Mexico, with its rich culture, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality, is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. However, like any travel destination, it has its unique aspects and nuances that can catch visitors off guard. Here are five common mistakes tourists make when traveling to Mexico, and how to avoid them
1. Underestimating the Size and Diversity:
Mexico is a vast country with diverse regions, each offering a distinct experience. A common mistake is assuming that one visit can cover it all. Research and plan your trip according to your interests, whether it's exploring historic cities, relaxing on the beaches, or immersing in indigenous cultures.
One often underestimated gem is the wintering spectacle of monarch butterflies in the state of Michoacán. Every year, millions of these magnificent butterflies gather in the temperate forests, creating a breathtaking natural phenomenon. To truly appreciate the wonder of this event, take a moment to watch the inspiring video below of a trip that we recently made to this part of Mexico.
2. Not Learning Basic Spanish Phrases:
While many Mexicans working in the tourism industry speak English, learning a few basic Spanish phrases can greatly enhance your experience. It shows respect for the local culture and can be incredibly helpful in non-touristy areas. You don't want to miss out on ordering this delicious tomahawk steak because you weren't sure how to order it!
It's easy to overpack, but Mexico's climate can vary significantly. Bringing too many clothes can be a burden, especially if you're planning to move around. A perk of packing light is avoiding having to check your luggage on a flight, eliminating the risk of losing your luggage in transit. You also avoid having to pay checked-luggage fees. Pack light, versatile clothing, and don't forget essentials like sunscreen and insect repellent.
The picture below is from our trip to Cuba, where we may have overpacked a little!
4. Ignoring Local Food:
One of the highlights of visiting Mexico is its incredible cuisine. A common mistake is sticking to familiar international fast-food chains. Embrace local food, from street tacos to regional specialties, but also exercise caution with street vendors to avoid stomach issues. When exploring local cuisine in Mexico, it's wise to gravitate toward bustling food vendors. This approach guarantees two key advantages: Firstly, you're more likely to savor delicious dishes, and secondly, the rapid turnover of food minimizes the chances of exposure to undesirable germs.
To inspire your culinary adventures, we've created several food videos to help you explore off-the-beaten-path spots in Mexico. For an authentic Mexico City street food experience, check out this video: Off the beaten Path Street Food Tour Mexico City Centro Historico. And if you're planning a visit to San Miguel de Allende, don't miss our guide to the "5 Must-Have Tacos (and 1 Tostada) in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico": Watch the video. These videos will lead you to mouthwatering, local delights that you won't want to miss during your Mexican adventure.
5. Exchanging Cash Instead of Using ATMs:
One of the common financial missteps travelers make in Mexico is exchanging cash for pesos at currency exchange counters, airports, or hotels. To get the best exchange rates and minimize fees, it's advisable to withdraw pesos directly from your bank account using ATMs in Mexico.
To help you navigate this process efficiently, consider watching a helpful YouTube video we recently made as we exposed an ATM scam and shared tips on saving money while withdrawing pesos. The video, titled "Mexico ATM Scam Exposed: Save more while withdrawing Pesos: Top Things to do in the Jardín Ep2," can be found at this link: Watch the video. It provides valuable insights into which banks' ATMs charge the lowest fees and how to make the most of your currency exchange while exploring beautiful Mexico.
Bonus: Avoiding All-Inclusive Resorts:
While all-inclusive resorts offer convenience, they can limit your exposure to the real Mexico. Consider mixing your stay with some local experiences to gain a more well-rounded perspective. In San Miguel de Allende, we welcome you to stay with us at Antigua Capilla Boutique B&B. Book with us here.
By avoiding these common mistakes and approaching your trip with an open mind, you can fully appreciate the beauty and culture that Mexico has to offer. Embrace the diversity, try the local flavors, and engage with the friendly locals, and you'll create lasting memories of your Mexican adventure.
Francisco and Antonieta, your hosts