Culture

If You Want To Know The Real Mexico Skip The Crowds And Visit These Off The Radar Hot Spots

We’re betting you’ve heard of world-class Mexican tourist destinations like Mexico City and Playa del Carmen. If you’re looking to go a little more off the beaten path to explore the magical country of Mexico, we’ve provided 9 destinations below where you can do just that. From colonial cities to quiet beach towns, you’ll get a sense for all the wonders Mexico has to offer—without the crowds. 

Guanajuato

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Best known for its Festival Cervantino, an arts festival that draws attendance from around the world, Guanajuato is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its old town dates back to the 16th century, and you can visit many of Mexico’s important religious and artistic sites. Guanajuato was also home to the Mexican independence movement and the site of the first failed rebellion against colonial rule.

Mérida

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The Yucatan capital has both colonial and Mayan treasures to discover. Nearby ruins at Uxmal give some insight into the lives of the predecessors of the conquistadores, who arrived in 1542. Mayan culture is also still evident in Merida’s daily life and in the many colorful festivals celebrated here.

La Paz

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As Baja California Sur’s capital, La Paz is mostly used as a jumping-off point for Cabo San Lucas’ beach resorts. However, its old-world charm and pleasant waterfront promenade featuring international art and restaurants overlooking the grey whale–inhabited water are reasons worth sticking around.

Sayulita

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A charming fishing village, Sayulita is a hidden gem with picturesque beaches, charming restaurants and great food. Unlike some other Mexican towns, tourists mingle with locals in a relaxed atmosphere, without the hustle and bustle of major touristy resorts. For those seeking more nightlife, Puerto Vallarta is a mere 30 minutes away.

Puerto Escondido

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Located on the coast of Oaxaca, just an hours flight from MExico City, Puerto Escondido is the ultimate hidden treasure. You get all that beautiful Oaxaca has to offer (mole, mezcal, culture) but situated on one of the country’s most beautiful stretches of coastline.

Puerto Escondido has morphed into a very popular surfing destination but it’s probably most famous for the sea turtles who come here to nest each and every year.

Ensenada

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In Ensenada, only 80 miles south of San Diego, travelers can get a taste of Mexican food, culture and nightlife. Californians flock to this beautiful seaport town, one of the largest on the Baja peninsula, for rest, relaxation and excellent outdoor recreation activities. From surfing and sea kayaking to horseback riding and mountain biking, even the most discerning sportsperson will be impressed.

Ensenada’s nightlife is also a big draw. Papas and Beer and Hussong’s Cantina serve up an on-going party atmosphere and lots of tequila, while nearby vineyards offer wine tasting in a more traditional and serene setting. Nature enthusiasts are wowed by the sight of gray whales and the underwater cave that randomly squirts water at onlookers. Whatever your interests, enchanting Ensenada will not disappoint.

Bacalar

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Located near the Mexico-Belize border, a true paradise awaits travelers in Bacalar. The town sits on the Lagoon of Seven Colors, a lake nicknamed for its beautifully colored water, which makes it the perfect place for stunning sunsets, fresh seafood, and cenote swimming.

Isla Holbox

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Situated on a tiny island a couple of hours from Cancun, Isla Holbox is just now starting to have its moment in the spotlight. More and more Instagrammers are headed their for the famed waters and the picturesque landscapes. However, the island is still hard enough to get to that it seems to be keeping the crowds that inundate Cancun at bay – for now.

Guadalajara

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The inland city of Guadalajara is bursting with history and culture. Many attractions are in the city’s historic center and in the neighboring city of Zapopan. Museums, parks and churches flourish alongside bullfights, rodeos and soccer (futbol). Nearby are the towns of Tequila, where the liquor of the same name is produced, and Tlaquepaque and Tonala, where artisans create an abundance of Mexican handicrafts. Mariachi, which originated in the area, is a common sight and sound in Guadalajara.

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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