What should tourists never do in Mexico?

In Mexico, as a tourist, you should never refuse an invitation.

No matter what you are invited to do – as long as it’s not illegal.

A trip should also be marked by surprising experiences, not just by ticking off a few sights suggested by TripAdvisor.

Perhaps that is why the second trip to Mexico in 1989 is much better remembered than the first one in 1987.

In those six weeks I was invited to all the unthinkable:

  • I was invited to stay in a tiny single yard in the middle of the desert in the Bolsen de Mapimi.
  • The son of the owner of the gates at the port of Mazatlan, Sinaloa had invited me to his favorite pub – where the waiters could supposedly serve more than just beer.
  • A wordless but very obvious invitation from a certain young woman to finally kiss her.
  • An invitation to a Mexican breakfast in revenge at our invitation to two young ladies on a boat trip.
  • An invitation to lunch from another young lady to a very authentic Mexican dish.

No, I didn’t like it, but I didn’t let it tell me.

I have, of course, accepted all these invitations, and have not forgotten any of them in the last 30 years.

That is the most important thing.The Mexicans are a very hospitable people and are happy when the visitor feels comfortable. All the stops are drawn, even if you are a mouse-poor ranchero who lives only on tortillas, beans chilli and coffee. The locals among themselves are also welcome to offer hospitality, to be generous and to enjoy life at the moment is simply part of the feeling of life in Mexico. As a foreigner, you should at least relax a little while on holiday, and that goes particularly well in Mexico. Otherwise, such a long journey would not really be worthwhile.

A few other, much more pragmatic advices should not be missing here:

  • Do not give unsolicited advice during conversations with locals and omit the instructive undertone.

Moreover, Mexicans do pretty well to criticize local circumstances. Don’t ask at the first beer if the opposite “Narcos” or “Sicario” is so great.

  • The mis-talk of one’s own culture and the self-castration or guilt of all the misdeeds of Europeans for 500 years is not usually well received either. Jesus did this 2000 years ago.
  • Be over-time in the case of invitations.
  • At least 5 or 10 minutes after the agreed date, so as not to interrupt the host with the final details. Normally, as a host, you plan to be 30-60 minutes late. For longer stays, you can definitely get revenge.

  • In Mexico (as in France, by the way) never start a conversation or even a question in English.
  • A few words or a grammatical incorrect Spanish sentence are always better. When the other person realizes that it is difficult to find out that you are usually inathetisingly good knowledge of English.

  • Keep away from ice-cooled drinks on the market place, fruit salads and salads in general.
  • The tap water in the desert-like north is strangely perfectly drinkable in many places, as it is pumped up from great depth (hundreds of meters), chlorinated and fed directly into the net. If you see water tanks on the roofs, you should stick to beer or bottled water. There, the water supply runs only temporarily and the water is stored in these tanks. Should something go wrong, however, one should not be afraid to consult one of the local, very competent in such matters.

  • Bathing and swimming in the sea on a deserted beach can be life-threatening – even for good swimmers.
  • There is no ambulance service!

  • Don’t just turn on untarred paths.
  • Before driving on unpaved secondary roads, make sure to ask locally whether the selected route is safe. The guy at the cattle keeper 30 km from the tar road will not invite you for a coffee on his rancho.

  • From photographing in poor outlying areas or in general the unquestioned photographing of strangers is to be omitted.
  • The exchange of deep glances is at your own risk.
  • For round trips, the toll roads are preferable to the “Libre” overland roads.
  • They are regularly patrolled in case you have a breakdown. The “Libres” are more interesting, however, because you get through the places there – but are much slower.

  • Plan desert tours between June and September.
  • This can be nasty. With 50 degrees of air temperature without water, you don’t even survive an afternoon. This is particularly true in the state of Sonora.

  • Ignore recommendations of the local civil protection in the event of a tropical storm (Huracen) or earthquake (Terremoto).
  • People know what they’re talking about!

    Finally, the most important piece of advice:

    If something seems too good to be true – then it’s often too good to be true.

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