Culture

Mexico Is Poised To Be One Of The World’s Top Travel Destinations In 2020 And Here Are 11 Reasons Why You Should Go Too

Mexico is one of the year’s hottest destinations, what with its secret island escapes, Caribbean coastline and cosmopolitan capital city, as well as its thriving restaurant scene and quirky colonial towns that are ideal for day trips. However, if you’re still undecided on why exactly you should stop by this often-misrepresented North American country, here are 11 reasons that might convince you exactly why you should visit Mexico.

The cuisine is amazing and varied

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Mexico is a country of delicious food, that much is clear, but it’s not all tacos and tortas. In fact, the culinary scene from north to south varies wildly, although each dish remains just as delicious as the last. Whether you want carne asada or cabrito in the north, seafood on the Pacific coast in Sinaloa, hangover busting tortas ahogadas in western Jalisco or Mayan delicacies in the Yucatán Peninsula, one thing’s for sure – you’ll never be short of options.

Mexico City is a very under-rated destination.Its negatives are widely known, but are generally overstated: its many delightful attractions more than make up for any issues caused by traffic and smog, and despite what you may have heard, it’s as safe as most big cities. Plus, it’s home to three of the world’s top 50 restaurants!

The music scene is off the chart

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Even though clubs in Mexico tend to blast out the tracks that are doing the rounds internationally, whether in Spanish or English, the traditional music of the country is diverse, excellent and shouldn’t be overlooked. From the emblematic mariachi groups, to the bands that blast out banda or son Jarochos, live Mexican music is far more varied than people often give it credit for, and often muchbetter than the headline-stealing Justin Bieber remixes of reggaeton hits.

The people are warm, welcoming and happy to have foreign visitors

Credit: INAH / Mexico

If there’s one thing everyone will agree on about Mexico, it’s that the locals are warm, welcoming and always willing to help, whether you need directions or advice on what street food stall to eat at. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll soon realize that Mexicans will go out of their way to give you the information you’re looking for, even when that means escorting you to a tourist desk or ringing their niece for advice on bus routes. So, don’t believe everything the popular press tells you about Mexico’s ‘bad hombres’.

It’s a biodiversity hotspot home to unique animal species

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Mexico as a whole is a breathtakingly biodiverse country. Although it doesn’t come close to rivalling Costa Rica, there are some animals you can pretty much only find in the forests, jungles and waters of this North American country. If you’re lucky, you might spot a critically endangered axolotl, or even the native Mexican mammal known as the cacomistle. Head north and you have a chance of glimpsing a Mexican prairie dog, and in the waters around Baja, you might see a vaquita porpoise.

Tequila, mezcal and pulque taste better in Mexico

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Mexico’s booze heritage has been exported worldwide, and you can find Corona and José Cuervo in pretty much any country, but honestly? The drinks taste better in Mexico. In Jalisco, you can sample tequila that’s better than the commercial brands, whereas Oaxaca is the home of smoky mezcal that’s got a real kick. Remember that both are to be sipped leisurely, possibly accompanied by wedges of lime or orange. Pulque is the lesser known of the three, and you have to visit the country to try it, as this Mesoamerican beverage is only available in Central Mexico.

There’s something for everyone, from deserts to jungle

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While we’ve already mentioned the variety of wildlife in the country, it’s worth remembering the range of climates and conditions that Mexico can offer the casual traveller. Deserts dominate the dry northern states, whilst western Mexico and the states of Jalisco are often considered to be destinations of eternal spring. Head to the Yucatán Peninsula and you’ve got turquoise seas, the south has lush jungles and the Pacific is humid and hot. Plus, pretty much all of Mexico is crisscrossed by mountains and volcanoes just waiting to be explored.

Its beaches are among the most beautiful in the world

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While there’s plenty of options to choose from in Mexico, it’s clear that most travellers visiting the country are split between those wanting to lounge on the beach and those wanting to explore the cities and colonial towns. We have to mention the world class conditions of Mexico’s beaches, from the waters around Baja California where you can whale watch, to the crystalline seas of Cancún and pristine white beaches of Tulum. If you love surfing, Oaxaca and the southern coastline have the conditions for you.

Mexican culture is endlessly fascinating

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Mexican culture is a mishmash of influences, from the Mesoamerican to the indigenous to the Spanish, and that makes the country all the more fascinating. To learn more about the native people living in rural, indigenous communities and speaking in languages other than Spanish, you can head to Oaxaca or the mountains of Jalisco and Chihuahua, whereas Spanish Colonial history can be explored in Taxco, Querétaro and Guanajuato. Pretty much the entire country shows signs of its mestizo heritage though.

The nation’s art and architecture scene is unrivaled in the Americas

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Mexico City’s nickname is the “City of Palaces” because it had so many lovely colonial era constructions, but you can also see interesting ancient architecture and mind-blowing modern edifices, like the Soumaya Museum, pictured here. To get a start exploring Mexico City’s architecture, start with a walking tour of the historical center.

