Three years ago, when I announced my solo travel to Mexico, everyone was terrified. My family told me to find someone to tag along. My best friend asked me to cancel my trip. For them, Mexico is too dangerous a country to visit, as it has constantly received bad reputation for drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and violence. However, I decided to stick with my travel plan. I could not let the doubts and fear win.
I started my Mexico trip in Tulum, went to Cancun, explored Isla Mujeres, and continued to Mexico City. Although two weeks was not enough time to see everything in the country, I had a wonderful time in Mexico and have completely fallen head over heels with this amazing country.
Mexico is a very safe country to visit
I was constantly surprised by how safe Mexico is for a solo woman traveler. On the first night, I got off at the wrong bus stop in Tulum. Concerned for my safety and a fear of getting lost, I asked two strangers in a red car that pulled up alongside the curb. They told me that my hostel was a 15-minute walk away. As it was dark and the area was pitch black, they offered me a ride to my hostel and watched me enter to make sure that I was safe. At the hostel in Cancun and the Mexico City, the door was always left unlocked or wide open, and nothing happened and nobody lost anything.
Delicious food in Mexico
There are many diversities of food in Mexico. I could taste a variety of dishes every day and paid a small amount. In Mexico City, I paid $1 for two beef tacos in a restaurant near Zocalo with unlimited amounts of guacamole. In Tulum, I had the best fish tacos at Urge Taquito. The tacos came with two freshly made fish sticks, and the restaurant had a salsa bar offer a variety of toppings. The fish plate in Mexico is one of the best kinds. As someone who loves seafood, having fish dishes with rice, vegetables, and appetizers was extremely satisfying.
Friendly and welcoming locals
The locals in Mexico were welcoming and accommodating, and they chatted with me asking to take pictures with me. I went to Teotihuacan on my own, and met a family of three at the bus station upon departure. They hiked with me, lent me their blanket during the downpour, and walked me to the hotel to check in. The next day, I asked a stranger I met on the road the directions to get back to Mexico City. Not only did she give me detailed directions, she gave me a tour of her home and told me to stay there next time I visited Teotihuacan.
Mexico is diverse and has so much to offer
I was amazed by the beautiful beach in Tulum, with ancient cliffs towering over the turquoise blue water under the azure sky. I have seen the beaches in Southeast Asia and North America, but the beach at the archeological zone in Tulum is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Apart from the beach, I took time exploring the archeological ruin in Tulum and Teotihuacan in Mexico, and imagined the life of Mayan and Mesoamerican classic civilizations and wondered what the daily life looked like in these ancient periods. There is no lack of modern infrastructure on the coast and in Mexico City. I took public transport and the metro to get around Mexico City everyday, and the subway leaves almost every minute.
Why Mexico was my best adventure
Traveling alone in Mexico was one of my best decisions, as it taught me that the world is not as dangerous as the news media makes it out to be, and people are willing to help instead of being harmful. I was amazed by its rich culture and history, stunning beaches, delicious food, and friendly locals. A visit to Mexico has totally changed my perception of the country and the world. I was hesitant to travel to Latin America because of negative reporting and safety concerns, and I visited many on my own after this trip. My only regret is that I had not stayed in Mexico longer.
Julie Cao is based in Toronto and is currently traveling in South America. She blogs at Always On The Way, sharing her travel experience, destination features, and travel tips through the locals’ perspective. You can find more about her travels on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Mexico is one of my favorite countries too. I totally agree with Julie about the beauty, friendly locals and amazing foods. To read more about my adventures in Mexico read about my time in Rio Lagartos. -Jamie