Solo Travel in Mexico
Types of Girl about the Globes – History GatG, Beach GatG, Yoga GatG, Arty & Museum GatG, Temple GatG
Mexico has a reputation for corruption and drug-related violence but you shouldn’t let this put you off visiting. It does have its issues so check Foreign Office travel advice for Mexico before you go. If you don’t venture north of Mexico City or certain neighbourhoods where the drug-cartels rule, the rest of the country is amazing and easy to travel around.
Cancun is a tourist area and tourist areas are protected in Mexico so crime is low. If you travel by bus, just keep an eye on your belongings. Try not to travel at night and be careful if you hire a car.
It does help to know some Spanish for Mexico. The Yucatan Peninsula can be quite touristy so you can expect people within the tourist services (accommodation and tours) to speak English. Many people in Mexico City also speak English but with Mexican people being so friendly just try your Spanish and they will be willing to help.
Maturer travellers come here (except during Spring Break on the Riviera Maya) and because of its proximity to the United States, the country is also popular with Americans. When you solo travel in Mexico the east coast is the best spot to meet others as it’s the place to party. Just stay away from the danger hot spots and you'll have a sizzling time.
Below is our guide to how to travel solo in Mexico as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.
- Places To Visit in Mexico
- Accommodation in Mexico
- Mexico Tours
- Travelling in Mexico
- Itinerary for Mexico
- Best Time To Go To Mexico
- Mexico Airports
- Travelling Onwards
- Questions About Mexico
- Map of Mexico
- Planning a Trip to Mexico
- Related Posts
Places To Visit in Mexico
We love Mexico and although it really comes under North America, we have included it within Central America so that you can tag it onto your Latin America itinerary. Contrary to belief, you won’t find tequila-loving locals all wearing sombreros and shouting “Arriba Arriba” (except the tourists on the east coast!). Instead you’ll find a country full of culture, warm friendly people and a climate that makes it a year-round destination.
Mexico is a perfect base for exploring Latin America and with history dating back to the Mayan and Aztec times, its archeology does not disappoint. Explore the ancient city of Coba, the cliff-top ruins of Tulum or Chichen Itza, the most famous of them all. But if you’re looking for somewhere less crowded Palenque is just as impressive and nearby waterfalls amongst the lush jungle adds to its attraction. From Palenque make sure to venture into the Lacandon Maya heartland for the lesser-known and more romantic ruins.
The capital, Mexico City was founded in 1325 and is the oldest city on the American continent. It’s also one of the most populated in the world and has more museums than you’ll have time to visit. If you only see one, make it the Museum of Anthropology which represents the country’s main cultures. The Museum of Modern Art is also worth a visit and there is even a tequila museum for tequila lovers.
It is so easy to navigate your way around with the metro, or jump on the hop on bus to make the most of this sprawling city and to get your bearings on the first day. Art deco is everywhere and colourful murals and urban art can be found on the side of the dullest of buildings. You’ll find plenty of entertainment too with road jugglers or live musicians serenading your dinner table. Head to Plaza Garibaldi for traditional string instruments in true Mexican style or mooch around the Sunday market at Funente de la Cibeles.
The area of Condesa is our favourite; this trendy little place with a bohemian vibe is great for a sunny afternoon and has plenty of al fresco cafes – perfect for watching the world go by. You can’t leave Mexico City without a visit to the zoo (it’s free!) with 200 indigenous species unique to Mexico or without a trip to the Arena Mexico for some traditional Mexican wrestling.
At night watch the street performers and singers at Zócalo, the main square in Mexico City. If you're a party GatG, Mama Rumba is a fun, safe place to dance salsa with the locals. From Mexico City you can take tours to Teotihuaczn, the largest pre-Colombian site in the Americas. Take an early tour to get there as soon as it opens to avoid the crowds.
