solo before (?) do you speak Spanish (?)

Honestly I would not start with the DF for a first timer as I feel that could be quite overwhelming. If you have never been I don't know how you can decide about how much to spend to be safe but "not a peso more"

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Old Sep 2nd, 2022, 10:16 PM
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" In Florida and Spain I didn't eat restaurant food even once."

You didn't eat in any restaurants in Spain or Florida - seriously? If that is the case I really don't think Mexico is a good destination for you. Not being snarky - honest -- but Spain has some of the best restaurant cuisine in the world and there is nothing 'scary' about dining out in Florida.

re the altitude: 7000 feet is not that high if you are moderately healthy. Lake Tahoe in California is over 6000 feet and very few people have any issues there. It might take you a day or two to acclimate but I wouldn't worry about that. I think your bigger problems are food issues, and worrying about what your Dad thinks about the length of your trip.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2022, 06:26 PM
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Asking for ten days off work is enough time for a 13-night trip, factoring in the weekends and the fact that my work is closed on weekends. Although I guess I could make my tri shorter. Also if my trip includes Memorial day, that would be one less day I would need to ask for off.

Maybe I should try street food once or twice. But the vast majority of restaurant food is made with oil or added fat, salt, and/or sugar. And I have a low toleration for even a low amount of hot-spiciness, although I am not medically allergic to anything, unless dislike of hot-spiciness counts. I am afraid most restaurant food is not that healthy and I am more addicted to the action of putting food in my mouth and chewing rather than caring about the taste. In Mexico would it be physically possible to buy and eat fruit, dates, unsweetened whole-grain prepared cereal, rice crackers, sardines, rolled oats and bottled water eaten from a cup with a spoon, perhaps a cracker or flatbread in the natural section that seems sort of healthy enough, or whatever else I can buy that doesn't need preparation?

My mom always has horrible outbursts of terror, fear, accusations, and worse, when I say I am taking a trip, even though I am otherwise normal functioning and I took my first solo leasure trip when I was 32. My dad just can't understand why a trip should last more than a week.

I am an American-English speaker. I taught myself some Spanish phrases before my trip to Spain. I had a phonology class in college. Maybe I am better than most people at pronouncing foreign words. Maybe sometimes I sound like a native speaker when I pronounce words like a native speaker, while of course simultaneously not knowing the language. My plan is to keep my mouth shut most of the time, occasionally saying some Spanish words and phrases.

I traveled solo to Quebec, England, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Northern Belgium and the Netherlands. I want to believe going to Mexico City and possibly outside Mexico City, solo, will work ok. Is Mexico a harder country to travel in solo?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2022, 09:40 PM
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I think you have a misconception about "Mexican food". It is not generally spicy at all.

would it be physically possible to buy and eat fruit, dates, unsweetened whole-grain prepared cereal, rice crackers, sardines, rolled oats and bottled water eaten from a cup with a spoon, perhaps a cracker or flatbread

Might take some looking around to find exactly that specific shopping list, but you can certainly "eat healthy" in Mexico. If you are buying your own fruits, choose ones that can be peeled or buy Microdyne to soak produce before eating.

I don't think Mexico as a country is harder to travel solo than anywhere else. I do believe that Mexico City may have some challenged just because of being such a huge city (similar sized to NYC).

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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 09:23 AM
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I have been to both Mexico City and Oaxaca City solo (in January 2019). I had two weeks total, going first to Puebla by bus (4 nights) then to Oaxaca (5 nights) by bus. I flew from OAX back to Mexico City with 5 nights at the Stanza Hotel (recommended) which gave me 4 1/2 days which is NOT enough. I wanted Mexico City at the end since that is where I would fly out and didn't want to be held up with potential strikes in Oaxaca.

Mexico City is particularly easy to visit since Uber is widely used (although you probably need to take an official taxi FROM the airport). Google Maps works quite well. I had an international SIM (Google Fi) working on my phone before I left. If you stay at the Stanza or somewhere similar with an English speaking front desk you will have few issues. That neighborhood (Roma Norte) or Condesa are two good choices.

