The People's Guide To Mexico

For More Information
Favorite Mexico Books
The Best of Mexico
Copper Canyon
Live & Retire in Mexico

For More Information: Mexico Books

Book Reviews

page 1

Reviews: Guidebooks, People & Places

GuideBooksMexico CityCopper Canyon & Northern MexicoBajaGulf of MexicoHighlandsOaxaca

Recommended Reading Bookshelves:

The Maya
Mexico City
Healthy Living in Mexico
Copper Canyon & Northern Mexico
Speaking Spanish
Pacific Coast
Live & Retire in Mexico
¡Viva Mexico!
Highlands: & Chapala
Gulf of Mexico
RV & Camping
For the armchair traveler
Natural Mexico
Introduction to Our Favorite Mexico Books
For Out-of-Print Books try Powell's in Portland
Click on 'Covers' and 'Order' links to Order Books from



*** Prize Winner! 1999 Best Travel Book ***

•The People's Guide to Mexico

By Carl Franz, Lorena Havens & Steve Rogers. The People’s Guide To Mexico is encyclopedic. Besides experienced advice on eating, lodging, driving, and shopping in Mexico, the guidebook tells where to find AA meetings, fishing licenses and lottery tickets. It offers first-hand advice on dealing with machismo and discarding (not flushing) toilet tissues. It covers every question we might have and addresses questions we would ask if we knew better.

The new 13th edition remains upbeat and enthusiastic without degenerating into a Pollyannish paean to Mexico. It’s deliberately foreign viewpoint is perhaps it’s greatest asset, focusing on unaccustomed situations. For example, while extolling the joyful adventure of driving through the Mexican countryside, it pulls over to explain how to handle (and avoid) being overcharged for gasoline. It encourages visitors to explore eating stalls and inexpensive lodgings without tiresome lectures about the “real” Mexico or how to blend with the locals.

The book detours to Guatemala and Belize before leading the reader back through US Customs.

Lastly, the well-organized guides exhaustive index allows any traveler to pinpoint information quickly.
From the Independent Publisher Book Awards for 1999. ... (Full Review) Order The People's Guide to Mexico

Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide

“Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide to the Northshore for International Travelers” is quite a mouthful, but then so is this book. With contributions from experts in anthropology, natural history, language and culture, author and Ajijic resident Teresa Kendrick presents a description of Lake Chapala and its popular tourist and retirement communities that is broad in scope yet also quite detailed.... (Full Review) by Carl Franz...

•Mexico: Adventures in Nature

Ron Mader, publisher of the award winning website on eco travel and environmental issues in Mexico and Latin America, is also the author of Mexico: Adventures in Nature. Explore Mexico's parks and protected areas and learn about Mexico's nascent ecotourism boom! This new guidebook sheds light on both tourism services and environmental issues in Mexico. Order Mexico: Adventures in Nature...

Central America & Mexico Handbook

This well-respected book has much to recommend it: consistent and logical organization, tremendous nuts-and-bolts travel details, a broad range of reliable food and hotel suggestions, plus a degree of accuracy consistently higher than other guidebooks I’ve tried. Spanning Mexico and 7 Central American countries, the Mexico & Central American Handbook is downright marvelous. Order Central America & Mexico Handbook...

•Moon Handbook: Mexico

by Joe Cummings and Chicki Mallan, 1998, Avalon Travel Publishing, 1188 pages! This brick-sized guidebook could have used more attentive updating, but considering its scope and awesome size, flaws are inevitable. All in all, Mexico Handbook lives up to Moon Publications’ reputation for thoroughly researched guidebooks with plentiful maps. Order Moon Handbook: Mexico

•Mexico Insight Guide

by Kal Muller. Tim Crump, a book-loving ex-Border Patrol officer with an extensive library on Mexico, says, “Aptly named, this book is full of interesting information by many authors, mostly Hispanics, each familiar with his or her subject. The style is slightly ‘textbook’ but easy to read. The photography is excellent.” Order Mexico Insight Guide from Powell's in Portland...

