Mexico is a world of pristine beaches, jungle adventures, exciting cities and storytelling ruins. If you’re a traveller who likes to escape the crowds by getting off the beaten track, the Gringo Trail will enlighten you to some incredible sights like the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Playa del Carmen. Along the way you will also discover the low cost of living in Mexico, making it a great destination for those on a budget.
Budgeting starts with flights
Millions of people take flights to Mexico every year to relax on the white sand beaches at the resorts in Cancun, Acapulco and Cozumel. If you’re taking the road less travelled, budget travel to and around the Gringo Trail is readily available, starting with your flights. Mexico is a year round sunshine destination but you’ll find discounted flights during the low season, which stretches from April through November.
Take in the sights
The Gringo Trail is all about escaping the crowds but it can draw in many backpackers wanting to share the unique experience. Don’t overlook some of the highly-rated attractions just because they are popular! Take the time to explore the Yucatan Peninsula, by visiting the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza as well as the magical underground pools known as cenotes. The chance to scuba-dive in some of the world’s best diving sites off the island of Cozumel and along the Cancun coast should also not be missed.
Whether you’re intending to spend some time on the west coast Mexican Riviera or on the Gulf Coast you will be able to find unspoilt stretches of immense white sand. Beaches such as those found in Tulum are less developed than those that at the resorts and are less populated. The beauty of these beaches is unparalleled and one glimpse of Tankah Bay Beach on the Riviera Maya or Playa Paraiso in Tulum is all it takes to fall in love with this country. Hidden beaches such as those at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve south of Tulum as well as Solomon Bay Beach are as wild, natural and beautiful as it gets in this country.
Far from the crowd
If you’re looking to travel a little further then try not to miss the southwestern state of Oaxaca for even more Gringo Trail experiences. It’s here where you can explore the pre-Columbian Monte Alban pyramid site as well as travel through the cloud forests and river trails of Santiago Comaltepec. In this state you will mix with indigenous people and can become immersed in the cultures of the Zapotecs, Mixtecs and Mazatecos. If you want to enjoy real Mexican food and authentic Mescal then there’s no better place than the traditional restaurants in Oaxaca City.
The back-packer’s favourite
You can’t get any further south in Mexico than the state of Chiapas and the town of San Cristóbal de las Casa is a definite travel experience. The city dates back to 1528 and lies in a small valley with a mountainous backdrop and offers a taste Spanish colonial Mexico. Winding little cobbled streets, open air markets, the beautiful Santa Domingo church and the Zocala Plaza are all well worth seeing. The atmosphere in San Cris is laid back and you can find plenty of low cost eating establishments as well a budget accommodation in this city.
Exploring the Gringo Trail may mean making a little extra effort than simply relaxing at the resorts but your additional travels will be rewarded. You’ll have a much more authentic Mexican experience and an extended stay is definitely warranted if you can afford the time.
Images by Mom the Barbarian, Carlos Adampol Galindo and waywuwei used under creative commons license.