I didn't have ANY digestive issues in Mexico where I ate at street stands, buffets, bakeries and restaurants including Tostadas Coyoacan inside the Coyoacan market. With street/market food what you see is what you get. I fear some restaurant meals a bit more, who knows what the kitchen looks like and what has been sitting around unrefrigerated?

As far as your itinerary comments:

Be sure you know the closed days and need to reserve tickets (Museo Frida Kahlo must buy in advance, https://www.boletosfridakahlo.org/)

Never assume that any website is up to date, so do your priorities first in case you need to reschedule. Facebook pages are worth searching out.

The Archaeology Museum is huge, I wish I had split it into two half days.

Frida Kahlo and the Coyoacan Market are a good pairing. You can do both on the same day. Use Uber. There is also public transport but Uber is inexpensive.

Zocalo/ Templo Mayor and Bellas Artes are a good combination. Go on a day when there is a performance if you can, and buy a same day ticket.

I went to the Diego murals at the National Palace on the morning of my final day. It is not clear to me that the National Palace murals are open, due to pandemic.

In Oaxaca your hotel can arrange a taxi to Monte Alban.

If you are worried about safety, you can also book some local walking tours.

The place where I stayed in Oaxaca was Hotel con Corazon. It's a bit out of the center of town. Favorite resaurant was El Quinque, they served veggies! There are plenty of tourist-oriented expensive restaurants in Oaxaca and Mexico City as well.

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 4th, 2022 at 09:57 AM.
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 09:43 AM
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One order of nopales and one of camaron (shrimp) at Tostadas Coyoacan. As you can see, the salsa is on the side, you do not need to use it if you don't do "spicy". PS I went twice and ate all of the lettuce and tomato toppings. They know how to use microdyne.

Even Bon Apetit approves
https://www.bonappetit.com/city-guid...tadas-coyoacan


Last edited by mlgb; Sep 4th, 2022 at 10:42 AM.
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 11:59 AM
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I'm not familiar with Mexico City but have had 2 month-long stays in Oaxaca. So instead of trying to address your particular concerns, you might like to have a look at my stories. I travel alone, a woman in my 70s, never a problem with food, buying to cook or restaurants. Note the easy & inexpensive van transport to Monte Alban if you'd prefer to avoid the expense of a taxi.

https://www.travelgumbo.com/blog/por...my-of-a-trip-1

https://www.travelgumbo.com/blog/back-to-oaxaca

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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 12:16 PM
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BTW there is no Uber in Oaxaca.

We had issues with the "easy" van transport from Monte Alban (late, not sure when it showed) so I split a taxi back with several others. Fortunately I didn't pay in advance for the ticket.

One of the advantages of taxi to Monte Alban in the morning is that you can be one of the first to enter, avoiding the hordes for about an hour. I think it was about $10, not sure it that qualifies as "expensive" in my book. I had them drop me at the barrier along the entrance road, about an hour before opening, and walked the rest of the way, along with the local joggers. My hotel arranged the taxi for me. We just flagged one for the return.

I know Oaxaca is popular with gringos, especially the silver-haired ones, but I liked Puebla much more. From Puebla you can book a day tour (I just used Turisbus, easy to book around the Plaza) to visit Cholula, San Francisco Acatepec & Tonantzintla. Downtown Plaza Mayor is quite pleasant, the town has many brightly colored churches and several good museums (Amparo especially) and the monastery of Santa Rosa de Lima is also worth a stop (where the mole poblana was invented). In case you didn't already see my Fodor's trip reports

Checking in from Puebla

Checking in from Oaxaxa

Loving Mexico City

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 4th, 2022 at 12:38 PM.
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 01:06 PM
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I saw no “hordes” at Monte Alban, few visitors & spread around the site, the van I describe worked very well & also enjoyed the little outdoor patio restaurant next to the on-site museum, uncrowded. It always depends, doesn’t it. I imagine if one is able to get a last minute ride on the van then one might assume it isn’t a busy day.

