Should I Give Mexico a Second Chance?
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Should I Give Mexico a Second Chance?

Mi Cielo Azul, by Steve Bridger

Should I Give Mexico a Second Chance?

Of all the countries I visited, Mexico is the one which impressed me the least. At that time – 18 years ago – I was still working in investment banking and had only limited time to explore Central America. The initial idea was to visit Mexico, Guatemala and Belize but I soon realized that it was far too much in barely 3 weeks.

Mi Cielo Azul, by Steve Bridger

Mi Cielo Azul, by Steve Bridger

As I mostly do, I arrived in Mexico City with only a rough idea of what to do and see and nothing fixed.

The truth is that Mexico did not win my heart…

I guess that in the end I chose a rather classic itinerary: Oaxaca, Palenque, San Cristòbal and Chiapas, Tulum, Isla Mujeres. Lots of people would think ‘Wow!’. But the truth is that Mexico did not win my heart and I often asked myself why.

What I liked

Diego-Rivera-Flower-Carrier

The Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera-1935. Photo Courtesy Mary Holman on Flickr

In Mexico City and surroundings: Leon Trotsky home, where looking at the studio that kept everything as it was the day he was murdered  was a big emotion.  Diego Ribera Murals, telling so much of Mexico past, and the House Studio where he lived and worked with Frida Kahlo.

In Chiapas, I liked the relaxed atmosphere in San Cristòbal de la Casa and the very welcoming people. I had a wonderful night in a bar where a group of locals were playing excellent music and almost everyone ended up dancing between and on the tables.

I got mixed feelings regarding the archaeological sites. My favorite by far was Teotihuacan, probably because I visited it at noon, when the heat is almost at its peak and the site was almost empty and very enjoyable.

I can’t say the same for Palenque, where the indisputable beauty of the ruins was spoiled by the overwhelming crowd and the incessant useless talks.

Despite the unfriendly weather, I enjoyed Tulum although, I confess, more for the overall scenery than the temples.

All in all, what I liked at most in Mexico is the people: friendly and welcoming, much more than what I experienced in Guatemala during the second leg of my journey.

What I didn’t like

mexico-Palenque

Palenque. Photo Courtesy Karma-Police on Flickr

Cancùn, and overall most of Quintana Roo. The huge buildings and over-touristy approach are definitely not my style. There are so many beautiful islands, awesome beaches and charming villages in the Mediterranean that I do not feel the need – nor the reason why – to cross the ocean to go to the beach.

Apart from a few things and places mentioned above, Mexico-City is likely one of the ugliest cities (to my taste, of course) I’ve been so far. Not to speak about the pollution, that gave me a hard time despite I live in Milan, which is not exactly the greenest place on earth.

Instead, I fell in love with Guatemala…

In the areas I visited the landscape left me lukewarm. I found it was nice, but… How differently I felt in Guatemala, where I was speechless in front of the amazing scenery of Lake Atitlan at dusk and captured by the magnificence of Tikal.

Altogether, I got the impression that Mexico was mostly focused on American tourists (quite normal, by the way), their tastes and travel style, which I’m afraid are rather far from European travel fashion.

So… Should I give Mexico a second chance?

Blue-whale-Baja-California

Blue whale, Loreto, Baja California Sur. Photo Courtesy Ken Bondy on Flickr

 

Well… Probably yes.

While I was writing I was also trying to understand why Mexico didn’t arouse my enthusiasm. Maybe I had wrong expectations, or maybe it was just not the right time to go. It’s hard to tell.

What I know is that if I’ll ever go back I’ll have to carefully chose my itinerary.

An area that really attracts me is Baja California, where I imagine having a wild journey and a road trip along the 1,700 km (1,100 miles) peninsula, exploring remote areas, seeing the whales and scuba diving.

 If I was to go back to Mexico, which are the wildest and most beautiful spots that I shouldn’t  miss?

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About Simon

Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing. Besides travel writing SImon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.
12 Comments
  • Falling in Love with Beautiful Europe... Again
    Posted at 19:24h, 16 January Reply

    […] I discovered Yemen (to date, still one of the most beautiful places I ever visited), I headed to Mexico (which did not impress me) and fell in love with the colors of Guatemala. Following my insatiable […]

  • Jessica J. Hill
    Posted at 15:04h, 25 April Reply

    I’ve only been to Cabo for a short vacation, but I’m going again in June for a friends wedding and I couldn’t be more excited. Despite the extensive tourism in Cabo San Lucas, I had a blast mingling with the locals I met there. They were really friendly and it gave me a good chance to practice my Spanish.

