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Mexico city solo female traveller

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9 posts
100 reviews
Mexico city solo female traveller

Hello Everyone!

I am planning my first trip to Mexico and I need advice. I am torn between going to Taxco or Mazatlan. There are so many wonderful places to go that I have had a hard time narrowing it down to just these two locations. If Taxco was easier to get to I think it would be the one that I would choose. Here is the deal,

I am going in July, I have only 10 days, I am traveling alone, I DO NOT want to go anywhere with thousands of drunken, beer swilling college students, but lots of regulars tourists are fine with me. anyway here are my questions...

I have been reading the forums and I am very, very nervous about flying in to Mexico city on my own but I would not have to be there very long. My plane would arrive around 3:30ish then I gather I will have to take a taxi to the bus station and then a bus to Taxco. My questions with this senario are,

1. Is this reasonable, can I make it to taxco before dark? (very nervous about being on the road after dark) I do not want to spend the night in Mexico city. My travel agent said that it is one and a half hours to Taxco by bus but if you take into account that I will need to get my luggage get a taxi and wait for the next bus to leave, I am just worried that I may end up arriving after dark, would this be something to worry about?

2. Should I be afraid to fly into Mexico city, I mean really? I have read so many really frightening comments about it that I wonder if it's worth it, am I taking my life in my hands? People seem to do it everyday.

My next option is Mazatlan, which seems stress and worry free, just get off the plane, a short taxi ride and instant vacation. I love the fact that it has not only the beach area but it also has an old town to explore. My question with this scenario is...

1. should I stay at the beach or in the old town?

2. What are the best day trips from here?]

Thank you!!!

Susan : )

Whittier, California
Level Contributor
1,371 posts
11 reviews
1. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Susana,

You don't have to worry about Mexico City.

Considering that you arrive at 3:30 you won't make it to catch the 4:40 bus to Taxco. The next bus departs at 8:10. Check the Estrella de Oro page for schedule: www.autobus.com.mx/edo/index.jsp

From the airport to the busses terminal you need to take an authorized taxi. The ticket booths are clearly marked (TAXI SITIO 300). You are assigned to one cab and take you to the Terminal del Sur.

Taxco is a small peaceful town. Even if you arrive there at 10:00pm I assume there are taxis in the bus station to take you to the hotel. Another option is to ask the hotel for a staff member to wait for you at the bus station and take you to the hotel if possible.

Ten days is a very good time to relax in Taxco if you mean it. But also you have many one day tour options like a trip to the Cacahuamilpa caverns; also from Taxco you can go to Acapulco (in the same bus line) and spend three or four days (I found Mazatlan "noisier" than Acapulco in the aspect of the college students you mention. I don't remember if I was there for a local long weekend holiday or maybe because the "party secction" in Mazatlan is more concentrated than in Aca). Also in Acapulco you'll fin a huge selection of national and international cuisine as well as the famous fast food chains. From Acapulco many travel agencies offer one-day guided excursions to Mexico City which will be a good way to start discovering that impressive city.

The following members have reported their experiences in Mexico City and I hope you'll find them useful:

fakid:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150800-i164-k8446…

migobeach:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150800-i164-k9128…

goldmanm:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150800-i164-k4079…

M

Queretaro City...
Level Contributor
14,508 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

I think your choice is between a beach holiday or a little town up in the mountains. I don't know Mazatlan but I do know Taxco.

1. You will definitely arrive at Taxco after dark. I am sure it will take a lot more than 90 minutes to Taxco from Mexico City - even I couldn't do it that quickly and I drive like a lunatic. I am not sure why you are scared to be travelling at night - the days of bandits are long gone and most buses are modern affairs (they even have headlights to reduce the risk of falling off cliffs). Still, if you have a phobia for darkness then I am sure the last bit of your journey would be in the dark.

2. "Frightening comments"? I haven't heard any. I can't remember any accidents at Mexico City airport. It is a large modern airport and I don't understand why it would be any more risky than any U.S. airport.

