The Best Time to Visit Los Cabos, Mexico

When you’re starting to plan your trip to Los Cabos, Mexico, you may ask when is the best time to visit Los Cabos. Here’s our honest answer: It truly depends on what you want, when you want it, and where you want to go. No matter what exactly you want to do, Los Cabos probably has what you want. But since the weather, the prices, and the event calendar can vary, so might your ideal travel time.

Below, we’ll walk you through what to expect throughout the year, when you can potentially score the best deals, and where you can likely find what you’re looking for in and around Cabo. 

Why You Should Visit Los Cabos, Mexico

There are multiple reasons why Los Cabos has become one of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations. For one, Cabo is blessed with almost perpetually warm and sunny weather year-round. Also, Cabo is one of the country’s safest destinations. The U.S. State Department ranks Baja California Sur as one of Mexico’s safer states, and tourists and locals themselves consistently rank Los Cabos as one of the country’s safest destinations.

It also helps that Cabo abounds in natural beauty; it’s rugged desert, yet its coastal location makes it feel less harsh and more inviting. Los Cabos has beaches to explore and enjoy, yet Cabo also has plenty of mountains, wetlands, and open desert to experience as well. It also offers its own unique “two-for-one special” in cityscapes. Cabo San Lucas is the international party town where you’ll find the rowdiest nightclubs and name-brand resorts, while San José del Cabo is the more laid-back city with authentically Mexican flair and artistic spirit. 

To make Cabo even better for North American travelers, Cabo is easy to reach: Los Cabos International Airport offers direct flights to and from a large and growing list of major cities, including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York (JFK and Newark), Phoenix, Seattle-Tacoma, Toronto, and Vancouver.

When to Visit for the Best Weather

When is the best time to visit Los Cabos for the best weather? Though Los Cabos tends to stay warm year-round, summer is definitely Cabo’s hottest and wettest season. Daytime highs often exceed 32° Celsius (or about 90° Fahrenheit) from June through September. August and September are by far Cabo’s rainiest months, and Cabo even occasionally runs the risk of a tropical storm or hurricane reaching shore. 

In contrast, Los Cabos tends to stay dry during the winter. However, winter is also Cabo’s coolest season, as daytime highs usually stay below 27°C (or about 81°F) December through February, and nighttime lows sometimes drop below 13°C (or about 55°F).

If you want the absolute best weather for your Cabo trip, your best bet is to plan a springtime trip (March through May). Daytime highs average in the high 20s to low 30s Celsius (or the 80s Fahrenheit), nighttime lows hardly ever drop below 13°C, and rainfall is almost nonexistent, though sea water temperatures are at their coolest (around 22°C/71°F) during this time of the year. Don’t mind the chance of a little rain here and there? A fall trip (October through November) will probably also give you a good chance of enjoying some great Cabo weather on land and warmer water at sea. 

When to Visit for the Best Bargains 

Those looking for the best prices for their next Cabo trip should prepare to sweat it out: summer is almost always when you’ll find the cheapest hotel rates and airfares. If you’re wondering why, then read above. Since Cabo is at its hottest and wettest during the summer, that’s also when tourist crowds are at their thinnest. In turn, this pushes hotels and airlines to lower their prices in order to sell more rooms and tickets.

On the flip side, the winter and early spring season (December through April) almost always feature the highest prices. Because the weather is at its most pleasant, and because this is when Americans and Canadians are most motivated to escape the cold weather at home, this is when the law of supply and demand tends to work against travelers the most. It’s also hard to score deals in March and April, when spring break revelers pour into Cabo and keep nearly the entire region booked and busy. 

If you want that “sweet spot” of nice weather and reasonable prices, you may want to consider booking during the shoulder seasons of May through June and October through November. As mentioned above, the weather isn’t too hot or wet during these months. Yet at the same time, the crowds aren’t quite as huge as during the peak winter and spring seasons, so you stand a better chance of scoring better prices on hotels and flights.

When to Visit for Your Favorite Activities 

When is the best time to visit Los Cabos for events and activities? Thanks to Los Cabos’ tropical location and desert climate, there’s plenty for travelers to do year-round. But when you’re deciding what to do in Los Cabos during your trip, some times may be better than others for you to visit… Or conversely, some activities may be better than others during your trip.

If you enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, and other outdoor activities (on land) during your trips, then winter and early spring are the best time to visit Los Cabos due to the mild and pleasant weather. This is also the time of the year for the best whale watching, as this is typically when Pacific Ocean-based whales arrive for the warmer water for mating and birthing. For warm and clear water that’s best for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and diving, you may prefer to visit during early fall (September and October). 

For the best fishing, Cabo’s big fishing tournaments also occur during the fall. The Los Cabos Billfish Tournament and Bisbee’s Black and Blue happen every October, and the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot occurs every November. For the best foodie action, check in advance for the Gastrovino food and wine festival. It’s happening December 8-10 in 2023, and it’s usually in November or December every year. For more cultural events, you may want a winter or spring trip. The Tropic of Cancer Music & Arts Festival hits the nearby town of Todos Santos in January, and the San José del Cabo festival usually occurs in March.

Where to Visit Year-Round

Now that you have a better idea of when to travel, here’s some activities and can’t-miss stops that are ideal for an itinerary anytime of the year. As hinted earlier, Los Cabos is a big region with two larger cities, multiple small towns, and plenty of backcountry full of wide open parks and spaces. Probably the most famous city in Los Cabos is Cabo San Lucas, because Cabo San Lucas has the most traveler-oriented creature comforts. The Marina District is chock-full of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, as well as the Puerto Paraiso and Luxury Avenue shopping malls. And if you want a beach with calm waves for swimming and plenty of amenities nearby, Medano Beach is where you want to go.

For a very different urban exploration experience, head to San José del Cabo. Though San José del Cabo has a few large resorts, you’ll find many more boutique hotels and vacation rentals here (more on this below), plus you will find neighborhoods that look and feel more like places where locals live year-round. In particular, the 23400 District has many of the region’s most exciting and innovative restaurants, and the Gallery District is a thriving artists’ village that has truly become Cabo’s creative heart and soul. For great surfing beaches, San José del Cabo has some of the region’s best surf breaks, including Monumento, Zippers, Acapulquito, and La Roca. And for the perfect nearby outdoor escape, Estero San José del Cabo extends for some 40 kilometers (or about 25 miles), and it’s a verdant wetlands park where over 100 animal species (including birds, fish, and turtles) call home.

