Five months in Mexico passed and I'd like to share a personal flashback to my first two days in the country, my expectations and the reality.
I honestly think if you follow these six simple rules you won´t have any severe problems, even if you´re visiting a country like Mexico!
In my post "Security in Mexico" I explained that I'm convinced if you follow some simple rules, nothing severe will happen to you. Still, there are some things that are unfortunately not really unusual to happen EVEN IF you follow those rules. And although none of them happened to me (lucky duck), some of my friends were a little less blessed and those are actually all misfortunes that happened around me. I got more sensible for certain situations when those things happened to my friends, so I hope this short post might help you to prepare better for your visit!
After all the Mexico-praising posts I wrote, I want you to know I'm not denying the issue of safety that exists in the country. Mexico´s homicide rate is skyrocketing. More than 30.000 people were killed in 2018, numbers that weren´t reached since 1997. Rates are rising as well in before inviolated, touristic areas like Quintana Roo. Mexico as a bridge between South America and the United States is the scene of bloody fights between the cartels over drug trafficking routes. Although nobody can or should deny those facts, I'll try to explain you why I still felt way safer than I expected.
Baja California is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico among tourists from the United States for two main reasons: its location close to the border and its warm temperatures. Although in some parts it´s hard to avoid the masses, besides beach resorts and party destinations in the very south of the peninsula, there are as well some hidden gems. In fact, I found two of my favorite places of the country in Baja California: Valle Guadalupe in the north and Isla Espiritu Santo in the south.
Lago Chapala is the biggest lake in Mexico and as it is really warm there and you cannot see the other end of the lake, for me it felt more like the ocean (maybe as well because most lakes in Austria are really small). Lago Chapala is one of the most popular leisure time go-to places close to Guadalajara.
Tlaquepaque is an artistic, colourful city that was surrounded by Guadalajara when it grew, so that now it seems more like a part of the city. It is one of Guadalajara´s "must sees" and there are some things you should not miss when you´re there!