I am a little surprised at your potential choice of Taxco for a first visit. It is very safe but I'm not sure there's a lot to do for 10 days. You could do day trips to Cuernevaca and there's an archaeological zone and some caves nearby too....but it's more often visited by day-trippers.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9 posts
100 reviews
3. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Miguelmex, Thank you !!

Great info!

Thank you so much for the links with good things to say about Mexico city. It is comforting to know that alot of people have great experiences there, You just cant help but wonder if you will be one of the unlucky ones.

Stevemex,

Thanks for your input.

I am not afraid of being at the airport but of going into the city. Ther eare many posts on this forum on dangers in Mexico city and also in my guide book (lonely planet)

From Lonely planet , US state department warning, "Robbery assaults on passenger in taxis are frequent and violent, with passengers subject to beating, shootings and sexual assaults".

Ask any foreigner living in Mexico City: if it hasn't happened to them, it has happened to someone they know.

As far as bandits: "Bandits sometimes hold up buses, cars and other vehicles. The best way to avoid highway robbery is to not travel at night and use toll highways as much as possible"

That is what my guide book says along with other comments from people using this forum. I am surprised to hear that you think I am worried.

As far as Taxco being a day trip for most, maybe it is, I can not speak for anyone else but I have a small importing business and would like to check out the silver and maybe take a few side trips while staying there. I have been all over europe and feel very at home there but have never been to mexico so I posted to get the inside scoop.

Also, I do not have a "phobia about the dark" but rather that as mentioned earlier, I have read that you run a bigger risk of robbery. If that is not so than that is Wonderful but there seems a few people disagree with your assessment and I guess I would rather be safe than sorry.

Washington, DC
Level Contributor
954 posts
12 reviews
4. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Hi Susan,

The areas in Mexico City that you would transit (the airport, an airport taxi, and the bus station) are *relatively* controlled and safe, so you don't have to be as concerned with crime like somone seeing the city would.

That being said, I liked the advice on the other thread (to bus to Cuernavaca) because my experiences at the bus terminal (Terminal Tasquena) have not been wonderful. Getting the ticket and finding the right bus were confusing and stressful for me, and I speak Spanish and have been to Mexico several times. If this is your very first trip to Latin America (and especially if you don't speak Spanish), and if you feel uncomfortable as a solo woman traveler, you might not want to make a Mexico City bus terminal your first destination in Mexico.

Queretaro City...
Level Contributor
14,508 posts
10 reviews
5. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Susanandraina,

Your taxi from the airport to the bus station is "official" in that you get a ticket from a booth inside the airport so someone knows which cab is taking you where. I haven't heard of a single incident in those taxis so please don't worry too much about that part of your journey. Personally I think worries about Mexico City taxis are exaggerated and I feel much safer in a Mexico City cab than in an NYC one (at least a Mexican cab driver will probably speak a bit of english!).

As for the U.S. State Department warning on bandits....I couldn't stop laughing. It hardly ever happens these days and certainly not as much as carjacking in the U.S. (which I find a REALLY scary country - all those guns).

Anyway, I really think you have a safe route and Taxco is a fascinating town so I am sure you will have a great trip!

South Africa
Level Contributor
17 posts
1 review
6. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Hi Susan,

This may be strange posting as I have yet to arrive in Mexico City !! :)

But......I understand your fears (I am travelling alone too) and I also live in a country that tourists are afraid of (South Africa). So I want to reassure you with the following, and suggest what I would do, and perhaps give some tips on being safe as a woman.

1. Mexico City is a CITY - a huge city and should be treated as such.

2. If you book a decent not too expensive hotel they have recommended taxi drivers and will arrange to pick you up at the airport. Or you can be dropped off at the door of the hotel using a secure taxi from the airport.

3. I am only taking 1 suitcase and will wear cargo pants to avoid carrying too many bags. Often women who are victims look vulnerable and lost - be firm, don't engage in conversation with strangers, listen to your instinct.

