Mexico Travel Tips: When My Friends Visit Mexico

When you write a blog about Mexican food and travel within Mexico, you’re bound to be asked for recommendations by… well, EVERYONE. I’m talking family, friends, coworkers, friends of friends, blog readers, complete strangers—it really runs the gamut. But it’s a true source of joy when you share Mexico travel tips with people, and they send you thanks in the form of a video, a photo, a tweet (or whatever else) to let you know they’re thinking of you and appreciate a recommendation that has improved their experience while visiting Mexico.

In the last week, I’ve received two such messages that I wanted to share.

Several years ago, I mentioned to my friend Ramon and his wife how much I love El Globo, a bakery chain that makes one of my favorite kinds of pan dulce—garibaldi. They’re a little upside-down poundcake-like treat that’s bathed in (usually) apricot jam and rolled in white nonpareils. You can even make garibaldi at home with my recipe. A few days ago, while they were in León, Guanajuato, they sent this video while visiting an El Globo location there.

A few weeks ago, another friend told me she’d be traveling to Mexico City on business and needed some recommendations for places to go for breakfast and dinners when she was able to go out on her own. I sent her a list of some of my favorite places near where she was staying and she shared this photo when she visited Churrería El Moro.

  • Have you taken my travel or dining advice in Mexico? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below, tag me on Twitter or Instagram @MauraHernandez, or tag The Other Side of The Tortilla on Facebook with a photo and note to let us know where you went and what you ate!

Visiting Yucatán: Dzibilchaltún

Dzibilchaltún is one of the oldest Mayan cities and is located near the Northern coast of the state of Yucatán, about 10 miles North of Mérida. The name Dzibilchaltún (pronounced Tsee-beel-chahl-toon) means “the place where there is writing on flat stones” in the Mayan language. In September, I traveled to Mérida, Yucatán for four days to explore and Dzibilchaltún was one of my favorite discoveries on the trip.

If you love ruins, archaeology and Mayan history, this site is a must-see during a visit to the state of Yucatán. We had a wonderful guide during our visit who spoke Spanish, English and Maya and was very knowledgable not only about the history of the site, but also explained the language roots and word evolution, which I found particularly interesting.

The archaeological site at Dzibilchaltún is less well-known to international tourists in comparison to sites such as Chichen Itzá, but is well worth the visit thanks to the knowledgable guides, the swimming area in the cenote and the fact that it’s less crowded than some of the larger sites. It’s also not too far from Mérida, making this site a great place to visit if you don’t want to take an entire day to travel to see an archaeological site in Mexico. There’s plenty to learn and appreciate here and I hope to be able to return again with my family.

Dzibilchaltún: El Templo de las Siete Muñecas… 

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Christmas in Mexico: “Lalo y Santaclós”

I was born with Christmas spirit, I think. And I’m a total sucker for organillo music. That’s why, when my cuñada introduced me to this cortometraje (short film) last week called “Lalo y Santaclós,” directed by Joseduardo Giordano and produced by Content, I immediately snapped into a holiday spirit mood.

We only have a few weeks before we head to Mexico for La Navidad and this short film got me so excited about the sights and sounds of Christmastime in Mexico. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I spoke with the director and he’s agreed to chat with me this month, so keep an eye out for that interview here soon.

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  • Do you have a favorite sight or sound in Mexico that makes you think of La Navidad? Share it with me in the comments.

Cebollitas asadas en la calle

I spotted these cebollitas being prepared to grill at a street stand last year during a trip to Mexico City. I parked right near this little puesto in Colonia Juárez while running an errand and couldn’t help but stop to admire them. As the grilling season kicks into full swing here, I find myself looking at this photo over and over again despite the fact that I took it more than a year ago, so I decided to finally share it. I love cebollitas, or any grilled vegetable, really. But the kind grilled al carbón can’t be beat.

›› Learn how to prepare cebollitas with my simple recipe.

›› Pair them with a dish! My favorites are Mexican chimichurri steak, tacos de rib eye and arrachera borracha.

  • What’s inspiring your grilling season?

10 things to love about Mexico City’s Museo Dolores Olmedo

The tiles on the wall at the Museo Dolores Olmedo read: “By the example of my mother, professor Maria Patiño Suarez, widow of Olmedo, who always told me: ‘Share all you have with those around you.’ I leave this house with all my collections of art, the product of my life’s work, so the people of Mexico can enjoy it.” —Dolores Olmedo Patiño

Last year on a visit to Mexico City during the holidays, I spent a special day with friends exploring a few places I had never been before. Thanks to the abundance of cultural activities the city has to offer, there’s always something new to discover. I was thrilled to hear that the Museo Dolores Olmedo was on the itinerary they planned since I’m a big Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera fan.

Dolores Olmedo Patiño, also known to many as Doña Lola, was an aggressive collector and patron of the arts and is still revered today as one of the biggest individual benefactors and promoters of Mexican art and culture. At age 17, she met Diego Rivera by chance in an elevator at the Ministry of Public Education when he was still working on the murals there (that can still be seen today), and he ended up asking her to model for him. According to the museum, she modeled in nearly 30 nude sketches and then was the subject of other later paintings by Rivera. After separating from her husband, British journalist Howard Phillips (whom she married in 1935), the well-to-do single Olmedo made a career as a partner in a construction materials firm in the late 1940s. In the mid-1950s, she reconnected with Rivera and eventually became his benefactor, caretaker and eventually, executor of his estate and that of Frida Kahlo.

In the early 1960s Olmedo acquired Hacienda La Noria, a 16th-century Spanish colonial hacienda located in Xochimilco (a neighborhood in the south of Mexico City). At the time she acquired the property, it was a shell of its original state and so she set out on a mission to restore and preserve the hacienda. In the late 1980s, Olmedo announced plans to convert her hacienda into a museum, which opened in September 1994. Olmedo passed away in 2002 but her legacy still lives on in this charming museum she left behind for all to admire just as intended.

Here are my top ten reasons to visit the Museo Dolores Olmedo
the next time you’re in Mexico City… 

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Muralismo Mexicano: “El Pueblo a la Universidad y la Universidad al Pueblo”

A few years ago on a trip to Mexico City, I had the pleasure of working with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) to document photos of the campus for a UNESCO project. If you’re not familiar with UNAM, the university is the oldest in the Americas (it was founded in 1551) and its main campus (Ciudad Universitaria) is recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. This is definitely a cool place to visit if you travel to Mexico City.

One of my favorite things about the campus is the amount of public art incorporated into both the buildings and open spaces. And I especially love the murals created by some of Mexico’s most famous artists.

During my visit, I got to spend some time up close to one of the murals that I’d only before ever seen in photographs—“El Pueblo a la Universidad y la Universidad al Pueblo” by David Alfaro Siqueiros on the side of the Torre de Rectoría…. 

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