An Experienced Traveler’s Letter of Advice for New Travelers with Marina

Prepare yourselves for an extraordinary adventure, filled with wonder, laughter, personal connections, examples of spectacular artistry, shared meals both humble and spectacular and unsolicited human moments which will very likely expand your imaginations in ways you cannot currently visualize and which may subtly but fundamentally change the way you think about the world. Mexico is an extraordinary country, with a complicated history, diverse population and a complex socio-economic culture ranging from the vibrant, urban sophistication of Mexico City to the deeply held rural lifestyle of the traditional indigenous peoples of Chiapas and elsewhere. My partner Shirley and I are very ordinary women, not (previously) particularly adventurous but in the 6 years since we moved to Merida, we have explored the backroads of the Yucatan peninsula extensively, taken several trips with Marina, co-coordinated our own Women’s Trip through the states of Puebla and Veracruz with Marina as our reservationist and hands-on guide and taken many independent trips, all over Mexico, some of them pretty far off the grid….

As basic preparation, go informed – read up on the culture, customs and traditions of the areas you’ll be visiting…. In Chiapas particularly, look to Marina for guidance on appropriate social behavior in culturally sensitive situations. In Mexico City, now my favorite city in the world, hands down – like any major metropolis anywhere in the world, simply use common sense. We go there 3 times a year, I sometimes go alone: We take Ubers everywhere, walk extensively, go to flea markets and artists’ studios way off the tourist grid and often walk back from dinner to our hotel quite late at night. Nothing has ever happened to either of us, ever!

Marina will “curate” and coordinate every aspect of your experience – create an itinerary that focuses on your interests and expands your understanding, select a super experienced driver, choose great hotels, be aware of your dietary and culinary preferences, monitor your energy ……She may stretch you just a bit from time to time but she has no interest in compromising your security or comfort on any way: She does this for a living, and does it very, very well – and she has 3 fantastic kids waiting for her to get home after every trip !

So, my advice, go into this trip with open, curious minds, be aware you are visitors in a Third World country with a rapidly changing multi-layered socio-economy and differing, regional customs and attitudes, learn enough Spanish to greet and thank people you’ll meet along the way, wear comfortable shoes, relish the varied cuisine and push yourselves to try new things….

Lucinda Young