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Visit Mexico In December

Sharon asks…

Is it necessary to book ahead in Mexico at Xmas for accomodation?

Hi There,

Im heading to Mexico, from Australia this December for just over a month and I will be there during Christmas & New Year. Id prefer to not book my accomodation ahead, as this gives me more freedom to change my itinerary when Im there.

So, will it be possible to just get a room in a hostel or guesthouse when I arrive in town, or does everything book out early during this period?

I will most likely be doing: Mexico City, Taxco, Oaxaca, the Yucatan Peninsula and maybe going into Guatamala.

Tijuana answers:

Mexico City is virtually vacant during Christmas period. The locals all head out of town, as they have between 7 and 10 days off. Tasco is a different story; it is cooler there and many of the Mexico DF folks have second homes or visit there during the Xmas holidays. Went there this past Xmas without reservations. It took some time to find a place but was successful.
Yucatan peninsula is OK. Pretty hot during day time. Merida is wonderful and lots of B&Bs; you should have no trouble. We use Merida as a jumping off place for visiting pyramids and jungles. Good beaches too.
Border crossing can be dicy. Have your documents in order. It seems that there are some “guards” that require a mordida (bribe); of course it is illegal; but if you inquire as to what it costs to cross the border, they will give you a range – like 200 to 500 pesos. Pay it and you will be on your way with no problems.

Michael asks…

How good is the month of December to visit Grand canyon?

Hi friends,

I am a grad student and the only time I am free in an year is the X’mas vacation. I am in Dallas and I want to visit grand canyon. Infact I want to drive from Texas, across Arizona to see the beauty of Amrerica, it’s dessert across Arizona and Utah (I am an international student). Is it a good time (or how bad ) to plan a trip from Dallas to Grand canyon in Dec?


Tijuana answers:

I really like the Grand Canyon in winter. The crowds are much lower, room rates are cheaper, the temperatures are nice for hiking, and a little fresh snow can make the canyon look extra beautiful.

It will be cold on the rim in December and so you will want to have warm clothes, especially at night. There is also a small chance of a snow storm hitting while you are there. A really heavy storm where there is lots of snow coming down and it too cold and miserable to be out even with warm clothes generally only happens about a half dozen times each winter (particularly given the recent drought) and generally clears up within a day or two. There will also be a few milder storms throughout the winter with cloudy skies and some blowing snow flakes, but these are not too bad. Of course, the above is just the average – some winters they get a lot more storms, other winters (especially recently) they get little to no snow the whole season.

Note that while much of Arizona and southern Utah is desert, that just means there is not much rainfall – it does not mean that it is always hot and warm. Northern Arizona and southern Utah (as well as NW New Mexico and SW Colorado) are on the Colorado Plateau where the elevations are generally 6,000 feet or higher. Summers are mild and winters can be bitter cold with snow and icy roads. The South Rim itself is at 7,000 feet elevation and then North Rim (closer to Utah) is at 8,000 feet and gets so much snow that it is closed from mid-October to mid-May.

Because the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a major tourist attraction, the roads between it and Flagstaff (and Flagstaff to Phoenix) are well maintained and plowed after every storm (although if a heavy storm has just passed it maybe closed for a day or restricted to tire chains and 4WD).

However, the area north of the canyon and in southern Utah (North Rim, Bryce, Zion, Kanab) does not have major interstates or big cities nearby and consequently there are long stretches where icy road conditions can persist longer and help is harder to find if needed. If you are going to be traveling anywhere in the Four Corners area over winter you will want to make sure you have tire chains (or 4WD/AWD) and carry a couple of blankets and some extra food with you just to be safe.

As a side note, all of the above applies to the Four Corners region. Central and Southern Arizona and New Mexico are generally lowland warm deserts where snow is very rare and winter temperatures are mild. December is a great time to visit places in those areas such as Tombstone and Bisbee, Las Cruces, White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns.

James asks…

Should I visit Thailand any time soon with all the Political Events?

I was planning to go in December but with all the events lately I’m changing my mind. If not Thailand do you have any other suggestions?

Tijuana answers:

I also am planning on going to Lopburi this December. I have been to Thailand so many times and the political tension there does not affect the other cities as much as Bangkok, unless the airport is shut down like the last time. But If the airport is still operational, Just go and enjoy yourself. Don’t stay in Bangkok. Go somewhere else. Thailand is a beautiful place a lot to do there. And it’s better than Mexico.

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