5 Things to Know Before You Visit Mexico
May 16 2017
Having grown up in Europe, I didn’t have so many preconceptions about Mexico as compared to say, someone who spent their childhood in the U.S. That’s not to say there weren’t things that surprised me when visiting Mexico; indeed, I had some of my stereotypes shattered, too. Here are five fun, interesting, cool, and useful things I learnt about this amazing country that you should know before visiting Mexico, too!
There’s WiFi Everywhere
Mexico is a generally technologically-advanced country. Unsurprisingly, many people have smartphones, and every single cafe or restaurant I visited there had WiFi. Just ask for the password and it will be given. Many public places in cities have free WiFi, too, including squares, parks, shopping malls, and museums, usually without the need for a password at all.
It Has a Rich Cultural Heritage
Mexican history goes back long before the Spanish arrived. The area that now makes up Mexico was inhabited, ruled, and influenced by the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Aztec, and Maya civilisations for approximately 3000 years before Europeans came to the Americas. And indeed, compared to some other North American countries, Mexico has retained some significant relics of its precolonial history. Most obvious of these are the ruins, such as Tulum and Palenque, just to name two in the Yucatan peninsula.
There are also currently around 1.5 million speakers of Nahuatl, the most commonly spoken language at the time of colonisation, and another one million Mexicans speak a Mayan language, so it is certainly possible to hear people speaking languages other than Spanish in Mexico, which is another reminder of the country’s past.
Not Everywhere Is Hot
Don’t be fooled into thinking that, due to its latitude, everywhere you’re going to visit in Mexico is hot. It’s not! Many places in central Mexico are at a high altitude, meaning they get very intense sun during the day, but are quite cold at night. I found this particularly the case in San Cristobal de las Casas, but also noticeable in Oaxaca and Mexico City. Of course, in contrast, the lower and coastal regions of Mexico do get very hot and humid, so make sure you pack accordingly when planning a trip.
The Food Really Is Amazing
Again, perhaps I’m showing my Europeanness since I didn’t have much good information to go on about Mexican food, but it really is fantastic! Being such a bio-diverse country, pretty much everything grows in Mexico, so ingredients are incredibly fresh and varied.
Of course, the cuisine varies considerably around the country, but there are many staples that are common throughout, such as corn (in all its colourful varieties), squashes, avocado, and naturally, chilies. The beauty of Mexican cuisine is that it is often very customisable, as it usually consists of things being layered on top of each other. This is great if you’re vegan like me, since you can easily ask for things to be left off, removed, or replaced without any fuss!
It’s Perhaps Not As Cheap As You Imagine
Certainly, you can travel very cheaply in Mexico if you put your mind to it; and some things, such as groceries, public transport, and street food are indeed very cheap compared to Europe or the U.S. For example, a single journey on the Mexico City metro costs just M$5 (about 0.25 EUR or USD). However, other things – especially if you want a reasonable level of comfort, such as eating out, accommodation, and intercity travel – are not necessarily dirt cheap. For comparison, prices are perhaps similar to travelling in the Czech Republic or Costa Rica
Have you ever been to Mexico? If so, do you have any suggestions or tips for people? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!