Christmas and New Year on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico
The visit to Mexico was full of expectations but also of concern. Expecting whether the local monuments of the Aztecs and Mayans will be as breathtaking as we know from television, whether Mexican food will be better than we know it from our Mexican restaurants, and whether there will be the sea we know from our Middle America. Moreover, on the other hand, worried about whether it is true that it is a country controlled by drug cartels and that it is not very safe here. Some information was, as in many cases, exaggerated, but others were not far from the truth.
Mexico is a beautiful country with huge potential. The sea and the sights here are truly breathtaking and visiting the local pyramids is one of our most beautiful life experiences. However, there are a few big but! After a few days you will understand that people are not really happy here. This is because they are mostly poor and afraid (either of themselves or of their families), which is largely caused by "ruling" drug cartels. And if the locals are not happy, then tourists and visitors are not happy either. In big and expensive resorts it is not so visible, but it is enough to get somewhere outside the resort, among the "normal" people and start talking to them. Then they realize that life is really hard and that their only hope and effort is to earn enough money to move to the capital of Mexico City, where life is quite different from life in other parts of Mexico.
I wrote that the monuments of the Aztecs and Mayans are breathtaking. That is absolutely true, but the fact that in Mexico the main attraction is only these monuments and nothing else (at least on the Yucatán Peninsula where we were) leads to the fact that there are so many tourists near these monuments that it is impossible to reach them. For example to the world famous Chichen Itza, we went twice to get there. By writing that there is nothing else besides the monuments, I meant in particular the absence of animal parks or other interesting natural sights. Their number could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
But not to criticize. After all, they have one amazing natural attraction here. They are called cenote. Cenote is basically a flooded sinkhole of karst origin, which is located in very deep caves and has a rolled ceiling; sometimes with multiple floors above each other. Here, groundwater collects forming a more or less deep reservoir. There are several types of cenote – in the open, partly covered, underground or in a cave. This classification is directly related to the age of cenote, while the oldest are completely open and the younger still retain their dome intact.
The fact that they want you at every corner and for all the tips, only multiplied our negative feeling. But based on the above information, it is actually understandable. Poverty and fear are actually the greatest enemies of local people and tourists do not feel good about visiting this otherwise wonderful country. And that even with your own eyes you see a shattered taxi car on the road, this impression just confirms.
On the other tent, however, I have to confirm that the food is fantastic and the sea is even better. If seaweeds and algae do not bother the shores, then the sea was one of the most beautiful we have ever seen.
I think that the road to an amazing country like Mexico could not be seen yet, and unfortunately there is not much effort on the part of the local people, for obvious reasons, to change anything. I am afraid that the path to change will not be easy here and, in fact, possibly unrealistic, based on the above information.