After arriving in Mexico and having some personal experiences, I am surprised as to how much misinformation is available on the internet and via word of mouth. This article addresses just a few of the expectations I had, which proved to be false.
Myth Number 1: You will never be able to find….
Before I moved to Mexico I was told, “You would never be able to find the same items as in the USA.” Some examples are lemons, peanut butter, and certain feminine hygiene products. So with these particular items, being important to me, I bought them in bulk and packed the car full. When I arrived in Mexico, I was surprised to see that the local grocery store had ALL of those items. I have had no trouble at all finding things I need whether that means going to the local supermarket, driving 30 minutes to the closest Walmart, or finding a specialty store. With that being said, bring things that are essential and the rest you are most likely to find.
Myth Number 2: Mexico is just a dry desert with nothing to see.
As I drove 1,500 miles through Mexico, I encountered many different types of terrain: desert, mountains, jungle, and beach. The first day through Mexico, I have to admit, it was a monotone desert. I dreaded the 7-day drive to my destination. By the second day, I encountered beautiful historic towns. The third day brought the archaeological sites of Mexico City. The next day revealed an incredible surprise when I came upon mountains and even a breathtaking waterfall. By the time I arrived in Veracruz, I got my first glimpse at the coast. After that, I experienced gorgeous jungle and phenomenal lakes. Mexico is full of surprises and has many gems for every adventurer.
Myth Number 3: The roads are terrible.
I was warned so many times about how horrible the roads are and how the roads will ruin my vehicle. I drove through Mexico in a Ford F-150 without a trailer. I mainly took the toll roads, when I could, because I was told they were safer and in better shape. The toll roads are in great condition and are very similar to the highways in the USA. The side roads can be bumpy, this is due to the many potholes and the often unidentified speed bumps. The suspension in the truck definitely helped soften the blow of the potholes, but when driving slow enough, any car can overcome them. I certainly don’t think the potholes should deter someone from driving the vehicle they choose through Mexico.
Myth Number 4: You have to speak Spanish.
I took Spanish in high school, many years ago, and have forgotten everything since. While driving through Mexico, I met many people who did not speak any English at all. I definitely agree that knowing Spanish would have made my experience easier, but I did not feel greatly handicapped because of it. I used the Spanish that I could barely recall from high school and people generally appreciated my effort. It is amazing how much communication is done through body language.
Myth Number 5: Stay at home! There’s a Coronavirus.
I have experienced stricter Carona guidelines in Mexico, than in my hometown in the USA. In Mexico, masks are required in all buildings. I am not sure if they are required on the street, but many people wear them while just walking down the street and even in their own cars while driving. When entering any building, temperatures are taken, hand sanitizer is required and shoe sanitation is also required. I was confused when I first encountered shoe sanitation, as this is not common in the USA. I have also been sprayed down with sanitizer a time or two. The tables are sanitized after you are seated and the shopping carts are sanitized as you enter the store.
Besides these precautions, I did not have excessive exposure to others during my drive down. My general routine was to wake up early, drive until dark and arrive at my hotel. I would eat dinner at the hotel and go to sleep. Then do it again the next day. With this strategy, I felt it was the safest in regards to security as well as the most minimal exposure to others.
Through my experience here in Mexico, I continue to discover assumptions about my new home that I have not found to be accurate. I have traveled to 40 countries and Mexico is one of the most misunderstood countries I have ever visited. This is a beautiful country with so much to offer.