In case you haven’t heard, we’ve recently had a new addition to the Topdeck tour family: our magical Mexico Unveiled tour! We’re pretty buzzing about it and can’t wait get exploring, uncovering all the very best that Mexico has to offer. From the other-wordly beaches of Tulum to the soul-stirring ruins of Chichen Itza, it’s sure to be a trip to remember. We’ve put together a short list of handy travel tips to help you get the most out of it. Arriba!
1.Don’t get caught with your pants down
Solid words to live by anywhere, but in Mexico it’s especially prudent advice as ladies’ bathrooms are marked with an ‘M’ for mujeres – Spanish for ‘women’ – leading many a bewildered man to accidentally stumble into the wrong loo only to be pelted with TP (I assume). So fellas, you’ll need to keep an eye out for doors marked ‘H’ for hombres or ‘C’ for caballeros.
2. Be sure to try Botanas
Basically the Mexican cousin of Spanish tapas, Botanas are small plates of popular local delicacies which vary from region to region. Usually served as an appetiser or a tasty little bar snack, they can range from humble tostadas to a zesty ceviche (seriously, TRY IT). I can’t think of a better accompaniment to an ice-cold beer, or they make a great light meal for when you’re on the go!
3. Do yourself a favour and slather on the sun cream
No one likes the lobster look, and a sunburn can put a real dampener on an otherwise incredible trip. The sun is really strong so close to the equator, and it’s true that you can still get a pretty gnarly sunburn even on an overcast day, so carry a bottle of high SPF sunscreen with you and make sure to don a hat to keep your noggin from bearing the brunt of the fierce Mexican sun.
4. Watch your water supply
Speaking of dampeners… It’s generally advisable to steer clear of the tap water in Mexico, whilst it may be purified in larger tourist resorts and hotels (in which case, there will be a sign above the sink) as a rule of thumb it’s best to stick to bottled water, otherwise you’d better memorise how to say “Where is the bathroom?” in Spanish. If you want to cut down on plastic use (and generally look like a upper-suave and savvy traveller) it might be worth investing in a water purifier to take with you.
5. Pack light but pack right
Lugging a huge suitcase around isn’t the best start to any trip – particularly when you’ve got more than one stop. So, you’ll want to have a light, easy to carry bag that’s well stocked for every eventuality. Everyone’s idea of ‘essentials’ is different, but a good place to start is with a comfy pair of shoes.
Yes, those stiletto heels look fab and of course you want to show off your fresh out the box trainers, but comfort is king and if it’s choice between these and a reliable pair of kicks, I know what I’d be choosing! A light jacket is also advisable as is mosquito repellent. I repeat. MOSQUITO REPELLENT.
6. Embrace the slightly different Mexican mealtimes
Many of us will be used to a small(ish) breakfast and lunch (particularly on weekdays) and a larger dinner – or is it just me that goes back for thirds? It’s actually the other way round in Mexico; many start the day with a small breakfast called desayuno, often just a hot drink with a bit of bread or some fresh fruit. Breakfast numero dos is Almuerzo, which is usually taken in the mid-morning and consists of heavier egg and meat dishes, such as enchiladas or chilaquiles.
Lunch (between 2-4pm) is the largest meal of the day, often consisting of several courses, and many people will go home to enjoy it with their families. That means you may find some shops are closed between these hours, not for siesta but rather a leisurely lunch. Dinner is a much more understated affair and it’s not uncommon to have just another hot drink and bread – although a late-night visit to a street food stand is a great way to round off an evening out! You had me at 2 breakfasts…