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Mexico: An Enduring Appeal

by planetnomad on May 16, 2015

 

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For many in the U.S., graduations, moves and vacation planning take up this time of year. People are moving about and thinking of this summer’s long-awaited trip. Should they go to Europe, Asia, or South America? Should they stay closer to home? All places have something to offer and have to fit with an individual or family’s budget and preferences, but if you need some encouragement to look no further than our neighbor to the south, then here are some reasons Mexico can be a prime choice. These are in no particular order.

1). Location. Mexico’s proximity to major U.S. cities can’t be overlooked. Places like Los Angeles, Houston, San Antonio and New York have multiple non-stop flights. Sometimes your flight can be as short as a two-hour painless excursion from San Antonio to Mexico City for instance.

2). History. Stacks of history books have been written about Mexico and its evolution over the centuries. If you’re into studying the progression of a place and like to explore the various characters that made an impact on its development, then this country should not be overlooked. A trip to Mexico can leave you in awe of the rich variety of peeks into its history. From a glimpse into the Pre-Colonial days to a more recent era such as the Porfiriato period, it’s all there for exploration.

3). Handcrafted objects. Mexico ranks in the top tier worldwide for the generations-long craft of making utilitarian and decorative items by hand. Places like Oaxaca and the state of Michoacan are only two of many states still actively engaged in this tradition. Whether it’s the colorful alebrijes, black pottery and the textiles found in the former or the finely wood-carved masks, intricate basket art or the clay demonic figures found in the latter, you are sure to appreciate this time-worn process that speaks to this country’s enduring culture.

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4). Affordable and unique lodging. Bungalows. Bed & Breakfasts. Five-star hotels. Hostels. These are just a few of the options awaiting you in Mexico. For what you might pay to stay at a 2-star hotel in the states, you can indulge in a finer property just minutes from a perfect sandy beach.

5). Festivals. Colorful, long and spectacular!  There’s no better way to describe the numerous celebrations that pepper the year throughout Mexico. Easter week in Veracruz. April’s Feria de San Marcos in Aguascalientes. Guelaguetza during July in Oaxaca. Spending early November for Dia de Muertos in Patzcuaro. You can easily take your pick of events and partake in revelry and excitement alongside the warmth of locals.

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6). Photographic opportunities. Whether it’s the evening light that brings the colorful city of Guanajuato alive or the early morning sunrise lending just the right instant to capture a secluded beach cove in the Yucatan, there are ample opportunities for all skill-level photographers to hone their skills.

7). Food. If there’s one category that doesn’t need much mention, it’s this one! In 2012, UNESCO recognized Mexico’s contributions to the culinary world by honoring it with a placement on the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” list. The prestigious honor reinforced Mexico’s standing as a country that maintains ties to its indigenous past, while allowing for new and creative chefs to explore their art. From street tacos in Mexico City and Mayan-inspired dishes in the Yucatan to slow-roasted goat meat in Guadalajara and fusion delights in Baja, it’s a culinary adventure to say the least.

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8). UNESCO Sites. Scattered over an enormous landmass including 31 states and the Distrito Federal, are 32 sites designated by UNESCO as worthy of international recognition. Cities such as Campeche, Morelia and Queretaro have been bestowed this recognition for their historic central districts, while places like Chichen Itza and Palenque, have also made the list for their valued cultural history.

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9). Indigenous Culture. Mexico’s rich and diverse culture stems from the multitude of groups that have made their home there prior to the Spanish colonization. These groups or pueblos indigenas, number close to 70. Aside from language, Mexico’s indigenous groups attempt to maintain their identity through carrying out traditions and customs passed down from previous generations. Some examples of these groups are the Zapotecs in Oaxaca and the Mayans along the Yucatan Peninsula to name a few.

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10). Museums. Repositories of history and art can be found everywhere throughout Mexico. In Mexico City alone, some reports place the number of museums well over 120. You can spend a whole day exploring the National Museum of Anthropology or sneak over to Colonial Doctores and enter a vintage toy world at the Museo del Juguete Antiguo Mexico. Outside the Capital City there are plenty of options as well. You can enjoy learning about masks at Zacatecas’ Museo Rafael Coronel or immerse yourself in the Michoacan’s history at Morelia’s Museo del Estado.

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