10 Guaranteed Reasons You’ll Love Mexico
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Honestly, there are hundreds of reasons to love Mexico, it is an incredibly diverse and cultured country that spans almost 2 million kilometers squared, covering deserts, jungles, and colonial cities, and is surrounded by four different bodies of water.
Mexico is located in the ‘Ring of Fire,’ one of the Earth’s most violent earthquake and volcano zones, and it is one of five of the world’s most biologically diverse countries in the world! Mexico has even introduced chocolate, avocados, and corn to the rest of the world!
But these facts are not the only reasons to love Mexico, read on to find out what to expect when you travel to Mexico, and what makes it such a special country to visit!
1. The Diversity of the Landscape
In the Yucatan in Mexico, you can relax on the warm, calm Caribbean seas while taking a day to explore the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. If you want to take a break from the postcard white sandy beaches, you can head into the jungle and explore ancient ruins, more advanced and more impressive (in my opinion) than the Ancient Greeks.
In Chiapas, you can swim in brilliant blue cascades, explore brightly colored cities and stand under gigantic waterfalls. On the Oaxacan Coast, you will discover caramel-colored, sandy beaches. Vastly different from those on the Caribbean and perfect for surfing since the waves are so big. Then, head just a few hours inland and you’ll be driving over dramatic mountain ranges, just as beautiful as Switzerland’s and with the most biodiverse plant and animal species in all of Mexico.
Mexico is home to the largest pyramid in the world; Cholula in Puebla, which is bigger than any of Egypt’s pyramids. You can visit gothic churches in Mexico City, the highest elevated city in the world, and also one of the most densely populated. And if you go even more north, you will find yourself caught up in ‘The Wild, Wild West.’ With vast desert landscapes only interrupted by cactuses, you will see entire villages made of stone, some of them abandoned and being reclaimed by the harsh Mexican sun.
Nowhere else in the world will you find such diversity in just the one country. And this is just the first reason to love Mexico.
2. The Colors
Oh! So many colors, everywhere! From brightly colored buildings of colonial cities to the sparkling traditional outfits of the mariachi bands. Artworks and textiles are not exempt from Mexico’s colors either.
Mexico is a country of aggressively bright colors, everywhere. It’s enough to make you wake up on the right side of the bed every single morning!
3. Their Relationship with Death
In many communities of Mexico, and especially within particular Indigenous communities, their relationship with death is totally different from what you may be used to. For these cultures, death is a natural phase in life’s long continuum and mourning the dead is disrespectful. They believe that when a person dies, it is only their physical body that passes, but their spirit remains nearby, alive in memory. That spirit will only die a second time once the family members who are still alive have forgotten about them.
Once a year, during ‘Dias de Los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) it is believed that the veil between this world and the next is especially thin, meaning loved ones who have passed are able to return to Earth, to spend time with their family and friends. During these days, family members spend time in the graveyard; drinking, chatting and asking for wisdom from their deceased loved ones.
Seeing this tradition and belief in action is both heartwarming and eye-opening. There are many things we could learn about Mexico’s relationship with death.
4. Yummy Food
The food around Mexico is always fresh and so, very tasty. It’s impossible to get sick of delicious tacos swamped in slow-cooked pork, or guacamole made that day with it’s tangy, creamy mixture, perfect for dipping all sorts of things into. Their sandwiches (tortas) are out of this world, while Mexico’s cocktails are world-famous.
And then there’s the seafood. Mexico is surrounded by four different bodies of water, all of them abundant with different types of seafood. Mexicans are the masters of food preparation. However you want it cooked, they will do it, and do it well. Plus, Mexico is much cheaper than many western countries, so a delicious seafood meal won’t break the bank!
5. Music in the Streets
This is something in Mexico that the rest of the world should take heed from. The music… It is everywhere! Pouring out of restaurants and houses and infecting the streets with pure happiness. No one complains, no one wants it turned down, everyone just enjoys each other’s music.
Mexican’s love their music, and they will play it super loud and the same song several times over. And I wouldn’t want it any other way!
In many Mexican songs, but especially in mariachi music, you will hear a distinctive yell, interjected with a passion that speaks to the soul. It is a sort of “aaaaaaayeeeee” or “ahhhhhaahaaa” sound that represents a long, drawn-out laugh, or sometimes the wail of a mournful cry.
This yell is called a ‘grito’ and is an internationally recognized behavior in Mexican culture. Music isn’t the only place reserved for a ‘grito’ though. It is often screamed out at family gatherings to signify the start of the party, during a toast or as an expression of joy or excitement in a particular moment.