Southeast of Mexico City is a city called Puebla. If you like your food and architecture then you'll be surrounded by colonial architecture and Mexican cuisine. There's also a fantastic display of pre-Hispanic art for the history GatG.
Mexicans like hot, spicy food but they tame it down for tourists. Dine at the largest revolving restaurant in the world in Mexico City (Bellini Restaurant) or enjoy a glass of vino at the oldest winery in the Americas (Casa Madero). Sample a local brew in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city and the birthplace of Tequila or party the night away at Baja Peninsula.
If it’s scenery that you need, visit Oaxaca, a lush area of diverse eco-systems with colourful craft villages. Stroll through the historic centre along cobbled paths before relaxing in Parque Llano amongst fountains. There may even be a market on when you're there. The Temple de Santo Domingo and Museo de las Culturas are two of the highlights here. This area was once home to the Zapotec civilisation so visit the lesser-known ruins of the Zapotec and Mixtec heartland around Oaxaca.
For beaches, choose from the warm waters of Acapulco, or Copacabana or experience world class diving on the island of Cozumel (accessible by ferry from Cancun and Playa del Carmen) or kite surf and cave dive in Tulum, another amazing beach.
If its snorkelling, good nightlife and a beach experience that you’re after; the east coast is where it’s at. It is easy to get to Chichen Itza from here too and there are many cenotes (sink holes) to explore. Don't forget to see the El Rey Ruins, an archaeological site with nearly 50 May structures. Visit between mid May to September for a chance to swim with whale sharks – it’s an experience of a lifetime.
Cancun is more of a resort experience protected from the rest of Mexico. It is a westernised version with crystal clear waters, Tex Mex and a sunny climate. You don’t even really need Spanish to visit here. But if you’re looking for top notch hotels, sea, sand and parties, it's ideal and even has an underwater museum for divers.
The Yucatan Peninsula is whatever you need it to be, whether you prefer to quad bike through the jungle, swim in one of the cenotes, or party at Coco Bongo. If it's a more laid back vibe that you're after with healthy retreats, yoga and swimming then Tulum is more your style.
From Cancun you can take the boat to Isla Mujeres which is just 15 minutes away. On the island you can rent a bike or golf buggy to get around and visit the Turtle Farm. Don't forget to try the ceviche! Boats also run to Cozumel, a peaceful island with beautiful beaches and known for scuba diving. Check boat times for both island here.
As well as the Caribbean coast, Mexico also has the Pacific Coast. This coastline has warm seas year-round and offers water sports in it's wavy waters as well as history and culture. Wildlife GatGs should head to Acapulco during the months of May to October for the turtle hatching season to watch hundreds of sea turtle eggs hatch. This area in the state of Guerrero has dedicated conservation camps to help preservation of the baby sea turtles.
Puerto Vallarta is a resort town on the Pacific coast known for its party atmosphere and beaches. Being on coast means that you'll also find water sports here. For the best beach and to mingle with the locals head to Easy Street beach. When you're ready to escape the town, take the bus to the botanical garden just 30 minutes outside of town. Sayulita is a place for the surfing GatGs with lots of places to sample the local cuisine after a day's surf.
Merida is the metropolis of Yucatan architecture and unlike the Riviera Maya, this city is typically Mexican with great culture, art galleries and even more museums. Puerto Vallarta near Guadalajara is another true Mexican town with beaches, jungles and botanical gardens which have been voted one of the top in America.
Other places to see in Mexico are: the World Heritage City of Campeche, the fishing village of San Agustinillo, Mazunte for the National Mexican Turtle Centre and jazz festival, the hippie haven of Zipolite and Puerto Escondido for great surfing.
For the arty and cultural GatG – San Miguel de Allende has cultural festivals and a good arts scene. This city in Mexico's central highlands is famous for its baroque Spanish buildings and the pink towers of Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. Cultural GatGs will love the colonial city of Chiapas and its nearby Maya villages. There are so many places to see!