•Mexico: Places and Pleasures

by Kate Simon, Harper & Row. The author’s intelligence, wry humor and witty insights into Mexican life keep this dated guidebook high on my personal favorites list. (out of Print) Order Mexico: Places and Pleasures from Powell's in Portland...

•Terry’s Guide

By T. Philip Terry, later editions by James Norman. (Older editions of this classic guide 1906 to 1938 are prized by collectors.) Order Terry's Guide from Powell's in Portland...

•Spas & Hot Springs of Mexico

By "Mexico" Mike Nelson, <>. Details and directions for Mexican spas, spiritual retreats and simple mineral water hot springs that help arthritis, psoriasis and depression. "Mexico" Mike says, "I've had personal experience with most of them." (Full Review) Order Spas & Hot Springs of Mexico...

Mexico City

•Mexico City

by Andrew Coe, 1994, Passport Books. A concise, highly readable mixture of history, archaeology and culture, lightened by interesting excerpts, offbeat detail and beautiful photos by Kal Muller. Includes maps, restaurant and hotel lists and basic how-to information. Order Mexico City

The Copper Canyon & Northern Mexico

Northern Mexico Handbook: Including the Copper Canyon

Joe Cummings offers succinct advice on the most important nuts & bolts of travel in Mexico and brief but well-researched descriptions of cities, historical sites, hiking trails, highways, hotels and restaurants, beaches and especially interesting 'biotic communities'. Also included are lots of easy-to-follow maps "to every city, region and park", a very good index and reading list, and even a photo of the author, looking remarkably well rested after what must have been truly exhaustive research.... (Full Review) Order Northern Mexico Handbook...

Mexico's Copper Canyon Country: A Hiking & Backpacking Guide

Fayhee does best when he drops his mock-macho style and applies himself to the job at hand, namely, providing useful information about hiking in the Copper Canyon. For example, the "Particulars" section at the end of most chapters is usually a clear-headed summary of practical tips, contacts and need-to-know information.... (Full Review) Order Mexico's Copper Canyon Country....

The Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico: Tierra de Encuentro

Fisher offers an excellent pictorial review of the region, useful 'tourist tidbits', interesting essays, maps and a point-by-point log for the popular trans-canyon rail trip. The book also includes brief but valuable material on outlying points of interest. With most media attention tightly focused on the Copper Canyon, relatively few tourists realize that the state of Chihuahua (and its neighbors) holds a wealth of interesting towns, villages and tierra desconocida (unknown country).... (Full Review) Order The Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico: Tierra de Encuentro...

Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre: Survivors on the Canyon's Edge

By John G. Kennedy, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, Asilomar Press, 1199 Forest Avenue, #321, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, $17.95. A description of the life of the most isolated Indian tribe in North America by a noted expert on the Tarahumara. Order Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre...

Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre: Beer, Ecology, and the Social Organization

By John G. Kennedy, 1978. Great book on the tesguinada, painfully researched I'm sure.

Life Through the Eyes of a Tarahumara

By Romayne Wheeler, 1993, Editorial Camino. A book of wisdom, poetry and personal experience by an internationally recognized composer and musician who lives among the Tarahumara. Available in Creel at the Tarahumara Mission bookstore....

Trails of the Sierra Madre

By Eugene Boudreau, 1973, Capra Press and Pleasant Hill Press. Like other thoughtful writers on Mexico's backcountry, Boudreau's out-of-print books are timeless. Also good: Ways of the Sierra Madre, R.F. Grigsby's Sierra Madre Journal: 1864 and Move Over Don Porfirio: Tales from the Sierra Madre. (out of Print) Order Trails of the Sierra Madre from Powell's in Portland...

Unknown Mexico: Explorations in the Sierra Madre and Other Regions, 1890-1898 Vol. 1

By Carl Lumholtz, 1898, Dover Publications, Inc. One of my all-time favorites, a turn-of-the-century classic detailing explorations in the Sierra Madre of Northern Mexico. It is a measure of how isolated the Tarahumara have been that Lumholtz's observations on their customs and ways of life are still valid today. Order Unknown Mexico...


