Thursday, November 02, 2006
Here's a website recommended by one of our readers. And what a great find!
Larpman.com has some valuable information that you don't find on other sites. The website is divided into four simple categories: Transportation, Books, Maps and Photos. Four categories of resources that are useful when planning a trip to Mexico.
The books category is a simple listing of a few books that John Barreiro (the Larpman, one would assume) recommends. These are links to his Amazon affiliate listings, of course, so he stands to make a few cents whenever you order one of these books through him. The books are pretty predictable...no surprises there at all.
The maps category is more indepth, and therefore more valuable. Not only are there links to INEGI, Mexico's geographical institute that produces excellent quality maps, and Mapquest, Expedia, multi-map and the obvious Maps of Mexico, but there is a link to the Google Maps website with 97 separate places within Mexico already mapped for you. Señor Barreiro has also developed his own way to view Google satellite maps, called LarpMax, which I did not want to tax my broadband to test, but which sounds promising.
The third category is Photos. Larpman.com links to various websites that have photo galleries of Mexican locations. He promises that this section will grow, as now it only covers five areas: Mexico City, Puerto Escondido, Guanajuato and Palenque. Our other website, Yucatan Living, has a very nice photo gallery of the Yucatan, which I would love to suggest to Mr. Barreiro.
Which brings me to one of the flaws of this website. There is absolutely no way to communicate with the creator of the site. Mr. Barreiro has crafted a valuable site from which he makes money through Google Ads, Amazon referrals and possibly other affiliates. I don't have a problem with this. But in this 21st Century, when communication is so easy, why not have a way to provide feedback or suggestions? I'm sure he has his reasons... perhaps he'll notice this posting and let us know!
Last, but most definitely not least, is the section on Transportation. I find this to be the most valuable information on the website. Larpman has done his homework, and while I cannot attest to the accuracy of all the information without duplicating his research, it looks good and has got to be some of the most detailed on the web on this subject (in English, anyway).
The Transportation Section is divided into 5 sections: Air, Bus, Train, Auto and Bicycle.
The Air section provides all the airlines that fly to and within Mexico, and listings of which cities are covered by each airline, as well as links to aviation photo websites. Each mention is followed by a link to the airline's website and a link to the Wikipedia page about that airline, if there is one.
The Bus Section includes information about how to purchase bus tickets, a rundown on the difference between the different bus classes, links to bus company websites, schedules and a special section on busses at the Mexico City airport, complete with schedules. This alone is worth bookmarking this website. But there's more! A section on bus travel from the USA to Mexico, complete with the hours and distances for common routes and links to the American bus companies that travel to Mexico. The last section under Bus Travel explains how to travel into Mexico by bus from the South (from Belize & Guatemala), again with links to the bus companies.
But wait! Maybe you've heard about the trains in Mexico and want to travel that way. Señor Barreiro has researched that as well, and shares his knowledge. There are links to the different rail services (the "remaining" rail service, as he puts it) with explanations of routes, times and distances. This is the weakest section of the website, however. The photos appear to be missing (weren't uploaded to his server...) and one of the paragraphs in the introduction is about the bus system, not about trains. Again, if there was a way to give feedback, this might have been fixed before this review.
The Auto Section, entitled "Driving to and within Mexico" is Under Construction, as is the Bicycle Section, but we can probably look forward to similarly detailed and well-researched information. Though I would caution anyone that the rules about cars seem to change all the time here in Mexico, as laws are changed and updated. I can speak from experience when I say that you need to be prepared with a modicum of patience when bringing your car into or out of Mexico. There are times when you might need it.
Overall, this is a well-researched and well-designed website. It has valuable information and it is easy to find that information. The navigation bar at the top is simple and always tells you where you are in the website and there is a site map in case you get lost. Kudos to John Barreiro for his excellent research and presentation... now if only we could tell him personally!
Posted by Ellen Fields at 7:38 AM