Mexico Tourist Trap Tips by melosh Top 5 Page for this destination

Mexico Tourist Traps: 82 reviews and 40 photos

Suckered to the "perfect" place?

With the right camera angles and a nice setting sun I think I can make any place look idyllic. (Just recently I took such pictures in Liberia, West Africa and in Haiti.) Add to this a few carefully chosen festival pictures or closeups of natural fauna and the place will look perfect for a once in a lifetime adventure. So you can not trust the promotional photos just as you can not trust an internet site's sponsored praise.

On the other hand independent guidebooks will usually not mislead you. Still, I once took a whole group of friends to Merida, Mexico to a hotel described by a guide book as:

'in an authentic historic building' (= plumbing did not work reliably and building was only old enough that no one knew its history or cared)

'with a verdant central garden' (= untended, out of control central courtyard inspiring fear of wild snakes)

'like an antique museum' (= furniture old in poor condition but was originally very cheap)

'with a rooftop patio with great views of the city' (= rooftop covered with clothes lines, clothes and the maid washing station)

Unique Suggestions: Trapped by a pre-paid reservation? Demand your money back and move as soon as you can.

That first night we went out to a nicer place to eat and drank enough beer to help make our stay at this hotel tolerable.

Fortunately, we had only paid for one night, I had not vouched for the quality of the hotel, and because of my reputation for cheap travel my group was prepared for even worst. They were even ready to stay more than the first night, but the next morning I formed a committee of some of the ladies and we found a much better place for the same price.

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  • Updated Jun 8, 2009
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Note the hill in the background - Mexico

Note the hill in the background

A tourist attraction with tourist food

The worst Mexican food I remember eating in Mexico, was in the cave restaurant near Teotihuacan. (And it happened twice, in both 1968 and 1994 -- I had stupidly hoped that they had changed management and cook and I wanted to impress friends with the beauty of the site.)
The food was bland, salsa feeble and the prices reflected the location and not the quality.

Unique Suggestions: Do not plan this as a long leisurely typical comida. Enjoy the setting and save your real eating money for somewhere else.
This would qualify as a off the beaten path visit, and as I indicated seeing this cave restaurant is worthwhile. From the pyramid of the sun as seen in the picture you head to the right, then turn left at the corner of the pyramid and continue along this side to the "back" entrance. You walk across the parking lot, exit the archelogical site, cross the road and follow the signs about a block.

Fun Alternatives: I can not testify on the food quality, but if you want to eat near the ruins there is a collection of open air "restaurants" along the road which goes around the ruins from the main entrance to the back entrance. With so many restaurants in competition, I would expect several to have food of reasonable quality and authenticity. I think I also recall that there is at least a cafeteria at the main entrance in the visitors center.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 20, 2005
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National museums are closed on Mondays

For years I had told an artistic friend that he just had to see the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, one of the great museums of the world. Finally we convinced his wife to let him go for a "boys long weekend out" trip. The four of us men had a great time over the weekend. Following my plan we saved the last day of our trip for our museum visit, but I, of all people, should have remembered that Monday national museums are closed in Mexico. I am not sure my friend's wife believed this story. Especially when we told her that this just meant we just had to go back to Mexico see the museum.

Unique Suggestions: If you make this type of mistake, your best approach probably includes food, music and a generous sharing of alcoholic beverages.

Fun Alternatives: Private museums are often open on Monday.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 15, 2005
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You care, but don't want to be played for a fool

Even in the USA I can not identify strangers with needs which are not self-distructive, so how am I to do this in a foreign country where I am more likely to be face to face with extreme poverty? Even if I had millions, I could not satisfy the need,let along separate the truly needy from the opportunistic. Should I just go by with a casual, "I give at the office"? These are real questions for the traveller to foreign lands.

Unique Suggestions: My answer has been two fold: 1) I watch who the locals help because they tend to help people they recognize and ignore strangers. I think most travellers would be surprised at the charity of shopkeepers in many third world countries. Watch carefully when the really little old lady enters a shop or restaurant. And 2)I usually buy an extra roll of bread, or piece of fruit and share with someone who seems to be in need. If they do not want it or need it, they can tell me without embarassment. I also feel that it is accepted more as sharing than charity because it is personal,non-monitary and can be participatory. Even people forced to beg, have dignity to be preserved. I do believe that when there are parents around, it is always important to ask permission before giving something to a child. I have found that words are not necessary. Bob

Fun Alternatives: Whether you follow my method or you just have to ignore what you see in the streets, do not forget when you go home to generously "give at the office".

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 28, 2005
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