Ciudad Juarez in the border region of Chihuahua is the most dangerous town in the country.
Accommodation in Mexico
There is a wide choice of budget accommodation in Mexico such as Casa de los Amigos, a guesthouse and non-profit organisation that has private rooms and dorm beds. Or stay at a B&B in the funky area of Condesa in Mexico City. Hostels are really good value here with the majority of hostel staff speaking English.
Sleep in a hammock, jungle cabana or a beachfront hotel. Stay on the Riviera Maya and expect 5 star all-inclusive resorts or opt for a jungle guesthouse in Tulum. If you’re on a budget then stay in the centre in Tulum as beach properties are more expensive. Booking.com offers all luxury, guesthouses and budget accommodation for Mexico.
Plus there’s Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
Homestay is an alternative to Airbnb. They offer stays in accommodation such as a stay in the Maya Forest, a cabin in the jungle or an apartment in the city. You can video call your host family before you go to find the perfect host. Check homestays and prices here
All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community and come with a Solo Female Friendly endorsement.
Hostel Ka Beh is great for solo travellers with a friendly atmosphere. The staff feel more like a family and hold regular activities making it easy to meet others. From huge lockers to a coin and book exchange, they have thought of everything that a traveller needs. You can even leave your unwanted clothes behind. There are buses nearby to the beach or you can just chill out in a hammock or watch TV or a movie. There is 24 hour security and all tours they offer will take you direct from the hostel doors. An American breakfast is included in the price. Choose from a bed in 4, 6 or 12 bed dorm room or a double room.
- Prices from £9 per night for a bed in a 12 bed dormitory room
- To book, check prices or availability for Hostel Ka Beh
We love the funky design of this hotel. It has a gym and outdoor pool and comes with a steam room to unwind after your evenings out. It’s near to the bars and restaurants in Cancun so you don’t have far to walk to sample the Mexican cuisine. Plus it is only 200 metres from the beach and close to the legendary Coco Bongo, which you simply have to spend an evening at. Choose from a double room or suite with a partial or full lagoon view. There is also the choice of an ocean view.
- Prices from £75 per night for a double room with partial lagoon view.
- To book, check prices or availability for Aloft Cancun
There’s a reason that this place is called Hostel Home because it feels like a home away from home. The staff are really friendly and there is a big lounge to hang out with the other guests. Situated in the Roma and Condesa neighbourhoods, it is a 10 minute walk to the metro station with bars and restaurants nearby. You may prefer to cook your own meals in the communal kitchen although breakfast is included in the rates. Reception is open 24 hours and they can arrange your transfer from the airport which is ideal if you are arriving at night. They have female only dorms too! Choose from a bed in a mixed dormitory room, a female only dorm, or a basic double room.
- Prices from £11 per night for a bed in a mixed dormitory room
- To book, check prices or availability for Hostel Home
Undoubtably in one of the nicest areas in Mexico City, Sevilla Palace is in Zona Rosa and perfect for those wanting to explore Mexico City’s museums. This four star hotel has 24 hour room service if you don’t want to dine at one of the 2 restaurants. If you’re worried about venturing out alone in the evening you can just stay at the hotel and enjoy the piano bar instead. There’s a gym to keep fit and a swimming pool on the 22nd floor. Ask for a room on an upper floor to get great views. Choose from a standard double room or a junior suite. All rooms come with a hairdryer and a minibar.
- Prices from £55 per night for a standard double room
- To book, check prices or availability for Sevilla Palace
If you are looking to have fun then the Weary Traveler Hostel is ideal. This hostel is so sociable. They have free Caipirinhas for an hour from 7 to 8pm to help you to mingle. Breakfast is included in the cost and comes with omelettes and pancakes. The whole layout of the hostel makes it easy to meet others and there’s even a pool to cool off from the Mexican heat. The reception desk is open 24 hours so it doesn’t matter what time you arrive. Choose from a bed in a 6, 8, or 10 bed mixed dormitory room or a double room. All come with a private bathroom.