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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
I saw no “hordes” at Monte Alban, few visitors & spread around the site, the van I describe worked very well & also enjoyed the little outdoor patio restaurant next to the on-site museum, uncrowded. It always depends, doesn’t it. I imagine if one is able to get a last minute ride on the van then one might assume it isn’t a busy day.
Things change over the years and months differ in their popularity. I'm not sure what May would be like.
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
. . . I'm not sure what May would be like.
Nor am I. My trips were in November & February. May is off season for winter visitors so I'd think everywhere will be uncrowded.


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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 05:43 PM
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I taught myself some Spanish phrases before my trip to Spain. I had a phonology class in college. I am good at pronouncing foreign words like a native speaker. Which is not the same thing as speaking the language. My plan is to keep my mouth shut most of the time, occasionally saying some Spanish words and phrases.

I traveled solo once to Quebec, Canada, and to Europe 5 timers, 6 if you count trip to Lithuania for a class I got college credit for. I had a mild fever for about a day in Lithuania. In Spain, 1-3/4 days after I arrived, within 3 hours I went from fine to having horrifying and severe symptoms affecting my digestive tract that lasted severely for a day and then differently and mildly for another day. Avoiding being too gross for now, I'll just say this was worse than simple diarrhea, I didn't absorb any nutrients except bottled water for 26 hours, and I could have gotten too dehydrated or worse and needed a hospital. Is this avoidable in Mexico? It couldn't have been food poisoning because I didn't eat any restaurant food. Maybe it was from using tap water to wash fruit and rinse my mouth after brushing my teeth?

I only ever used Uber once, in Chicago on my way back from my cousins wedding to my hotel. My brother ordered it for me. I didn't have the uber app on my phone. He said it cost 11 dollars. I gave the driver 11 dollars before I got out. My brother didn't tell me that using uber requires you to pay in advance on the app! What if the uber driver doesn't show up or what if I can't find the uber car? Then do I lose my money? You don't pre-pay for taxis.

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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 06:13 PM
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You should download the Uber ap on your phone before leaving. It's charged to your credit card after you ride. You will get price estimate before getting in the car. After the driver accepts your ride, you will get information on their license number and type of car. Then you can follow the progress of the car on a map while waiting and while riding. You are not charged before the ride, I don't know what your brother is thinking or if it was a misunderstanding. No cash should exchange hands, which makes it especially convenient when USD is not the local currency.

Read about using Uber for the first tiime here:

https://www.uber.com/en-AE/blog/how-...he-first-time/


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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelpianko View Post
. . . symptoms affecting my digestive tract . . . I could have gotten too dehydrated or worse and needed a hospital. Is this avoidable in Mexico? . . .
Have you read the responses? Three of us have discussed food. If it concerns you overly, despite what people experienced in Mexico travel have said, maybe it really isn't the place for you.

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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 07:17 AM
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If you are that worried maybe the propylactic use of Pepto Bismol is something to consider. I have used it before although I do not take as much as suggested (one or two tabs a day for me).

Travelers' Diarrhea: What You Need to Know

Also, you did not necessarily pick up the bug from food, another possibility is that you touched something with a pathogen and then your face (like COVID). One of my tips is to not use your hands when eating. And yes, in Mexico and other second or third world countries, I try to use bottled water for tooth brushing etc, avoid unpeeled fruit, etc. (travel with two toothbrushes because chances are you will stick one under the tap at some point). When I eat at buffets there are some foods I avoid (rice dishes are notorious breeding grounds)..

For the most part I have avoided TD, the worst being caught either in Bolivia or Lake Titicaca but I had a supply of antibiotics from my doctor in case. That is another thing you can do. Most cases do resolve within a day, as yours did, even without heavy drugs.

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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 08:55 AM
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Please correct me if I am wrong but you do seem rather over anxious about this trip. We visited Mexico for the first time for three months prior to the pandemic. I had read loads of stuff about how dangerous Mexico was and how we were certain to get food poisoning etc. etc,. T

he reality could not have been more different. Of all the many, many countries in which we have travelled, Mexicans were the friendliest if people. We felt entirely safe the whole time and as for the food? Wow! We followed our usual MO of eating everywhere and anywhere from markets and street stalls to high end restaurants. The food everywhere was to a very high standard and we suffered no ill effects whatsoever.