The Unforgettable Sea Of Cortez

Baja California's Golden Age 1947-1977: The Life And Writings Of Ray Cannon, by Gene S. Kira. First time visitors to Baja often find themselves marveling at their barely suppressed sense of euphoria. It's cause is difficult to define, but the elation does not dissipate over time, and is not limited to just a single nationality. Much like JRR Tolkien's description of mortals marveling at the surreal ambiance in the land of Elves -- many find themselves mesmerized by mirages that lift entire islands high into the sky and by the illusion of flying because the sky and sea have become one. It is a powerful yet benevolent narcotic.... (more) Review by David "El Codo" Eidell...

King of The Moon

Good Novels about Mexico are as rare as a blue-eyed Iguana. Many aspiring novelists feel compelled to exaggerate Mexico, which is unfortunate because the real Mexico and real Mexicans are far more fascinating than a Mexico depicted by a runaway imagination....Mr. Kira constructs an utterly believable saga about life in a remote Baja fish camp in the middle third of this century. The characters are complex and the dangers formidable as the pangueros and their families go about living solely at the whim of the elements.... (more) Review by David "El Codo" Eidell Order King of the Moon...

•Moon Handbook: Baja: Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas

by Joe Cummings, 1994, Moon Publications, Inc. The Baja Handbook tries to do the impossible, which is to deliver all the information that a traveler to Baja may require in just 362 pages. The surprise is that to a very high degree, the author actually succeeds. For instance, Joe Cummings describes “Playa El Burro” as “A public beach with palapas and trash barrels next to a scrappy-looking residential section” This is an excellent description of my favorite beach. But sadly, Joe didn’t have room for the best part: camping costs just two dollars a day and the girl-crazy young caretaker often forgets to come around and collect. All-in-all, the Baja Handbook is the best informational book that I’ve seen on Baja to date. (Review by David Eidell) Order Moon Handbook: Baja

•The Baja Book III

by Tom Miller and Carol Hoffman, Baja Trail Publications. Though still worthwhile, The Baja Book, long a reliable companion for untold numbers of Baja travelers, has not been kept up-to-date since the death of its author, Tom Miller. Also by Tom: Angler’s Guide To Baja California and Mexico West Book: A Road and Recreation Guide to Today’s West Coast of Mexico, listed under books on driving. Order The Baja Book III

•A Desert Country Near the Sea

by Ann Zwinger, Harper & Row. Prize-winning naturalist Ann Zwinger takes a close look at the flora, fauna, marine biology and geology of Baja's southern tip, with detailed observations on the region's history and geography. A wonderful combination of field guide, travelogue and personal adventure. Order A Desert Country Near the Sea

So many books have been published on Baja that I can't possibly keep up. For a budget-busting selection that includes some difficult to locate titles, try searching for "Baja" at Powells Bookstore.

•Also see magazines, newsletters & newspapers

Pacific Coast

Pacific Mexico: Including Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Acapulco, and Oaxaca, (Moon Handbooks) by Bruce Whipperman....
Moon Puerto Vallarta: Including the Nayarit and Jalisco Coasts (Moon Handbooks) by Robin Noelle and Bruce Whipperman (Paperback - Nov 10, 2009)

Mexico's Highlands

Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide

Now, a small press in Ajijic has released an ambitious new guidebook to Chapala’s popular “Lakeside” that describes the region with the kind of care and attention to detail that larger-scale guidebooks simply can’t provide. “Mexico’s Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider’s Guide to the Northshore for International Travelers” is quite a mouthful, but then so is this book. With contributions from experts in anthropology, natural history, language and culture, author and Ajijic resident Teresa Kendrick presents a description of Lake Chapala and its popular tourist and retirement communities that is broad in scope yet also quite detailed.... (Full Review by Carl Franz) Order Mexico's Lake Chapala and Ajijic

