Ah, books! As a former librarian and longtime writer and publisher, I love to share my love of books with others. The links below all take you to Amazon.
Here on the site, I have reviewed some of the books listed below, and I usually give a quick summary of that review here. To find those reviews, go to the list of categories on the right-hand sidebar of this site, click on books and browse… or type the main words from a book into the search box on the left-hand sidebar.
I do check this list regularly to link to the newest editions, but it’s worth a minute for you to check at Amazon also.
The one guidebook I rely on for the whole country is Lonely Planet Mexico and it is overall the most popular.
But I love to have several books to cross-check things. My other favorite guidebook is the The Rough Guide to Mexico 7th edition.
Also, for the places it covers, I have been pleasantly surprised by Frommer’s Mexico 2009.
I really, really like the Moon handbooks for regions of Mexico — I whooped with joy when they updated their Guadalajara one. This link takes you to a list of the Moon handbooks to Mexico.
The Guia Roji Maps are another essential. They can be hard to find in Mexico itself, though the local and national ones are usually available here in the Lake Chapala area. They come in a bewildering variety of formats. This link takes you to the “guia roji” page on Amazon, and you may need to dig around a bit. I see they are expanding into some US maps as well.
If you are driving around the country, get one of the map books, whether in English or Spanish. In any case, these are way ahead of AAA in their accuracy, but maps in Mexico can get a bit surreal, just like everything else here. Still, we’ve found ourselves in some great places that we didn’t expect.
RV TRAVEL AND CAMPING
For Mexican camping, this is an essential. We relied on an earlier edition for our 2003 and 2005 RV trips off the beaten path in Mexico. Here is the edition of Sept. 1, 2009:Traveler’s Guide to Mexican Camping: Explore Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize with Your RV or Tent.
The Life and Times of Mexico, by Earl Shorris, is compelling. It’s by an American who has a fascinating depth of understanding of Mexican history and has had friends at all levels of Mexican society, all over the country.
LIVING / CULTURE
For a very long time, this was my absolute #1 book on Mexico, and I still consider it great reading and a great reference: The People’s Guide to Mexico. But I think maybe times have changed a little faster than the book; I think just roaming around in really remote and off-the-beaten path areas may nowadays be more dangerous than it used to be, and I am not sure that the latest edition I’ve seen reflects that change. With that one caveat, it is a delightful and informative reference to so many things to do with Mexico!
This one is terrific for living in Mexico: Head for Mexico: The Renegade Guide
John Howells, one of the two authors, grew up partly in Mexico, and they both know the country well. I’ve read other books of this sort by Howells, on the US and other places, and he is relentlessly optimistic. But still realistic.Choose Mexico for Retirement, 10th: Information for Travel, Retirement, Investment, and Affordable Living
“Mexico Mike” Nelson is another old-timer, and this is good if slightly dated. Live Better South of the Border, 4th Ed.: A Practical Guide for Living and Working
I haven’t re-read this one lately, but remember liking it fine: Living Abroad in Mexico
Here’s a handy little book to carry with you into restaurants. I’ve greatly enjoyed browsing through it while waiting (sometimes interminably) for meals to arrive, as well as at other times. The Hungry Traveler: Mexico
Readers, feel free to add your comments about what books you’ve lived and used. (No affiliate links.) I almost never read fiction, so suggestions would be welcome.