Last on the list is Mexico - chock full of ruins, varied landscapes and dynamic cities. You could spend months here and only touch the surface of what the country has to offer, and with barely a fortnight we limited ourselves to just a couple of regions. Here's the final in the series of tips and advice for this summer's trip...
- Hire a car. If you are staying around the Yucatan peninsula, then a car is the best way to go. The roads are in great condition, other drivers are generally considerate and it's easy to navigate yourself between towns and archaeological sites. Having your own set of wheels also enables you to pay a visit to those attractions that are far our of the way, and have a whole set of ruins all to yourself, as well as arriving at the most popular places well in advance of the tour groups.
- Gorge yourself on the delicious food Mexico has to offer. To be honest, I don't think I could bear to look at a plate of refried beans, nachos and guacamole for a long time yet, but until the food fatigue sets in, Mexico is the perfect place to indulge. It may be different for Americans, but coming from a country where Mexican food is not particularly popular, being able to eat moist fajitas, crispy tortilla chips and warming soups was a daily pleasure. My personal favourite was the incredible sweet and sour sauce (nothing like the Chinese version) that came slathered on top of soft pork. Yum...
- Form your own opinion. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was very disappointed at the portrayal of Chichen Itza in guidebooks and online. Yes it is busy, as you would expect the most popular attraction in Mexico to be. But the almost pretentious air surrounding it just isn't a fair reflection of the site.
- Be scared of Mexico City. Common sense goes a long way - being out on the streets very late at night isn't the best idea, and I've always found the behaviour of the locals to be the best indicator of how to act yourself. However, the country's capital is a buzzing, vibrant place, full of treasures to discover. We only had four days there, and have both expressed a desire to go back as soon as we can, taken by the atmosphere and friendliness.
- Miss a visit to a cenote. We were so absorbed by all the history the country has to offer, that we only stopped off at the Grand Cenote by chance. It turned out to be one of the most interesting places we visited in the whole of Mexico. The water was an unearthly shade of vivid blue, the stalactites hung low and sharp, and the icy water provided the perfect break from the humidity outside. Highly recommended - just don't forget your snorkel!
Miss any posts on Mexico? Find them all here:
A glimpse into the world of the Aztecs at Teotihuacan
How I unexpectedly adored Mexico City
The jungle ruins of Palenque
Visiting Chichen Itza
Archaeological sites of the Yucatan
Coastal ruins and an almost-hurricane