It’s hard to believe we’re already at the end of June and our Mexico adventure is nearly done.
Almost, but not quite. More on that in a moment!
From now on, we want to start keeping these monthly travel updates so A. we’re not constantly repeating ourselves to interested friends and family and B. as much as we love writing detailed blog posts about everything we’ve seen or done, we just don’t have the time. Hopefully, these updates will serve as an interesting summary of what we’ve been up to each month and we will also share our plans for what’s coming next. Because we’ve got big plans for what’s next!
Anyway, back to what we’ve been up to in June. We started the month in the vibrant Guadalajara, Mexico’s second most populous city, where we enjoyed all the benefits of big city life over the small coastal towns where we had been for the previous two months. We stayed in two different hostels, one good, one really not good, plus a last minute night in a lovely hotel when we decided we couldn’t stay in the ‘not so good’ hostel for another night.
Sometimes you just have to accept you’re not going to get the shot all to yourself
Initially we enjoyed the lower temperatures and humidity that being inland offered. Until an uncharacteristic heatwave struck and we were back to melting and taking several showers a day. We tried local delicacies such as ‘pozole’ (pork broth with cabbage) and ‘Birria’ (spicy goat stew) and of course sampled the tequila that Guadalajara is probably most famous for. We even got to see the annual tequila festival where local distilleries proudly display their best agave plants and everyone generally celebrates the wonder that is tequila. We checked out cathedrals and impressive colonial buildings, went to a VIP cinema and mall as well as sampling the local craft markets.
Venturing a bit further afield we spent a day visiting the beautiful city of Tlaquepaque and mourned our inability to stockpile the gorgeous arts and crafts due to traveling with just 40 litre backpacks that now barely contain our clothes.
Goofing around in Guadalajara
Easily the highlight of our stay in Guadalajara was meeting up and spending time with our friends Pablo and Eva who made us feel so welcome and shared their city with us. Without doubt, no matter where we go and irrespective of how amazing or beautiful a place is, it’s always the people you meet that make a place really special and cement it in your heart. Pablo and Eva did that for us in Guadalajara.
We reluctantly moved on from Guadalajara to discover the highly acclaimed cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel De Allende. Both of these cultural gems, so rich in colour and history lived up to expectation and, despite sore legs from walking up and down the steep hillsides, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring them. Apart from the ‘mummies museum’ that is. We really can’t say we enjoyed that experience.
The views worth the climb
We then headed south, via Mexico City, to the state of Oaxaca (pronounced Wuh-haa-ka), celebrated for it’s bio-diversity, indigenous people and food. Our cosy Air bnb had excellent wifi which meant that we were finally able to take a breath and focus on some work projects, as well as watch the start of the football World Cup.
With over two weeks to delve into all that the capital Oaxaca City had to offer, we didn’t need to rush and took our time exploring the ‘must dos’. Petrified waterfalls and swimming in natural infinity pools in the jungle, climbing up 2000 year old pyramids, sampling locally made artesianal mezcal and all seven types of ‘mole’ sauce were just some of the highlights. We’ve learned that Mexico really isn’t the place to come to if you’re trying to lose weight.
Hierve el Agua, one of only two petrified waterfalls in the world and utterly enchanting
It’s also worth mentioning that not for one moment have we felt unsafe anywhere we’ve stayed. If we had to choose the place we felt the least comfortable in, it would be the tourist trap town of Puerto Vallarta, and that’s only because we stood out as visitors and therefore couldn’t avoid attention from anyone trying to make a living from tourists. In Guadalajara particularly, which surprised us with it’s diversity of appearance, we blended in, and were often mistaken for locals. At least until we unleashed our broken Spanish, which always gave us away.
Our experience so far has been that this is an incredible country, with it’s friendly and hard working people undeserving of the sweeping generalisations made against it. Beware believing all that you see in the media! You’d be forgiven for thinking, as we did, that the U.S is anti Mexico with all the hype about walls and immigration camps. We’ve been amazed to find that more than two million North Americans live here and that number is on the rise. What an extraordinary thing then that there is so much anti Mexico hype – and that it doesn’t appear to be reciprocated.
So where do we go from here? Well, for the last two weeks of our 5 month trip, we have decided to move to the Oaxacan coast and the town of Puerto Escondido for some beach time. I’m hoping to try surfing again, although PE is famed for it’s ‘pipeline’ and 30ft waves so I’m not sure how well that will go. July is also the start of the egg laying season for the Olive Ridley sea turtles and we want to help in the conservation efforts and protect the females as they clambor ashore to lay their eggs on the beach.
Our final few days in Mexico will see us exploring Mexico City, with it’s esteemed museums, the Teotihuacan pyramids and lucha libre (mexican wrestling) all on the itinary, before flying to Toronto, Canada for a few days and then finally on to the UK. We are both ready to spend a few weeks at home and looking forward to catching up with friends and family, doing all the ‘stuff’ that needs taking care of and can’t be done easily from abroad.
Beyond that we have one other trip booked that we’re VERY excited about! As it’s my birthday in September we wanted to do something different and a bit special so we’re going to…. Iceland! Yes, we’ll be leaving our Mexican wardrobe behind, packing the snow gear and heading north for a short visit to see if Iceland really lives up to the hype and the hefty price tag. Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever been and have any suggestions or reccommendations? We already know some of the things we’ll be doing but are always keen to hear other’s idea.
We plan to return to Mexico for the end of the year and continue our exploration on the east side of the country then travel south down into Central and ultimately South America. The time scales on this are still flexible and we may fit some more of Europe in before we leave if we can.