Where to Visit to Get Away From It All

For a more relaxing escape where you can truly “get away from it all,” go north. North of San José del Cabo, Cabo Pulmo has a National Marine Park that’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its incredible array of aquatic wildlife. Some 800 species of marine life call this stretch of sea home, so this is where to go for the best snorkeling and diving. Meanwhile, north of Cabo San Lucas is Todos Santos, an official Pueblo Mágico (or “magical town”) that’s simultaneously a thriving artists’ village, a laid-back surf town, and the regional epicenter of delectable farm-to-table cuisine.

Where to Visit to Stay Close to All the Action 

If you want to be at the center of all the nightlife, dining, shopping, and beach activities in Cabo San Lucas, Medano Beach and the Marina District abound in brand-name hotels and resorts. A favorite is Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa, a Noble House boutique resort in the heart of Medano Beach. It has great amenities like a full-service spa, the Aleta and Rooftop 360 restaurants, and Cabolectric water experiences, plus it’s walking distance from some of Cabo’s hottest clubs.

For easy access to all the incredible artistic and cultural amenities of San José del Cabo’s Gallery District, Drift Hotel has sleek rooms, an all-day bar and restaurant, an on-site surf and yoga shop, and an unbeatable location that offers easy access to Cabo’s hottest restaurants and art galleries. If you prefer an all-inclusive resort, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos isn’t far from the heart of San José del Cabo, yet it also offers a great beachfront location, seven on-site restaurants, and spacious rooms and suites. For a more luxurious experience, the Viceroy Los Cabos has palatial rooms and suites, multiple restaurants and bars, on-site art programs, a full-service spa and gym, and a prime location by the sea that is close to town.

For maximum luxury and seclusion near Cabo Pulmo, the Four Seasons Resort has a private beach, a private marina, six pools, an 18-hole championship golf club, an Adventure Concierge team (to help you plan your activities), and some of the poshest rooms, suites, and private villas you’ll find in Cabo. 

When to Visit Los Cabos, Mexico for You

The best time to visit Los Cabos truly is a question that deserves an individually tailored answer. Depending on whether you value the most pleasant weather, the lowest prices, the best water conditions for aquatic activities, or the widest array of artistic and cultural festivals, it’s important to check the calendar, see what’s happening when, and plan your trip during the time when you can find the most of what you want to experience in Cabo. 

Interested in learning more about other destinations in Mexico? Check out our guide to planning the perfect stay in Puerto Vallarta, a grand tour of Taxco, and this memorable hike up the Iztaccihuatl Volcano

Planning the Perfect Stay in Puerto Vallarta Resorts

Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s most popular coastal destinations. Once you’re here, it’s easy to see why. With stunningly beautiful beaches, a charming and lively urban core, an abundance of incredible parks and nature preserves, and the most welcoming local culture and vibes, Puerto Vallarta truly seems to have it all.

Not only does Puerto Vallarta have plenty of beautiful beaches, but it truly manages to provide a warm welcome to visitors near and far while maintaining its local heritage and uniquely colorful spirit. Today, we will guide you through the best Puerto Vallarta resorts, restaurants, nightlife, landmarks, and more.

Let’s Begin with an Introduction to Puerto Vallarta

Located in the northwestern corner of the Mexican State of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta opens up to the Pacific Ocean’s Bahía de Banderas and abuts Jalisco’s border with the neighboring State of Nayarit. Though Puerto Vallarta is quite far from the U.S. and Mexico border, its enduring popularity as a tourist and expat/digital nomad destination means that you can easily find all sorts of international creature comforts here, as well as plenty of languages (including English) spoken all around town.

At the same time, though, Puerto Vallarta manages to feel more like an “authentically Mexican beach town” than other perpetually popular Mexican coastal destinations. Though many Puerto Vallarta resorts carry some very familiar multinational brands, it’s quite easy to stroll around the city and discover a vibrant array of exciting options for Puerto Vallarta nightlife, dining, shopping, and so much more.

What Are Some Fun Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta?

If you’re looking for things to do in Puerto Vallarta, you will find plenty of activities throughout the region, and you shouldn’t find any reasons to be bored. Like to get out in nature? Then you will love the pristine tropical landscapes of the more remote beaches south of town. If you’re more of an urban explorer, the city of Puerto Vallarta abounds with artistic flair and charming streetscapes. And if you want a taste of Mexican surf culture, then the northern beach towns on the Nayarit side of Banderas Bay really know how to make waves. 

Riviera Nayarit/Northern Beaches

If you like surfing, then you will love the big waves and chill vibes of Sayulita, which is 46 kilometers (or about 29 miles) north of Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita’s main beach is where you will find the best waves for surfing. Also, it’s the easiest beach to reach. Sayulita is even easier to reach if you’re staying in Punta Mita, a town that’s about 18 kilometers (or about 11 miles) south of Sayulita. Since Punta Mita is generally where you will find the region’s most exclusive luxury resorts, it’s also where you will find the area’s best golf courses: Bahia and Pacifico

Centro and Zona Romántica

Moving back into town, there’s never any shortage of things to do in Puerto Vallarta. If you simply want to immerse yourself in the local culture, I highly recommend an outing to the Malecón, then walking around the historic heart of town (Centro) to discover more of the local culture. With its iconic crown pillar, the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe cathedral is a great place to snap some photos and appreciate this city’s unique design, plus it’s a short walk from the fascinating street art at Calle Iturbide. A few blocks north of the cathedral, Corsica Art Gallery is another wonderful spot to dive into the local art scene, especially if you love Mexican postmodern art. You will also find several more art galleries all around Corsica. 

Continuing south, Zona Romántica is right across Rio Cuale from Centro. Here is where you will find Los Muertos Beach and its landmark pier, yet this beach attracts more of a local crowd than the tourist-centric beaches to the north. Moving inland, Galleria Dante is one of Puerto Vallarta’s largest art galleries, and they proudly showcase a wide array of works by merely 60 artists. If you’re more into edible art, you should check out Mercado Emiliano Zapata, a mostly traditional Mexican farmers’ market that carries everything from fresh produce to local fish and meats, a tortilla factory, street food stands, and even some novelty items and artisan crafts. If you need some quality time outside, Isla Cuale is a calm and verdant oasis in the heart of the city where you will find walking trails to the beach, restaurants, and even a flea market.

Southern Beaches

If you’re interested in exploring the more remote southern beaches of Banderas Bay, then you will either have to hike your way from Boca de Tomatlán or ride a boat from Puerto Vallarta. If you prefer going by boat, I highly recommend the experts at Vallarta Adventures, and I personally recommend trying the luxury catamaran trip to Playa Majahuitas. Not only is Majahuitas simply gorgeous, but it’s also the perfect beach for swimming and snorkeling, plus Majahuitas has a full day club on shore for landlubbers to enjoy.

