A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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The Rough Guide to Mexico 7th edition (Rough Guide Travel Guides) is actually very smoothly done! The name goes back over 20 years, when they began publishing typewritten manuscripts for cheap travel. Now they have over 200 writers working on their extensive series of travel books. This one was written and researched by John Fisher, with other writers credited as well.

As Mexican guidebooks go, this one is more like Lonely Planet Mexico than anything else I’ve seen, in the scope of its coverage and the variety of added sections it offers to the basic listings of places,hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc. It’s about 100 pages shorter, and with slightly larger print. It’s a British publication, with British spelling and a good section on getting to Mexico from the U.K.

The Rough Guide to Mexico begins with a color section introducing highlights of Mexico, and then has a lengthy section called Basics, which covers ways to get there, visas, money, etc. There are short discussions of work and study, travelers with disabilities, women travelers, gay and lesbian travelers, and traveling with children.

The guide section, which is most of the book, organizes Mexico into ten parts:

  • Baja California and the Pacific Northwest
  • Between the Sierras: Northeast Routes
  • Northern Jalisco and Michoacan
  • The Bajio
  • Mexico City and around
  • Acapulco and the Pacific Beaches
  • Veracruz
  • Oaxaca
  • Chiapas and Tabasco
  • The Yucatan

The book ends with a section called Contexts, which discusses history, the pre-Columbian belief system, environment and wildlife, Mexican music, and books. I specially like the section on the traditional beliefs.

I do have a slight quibble with this organization scheme. Because they didn’t really have a section for the whole Gulf of Mexico area (just one on Veracruz) they covered the wonderfully bizarre Las Pozas of Edward James, near the town of Xilitla, in the “Around Queretaro” part of the Bahio section. Considering that Xilitla is really part of the low-lying Huasteca region — lush, green, and hotter — and Queretaro is in the much drier central highlands, I would have organized things differently myself.

The road between Queretaro and Xilitla is a very winding mountain road… one section of it is known to have over 800 curves! We avoided going that way ourselves. To be fair, the Rough Guide does tell you it’s a long way. In most Mexican guidebooks, the Huasteca gets short shrift and I’m taking it out on this guidebook.

When we spent a month in the charming colonial city of Guanajuato, I gave all my guidebooks a good workout. The Rough Guide to Mexico, Lonely Planet Mexico, and Frommer’s Mexico all have roughly the same length sections and generally they cover the same things. You’d be fine with any one of them in Guanajuato.

I like this guidebook as a companion to give another point of view to Lonely Planet, and I’m sure there are people who prefer the Rough Guide to Mexico or Frommer’s. It’s great to have a choice.

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