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Why I Went to Mexico

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Have you been to Mexico? I never had, until a surprise trip sent me down the Mazatlan, Mexico last weekend!

This was my first trip south of the border, which is kind of weird because Mexico is RIGHT there hanging out by California and Texas. Basically I’ve been to China, Iceland and Australia, but I never bothered to visit my next door neighbors with the tequila bar and endless supply of guacamole. I don’t have any real excuse either, it’s just never really happened.

Thank goodness this has been remedied! Here are the reasons I went to Mexico, and that I’m so very glad I finally did:

I Was Invited

I may call myself a budget traveler, but I’m an opportunist at heart. I’ve been wanting to visit Mexico for years, so when the Mexican Tourism Board invited me on an all expense paid weekend getaway* I had to think about it for about negative 2 seconds before I jumped.

The even was a travel “tweet-up” (right up my alley), in the beach resort town of Mazatlan. With a quick google search I was able to discover that Mazatlan, on the pacific coast of Mexico, is most famous as the “shrimp capital of the world”, and as the birthplace of the ubiquitous spring break bar Senor Frogs. Intriguing…

Mexican Food!!

If you know me in person at all you probably know about my deep and demanding love for mexican cuisine. This passion has lead me to seek out mexican food all over the world- I’ve eaten subpar quesadillas everywhere from England to Vietnam. Nothing compared with the mexican food in the United States… until now.

Mexican mexican food was every bit as awesome as I’d imagined. Fresh and festive and locally sourced, much of it from the ocean we were sitting right next to. I’m not a big fish person- but the shrimp… shrimp ceviche, shrimp tacos, by the second night when Mike and I found ourselves ordering a towering pile of seafood called the Shrimp Boat, we realized we may have overdone it.

Not to mention the steak tacos, the barbacoa, the guacamole (drool). Or the ubiquitous taquerias we were constantly passing. If and when I do go back to mexico I’m going to be in serious danger of eating the entire country.

Beeeeeeach

Aside from the food, this is the major region why people head to Mexico right? I didn’t get to hang out much at the beach in Mazatlan (I may have been slightly more enamored of the swim up pool bar- I know, I know, but…swim up bar!) but I could tell it was pretty spectacular.

Mazatlan has on of the longest beaches in Mexico. The water is really, ridiculously warm and beautiful. The best part of being on the pacific coast is, of course, the sunsets:

I’m Not Afraid of Mexico

I’ve been a lot of places in the world, but I think I got more negative reactions by telling people I was going to Mexico then any other place combined. There are some serious misconceptions going on about the safety level of tourists in that country- which is, I suspect, part of why I was invited in the first place.

I’m not dumb or careless, I know there is a serious drug war going on in Mexico right now, so before I got on any planes to anywhere I did my research. I think that it’s always important to separate the hard facts from the media spin, and what I discovered through is that as long as you aren’t involved in any drug war activity, Mexico is just as safe for tourists as most international destinations and many domestic ones.

This was confirmed by my experiences in Mazatlan. Although I did see a few intense looking police-soldier guys with guns, I didn’t feel unsafe at any point during my trip. This includes the afternoon when Mike and I skipped out on the pre-arranged activities and decided to wander around downtown Mazatlan on our own.

Which isn’t to say you should fly off to Juarez right now or anything. As in most places, your level of safety depends on where you go. I just think it’s wise to check out the actual facts for yourself before you declare a place unfit for visitors.

I only got to spend 3 nights in Mexico this time around, so it really just served as an appetizer (maybe some metaphorical nachos or chips and salsa) of what the country is all about. It’s beautiful, it’s interesting and the people were some of the friendliest I’ve met. I’m dying to see and experience more of Mexico: the local foods, the local culture, the smaller, out of the way places. I’m not sure when I’ll be back down South, but something tells me it might not be too long from now at all.

 

* Disclosure: As you’ve probably gathered, my trip to Mazatlan was sponsored by the Mexican Tourism Board, however all opinions are my own.

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30 Responses to Why I Went to Mexico

  1. Sofia - As We Travel July 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM #

    oh so jealous! I dream of visiting Mexico, and tasting some (lots) of that yummy Mexican food!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

      I’m sure you’ll get there eventually!

  2. Tom July 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM #

    Ohmygod the food in your photos looks amazing! All I want right now is to take some shrimp, slather it in guacamole and wash it down with a taco (and maybe some tequila ;) )

    You lucky girl for getting invited, too! Sounds like you had an amazing time there!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

      That was pretty much my diet all weekend. It was heavenly.

  3. Beata July 31, 2011 at 10:51 AM #

    Hey,
    You are right that there is so many stories around about the war and other dangerous things in Mexico. I heard so many of them and they made me a little concern.
    Therefore, I am so glad to hear that this Mexico is perfectly fine as a travel destination. I assume it’s just like any other place, you have to keep your eyes open trust your instincts :)

    We are going there for a few weeks in January and we planning to have good time:)

    Thanks for the post!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

      That’s great- enjoy your time in January!

