As a four-decade Certified Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has always been a significant and an integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to every portion of the globe, by means of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. This article focuses on those in Mexico.
Mexican travel, which encompassed nine states and the Federal District, can be subdivided into five broad areas, stretching across the country from east to west.
The island of Cozumel, the first of them, was accessed by ferry and explored by road. Its significant sights included San Miguel and the Zona Arqueologica San Gervasio, an archaeological site of pre-Columbian Maya civilization.
The Yucatan Peninsula was blessed with its beaches, such as Playa del Carmen, that were served by a string of hotels and resorts, but the Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza in Tulum, with its step pyramid, offered serious study of this ancient people.
Mexico City, the sprawling metropolis in the Federal District, offered true Mexican-not Mexican-American-cuisine, and visits to the Zocalo, the Cathedral, the Las Lomas Residential District, Chapultepec Park, the National Museum of Anthropology and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Bullfights have to be experienced at least once and frequently placed me on the line between the thrill of spectator sport and the empathy for the helpless animal.
Mexico City also served as the gateway to several progressively distant day and overnight trips, specifically to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, the Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacan, the silver city of Taxco, and Cuernavaca, the capital of Mexico’s Morelos state, whose crown jewel was its 16th-century Palace of Cortes.
A two-night stay and tour of Chihuahua, in the country’s northern interior-reminiscent of the American west with its cattle and cowboys-included the Quinta Gameros Museum, the university, the government palace, the Museo de Hidalgo, the Gallery of Arms, the House of Pancho Villa, and the Cathedral. It preceded a two-day rail journey through the Copper Canyon with stays in Posada Barrancas at the midway point and Los Mochis at its terminus.
Baja California, on the Pacific Coast, entailed trips to Tijuana and Ensenada, the latter with a visit to the Museo de Historia de Ensenada, and Cabo San Lucas, whose glass bottom boat cruised to the tip of the peninsula and its famous rock formed arches-or “Los Arcos” in Spanish.
Further south, the Mexican Riviera extended to Mazatlán with a visit to its Zona Dorada and a day trip to Concordia and Copala, a four-century-old silver mining town, in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
The significant attractions in Puerto Vallarta included the Old Town, the Plaza de Armas, the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora Guadalupe, and Playa de Mismaloya.
And Acapulco, with its own sun-kissed beaches and major hotels, evokes memories of the cliffside divers of La Quebrada and outdoor dinners overlooking the bay.