My first experience of Mexico was when I was 10. Ready for a relaxing beach holiday in Cancún, we thought it would be a great idea to book during the hurricane season: cheaper flights and of course, the thrill of impending doom. 2 hours after landing, we were back on another plane out of the country after finding our hotel was no longer a building, but a pile of rubble and soggy mattresses.
Second time lucky goes the saying, right? Well, this time, after only a day in Mexico City, I’d already managed to drag my poor boyfriend Stuart (or Estuardo if you want to Spanish it up) along to a police station and prosecutor’s office because I broke travelling rule number one: never leave your phone hanging out of your pocket in a busy metro station. Awkward times when you’re then stuck on the carriage with the pick-pocket until the next station. But hey, jokes on him because the phone was about to break anyway. To top the day off, a dog then weed on my bag.
Reporting my first crime <3
Now this doesn’t sound like a very convincing argument to persuade you that Mexico is a great travelling destination and not to worry about the scary stories about crime and safety on the news. But trust me, 6 weeks travelling around Mexico was way more than just a pickpocket and a dog peeing on my bag – so here’s my top 4 destinations in the most beautifully diverse country I have been lucky enough to visit.
1. Mexico City (or as I like to call it, The Big Avocado, because why should only New York get a fruity name?)
My diet consisted of the three Ts: Tacos, Tortas and Tequila
The capital was so huge we went back three times during our time there just to see our Lonely Planet guide’s top picks. Highlights included my first visit to an Aztec archaeological sight (apparently the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlán was re-built seven times – that’s perseverance) and putting on a stone in taco weight because 5 chorizo tacos for $20 (about 90p) is a steal. If it’s less than a Boots meal deal, you know you’re onto a winner.
Pyramids of Giza got nothing of Mexico
The town itself was nothing but a strip of hotels, but its Mayan ruins set in the jungle were so Tomb Raider-esque, I plaited my hair in homage to Ms Croft. Staying in a sweaty jungle cabin next to a river and hearing monkeys in the trees was pretty cool, but the most memorable part was the nudist cooking dinner as if that were totally the status quo. I salute you naked girl – I was very jealous that you didn’t have to sweat like the rest of us clothed fools.
‘One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor’
Turns out the best way to get through a bumpy, hot and sweaty two hour bus journey is to be hot, sweaty and drunk after a disgusting amount of tequila. Not just the slammer you get in Ocean on a mad one, Tequila is actually a dusty town in central Mexico where the drink comes from. We went on a distillery tour and I can say I definitely learnt a lot and remember all that I learnt on the tasting tour (ahem) – it comes to something when even the tour leader is drunk.
4. Isla Mujeres
Holiday brochure worthy
Ok, so the first day there was a horrendous storm, but the rest of the time there, the sea was that blue you see in a Thomas Cook brochure. No filter needed on my Instagrams. We went snorkelling and drank rum out of a coconut and I felt like I should be on Gossip Girl.
Cities. Jungles. Deserts. Beaches. Mexico was awesome.
Edited by India-Jayne Trainor