Myths About Mexico: Lies and Misconceptions DEBUNKED
Mexico is shrouded in different myths and misconceptions, and I want to break a few of them because I believe that the main reason people don’t travel to Mexico and even Central America is because of these myths. Today we’re going to be talking about busting myths about Mexico.
There are a lot of misconceptions or lies, urban legends, myths, and made-up stories that prevent people from really enjoying the place. To be honest with you, my husband was one of them, Guatemalan. He did not want to travel to Mexico for almost 20 years. Now, for me, it was almost 22 years ago that I was last in Mexico. I always loved Mexico, but because of my husband, Guatemala, and this whole narco thing, and especially the show narcos doesn’t help either.
The whole drug thing that’s going on in Guatemala, it’s really prevented him from going, and the news that people read, gratefully I convinced him to finally go and since then, we’ve been back multiple times for multiple weeks and months on end.
So let me break down a few of the most common misconceptions, lies, or myths about Mexico.
Myths About Mexico
Mexico is Dangerous
You know what? Everywhere is dangerous if you’re stupid. We felt so safe in Mexico and we went everywhere. First, I don’t feel this safe the way I felt in Mexico. And we’re talking about many different cities, Mexico City, Queretaro, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Oaxaca, and many others. We walked in the evening, we walked far. We did things. I even walked alone. I don’t feel that safe in a lot of parts of the United States. So, yeah, just don’t be stupid. We didn’t feel any danger at all. And I always have my unsafety radar buzzing all the time and I didn’t feel it.
The cops, you will hear so many stories about the Federales. Yes, maybe, probably they do bribe you. They stop you. But you know what? I can honestly say we have driven over 80 hours in our car. Rented a car. When we say in our car, that means we brought ours in from Guatemala. Everybody’s like, red flag, people are going to be stopping you extra because you’re from Guatemala. Not once did we get pulled over.
There are many checkpoints all over Mexican roads, and it’s total normality. Even when we did get pulled over, they just checked our papers and then welcomed us and said, sure, go ahead. You know what? I don’t know where these stories come from, but we never had a single issue with these Federales, and you’ll see them all over the place, but really they’re not looking to bribe you. If they are, chances are they’re not going to do it to a tourist.
Pay With Dollars Everywhere in Mexico
The other thing is, you hear this always that everyone loves money and dollars and that you could pay with dollars everywhere in Mexico. Funny enough, when I was in Nicaragua, they loved dollars, they’ll take dollars everywhere. Costa Rica as well. Guatemala? Not so much. Mexico? Not at all. Nobody wanted our dollars. No one wanted dollars, not even the banks. None of them would even change our dollars. No stores, and no tour operators. I mean, nobody wanted dollars. The only place we found a place to do an exchange was at the currency exchange places. Even there they were running out of money to give us.
Related Read: Tips for Exchanging Money in Mexico
So first of all, ATMs, you could get really great deals. I have an entire podcast about exchanging money in Mexico and using your ATM card, or a bank card, but honestly, nobody wants your dollars. So don’t come thinking that your dollars are anything of value.
The other one is the border crossings. If you are going to be entering Mexico through a border crossing, either through Guatemala, Belize, or the United States, that is going to be long and arduous and difficult, and you’re going to get a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. We came through the border, and I have podcasts about the border crossing and bringing our car in over the border. No problem at all.
As long as you have all your paperwork intact. Why would they give you an issue? There is no issue. Yes, you have to pay a fee to enter. Why not? That’s a visa fee. It’s not a lot of money, but we didn’t have any issues. It takes a little bit longer when you’re bringing your car into the country if it’s obviously not Mexican. Likewise, it took us a couple of hours to do the paperwork and stuff like that to make the payments.
It wasn’t hard, it was just you have to go here, you have to go there, just certain things that you have to go through. And when we left, it was less than 30 minutes for both borders.
Bringing your Foreign Car to Mexico
Bringing your foreign car, this was another thing, another total lie. If you bring your foreign car either from Guatemala or from the United States, they’ll only give you seven days. I don’t even know who came up with that lie, but it’s a total lie.
First, we came in telling them that we want to travel for 30 days in our car. They gave no problem whatsoever. On top of that, they said, why don’t we give you a visa for 60 days for the car, just in case, if you want to stay longer. Zero problems.
Dangerous Because of the Narco
This is probably the biggest, biggest misconception, biggest lie. Kind of goes with the first one. That is dangerous, but specifically because of the narco drug lords and the Narco Nation and the kidnappings. You know what? Yes, it does exist. Obviously, it exists. We all know it does. But they don’t care about us. What do we have to offer them? We’re not even on their radar.
Chances are if you go to narco nations where it’s known for that, that’s your business, but in a pretty tourist area, honestly, it’s not even a topic of conversation, so stop with this concern. It’s so ignorant that it’s kind of pathetic. So, no, it’s not true whatsoever.
Overcharging If You are a Foreigner
The other one is that they’re going to be overcharging you if you are a foreigner or a gringo. You know what? Mexico is cheap. It’s so cheap that if they were overcharging me, I certainly didn’t feel it. And a lot of times I don’t even think they’re quick enough to think of an overcharging number for you to give you. I haven’t had that issue once. And I am blonde, green-eyed, so chances are I do look like a foreigner.
Not once did I have that kind of problem.
This is just my own, obviously, experience, but I can honestly say that I’ve had a lot of experience with Mexico. When I first arrived here 22 years ago, I actually hung out here for almost four months. And now we’ve been back and forth for over two months, on and off, driving, doing a lot of local stuff. I have friends that live in Mexico.
These aren’t problems. So again, it’s time to get past those misconceptions and really enjoy the country. Because honestly, we love Mexico, it has many places to visit., and if we weren’t planning on moving to Europe, we would be moving to Mexico in a heartbeat.
Give Mexico a chance. You will not be dealt with any of these issues.
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