So far Mexico has been a joy to travel through. We’ve driven through Monterrey, Saltillo, San Luis Potosi, San Miguel De Allende, Puebla, San Jose Del Pacificio, Oaxaca City and parts of the Oaxacan coast.
In Monterrey, which is a very metropolitan city everyyyyone was wearing a mask. We went on a hiking trip to Parque Ecologico Chipinque and the park took every precaution. Entry to the park was purchased beforehand and scanned on your phone at arrival. Once in the park there was sanitizer everywhere. Even along some trails. People we ran into along the trails were also wearing masks and if they had them off, put them on as soon as they saw us approaching. We of course did the same. The restaurant and the gift shop were also closed.
In Monterrey, Saltillo, San Luis Potosi, San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca City all the museums were closed, but it was still nice to walk around and take in the architecture of these cities. People were so good about mask wearing that we’d even see people driving their own cars with no passengers wearing masks in them. I was super impressed. In these cities we also went into a few grocery stores to pick up some essential items. Before we would even enter the stores there would be a mat with disinfectant to step on and clean off our shoes (remember, whatever you do take care of your shoes), next you’d walk in, get your temperature taken and instructed to use some hand sanitizer that was usually set up with a foot pedal to avoid touching anything. If there wasn’t a foot pedal there would usually be a designated person to squirt some sanitizer into your palm or you could use your own.
Driving from city to city there have also been COVID check points. We’ve hit three of them so far. At the checkpoints you’re asked to show identification, where you’re going and if you’re experiencing any symptoms. You also have to show proof of where you’re staying or where you live in the upcoming city/region. We pulled up our Airbnb info the three times and showed the officer our confirmations and we were on our way. I’m not sure what they would have done if we weren’t able to provide proof of address or a reservation. At one of the checkpoints there was a bit of a wait and it added maybe 30 minutes to our trip, but every other time the entire process has taken maybe 5 – 10 minutes at most. I’ve definitely appreciated that these precautions are being taken.
San Jose Del Pacifico is a rural town in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Here we stayed at a vegan/organic farm/yoga retreat called Terraza De La Tierra. The mask situation here was a little different. I didn’t ask, but my guess is that they’re located in such a rural area with such a low population that the locals aren’t as on top of mask wearing because they are so remote. There weren’t many guests staying and the entire property is on the side of a mountain with trails off it for hiking, so everything is pretty much outdoors. The accommodations are cabins with no electricity and wood burning fireplaces that are spread out throughout the property, so you don’t really come in to contact with anyone. They do have a restaurant where they serve plant based meals made with fruits and vegetables that they grow on the farm. There were usually two people, not wearing masks in the open layout kitchen preparing food and the tables were spread out enough that if you happened to be in there at the same time as anyone else eating it was wayyy more than six feet apart. It made me a little skeptical, but I put things into perspective for myself. I saw us as more of a threat than the two people in the venue who live and work in this small town. The guests we saw there were either Mexican, Canadian or Croatian and if they were entering the restaurant were wearing masks. We wore masks whenever in the restaurant aside from when we were eating with no one around us. The one thing I didn’t participate in was the yoga classes they offered. I had every intention to the morning we were there. I got up, got ready, walked to the area I was told yoga was taking place and then arrived at the cabin and noticed all the doors were closed and there were about eight pairs of shoes outside. So, I turned around, went back to our cabin and went on about my day. I didn’t feel safe doing yoga with 8 strangers in a closed space. I would have loved if they had done the yoga class outside since the property was beautiful, the temperature was perfect and there was plenty of space, but what can ya do.
Next we were off to the Oaxaca coast. We booked an Airbnb for a few days in Estacahuite. The beach was beautiful and people for the most part were wearing masks. At the actual beach people had their masks off. At restaurants, stores and markets people were wearing masks. Even beach vendors walking around had masks on. We drove to an open air farmers market in Pochutla and I didn’t see anyone without a mask.
After Estacahuite, we stopped in a very hippyish wook beach town full of yoga studios, hostels, tattoo shops, vegan restaurants and organic markets to do our 8 kilos of laundry. Normally, I would eat this shit up, but because of COVID I was kind of annoyed. It was a more touristy health conscious town and I think because of this most people I saw on the street were foreign and not wearing masks. I went into a market to get some produce and half the people were wearing masks. I’m not sure if people think because they’re vegan or health conscious and take their ginger shots every morning they’re somehow immune to COVID or what it is, but I found it to be disrespectful to the locals. They weren’t really wearing masks either, but it’s still their home. People are gonna people though I guess.
Right now, we’re at a beach camp site in Bahia de San Augustin called Overlander Beach Camp Don Taco. It’s right next to Huatulco National Park. We’ve set up our tent, we’re camping here for four nights and are enjoying the best WiFi we’ve had all trip. It’s a campsite so its outdoors and we have our own sandy camping area with a beautiful view of the ocean. We met an older Dutch couple here who live in Australia and have been overlanding for 16 years. They call themselves Double Dutch Down Under. They have the biggest rig set up I’ve ever seen and they’re awesome. Check out their site.
So far Mexico has been much more COVID cautious than what I’ve seen in the U.S. and it has been refreshing to see people take this virus as the actual Public Health threat it is instead of a political disagreement.
We also plan on getting tested this upcoming week before heading to Guatemala. I’ll update on how it goes as soon as I can 🙂