Saturday, February 22, 2014

Five Myths About Mexico

Five Myths About Mexico
Since beginning our Mexican adventure in 2003, I’ve learned a lot of things. Make that A LOT. Even though I’d visited Mexico many times before, I guess I hadn’t known the “Real Mexico”. There are many myths about Mexico. Some present the country in a positive light and others not so much. Here is our take.

Here are five myths about Mexico.

  1. It’s hot.
  2. Sure, there are parts of Mexico that are desert-like, however, where we live, it hails for a few days every year (except this year!?), goes down to 5 degrees at night in the winter (note that we don’t have any heating in our homes) and you can wear a long sleeve shirt all year long. Don’t get me wrong, Fall is my favourite time of the year and it is fall here. However, if you like the heat, or beach, San Cristobal de las Casas is not for you.

  3. It’s Dangerous.
  4. I’m not going to lie to you. On more than one occasion, persons of power (i.e. The Police) have implied and/or suggested that we pay them for wrongs that we did not commit. To date, we have never paid a cash bribe. Note that payment in cans of Coca Cola may have occurred. However, not once in all of our 15 trips (times 5,000km) have I felt that I was in personal danger. Not once. I may be adventurous but I don’t have a death wish.

  5. It’s Cheap.
  6. I’m currently writing a post about this so I won’t go into too much detail expect to say that yes, Mexico is cheap if you have a salary of $2,000 net per month. It not, well, cat food comes in a variety of flavours.

  7. That everyone drinks Tequila.
  8. Saying that people drink tequila is like saying Canadians eat poutine. Sure, we like poutine and people eat it but, not everyone, all the time. If you go to a party around here, you are more likely to find people drinking Brandy and/or Beer. And, when people do drink tequila, they sip it out of a glass like a fine liquor, not in a shot like lemonade.

  9. That people eat Nachos.
  10. Since arriving in San Cristobal de las Casas 11 years ago (where has the time gone), I have never had nachos. Not at a party, at a restaurant, or in my own home. Which is kind of sad because I really like nachos. There are lots of culinary regionalisms so I’m sure that some parts of the country eat nachos (the north perhaps?) but not around here.

    So there you have it, five myths about Mexico that have been busted.

    What Myths Have you Heard About Mexico?

    P.S. I’m currently working on a post titled “25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Mexico.”

42 thoughts on “Five Myths About Mexico

  1. Rene

    When I traveled to Mexico I spent over a month in San Cristobal – I loved the climate and the area. Now one that you don’t touch on….the groping. Now maybe it’s because it’s not a myth? I got groped a few times, but admittedly I was young(er) and cute(r) than I am now. (and that makes me certainly younger than you)

  2. francine

    1- I was surprised by this one. although it is still hot compared to a Canadian winter (based on Atlantic Canada.) so it might be a vacation sometime during the winter lol.
    2-there are dangerous places in every country. some have more danger than others for example I would rather go to Mexico than Sochi Russia right now.
    3-there are 4 of us living on less than that. (im a stay at home mom of 2 kids under 5 so we are all living on hubbies pay.) if its that expensive than maybe its not such a great vacation spot.
    4-i haven’t heard this one specifically but I did hear they drink a lot.
    5-I am also surprised by this one. do they eat tacos, burritos, and quesadillas or is that also a big myth?

  3. Savvy Working Gal

    I really enjoyed this post – I love myth busters especially about a place. I have created an “around the world in 80 books” reading challenge for myself where I read nonfiction books that take place in 80 different countries. I don’t have any ideas for Mexico. If you think or come across one I’d appreciate you letting me know.
    Savvy Working Gal recently posted…The Real Reason You Weren’t Invited Along on that Consulting TripMy Profile

    1. admin

      Dear Savvy,

      I’ve read and enjoyed Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory”. It is based on non-fiction and actually includes a pilgrimage to San Cristobal de las Casas (where we live). You could also read up on Frida Kahlo de Rivera. She was quite a character and we see her profile throughout the country.

      I love your challenge and can’t wait to read about all that you’ve learned. Please be sure to share your journey with us.

      Besos, Sarah

  4. Kristen D.

    I’ve never travelled to Mexico but will have to share this info with my husband who is nervous about travelling there.

  5. Peady

    I have never been to Mexico. Most of the people I know who *have* been there have been to resorts. I don’t think that’s the same as really being in a place.

    If I ever go, I want to go somewhere other than a resort and because of Rick Bayless and his undying love of Mexico, I pretty much would like to go wherever he is and hopefully he’ll be so flattered by this that he’ll feed me and my family. 😉

    Fun and informative post!
    Peady recently posted…And then a window opens…My Profile

  6. MrDisco

    I doubt I would want to visit Mexcio so long as the Canadian gov’t has it listed as “Exercise a high degree of caution” under its travel advisory.

