Rutas de Mexico - Visit Mexico - Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

Visit Mexico Announces New Tourism Campaign – Rutas de Mexico

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 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!

33 Comments on “Visit Mexico Announces New Tourism Campaign – Rutas de Mexico

  1. Don’t forget about the Pueblo Magicos strategy that has been Mexico’s most successful program to promote Cultural Tourism. Now they have 41 and they plan to end the program with 52 by the end of the year, one for each weekend in a year. Also, the 10 World Heritage cities have been organizing to better promote themselves. Recently, the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro was also added as World Heritage and it includes 55 sites that have been organizing to promote the route.

  2. I totally agree with you Barbara, take news for what they are, remember that the most drammatic the news is the easyest it is to catch audience attention…Mexico has lots of problem with drug cartels, i’m not denying it, but it is not so bad as you hear on tv. Travelling there is very safe, you just have to follow the usual common sense rules you use in any other country when travelling and you wont have any problem.

  3. Hi Barbara, thank you for sharing this video, it brought great memories to my mind. I lived and worked in Mexico for 11 years, a third of my life, mainly on the Mayan Riviera. In all those years you can immagine the changes i witnessed, dusty roads becoming 4 lanes highways, little towns becoming cities and of course beautiful beaches becoming all inclusive resorts and so on. I got so frustrated with the loss of identity the country was taking that I decided to leave, not before crossing Mexico for one last time from south to north. Well, as you said, Mexico has so much to offer beside the cancun area, the diversity of the country is just stunning from deserts, to beaches, to jungle, to archeological sites, caves, colonial cities and much much more. I really hope this new tourism campaign will lead to a much more responsible action from the government so that Mexico and the Mexican will finally be able to show themselves to the touirism industry the as they really are without having to bargain their identity or natural assets.


    • Amen, Stefano. I was thrilled to see Mexico Tourism change their strategy
      from “made for tourist” places like Cancun to the really beautiful places
      throughout the country. Mexico is absolutely stunning and its people are
      gracious and giving.

  4. Barbara, I really enjoy your writing. But like most Americans I only hear about the drug trafficking, kidnappings and other atrocities that occur all too often. They are now a regular part of life in the border areas on the US side of the border. For me that is enough to persuade me that the remote areas are out of bounds for me. I’ll stick with the well worn paths with higher concentrations of Americans and hope for the best.

    • Tom: And therein lies the problem. We have been brainwashed into thinking that the whole of Mexico – remote or metropolitan – is just as dangerous as the select border areas where there are real problems. Detroit has the highest crime rate in the US, but that doesn’t mean the entire U.S. is unsafe; it doesn’t even mean the whole city of Detroit is unsafe. Think if it this way: after 9/11 occurred, did that mean our whole country was unsafe? Branding all of Mexico as too dangerous because of select problem areas at the border is doing it a huge disservice.

      I traveled for four months and felt perfectly safe at all times. Mexicans are wonderful, courteous, caring people who will go out of their way to help a visitor. I can’t tell you how many times I stopped to ask directions and someone put down what they were doing and walked me there. Or invited me to stay in their homes during my next visit. Or paid for my meal. I could go on and on. I don’t drink, so I’m clear headed and aware of what is going on around me at all times. I don’t do drugs, so I’m not likely to be caught in a drug fight. And most of the violence is between the narco-traficantes, not the tourists. Read the media and be aware of what’s happening, yes, but also keep in mind that things are often sensationalized as well.

  5. I LOVE Mexico. It is such an amazing country. I have been to TJ so many times but I have never heard of eating in a cave. Where is that? I would love to check it out. If you ever get the change to visit the grey whales in San Ignacio I highly recommend it. One of the best trips I ever took. Mind blowing really.

    • Hi Bethany: Gosh, I went to that restaurant in Tijuana years ago. I did a quick search on the Internet and did not find anything, so it must be out of business. After you cross the border, and you’re in the area where all the little shops and street vendors are, if you are facing south, the restaurant was on your left hand side. And I believe there was a set of railroad tracks that you had to walk over. The restaurant was in an actual cave in the rocky hillside, entered through a store front that was in the center of a row of buildings. But like I said, it was so long ago that the entire landscape should have changed by now.

  6. I absolutely loved Mexico when I visited (argh!) in the 1990s – and still have several photos of the country up on my wall even now. I remember being absolutely amazed at how few Americans we came across (except for in Cancun), yet it’s taken a few years to realise that, curiously, the British have a similarly limited view about what Spain has to offer. Brits seem to think that Spain is only a sun and party country, whereas far more Americans travel here to enjoy the history, culture and architecture.

    I suppose this video raises the age-old travel conundrum: although we want more people to have a greater understanding of and appreciation for the places we love, we also don’t want them turning into tourist traps! No easy answer…

  7. Oh my! BEAUTIFUL video!!! I can’t believe my family stayed for three months in San Diego without once going over the border into Mexico! We were planning to do so but for some reason never got around to it. 🙁 We are just simply going to have to go back to that part of the world again and make sure that we actually DO visit it! Because now I really want to! Thanks for posting this video!

