A quick walkthrough on 4 types of cities I came across on my journey through Mexico - photography
Fusion of Color, music, art, flavors, - it would be hard to describe Mexico in a short review. It’s huge (it feels huge), it’s complex. It covers nearly two million square kilometers and is a kaleidoscope of landscapes. Here you can find exotic beaches, tropical rainforests, rugged mountains, deserts, sprawling metropolises, and colorful colonial towns. I would be lying if I said I know it all after a few weeks of traveling. It left me unsatisfied with a weighty feeling of missing something - there is so much more to discover. Starting with its rich history and cultural heritage spanning more than 10,000 years, Mexico’s territory was home to significant pre-colonial civilizations: Olmecs, Teotihuacáns, and the most known - Aztec and Mayan. Then the conquest by the Spanish and a 300-year period of colonization, the struggle for independence, and the country’s rebuilding in the 20th century. All this left a significant mark on today's Mexico and is reflected in its culture, architecture, and cuisine. A quick guide on different types of cities I came across during my trip through Mexico could be an interesting way of showing its complexity and multi-layered structure.
Pastel Stucco Colonial Town - Valladolid
Located in the middle of the Yucatan Penisula, just two hours from Tulum via straight-line road through the jungle, this tiny colonial town is unbelievably vibrant and tranquil. It was established in 1543 by Spanish colonizers atop a Mayan town called Zaci, whose buildings were dismantled to reuse the stones to build the Spanish town. The town has an authentic vibe to it. Some of the Mayans, who make up most of the population, wear the traditional Huipil which is a white cotton blouse or dress adorned with bright, floral embroidery. The Yukatek Maya, Mayan dialect, can be still heard on the streets. On the other hand, Valladolid low-level buildings, colorful walls, colonnades, and paving-stone streets maintain an Iberian feel. The great thing about this city is that Valladolid is off the beaten path so you won’t get crushed by the crowd of tourists.
Pop. Beach Town - Playa Del Carmen
This is a popular coastal resort town in eastern Mexico. It features a wide array of tourist activities due to its geographical location. Big chains of hotels, shopping centers, palm-lined beaches, Coral Reef right off the coast, souvenirs, tours, restaurants: these are some of the main attractions highly desired by tourists. Playa del Carmen is a bit smaller and less packed than the bigger and more party oriented Cancun. Coco Bongo Nightclub and Party Vegas shoe-? are a few somewhat cheesy, names that can help you imagine what type of attractions are waiting for party animals.
Bohemian Beach Town - Tulum
Tulum is basically known for two things - its impressively situated Maya ruins and spectacular coastline with trendy and pricy (Pinterest-like) restaurants, boutiques and hotels onshore. The beach is located 20 minutes from the town by bike - one of the most popular modes of transportation. The town center, that has grown rapidly for the last few years sits right on the highway and the trough is not really pretty. What I liked the most about it were the fruit stands and the amusement park - where I could watch the entertainment of the local community and discover new types of games. The town offers lodgings and restaurants to fit every budget and is a great base for trips like cave and cenote or surrounding Mayan Ruins. The Tulum ruins are incredible, established on rock formations, looking majestically towards the Ocean. The omnipresent Iguana reptiles slowly crawling among the rock or sunbathing give you an impression that they are majestic guardians, left to watch over this ancient place. But beware - 9 am sharp the tours that come from all the regions are rapidly take over. In the pursuit of the perfect Instagram shot, selfie sticks are block the walkways and views.
Megapolis - Mexico City (also known as DF - the Distrito Federal)
The story behind Mexico City is really interesting. During the Aztec period, Mexico City (Tenochtitlán) was initially built on the artificial island over a lake, the Lago de Texcoco. The development of Tenochtitlán has fulfilled one of the Aztec ancient prophecies. When Spanish explorer and conqueror Hernán Cortés arrived in the area, he first gained the support of local tribes tired of Aztec rule (Aztecs were fierce warriors who dominated other indigenous tribes throughout the region). Montezuma II, the king of Aztecs, believed that Cortez was their white god Quetzalcóatl, whose return had been prophesied and welcomed Spaniards with every courtesy. After enjoying the king’s hospitality for several weeks, Cortés suddenly captured the emperor and using the help of local tribes he conquered the Teotihuacán. The Spanish then built Mexico City on the ruins of the once great Aztec city.
Now Mexico City is a Megapolis, huge, diverse and polarized, filled with contradictions and yawning inequality. It has a population greater than that of London, Beijing and New York and is divided into uncountable neighborhoods, or 'colonias' - each with a distinct identity. The infamous smog that shrouds the city has decreased significantly over the few last years. Sky-scrapers are growing like bamboo. The city is unbelievably rich in culture - with world-class museums, a vibrant art scene and bustling markets. The food is incredibly delicious and has gained fame around the world. Mexico City produces world-class chefs, artists, and movie directors. To top it all off The Mexican Muralism Movement of Diego Rivera seemed to find its continuation in omnipresent modern-day Street Art.
Omnipresent Graffiti and Street Art.