Darn Good Digs

"Darn Good Digs Reveals Outstanding Accommodations with Budget Prices" - Arthur Frommer

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Darn Good Digs in Mexico

Darn Good Digs are the world's best independently owned accommodations for budget-minded travelers, all with rooms under US$150. Darn Good Digs stand out for their originality, spectacular locations, scrumptious food, and great vibes.

Federal District (Mexico City)Guanajuato State (north-central)Jalisco State (center-west)Nayarit State (Pacific coast)
Oaxaca State (Caribbean coast)Quintana Roo State (Caribbean coast)Yucatán State

  =   Editors' Choice


Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice - Full Review Coming Soon!

Federal District (Mexico City), Mexico: El Patio 77 Bed & Breakfast
Nominated By: Hannelore Boerm, Hamburg, Germany, January '12

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at booking.com

Price Range: US$75-$105 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 8 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes El Patio 77 so Darn Good? El Patio 77 is an old-style Mexican town house with comfortable, spacious suites and bedrooms decorated with popular art from different Mexican states. Located in the colorful and quaint Colonia San Rafael neighborhood, this eco-friendly B&B is a few blocks from the San Cosme metro station and within walking distance of the historic city center. I especially appreciated the artistic ambience and the helpful and friendly multilingual staff.

Traveler Favorite

Guanajuato State (San Miguel de Allende), Mexico: Mansion del Bosque
 Nominated By: Pauline, Brooklyn, New York, July '08

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at booking.com

Price Range: US$50-$165 (winter rates include two meals) # of Rooms: 23 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes the Mansion del Bosque so Darn Good? "Mansion del Bosque is a gorgeous bed & breakfast located in San Miguel, Mexico. With only a few rooms, it's a fabulously serene and relaxing place to unwind. Plus, it's an easy walk to the main part of town, so you can have quiet without sacrificing location." Read more.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Jalisco State (Ajijic), Mexico: Adobe Walls Inn
Nominated By: Buzzy Gordon, Fennville, Michigan, USA, March '11

Price Range: US$55-$85 # of Rooms: 8 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes the Adobe Walls Inn so Darn Good? Painstakingly restored by its new American owners, and only three blocks from Ajijic's main plaza, Adobe Walls Inn is an atmospheric Spanish-style hacienda furnished throughout with Mexican antiques.

Location: The lovely village of Ajijic sits at the base of the Sierra Madre mountains on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest inland lake. Here you will find brightly-painted buildings, cobblestone streets, a pueblo-style central plaza, and oodles of flowers. While torta stalls and taco stands are still present, the burgeoning expat retirement community has made its mark with trendy restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shops. Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, and its international airport are just thirty minutes away.

Rooms: The Inn's eight rooms, situated on two levels of the hacienda, are lovingly decorated in neutral tones. Indoor and outdoor common spaces abound, including a billiards room, library, and both Sunset and Sunrise terraces, perfect for reading and relaxing.

Food: Adobe Walls serves an array of breakfasts treats. Choose from omelettes or eggs any way you like, pancakes, oatmeal, enfrijoladas, chilaquiles, or burritos. Daily accompaniments include fresh seasonal fruit, yogurt, juice, and coffee. For lunch and dinner, many terrific Mexican and international cafes and restaurants are just steps away.

Vibe: The Inn's enthusiastic owners have transformed this historic hacienda into a comfortable bed and breakfast with an all-out friendly vibe.

Keep in Mind: Room sizes and amenities vary, so make sure to read the room descriptions before making a reservation. Also be mindful of the Inn's cancellation policy.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice - Full Review Coming Soon!

Jalisco State (Jocotepec), Mexico: Los Dos Bed & Breakfast
Nominated By: Buzzy Gordon, Fennville, Michigan, USA, November '11

Price Range: US$90-$160 # of Rooms: 5 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes Los Dos so Darn Good? Live like an expat in your own apartment-like digs in an area renowned for the best year-round climate in Mexico. Your American-born hostess, long-time local resident Phyllis Rauch, has created a tranquil enclave popular with repeat foreign visitors and vacationing Mexicans alike.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Nayarit State (San Francisco/San Pancho), Mexico: Hotel Cielo Rojo
Nominated By: Gary at Green Traveler Guides, July '10

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at booking.com

Price Range: US$85-$150 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 8 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes the Hotel Cielo Rojo so Darn Good? Cielo Rojo is a simple, yet stylish hotel decorated in mellow Mexican colors and folk art lovingly collected by the owners on their world journeys. The hotel's restaurant surely must rank among the best restaurants in the state of Nayarit. The chef uses organic, locally-sourced ingredients including fish caught that morning by village fisherman in small boats. What's more, this eco-friendly hotel uses biodegradable detergents, makes their own natural hand soaps, and has an active recycling program.

