Culture

These Mexican Border Towns Are Quickly Becoming The Most Booked Weekend Getaways For Good Reasons

One of the biggest harms that a certain politician by the initials of DT has done to Mexico-US cultural relations is to paint an apocalyptic vision of Mexico. However, things are creative, colorful and plain amazing as you cross the border, and the state of Baja California, just below San Diego, offers sights, sounds, smells and flavors that are to be experienced to be believed. In particular, the city of Tijuana is no longer seen as the party town for gringos borrachos, and is home to a cultural scene. Just head further down and you will find beach settings and a valley que no tiene nada que pedirle a Napa. 

The sites of Tijuana, Rosarito Beach and the wine region of Valle de Guadalupe are within driving distance of each other and showcase the wonderful diversity of a region. The area has been a bridge for millions of migrants and a home for proud and creative communities for centuries. No offense, but life in los esteits can sometimes be a little, mmm, predictable (shall we say aburrida?). In particular, la ruta del vino or wine route that leads to the pristine vineyards of Baja is a trip that offers sight that border paradise. Whether you want to take a trip with your friends or are planning a good old-fashioned viaje familiar, Northern Baja California is a great option to visit. 

Let your eyes wander because Tijuana is a visual and artistic feast.

Credit: 35emre_z34 / Instagram

When it comes to street art and graffiti, Tijuana is one of the epicenters of the world. The mix of Mexican and urban American influences produces vibrant and often politically charged imagery that is perfect to capture on the Gram. If you are an artist in search for inspo, Tijuana is your spot.

Urban public art is plentiful and mesmerizing.

Credit: tijuanarulzmx / Instagram

Tijuana has long been a site of political and artistic activism, and the municipality often allows artists to decorate public spaces, as witnessed here. There is always a surprise around the corner.

Photograph every corner and you can capture the true colors of Mexico.

Credit: yoamotijuana / Instagram

Perhaps because it is right on the border, Tijuana folks are hyper-Mexican. Yes, they are proud of their cultural heritage and popular culture is expressed on the streets, in how houses are decorated, in kitschy but amazing public displays of creativity.

Head down to Rosarito Beach to get some more folklore.

Credit: explorerosarito / Instagram

Rosarito is the perfect combination of a tourist site and traditional town. It has not let tourism gentrify it completely, and it is still possible to capture amazing shots like this one.

The sunsets at Rosarito Beach are pictures of paradise.

Credit: rolandxtopher / Instagram

There is nothing more humbling that witnessing a breathtaking sunset on the beach. The immensity of the ocean and the sky really gets you to reflect upon your life. If you have a media naranja, nothing beats kissing with this honey-infused backdrop.

Further down in Baja California, there are vineyards as far as the eye can see.

Credit: valledeguadalupetourism / Instagram

Even if you are not into the vino, witnessing the care that growers take in producing the perfect grape is amazing. Just seeing how the vineyards in Valle de Guadalupe form perfect rows is humbling in itself.

Let your tastebuds tingle with the taste of real tacos south of the border.

Credit: yoamotijuana / Instagram

Damn, look at this tacos. Fresh cilantro, thick fried corn tortillas and spicy birria. Nothing beats Tijuana tacos, and taqueros in the city take an extra effort in showing that what you can get in the United States is just not that good.

Rosarito means lobster in culinary terms, langosta con frijoles.

Credit: explorerosarito / Instagram

Rosarito is famous for the quality of its seafood, particularly of lobster with black beans, pico de gallo and freshly made corn tortillas, infladitas y calientitas. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.

Get your gourmet on in Valle de Guadalupe.

Credit: elcielovalledeguadalupe / Instagram

Like in other wine regions in the world, Valle de Guadalupe has developed an artisanal food industry that benefits from local products and develops products that can be paired with the many wines from the region. El Cielo, for example, produces Mexican-influenced chutneys with ingredients such as chipotle. Stack up for those canastas de regalo come Christmas time.

Let your skin feel the warmth en Tijuana donde el sol es más sabroso.

Credit: yoamotijuana / Instagram

We can’t deny that the city has faced many challenges throughout the years, and that being one of the busiest border cities in the world has also brought crime and corruption. Tijuanenses, however, are a strong and proud people and the city’s famous sunsets, with the border barrier as the background, are engrained in everyone’s memories. Watch it, feel the sun on your skin and capture it for your Instagram.

Explore by Rosarito by horse and turn your trip into an experience.

Credit: explorerosarito / Instagram

You can hire a horseback ride on the beach. Just look at these amazonas having fun. Girl power!

There is also the option of an ATV.

Credit: rosiebeltran / Instagram

It might not be as peaceful, but adrenaline will run when you get on an All Terrain Vehicle and feel the sea breeze caress your body. 

Or a camel?

Credit: frnky_peniche / Instagram

Yes, that’s right. You can also hire a camel ride. To be honest, this is the first camel we see wearing a sarape.

Valle de Guadalupe is one place everyone should experience.

Credit: vinoslechuza / Instagram

Places like Vinos Lechuza offer banquets al fresco that will fill your senses with wine, food, laughter, and sun.

Let your nose take it all of the smells Tijuana and its cocktails have to offer.

Credit: lifeandfood / Instagram

Take in the amber notes of a whiskey sour, or the bitterness of a mezcal pizco. Tijuana has been taken over by hipster culture and that means cocktails! The city has some of the best barmen in the world. Your nose and your tastebuds will have a fiesta. Places like Moustache Bar and Adelita Bar are a must. Tijuana is no longer just defined by cantina culture but also by top-notch fine drinking holes.

A BBQ in Mexican wine country? Yes, please!

Credit: lifeandfood / Instagram

Deckmans is a fantastic BBQ restaurant where you can have carnita asada and taste the delicious wines from the region. Let the smell of steak and caramelized vegetables fill your soul. Se nos hace agua la boca. A perfect spot for a tame and gentlemanish bachelor dinner party.

Let the border sounds fill your ears and your soul with global culture, music included.

Credit: yoamotijuana / Instagram

Places like the Centro Cultural Tijuana offer concerts, and the city’s music scene has generated legends like Kinky, the electronic band that has won worldwide fame. DJs of word stature often play in venues like Rouge Live Music Venue.

Can you hear that? No? Well, you are listening to the silence.

Credit: chelychels / Instagram

Valle de Guadalupe features some of the most creative and dreamy accommodations in the world, such as this bubble hotel, Campera. Imagine waking in the middle of the night to meet the stars. Just enjoy the silence, or if this is a romantic getaway… well, you can make some noise. Prices are not that steep, with rooms available for $180 USD a night. Caro pero costeable.

READ: Mexico City Paints Its LGBTQ Pride Across A Pedestrian Crossing And The People Are Here For It

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

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

Things That Matter

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.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com