Mexico has always held a special place in our hearts and our stomachs, ever since we went there and ate fresh corn soaked in queso and lime juice.
We heard that Joe Diaz, founder of the ever popular AFAR Magazine, was also partial to a little Mexican fiesta, so we sat down and chatted about what makes this south-of-the-border country so special. If you haven’t been, make this the year. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. If you need more convincing, check out this video we shot last year. It’s basically all our favourite bits of Mexico rolled into one delicious video-burrito.
1. The friendliest locals you’ll ever meet
The friendliness of the Mexican people is among the highest in the world. Everywhere you go someone will be there willing to lend a helping hand. Churros El Convento is one of my favorite highlights, which captures the friendly spirit of the Mexican people.
2. Great value for money
Your dollar can go a long way in Mexico and the price to value ratio is high. (Remember what Warren Buffett says, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”) As you travel into the interior of Mexico and away from major beach destinations, you’ll notice the difference in prices. Two of my favorite areas are San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato.
3. The food. Just the food.
I can’t say enough about the freshness, flavors, diversity and quality of Mexican food. Every region brings its own distinct traditions. From roadside stands to Michelin-starred restaurants, Mexico is home to some of the world’s best food. Sayulita is my recommendation for the world’s best shrimp burrito. And when in Mexico City you need to eat at Dulce Patria and Anatol.
4. That stunning Pacific coastline
I love Mexico’s Pacific coast. There is so much coastline to explore. One of my favorite spots is the area around Puerto Vallarta. The small villages north and south of the city bring you back to a calm and tranquil state of mind. One of my top beach towns is Sayulita, which is about 45 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta. Here is a quick guide to Puerto Vallarta.
5. A chance to escape from it all
Mexico has always had a reputation of being one of the world’s best hideouts. From the beaches of Tulum and Oaxaca to the haciendas in the Yucatan. You won’t have to search long and hard to find your perfect escape. La Casa Que Canta was one of my hideaways this year. And for our Editor in Chief, Julia Cosgrove, her “go to” is Amansala in Tulum.
6. Fascinating indigenous cultures
Spending time in Chiapas, I developed a love for, and a fascination with, Mexico’s indigenous culture. The textiles are beautifully hand-woven and the people here use clothes and patterns as form of communication. Chiapas isn’t one of Mexico’s most traveled areas, so the opportunity to get off the beaten path and beneath the surface is at your fingertips.
7. Music you can’t help but dance to
From mariachi to modern rock, Mexico knows how to play infectious tunes. Head to Guadalajara to spend time in the place that calls mariachi home. Or when you’re in Mexico City, take a trip to Plaza Garibaldi. If modern is more your style, download some of Mana’s best tracks.
8. Tequila and Mescal, your new best friends
I’m a huge fan of these truly Mexican spirits. And it takes a trip to Jalisco and Oaxaca to begin to understand the depth and variety of flavors tequila and mescal affords. Shake off your awful memories of getting drunk on Cuervo as a teenager and begin to explore the quality of real 100% agave-made tequila. You’ll leave the hangover at home.
9. Some of the most impressive ruins in the world
Mexico is home to some of the richest archaeological sites in the world. Thousands of pyramids dot its landscape with the most famous near Tulum and Mexico City. This year I visited the pyramids of Teotihuacan and Guachimontones. To begin to comprehend the knowledge and vision it took to construct these will take your breath away.
Find out what all the fuss is about. Check out our range of Mexico small group trips.
Feature image c/o Russ Bowling, Flickr