Location: The small pueblo of San Francisco, locally known as San Pancho, is thirty miles north of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's central Pacific coast. The hotel is on a pleasant tree-shaded, cobblestone street near art galleries, restaurants, and shops, and just a few blocks away from a little beach. While surfers flock to the area for its great breaks, non-surfers can chill-out on the beach, explore nearby towns, or take a walk in the jungle.

Rooms: The eight scrupulously clean rooms at Cielo Rojo have shiny white walls and terra-cotta floors, and are artistically decorated in soothing colors with local crafts and antiques. A small, palm-shaded courtyard in the back has a rock waterfall edged by culinary herbs and dining area.

Food: Upon arrival at the hotel, guests are treated to a shot of artisanal tequila from the hospitality tray. In the morning, enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast of granola, fresh fruit, yogurt, and home-made breads, or spend a little more to order from the full menu. For lunch and dinner, the courtyard becomes Bistro Organico. In an open kitchen and with the most basic of tools, Chef Juan Diego Bernal turns out delicious, beautifully presented dishes like a smoked marlin-stuffed poblano pepper on a sesame-studded black bean sauce and salads like ensalada de toronja y miel - grapefruit, avocado and mixed greens in a cumin-yogurt-honey dressing. It's all part of the fun to watch Diego sneak out by the waterfall to twist off a sprig of basil or mint. Desserts are decadent and include an irresistible triple-layer cake of chocolate, mango, and carrot.

Vibe: Cielo Rojo is laid-back, hip, and friendly. The manager and most staff are English speakers and well-versed in hospitality. Even better, the hotel actively supports entreAmigos, a local non-profit aimed at providing educational opportunities for the children of San Pancho.

Keep in Mind: Some rooms do not have air conditioning but are equipped with ceiling fans.

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Traveler Favorite

Oaxaca State (Puerto Escondido), Mexico: Hotel Tabachin
 Nominated By: Dan, Austin, Texas, January '12

Price Range: US$75-$90 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 6 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes the Hotel Tabachin so Darn Good? First, the owner, Paul Cleaver, an American living in Puerto Escondido for thirty years, is both gracious and knowledgeable about the history and culture of the area as well as the entire country of Mexico and the world. The six studio and penthouse apartments are spacious, colorful, and full of artistic details. The rooftop view is available for all guests and offers a spectacular, panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Hotel Tabachin is located conveniently between the principal tourist area, Adaquin, and the famous surfing beach called Zicatela, and a short taxi ride or a pleasant walk gets you downtown. Your hotel room comes with a splendid breakfast with everything from oatmeal to enchiladas.

Traveler Favorite

Quintana Roo State (Akumal), Mexico: Vista del Mar
 Nominated By: Mary McLaughlin, Havertown, Pennsylvania, Feb'09

Price Range: US$75-$375 # of Rooms: Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes Vista del Mar so Darn Good? "We stayed at Vista del Mar in January 2009. The place is very laid back and simple with a beautiful view. We went for a short trip to do some SCUBA diving. We were lucky because the Akumal Dive Adventures and its wonderful dive master Jose were right next door. So was the amusing the Buena Vida restaurant. Since we were diving we paid $81 per night for the room, an incredible bargain." Read more.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Quintana Roo State (Isla Mujeres), Mexico: Villa La Bella
Nominated By: Jen Schenkel, Brooklyn, New York, March '10

Hotel Website: www.villalabella.com

Price Range: US$110-$200 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 6 Kid-Friendly: no

What makes Villa La Bella so Darn Good? Villa La Bella is a colorful six room bed and breakfast on the small island of Isla Mujeres, a short ferry ride and a world away from Cancun. The Villa offers a peaceful adults-only getaway with a low-key vibe away from the tourist crowds. Ashley and Curtis, the on-site owners, are gracious hosts, not too intrusive, but available for any questions about the island or your stay.

Location: Villa La Bella is on a quiet coastal street, just an hour and a half from the Cancun airport and a five minute taxi ride to the main town and Playa Norte, a popular white-sand beach. While the Villa is not on the beach itself, it is right on the coast, and you can walk along the rocks and find great sea glass. You can also walk to a few restaurants, including a phenomenal taco joint, but you are definitely not in the center of the action.

Rooms: Once through the Villa's front door, you'll find yourself in a carefully thought out gorgeous space. The bed and breakfast has an outdoor living room (with free wireless if you can't unplug), a pool and hot tub surrounded by hammocks and lounge furniture, a swing bar, a covered area with tables and chairs where breakfast is served, a lending library with books and DVD's, and a path to the sea. The rooms are fairly simple, with the more economical accommodations off the pool, and a few larger suites upstairs (complete with swing beds hanging from ropes - not for everyone). The Villa has no televisions or phones, but plenty of breezes, space, light, and cool touches like carved lanterns and shell sculptures. Some rooms have air conditioning.

