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México … More Than Sun, Sand & Margaritas

(Note: Today I will be talking about the US travel market to México) Yes, as the title states, the country of México does have so much more to offer visitors than just sitting under the tropical sun on their sand beaches drinking margaritas. There are so many other excellent México places to see and activities to enjoy but most likely you have never heard of them … and that’s not your fault. Case in point – Visit any US travel agency office in the country and ask about going to México. Boom! apple-vacations-cancun-mexico-md Without hesitation, the slick color brochures from Apple Vacation, Go Go Travel, American Express, and many other mega-tourism companies as well as mega-resort hotel chains are readily produced and placed before your eyes for your perusing.  The agent you are speaking to probably can tell you stories of their experiences when they went there on free trips to check out the plethora of hotels on the many Caribbean and Pacific beaches. Every “México Vacation” has already been nicely packaged, complete with airfare, meals, and beach resort stay. Additionally, these coastal areas are already totally adapted for foreigner tourists. Most of the Mexican employees who work at the seaside resort hotels, the taxis & buses drivers, and the guides working at the various attractions speak English.  Even the prices at these Sun & Sand locations are listed in US dollars, not Mexican Pesos. In fact, everything has been designed to keep foreign tourists in their comfort zone so they don’t have to deal with food that might be different from what they eat at home, a language they might not know, and especially keeping them away from having to view any local poverty or having to deal with any major cultural differences. Think about it. Each year there are tens and maybe hundreds of millions of dollars invested in promotional advertisements in the US vacation market by these mega-tourism companies to get you believing that going to México is only about booking a package beach resort vacation. Period. There are billions of dollars to be made and these mega-tourism companies, huge beach resort chains, local coastal tour operators, all the touristy restaurants, night clubs, and local transportation operators want you to give them your México vacation money. Because of this indoctrination over time, when people from the United States of America consider a “México Vacation,” the vast majority have been brainwashed to simply think, “Margaritas on the Beach.” 


México = Margaritas on the Beach

For the travel agent, it is a no-brainer to book México’s Sun & Sand places. It is all set up for them. There is no need for them to do any time consuming  in-depth research on these locations. All they have to do is offer the resort vacation packages given to them by these mega-tourism companies who provide great support with easy online booking, slick colorful ads, national advertising, decent pricing, and good commissions.

Their clients have already heard all the radio ads, saw the roadside billboards, listen to their friends who have already been there, and of course viewed the many TV promotions for all the sunny carefree all-inclusive seaside resorts in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean side of the country and about Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Acupulco, and Cabo on México’s Pacific west coast. dsc_3178   As a side note, you might find it interesting that travelers from places like Europe, Australia, and Japan think of México as Exotic. Of course people from these other countries like the warm San & Sand locations too but they also want to explore México’s many different cultures, their ancient ruins,  the many colorful colonial cities, excellent regional foods, interesting arts & crafts, diverse geographic beauty, and a vast variety of exciting outdoor adventures.   Just for fun, try this – Next time you go into a travel agency in your home town, ask one of their travel professionals to give you information about going on a México adventure trip to Morelos, or exploring the town of Tequila, or visiting the European-esque city of Zacatecas, or witnessing the magnificent migration of some 5 million hawks and other big birds in the state of Veracruz. Most likely a blank stare will envelope their face. You see, a good majority of agents (although not all) will probably be at a loss because they will not have at their finger tips a slick color brochure that they can pull out of their arsenal of travel promotional materials to quickly show you a complete México vacation package deal. Of course we know the reason is that the mega resorts and mega tourism conglomerates who create the package deals only advertise vacations to México’s major (cash cow) Sun & Sand coastal locations.

Thank Goodness Not All Of México Comes In Nicely Wrapped Standardized Vacation Packages

If you want to experience the Real México, contact me at Mexico Vacation Tours and my staff and I will help you design a getaway which fits your interests, time, and travel budget.

OK, here is something to think about. Did You Know …  The major commercialized México Sun & Sand locations listed above on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts only comprise less than 1% of the country’s landmass. So what about the other 99% of the country?


Fact:  México is Huge!

