5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter

Mexico is an absolutely fascinating country. It’s obviously a major destination for beach vacations, for one thing. However, Mexican and Hispanic culture are one of my favorites in the world to learn about. There are so many beautiful, unique, and intriguing things about it! Every country or city certainly has its dangers, but with each passing year Mexico becomes more heavily shrouded in stigma, at least in the United States. So, if you haven’t thought of Mexico as a place to travel to outside of a five-star resort, I would encourage you to take another look. Below are just a few things I drew me in, so hopefully, they work on you too.

5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane

1.    Rooted in history

As I get older, my interest in cultural history grows by the day. In fact, learning about history is one of the main reasons that I travel now. Ancient history specifically dazzles me—particularly Mayan history—and getting to visit the ruins at Tulum last year was the icing on the tip of my Mexican vacation cake. I don’t love guided tours, so I always recommend exploring on your own and seeing what you want to see, and then doing some library or even just Internet research when you get back home or just to your hotel room. It helps maximize the experience.

5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane
5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane

2.    Beautiful beaches

For vacationers, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention “Mexico” is the pristine coastline, and for valid reasons. Turquoise waters and white sands that span from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean have enticed tourists for decades, and kept them coming back. It makes water sports like kayaking, sailing, parasailing or even just swimming that much more magical. Or, you can just enjoy looking at it from your lounger at the beach. No matter how you experience them, Mexico’s beaches are some of the best in the world, and the just about the easiest for American travelers to get to.

5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane

 

5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane

3.    Tacos & Tequila

Everyone’s two favorite things to come out of this North American paradise. Many cities like Mexico City and Tequila itself offer unique tequila tours and tastings, or if head down to Oaxaca for an inside look at the world of mezcal—it’s the scotch to tequila’s whiskey. But really, you’ll find these Mexican staples anywhere without even trying. Same with tacos—now that’s my kind of paradise. Try a variety of fish tacos in the cities by the sea and other meat (or veggie) varieties inland. But you can guarantee they’ll be authentic—skip the lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream but don’t forget the squeeze of lime juice.
 

4.    Monarch Butterflies

You might have heard once about the magnificent Monarch butterfly migration that takes place each winter, when those beautiful little flashes of orange flap their wings from Canada to Mexico and set up camp on the oyamel fir trees, just a few hours outside of Mexico City. What a once-in-a-lifetime sight to see millions of these striking beauties basking in the midday sun! There’s a ton of research out there on how to put this trip together, and it’s easily made its way onto my bucket list.

 PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NAT GEO IMAGE COLLECTION

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NAT GEO IMAGE COLLECTION

5.    Dynamite cruise ports

Whether you’re on the Caribbean side (Cozumel, Costa Maya) or the Pacific side (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Acapulco), cruise ports were built to handle thousands of people coming in and out each day while giving them a taste of the culture in every region. After the recent hurricanes around the Caribbean, ports were built back up to be bigger and better and they’re all welcoming new visitors. Cruising is a great way to see a new side of Mexico by land and sea alike.

5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane
5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane
5 Reasons to Visit Mexico This Winter | truelane

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2

Continuing along from part one of this blog post (read here if you haven’t yet), our first stop after waking up on day two of our weekend was J5. No surprise there! Lake Chelan is a gorgeous one-hour drive from Leavenworth, and no road trip can begin without caffeine. We headed over for breakfast and a boat tour departing pretty early. The weather was exactly what you’d want for a day on a pontoon: hot and humid. We were pumped to get on the water.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

We learned a ton about the properties surrounding the lake and history of the area from our tour guide, Mike, the director of the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce—not to mention sample some of the area’s delicious wine! There are a ton of wineries in central Washington (I’ll get to that later), and we enjoyed a bottle of summer water, aka rosé, from Rocky Pond Winery. We had a few other bloggers joining us on this trip, and it was so much fun getting to know Style Miss Molly and Postcards to Seattle as well as our tour guides.

After we made it all the way around the lake, our group split up to get lunch or cool down—and Michele and I definitely opted to cool down. We felt like we’d been baking in the noon heat! We rented a couple of paddle boards from one of the places near the boat launch. If you can’t find it, just keep asking people until one of them will guide you to where you need to go! After floating and swimming for an hour or so, ice cream was calling our name. Cones from B.C. MacDonald’s in hand, we strolled the beautiful riverfront and downtown areas before the sun got too hot and we had to find some shade again.

Yes, it really was that hot.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

We decided to head to Siren Song Wines for a relaxing evening, and we had no idea what a treat we were in for. Between the rolling vineyards and sprawling tuscan estate, it felt like we’d walked right into the Italian countryside. If you enter the building and walk past the dining room, you’ll exit into a huge courtyard surrounded by palatial stonework overlooking the lake. I know it sounds crazy, but I was having flashbacks to my day on Lake Como in northern Italy with these views—no kidding.

After tasting a rosé, a white, and a red, we decided to stay for dinner and it was a phenomenal decision. While we were enjoying our mouthwatering caprese bruschetta, the owner of the vineyard himself came over to say hello, welcome us, and tell us a few family stories. It’s definitely a place I’ll stop by again on my next trip to Washington’s Playground. But beyond that, there are seriously dozens of other wineries to try: Tsillan Cellars (pronounced Chelan), Nefarious Cellars, Rocky Pond Winery, Fielding Hills Winery, Mellisoni Vineyards…the list goes on and on.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

It’s so satisfying when a weekend trip feels like you’ve been away much longer. You’ve only been away for two nights, but you feel as if you’ve been relaxing for a week. There was so much to do and see in Leavenworth and Lake Chelan that I felt like that, and couldn’t believe we were headed home Sunday. Before we headed back west, we enjoyed an indulgent breakfast at a local golf course overlooking the green (breakfast and a show!) before playing 18-holes ourselves—on the mini-golf course at Icicle Village Resort before we checked out.

It was a great way to wrap up the trip (okay, we grabbed two more Bavarian pretzels go to…don’t judge, they’re my favorite food!) and I can’t thank the tourism and marketing team behind Washington’s Playground enough. I’ll definitely be planning another trip out there and hope you guys will too! Let me know if you do, and use the hashtag #truetravels on Instagram so I can find your photos!

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELE EQUITZ

Thank you to Washington’s Playground for hosting us.