El Codo's Bag of Tricks for Getting the Best Gas Mileage

'87 Dodge van parked in palm grove.

editor’s note:  We don’t call him “El Codo” for nothing. Some of the more lax members of the People’s Guide staff may not go to such rigorous efforts to save a dime. But maybe that’s why we can’t afford to drive to Mexico this year and are forced to fly, like amateurs! El Codo says: No matter how you figure it, a gallon of regular gasoline in México costs the equivalent of three dollars and thirty five cents, and stops […]

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Back to the Basics: One Camper's Fall from Grace

The first time I set up camp in Mexico sans parents, I had just turned 20. Kamari and Sam and I flew into Puerto Vallarta and arrived at playa Tenacatita with tents, a hammock, a one burner stove, a precious cooler, and little else. Our camp furniture consisted of crates salvaged from a local tienda. For two months, we ate crouched in the sand like heathens. We had to keep the beer and the food in (gasp!) the same cooler. […]

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Getting Around: Mexico by Bus

First class Mexican bus.

My backpack was vintage, and not in a stylish way. A leftover from my mom’s backpacking trips through South America in the seventies, the bag had an exterior frame as large and graceless as an old lawn chair. I was happy to free my aching back from this aluminum exoskeleton, but I was having a hard time shoving the giant pack into the overhead rack of the bus.  The behemoth bulged with supplies: everything from high heels to a percolator to […]

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El Codo's Tips for "Luxing Up" a Camping Van or Crappy Hotel Room

editor’s note: These are not paid product endorsements, but rather el Codo’s rigorously tested honest (and typically detailed) recommendations, born from trial-and-error and many uncomfortable nights and agonizing battles with sub par equipment. Know that if el Codo (aka “the cheakpskate”) says something is “worth the money,” it’s worth the freaking money. Exploring Mexico is no less fun today than it was almost fifty years ago, but somehow my income has not kept pace with inflation. Squeezing all the miles […]

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Cost of Living: Mexico City, SMA vs. New York

A San Miguel de Allende street scene.

At Moon.com, Julie Doherty Meade compares specific costs of living in New York, Mexico City, and San Miguel de Allende. Meade’s writing is engaging and this could be a useful resource if you are contemplating a move to Mexico. Meade rates Mexico City as slightly more expensive than SMA, which was surprising to me. I would have thought it would be the other way around, though I’ve never done a scientific comparison. I will say that her food estimates are […]

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Planning for a Cheap Trip?

A picture of the 14th edition of the People's Guide to Mexico

Just discovered this comprehensive and excellent article by Tim Leffel, Budget Travel in Mexico: Planning for a Cheap Trip. Check it out for a great overview on how to travel Latin America on the cheap, including tips on food, transportation, lodging, and even liquor. And yes, I’d like his advice even if he did not happen to recommend The People’s Guide above all other Mexico guidebooks.

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Road Trip Round-Up

Super Star

  If you are new to this site or have only been getting occasional transmissions, you can read all the dispatches from our recent two month road trip to Mexico here. For me, some of the highlights of the trip were the tortas, the burritos, the chiles, our visit to the amazing Oaxacan food market, and eating fresh fish with our excellent friends on the Pacific Coast. Oh you want something that’s not food related? Will mezcal do? Also…our random […]

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Taking the Bus in Mexico City

I’m a big fan of the Mexico City subway system, which is super cheap, super fast, and super easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. It’s also remarkably comprehensive. This trip we managed to avoid paying for a cab, and only took the bus once—when we traveled from our van (which we left parked on the far outskirts of the city) to a metro that would take us to our hotel. However, from the sound of it, […]

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Taking Cheapskate to a New Level…

  People’s Guide reader BC sent me this NY Times travel blog post by Seth Kugel, who crossed international borders in order to save a dime on a hotel room. I have a feeling El Codo has done this at some point…

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Road Notes–Nayarit/Sinaloa

Rich stares longingly at painted bottle of Pacifico.

The libre from Tepic to Mazatlan is unusually good. Driving through Culiacan was as awful as I remembered. Next time we will bite the bullet and take the cuota bypass. For some reason the “libre” from Culiacan to Los Mochis charges occasional 20 peso tolls. After our night at the Bel Mar in Mazatlan, we hit the road, hoping to make it to Alamos in time to camp for the night. However, the sun started to drop over Los Mochis. […]

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