What Are the Best Puerto Vallarta Resorts?

Whether you seek all-inclusive resorts, local boutique hotels, or a different kind of accommodation, Puerto Vallarta likely has what you want. If you’re specifically seeking an all-inclusive resort, you will actually find some great options that are in town and close to the center of the action. For maximum luxury and a more secluded backdrop, it’s hard to beat Punta Mita on the north end of Banderas Bay. 

When it comes to Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive resorts, the Hyatt Ziva may be your best bet. It sports a stunning oceanfront location in the beautiful Conchas Chinas neighborhood on the south side of town, a private cove and beach for supreme rest and relaxation, and a dazzling array of amenities that make it feel less like the all-inclusive stereotype and more like a sophisticated resort. Not only is the Hyatt Ziva an all-suite resort, but all their suites sport handcrafted furniture, plush beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, fully stocked mini-bars that are restocked daily, and 24-hour in-suite dining.  

Two more Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive resorts worth considering are both Velas Resorts: the family-friendly Velas Vallarta all-suite resort, and the adults-only Casa Velas boutique resort. Both are in the chic yet centrally located Marina Vallarta neighborhood. Velas Vallarta offers direct beach access, while Casa Velas offers a more intimate setting at the Marina Vallarta Golf Club. 

Other Puerto Vallarta Resorts Worth Considering

If you want a hotel in Marina Vallarta, but don’t need an all-inclusive package, The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta manages to feel like a great getaway destination while keeping you close to Centro, the marina, and the airport. All of the Westin’s rooms and suites are quite spacious, and they include large marble bathrooms, beautiful wood furniture, Westin’s signature Heavenly Beds, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, you can enjoy the Westin’s perfectly landscaped pool area and private beach access. 

Moving north, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita sits between two secluded beaches. It probably has the most Instagram-worthy pools you’ll find anywhere, and it’s the perfectly posh launchpad for endless adventures on land and at sea. If you want more tranquility, the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort sits on 22 lush acres at the end of the peninsula, so you can really feel those “land’s end” vibes.

Where Are Puerto Vallarta’s Best Restaurants, Bars, and Clubs?

Regardless of whether you’re staying at the Four Seasons, the AAA 5-Diamond-rated Carolina on the resort’s property is a great spot for a fancy dinner in Punta Mita. If you prefer a more casual lunch or dinner in Punta Mita, El Barracuda is famous for its dishes featuring the freshest local produce and locally caught fish, plus El Barracuda has locations in Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta’s Centro district.

Moving back into town, Planeta Vegetariano is Puerto Vallarta’s OG for plant-based cuisine, and the buffet house is still a local favorite for hearty and tasty vegetarian and vegan food. If you’re up for a special splurge for dinner, you must try Chef Joel Ornelas’ “Creative Menu” full of delectable surprises at Tintoque by Rio Cuale. If you’re craving something different, Bonito Kitchen is a Pan-Asian restaurant in Zona Romántica that has some of the city’s best ramen. Plus they have fantastic dumplings, oxtail pho, and craft cocktails.

Speaking of cocktails, let’s briefly discuss Puerto Vallarta nightlife. Right in the heart of Centro, El Colibrí is a tropical speakeasy that serves uniquely inventive cocktails, local craft beers, and Mexican wines in a festive jungle-themed environment that’s mere steps away from the Malecón. A little to the south, Zona Romántica may be Puerto Vallarta’s most famous LGBTQ+-welcoming “gayborhood,” but it offers plenty of fun bars and clubs for everyone to enjoy: Monzón Brewing is Puerto Vallarta’s hometown craft beer, Elixir Mixology Bar may have the stiffest and tastiest drinks in town, and Roxy Rock House is a live music institution that continues to party all night (except Sundays).

Puerto Vallarta Is Beautifully World-Class, Yet Uniquely Mexican

Puerto Vallarta resorts certainly know how to impress with beautiful beaches, tropical landscaping, and luxurious accommodations, but there’s much more to explore in Puerto Vallarta beyond the region’s most famous hotels. From wild all-night fiestas in the heart of the city to exciting days exploring the local art scene, and from pristine beaches that are only accessible by boat to the nonstop excitement at the Malecón, Puerto Vallarta is a fabulous place to experience the best that the Mexican Riviera has to offer. It’s certainly become one of my personal favorites, and hopefully you now have a better sense of how to plan your perfect trip here.

Wondering whether a visit to Puerto Vallarta or Melaque is a better choice for your next getaway? Check out this guide next as we compare the two popular resort towns.

What Is Mexico Known For by Its Locals?

It is hard to say what I like most about living in Mexico. This country has been my home my whole life and I only started noticing what I love about it when I started traveling abroad. But what is Mexico known for?

Manners Matter

Ever since I was a little girl, my mom always taught me to say hello to everyone in a room when we arrive at any event such as family gatherings. I never really understood why I had to, especially when I barely knew them. Eventually, I started to understand why this custom is so important. 

Interacting with people you either know, or don’t, helps you to be polite, empathic, and friendly. Those characteristics are key in describing Mexicans. The biggest demonstration of this was in 2017 after the earthquake that struck Mexico City. It impacted the city in a way I have never felt before, tearing buildings down.  I was so proud of how helpful my people were,  going wherever they could to lend a hand without waiting for the government to show up.

I love how polite Mexicans are in their everyday life. They will always wish you an enjoyable meal in a restaurant and use please and thank you for directions. Politeness should be taken a step ahead so it can turn into help for the person in your company. 

Food Reigns Supreme

A topic that I could not leave behind is food. Meals are of extreme importance in our culture, and are arguably what Mexico is known for by many. We boast a wide variety of dishes and they always start at home with your mom.  

When we ate street food, we would always “spice it up”. Tacos were always our first choice. My mother’s family is from a state named Oaxaca. We visited them every year during our winter vacation and would eat all the local Oaxacan food. That included hot chocolate, seafood, mole (a traditional Mexican sauce served with chicken), and even local bread.  Eventually, we started visiting other states. We always asked what the traditional dishes were so we could try them, as they were uncommon where we lived.  I learned then that when you go to a new place, you have to try the local food that would be hard or impossible to find where you live. 

