My buddy Mark Swaim moved to Mexico City around 5 years ago and each year I’ll try to make the short trip down to see him at least once or twice. Over the first few times that I went down to see him we did all of the touristy stuff that there was such as visiting the ancient city of Teotihuacan, the Museum of Anthropology and went to see the hilarious Lucha Libres, all of which I would recommend that you try should you find yourself in Mexico City. Having already ticked these items of the list, the last couple of times I wanted to really immerse myself in the culture and get that real Mexican experience, so here is where we went.
A cantina was traditionally a watering hole for workers, who would hit the place after a long day at work for some drinks and something to eat. The way it works in these places, at least in the main, is that you buy a bottle of whisky or something similar for the table, and then you can order as much food as you want which is included in the price. Drinks are costly here but the food is often great quality and when you factor that in the cost overall isn’t bad. Here you’ll get all of the classic Mexican music and you can enjoy some drinks in a very local setting.
Tacos are life in Mexico and no matter who you speak to they will have their own favorite place where they love to go and eat. To find the best tacos you really have to get away from the main tourist areas and get into the nitty gritty of Mexico’s barrios. l was lucky that Mark lives in Mexico City which meant that he knew of some great spots, but if you don’t then you can do some research online and find some lovely places to get some incredible tacos.
Whilst these are set up for domestic and foreign tourism, the Pueblos Magicos initiative which the Mexican government set up is a wonderful idea and it gives you some amazing and very Mexican places to visit throughout the country to visit. Basically the idea behind this is to protect and celebrate the small towns which exist throughout Mexico and to encourage people to visit them. In these gorgeous little towns you’ll find artisanal markets, locals selling hand made goods and plenty of natural beauty to boot. We went to a place called Cholula which is a couple of hours from Mexico City, a delightful and colorful town which is actually home to the world’s biggest pyramid. There are over 150 of these small towns dotted throughout the country and they give a real sense of traditional Mexico, I’d certainly recommend it.
These little trips and experiences are much more about the way of life in Mexico rather than the tourist traps, and there is no reason you can’t enjoy it all.