Dear Nomad Kitties,

The following is a guest post from our Death Is A Business Merchandise Manager Jack Alvarez! 

Once upon a time, I was an undocumented immigrant born in Mexico and living in the US. Being undocumented means–besides the risk of deportation and legal discrimination–I could never go back home. 

However, In my adult years, I had the blessing of receiving my legal permanent residence (“green card”). I’ve enjoyed the privilege of reconnecting with my family and home in Mexico.

Being able to go back to my country now is an incredible feeling. I love being able to take my fiancé Ricardo back to my country and show him my culture.

I want to share this culture and experience with you guys too, but first I have to say something:

It’s weird. Being in Mexico can feel weird.

It’s crazy to me that Mexicans always get talked down to in the US for “taking your jobs”, but nobody talks about US residents taking over Mexican towns and Americanizing them.

Nobody talks about how people from the US buy properties in beach towns in Mexico and either retire there or build vacation homes. 

In 2022, Cancun caters to Americans. Neighborhoods in these areas over-price products to match the US dollar. The food is made to American palettes. Our hotel buffet had: chicken nuggets and french toast. Some of the other parks we visited had buffets that served hamburgers, pizza, and chicken tenders. Where am I? What happened to the Mexican food?? This was very disappointing.

Everything is so expensive, all visitors are from other countries. Even the Mexican people who visit are not from Mexico because it’s so unaffordable for the average person living in Mexico. 

With this in mind I hope that you will take the information I am about to share and do some reflection, so that next time you visit Mexico, or hear someone talking s#!@ about Mexican people, you can stop them and tell them, we are beautiful.

Now join me on a trip to Mexico’s most famous destination–Cancun!

It is impossible to find authentic Mexican food there unless you ventured out from the tourist areas. At last, we found a small restaurant that had authentic food. We ordered three tacos de arrachera, a sope, and a quesadilla. 

Quesadillas in some parts of Mexico are made with a handmade corn tortilla and they’re more oval and elongated. They’re very different from the quesadillas that you might have had in the US. They do have cheese ones, but they also have ones without cheese. 

The quesadillas are filled with various Mexican foods, such as chicharron, mushrooms, chicken tinga, or others. At this restaurant we spent a total of $17 for food and two beers compared to most of the restaurants in the tourist areas where we would spend about $50-60 for food and drinks for two people.

I will admit Cancun was beautiful. Even though the weather was hard for us because we’re used to our chilly Colorado weather, we had a blast! 

As much as you should be resting on vacation, we are not those people. We love to explore when we travel, and Cancun has no shortage of great spots to visit. We visited Chichen Itza, a Mayan cultural artifact and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It really took you back in time. I definitely recommend getting a tour guide because they will dive into all the interesting stories behind this landmark.

A story that really stuck with me was about the Mayan sacrifice rituals. They believed that children’s tears would bring rain. Any time they needed rain, mothers would willingly give up their children and they would be sacrificed. They believed the child would come back into the world again.

Isla Mujeres is another incredible place to explore. The water there is so clear and the sand feels like flour underneath your feet. You can choose to relax by the beach, swim, shop, or eat and drink. We chose to do all of the above! We found a small vendor on the beach that sold micheladas, which is similar to a bloody mary, but with beer in place of vodka. It was amazing! 

Isla Mujeres also has a breathtaking underwater museum. I didn’t see it for myself because I’m not a good swimmer and can’t snorkel, Ricardo described it as nothing he’s ever experienced before.

I also highly recommend Xplor Fuego. This one is for adrenaline junkies. Water shoes are a must at this park! You can visit by night or day and experience something totally different. At night this place is less crowded and the weather is cooler. It has ziplines, jeep drives through the jungle, rafting on a river under stalactites, and cenotes (natural deep water wells). We learned rafting is not for us! We couldn’t coordinate with each other and ended up frustrating ourselves.

The jeep route is longer at night and there’s a lot of cool lighting around the park. There is a price difference as well. It is cheaper to go at night, but you do get less time. The day pass is 8 hours and the night pass is 6 hours.

We loved the cenotes. In between the caves there are two slides that are completely dark. They were extremely fun—but also terrifying!

We also went to Xoximilco park. I tried to give it a chance but was very disappointed. You will go hungry because they serve very small portions. This park tries to recreate the famous trajineras (canoes) from the Xochimilco district in Mexico City. Food vendors ride around in small canoes that come up to your canoes with delicious food like elotes (corn) and quesadillas with handmade tortillas.

Of all our tours, Xel-Ha had the best food, though I wasn’t too impressed. This park is in the middle of a jungle and the mosquitos are brutal. But if you love animals, this place is for you. There are many opportunities to get up close and personal with them—from dolphins to huge lizards that roam around the whole park!

I recommend budgeting for US prices and always having cash because a lot of places don’t accept debit/credit card. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience in Cancun and it encourages you to fly out of the country!


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