This belief has given me the opportunity to sample tasty food not only from my country, but from others too. I always try to do some research in advance, so I know what I want to order as soon as I get to a new place. In addition, I always ask locals what they believe is the best food to try and get some recommendations for the best places to eat. Our cuisine is vast and people have their own favorite dishes. To me, tacos are always the way to go. I highly recommend visiting any taquería in downtown Mexico City.

I have not been able to try most of the Mexican food, as I mentioned before, because I have not had the chance to travel to most states in my country. It is one of my dreams to do it, plus, it would mean that I would be able to try new food from a lot of places. I believe that even if I do that. I would never be able to try everything this country has to offer.

Difficult Topics

Last but not least, I know that Mexico has had a lot of bad press recently and this makes me sad and angry. I know we live in a country that has a reputation for violence and this is the first thing that makes it onto the news. 

Migration is also highlighted on the news. This topic is particularly difficult for me to talk about. I have had the privilege to go to university and that has given me the chance to travel, study, and even question things in my life. I also know that this is not possible for every young person that lives here. Others have to start working at an early age for their survival. My job and dream as a teacher are to help those who can stay here and make this country better from time to time. I wish I could see the results at some point in my life.

If reading this article has whetted your appetite for Mexican culture, check out Stephanie’s earlier piece about Día de Muertos. The Day of the Dead is a colorful celebration of the loved ones who have lost their lives. This ensures they are never forgotten.

by Stephanie Vargas

The Day of the Dead During the COVID-19 Pandemic

stephanie vargas profileLast year, I wrote about the famous Día de Muertos celebration. This year was different. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all had to change the way we live. This includes our holidays and celebrations throughout the year, and Día de Muertos is no exception. Due to social distancing guidelines and quarantine practices, the Day of the Dead had to be celebrated more privately. This reminded me of the old-fashioned tradition, where we waited for loved ones’ souls to come home and “be” with us for a day. I am pleased to explain a little bit about how all this started.

The Best of Both Worlds

Mexico, like most Latin-American countries, is a mixture of two different cultures: Native American and Spanish. Within Mexico, native cultures, such as the Aztecs and Mayans, remembered those who had passed between October 25th and November 3rd by dancing, singing, playing some music, and offering them flowers. When the Spaniards arrived in what now is Mexico, they found the tradition very interesting. These native Mexican cultures had a polytheist religion in which they sacrificed human lives as tributes to their Gods. The Spaniards, who were predominantly Catholic, believed those religions were barbaric and decided to evangelize the native cultures. As a result, they built a church where Aztecs would pray to their Gods. The Aztecs eventually began praying to the Spaniards’ religious figures. 

November 1st and 2nd are Catholic dates to remember those who have passed. The Day of the Dead was born as a result of the Spanish and Aztec celebration of those who had died combining together. This combination became just another way to embrace our culture: a mixture of Spanish and Native Mexican. 

The “Old-Fashioned” Way to Celebrate

When I was a little girl, my family and friends would set up a table as an altar to remember those who had passed. On this table, we placed delicious dishes, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, fresh bread, ripened fruit, sugar skulls, and a picture of the person who had already left this world. Sometimes we even placed cigarettes on the altar! Some candles and papel picado (confetti) would join the party, along with cempasúchil (Mexican marigold) petals. Cempasúchil petals lined the path from the door to the ofrenda, so the souls knew what path to follow. 

In other parts of the country, family members and friends visit their loved ones at the cemetery. They bring their altar offerings to their loved ones’ new home so they do not have to make the long journey from their afterlife to their previous one.

The living, on the other hand, eat pan de muerto (sugar buns) and drink hot chocolate. They give candy to kids who knock on the door. Trick or treating in Mexico does not happen on October 31st. Children are out in full force on November 1st and 2nd so it matches our celebrations and traditions. To me, Halloween is American. The Day of the Dead is Mexican. 

The Day of the Dead During COVID-19

It comes as no surprise to say that mass events were canceled this year in Mexico City. We did not have a parade, public ofrendas, Catrina costumes’ competition, or trick or treating. We were not even allowed to visit the cemetery because visitors could spread the virus there. What did we do, then? Families gathered in their houses and set up their altars together. We set the altar table for the ofrenda, made some hot chocolate, and ate pan de muerto. We played card games, talked about our memories, and remembered the people who have left this world. This process is part of life. Each of us will go through it just as our ancestors have. And, hopefully, our souls will go back to the place where we felt happy.

by Stephanie Vargas

A Tour of Taxco, Mexico: Part Six

Tyler blackMy time in Mexico City was slowly coming to an end. It was nothing short of fantastic. To read more about my trip, make sure you check out part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five.

I had just one last excursion left before heading home. This time, I was visiting Cuernavaca and Taxco, Mexico. I felt pretty excited about this tour because I couldn’t wait to see small-town life within Mexico. Operated by Olympus Tours, I highly recommend the excursion. The tour not only operated smoothly but was full of fantastic knowledge and interesting facts that kept me intrigued throughout the day.

The tour guide picked me up in a small van right at my hostel, Casa Pepe. Interestingly enough, I was the only English speaker in the van, as the other four tourists were from Colombia. Since I speak Spanish, I told our guide that he could stick to Spanish the whole trip so he wouldn’t have to translate back and forth between languages. He seemed relieved, but not before telling me in English that the sunburn on my face looked pretty bad and how much of a typical “gringo” I was. Okay, he didn’t say that exactly but that’s what it felt like! Luckily, the other travelers couldn’t understand him so I wasn’t as embarrassed.

Cuernavaca, Mexico

We set off south of Mexico City passing over mountains before arriving in Cuernavaca an hour later. I won’t lie, I was kind of disappointed right off the bat. We stopped in a small courtyard surrounded by three churches, each built during a different part of Mexico’s history. I do love old churches and cathedrals. That was one of my favorite parts of living in Europe. But I found myself rather bored here. We ended up not seeing anything else in Cuernavaca. After an hour of walking around the courtyard, we hopped on the bus and left. Thankfully, the tour got a whole lot better.

The square in Taxco, Mexico

Taxco, Mexico

After another hour-long car ride, we came up on Taxco, Mexico. Built on the side of a mountain, the town looked absolutely stunning from a distance. I felt really excited to try and make my way to the top to enjoy the views. The van let us off in the center of town and our guide walked us around a bit explaining the history of Taxco. Unfortunately, I was too busy taking pictures and didn’t listen to a single word he had to say. I can really be the worst tourist sometimes.

After showing us some points of interest that we could explore later, our guide took us to a jewelry store specializing in silver. Apparently, the areas surrounding Taxco, Mexico are filled with deposits of silver. The Aztecs used this area to make jewelry and decorations for their gods. To this day, Taxco silver is one of the most sought after metals. I bought a few souvenirs for my family because, well, when would I get this chance again?