To give you an idea of how large the country of México is … If you were to add up the total land mass of all these countries in Western Europe; Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, and the Netherlands, it would still be less area than the size of the entire country of México. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that there might be other great interesting places to visit in the 99% of the rest of this country? That would be like all the major tourism companies only promoting two locations for people from other countries to visit when they come to the United States; the sunny Florida coast and the sunny California coast. Over and over and over again, foreign tourists would only hear about how great Florida and California is to visit. If they were to do this, in essence, they would be inferring that there was nothing else to see in the US. And as you and I know, there are lots of other excellent places to visit in the US. The same is true in México.   Here is a short True/False Quiz to see how well you know México. You can find the answers below. Circle True or False
  1. Spanish is the only language spoken in México.   True  False
  2. México has mountains with snow on them.   True  False          
  1. You can find 16th Century churches in México.   True  False
  1. México does not have any rainforest jungles because it is too far north.   True  False
  1. México has 46,581 archaeological sites.   True  False
  1. Nearly all the gray whales in the world are born in the waters around Baja.   True  False  
  1. Tequila is the name of a town in México.   True  False
  1. The Grand Canyon in Arizona is larger than any canyon located in México.   True  False
  1. The dollar to Mexican Peso is not really a good deal.   True  False
  1. There are day tours in México where the main activity is jumping off waterfalls.   True  False
   Answers: 1. Spanish is the only language spoken in México – False This tour is a cultural immersion into the Zapotec people There are actually 68 different languages spoken throughout México which means there are that many different indigenous cultures. So going to México is like visiting 68 different small countries with their own unique history and traditions. Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya, Mixtec, Totonacan, Zapotec, Otomi, Huichol, Purépecha, and Tarahumara are just a few of different languages spoken other than Spanish.  
  1. México has mountains with snow on them – True 
Explore the Sierra Madred Oriental Mountains Yes, there are several mountains that have snow at their peaks in the winter. One of these is in the state of Veracruz and is 18,500 feet tall with a glacier on top; Pico de Orizaba. There are actually two main mountain ranges that run north-south in México. You have the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains that are found on the western side of the country and the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains that are on the eastern side. Just like going to Colorado, both of these mountain ranges can provide some fun higher altitude alpine vacationing opportunities.   3. You can find 16th Century churches in México – True    Oaxaca City Spaniard, Hernán Cortés and his men conquered México in the early 1500’s. After that, Catholic churches and cathedrals started to be built everywhere in New Spain. So you don’t have to go all the way to Europe to see 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries old beautiful churches. Think about this … you can visit these magnificent old ornate churches and explore really old archaeological ruins (some with pyramids) all on the same trip. I don’t think you can do that in Europe!  
  1. Mexico does not have any rain forest jungles because it is too far north – False
tropical-veracruz-family-vacation-g-11 (Small) You don’t have to travel all the way to Costa Rica or South America to find beautiful rain forest jungles. The Mexican states of Veracruz and Chiapas are two great places to hike in pristine tropical jungles and encounter hidden waterfalls.    FYI: Many movies that have jungle scenes depicting the Amazon or some other tropical Central or South American country have actually been filmed in the jungles of Veracruz. Romancing the Stone  (Michael Douglas & Kathleen Turner) The Medicine Man  (Sean Connery) Clear and Present Danger  (Harrison Ford) Predator  (Arnold Schwarzenegger) Apocalypto  (Directed by Mel Gibson)   5. México has 46,581 archaeological sites – True    El Tajin Archaeological Ruins There are so many more archaeological ruins sites to visit than just the heavily advertised Chitzen Itza and Tulum. In fact, 25 of the 32 México states have archaeological ruins sites … even including downtown México City! And yes, unlike Chitzen Itza where it is now prohibited to climb up the steps of their big  pyramid, many other sites do not have that restriction. So climb away!   6. Nearly all the gray whales in the world are born in the waters around Baja – True whale11 The southern part of Baja is an excellent place to see up-close the gray whales between the months of October thru June. You can find them off the Baja coast in the Pacific Ocean and in the Sea of Cortés. Now that’s a memorable experience!    7. Tequila is the name of a town in México – True   dsc_0682 In the state of Jalisco near to the city of Guadalajara, you can visit the town of Tequila. This is where you will find the Jose Cuervo company, manufacturers of Tequila. Every Saturday, the Jose Cuervo Express Train departs from the city of Guadalajara on a 2 hour first class comfortable ride through the countryside arriving right in the center of town. From the train, you can then take a tour of the facilities and of course, taste test the different blends of Tequila.  
  1. The Grand Canyon in Arizona is larger than any canyon located in México – False  
dsc_6021 Just south of Texas and New Mexico is the state of Chihuahua. There you will find Copper Canyon which is 4 times larger than the Grand Canyon and several times deeper. Many outdoor adventure opportunities exist there;  hiking into the canyon, ziplining across parts of it, and even riding in a cable car over it.    9. The dollar to Mexican Peso is not really a good deal at this time – False dolarpeso The dollar value to the Mexican Peso has never been higher. Right now it is about 19-20 Pesos to the US Dollar (January, 2017). Want to stretch your vacation dollars? Then make plans to visit one of the many excellent regions of  México where the hotel and restaurant menu prices are in listed in their native currency, Pesos. Also remember, the well-worn commercialized touristy Sun & Sand places only want your US dollars. If you are paying for everything in US dollars you are losing the buying power created by this excellent exchange rate.  Plus when you visit locations found in the other 99% of México, everything tends to be less expensive anyway. Example: A full breakfast for $60 – $70 Pesos. That’s about $3 – $3.50 USD!  
  1. There are day tours in México where you jump off waterfalls – True
salto-cascadas-micos-7 Yes, you can arrange tours where you jump off of waterfalls into the clear pool below in the states of San Luis Potosi, Guerrero, and Veracruz. It’s great family fun!    In conclusion … If you just want to be a Tourist and enjoy a vacation on a beautiful sunny México beach, then by all means, find a good reputable travel agent in your area and for sure they can help you find the right place to have fun in the sun where just about everyone speaks English and you won’t have to deal with any cultural differences. If you want to be a Traveler in México who would like to look beyond the Sun, Sand & Margaritas on the beach and would enjoy exploring new cultures (remember – 68 different languages spoken in México), climbing pyramids, jumping off waterfalls, exploring cities that look very similar to the cities in Spain, marveling at millions of butterflies or hawks in the sky, taking in beautiful high altitude alpine scenery, and yes, even relaxing on the more unknown but very pristine tropical beaches outside of the all-inclusive resort areas, then by all means, contact me at Mexico Vacation Tours or your local travel professional. México has so much to offer. Let us help you to design an excellent México exploration experience for you, your friends, and your family. Verte Pronto en México / See you soon in México!