Photo Credit: Raul Juarez
How To Make The Most Out Of Your Time In Mexico - Advice From A Black Expat
Whether it’s your first trip or you’re a regular in the land of Mexico, everyone needs a reminder to make the most of their time in Mexico. Traveling to Mexico is one of those experiences that you remember for a lifetime. Living as a nomad or an expat in the country will teach some things about traveling and yourself.
As one of the favored locations for Black travelers looking to reside in Latin America, there are a few things to keep in mind when making the move. Here is how to make the most of your (surely life-changing) time in Mexico.
Travel around, often
First things first, you know a trip to Mexico begs a little road trip. Whether you travel by ADO (the main bus service around the country) or you’re catching flights, it is really worth seeing the different faces of Mexico.
Mexico is a very easy country to travel around and it is a gorgeous place to wander. In my 8 months in Mexico, I really valued the fact that I went against my original plan of staying in Oaxaca city and moved to Chiapas, then Veracruz, then the Caribbean coast and Mexico City – and there is so much more to see.
Once in the country, you realise quickly how beautiful it is to experience the different cultures, indigenous languages, architecture and food (of course). There is a lot of Mexico that I wasn’t prepared for because no-one talks about it. It is my number one advice to see it for yourself, but as slowly as possible so you can truly take it in beyond the tourist sites – more on that later.
Try as much regional food as you can
Mexican cuisine is some of the best in the world. The obvious thing to do is to try the regional, authentic and locally sourced foods rather than the tourist-designated spots. A few local tips I have picked up along the way from my travels:
When in Veracruz, try out mariscos (seafood), it is said to be the very best in the country
When in Oaxaca, try Tlayudas, memelas and Hungus (a specific flavoursome mushroom)
When in Valladolid, try everything because it is definitely a top location for foodies and lovers of traditional dishes. Especially try regional Jicama and Horchata drink.
When in the Yucatán peninsula definitely get platanos machos (fried plantain)
I had the best tamales in Chiapas and also, curiously, the best Indian food I have had in my life. So far Mexico City and San Cristóbal de las Casas have had the most international influence in the dishes.
But watch out to avoid food poisoning
So, without scaring you off the country, food poisoning or an upset stomach from water is very common for travelers visiting Mexico. There are definitely many ways to avoid this, but it is worth being mindful!
There is so much to see but realistically, you can’t see it all. Certainly not on one trip. My best recommendation is to see the most of the state you are in and the nearby state. Traveling around Mexico will alert you to the reality of travel burn out. To avoid overwhelming yourself, accept the grandness that is Mexico, that is the country that feels like several countries within one, that is as eclectic as it is wondrous and as big as Europe itself. You wouldn’t hope to see all of Europe in a single month or even 6, Mexico deserves a similar relaxed pace to properly take it in.
Indulge in the priceless naturaleza
Cenotes in the Yucatán peninsula, dense jungles and waterfalls in Chiapas, deserts in Baja California Sur; there is so much biodiversity in Mexico. The country is known for having some of the most impressive displays of nature. Traveling or living in Mexico for any amount of time is sure to surprise you with the diversity. With this comes the opportunity to try something out of your comfort zone such as free diving in cenotes or hiking.