A statue of text reading "mexico"

A Few Hours Left

Shortly after, I went to grab lunch with two of the people in our group at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the city. I found it incredibly challenging to converse and eat without constantly taking pictures of the view. The pair — a woman and her father — wanted to do a little bit of exploring in Mexico. I told them how much I’d love to visit Colombia and they gave a lot of great recommendations. It was also great to be able to converse in Spanish again and get some practice in. 

With only a few hours left in Taxco, I decided to walk throughout as much of the town as possible. This was quite the feat considering the town was built on the side of a mountain. My legs were on fire (probably still feeling the effects of hiking a volcano a few days earlier). Nonetheless, it was an amazing experience strolling through small streets and alleys, seeing everyone go about their normal routines. I stopped in some more shops to buy some souvenirs. My aimless wandering even led me to a great view of the Taxco, Mexico cathedral with the valley behind it in the distance. Visiting this town definitely made up for the rather slow beginning of the tour. I highly recommend taking a tour of Taxco. Words cannot accurately describe its beauty.

Time to Go Home

I filled the next morning trying to stuff everything back into my suitcase. I definitely bought way too many souvenirs on this trip, but it was worth it. Although my flight was at 1:00pm, I called an Uber around 10:00am. I figured there would be a lot of traffic on the way to the airport. And boy, was I right. What should have been a 35-minute car ride took a little more than an hour. Luckily my Uber driver was a very friendly man with a lot to talk about, so it helped ease my nerves a little bit.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about departing and not just ending this series on a good note. I’m here to tell you my little goof. If you remember from part one, I was given a slip of paper upon arriving in Mexico with all my passport information. It was almost like a tourist visa. I mistakenly threw it away. The lady behind the check-in desk refused to take my bags without that slip of paper. She told me I had to go to the immigration office to file a new one. Panic was setting in.

A beautiful field in Taxco, Mexico

Customs Snafu

I raced downstairs to the office. Of course, there was a line to talk with the agent. He explained that I needed to print out my arrival and departure flight information. So, I had to run across the hallway to pay a guy to print the documents out for me. After finally filling out all the proper paperwork, I then had to pay a hefty amount of pesos for them to authorize me a new tourist visa. And of course, they only took cash. I made sure to spend all my cash before leaving. So, I had to race to the ATM just outside the office. And that’s when my bank decided to decline my withdrawals. I was starting to imagine what my new life in Mexico would look like. At least I spoke the language.

A town square

Lesson Learned

Luckily, my bank sent me a text asking if it was actually me trying to take out money. Once I got that authorized, I was finally able to pay for my replacement tourist visa. My heart rate was through the roof. But, problem solved! I wasn’t going to be stuck in a foreign country. Moral of the story: DON’T THROW AWAY ANY DOCUMENTS YOU GET FROM CUSTOMS.

Thank you for taking the time to read this series on Mexico City. I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip and hopefully, it has inspired you to visit. Mexico City blew all my expectations out of the water. It’s a beautiful city filled with wonderful people and an amazing culture. It’s quite a shame that Mexico City, and the country in general, is viewed so poorly in our media. I’m so glad I decided to see it firsthand and witness just how wrong everything is portrayed. I encourage you to do the same.

How to Teach in Mexico Amid COVID-19

 

stephanie vargas profileIn our previous interview, Stephanie Vargas spoke about her school and what it was like to be a teacher in Mexico City. During our last conversation, things were a bit different for her and the rest of the world. She discusses the sudden change in plan for her school with COVID-19 and what that looked like for teachers in Mexico. Whether or not you teach in Mexico or anywhere else in the world, this story is relatable. Stephanie and I quickly realized that the government could not prepare for what was to come with COVID-19. She talks more about the details of this rather strange year. For those readers who teach in Mexico, she talks about the challenges and gives advice.  

What has been the most important thing you learned while teaching so far?

“I have learned that working with people, especially teenagers, is difficult and rewarding at the same time. During these years I have felt disappointed and happy to be a teacher. However, seeing students do better is something I would not change.”

How have you done with accomplishing your goals this year? 

“My goals for this school year changed radically this time because I did not expect this quarantine to happen. Right now, I just want to make the content as understandable as possible. Though this generation is known to be good at technology, I’ve discovered that is not completely and inherently true. It has been a challenge to make sure they have every topic explained as clearly as possible.”

What has been the biggest challenge this year at your school?

“Definitely, the biggest challenge has been the transition from going to school in person to switching to virtual classes. Fortunately, I knew how to use scholar technology to some extent before quarantine happened. For me, changing the way I teach while also getting used to the school’s platforms has been my biggest challenge.”

Student learning from home

What advice would you give on how to deal with this challenge? 

“I would like to have taken a course about ways to better prepare for online classes and teaching. Unfortunately, with the rapid spread of the virus, my school did not have time to prepare for that. I wound up looking online and watching some videos after doing some research. Just those videos alone have helped in shaping my virtual classes. I would say use the tools you have to find information and use it in your favor.”

Do you have advice for other teachers who want to teach for the first time? 

“If you want to try teaching, it is important to remember that theory and practice are completely different. This is especially so when it comes to interacting with other human beings and trying to pass some knowledge onto them. At the end of the day, it is a rewarding job. It can be fulfilling and frustrating at the same time. Do it yourself: you will know right away if this is for you. Do not give up when things do not come out the way you wanted. This happens more often than you could imagine. Part of the job is creatively finding solutions when things don’t go according to plan.”

How has teaching two different nationalities (Mexican and Chinese) helped you improve your teaching instruction?

“As the Chinese students are fully immersed in the Mexican culture, I do not find any difference in giving instructions. I have also instructed in languages students from both nationalities do not know (for example, instructions in English and Spanish). I use the same strategies, mimics, songs, translation, gestures, and help from other students.”

What was your most memorable moment at your school and in class this year (before COVID-19 and post COVID-19)? 

“I believe in getting along with my students: the ones that are my students now and the ones that were in previous years. When they talk to me and share a forgotten moment, I feel very happy. I had not realized how much I could impact their lives until last December when some wished me happy holidays and stopped by to talk to me.”

How have you been managing your time and teaching during the Coronavirus?

“At first I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. I thought we would have the chance to go back to school and I’d be able to talk to them and address some doubts. I wanted to save the topics I considered the most difficult for the moment we would meet again in person. Also, I did not know how to manage my time. I started working all day and some nights. I have learned that that process does not work for me. Now, I work at the hours I am supposed to be in front of the group, and a couple of hours at night to prepare for the following days.”

more time

What has your school done to prepare for COVID-19?