  8. What a love letter to Mexico:) I guess I have to hurry if I don’t want to be overrun by US and Canadian travellers now. Your articles and the upcoming tourism videos – if they are all as good as this one – will surely generate a buzz.

    Btw, I am reading right now Sybille Bedfords’s: A Visit to Don Otavio. I am in love with her writing style and in awe of her knowledge.

    • Fida: Is that book about Mexico? If so I definitely want to order it!

  9. Awesome video. Thanks for sharing, Barbara. It’s good that Mexico eventually chose to promote such a beautiful country and its treasuries, instead of just a few spots (and even not the best ones, in my view).

    Like Mexico in the past, several other countries are the ‘victims’ of a reductive perception, preventing them to exploit their full potential.

    I visited Mexico many years ago and… maybe it’s time to go back! 🙂

  10. I can totally identify with this because it is the same with Brits and the Canary Islands, or most of Spain for that matter. On the other hand, if that type of tourist stays on the beach it’s ok by me. I remember my son telling me of his trip to the Grand Canyon. They arrived at a hotel or restaurant with a spectacular view of the majesty of the Canyon, just ahead of a busful of Briish tourists, who emerged yelling for beer and asking where the bar was, to which they proceeded without so much as a glance at the stunning beauty before them. Sadly, I suppose we all need the tourist dollars of these people as well as those who travel in awe and respect, but if they stick to Cancun, or Playa de las Americas or Torremolinos then great.

    • Islandmomma: I am definitely torn. Some of the places I saw in Mexico were so incredible that I was tempted to keep them to myself, but that would have been selfish. I would hate to see them turn into tourist meccas and lose their authenticity, but at least I’d have my memories of the “way they were.”

  11. After 15 months of traveling around Mexico we can relate to the dearth of Americans traveling in ths wonderful country. You should have seen it last spring between the State Dept warnings and the Swine Flu…there wereeven fewer tourists if you can imagine that.

    • Trans-Americas: Yes, it is appalling the negative consequences of the over-inflated State Department warnings. Hopefully, between us we can be a positive influence in encouraging Americans to come back to Mexico, and this time maybe they’ll go further afield than the beach resorts.

  12. Your series of posts has, like many others, really helped push Mexico up in my list of places to go. It’s really nice to see the push in tourism advertising from Mexico since so many places get a terrible rap and find it difficult to recover afterward. This was the case with Turkey for many years; and for many in the US the perceptions that the world is a dangerous place are difficult to overcome. Travel is probably the best cure for it 🙂

    • Anil: I really hope you have an opportunity to go, and soon. I suspect that once word gets out, many of the places I visited will be overrun with tourists, and they will never again be the same.

  13. What a great post. I went to Mexico for the first time several months ago (Potrero Chico, Hidalgo) and was AMAZED by the natural beauty and friendliness of the people there. Driving in from Austin, Texas, my group was definitely a little hesitant because all of the U.S. government warnings, but our trip was so tranquil and beautiful that I had to re-read those articles to make sure that they were about the same place! Mexico is definitely not getting its due.

    • Hi Bevin: Thanks for your comment. Between articles from writers like me and testimonials from folks like you, perhaps we can convince Americans to once again venture south of the border.

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  15. Wonderful video. It’s good to see the Mexican tourism office finally promoting non-resort type travel. So much adventure waits close to our own backyard.

  16. Thanks for spreading the word on an amazing country. So beautifully written, I want to hop on a plane today! We are looking forward to exploring more of Mexico in the future. Your blog is making us want to move it up on our travel plans. Thanks!

  17. Barbara, thanks so much for posting this! What an amazing video celebrating an even more amazing culture. Like so many, I used to think Mexico was all about the “touristy” places but over the last few years have started to discover what an amazing place it really is.

  18. BRAVO – I”m giving a standing ovation right now in my little apartment!
    This is wonderful and it really does make you wonder how we Americans have been brainwashed into thinking that Mexico is only Cancun, party, and beach. If I had seen this video and didn’t know what country it was for, I know that I’d want to go. When I find out it’s Mexico – a little chip in my brain goes off and says ‘really?’

    Barbara – I’ve said this before – but thanks to you, you’ve opened up my eyes to Mexico and a country that was never on my ‘List of places I want to go’ is now on it.
    Thanks, I hope that you did that for many more people too!

  19. It pains me too to know all the adventure that awaits travelers in Mexico that goes largely undiscovered… Hopefully this new campaign and blogs such as this one will spark greater interest in all the wonders that Mexico offers.

    And “Mexico Aficionado” Wow, I like the sound of that. Thanks again for the mention. Buen Viajes.

    stay adventurous,

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  21. Thanks for sharing this Barbara. It’s a wonderful video and it’s got me even more excited about our trip there later this year. They have managed to distill the culture and diversity of Mexico into 5 minutes- no mean feat!

    • Hi Andy: It was so much fun to watch because I’ve now been to about 75% of the places in the video and I recognized each as it flashed by!

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