  4. Nancy July 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM #

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed yourself, and I really enjoyed meeting you! Mazatlan is a unique beach destination as it isn’t a tourist town, sizable shrimp and tuna fleets, it is the home of several large Mexican corporations, and it has a historic downtown. I’m glad you got a chance to explore Centro.

    Saludos!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:30 PM #

      hank you, it was lovely to meet you as well!

  5. Natalia July 31, 2011 at 12:16 PM #

    All good reasons to go to Mexico! I have been to Mexico a few times, and loved it every single one of them. It is extremely sad that the violent image is getting over the entire country…

  6. Nomadic Samuel July 31, 2011 at 5:55 PM #

    Mexico has a bad reputation for safety but I think that is largely media driven. Many of my friends who have traveled there raved about the experience. I can relate to your point of not visiting somewhere that is right next door. I think it’s the idea that you can ‘always’ do it that erodes at the sense of urgency to just go.

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:29 PM #

      I think you are right- I mean Mexico isn’t going anywhere we can just popover whenever.

  7. Christine July 31, 2011 at 6:54 PM #

    I haven’t been to Mexico either–which is ridiculous, since I really do live next-door as a country–but we can get great Mexican food in California and I know far too many Mexican immigrants in California who have horror stories of the drug war that is currently going on. It’s hard for me to go to a country for beaches and cheap drinks when I know that the locals there are enduring something SO different than what is going on in the resorts!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:29 PM #

      I totally get where you are coming from. Honestly I’m not much of a resort person, and when I return i expect to travel much closer to the ground.

  8. Danielle July 31, 2011 at 9:47 PM #

    I visited Mexico last year when the border violence seemed to be everywhere in the American media. Everyone thought I was crazy, but I was going to Los Cabos– over a thousand miles away from the border. Like you said, you just need to do your research. I never felt unsafe during my stay either.

    Oh and I agree x100 about the locals being some of the friendliest. Everybody I encountered was so sociable and happy. I really can’t wait to return.

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:27 PM #

      It’s such a big country- worrying about the border violence in Cabo is like worrying about the violence in LA when you are in Chicago.

  9. Alouise July 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM #

    I went to Cancun in May for my cousin’s wedding. It was my first time in Mexico as well. Considering how cold winter gets in Canada I can’t believe this was my first trip to Mexico. I loved it and only wish I could have stayed longer. I didn’t have any safety concerns where I was at, but even when I got home I still had friends express disbelief that I could have gone to Mexico.

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:26 PM #

      Oooh Cancun. I do want to see the other coast of Mexico now.

  10. Sheryll August 1, 2011 at 1:16 AM #

    Mexican food is hands down the best type of cuisine in the entire world. So awesome you finally got to visit!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:25 PM #

      It is truly the best food on earth. No contest.

  11. Kristina August 1, 2011 at 4:07 PM #

    Mexico!

    I’m glad you added that little part (“I’m Not Afraid Of Mexico”) because you addressed a concern on many people’s minds. I must admit that I would be a little wary of going to Mexico, but it looks like you had a wonderful time!

    Wonderful post!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:25 PM #

      Yeah, I think it’s important for people to examine their fears and learn the reality of the situation.

  12. Leslie August 1, 2011 at 8:36 PM #

    I’m glad Mexico Tourism is reaching out to bloggers. What a great way to get the word out that Mexico is safe for tourists!

    • Steph August 1, 2011 at 10:23 PM #

      I’m hoping more tourism boards will realize how influential and useful bloggers can be.

  13. Claire August 1, 2011 at 11:03 PM #

    I am currently experiencing guacamole withdrawals after eating it every other day over the span of a month in Nicaragua. Now I am back home where the ingredients are not as fresh or cheap :( So I’m with you on the food!

  14. Martine Destination Terre August 2, 2011 at 8:44 AM #

    I’ve been to Mexico and Ecatepec, which is not the most friendly place in the city… but it was great! Loved it! As for many other places around the world, you just have to be relax and not watch over your shoulders all the time. Act natural and nothing will happened. Act like a scared tourist and you will probably attract bad news…
    Anyway, loved Mexico, wish I could go back for the food (oh yes!), Teotihuacan (beautiful), the people, the crazy taxi drivers, everything!
    (sorry if any mistakes, my written english is a little bit rusty!)

  15. Amanda August 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM #

    Great to see such a positive review of Mexico! We need more of these.

    It sounds like your weekend getaway was tons of fun! Now you have me drooling over some of your photos…

  16. Michael August 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM #

    I could use another boat of shrimp right now…

  17. Jill October 25, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

    How did you get an all-expenses paid trip to go to Mexico? I would die for that opportunity! Any suggestions?

    • Steph October 25, 2011 at 9:50 PM #

      HI Jill, the Mexican tourism board invited me. I’m not sure what their exact criteria was, but I suspect it’s because I’ve been around quite awhile, have a pretty decent following and am active on twitter. I wish I could tell you more but PR is still a mystery to me!

  18. Megan March 12, 2014 at 3:29 PM #

    More and more lately I’ve been thinking about making Mexico my next stop! I’m really enjoying reading your true life accounts of the wonderful country and cuisine!

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