“We did not really prepare for this pandemic. We use a platform to upload grades. Luckily, there was an option to take classes online, so we signed up for the platform’s online classroom host before the pandemic had ever reached Mexico. Initially, we never thought we were going to ever use the online teaching option. There was never a chance to learn how to use it for exclusively online classes. When online classes started, we had to learn to use the platform along the way.

We already had a website that kept track of grades, so we continued using that platform to give students content for the rest of the year. We also emailed students and parents, as well as had zoom meetings with other teachers.”

What do you think next year will look like? 

“What we know so far is that classes will not go back to normal until everything looks a little better. I can only imagine that we will have to wear face masks when we finally are able to go to school while also practicing social distancing.”

Will you be teaching Chinese students after school again? 

“I am not sure if I’ll be teaching Chinese students again. Most of my students will be going to high school next year. If I do have any Chinese students, they will be new students from lower grades. I will have to wait until next year to know for sure.”

How to Teach in Mexico Amid COVID-19

Stephanie taught the remaining semester of her classes online through her school’s portal. She is waiting to hear back from the government about whether she will be able to go back to class in August or begin teaching new classes online during fall. She will be submitting a follow-up piece with her thoughts about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the education system once she hears more about her upcoming schedule. Please be on the lookout for that upcoming article.

 

by Leesa Truesdell

What It Is Like to Be a Teacher in Mexico City

 

stephanie vargas profileIt was a pleasure to catch up with Stephanie Vargas, a teacher in Mexico City, for her second interview. Stephanie’s first interview touches on her school and the population of students that she teaches. To clarify, her school has some Chinese students who attend classes there. They speak Chinese and do not speak Spanish. Stephanie’s school has started an after-school pull-out program to teach Spanish to the Chinese students as their second language. This program is a class of about seven Chinese students who need to practice speaking Mexico’s language, Spanish.

After speaking with Stephanie, it was easier for me to understand how Spanish as a second language is taught to Chinese students who speak only Chinese. She teaches them three times a week and teaches English five days a week to Spanish learners. Stephanie explained that it has been more challenging to teach the Chinese population than the population that speaks the same language as she does, also known as L1. In this case, she teaches her Mexican students that speak her native language English as a second language.

What is a typical day at your school like?

“Students have their first class at 7:40AM. Then, they have a 30-minute break at 11:00AM. Classes finish at 2:50PM.

Chinese students are taught Spanish three times a week after school for one hour.

How many people do you work with? How many classes do you teach?

“I teach two classes. Both are English classes, but are at different levels: secondary school (middle school) and high school. The English team is around 10 teachers. There are so many other teachers who teach other subjects that I’ve never known how many there actually are.”

How are you forming working relationships with coworkers?

“To me, it is important to make a good impression and to help coworkers as much as possible. This creates a sense of community. Communities can help their members to have better opportunities for the future.”

What is your opinion of the use of target language? In general, should language teachers only use the language they are teaching?

Chairs-Class-Classroom-Seminar-School

“I tend to speak the target language as much as possible. It is important to have interaction with the language, and the classroom has to be the place to practice it. However, I do not believe in taking just one side of things. Languages are our tools and, to me, one of the last resources I can use. If it helps to make everything clear and understood, why not use it?”

 How is the material being taught to students? Is there a specific method being used?

“There is not a specific method to follow. Teachers are free to use whichever method they think is best. Every group is different. What works with one group might not work with others.”

How do you prepare your lessons for each class? If you don’t plan lessons, how do you prepare for class?

“I do lesson plans for the week. Classes hardly ever go as planned every week. I adapt day after day. Sometimes students need to take more time to fully understand a topic. Sometimes they get it right away and we can move on sooner than expected. Whatever the case, I have a plan to follow, so I know what to do and where to go.”

How do you make class enjoyable for students?

“I try to talk about topics they like such as video games or social media. Other times, we play games related to grammar or the vocabulary of the unit. Some classes are easier than others. I cannot help having classes dedicated to explanations or reading a topic that is considered boring by them. It is part of being a teacher. There are days where your classes feel like the best you’ve ever done; others, it just feels like you are doing everything wrong.”

Students playing a game

Do you work at a bilingual school? What does that mean to you?

“No. As far as I understand, bilingual schools have some classes in the mother tongue, and some other classes in the target language. The school I work at only offers English as a subject.”

What shared goals or standards are your classroom teachers using to measure the performance of their students?

The school has made the decision to teach and measure English differently from other subjects. Our groups are not divided by school year, but by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The groups go from A1 to B2. This is because the intention is to have students with common knowledge on the language. Having said this, our goal is to have students improve their use of the language so they move forward on their level. Eventually, they will get to the highest level.

student in mexico city

What are your goals and dreams for your students?

When people are young, they do not usually care about their future. Learning English is important for the youth of this country. That is why my goal is to have them speak English so they can have better job opportunities in the future.

Looking back at our first Teach Abroad series interview, what has changed in your classroom since that time?

“Not much has really changed. At the beginning of the school year, there were new objectives to reach. What worked during this period of time can be kept for the future. If something did not work as planned, it will be discussed and changed before next year.”

What It Is Like to Be a Teacher in Mexico City

We will speak again with Stephanie about being a teacher in Mexico City in May 2020 to hear more about the rest of her school year. She would like to see her Chinese students become more communicative with their peers in their (L2) which is Spanish. Although her Spanish students communicate in English, she would like to see them communicate more often in their (L2) which is English. We will see how they do when we catch up with her later on this year.

How Mexico Celebrates Día de Muertos

The Day of the Dead has gained international recognition, especially over the last four years. There was a scene in Spectre, the James Bond film, that gave the world a glance of our culture. Disney also gave a pretty insightful, (and also fantastic) look at the family reunions of Día de Muertos with the film Coco. Spectre gave Mexico City a parade we did not use to have. Coco showed how important family is in our culture.

Traditions of Día de Muertos

Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican celebration that takes place on November 1st and 2nd in which we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. This tradition is as old as pre-hispanic culture. The Aztecs dedicated some days to remember the dead and the journey they had to go through to be one with the universe. When the American conquest happened, this tradition combined with the Catholic holiday, All Souls’ Day. As a result, we now have a hybrid holiday of pre-hispanic culture and a European religious celebration. It is a mix that perfectly represents Mexican history.

