You’ve done it.
After months of planning, you finally decided to vacation in Mexico. Soon you’ll be soaking up the sun on a beach, or exploring one of the jewels of colonial Mexico.
Now, before you get your flight, it’s time to think about lodging. The possibilities are endless, and can be incredibly frustrating to navigate without some experience. To make your job easier, we’ve put together some thoughts on what you can expect, including price ranges, and comfort levels in the various types of lodging options typically found across Mexico.
The sky is the limit at the resorts. Typically found along the coasts, the service, comfort and recreational activities at places like this are superb. This is the land of beach front palaces, swim up bars, turned down beds with chocolate and multiple top level restaurants.
Whether you are into yoga, jet skis, para sailing or just reading in a lounge chair all week, the resort option will have you covered. By far, a resort is the most turn-key, and luxurious of the Mexican lodging options.
But all of this comfort, luxury and the ability to swim in a different pool every day you are there comes at a price. Expect the rates to start at about $250.00 per night, more if you are choosing an all-inclusive resort.
These will typically be found in the city, and the level of comfort varies from location to location. At the high end, you can expect lots of amenities you would find at a Hilton Hotel here in the states. Flat screen televisions with full cable access, down comforters, rainwater shower heads and plenty of peace and quiet, despite a downtown location.
On the more moderate side, don’t expect television. If it’s there, consider it a bonus. You’ll have a more noisy experience and chances are, you’ll never see a down comforter. But there can be a certain charm in staying at a place like Hotel Frances in Guadalajara, the oldest hotel in the city, that you will never experience anywhere else on earth.
Depending on your location, at either level, your hotel might have a pool, or jacuzzi. But think of it more as a place to cool off, as opposed to somewhere to train for the Olympic Swim team. When I stayed at the Parador de Alcalá in Oaxaca, the small pool was on the roof. Perfect for cooling off on a hot afternoon.
At the higher end boutique hotels, sometimes you can get in at about $150.00 a night. The more moderate ones, like Hotel Frances, will fetch prices starting at about $60.00 a night. If you go this route, remember, you’ll need to think about meals, something that is covered at the all-inclusive resorts.
Local Hotels, Guesthouses or Hostels.
When I say hostel, I am not talking about the shared dorm room option you might have used when you backpacked across Europe years ago. These days, while those places are still available in Mexico, a hostel can also be a small local hotel, or bed and breakfast type place.
Here’s what you get. A room with a private bath, and usually, no television. It is basically a place to sleep, take a shower, and relax after a long day. But you will get something you’ll never experience in some of the fancier digs around the country… a sense of family.
At many of these places, like Casa Arnel in Oaxaca or Casa Alvarez in Merida, you quickly realize the pace has slowed, the stress is gone and you’ve become part of the extended family. Why? Because many times you are staying in their personal home!
One other benefit at an option like this is local knowledge. Many of the owners have lived in their homes for generations. And in those years, they have acquired a wealth of tips and recommendations that will have you experiencing Mexico in a way someone in a resort can only dream of.
What’s it cost at a place like this? Incredibly, many places offer a room for 2 at about $50.00. The beds will be little hard, what we call a hotel mattress in Mexico and you’ll never find a rainwater shower head, but the water will be hot, and plentiful and the room clean.
Rent a Condo or a Home.
This is the diciest of all your options. But potentially, if you can get the hang of it, the most rewarding, depending on your vacation style.
If when you go on vacation you want everything done for you, skip this option. But, if you are alright with doing a little shopping and making a few of your own meals, you can score big here.
I’ve stayed in places steps from the beach, luxury condos with spectacular views and wonderfully appointed homes in the heart of some great cities in Mexico, and never have I paid more than $125.00 a night.
The places are well maintained, usually have pools, and almost always include a cleaning crew.
I get high end accommodations, more space than I’ll ever get at a hotel, and a chance to truly feel at home. By cooking my own meals, I’m also saving big bucks. Granted, that kitchen work is a trade off, but if I want, I could go out for every meal and I’d still be ahead of the game most of the time.
So there you have it. From resorts to rental homes to boutique hotels and local guest houses. Really, you’ve already made the biggest decision, that of deciding to visit Mexico, an incredible vacation bargain. The hard work is done.
Now take our thoughts, decide what will work for you, and get busy. My Mexico awaits you!