Food: Villa La Bella serves a yummy breakfast every morning except Monday. The coffee is strong and the portions are generous. For other meals, you can head into town, walk to one of several local, very casual and delicious taco places, or have Mayan chicken delivered when you feel too lazy to leave. A little bodega is also very close where you can buy happy hour snacks to go with the mixed drinks and Mexican beers available at the Villa's bar.

Vibe: The Villa is quiet and relaxing with funky decor. Unlike many B&B's, you don't have to talk to the hosts or other guests unless you feel like it - there's enough space to do your own thing or to make friends, depending on your mood.

Keep in Mind: While Isla Mujeres has been developed more than some other parts of the Yucatan coast and the beach can be crowded at times, the Villa is a darn good getaway that's not far from a major airport.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Quintana Roo State (Mahahual), Mexico: Balamku Inn on the Beach
Nominated By: Gary at Green Traveler Guides, April '10

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Price Range: US$75-$90 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 10 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes the Balamku Inn on the Beach so Darn Good? This eco-friendly hotel on Mexico's beautiful Costa Maya has been nominated by the World Travel Awards as a Leading Green Hotel in Mexico and Central America two years in a row. Balamku is powered by solar and wind energy and its ten beachfront rooms are situated to maximize natural ventilation. The airy rooms are tastefully turned out with tile floors and colorful Mexican art.

Location: Balamku is a few minutes from the little fishing village of Mahahual, four and half hours south of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. The Inn boasts a sandy beachfront with clear, calm, and shallow waters protected by the great Banco Chinchorro reef, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers alike. Balamku offers free use of kayaks, and opportunities for hiking, birding, and exploring Mayan ruins abound.

Rooms: Balamku has two single and four double palapas with private terraces overlooking the Caribbean Sea. All guestrooms are attractive and well maintained, tropical in theme and in fact. In order to protect the nearby coral reef, each room has a shower and sink fed by captured rainwater that flows out to a constructed wetland, as well as specially designed composting toilets (looking at them, you would hardly guess) which eliminate the need for septic tanks. In addition, Balamku uses natural cleaning products and provides aloe vera based toiletries.

Food: A full breakfast is served in the main inn and features organic fruit from the property, homemade granola, a selection of egg dishes, and organic Chiapas coffee. Balamku also offers a light lunch menu of sandwiches, soup, quesadillas, and shrimp tacos. For dinner, several restaurants are in and around the town of Mahahual, and two are within walking distance of the inn.

Vibe: Balamku is totally laid-back and serene. Just reach for another cerveza or herbal iced tea, relax, and enjoy.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Quintana Roo State (Tulum), Mexico: Secret Garden Hotel
Nominated By: Emily, Washington, D.C., January '11

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at booking.com

Price Range: US$34-$85 # of Rooms: 9 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes the Secret Garden Hotel so Darn Good? Just a short walk from Tulum's bus station and lively Avenida Tulum, the Secret Garden Hotel consists of nine cabanas surrounding a beautiful and peaceful garden decked out with hammocks and sofas. The hotel's owner, Joshua, is wonderful, kind, and uber-generous with his heaping knowledge of all things Tulum.

Location: The hotel is in the small beachside town of Tulum, one and a half hours south of Cancun on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. While a stay in town affords easy access to plenty of restaurants and bars, the hotel's location two blocks off the main road makes for a chill stay in a perfect spot. Bikes are available for rent right at the hotel, and in just fifteen minutes you can ride to Tulum's white sand beaches or stunning Mayan ruins.

Rooms: The hotel's simple, yet modern (think i-pod docks) rooms include four palapas with fans and five standard rooms with air conditioning. All rooms have comfortable beds and mini-fridges, and some have lofts and/or kitchenettes.

Food: While no meals are served at the Secret Garden Hotel, guests can take advantage of the downtown location to grab a bite at any one of the numerous restaurants within walking distance. The hotel does provide coffee and tea in the morning though, which guests can sip while easing in the day in the garden.

Vibe: The vibe is friendly, relaxing, and international.

Keep in Mind: The Secret Garden Hotel is an excellent in-town option for those who don't need to be right on the beach.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice - Full Review Coming Soon!

Yucatán State (Mérida), Mexico: Hotel Julamis
Nominated By: Clarke Gallery, Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA, January '12

Price Range: US$39-$75 # of Rooms: 7 Kid-Friendly: no

What makes the Hotel Julamis so Darn Good? Just know how to enjoy and relax when staying at this down-to-earth Merida boutique hotel. Mel and Erid are the best - sooo accommodating. The hotel has a quiet but central location, a five minute walk to the main square and the fabulous Paseo de Montejo. The new rooftop deck provides visitors with fabulous views of all the cities churches.





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