Saint Good Adventure

San Judas de Tadeo

  As usual on a border crossing day, I woke up with a mixture of excitement and dread. Excitement at the thought of Mexico and dread at the thought of dealing with customs agents and paperwork. From my late father I inherited a phobia of police officers and other government officials, which means that I work myself up into a state every time we need to cross an international border. As it turned out, my sense of foreboding was not […]

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The Real Deal With the Dollar/Peso Exchange Rate

A Mexican peso coin from 1982.

With the Mexican peso over 15 to 1, the U.S. dollar purchases 18% more pesos today than it did a year and a half ago. In theory, this means a person should be able to purchase 18% more today than they did back then. In the sixties and the seventies that would have been true, but not today. Today merchants and hotel owners have cellular phones with WiFi access, and in a matter of minutes they can access the official […]

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Cost of Living Update: Baja

A Mexican peso coin from 1982.

How much will it cost me to live/travel in Mexico? This query has been making our top 10 FAQ for over forty years. Sadly, the answer has changed significantly since 1972, when the first edition of The People’s Guide to Mexico hit the shelves. But take heart! We can’t complain too much with a peso/dollar exchange rate of 15.  Keep in mind that the prices below are for Baja. The mainland, barring major tourist traps, should be a little cheaper. […]

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Slow Travel, Mexican Style

  Every day we ride out to the beach. We bring a cooler bag filled with ice, water, tangerines, and six whorehouse coronas*. We bring our books.We bring sarongs and floppy hats and sunglasses and sunscreen.  The road to the beach is hot, even in morning, and we wobble over potholes, past tangled bougainvillaea that trails along the guardrail. We pass abandoned houses, shady in the palm grove. At the beach, we walk two miles to the very end. There, […]

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Camping in Latin America: Resources for the Overlander

A picture of a child running from a hut on the coast of Mexico.

We can see it now: an idyllic beach with an empty palapa, replete with a full pila full of clean water and good hammock spots. The bay is perfect for swimming, a big tree provides extra shade and a windbreak, and the spot is within an easy walk to a village with a few tiendas. A few other vans are camped down the beach, providing a sense of security and possible entertainment. The fishing is great an there’s not a […]

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Top Five Mexican Cities for Hangout Travel

Churpa sits in lamplight in La Condesa.

In 1999, when I was 20 years old, I flew into Mexico City with my friend Abigail. Between the two of us, we carried $1000 in cash. Our plan? Travel from Mexico City to the Yucatan, spend a month hitting all the major sites of interest and then return to Mexico City. Our budget was based on very vague calculations on my part: I’d spent the previous winter camping on a beach on the Pacific coast, and it’d cost me […]

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Hail Mexico, Full of Grace

Virgin mary with fish and seal

Hail Mexico, full of grace. Even though I’ve spent many years in this country, all told, I’m still in awe of the Mexico’s grace: the magic of small moments, the smile that redeems a weary journey; the stroke of strange luck that saves the day. Take today, for instance. I am homeward bound to Oregon, leaving the beach, leaving Mexico, which always makes me heartsick. We arrived in Melaque this morning to discover that (for some odd and no doubt […]

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Best Ride from Mexico City to SMA?

First class Mexican bus.

  A reader writes: I’m flying into Mexico City August 1st and going to San Miguel de Allende. I’ve found two different ways of getting there and wondered if there might be a better one or which of the two is the best. There’s a bus from the airport to Queretero and a cab from there to SMA. Or, I could take a cab to to Central Norte Bus Station and catch a bus direct to SMA. I was also […]

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Road to Bahia Tortugas, Baja?

Flag of baja california sur

  A reader writes: Need to meet a boat In Turtle Bay in June – – – wondering what the road condition will from the main highway to Turtle? Codo answers: When you are in the town of Vizcanio, fill up your tank at the Pemex gasolinera on your right before the intersection to Tortugas. There is a gasolinera in Bahia Tortugas but it’s an awful long way in case it’s out of gas. In Vizcaino, there will be a […]

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Letter from a Reader: Retire in Baja?

editor’s note: A reader named Sarah wrote us with the subject line “retire to baja.” Of course I passed this on to our resident retirement/baja expert El Codo, who demanded to know more about Sarah’s needs/situation. Sarah: I plan to go to Mexico this summer.  I have limited funds so will need inexpensive housing.  Would a long term older hotel be a good choice?  I have  few belongings to bring.  Having a place furnished would needed.  I am 71 and […]

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