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Mexican Hotels–In the Good But Cheap Category

Mexican Hotels–In the Good But Cheap Category

Of course there are world class hotels, spas, and resorts in Mexico.  But if you are looking for a nice $20 a night place, here’s what you need to know.

View from a $20/couple hotel in Mexico City.  It ain't the Ritz, but it is ckean, safe, and in the middle of everything.  And did I mention $20 for two?

View from a $20/couple hotel in Mexico City. It ain't the Ritz, but it is clean, safe, and in the middle of everything. And did I mention $20 for two?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

There are hotels in all price ranges in Mexico.  Especially in the big cities and the resorts, it is possible to find every luxury you can imagine.

Luckily, it is also still possible to travel in Mexico and stay in attractive and safe digs without robbing the bank.

Here are some thoughts about finding a room for the night.  These tips are for thrifty travelers—if you want to splurge, there is plenty of information about resorts and five star hotels out there already.

Rock Bottom Hotels:  If you want a really cheap place to stay, look around the downtown bus or train stations.  It is still possible to find a room for $10 a night in many places—I just stayed in a $10 hotel in Mexico City.  The room was very basic, of course-a double bed, a sink, and a Spartan bathroom down the hall.  No towels or soap or drinking water.  The place was safe enough, and I saw a lot of young travelers there as the location is incredible.  The drawbacks—the room smelled of mildew, the window was tiny and opaque, so there was little light (and only two low-watt bulbs), and 23 other rooms shared the bathroom—one stall, one shower.  By chance I never met anyone in the loo, but I imagine it gets busy at times, and I wouldn’t want to be sick there.

The room was on the fourth floor, and the elevator only rose to the third.  I had to schlep the luggage up a very rickety wooden staircase, around a post on the landing, and up another flight, then down two very long corridors to reach my room.

In this price range you will stretch your money and meet fellow adventurers.   There may also be cockroaches, a brisk trade in prostitution, and a recently knifed body on the couch in the lobby.  (No kidding—been there, seen all that and more).

The $20-$40 Range:  Here you can find clean, comfortable hotels with private bath, a  telephone, and television in the room.  I recently stayed—also in Mexico City—in a wonderful hotel a block from the Zocolo, right in the heart of the Historic Zone.  From my little balcony I could see the Cathedral to the east and the Latin American Tower to the west.  The friendly staff there know me, even though often it is a year or two between visits, and they go out of their way to help.  I once bought a large collection of vintage movie magazines—about 150 pounds—and one of the employees got permission to come with me to the bus station to help me with all my luggage.

The rooms are good size and comfortable, the bathrooms clean.  The subway stop is nearby, as are restaurants and ruins and dusty old used bookstores (a passion of mine).  In other words, the place is heaven—for $20 a night.

In hotels in the higher end of this range you may find a small restaurant, a charming central courtyard, and other amenities like air conditioning.

Be Creative:  One Easter weekend I found myself in Mazamitla, a lovely mountain town known as “the Switzerland of Mexico.”  The only rooms still available were way out of reach money-wise.  It was starting to look like we would have to return to Guadalajara for the night when I had an idea.

We went to the central plaza—every town, no matter how tiny, has one—and struck up conversations with old ladies.  “Senora, do you know of anyone with an extra room they could rent us for the night?”  Within 15 minutes we were knocking on the door of Dona Esperanza.  After a little explanation she opened up her house to us, like it was the most natural thing in the world.  We had a nice little room of the central courtyard, where her orchids grew in profusion.

Travel secret number one—don’t panic.  There’s always a way if you are flexible.

Sleeping Out:  Speaking of being flexible….  In my wild and lusty youth I occasionally made my bed in the train station, on the beach, or under someone’s house.  When you are traveling freelance and off the beaten path, you have to handle whatever arises.  While there are certainly risks in sleeping out, I have to say I had no particular troubles—not that I didn’t have some nervous moments, like when I awoke to coyotes sniffing my legs on the beach in Ojo de Liebre.  But I could hear whales spouting just offshore.  If you want to really live your life, there’s bound to be some risks.

Dan and Omar

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Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.