Tradition of Ofrenda

When I was a child, the way to begin commemorating those two days of November was to put an ofrenda (altar) in a place that faced the main door of a house. This is so the spirit of the person visiting could find the food and drinks or whatever they loved while alive. This offering, most of the time, is bread, food, fruits, cigarettes, water, alcohol, flowers, and pictures. During the first day, it is a tradition that the children are the ones to visit their relatives. Adults come during the second day.

The Community and Día de Muertos

The school I work at is traditional in itself; this is because it is around 250 years old, making a contribution to education in downtown Mexico City. The Day of the Dead is an important celebration for the institution. Every year, a specific group of the school puts together an ofrenda. Just as in a household, the altar is dedicated to somebody; this year it was for the Basque community that founded the school. The participation of students is vital, for the ofrenda is open to the public.

Día de Muertos Carries Deep Traditions

For those who might not know, in September 2017, Mexico suffered a terrible earthquake. After having experienced an event that brought the entire city closer to death, the students proposed holding a parade at school in which they would dress up as Catrinas or Catrines. These characters are a representation of death. We like to make them familiar to our reality because, at the end of the day, everybody is going to die. One does not know how or when, but it will eventually happen. The parade is a celebration of life. It is a reminder that we can die any day at any time. However, we choose to embrace the fact that death is part of life and we are happy to be alive.

by Stephanie Vargas

Stephanie Vargas Talks Teaching EFL in Mexico City

 

stephanie vargas profileAs a Spanish and English as a Second Language teacher in the United States, two questions frequently pop into my mind: 1) How do the school systems in the US compare to my (mostly) Central American ESL students’? and 2) How do teacher challenges with students vary between cultures?

As I’ve been pondering these questions, Leesa Truesdell (our director) introduced me to Stephanie Vargas, a Spanish as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language teacher in Mexico City. Our careers are parallel to each other, just in bordering countries. To add even more to our similarities, we both lived in Tallahassee, Florida for a period of time while simultaneously attending two different universities! Isn’t it a small world after all?

I was curious to hear more about Stephanie and to see if her perspective could answer any of my questions. After all, good teachers are constantly changing their perspectives. Check out our questions and her answers below.

What do you like most about teaching EFL in Mexico City?

“To me, overall, the most rewarding thing is to see my students progress. Without a doubt, I love seeing how they want to use what is taught in their daily lives.”

Who are the students that you teach?

“The students I teach can be divided into two groups.

  1.  Teenagers: their ages range from 12 to 18 and they study either at the secondary or high school.
  2. The Chinese community: these are teenagers that have lived from three to 10 years in Mexico and have had problems understanding the language, let alone their subjects at school. I teach them because they need to have better communication with their teachers.”

What do you like most about teaching these students (Spanish language vs English language students)?

“What I like the most is the opportunity to share cultures, whether Chinese, American, or Mexican, with others and to find differences and similarities among them. At the end of the day, we all are humans and it is interesting to have different points of view about life.”

students learning with flash cards

What did you find to be the most challenging part of teaching both groups of students?

“While language can be a bridge that connects cultures, it can also be a barrier. Students are used to having explanations in their mother tongue. This can be useful at times and obstacles during others. Because of their ages, it is complicated to show them that there are lots of different ways to perceive life as they know it. Most of them do not have the opportunity to travel abroad – Chinese students usually travel back and forth from China – and they do not have the chance to speak with people from other countries. This means that they will not have a real need to learn the target language.

For the Chinese community, it is sometimes difficult to interact with their Spanish-speaking classmates. This leads them to only interact with their fellow Chinese classmates. Therefore, they have not learned to communicate with others in Spanish. They believe they do not need to learn.”

What do both sets of students have in common? What is the difference?

“They are both groups of teenagers. They like to listen to similar music and play sports and video games. Usually, their only interests are finding a significant other, their personality, and other people that care about the same things. Teenagers have similar interests regardless of where they come from.

students giving a presentation ESL in Mexico City

One of the most interesting things they have told me that they’ve noticed of each other’s cultures is that Chinese students think Mexican students could be more hardworking. They say that compared to China, school is not as strict.”

Where are you currently working?

“I’m working at Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola Vizcaínas. Spanish immigrants founded this private school 250 years ago. It is located in downtown Mexico City and the students that go there are usually the children of merchants. I work at a secondary school and high school, but the school provides education from daycare to high school. This means the students’ ages range from two to 18 years old.”

What are the challenges that your students encounter?

“Motivation is a challenge that I, without a doubt, encounter. It is hard to motivate teenage students.”

What advice would you give to someone who works with people from other cultural backgrounds?

“Do some research. Most people like to share their cultures. If they see you try to understand and know something about them, they will complement that some more. Moreover, listening is a great way to show you are interested in what they have to say which will make them find a way to communicate with you.”

What is one example of something you have done differently or some way you have changed as a result of your experiences?

“I used to only teach language: grammar, punctuation, tenses, etc. That has little to no impact on most students. What I have changed with time is the inclusion of cultures. In particular, I try to encourage them to speak to foreign people.”

Explain the motivations of each group of students for learning a second language.

“To me, it is hard to say if all students are motivated the first time they study a foreign language, especially if it’s required. It is because English is just another subject like Math and Geography. There are some students that do not have true motivation other than getting their final grade. However, those who have motivation try to speak English outside the classroom. They mainly speak the language with Americans that play online video games with them.”

What made you want to be a foreign and second language teacher?

“10 years ago, I considered myself to be good at learning English. The school I was attending gives language courses on Saturdays and most of my teachers were young. I thought that I could do that for a living. The real motivation started when I got my first job. There, I could see how I could help people to learn something that would affect their lives positively. In Mexico, speaking English gives you great job opportunities. I believe that I can contribute to my country and my students if they have better opportunities for a good life than previous generations.”

Students learning english

What languages are commonly studied in Mexico City?

“Mostly English in basic education. In some universities, it is mandatory to speak and read English at an intermediate level. Once you prove you are fluent in English, people usually learn French.”

What are your future goals?

“As far as my professional goals go, I want to work where people are intrinsically motivated to learn what I have to teach. Little by little, I’d like to leave behind those students who take English just because they have to. I know there are people who want to learn because it is important for them and teaching motivated students is much more rewarding.

My personal goals are to travel to other countries, and hopefully study abroad for a master’s degree. I would like to develop some material to study Spanish as a second language for kids and teenagers. I have noticed that it is hard to find books to learn Spanish as a kid, especially Latin American Spanish.”

What is professional development like in Mexico for teachers in your field? (How do you grow as a teacher? What resources do you have?)

