Home » 5 reasons why Mexico is the ultimate solo travel destination

5 reasons why Mexico is the ultimate solo travel destination

written by Libby Shabada December 19, 2017
Mexico solo travel

Bear with me, because I’m about to get pretentious about one of my favourite destinations. If Mexico isn’t on your list to travel, well I’m sorry, but I’m quite confident you haven’t fully appreciated all it has to offer – especially for solo travellers.

I didn’t always have this progressive perspective on Mexico travel. As a Canadian, I used to view a trip to Mexico exclusively as an all-inclusive resort stay with a day trip to Chichen Itza. So if you were to tell me a year ago that I’d be spending nearly two weeks on a solo trip that’d take me to Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla and Mazunte, I’d think you’d have me confused for someone else.

But luckily for me, this trip would end up being one of my all-time favourites.

Mexico solo travel Oaxaca

Eating one of many elotes in Oaxaca

Mexico truly has something for every traveller: an unparalleled cuisine for foodies, one of the best museums in the world for history buffs (Museo Nacional de Antropología) and incredible natural beauty for nature lovers. And for solo travellers, it offers even more added benefits. I experienced them myself during both my independent travels and time on Intrepid’s 9-day Mexico Real Food Adventure tour.

Here are a few reasons why Mexico is the perfect solo travel destination.

There’s a diverse range of offerings

As a solo traveller with a limited time and budget, I love doing trips where I can tick a couple boxes. It’s why I opt for places where I can satisfy my hyperactive need for food, nature, history and culture stimulation, all at once. For all my fellow multi-purpose travellers, Mexico might as well be our mecca. Delicious cuisine? Check. A fascinating history? You got it. Unparalleled natural beauty? Uh, duh! Mexico is blessed with diverse natural landscapes, including the Sierra Madre mountains to arid stretches dotted with agave (a.k.a. tequila and mezcal territory).

Mexico solo travel Oaxaca ruins

Zapotec ruins in Oaxaca Valley

Every day of my trip was jammed-packed with bucket list-worthy moments. Heck, in a 24-hour stretch in Mexico City alone, I got serenaded by a Mariachi band, ate some of the city’s best tacos and visited the famous Teotihuacan pyramids on Urban Adventures’ Beyond Mexico City: Hidden Teotihuacan & Family Dinner tour.

CHECK OUT INTREPID’S MEXICO TRIP EXCLUSIVE FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS

You’ll feel welcomed

If there’s one thing I’ve learned travelling, it’s that the local people want you there. I mean, as long as you’re actually positively benefitting their country, that is. And Mexico is no exception to this. Wherever I went, I could feel this sense of genuine hospitality – from the kind woman at a Mexico City taqueria who patiently helped me order tacos as I blubbered through broken Spanish, to the lovely family of obsidian makers that helped me find the perfect necklace.

Mexico solo travel locals

Locals say hi in Teotihuacan

I can’t speak on behalf of Mexico’s busy beach towns and all-inclusives, but everywhere I went I felt welcomed. There was even a moment in Oaxaca City where one of the many recurring street parties was breaking out, and I was welcomed in to crash the festivities (with shots of mezcal, of course).

READ MORE: PLACES IN MEXICO YOU MUST VISIT, ACCORDING TO AN INTREPID LEADER

Enjoy a rising number of travel options

Gone are the days where tourists flock to Mexico exclusively for spring breaks and stretches of beaches. More travellers are heading to Mexico to experience the real Mexico. In fact, one of my coworkers recently spent three months backpacking through Mexico with friends. It was him that told me about his adventures, and I’m so glad I let these anecdotal tales convince me to go.

Mexico solo travel scorpions

Trying scorpions during an Urban Adventures tour in Mexico City

After travelling a few days solo and then on my Mexico Real Food Adventure tour, I fell deeply in love with the country. The days solo I stayed in a hostel, which was great (other than they were loudly filming a Mexican soap opera at night during my stay, but that’s another story). But the tour part of my trip was a real highlight.

My local leader, Balam, showed us the ins and outs of Mexico’s delicious food scene, the group was absolutely wonderful and it was so nice having the logistics planned for me.

Mexico solo travel group

My Intrepid group in Oaxaca (and mezcal, naturally)

It’s easy to get to

We’ve all been there: the long-haul journey of three different connecting flights (*shivers*). Not ideal. While Mexico is definitely a big trip for those living far away, it’s still a pretty easy place to get to thanks to Mexico City’s prime location and well-connected international airport.

For Londoners, you can get to Mexico City with just one stop in Atlanta, Amsterdam or Paris. Aussies coming from Sydney can get to Mexico City with one stop in either Houston or Los Angeles. And for us lucky North Americans, it’s a cakewalk. My flight to Mexico City from Toronto was a laughable 5-hour direct flight – about the same time (and price) it takes me to get to my parents in Calgary.