- Prices from £12 per night for a bed in a mixed dormitory room
- To book, check prices or availability for Weary Traveler Hostel
If you prefer somewhere quieter with your own space, Xscape Tulum is a really lovely property. This hotel is walking distance from shops and restaurants, and you can cycle to the beach from here too. There is a 24 hour front desk and the friendly, helpful staff can also organise any tours that you want to do. Rooms come with free toiletries and a sitting area. Chill out by the pool or in your air-conditioned room. Choose from a studio with a pool view, an apartment or a premium or luxury queen or king with balcony and even a hot tub! Just don’t expect too much from the Wifi.
- Prices from £86 per night for a studio with a pool view
- To book, check prices or availability for Xscape Tulum
If you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
Adventures start from 7 days celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, to a 33 day Best of Central America adventure travelling through Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. They have tours for every kind of solo including a Mexico Monarch Butterfly Trail from £999 for 10 days. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company..
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people using their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear a bit more costly than G Adventures. They have tours for any length of time from a 4 day Mexico City stopover to a 65 day Complete Central America tour.
Travelling In Mexico
There is a great Ado bus network in Mexico however distances can be long so consider flying if you are short on time. Mexican airlines make it easy to fly around the country. Viva Aerobus are the cheapest airline but they don’t accept cards online so you’ll need to buy a flight at the airport depending on availability. Mexico City has a fab metro system and a single fare will cost less than £1 for anywhere in the city. They have pretty pictures for the stops and even have a pink line!
Because the buses and flights are so good you don’t really need to drive but if you do decide to rent a car, try not to drive at night. The road tolls can be costly and can be stopped for bribes. If this does happen to you don’t hand over your documents; ask to go to a police station instead.
Some solos have had no problems driving across the Yucatan Peninsula and say that the roads are easy to navigate. Cancun is really close to Playa del Carmen and Tulum and ADO buses travel between them.
In Cancun it is easy to walk around plus there are buses too. The taxis don’t have meters so you just ask for a price upfront. Hotels can also let you know the rates as taxi rates are set by zones. Uber is a great alternative to taxis and is cheap and easy to use.
To hire a car we recommend pre-booking car hire with Avis so you can collect your car when you arrive at the airport.
Itinerary for Mexico
You definitely need longer than a week here unless you just spend time along the east coast. Two weeks is enough time to see Mexico City, the ruins and relax on one of the beaches. Below are our recommended itineraries from 7 days to 2 weeks. These are just a guide but they may give you an idea for your solo trip:
One week’s itinerary
Mexico City (3 nights). Puebla (1 night), Oaxaca (3 nights)
Mexico City (4 nights), Cancun (3 nights)
Ten days itinerary
Mexico City (3 nights), Cancun (3 nights), Playa del Carmen (2 nights), Tulum (2 nights)
Two weeks itinerary
Mexico City (4 nights), Cancun (3 nights), Playa del Carmen (3 nights), Tulum (3 nights), Chetumal (1 night). Take the boat to Ambergris Caye in Belize.
San Miguel de Allende (3 nights). Mexico City (4 nights), Oaxaca (3 nights), Cancun (2 nights), Merida (2 nights)
Mexico City (3 nights), Oaxaca (3 nights) explore the Zapotec civilisation and other ruins near here, San Cristobal de las Casas (2 nights), Palenque (3 nights), Tulum (3 nights).
Best Time To Go To Mexico
Because Mexico is a big country the weather varies depending which area you visit. The south of Mexico does have a rainy season which generally starts in May until October. The rain only falls for a short while and usually in the afternoons so this shouldn’t affect your trip too much if you are travelling during this time.
If you want to avoid the heat then travel from December to February when it is cooler. In general, the best time to go to Mexico is between December and April when the temperature is comfortable and you can still get the sun.
This chart shows the average maximum day temperatures for Mexico (from January to December).