some details of our travels @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/mexico/ . With ten days I would just stick to Mexico City and Oaxaca or MC and Puebla. Don’t be tempted to add in additional destinations, just use those two as staging points for a couple of day trips from each. You may find some ideas in ur blog above
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 11:22 AM
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I agree with everything crellston just posted (which I usually do, BA excepted, LOL)...
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 08:21 PM
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Alternative supposed approximate day-by day itinerary:

4 nights in Oaxaca City
Saturday: Flights to Oaxaca City
Sunday: Museo de las Culturas Oaxaca; if open, Museo Rufino Tamayo; if time, Museo Casa de Juárez, Centro Fotográfico Alvarez Bravo; Museo Belber Jiménez; Museo del Palacio; if time briefly possibly the churches Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Templo de San Felipe Neri, and/or others.
Monday: Day trip to Monte Albán
Tuesday: Whatever of Sunday's sights not seen yet, walk past various monuments, and so on. OR: day trip to Mitla (ruins 24 miles southeast of Oxaca city)
Wednesday: Plane to Mexico city

Nine nights in Mexico City
Thursday: Museo Nacional de antropología. Possibly walk Avenida Paseo de la Reforma north-east, passing El Ángel de la Independencia, and/or possibly one of the markets.
Friday: Museo Soumaya (Carlos Slim's art museum); or possibly a guided tour if available; if time Palacio Bellas Artes.
Saturday: Museo Firda Khalo. Possibly Mercado de Coyoacán or Antojitos Mexicanos Market Juanita. Back to Centro Historico. If time, if not seen yet, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Alameda Central park, various monuments.
Sunday: Zócalo, Templo Mayor, museo del Templo Mayor, Palacio Nacional (Diego Rivera murals), various monuments
Monday: Day trip to Teotihuacán
Tuesday: Tlatelolco (Zona arqueológica, Plaza), if time, if not seen yet: above musems, museo Franz Mayer, Monumento a la Revolución
Wednesday: Day trip to Tula.
Thursday: Museo Nacional De Arte, possibly Museo Nacional De San Carlos
Friday: Another museum, day trip, Museo Nacional de Antropología again, and/or more self-guided touring.
Saturday: Flights back to Detroit

How much of a shame would it be to skip Puebla and Cholula?

[As for my apparent travel anxiety: My mother and an aunt have travel-related anxiety. My mom has outbursts of horror, revulsion, terror, accusations, and so on, when I tell my mom about an upcoming trip, my mom says I am incapable of thinking things through, that what I am doing is half cocked, in the wrong intonation she exclaims "good bye, its been nice having a son..." It is horrible. I feel so guilty about causing my mother this stress or not admitting I "should not travel alone". My aunt has similar reactions except maybe less intense and I talk to her less than my parents. My dad just can't understand why a trip should last more than a week. When I plan travel, I feel like I am sneaking around behind my mom's back, doing something I am not supposed to do, something dangerous, and so on. I live on my own. I am 39 (thirty nine and the 3 psychologists I saw as an adult insisted that I am normal functioning). I was 32 when I took my first leasure solo trip. I know perfectly well that my feeling like I am a bad kid sneaking around behind my mom's back planning something I shouldn't do, that I am incapable of caring how my mom feels, and so on, are maladaptive and non-sensical. Which doesn't make it go away. I don't know why I did not inherit my mom's fear of travel and I don't know what to do about it. None of that tells us how safe what I am planning is or whether my mother will ever be right by accident about something she is afraid for me to do. Nobody in my family knows I am thinking of going to Mexico. Yet. If I tell them]
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Old Sep 7th, 2022, 07:04 AM
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In Oaxaca, I would prioritizeSanto Domingo de Guzmán over some of the other smaller museums. By the way, in the evening this is a gathering spot for young people -- good people watching.

I would also recommend that you visit the Basílica de la Virgin de la Soledad. It's a stunning church and of particular interest if you happen to be a fan of Malcolm Lowry's novel, Under the Volcano. Definitely make your way to Mitla -- there are organized tours.

If you would like to visit Puebla and Cholula, there is definitely room for pruning your Mexico City itinerary. It';s worth at least a two-day stop. I would review your "must-sees" and weigh them against Puebla.

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