This blog tackles the most common mistakes first time visitors make in Mexico. If this is your first visit then you’ve probably got some preconceived notions about what you might find.
COMMON MISTAKES FIRST TIME VISITORS MAKE IN MEXICO
Because of the preconceived beliefs tourists have before they arrive, they tend to repeat the same mistakes. To help you to get the most and the best out of your visit to Mexico, read through the most common mistakes first time visitors make in Mexico. And hopefully you will avoid falling into the same trap.
JUST DRINKING BEER AND TEQUILA
When it comes to alcoholic drinks, many tourists just stick to the national beers and tequila. However, if you want to experience the whole gamut of Mexico’s drinks industry, you need to try some of the lesser-known beverages.
The other Mexican spirit many people are aware of is mezcal (of which tequila is a type). However, drinks such as pulque, sotol, and raicilla, are gaining popularity on a global scale. You may also be happy to learn that Mexico has a thriving wine region, Valle de Guadalupe, which produces vintages that are the very best in the world.
A trip to El Cielo Winery and Resort is a must for wine lovers. This year El Cielo Winery in Valle de Guadalupe won the World´s Best Red Wine prize from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Less than 1% of wines receive this coveted award each year.
LT TIP: Speak to a Lomas Travel Representative who can help you organize a vacation at El Cielo which includes a wine tour, artesenal beer tour and local area tours in Baja California such as whale watching.
THINKING MEXICO IS UNSAFE
This is by far the most common mistake first time visitors make in Mexico. Many potential tourists continue to believe that Mexico is unsafe, meaning they miss out on one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world.
There are areas of Mexico where it would be unwise to travel (like in many countries in the world). But to dismiss a whole country on these grounds would be a huge mistake. The United States government currently advises travelers to Mexico to “exercise increased caution”. To put that into perspective, that’s the same caution they give to visitors heading to France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Lomas Travel Tip: If safety is a concern, speak to a Lomas Travel In Destination specialist who can help you organize your Mexico trip from start to finish, including transport and hotel bookings.
ONLY CARRYING CREDIT OR DEBIT CARDS
In much of the United States or Canada, you can pretty much get away with living a cashless life. That’s not the case in Mexico, particularly if you’re looking to eat at the local food stands or buy boutique gifts and handicrafts from smaller shops.
Make sure to carry a range of notes and coins with you — they will come in very handy throughout your trip. American dollars are acceptable in many of the tourist destinations, but you will most probably receive an unfavorable rate. Best to pay with pesos.
STICKING TO THE TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Mexico is full to the brim with tourist attractions. The most famous of all is (probably) Chichen Itza, one of the Seven New Wonders of the World and a truly breath-taking feat of design and architecture. But did you know there are many other pyramids in Mexico apart from El Castillo in Chichen Itza?
By taking the road less travelled, you get to see some truly magnificent sights. You also get to avoid the throngs that tend to accompany the more popular destinations. Consequently your experience will be more pleasant, less hectic, and a lot more comfortable.
… OR MISSING THE TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
With that said, the tourist attractions are popular for a reason. It would be very difficult, for example, to visit the Yucatan Peninsula and miss Chichen Itza altogether. Instead, you need to be a bit clever about when you go.
For example, Lomas Travel can help you organize an off-hours private visit to Chichen Itza. By doing this, you still get to see the incredible site, but without jostling for position with other tourists. The trick to having an authentic Mexican vacation without it being ruined by other travelers is to vary your itinerary. See Chichen Itza, of course, but then visit a less famous cenote the following day.
EXPECTING EVERYONE TO SPEAK ENGLISH
In the major tourist destinations, resorts, and hotels, many people speak English to an exceptionally high level. However, you should not expect everyone to speak your language. Learning a few words before you go will be helpful, even if it’s just please (por favor) and thank you (gracias).
Don´t be afraid to test out your high school Spanish. The majority of locals are very gracious to the tourists who at least give it a shot. If it’s something that puts fear into you, Lomas Travel can provide you with a bilingual guide. That way, you will be able to find out more about the cities and destinations you visit.
ONLY TRYING TACOS AND QUESADILLAS
Amongst the common mistake that first time visitors to Mexico make is limiting their choice of food to tacos and quesadillas. Much like venturing beyond tequila and beer, you have to push beyond tacos and quesadillas when it comes to Mexican cuisine. Under no circumstances should you miss them altogether — they’re a must for any Mexican vacation — but you should try plenty of other delicacies.
Each region of Mexican has its own variation of national cuisines plus dishes unique to that area. Take, for example, the city of Pachuca in Hidalgo. There you will find delicious pasties, which were introduced by settlers in the 1800s from Cornwall in the United Kingdom. That’s just one of the hundreds of different culinary quirks you will find across Mexico.
THINKING EVERY SALSA WILL BE HOT
Another culinary correction that needs to be made is that every salsa will blow steam from your ears. When translated, salsa means sauce. So in just the way that not every sauce is spicy, not every salsa is either.
Many salsas are created without chili but, instead, rely on other ingredients to pack a punch. A classic bowl that you will see in many taquerias is a salsa Mexicana, named so because the red tomato, white onion, and green cilantro and chili represent the colors of the Mexican flag. These are not necessarily hot, but spiciness varies from taco stand to taco stand. Just ask!
GOING WITHOUT A PLAN
Finally, other mistakes first time visitors make in Mexico are arriving without an itinerary without a plan of action. You don’t need to plan every minute, but having a rough idea of the attractions you would like to visit is recommended. Mexico is a massive country, so you may need to pick and choose what you see carefully.