Culture

10 ‘Instagram Vs. Reality’ Photos Of Mexico’s Most Instagrammable Places To See Before You Book Plane Tickets

It’s no secret that Instagram is the highlight reel of life, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded from time to time. Sometimes we forget that influencers, celebs, brands —and even ourselves— are guilty of editing and filtering photos so heavily that they end up looking nothing like the real life version. In the search for the perfect “Instagram-worthy” shot, we lose perspective of what things looked like in reality. 

These places are still beautiful —just a little different than you might expect. 

This is why we thought we’d round up Mexico’s most “Instagrammable” spots according to social media users and show you the curated, edited and heavily filtered version, as opposed to the everyday scenario. And don’t get me wrong, all of these places are beautiful in their own way. I simply thought you might want to know that there can be crowds, it can get hot and humid, and Instagram won’t show any of that. 

1. Hierve el agua 

Instagram

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Reality 

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Hierve el Agua is a set of natural rock formations in the Mexican state of Oaxaca that resemble cascades of water. There’s no denying that this place is a wonder of nature —but be warned; it will get crowded and the water isn’t always crystal clear. Depending on the season, the pools get a little opaque, just letting you know.  

2. Islas Marietas

Instagram 

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Reality

The Marieta Islands are a group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast of the state of Nayarit, Mexico. Playa del Amor, commonly known as the Hidden Beach, is thought to be —because of deceiving IG posts— “a lovers’ beach, tucked below the surface of the island, provides a safe haven for romance.” In actuality, the beach is only accessible via boat —and you have to swim to get to the hidden beach. Once there, there are crowds and crowds of people in orange life-vests (these are mandatory unless you want to risk a ticket and fine). The place is still beautiful, but getting an insta-worthy shot might be close to impossible unless you make it out there before 9am.

3. Las Coloradas

Instagram

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Reality 

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The viral cotton candy pink lakes located in Yucatan, Mexico are really a sight to be seen. The vibrant pink color of these lakes is due to red-colored algae, plankton, and brine shrimp that thrive in the salty environment. As the water evaporates, these organisms become more concentrated, glimmering pink in the bright Mexican sunlight. Unfortunately this is a not a year-round event —sometimes the organisms that give color to the lakes run low, and so the water takes on the regular murky color of a good old lake.

4. Grutas Tolantongo

Instagram 

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Reality

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Tolantongo is a box canyon and resort located 17 kilometres from Ixmiquilpan on Route 27 in the Mezquital Valley, State of Hidalgo in Mexico, It is about 1.5 hours northwest of Pachuca and 198 km or three-to-four hours northwest of Mexico City —aka. it’s a looong drive into the country. The place no doubt, is beautiful and well worth the drive. But you might have to wait a bit to grab a pool due to the large groups of tourists that flock to the area as soon as spring and summer hits Mexico.

5. Jardín Escultorico Las Pozas 

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Reality

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Las Pozas is a surrealistic group of structures created by Edward James, more than 2,000 feet above sea level, in a subtropical rainforest in the mountains of Mexico. The place is comprised of over 80 acres of land —so you best bring a tour guide, lots of water and a change of clothes, because it will get sweaty. Oh, and don’t forget the mosquito repellent, it is the rainforest after all.

6. San Miguel de Allende

Instagram 

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Reality

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San Miguel de Allende, a colonial-era city in Mexico’s central highlands, is known for its baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene and cultural festivals. In the city’s historic, cobblestoned center lies the neo-Gothic church Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. Keep in mind that this city was first built in the 16th century so it wasn’t planned with cars and crowds in mind. The place can get pretty hectic and busy, so set a meeting point for your friends and/or family to meet in case you get lost in the crowds.

7. Ruinas de Tulum

Instagram

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Reality

The trendy town of Tulum was built next to the Mayan ruins. The 13th-century, walled Mayan archaeological site at Tulum National Park overlooks the sea. It incorporates the clifftop Castillo, built as a watchtower, and the Templo de las Pinturas, with a partially restored mural. The place is truly magical, you’ll get a chance to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean after you tour the ruins —but a word of caution: the walk from the parking lot into the archaeological site es LONG, and it’s HOT in Quintana Roo, so if you can, take the shuttle. Bring lots of water and if possible, a parasol or hat to to get some respite from the sun.