On Mexican Time : A New Life in San Miguel

by Tony Cohan. "Just finished reading a good book about living in Mexico. The title is "On Mexican Time", written by Tony Cohan. Its about a middle-age couple, a writer (the author) and an artist, his wife, from LA who make a decision to get away from the smog, crime and traffic for a getaway in San Miguel de Allende." (Full Review by Tom Stone) Order On Mexican Time

Gulf of Mexico

•Adventuring Along the Gulf of Mexico

by Donald G. Schueler, Sierra Club Books. Outdated but still a "must read." Schueler's description of Gulf Coast wildlife, parks, beaches, accommodations and tourist attractions is presented in a knowledgeable, highly readable narrative style. I only wish he'd keep it current. (out of print) Order Adventuring Along the Gulf of Mexico from Powell's in Portland


•The Oaxaca Handbook

By Bruce Whipperman. Most guidebooks on Mexico devote 10, maybe 20 pages to Oaxaca.... I’ve always been left hungry for more.... Well, my hunger has finally been satisfied. In the Oaxaca Handbook. Bruce Whipperman offers a complete menu of not just the valley of Oaxaca, but the entire state. Whipperman has a special interest in outdoor activities and ecological tourism. He emphasizes hiking in Oaxaca’s national parks and other natural attractions. He enthusiastically writes of people working to improve the ecology of the places where they live.... Full Review by P. G. Meier Order The Oaxaca Handbook

Oaxaca Crafts and Sightseeing

I was very pleased to receive a copy of Oaxaca Crafts and Sightseeing , a compact yet thorough guide to an exceptionally interesting region. Unlike writers-for-hire who crank out serial guidebooks like loaves of white bread, author Barbara Hopkins shares an intimate, expert knowledge of Oaxaca City and its environs. Treating the reader like an intelligent and favored out-of-town guest .... the author offers us everything from detailed shopping suggestions for crafts and folk art to fascinating historical tidbits, fiesta dates (and backgrounds), local foods and delicacies, costumes and nearby side trips. Her suggested walking tour takes in the city’s most interesting streets and byways, markets, museums and colonial monuments.... (Full Review) Order Oaxaca Crafts and Sightseeing

Central America

••Mexico & Central American Handbook

This well-respected book has much to recommend it: consistent and logical organization, tremendous nuts-and-bolts travel details, a broad range of reliable food and hotel suggestions, plus a degree of accuracy consistently higher than other guidebooks I’ve tried. Spanning 9 countries, the Mexico & Central American Handbook is downright marvelous. Order Mexico & Central American Handbook


Moon Handbooks: Cuba by Christopher P. Baker
Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guides) by David Stanley
The Reader's Companion to Cuba Alan Ryan(Editor), Christa Malone (Editor)
Trading With the Enemy : A Yankee Travels Through Castro's Cuba Tom Miller
Cuba Pocket Guide;
Cuba Traveler's Companion by Kirsten Ellis
Fodor's Cuba
Fodor's Exploring Cuba
Insight Guides Cuba
Moon Handbooks: Havana by Christopher P. Baker
Waiting for Fidel by Christopher Hunt
Ay, Cuba! : A Socio-Erotic Journey by Andrei Codrescu, David Graham (Photographer)

Index to Reviews of our Favorite Mexico Books

•1) Guides, People & Places: Mexico General • Mexico City • Copper CanyonBajaGulf of Mexico • Highlands • Oaxaca
•2) Guides, People & Places of the Mayan World • Yucatan • The Maya • Guatemala • Belize
•3) Live & RetireWomen
•4) Driving • RV & Camping • Adventures • Natural Mexico
•5) Food • Healthy Living • Shopping • Speaking Spanish
•6) Viva Mexico • History • Armchair Travelers • Novels

Would you like to write a book review and send it to us?

email to Carl & Lorena

Found any good websites on Mexico that we ought to include? Send us an email so we can check it out!

he People's Guide to Mexico
13th edition
Discover why generations of travelers say they wouldn't cross the border without it! Read the award-winning book: The People's Guide to Mexico

©1972-2011 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens