The last instalment of the things no one tells you about living in Mexico was such a HUGE SUCCESS (you can read it here, if you’re interested) that I decided to write a follow-up. There’s nothing more daunting than not knowing what lies in store for you before you move to a foreign country, and if you’re planning on moving to Mexico without having ever visited before (like I did) then these cultural differences can hit you like a freight train. But enough preamble from me, I know what you’re really here for – the 10 more things no one tells you about living in Mexico!
10 More Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico
Cheeseless quesadillas are a culinary lowpoint of Mexico City
Alongside hating on people from las provincias, and having one of the most widely mocked accents in the country, there is one other oddity that only those in Mexico City do well – cheeseless quesadillas. OK, so this one is quite specific to the capital, but it’s something you need to know if you’re planning on moving to Mexico or even travelling to Mexico City in the near future. The official line is that in Nahuatl, quesadilla (well, the word it comes from at least) just means folded tortilla and the similarities to the Spanish for cheese (queso) are merely coincidental. I’m not buying it, personally. Anyway, always order your quesadilla with cheese in Mexico City unless you want the taste of regret and disappointment to stay with you all day long.
I’ll be honest, Colonia Polanco isn’t one of my favourite places in Mexico City, but I can see why this upscale neighbourhood, which boasts some of the most exclusive dining and drinking options in the capital, could hold appeal for many visitors. Filled to the brim with galleries like Museo Soumaya, restaurants like El Japonez Polanco and plenty of fancy shopping destinations like Avenida Presidente Masaryk and Antara Fashion Hall, if you’re looking for where to go in Polanco then you’re not short on well-trodden options.
Toluca, the State of Mexico’s humble capital, is also one of the most underrated day trips from Mexico City that has plenty of non-tourist filled activities to offer to those willing to break away from the well-trodden Mexican traveller trail. It also happens to be the place that (former) President Obama visited in 2014! But what is there to do in Toluca, I hear you wondering. Plenty, is the answer to that; whether you enjoy hiking, botanical gardens or beautiful, colourful buildings, these are some of the best things to do in Toluca, Mexico.
Things To Do in Toluca, Mexico
Climb the Nevado de Toluca
I’ve written a full post about climbing this fantastic Mexican peak, which is the fourth highest in the country and also one of the top places to see snow in Mexico. Honestly, it had been on my bucket list for so long and it was definitely worth the minor car/altitude sickness that might hit you on the way up. If you’re interested in visiting this volcano, best known for the twin craters-turned-lakes then click the link below for the full guide! It’s easily one of the best, most well-known and enjoyable things to do in Toluca, Mexico.
Before you think about moving to Mexico, whether to one of the big three cities like Guadalajara, Monterrey or Mexico City or a smaller town, there are tons of things to consider – do you speak Spanish? Do you need a visa for Mexico? Will you like the food? What’s the cost of living in Mexico? However, after living here for almost two years now, I can tell you there are plenty of things no one tells you about living in Mexico, that you really should know and consider before you decide to move there. In the spirit of graciously making my fellow Mexico expats’ transitions easier, here’s everything weird, wonderful, quirky and even frustrating about Mexican culture and life that nobody thinks to mention when you tell them you’re moving to Mexico.
All The Things No One Tells You About Living in Mexico
You can actually buy tampons in Mexico
This is one of the biggest myths of all that I would like to take a second to debunk right now. Before I moved to Mexico, one thing that I kept hearing was that you can’t buy tampons in Mexico. Honestly, I should have packed a suitcase full of the bloody things according to some people. Howeverrrr, you can most definitely buy tampons here and my vagina concurs with that. They’re not cheap (but where are they cheap?!) and you might only be confronted with pads if you run to a corner shop (a la Oxxo or Seven Eleven) in a period-fuelled panic, but they can most definitely be found.
Sidenote: Bear in mind, I’ve lived in two of the biggest cities in Mexico (Mexico City and Guadalajara), so I can’t speak for smaller pueblos. It’s safe to assume that they will likely be trickier to get your hands on there. Even so, just buy more than you need when you do spot them, rather than wasting your luggage allowance on feminine hygiene products.
After finaaally getting around to visiting the Nevado de Toluca last weekend I can say with total confidence that I totally recommend taking a day trip from Mexico City to visit this volcano because 1) it’s super easy, 2) it makes for the ideal escape from the capital, especially if you want to get away from the noise and pollution and 3) you might even get the chance to see snow in Mexico. What more could you ask for?!
So, if you’re looking to hike or climb to the top of the Nevado de Toluca, then this is the guide for you, because in it I’ll be explaining how we got there, how much everything cost and how long it all took.
Visiting the Nevado de Toluca
Situated just outside the underrated city of Toluca (the State of Mexico’s capital), the Nevado is perhaps the biggest attraction in the area, both literally and figuratively, and is actually the fourth highest peak in Mexico. After visiting the Nevado de Toluca this past Sunday, I can totally see why – it’s a total breath of (thin, cold) fresh air outside of the smog ridden capital which allows you to try out hiking in Mexico and gives you an opportunity to see a side of the country that people rarely consider, one that includes snow and the wearing of scarfs! Who’d have thought it?
