The Best Alternative Walking Tours to Take in Mexico

Tijuana bars are notorious
Tijuana bars are notorious | © cesar bojorquez / Flickr

Sure, you can easily find the historic walking tours or street art tours of Mexico City on your own, but do you know which Tijuana dive bars to hit up? Or which gay writers were vital to the development of the Mexico City literary scene? Here are a few alternative walking tours that will give you a fresh look at a city you think you know, and offer insight into a history you might not have realized was there.

Gay heritage in Mexico City

This tour offers a look at one of the various unknown histories that make the country’s capital such a fascinating and diverse place. You’ll get to know about important LGBT figures, both past and present, that have shaped the cultural, social and political life of Mexico. With a walk through the Centro Historico, tour-goers can enjoy the city’s beautiful architecture, crafts and ruins, all while expanding their knowledge of historical Mexico City.

Plaza de Santo Domingo │

Chocolate walk in Puerto Vallarta

You might not know that Puerto Vallarta has a delicious history, but the chocolate walking tour is sure to enlighten you. This tour takes you to a number of chocolate production facilities, gives you the opportunity to blend your own Mexican hot chocolate and, of course, sample and buy as many chocolates and chocolate-inspired products as you can carry home.

Mexico City street photography

Join a seasoned photojournalist in exploring some of his favorite CDMX haunts—a boxing club, the chaotic Merced and more. Keith Dannemiller takes you on a walk through his version of the capital, camera in hand, and helps you see the city in a visually exciting way that will send you home with some great shots of your own. Whether you’re an amateur or professional, this street photography session will leave you wanting more of Mexico City.

Mexico City street photography │

Women of Colonia Roma

Take a tour of one of Mexico City’s artsiest neighborhoods, Colonia Roma, with yours truly and learn about the incredible women who worked, loved and created here. Artists, singers, dancers and ladies of high society all left their mark on the streets of Colonia Roma and you can walk in their footsteps and feel the history.

Leonora Carrington sculpture │

Get to know the border

The Turista Libre folks based out of Tijuana take tourists on an Against the Wall tour, that takes you to three important spots along the US-Mexican border in Tijuana. The group includes immigrant rights activists, who give tour-goers a sense of the past, present and future of the border and what the experience of crossing it is like for hundreds of Latinos each year.

Damn fine Tijuana dives

A little less intense (and a little more drunk), Turista Libre also offers a tour of their favorite Tijuana dive bars. Relive all those “crazy Tijuana stories” people are always telling you about with your own pub crawl of divey, dingy bars. The tour includes a round at each dive bar and all the tacos you can stuff in your mouth. This is a late one (it ends around 1am), so don’t expect to be home in bed early.

Tijuana bars are notorious

Eat with Oaxaca’s leading foodie

Food Instagrammer Oaxacking is getting a lot of press these days for his hyper-local food tours of Oaxaca and the surrounding areas. Trips to markets and local hangouts will give you a chance to taste some of Oaxaca’s impressive delicacies and see the city through the eyes of a local whose food obsession is contagious.

Oaxaca market │

Oaxacan flora and fauna

Oaxaca City’s Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca is a showcase of the area’s incredible natural diversity and beautifully designed by Mexican artist Francisco Toledo. A great way to support the garden and dig deeper into the local Oaxacan ecology is to take one of their guided tours. Tours are offered in English and Spanish, with the English version just slightly higher in cost.

Cross the border illegally

It might sound extreme, but if you want an unusual travel experience then head to the Caminata Nocturna at the Parque Ecoalberto, on the US-Mexican border, that simulates the daily experience of illegal immigrants crossing the border. The organizers of this 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) walk, a group of local indigenous that run the park, say they hope to show people through this exercise that risking one’s life to cross the border isn’t worth it.

Mexico-US border sign │

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