8. El salto del Meco 

Instagram

Reality 

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If you visit this waterfall in dry season (May-September), you might find it empty, because a company located next to it, takes all the water to provide energy for the region. But although the waterfall itself is just visible in rainy season, the beautiful green natural pools are always there to amaze you.

9. Sayulita

Instagram

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Reality

Sayulita is a village on Mexico’s Pacific coast backed by the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. It’s known for beaches with strong surf, like the central Sayulita Beach and for its brightly decorated streets. Yes, the place is beautiful but remember that filters and editing can make a place look much more ‘enhanced’ than it might look like IRL.

10.Mercado de la Ciudadela

Instagram

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Reality

The Ciudadela Market is a traditional style Mexican market which specializes in the sale of Mexican handcrafts and folk art, located in the southwest corner of the historic center of Mexico City. The place is ideal if you need to buy some souvenirs, other than that, it’s just a good old Mexican ‘mercado’.

A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

Things That Matter

A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

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In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.

Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

Things That Matter

Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

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Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve is one of the world’s most famous wildlife hotspots. Hundreds of thousands come each year to view the annual migration of millions of beautiful butterflies that call Mexico’s Michoacan state home during the winter.

However, this iconic and majestic habitat for one of the world’s most endangered animals is now the backdrop for a dramatic murder mystery that is unfolding in international headlines. Two conservationists have been discovered dead just days apart and investigators still aren’t sure why.

A second victim has been pronounced killed by authorities in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly reserve.

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One of the world’s most beautiful wildlife spots is now the backdrop for a dramatic double murder after two nature activists are discovered dead at Mexico’s El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary.

The deaths of Homero Gomez Gonzalez, manager of the butterfly reserve, and Raul Hernandez Romero, a tour guide at the sanctuary, have sent shockwaves across the world of wildlife conservation.

Hernandez Romero’s body was discovered on Saturday near the highest point of the mountainous sanctuary, which sits 9,000 feet above sea level in the state of Michoacan, about 130 miles west of Mexico City, according to a statement from the Michoacan state prosecutor’s office. Hernandez Romero’s family reported him missing on Friday, officials said.

The new victim was found just days after the first victim’s body was found after being missing for 16 days.

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Authorities discovered his body about three days after the Hernandez Romero’s body was found in a pond near the Central Mexico town of El Soldado, prosecutors said.

An autopsy performed in the presence of State Human Rights Commission representatives determined Gomez Gonzalez died from “mechanical asphyxiation” after suffering head trauma and being submerged in water.

Gomez Gonzalez, whose family reported him missing two weeks ago, was one of the region’s most prominent conservation activists and a vocal defender of the monarch butterflies. He had launched a campaign against illegal logging that threatens the butterflies nesting grounds.

Although petty crime and theft is common in these parts of Mexico, authorities don’t believe this to be the case in Gonzalez’s death. He was found with about $9,000 pesos (or about $500 USD) on him when his body was discovered.

Mexico’s Monarch butterfly preserve is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

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Each winter, millions of monarch butterflies make their home at the El Rosario reserve in Mexico — one of the best places in the world to see them. Local guides lead tourists up the mountainside on foot and horseback to where the monarchs cluster in fir and pine trees. Their bright orange wings flit amid the mild weather of Michoacán, and signs ask for silence as visitors enter the nesting areas.

The El Rosario sanctuary is part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which was enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, calling the overwintering concentration of butterflies there “a superlative natural phenomenon.” It noted that more than half of overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population are found in these specific areas of Mexico.

But the same forests that draw butterflies to migrate thousands of miles each winter are under threat from illegal logging and clandestine avocado farms.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Officials in the state of Michoacán said they were unsure if the two deaths were linked – or related to the men’s work in the butterfly reserve. The state has seen a rising tide of violence in recent years, and the region around the monarch butterfly reserve has been rife with illegal logging, despite a ban imposed to protect the monarchs, which winter in the pine- and fir-covered hills.

Some illegal clearcutting is also carried out to allow for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops and an important part of Michoacán’s economy.

The deaths again called attention to the disturbing trend in Mexico of environmental defenders being killed as they come into conflict with developers or local crime groups, who often have political and police protection.