You can refer to the map further below to get more precise location information.
As of July 2005, 1 US Dollar is ~ 11 Mexican Pesos, 1 Euro is ~ 14 Mexican Pesos.
I have received so far only approximate quotings - Nobody wanted to give me a final quote for a conference so far in the future (I gathered this data around March), and with such uncertainity on the amount of attendees (I asked for 150-200 people, probably it is necessary to ask again with ~250).
The three main regions in which we are looking for options are:
In Morelos, most places we have found are near the Cuautla area. Other interesting places might be around Cuernavaca, maybe Tenancingo (i.e. Ixtapan)
- Beautiful area
- Very benign weather
- Complete and cheap hotels
Decent (although not great) communications infrastructure
- Quite close to Mexico City's airport (this is, 1 to 2 hours drive)
Outside some limited areas, most cities are small and not much fun - And Debconf is not just about hacking! And I definitively hate that from being too far away from the city, as in Espoo.
Centro Vacacional Oaxtepec
It is a very large hotel, often used for all kinds of conferences, and will have mostly any kind of infrastructure we need. There are several lodging options: 12 houses for 7 people each, 40 rooms in Tepozteco hotel for 3 people each, 124 cabins with small pools for 4 people each, the family hotel with 60 rooms for 4 and 54 for 6 people, and a youth hostel with 111 rooms for each people with a shared bathroom. For Debconf, they suggest the family hotel, which has in each room one (or two) two-floor bed and two individual beds, color TV, fridge, bathroom and electronic locking (that means, keys for everybody!)
For 200 people, they are offering us 50 rooms, which on low season are at MX$345 each, and on high season MX$460. Note that they take the weekends as high season.
Regarding food, they offer food to the table (which means, not a buffet, but a restaurant-level quality, with only one or with a small selection of dishes to serve). They charge MX$50 for the breakfast, MX$66 for lunch, MX$60 for dinner (per person, of course).
Regarding coffee service during the day, we can choose either a single one hour service (MX$17 per person) or a 8 hour long service (MX$49 per person).
Regarding work areas: They have the main auditorium (for 600 people, at MX$4028 per day) and the parliamentary tower (for 150 people, at MX$4604), and nine work rooms, ranging from 25 to 80 people (don't have the price for it) - They strongly suggest us to use the audio equipment in the auditorium or the parliamentary tower, at MX$2385 a day.
With this numbers, supposing we take all as they offer it (i.e., we could save a good amount of money by arranging the breakfast by ourselves or by not having coffee service), assuming we are an average of 20 people for one week (Monday-Sunday) and an average of 250 people on the second week, it would cost MX$117,300 for the lodging, MX$418,390 for the food+coffee (coffee only the second week - But we can spare the coffee, saving us MX$85,750), and for the work areas (renting them for the whole week plus three extra days for preparations - say we want the auditorium and the sound for conferences and the parlamentary sound as a hacklab) MX$100,170. This totals for MX$635,850 (or 550,110 without the coffee service) - Respectively, MX$2,543 or MX$2,200 per person for the whole duration of the conference, or (if we count it as eight days of work) MX$317 / MX$275 per day per person.
I suppose we can still get somewhat better prices for this option - I really like this place, it is my personal favorite. Note that IMSS (the state-run Social Security) has some other vacation/conference centers (available at the included link) which might be worth investigating, but Oaxtepec is probably the best according to what I have talked with the attendees at Debconf5. [TODO: Explain what is that you talked with attendees at Debconf5]
We'd be looking probably at Veracruz/Boca del Río in Veracruz, Acapulco in Guerrero.
- Shore, palm trees, sea. Many people want that.
- Extensive infrastructure - Large hotels, good communications infrastructure
- Good social life
- Expensive for the venue.
- Quite far from Mexico City - Some 4hrs by bus. There are planes as well, but most international flights arrive at Mexico City's airport, and it is a non-trivial extra price to pay.
Universidad Villa Rica
In Boca del Rio, Veracruz (basically part of Veracruz port/city). They offer to lend us (i.e. sponsor) their installations. They don't have dormitories, but they can set rooms, auditoriums and gardens so we can use them for sleeping. We would have to get mattresses, tents, etc.
Universidad de Xalapa
Xalapa, Veracruz. Very nice, fresh climate, about 50 minutes away from the sea shore. They offer us a similar deal as that of Villa Rica.
Big cities: Mexico City/Puebla/Cuernavaca
Probably Mexico, Puebla or Cuernavaca Cities.
You have everything. Big city life.
- The best infrastructure available
- Might be possible to get some university spaces, which can make things much cheaper
- Almost every international flight arrives at Mexico City's airport. Puebla and Cuernavaca are not very far from there, less than 2hr by bus
- Lodging is quite expensive.
Distances are big - I'd prefer having the lodging and work areas in the same building (i.e. a hotel) to avoid losing DDs in the city
- The city is not very safe, it is easy for groups of people not knowing their way to have unpleasant incidents.
Universidad de las Américas
In Cholula city, very near Puebla. They are willing to lend (i.e. sponsor) us their installations to work. It is one of the few universities in Mexico with dorms, which we could have at MX$190 per person per day (have to be sure of this point, I got very little information). The availability of the rooms might depend on the time of year (this means: Probably this is good only on vacations - July/august). The dormitories are apartments with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, some common space and a little kitchen.
Central Mexico map