Traveling through Mexico is one of the most life changing experiences people can have. This is especially true if you have grown up without having as much exposure to Latin or Central America. The total shift in culture, food, and language that goes by when you drive a question of even 20 minutes from certain cities in the United States (and not too far by plane from many other world destinations) is astounding and worth taking the time out to properly see. The country is enormous, and there is plenty to get through. Before you go though, there are some things you may want to consider. Here are tips for traveling through Mexico in order to make your trip everything you wanted it to be:
Mexico is an enormous city filled with a lot of history, and it’s worth it to see it. Despite what people tell you about the dangers of Mexico (some of which are valid), that does not mean you have to coop yourself up in a resort for a week. There are places in Mexico that are generally much safer than large tourist towns and that you can have a proper Mexican vacation in.
All in all, you are talking about 34 different UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There a lot of cities that date back to colonial times, like San Miguel de Allende, and a lot of natural beauties that the country has to offer. Visit El Vixcaino, if you want to see one of the biggest biospheres in all of Mexico.
Be Safe, But Don’t Be Uninformed
Yes, there are places in Mexico where you definitely don’t want to be. But that is true of any country. Just because a country has some political problems going on, doesn’t mean that the entire country is subjugated to those problems. There is violence in border towns and certain cities, but a lot of places to travel that are safe. For instance, the Yucatan peninsula and Baja California Sur, that are home to much of the tourism within the country, has not the rates of violence in many other places. The best thing you can do before going is to do as much research as to safer cities, and if you can, ask other Mexican people where they think would be the best places to explore and those they tend to avoid. Usually, the people that live in a country are your best marker for how safe certain areas are.
Mexico is hot for most of the year and the humidity makes it almost unbearable when the summer kicks in. It can hit more than 100 degrees F (40 degrees C) in some areas, so be prepared to dress for the weather. While you may see some people walking around in rather long pants, be advised that local people have figured out which fabrics breathe better. If you want to wear pants, go for linen or cotton, they both breathe very well. If you think polyester or spandex leggings are a good idea, you’re sorely mistaken. The heat is too killer for that.
Eat Something Besides Tacos
First off, hard shell tacos are not a thing in Mexico, so don’t bother asking for one. That is just something that Taco Bell came up with and that has overtaken the world. And while a proper Mexican taco is a must for a first time visitor in Mexico, you need to bring your pallet beyond that. There are so many other foods to sample from that have the ability to change your taste buds for years.
Try out tamales, tortas, mole poblano, cochinita pibil, and many other local dishes. You should also try a lime soup if you have the time. Traveling through different cities give you the chance to taste the different influences. Whether it be Spanish, Mayan, Aztec, or even Western influences, the mark left by people who have come and gone from Mexico lasts in their amazing food. And if you have a sweet tooth, you have to try pan dulce (sweet bread with a myriad of shapes and sizes), concha, polvorone cookies, tres leches cake and anything else you can get your hands on in the bakery.
Don’t Drink the Water, Do Drink the Beer
Don’t drink the tap water. It’s not because it’s dirty or anything. It’s just that if you have not lived in a region for your whole life, you don’t have the same exposure to the bacteria in their water and your lack of tolerance can come back at you full force. Bottled water is the way to go. If you want something different, try one of the many craft beers made in Mexico. They use a number of different flavors that can be found only in the area to bring something special to each beer. Tequila is a classic, but it’s not the only thing you can find.
Mexico is a beautiful country to visit, and you can never be at a loss to do. With an enormous historical importance and friendly people, you are destined to have one of the best vacations of your life. These tips can help keep you safe but also allow you to experience the wonderful things the country has to offer.