“If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can work at universities, schools, and pretty much everywhere you want. It is very common to find language teachers that only speak the language. However, it is hard to find jobs that provide you professional growth.

I am part of the first group, and I first started working at a small language school. As I finished my studies and gained more experience, I was fortunately able to work at schools and universities.”

If someone wanted to teach foreign languages in Mexico City, where could they find a job?

“I believe it is easy to get a job teaching languages. If you wanted to try, you could find a job at any language school. Although easy to attain, the jobs do not pay well. Finding a job at a university, a school, or at a language center that belongs to a university will require you to have a bachelor’s degree.”

Wrap Up

While I’ve got more to learn about the US versus Central American educational systems, I clearly see the answer to my first question: some challenges I have in the classroom will be common for every language teacher regardless of country or language taught. Clearly, some of these will depend on the situation, but every teacher fights motivation battles with their students. We all desire to make our subject relevant and solve pedagogy issues related to age. I comfort myself on my hard teaching ways with this knowledge in mind.

World Cup Update: Mexico Wins a Football Victory

by Carlos Balbuena

We love football, especially the World Cup. Call it football, soccer, or whatever you want, it doesn’t matter. You’ve just gotta love the sport. And we do, here, in México. The country went nuts when our national team defeated the Germans, who were the reigning World Cup champions. We went crazy because most of us didn’t believe they could win that game – our football victory. But I’ve realized that there’s something about having a more positive ideology than having better football skills.

History Tinges Reality

We are a people who tend to look down, rather than up. Historically, we have been a submitted people. Originally, we were a feared people and great conquerors. Our ancient Aztec ancestors ruled a good part of southwestern North America. Then the Spanish invasion happened. They forced new spiritual beliefs and duties for everyone as if to say, “there you go, everything you’ve believed before is a lie, thank you so much.”

aztec-victory-calendar-mexico-football

And pretty much everything went downhill, ideologically speaking, from that point. We had viceroys, an inquisition, martyrs, heroes who turned into villains, villains who turned into heroes, and even an Austro-Hungarian emperor for a while. But what comes out of all that is that we became a people who were used to being ruled. We were used to being told what to do and what to expect, to count our losses and move on, and to settle with the little things we were able to keep.

Ideologically, we grew up as a country with these kinds of thoughts. So it is hard for us to believe that mere discipline and effort will make you successful. Our Mexican dream is going to the US and living the so-called American dream. It’s ironic because we are a religious people. However, we don’t have faith in anything other than our religion. So in this pessimistic ambient, our national team went to Russia’s World Cup. We didn’t believe in our team’s football victory.

Football-Mexico-soccer-ball-win-flag

The Build-Up to the WIN

I watched the game with some friends. Not a single one really believed our team could win a football victory. Some of them were even shocked when I said, “México will win,” I looked at my friends, “ two to one. Two goals from Chucky Lozano and one from Werner.” My suggestion was laughably dismissed as a naive dream. I took another sip of my beer and never lost confidence while I explained my reasons.

Football-Mexico-soccer-ball-win

It was a late night. Saturday. A friend of mine had let us crash in his house so we could wake up early to watch the game.

Side note: Here, in México, we’re late all the time. It’s disrespectful, to be honest, but it’s something so ubiquitous that we really live with it. “Oh, we have a date at7? I’ll be there at 7:30, maybe even 8:00.” It’s terrible, I know. I just want to point out that I’m not like that! However, as Mexicans, we really are like that.

Back to the story: We decided to crash at my friend’s place to avoid this problem. No one would be able to miss the game because they were late, as always. By the time the match was about to begin, we were all gathered in the living room around the screen. We were nervous and eager to see the game.

We have a phrase in México to describe our national football team: We played like never, we lose like always. The audience gets frustrated every time our team losses, but we never miss a game. When an important match is coming, you can tell. Street after street is deserted. There is not a single person outside a house or a bar, watching the game.

An Unbelievable Football Match

But during this match, that phrase we say all the time didn’t seem to fit. This time, our team played like we have always demanded they should play. We won, which almost never happens! We couldn’t believe it. México was dominating the game! They looked dangerous in the counter-attacks and solid in defense. Germany actually looked confused! I can’t remember any other time I saw a German team member pass behind a ball or change sides just to see if he could pass. I honestly can’t!

They are a winning team, coming from a winning-mentality country. They are famous for discipline and for thorough efforts for perfection. They’re not used to losing a game, much less to be overcome by another team – by México’s team!

At minute 35, in a counter-attack, our most promising player (who is only 22 years old) shoots a fantastic goal that unravels a splendid surprise and an incredible joy throughout our country. I heard shouts from houses nearby, celebrating. My friends and I leaped into the air, jumping and hugging. I know that this reaction can be extrapolated to every corner in México. It was an amazing first half. But we suffered more than enough in the second half.

Mexico-win-world-cup-patchThe Second Half

Another thing that characterizes us Mexicans is the fear of losing what we have. Insecurity is a big deal in most of the country. This, plus what I said earlier should be enough to understand the nervousness we felt throughout the entirety of the second half.

We had the upper hand, but we feared we could lose it. And we almost did. México didn’t take chances and missed a lot of opportunities to increase the distance in the score. We were all incredibly nervous and screamed a lot at the TV. By the time we heard the final whistle, we were relieved. We were really happy as our faces could give away into smiles instead of worry. We had won our football victory!

The moment the match finished, I got a text from my cousin, saying, “let’s go celebrate! We’re going to the Angel.” The Angel of Independence is the place where we gather in the capital. We gather there as a city, as a nation, to celebrate sports triumphs, complain about our government in mass marches, etcetera.

Looking Ahead in the World Cup

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go since I had other important things to do. These were, of course, paused by the importance of this game to me and to my country. There are lots of things going on here. Although we’re about to elect a new president, we are football people. Call it a social distractor or whatever you want, but we love it.

The reactions throughout the entire country were of astonishment and excitement. People are fully behind this team now. Although this is good, I don’t like that we’re only supportive during the good times. That’s another topic for another day, I guess.

Anyway, I hope this little text helps you see a little bit of how we live during a game here, in my country. It was absolute pandemonium in the streets. We are very festive here in México. It’s something we’re famous for! Everywhere we go, we try to be joyful and warm. We have a lot of expectations during this World Cup. If we qualify as first place in our group, there’s a good chance that we won’t face Brazil. Brazil is our main concern before the World Cup. So all in all, everyone is happy. Mexico has at least one football victory on the books. 

Mexico-win-world-cup-field