Our journey in Mexico ended in Playa del Carmen. PdC as it’s known, along with its neighbour Cancun is about as American as a place can be that’s not in America.
The stores are American, the food is more Tex-Mex than Mexican and the streets are full of cruise ship passengers.
The weird thing is, far too many of them still have Marco Polo Syndrome, thinking they’re on an intrepid adventure into the unknown. Another white face should be shunned as an impossibility in such a remote region, less than two hours from Miami.
We’d been warned that our next destination of Cuba had very variable food, so after 3 weeks of amazing Mexican food we sat in the most touristy restaurant possible and enjoyed a simple cheeseburger.
Getting off the main strip in Playa del Carmen, there are some amazing local restaurants. A small hut opposite our hotel sold delicious, but incredibly (suspiciously) cheap chorizo tacos. The best restaurant we found was a Venezuelan place called the Kaxapa Factory. It’s just everything you want in a cheap restaurant – delicious food, beautifully presented with a friendly smile.
Flying in Mexico – Aero Mexico
We took an internal flight from Mexico City to Tutlia Gutierrez on Aero Mexico. The booking process was simple enough, but I made the mistake of signing up for email alerts if there were any changes to the schedule.
In the 15 days between booking the flight and boarding the plane I’d received 38 email messages telling me the flight time had changed by a minute or two either way. In the last email the scheduled departure was back at the original 5.33am. Obviously we took off at 6.25.
Be aware that many things in Mexico are a bit less than claimed. Arriving from Texas, the Mexican offer of a gigantic meal is simply moderately large by US standards, hour long tours are only 50 minutes and a ‘full-size’ swimming pool was not as full-size as we might have hoped – I’d go so far as to say fun-sized.
Outside of the well-trodden tourist trail there are dangerous areas near both the north and south borders, mostly caused by the drug trade. Everywhere we visited the people were warm and friendly, even in the capital and apart from a dodgy tour company we didn’t see anything in the way of scams or dangerous situations.
Mexico is easy to get around, very good value and if you love food it’s great to find that Mexican dishes go far beyond tacos, burritos and fajitas. Combine this with some world-class historical sites like Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza and it’s an easy place to recommend a visit.