    I hope you’ll give it another try!

    • Simon Falvo
      Posted at 15:34h, 25 April Reply

      Yes, I definitely would like to explore Baja California. Some day… I’ll be back 🙂

  • Jayne Cravens
    Posted at 15:25h, 09 July Reply

    I went to Mexico with very low expectations – and loved it. Mexico City was as vibrant and fun as any up-and-coming Eastern European city that people are raving about, and its neighborhood of Coyoacán stole my heart – would love to spend a winter there! The Museo Nacional de Antropología was one of the best archeological museums I’ve ever seen. I took the main bus to Puebla – an air conditioned bus that included Internet access and a snack, something I’ve *never* experienced here in the USA – and enjoyed that city a lot as well, largely because of my excellent guide: a friend that moved there a few years ago and runs the site All About Puebla. I was there only a week in total, but am looking forward to going back for much longer!

  • Ayelet - All Colores
    Posted at 22:22h, 14 April Reply

    I haven’t been to Mexico, and I still love that you want to give it another chance. I imagine you have changed in 18 years – probably Mexico has too – and therefore, perhaps your experience of it would change too. If it’s at the expense of a location you dream of, I would go to the dream location first. If you’re curious what else Mexico has to offer and how different it might feel almost two decades later, why not? Worst case, you could always move on to Guatemala like you did back then… 🙂

  • crazy sexy fun traveler
    Posted at 21:50h, 12 April Reply

    I am surprised you didn’t like Mexico. I spent there 3 months last year traveling around and Mexico is my number 1 country in the world. You should visit some small villages and ruins, not the main ones 😉 And Isla Holbox for the whales for example.

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 18:08h, 12 April Reply

    I am American and I am not a fan of Mexico either. I, too, should probably give it a second chance someday.

  • Steph / TravelShark
    Posted at 23:39h, 11 April Reply

    This post had me quite bewildered. Thank you for sharing your insights though. Perhaps the timing of your trip to Mexico wasn’t just quite right? I’ve had that experience of hating a city the first time I went there and loving it the 2nd. It’s also knowing what you want to learn and experience on your travels. Perhaps Mexico wasn’t right for you then but going back in a year or five from now, you might find your experience to be vastly different.

    Don’t worry; there’re still plenty of amazing places in the world to travel to.

  • Laura
    Posted at 23:15h, 11 April Reply

    YES! You should give Mexico another chance!

    I think Mexico is a wonderfully diverse country. Of course, to be fair, I have never been to Cancun…

    Check out: Las Pozas, Laguna Bacalar, and Zitacuaro.

    The volcanos Miguel mentioned above are pretty awesome as well, though I’d add La Malinche to his list!

  • Leigh
    Posted at 19:53h, 11 April Reply

    I have loved kayaking out of Loreto on the Baja – 3X now and would absolutely love to go to the Copper Canyon.

    • Anuj
      Posted at 19:52h, 12 April Reply

      I second Leigh’s suggestion for Loreto and the surrounding area in Baja

  • Miguel
    Posted at 18:55h, 11 April Reply

    WOW! you didn’t fall in love with Mexico??? wow, Me and my family were discusing how Mexico had to offer the most amazing spots of latin america (very personal point of view obviously)anyway,it seems you did see the classic sites but i think that mexico is WAY TOO BIG to actully see in a few weeks. Even a month isn’t enough! But if i were to go back ( I used to live there when i was young) i’ld definately would check out the volcanos. (popcatepetle, itztatiwatle or nevado de toluca) trekking them is possible. San miguel de allende is pretty authentic and beautiful, and lets not forget the famous “dia de los muertos”. PURE MAJIC. I have to say that the sout of mexico especiallty Cancun is mostlly for USA’s easter break hot spot. but i guess with more time and patience, you can change your point of view. Didn’t the food just make you fall in love with the place?I know I did! 😀 hope you enjoy it more next time!

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