I can’t believe that after a little more than one month our stay in Mexico came to an end!
We sure made the most out of our time over there and enjoyed such a variety of places and activities. We truly love Mexico and could even consider living in this country one day, who knows! By the beach I would say!…
There are many reasons why I think you should consider traveling in Mexico. Obviously this would depend on the stuff you like doing and the places you feel attracted to. But here are some good reasons to keep in mind!
1. Variety of sites and things to do
There is only one country that I have visited and I could think of that can compete with Mexico in this matter: India. In both countries you have such a variety of places, landscapes and even climates!
In Mexico, we started by the beach (Riviera Maya), passed by big cities (Merida, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Oaxaca and, obviously, Mexico City), spent days at the jungle around Palenque and the woods and lakes in the south of Chiapas. In the span of one month we went from laying under the golden sun in our swimming suits to having to seek refugee from the rain in Chiapas and even wore our thickest jackets around the DF. All in one month!
Long live this variety! Mexicans who can afford to travel within their own country are very lucky… they can get SO MUCH within their own land!
2. Food (and drinks!)
Mexican cuisine is present all over the world, and that can’t be just a coincidence! Rich in flavors, textures, meaty, spicy and, most of the times, based on corn, offers not only main dishes but a big range of snacks, popularly called “antojitos”. You won’t seat at a restaurant table that hasn’t lime wedges and at least 3 hot sauces for you to season your food to taste! If your mouth isn’t burning enough after that, try gulping down some tequila… it leaves you on fire!
Not only the food is tasty as hell but there are things to eat and munchies all over the place! Street vending is super popular and this doesn’t mean you will only get a taco here and there. NO! You will get full dishes, snacks, coffee, fresh juices, smoothies… you name it!
NOTE: if you are vegetarian, your food experience in Mexico will be reduced by approximately 95%, I’d say. What a shame, isn’t it?!
The capital of Mexico is the city with the biggest concentration of museums in the entire world!! If it’s true that quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, it is also true that, amongst so many exhibitions, it’s quite likely that there is something for all tastes out there!
And culture is not only about exhibits locked inside rooms. You can feel the culture in the streets, closer to the people… this is very noticeable in Oaxaca, for example. The city walls are painted with beautiful graffiti, sculptures of little people invade downtown and all over you see posters of art fairs, craft markets, movie screenings… such a pleasure to see that so much is going on!
Mexico’s history is all over the country. It’s well-preserved historical sites like world-known Chichen Itza (one of the New Wonders of the World) or Teotihuacan, tell the tales of what this land was millenniums ago! You could spend a life-time in Mexico and still not visit all the ruins spread around the country.
For those interested in history and archeology, Mexico is a must! And for those who have a more general curiosity, you’ll see that while visiting these sites not only you will learn interesting facts but also have fun climbing temples and getting magnificent views of the surroundings that were once considered sacred.
5. Colors all around!
Mexico is one colorful country, no doubt about that! Just picture London in the Winter, for example: grey sky, grey buildings, people wearing grey clothes. Well, this is the total opposite! Houses are painted with bright tones, people proudly drive shiny cars, restaurants and cafes display different colors in their walls, tables, chairs, table cloths… everywhere! Even people’s clothes tend to be happy!
6. Friendly people
In general, Mexicans are welcoming, smiley and make you feel safe and at home. They are always ready to give you directions, to make a joke about anything that might come up or ask you where you’re from. They like talking! This is also one “camera-friendly” country where people don’t seem to be bothered if you click some photos and they are on frame. I love “camera-friendly” people – says a lot about their level of friendliness.
7. Relaxed life-style
My Mexican friend Rodrigo told us that once, at a bar in the Netherlands, he saw a poster that depicted the “Dogs of the World”. Apparently, the German dog had a very sober pose, the British dog looked very snobbish, and there were other European dogs looking all mighty fine. Next to those, there was the Mexican Dog, looking lazy under a sombrero alongside a cactus and a shot of tequila! Rodrigo says that this lazy stereotype that the World seems to associate with Mexican people isn’t true. They actually work a lot – and that is true! While at Rodrigo’s house, he and his girlfriend would always come home at around 10pm after a hard day of work since early morning.
The lazy life-style might not be true, especially for those living in the cities, but I would say that the relaxed approach to life is there. Mexicans do not stress over every little thing like Europeans do, for example. If it can’t be done today, then it’ll get done tomorrow. And it’s not about being lazy, but more about prioritizing what really matters in life and “selecting” what’s worth stressing over.
8. Ever-present music
Example of the happy vibe that you generally get in Mexico, is that there is always music playing everywhere, particularly in public transportation! Sometimes, in the bus, you might even get a movie playing with full blasting sound, while the radio is simultaneously on. It can get annoying if you are tired and trying to nap, but it’s fun most of the time!
Riding the bus in Mexico you are in for some Latin music experience!
PS: During Winter of 2011, Shakira’s “Rabiosa” was EVERYWHERE!
9. Excellent Transportation
- Bus: Transportation options are modern, good quality and decently priced. The buses for medium to long distances have more leg room than any plane I have ever been on! Seats are comfy, bathrooms-on-wheels are fairly clean and they even have a check-in system for your luggage! You give your suitcase and get a token that you should return upon arrival, to make sure that the bag you want to take is rightfully yours. Many so-called “1st world countries” could use a system like this!
- Colectivo: If you don’t want to use the main buses, you can always take a “colectivo” – small vans or taxis shared by several people with a common destination. You can virtually go anywhere like this and pay what the locals pay.
-Taxi: If you have a few more bucks to spend, you can opt for a taxi that is very cheap compared to many places around the world. Example: on our last day in Mexico city we paid less than USD1.5 for a 7minute ride of about 1KM between Metro station and hotel.
- Metro: the metro in Mexico City is extensive, efficient and extremely cheap. For 3 pesos (0.23 USD) you can go from any given point to another while being entertained by all sorts of businesses-on-the-go that come in and out at each stop. DF’s best spot for people watching has to be the metro! From the moving disco boys and girls selling CDs and DVDs to chewing-gum sellers to ladies singing about the benefits of the new cough drops they try to sell for 10 pesos, the metro is a moving market with so much appeal.
10. Wheel-chair access
This might sound like an odd reason to include here but I am sure it will be important for some. Just because you are in a wheel-chair, doesn’t mean that you can’t go around and see the world, right?
Well, we were happily surprised to see that most important historical ruins around Mexico have wheel-chair access! Even those like Palenque, where we had to climb tons of stairs to get to the main temples, have a specific entry paved to be accessed by people on wheel-chair. I really think this is awesome because these places are not so easy to reach and they really took an effort to make them accessible for everybody!
I have actually read that Mexico is trying to make all city centers accessible as well, with ramps that will allow individuals on wheels to roam around: this was quite noticeable in some places we visited, such as Campeche or Comitan, where the side-walks have ramps that connect all areas without steps.
Oddly enough, in Mexico City, we couldn’t almost find ramps or lifts to enter the metro. We were carrying luggage and thought we’d use those to avoid carrying the weight up and down the stairs. We must have been in at least 7 stations while visiting the city and only saw special access in 1, a wheel chair railing alongside the stairs . Weird! I am positive there must be a way for wheel-chair access to the metro on each station, after all this is the capital of the country and should be setting example. But the truth is that we didn’t see it so if it exists, it’s not that easy to spot, which is also not a good thing.
I would encourage you to visit this country!
No matter what your are more attracted to, you are very likely to find at least a couple of things you might like in tierras Mexicanas!
Mexico is vibrant, so extremely rich in its places and people and good-value for money.