Mexico stole my heart the moment I stepped off the plane. The upbeat music, the language, the vivid colors. Of the countries I have visited thus far in my life, Mexico has the richest and most unique culture I have ever encountered. The energy in this country is contagious and spreads through your body like it’s in your blood.
I spent three of my four visits to Mexico on the Yucatán Peninsula, so I can really only speak to that region of the country- but I do intend on traveling other parts of Mexico at some point as well. Here are fifteen reasons you should visit Mexico:
It will teach you to face your fears. For people who are timid about traveling to foreign countries, Mexico seems absolutely terrifying. There are always stories about drugs, murders, and gang crimes sensationalized on the news and pictures shared of armed guards and their dogs. The truth is that most of the crime that does occur is near the US border- far away from you (Mexico is a huge country!). And yes, there are armed guards and security checkpoints that are pretty intimidating, but if you are not up to anything illegal, those guards are as nice and friendly as the next person. In short, go to Mexico, live your life, face your fears.
Incredible cenotes. Cenotes (sen-oh-tays) are basically just giant holes in the ground. But even giant holes in the ground are breathtaking in Mexico! These photos are from my visit to the Ik Kil Cenote.
Beautiful and talented people. Mexico is home to many talented, interesting, and all-around lovely people. I honestly wish I had spent more time getting to know the locals- that will be a priority next time I find myself there.
Medical services are actually pretty great. I know, there are many horror stories about Mexican hospitals and medical care- and even the most cautious, protected people can wind up having those types of experiences. However, when you have solid travel insurance and good credit, the private hospitals in Mexico are as advanced and sterile as they are in Canada. My sister (I have so many great travel stories about this gal) fell off a hammock and smashed her face on the concrete the very first night we arrived in Mexico. She was beat up pretty bad and had to be transported out of the hotel to a hospital… in a taxi… at night… in Mexico. Sounds pretty horrific, right? Well after my parents could prove they had insurance and at least $2000 USD, my sister received top notch care in an advanced medical facility. Bottom line: my sister only had a busted lip, and don’t let travel horror stories keep you away!
Chichen Itza. On one hand, this place is a bit of a tourist trap, so keep that in mind. On the other hand, Chichen Itza is one of the new seven wonders of the world and certainly deserves that ranking. The magnitude of the site and structures and the history and science behind it all will make your mind race.
Wildlife. Iguanas, opossums, monkeys, porcupines, agoutis, and the list goes on. Mexico is teeming with little critters that are fun to photograph.
Mayan culture and history is fascinating. Ancient Mayans were smart. I mean really, really smart. What these people discovered about space and astronomy is absolutely enthralling. The temple at Chichen Itza is essentially a giant calendar/clock and each of the many Mayan ruins tells a unique story about their history. If you only go to Mexico for one reason, make it this one.
Turquoise waters. Need I say more?
Playa Del Carmen. A vibrant, bustling community. Spend an afternoon shopping on Fifth Avenue and eating authentic Mexican cuisine in a locally owned cafe.
The food. Who doesn’t love Mexican food? Enchiladas, burritos, tacos, refried beans, nachos, tortas, rice, corn…so many wonderful flavors, and the spicier the better! Above is my sister’s reaction trying authentic Mexican food for the first time in a little roadside hut, and needless to say, she loved it.
The plant life. Mexico is a dream for a botany enthusiast (I would assume, I am not one by any means) or nature photographer; the flowers and trees are simply lovely.
Tulum. Mayan ruins situated on tall cliffs looking over the Caribbean Sea; it’s like something straight out of a movie. Tulum, in my opinion, is the most beautiful ancient site in Mexico.
When it rains, it is still gorgeous. Rainfall in Mexico only makes everything more vivid and beautiful.
The sunsets. They speak for themselves. (Hint: the sunrises are equally as magical!)
There is adventure around every corner. Whether you’re trekking through ruins, kayaking, zip lining, snorkeling, hiking, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, speed boating, cenote diving, rappelling, windsurfing, taking a dance lesson, strolling through a small community, or experiencing the nightlife in Cancun, Mexico has something for everybody.
I sincerely hope this article inspires you to visit Mexico, one of my favorite countries. It upsets me when scary stories of tourists getting into trouble or Mexico’s current drug-related crime issues turn people away. Bad things can happen anywhere you travel, it is a risk you have to accept and prepare for. Be safe, be smart, and remember you are in a foreign country so you must respect their customs.