7th to 10th Dec 2016 was my first trip to Mexico. I crossed the border San Ysidro / Tijuana. Even everyone can read on the Internet (especially on the site of the US embassy), how dangerous Tijuana is, other travelers I met and I did feel safe. The Mexicans, of course, take their chance making money of tourists, but that you have everywhere in the world. A good thing: A “no” usually is a “no”, if a businessman anyway tries to get you in his shop, just continue with saying “no” until he believes you. The best thing I realized is: I have not seen any children begging and no beggars are coming and grab you.
Reed more about my time in Tijuana by clicking the link.
13th Jan 2018 I was back in Mexico and started, where I stopped last time: In Tijuana. This time I was hitchhiking the Baja California and Baja California Sur down to La Paz. From La Paz I was going by ferry to Topolobambo, Sinaloa and continuing by taxi to Los Mochis. Before going throughout the Copper Canyon I made a detour to Hermosillo, Sonora. By traveling by train, with the well-known “El Chepe”, I crossed the Barranca de Cobre (Copper Canyon). About my related adventure, you can read on the site “El Chepe“. Part of the area around the Barranca de Cobre belongs to Chihuahua. The next states I visited were Coahuila, Nueva Leon and Tamaulipas, where I finally reached the Gulf of Mexico. On my way further South I visited the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatan until I finally arrived in Quintana Roo.
I was back in Mexico in July 2018 after I traveled Belize in Central America for a month. My new destinations in Mexico were Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla and Morelos. Even Mexico city, Estado de Mexico and Tlaxcala have coming true. I continued to Guerrero, but visited only one little, but important town there. The following states were Hidalgo, Querétaro, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato y Jalisco, where I celebrate my birthday. My last states to visit were Aguascalientes – Michoacán – Colima – Nayarit – Durango and Zacatecas.
You can find my itinerary and about my experiences by respective link.
After the trip:
I generally learned about Mexico and my trip throughout the country, that the country is very diverse, so are the people. There are so many amazing views, I recommend to see as much as possible of the country – even the desert. A trip for a week or a month does not give you a good understanding of the diversity. The people usually are very kind and helpful, what is very important: Tourists are safe in Mexico. The best way to travel Mexico would be by car, but the buses are a good option as well. The bus company Omnibus de Mexico applies the discounts even for foreigners. Taking a taxi you have to be aware, that most of them take higher prices of tourists. A good option is to buy a ticket at the bus station – there are booths for the taxis. In lots of cities you also can order an Uber.
Cancun and Playa del Carmen are “artificial” towns. They were built to serve tourists. Though they are not the real Mexico. Anyway the peninsula of Yucatan is worth to visit for all the Maya ruins. Generally foreigners have to pay higher admission fees than Mexicans for museums and ruins etc. One or another city has free entrance for most of it’s museums – even for strangers, but that is the exception.
The climate is very diverse in Mexico as well. If you only will see beaches, there is no need for warm clothes, if you will see the real Mexico and are visiting Mexico not only during the summer month (who are the same like in Europe, but with heavy rains in the evenings), you need really warm clothes, because they do not have heating. You can compare the climate in the colder regions with the climate on Malta. It goes down to around +5°C during the night and even you will be provided with double covers, it is cold!
Mexico has a lot of culture to offer. From the old Aztec, Mayan etc. ruins to the fiestas (special celebrations of religious and national holidays) and all are worth to see. Another type of culture is the Mexican food. I am sure you already know a lot about it, but there is more, than I expected and be careful, if you cannot eat spicy meals (there are even Mexicans, who cannot). Ask always if the meals are spicy. When Mexicans answer you, just a little, they often are quite spicy anyway. The tacos often come just with small tortillas and meat. You can add the tomato, onion, coriander (cilantro) blend – which also is spicy by the coriander. The green sauces (salsas) are usually not so spicy as the red ones, but anyway really spicy. You can buy “quesadillas” with cheese and mushroom etc. They are a good alternative. Be aware that in some parts of Mexico you have to tell them, that you want to have cheese on the quesadillas even a quesadilla without cheese actually is no quesadilla. The cheese is very different to the cheese in Europe. Usually they use Oaxaca cheese (a specialty from Oaxaca). In Chihuahua and in Zacatecas they have cheese reminding on our European hard cheese. In bigger towns you can buy European cheese at the big supermarkets like Chedraui and Soriana (both Mexican), there are also Walmarts, where you can buy them. They are usually very expensive.
Fruit is cheaper, especially the not imported papaya (they are big and sweet), mango (especially the smaller yellow ones) and others. Avocado (Spanish: Aguacate) is even in Mexico not very cheap, but cheaper than in Europe. When you want a good meal you can look for the dish of the day (comida), which comes with almost soup, main meal, dessert and the “water of the day”, sometimes only the Jamaica (is a tea drink, a little herb), but often even the Horchata (which I like very much: It is a rice drink with sugar and cinnamon). Tamarind is another taste, but very herb.
You can save money by using couchsurfing.com. A lot of Mexicans are eager to host you and practice their English. Even the non English speaking hosts are worth to visit. You can always use Google translate. I met really rich people that way and less fortunate people, but most of them have a big heart for travelers and their home will be your home (as they say and mean: Mi casa es tu casa). Be careful if they show you something they own and you tell them, you like it, they will give it (or part of it) to you. Indigenous people are harder to get in touch with and they usually are not on couchsurfing.com, which depends on their lack of education. You can ask every adult Mexican for directions and they will try to help you. You can attend tours to meet indigenous people. By the way some areas like the ruins of Calakmul are easiest and best to reach with a tour. Even I do not like tours so much, but it really is the best option if you are not traveling by car.
Last but not least, very many Mexicans have dogs and often more than one, but they do not care the way like we do about their dogs. A lot of dogs are on the leash all the time others just in the small gardens around the house. They get meals and water, but a few Mexicans walk their dogs. The dogs mostly have to watch the houses. Cats are not so usual in Mexico, but some Mexicans also have cats.
If you have special questions and do not find the answer on my sites about the different states of Mexico, you are welcome to contact me: dorotheeinternational (at) gmail (dot) com.