Last June, to celebrate the end of our final year exams and get together for possibly the last time before going our separate ways, me and my groups of friends embarked upon the most daunting task of all – the organisation of a group holiday. After protests from holiday snobs who claimed Portugal was ‘tacky’, we ended up booking budget flights to the beautiful city of Porto, Portugal, which is most most famous for port, a.k.a. the drink of everyone’s grandma. However, both port and Porto proved a big hit with our group and this is my photographic exploration of the beautiful Portugese city to which I one day hope to return.
Now, I really love food and I especially love burgers, so when I was offered the chance to have dinner one Monday afternoon at the Roma branch of Butcher and Sons Mexico City, I obviously leapt at the chance. Butcher and Sons has been going strong since 2012, has five branches across the capital and is known for its quirkily named burgers, such as the Bowie or the Hendrix. While there I was treated to their burger of the month (a cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped burger, accompanied by lettuce and tomato), plus truffle-topped fries and one of the best alcoholic milkshakes I’ve ever had in my life. Here’s why I think Butcher and Sons Mexico City is well-worth checking out next time you’re in the Mexican capital.
On the recommendation of the waiter, I tried out the burger of the month (they have a new creation that’s off-menu each month) and it was a mouth-watering combination of a bacon wrapped hamburger that was stuffed with a mixture of velvety, melted cheese. In classic inelegant Lauren fashion, I made the mistake of squashing the whole thing down when it arrived, leading to a very majestic cheese puddle oozing out onto my plate. In hindsight, I’m actually glad I made this error because otherwise the cheese would have gone all over my white top. (Yes, I wore a white top to eat a burger because I like to live on the edge.)
Last week, I pulled a great girlfriend move and bought my Cruz Azul fan boyfriend tickets to watch them play in the Clásico Jóven against Club América (ódiales más). This marks the second time in my life I’ve attended a football game, as well as the second time I’ve been to one in Mexico, so I consider myself well qualified to give you a non-football fan’s guide to watching soccer in Mexico.
I lost my football match virginity way back in 2014, when I was living in Guadalajara. As far as I recall, I butted into my friends plans to watch the Atlas vs. Querétaro game because 1) I can’t bear to miss out on anything and 2) there were rumours that football legend Ronaldinho was going to be off the bench and on the pitch for that game (at the sign he was signed to Querétaro). Well, turns out we were right and our attendance at Estadio Jalisco paid off, because out he came and he even scored a goal. It really was the best of both worlds for that game, because our home team Atlas won but we still got to see a goal scored in real time by one of the legends of the sport. A great experience, as far as virginity losings go.
I’d wanted to visit the mariposas monarcas in Mexico for over two years before I finally got around to taking an eco-friendly tour to Mexico’s monarch butterflies in Michoacán just last week. These beautiful creatures migrate annually from Canada and the US, before settling in the blustery forests of Michoacán’s sierras and can only be seen from November to March each year, so I knew I had to get a move on if I wanted to tick them off my Mexico bucket list! Here’s everything you need to know about my excellent and eco-friendly Báay Tours experience visiting the monarch butterflies in Michoacán.
An Eco-Friendly Tour to Mexico’s Monarch Butterflies in Michoacán
It was a ridiculously early start for the trip to Michoacán with Báay Tours. I’m talking be-at-the-meet-up-point-for-6am early and for someone who isn’t too fond of early mornings it was a struggle, let me tell you. Luckily, my friend was on hand to ring me in the morning and make sure one of my seven alarms had woken me up. They had not. But anyway, we both took Ubers to the meet up point outside of Metro Chilpancingo and I, in typically British fashion, somehow managed to arrive twenty minutes early and ended up hovering in an Oxxo with a coffee waiting for everyone else.
An article caught my eye this morning, as I was scrolling down my newsfeed and psyching myself up for a busy day. The title of the El Informador article read ‘El feminismo actual me produce bostezos: Valeria Luiselli’ (Feminism nowadays makes me yawn: Valeria Luiselli). I didn’t read the piece immediately, instead making a screenshot to remind me to go back to it later and find out why one of the best Mexican authors of the moment, Valeria Luiselli, thinks modern feminism is boring. And that I did.
The piece talks about her El País column titled ‘Nuevo feminismo’ (New feminism) which, according to El Informador, sparked a ton of debate online when it was published almost two weeks ago now. It discusses a few of the phrases in particular that caused this seemingly instantaneous outrage, including gems like ‘cuando lo oigo venir, me predispongo a una sordera selectiva’ (‘when the topic of feminism comes up, I’m predisposed to selective deafness’). However, the piece also mentions the comments Luiselli herself has made in response to her critics, claiming that her text is not anti-feminist, rather that many have misunderstood it. In light of this, I read the original piece and you should too. Here you go.