4. I would not use a night bus, I would rather stay in a hotel overnight.

5. Many people are afraid of visiting SA, yet we have many tourists who have a wonderful time. People are afraid of lions in the streets (hahaha) and crime. Any country struggling with poverty (which country isn't?) has crime - and ironically the only time I have ever seen someone mugged was in the U.S. (new york city).

I hope your fears do not infringe on the pleasure of travelling to surely one of the world's most interesting countries. What a privilege to experience another nations particular flavours.

I can't wait, and I will be in Mx City for 12 days.

Best wishes for a fantastic trip,

Suzy

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9 posts
100 reviews
7. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Thanks Everyone for the great information and advice!!!

Susan : )

Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
66 posts
41 reviews
8. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Hola,

I am a female from Mexico City and I can assure you the airport here is safer and better than many others, and it also has amazing shopping areas if you are into that.

Taxco is a lovely quiet little town. Amazing if you love silver because the have great designs at very very cheap prices. Other than shopping for silver and visiting 2 or 3 small museums there is not much more to do there. There is a nice hotel on top of a mountain, i think called Monte Taxco and it has a nice pool, a great view and a golf course. That might be a good choice for 10 days, plus the trips people have already suggested.

About the bus ride, there is a bus station on airport. It has been there for about 2 years. Im sure buses leave from there to Cuernavaca, not sure to Taxco but you can check that out. Or change buses in Cuernavaca (maybe stay there a couple of days and then move on to Taxco). That way you can avoid the taxis if you are really afraid of them... Oh, and the horror stories you hear about taxis are usually the non official ones, with no id for the driver ortaxi license plate. As long as you take the official ones (yellow with a tiny plane on them and that you pay with ticket purchased inside the airport) you will have no trouble at all.

Mazatlan is not my favorite beach area of Mexico. If you want no worries beautiful beach, try Nuevo Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Ixtapa or Huatulco. All great beach areas and very very safe destinations.

Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
2,397 posts
20 reviews
9. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Hi Susan!

I was in Mexico City last year and before I went there I had similar fears as you have now...but I can reassure you that this city is so different to what people think about it. Mexico City is huge, yes, and you have to be careful...but many big cities are. It is a really impressive and wondeful city!

My husband and I stayed ther for 5 nights and then went to Yucatan, to Playa del Carmen with beautiful beaches and interesting Maya sights in the inner country - I think that could be a good choice for you as well. And there it is really safe!

We also went to Taxco for a day trip (we had booked it via our home-travelagent and it was operated by a really trustworthy local agency). Taxco is a nice small town, well known for its silver mines...situated in the mountains...and ok for 1-2 days..but I think you would get bored then...

We went on another daytrip to Teotichuacan and it was spectacular!

And of course there is much to see in Mexico City - there ist a sightseeingbus (it stopped right outside our hotel "Sheraton Centro Storico "- which by the way was great-) that takes you easily to all the interesting parts of the city - you can always hop on and off...no danger...f. e. i really liked the part called "Condesa", a trendy area with small houses, restaurants, cafes, trees...there is also the cool Hotel "Condesa DF" with its rooftop restaurant, just awesome!

You would really miss something if you would not stay in Mexico City!

And for the trip from the airport to the hotel - just book a transfer via your travelagent at home, then you are safe for sure - and for the taxis...you should only take those which a hotel or restaurant calls for you...

Have fun!

oregon and mexico
Level Contributor
38 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: Mexico city solo female traveller

Thank you Ulrike for your advice to Susan. I was planning to write a similar posting but you have done a far better job than I would have. So many people have a negative impression of Mexico City and avoid this beautiful capitol believing that it will be a hostile environment. They miss out on a wealth of culture and history.

I hope Susan might consider a few day's visit. There is much to see and experience and it is easy to get around a cover a lot in a day. I would recommend not only visiting Condesa but staying there. It is a nice area to come home to after sightseeing. Even though it is part of the world's largest city, it is quiet and charming and really doesn't feel that much bigger than Ashland, Oregon. And like Ashland, Condesa has a beautiful park and duck pond and great restaurants (at about two thirds the price)

regards