For beginners it is easy to start with the Yucatan peninsula when you visit Mexico. Americans usually stop at Cancun, the Caribbean cruise ships set their anchor at Cozumel and the Europeans head to Playa del Carmen. We enjoyed the former fishing village Playa del Carmen , where most of everything worked well and the climate was warm and enjoyable in December. Of all the must-see Mayan sights we chose Tulum rather than the over-exploited Chichen Itza, whose temples are nowadays included in the list of the world’s seven wonders. It is easy to reach Tulum on your own with collectivos – minibuses that frequently drive along the Mayan Riviera. You are met by stunning temple ruins by a beautiful set of white-sand beaches and turquoise blue ocean.
Almost all of us have tasted some kind of texmex food and we have got to know vocabulary such as quesadillas, fajitas, tacos, burritos, nachos, guacamole, tortillas, enchiladas and alcoholic beverages such as tequila and margaritas. All of these taste certainly better on spot, but I still recommend to try other local specialities since Mexican food is much more, and much better, than texmex. For example the Mayan meal conchita pibil is pulled pork served with tortilla, salsa and coriander. Chilaquiles is served as a breakfast and is a sauce with green tomatoes and onions with soaked nachos. Gordita is a sort of corn bread with a filling of cheese and for example chicken. Mexican prawns are big and juicy, and taste best with coriander in crisp taco shells. Platano is a deep-fried plantain from the Oaxaca region. Everyone has their own bean recipe, frijoles, and sometimes even chocolate is mixed into the black bean sauce mole. Our chili relleno (chilies stuffed with minced meat) was pure heaven, and although a chili cream sauce called chipotle was served it, our mouths survived the heat. Perhaps a fresh cactus salad helped with that! During Christmas most of the foodstuff seemed to be sugared: the ham bought from the supermarket had a sugary surface, our cheese pies were sweet and even the toast at the breakfast table were sugared!
Mexicans are down-to-earth and friendly without overdoing it, and without constantly offering their services. Nevertheless, they have a strong work ethic and are proud of their country. Still they are happy to serve and advice their tourists that bring valuable currency to their homeland.