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It’s really the coolest

Mexico solo travel street art

Street art in Oaxaca City

Call it ignorance, but before going to Mexico, I didn’t realize how ridiculously cool Mexico actually is. I knew about the eternal awesomeness of Frida Kahlo, the epic taco scene and the catchy tunes of Mariachi. But Mexico is so packed with other underrated gems that you can spend a lifetime uncovering them all.

Let’s start where it all began: Mesoamerica. Did you know there are ruins of an Aztec pyramid right in the centre of Mexico City? Yeah, I hadn’t either (it’s called Templo Mayor if you want to Google it).

Mexico solo travel tacos

The best meal I had in Mexico City

You might even find the ancient civilizations of Mexico – Aztecs, Zapotecs and Mayas – so interesting that you’ll spend seven hours in the National Museum of Anthropology like I did.

And if modern society is more your thing, fear not. You can enjoy Oaxaca City’s blossoming craft beer scene, catch a Lucha Libre show in Puebla and visit the creepy Island of the Dolls instead.

Want to travel Mexico with fellow solo travellers? Check out our 9-day Mexico Real Food Adventure – for Solo Travellers tour.

Not a solo traveller? Check out our range of other amazing Mexico tours.

(Image of locals in Teotihuacan c/o Lucy Piper for Intrepid Travel, all other images taken by Libby Shabada)

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6 comments

Bill May 1, 2019 - 12:49 am

I am a solo traveler also and have been traveling to Mexico for over 40 years. I speak very limited Spanish and haven’t ever had an issue getting around or doing things. The biggest challenge anywhere you want to go by yourself is taking the first step. In 40 years of Mexico traveling I have not been to a resort always opting to stay where the average Mexican stays and this does include sleeping one a pallet on the floor in the home of the many friends I have made over the years.

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Will February 4, 2018 - 6:52 am

Hey there! I’m a solo-traveler that knows…a LITTLE Spanish. I’m really wanting to take a solo trip to Mexico City and other areas near it for about 10 days in April. Do you have recommendations for which areas would be best for me to visit? Thought about Taxco, Chiapas, etc. But not sure if some of these will be worth it with my limited Spanish knowledge. Thank you!

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Tiffany January 21, 2018 - 1:05 pm

Thank you for this. I’ve been on the fence about Mexico City for like a month. Fear is the #1 issue. I found a super cheap flight from Bham, AL (my home town) and its never cheap international flights from here. I always have to fly out of ATL. I’m going to put my big girl pants and go for it!

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Libby Shabada January 23, 2018 - 1:58 am

Hi Tiffany, you’re so welcome! Happy to hear it resonated 🙂 Totally, felt the same way before I went to Mexico City. But I felt very comfortable navigating on my own there. Of course like any big city, I took regular precautions like not carrying my passport on me, staying on main streets etc. Common street sense goes along way anywhere, really! I personally LOVED Mexico City and would go back in a heartbeat. Hope you follow your heart and get there someday 🙂 Happy travels! Best, Libby

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Lana January 11, 2018 - 1:12 pm

Hey there, I’m a female Solo Traveler with a 8 year old Shetland Sheepdog and have been tent camping Couchsurfing and airbnbing at times around the United States for the past 9 months. I’ve been into Baja California but I’ve never been in Mainland Mexico and I’m planning on leaving for a road trip through there next week. I read your post and find it fascinating but wonder what your thoughts are on driving down with a nice car and having a dog with me. Do you think it’ll be manageable to have somewhat of a similar experience or do you think that there is enough nature and hiking to do in lieu of the city lifestyle and inside things like museums Etc? I also just haven’t researched much about Mainland Mexico yet, (actually it’s funny because all I know is that I love molé, so I imagine I’ll love Oaxaca jajaja) and I’m really interested in sites that I cannot miss and areas that I would be safest parking in, etc. Hope to hear back from you, Thanks :)!

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Libby Shabada January 23, 2018 - 1:34 am

Hi Lana, thanks so much for getting in touch. Happy to hear the piece resonated with you! Sounds like you’re quite the traveller. When I travelled in Mexico, I wasn’t driving — instead, using Uber (in Mexico City), public transport and then joining a group tour with Intrepid Travel — so I can’t speak to an experience driving in Mexico. But I definitely think if you’ve done your research on roads/suggested routes for a solo female driver, that’s what I would do. I mainly travelled in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla and then into Mazunte, and I personally felt safe in every place I went. As for nature, Mexico has a lot! Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to do too much hiking-wise, but I know there’s a lot to do in Mexico for nature — including the Sierra Madre mountains and Oaxaca’s desert-like landscape. I personalled LOVED Oaxaca! You can do a lot in Oaxaca City, like markets, restaurants, etc. And also getting out of the city to do Monte Alban and going to the agave farms and drinking mezcal. In addition to Oaxaca, I absolutely loved Mexico City — and if you go there, you can’t miss the National Museum of Anthropology and do a trip out to Teotihuacan. I’ve also heard good things about Guadalajara and Merida (those are next on my Mexico list!). Hope that helps 🙂 You’ll have such a great time there! -Libby

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