Mexico has numerous airports. The busiest is Mexico City. Below is a list of how to get to and from the main international airports. For all other airports use Rome2Rio for your journey.
Mexico City – From Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juarez there are various bus companies which operate from the airport to Mexico City. The journey takes 15 to 30 minutes depending on the company and costs from £1 to £16. ADO Buses are one of the companies. Click here for more information.
The metro is less than £1 but you may need to change lines. The metro leaves every 15 minutes and operates from either 5am (Monday to Friday), 6am on Saturdays, and 7am on Sundays until midnight each day. Click here for metro schedules.
There is also a night bus (Line 4) but you may be more comfortable in a taxi which costs approx £2 for the 6 minute journey or an Uber for £4.
Cancun – Cancun International Airport is located on the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean coast. Buses run from the airport to Cancun downtown bus station and take approx 30 minutes. They cost from £3 and you can check ADO’s bus schedule here.
From the bus station there are frequent buses to different destinations in Mexico. If you’re travelling onto Playa del Carmen, Riviera bus lines operate direct to there. A taxi costs approximately £5.
Guadalajara – A taxi from Guadalajara International Airport to Guadalajara costs up to £9 for the 20 minute journey. Buses take 15 minutes to Guadalajara and cost anything from £2 to £12 depending on your destination. You can use the buses to travel onwards but need to change in Guadalajara. Click here for more information
Los Cabos – Located at San Jose del Cabo, taxis cost approximately £6 from the airport to Los Cabos and take 15 minutes.
Monterrey – The quickest way to get from Monterrey International Airport to Monterrey is by taxi. This only take 30 minutes in comparison to the bus which takes longer. Taxis cost £9 and the bus costs £5.
Puerto Vallarta – From Puerto Vallarta Airport taxis cost £4 for the 7 minute journey into Puerto Vallarta. There is a bus which only costs £1 for the 11 minute ride. Buses leave every 10 minutes. Click here for the schedules
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Travelling onwards (check visas before you travel)
To depart Mexico you need to pay a departure tax of 295 pesos.
Mexico to Belize: Buses leave from Chetumal to the mainland or take a water taxi to Ambergris Caye. The Ado bus runs an overnight service from Cancun to Belize City.
Mexico to USA: There are multiple border crossings throughout California and Arizona which are safe to cross including the San Ysidro border next to San Diego. Cruises also travel from the USA to Mexico.
Mexico to Guatemala: From Palenque it’s a 6 hour journey to the Tikal region of Guatemala, then a short boat ride to the Guatemalan border before another 3 hour bus journey to Flores. From San Cristobal de las Casas it’s a 10 hour trip to either Antigua or Lake Atitlan with a change of bus at Mesilla. Getting through either border will take a whole day. Expect to leave Mexico early morning and arrive in Flores (Tikal region) by late afternoon and Antigua or Lake Atitlan by early morning.
Where can I go from here?
Guatemala – 2.5 hours
Belize – 2.5 hours
Los Angeles – 3 hours
- Can I drink the water? No.
- Is tipping expected? Yes, being so close to the USA.
- Fixed price or barter? Barter.
- Any ATMs? Yes. Some give US$ instead of pesos so choose the right ones.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any seven wonders of the world? Chichen Itza, Paricutin Volcano.
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Map of Mexico
Planning a Trip To Mexico
If you are ready to plan a trip to Mexico here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, where you can volunteer and eco accommodation.
Budget £25 a day
Capital – Mexico City
Population – 112.3 million
Language spoken – Spanish
Did you know? Mexico is sinking faster than Venice!
Mind Body & Soul
- Solo Travel in Central America
- Solo Travel in Guatemala
- Solo Travel in Belize
- Belize to Mexico
- Mexico City
- Snorkeling with Whale Sharks
- Coco Bongo
- Mexican Wrestling
- My Personal Experiences of Mexico