Ah, Mexico! How little I knew of your beauty and culture before I traveled your roads for four months. Having camped in the back of my truck on windswept Baja beaches, enjoyed dinner in a cave in Tijuana, seen my first and only “green flash” as the sun set over the Pacific in Puerta Vallarta, and luxuriated in a hillside cabana with its own private pool-for-two in Acapulco, I had experienced more of you than most Americans. But I had only just scratched the surface. I knew nothing of the many hidden Rutas de Mexico. Of your stunning colonial cities, jungle-draped ruins, sacrosanct cenotes, and fascinating history. Never before had I swam alongside whale sharks, descended into the deepest canyon in North America, or been invited to a Semana Santa celebration with Tarahumara Indians. By the time I was halfway through my trip, I was hooked.
Yet, I met few other travelers from the U.S. Many had been scared away by over-inflated media reports proclaiming the danger of traveling in Mexico. Still, I was puzzled by the absolute dearth of my fellow countrymen. I had run into a few expats in Cabo San Lucas and still more in San Miguel de Allende, but in the more remote places – the most alluring places – not an American was to be found. It finally clicked for me when I got to the Yucatan, where U.S. tourists were so prevalent that I no longer found it necessary to speak Spanish 24/7. By and large, Americans vacation in Mexican resort areas like Cancun, which the Mexican government spent millions to create and promote, and ignore the rest of this vast, beautiful country. They never venture into the myriad Rutas de Mexico that lead deeper into the geography, culture, and history of the country. It hurts my head to think about all they are missing.
Yet, there is a change afoot. I am excited. Mexico has just announced a new tourism campaign, Routes of Mexico (Rutas de Mexico). I learned about it through fellow travel blogger and Mexico aficionado, Craig Zabransky, who writes at StayAdventurous.wordpress.com. The video takes my breath away. With all that I have tasted of Mexico, there is so much more to experience, and I want to see it all. Once you view the video, I’m sure you’ll agree:
What’s keeping you? Mexico awaits!