Lots of Mexican people would have practiced and perfected their own ‘grito’ from a young age and grito competitions between family members are commonplace.
6. Buen Provecho (pronounced Bwen Proh-veh-cho)
In Mexico, it is customary to say ‘provecho’ or ‘buen provecho’ when in the presence of someone eating, or before you are about to eat a meal yourself. It is a phrase that expresses a desire that the meal will help with health and wellbeing, addressed to those who are eating or drinking at the time of the statement being said.
It is the Mexican equivalent of ‘bon appetit,’ or in English ‘enjoy your meal’ and it is said all over the country. Mostly you will hear it as you’re munching away on your meal in a restaurant, from your waiter and as other people walk in. But you’ll also hear it in any other public place when you are snacking or eating, like taco stands, plazas and on the beach.
If you want to thank the stranger for wishing you good health, the common reply is ‘gracias, egualmente’ (grah-seeh-yas, eeh-gwal-men-teh) which means: ‘thank you, same to you!’ Although, a smile or simple acknowledgment does the same thing too.
This phrase is just one of the everyday occurrences that make this country so special, and just another reason to love Mexico.
7. The Indigenous Artwork
All over Mexico, you’ll see crafts and hand-made wares for sale; on the streets, in market stalls and even at famous landmarks. These crafts are often traditional artworks made by indigenous Mexicans and are always brightly colored, beautiful and intricate. We fell in love with all of them and wanted to buy them all to take home.
Purchasing artwork directly from the people who make them is my preferred way to buy because then I know my money is helping the local people and not a large corporation.
In many parts of Mexico (such as Chiapas and Oaxaca) the indigenous people are extremely poor and need all the help they can get. Buy a unique piece from them, because I can guarantee you won’t be able to buy these sorts of artworks online or anywhere else in the world – trust me, I have tried!
8. Mexico’s Conservation Efforts
Did you know that Mexico used to slaughter turtles on an industrial level? It a dark part of Mexico’s history, but all has changed now. Mexico’s efforts to protect local wildlife have come a very long way.
The Mexican government has recently announced it is tripling Mexico’s protected areas, including a huge amount of new Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s), which altogether equal an area two times the size of New Mexico and will be 23% of Mexico’s entire marine areas.
Nowadays, you see turtle sanctuaries on most turtle hotspot beaches, with entire communities coming together, day and night, to protect turtles during their most vulnerable times (laying or hatching).
On land, Mexico is one of the five most biologically and culturally diverse countries in the world. But, it also has one of the highest deforestation rates, causing numbers of many big cats (such as the Jaguar) to diminish. In past years, Mexico’s government has set up more reserve parks and have attempted to find innovative ways to stop farmers from killing the big cats that harm cattle.
9. Cenotes: Mexico’s Secret Underworld
Cenotes are a type of sinkhole, whereby the top of a limestone cave falls in to reveal a natural underground river. Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is the only place in the world where cenotes occur naturally in the high thousands!
The entire Yucatan is kind of a like a gigantic sponge. The underground is usually a mix of fresh and saltwater and this water can be accessed over the entire Yucatan Peninsula. It is said that the Ancient Mayan civilization could not have advanced as much as they did, without access to the cenotes.
Other than having significant importance to both Ancient Mayans and modern-day Mexico, the cenotes are also great for visitors. Providing an abundance of natural water parks to play in, and ways to cool off in parts of the Yucatan where the ocean is not easily accessed, such as the cenotes near Chichen Itza ruins.
I absolutely love Mexico’s cenotes. They provide hours of fun, in a shady and natural setting, usually away from the masses that frequent the beaches. If you visit the Yucatan, I implore you – you must visit a cenote!
10. How They Treat Their Elderly
All over Mexico, and most other Hispanic countries, you will be at witness to families who not only respect their elders but also celebrate them. The elderly are not hidden away in retirement villages but instead, are cared for by family members at all hours of the day if needed.
You will see many families that bring their extremely elderly family members with them to work, especially in restaurants and in shops. Taking care of older family members is gratifying for Hispanics and intergenerational bonds are extremely strong.
As an Australian, this is a beautiful thing for me to see and makes me love Mexico even more than I already do!
So as you can see there are many heartwarming and mind-blowing reasons to love Mexico. It is a country of color, contrasts, and family, of Ancient cultures and biodiversity. When you visit Mexico, make sure you look out for all of the above things, so you can experience them too!
Looking for even more reasons to fall in love with Mexico? Watch this love letter to my favorite country in the world!
Tell me what you love about Mexico in the comments below!
Originally Posted: 11th December 2016
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