Mexico Travel to Central & Southern Mexico INLAND destinations

Our Lady of Guadelupe Morelia

Cathedral in Morelia

Mexico Travel by sailboat is wonderful, but after spending nearly two years on Mexico’s Pacific Coast aboard our sailboat, Groovy, we realized we had done very little REAL Mexico travel to the wondrous interior parts of the country. So, we ventured inland from the southern Mexico coast during 2012-13. We left Groovy behind in anchorages and at marinas in Huatulco and Marina Chiapas (to see Southern Mexico destinations) and Zihuatanejo and in Puerto Vallarta (to see Central Mexico destinations). On these inland trips we discovered vibrant Spanish colonial cities that were full of color and life. Better yet, we found it easy to visit lots of thousand-year-old ancient ruins dating from the days when the Zapotecs and Mayans ruled the land.

Where is Everything and How do you Get There?

For more details about how to put together an inland adventure, see these pages:

Mexico by Bus – How and where to catch buses between Mexico’s coast
and the hot spots inland.

Marina Chiapas Inland Travel Notes – Visit Mexico’s incredible Mayan ruins and see the country’s most beautiful state.

Callejones de Guanajuato

Colorful streets of Guanajuato

What was the Best Place?

It’s all fabulous, and hopefully future cruisers will see even more than we have.  However, for those in a hurry, our favorite ancient ruins were at Palenque and Yaxchilan & Bonampak (map further down this page). Our favorite colonial cities were Guanajuato and Oaxaca (see map below).

Map of Central Mexico

It is easy to get to and from the coast in Central Mexico.
We chose to go inland to Central Mexico from Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatanejo.

Guanajuato Teatro Juarea

Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato

Places we visited while Groovy was at Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta.  If you make only one off-the-boat inland journey to a colonial city, this is the one to do.

Places we visited while Groovy was anchored off Las Gatas Beach in Zihuatanejo.  An alternative is to leave the boat at Marina Ixtapa. Morelia is a beautiful colonial city and it is lovely to see the millions of migrating monarch butterflies in the ponderosa pine forests of the inland mountains.

Monarch Butterfly migration Morelia Mexico

Monarch butterflies, Morelia

Map of South Central Mexico

Huatulco and Tapachula (Marina Chiapas) are the best jumping off points for
west coast sailors headed inland in Southern Mexico.

Monte Alban Oaxaca

Monte Alban, Oaxaca

Places we visited while Groovy was at Huatulco’s Marina Chahué: An inland jaunt to Oaxaca gives you both a fantastic colonial city experience AND some wonderful ancient Zapotec pyramid ruins.

Girls in Oaxaca

At Oaxaca’s Zócalo

Palenque Mayan Ruins

Mayan ruins in Palenque

Places we saw while Groovy was at Marina Chiapas (also known as Puerto Chiapas and Puerto Madero near Tapachula). These places can be reached from Huatulco too and are worth every effort to get to. The Mayan ruins at Palenque, Yaxchilan and Bonampak are absolutely mind boggling.

Mayan frescoes at Bonampak

Mayan frescoes at Bonampak

Agua Azul

Agua Azul

To see the links to our blog posts from the other regions of Mexico, check out these summary pages (you can also find them under the Mexico menu item (Pacific Mexico Destinations) in the menu bar at the top):

If you are considering cruising Mexico’s Pacific coast and/or Sea of Cortez, have a look at our Mexico Cruising Guide and Insider’s Guide to Cruising Mexico as well as our Life in Mexico page of light-hearted posts about what it is like to live here.

To follow our sailing travels chronologically, see Our Cruise (cruising links only) or the Route page (cruising and RVing).


To help you plan your cruise and get you inspired, we created the video series, "Cruising Mexico Off the Beaten Path - Volumes 1-3," shown below. This is a fun-to-watch and easy-to-digest introduction to Mexico from a cruiser's perspective, giving you lots of valuable information that isn't covered by the cruising guides. Each video is available individually at Amazon, either as a DVD or as a download. For discount package pricing on the whole series, visit our page Cruising Mexico Video Series.

Volume 1 reviews the geography, weather and seasons in Mexico and shows you what the best anchorages between Ensenada and Manzanillo are like.

Volume 2 gives detailed info that can't be found in any of the guidebooks about the glorious cruising ground between Manzanillo and the Guatemala border.

Volume 3 (right) provides all the info you need to get off the boat for an adventure-filled trip to Oaxaca.

Our Gear Store also has a boatload of ideas for your cruise!