If you live in the continental United States, you’ve likely had some exposure to Mexican food, even if it’s only been through your belly. Tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas and even the ubiquitous nacho all have their origins in Mexican tradition.
Yet there’s so much more to this culturally rich and fascinating country than good food, crisp refreshing beers and intriguing tequila (although there’s certainly all that too). Our neighbor to the south is justly famed for its white beaches, picturesque azure oceans and friendly, welcoming citizens.
Yet, far too few of us are fully cognizant of what this wonderful country has to offer. If you’re wondering what there is to see and do, taste and enjoy or even “Do you need a passport to go to Mexico” (you do, and you have needed one since 2009), it behoves you, dear reader to journey with us as we explore 5 things that nobody does better than Mexico…
Many cultures have the need to be polite and respectful ingrained in their culture. The Thais, for example, are rarely seen without a welcoming smile on their faces, the Germans are famously polite and helpful to foreign visitors and Brazilians are among the friendliest people on the planet.
Mexicans, however, have a near pathological aversion to the word “no”, resulting in a truly unique form of courtesy as they’ll say yes to most any request. Nobody tells polite white lies or “Ahorita”- meaning “right now”- like the Mexicans. If you hear “Ahorita” in Mexico, you’ll likely have a long wait ahead of you.
Every country has their own unique idea of what should be considered a hearty breakfast. The British have their “fry ups” of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, mushrooms and toast. The French have their delectable pastries. The Chinese have congee (a rice porridge base topped with fish, meat or vegetables).
The Mexicans, however, truly push the boat out, with breakfast staples that get the taste buds off and running for the rest of the day. If you’ve never had huevos rancheros (eggs with rice, salsa, refried beans, guacamole and a soft tortilla), you haven’t lived!
Although we eat nearly 3 billion pounds of it a year, most Americans don’t know that chocolate was first cultivated in Mexico, so it stands to reason that they would be among the most innovative in its use and flavor. Mexico is truly a chocoholic’s paradise.
Mexican chocolate has a richness that’s not tasted in most cocoa producing nations owing to its use of spices such a nutmeg and cinnamon to add dimension to the flavor it is aromatic and granular in texture with a rich and creamy finish. Try a hot chocolate in Mexico and you’ll never look at the north of the border equivalent in the same way.
Vatican city ain’t got nothing on Mexico. It has the second highest Catholic population in the world (second only to Brazil) and boasts some of the world’s most famous depictions of the Virgin Mary; chief among them is Our Lady of Guadeloupe in the basilica in Mexico city. She is reportedly the most visited Marian shrine in the world, seeing millions of pilgrims a year.
So there you have it! These 4 tips will help you to experience Mexico like a local — making it a fun and amazing adventure.