For those who are ready to explore beyond the city center, head to Santa Fe for the most interesting modern architecture, or head to the Casa Luis Barragán, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see a wonderful example of modern architecture from 1948.

And just walking around Mexico City you will come across art everywhere you go, from the murals that grace buidings, to statues in the parks and on city streets. There is also an abundance of galleries and art museums.

There’s so much history to explore

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Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world. Ones you shouldn’t miss include the National Anthropology Museum, and the National History Museum that is housed in a castle in the center of Chapultepec Park, as well as the Popular Art Museum and the National Art Museum, not to mention a plethora of other special interest museums for all ages and tastes. A few of the more eclectic ones include the Toy Museum

And, your money will go further

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It’s no great secret that Mexico is a pretty affordable destination for most travellers coming from further afield, and even though prices are higher in heavily tourist populated areas like Cancún and Baja California, you’ll still get more bang for your buck. Due to the fluctuating Mexican peso right now, travellers from both the US and the UK can really benefit (although, sadly, locals are massively losing out). Even so, you should visit Mexico as soon as possible to take advantage!

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This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

Things That Matter

This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

via Getty Images

In the town of Ayahualtempa, Mexico, in the state of Guerrero, reporters see a shocking image whenever they visit. Children armed with guns, trained to defend themselves. The disturbing scene is meant to be shocking. The village of Ayahualtempa is under constant attack. A prominent heroin “corridor”, they are the victims of violence and carnage at the hands of gangsters and the cartel.

In order to gain the Mexican government’s attention, the Ayahualtempa villagers dress their children up as soldiers. Then, they invite the media in.

Ayahualtempa
via Getty Images

When reporters arrive, the children of Ayahualtempa dutifully line up and put on a performance. They march, they show how they would shoot a gun from one knee, or from flat on their bellies. They tell reporters that their mock-violent performance is “so the president sees us and helps us,” as a 12-year-old child named Valentín told the Associated Press.

Because the Mexican government doesn’t protect Ayahualtempa, the display of child soldiers is a form of protest for the small indigenous village. The people of this remote region of Guerrero want protection from the National Guard, and financial help for widows and orphans who have been made so from organized crime.

The villagers don’t trust local authorities, and for good reason. Guerrera is the Mexican state in which 43 teaching students were abducted and killed in an event that is known as the “Iguala mass kidnapping”. Authorities arrested 80 suspects in connection to the event. 44 of them were police officers, working in conjunction with a network of cartels.

Although the demonstrations function largely as a publicity stunt, violence is very much a part of these children’s lives.

via Getty Images

Parents train their children to walk to school with loaded guns, ready to defend themselves against violent gangsters.

The attention-grabbing antics have, to some extent, worked. On one occasion, the government donated some housing material. On another, benefactors gave the community’s orphans and widows scholarships and houses. But as soon as the periodic media storms die down, the federal government continues pretending Ayahualtempa doesn’t exist.

The hypocrisy of the government’s response is frustrating to many. “We’ve normalized that these children don’t eat, are illiterate, are farm workers. We’re used to the Indians dying young, but, ‘How dare they arm them!’” said local human rights activist Abel Barrera to the AP, with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

As for now, until the government moves to protect the community, they say they will continue their demonstrations. “They see that the issue of the children is effective for making people take notice and they think: If that’s what works, we’ll have to keep doing it,” said Barrera.

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Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Entertainment

Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Warner Bros. Pictures

Pokémon fans in Latin America are mourning the death of Diana Pérez, the Spanish-language voice of Jessie of Pokémon’s Team Rocket. The voice actress has been voicing the character since 1997.

Diana Pérez, the voice actress of Team Rocket’s Jessie, died at 51.

Lalo Garza, a famed voice actor in Mexico, confirmed the death of the Pokémon voice actress.

“Rest in peace Diana Pérez, a strong, cultured, intelligent, and very talented woman. You are good now, friend. Nothing hurts anymore. Have a good trip,” reads the tweet.

Pérez has been a staple in the Spanish-language Pokémon fandom for decades.

Pérez was more than just he voice of Jessie. The voice actress was the voice of multiple anime characters including Luffy in One Piece and Kagura in Inuyasha. In recent years, Pérez had started branching out to directing, producing, and other branches in the entertainment industry.

Pérez’s death is being mourned by Pokémon fans outside of the Spanish-language fandom.

Sarah Natochenny is the English voice of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon series, Jessie’s mortal enemy. The death of Pérez has impacted the larger Pokémon community. Pérez was a pivotal part of the Latin American Pokémon community for decades and her loss has devastated fans.

Descansa en paz, Diana.

There have been no plans announced for a replacement to voice Team Rocket’s Jessie. No official cause of death has been released either. Our hearts and thoughts go out to Pérez’s family and the greater Pokémon community mourning her passing.

READ: I Was Today Years Old When I Found Out This Mexican Pokémon

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