  7. Tammi L

    I have to say that 1, 2 and 3 did surprise me… but I know that International Living has sure made Panama sound a lot cheaper than it really is too, so that shouldn’t have surprised me so much.

  8. Soozle

    Ha 🙂 Very cute… The “its dangerous everywhere!” myth is one I hear often. I have friends in Mazatlan and have travelled by myself out there (as a young single woman) to visit. I have never had an issues.

    Granted, I also abide by the rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it on holidays (IE wandering alone at 3 am or having too much to drink)

    1. admin

      Dear Soozle,

      Exactly. The great thing about “the rules” in Mexico is that they’re common sense and ones you would follow at home. Versus the ones that make no sense and you couldn’t guess them if you tried. Well, that happens a lot but not when it comes to safety.

      So happy to hear that you’ve experienced the same positive experiences that we have in Mexico.

      Besos, Sarah

  9. Tina F

    my mother went to Mexico and they were advised to not leave the area of where there were .My mom never went back again …you wonder why such things happen like this to travelers So sad one cannot be safe in many places ..As far as I have and had been hearing the dangerous part is that the gov is very corrupt and ingood with the drug cartel So they say

  10. Elva Roberts

    5 Myths about Mexico-It’s Hot.–I think many people, myself included, thought that Mexixo was very hot indeed. I was so surprised to learn that the weather is usually like our fall weather. I learn something new almost every day on these blogs!

  11. Brandee H

    So true about the temperature. I was so surprised by how cool it can be there in the mornings and evenings. But it has become my favourite climate!! And one I miss while shovelling snow!!! The danger issue is important as well. I always felt so safe.

  12. Debbie S.

    I’ve only been to Mexico once, and that was on a bus tour to Tijuana, and i’m pretty sure the driver got a kick back to have us shop at only particular stores! He had us very nervous to go anywhere but the stores he said.
    Yes, I’m shocked of the weather, as I thought it was hot, hot hot there! FYI it is -17C but windchills of _25C. This morning _30C when I got up! But spring is only 21 days away! YAH!
    I found this article very interesting and educational, as it seems the media only reports the negative!
    P.S. Oh, we eat nachos at least every 2 weeks!

  13. EM

    I’ve heard of the danger in Mexico. (The Police) Pretty scary story. I’ve never been yet but the ones who encountered the danger are very near and dear to me. I’m glad they are still here with me

  14. kelly

    i traveled to riviera maya with my 12 yr old son last year,i was nervouse to venture too far at first but once we went out on our own i realized that it is not dangerous to explore as long as you take reasonable prcautions.I found the people to be very friendly.

  15. Elva Roberts

    5 Myths about Mexico–It’s dangerous. For me, the jury is still out on this one. Despite your answer I really wouldn’t feel as safe as in Canada. I realize that probably 90% of the people are really good people(like Ireland) but it’s the small minority and the authorities I would have concerns.

  16. Ferenc Kunszt

    I still find a lot of the news about the crime and drug issues off-putting, so probably still avoiding it this year. Good article though!

  17. Elizabeth Friesen

    Like many, I’ve heard that Mexico can be dangerous, especially for tourists! Nice to have that myth debunked!!! 😀

  18. Joseph Marchionda

    I’ve definitely heard a lot of these myths before…good to have another opinion from someone with experience!

  19. HEIDI C.

    I have to admit that it is often presented in the media that Mexico is a very dangerous place. I am glad to hear that that is an exaggeration.

  20. A.Smith

    I think lots of the dangers are hyped up. I went to Puerto Vallarta a while back and didn’t feel threatened or in fear once during the entire trip. We had a blast actually.

  21. Karen E. Hill

    Its not a myth if you hear that the drivers area all crazy. In Mexico city you take your life in your hands in a txi and they basically ignore the rules of the road.

    1. admin

      Dear Karen,

      You raise a really good point and one I’d already added to my upcoming “25 Things you Need to Know Before Visiting Mexico” post.

      While I’m not 100% sure of the rules (I did spend some time on Google), I have been told that the law in Mexico is that cars and NOT PEOPLE have the right of way. Regardless of the law, based on my observations (and yours), it appears that this is the “rules of the road”. In a Mexican way, it makes sense. If it were the other way around, where we live, no one would get anywhere.

      Bottom line, do not assume that the driver will stop, swerve or slow down. Assume that they will go the wrong way on a one way street (happens on our street several times a day) and you’ll be safer for it.

      Besos, Sarah

  22. Susan T.

    Isn’t it funny that when you actually live in a place it can be completely different than what you expected? I didn’t know that parts of Mexico weren’t super hot and I would be sad not to have nachos too. Are nachos actually Mexican or are they an American invention?

  23. Ali P

    Always heard how dangerous Mexico is, but when we went to Cabo 3 years ago, we wandered into the town after dark and had no problems. The locals are super friendly, and we felt totally safe there!


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