My Morelia Adventure
When people think of a vacation in Mexico, they think of the stereotypical "hot spots": Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, or any popular beach that they've heard their friends rant about. Granted, those places are undoubtedly beautiful and great locations for a relaxing 'get-away'. But from experience, I urge you to consider the unconventional areas of Mexico yet to be discovered by the majority of tourists. By this, I mean rural, non-beach-associated towns that are small yet still thriving on their uniqueness and familiar ambiance.
Visiting locations like these can be very rewarding because it gives you a sense of discovering unknown terrain. Also, visiting small, rural areas nearly guarantees that the merchandise sold there will be an original product of the people living there. For instance, there is a small town in the state of Mexico that is known for its copper production, and another nearby village that is well-known for its (now inoperable) gold mine. The history is rich in the small towns because most of them were originally founded for a purpose (such as the aforementioned resources).
The few specific recommendations that I have are all pueblos in the state Mexico(Pacific side): Patzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, Quiroga, and Capula. Capula is my personal favorite because it is the smallest town I have ever been in, and it has an amazing nearby plateau that towers over the edge of the pueblito. Tzintzuntzan is best known for its Aztec ruins that still stand today.
The food in these towns is very unique to each of the areas. While, of course, you must always be careful what you eat in foreign countries, the food in these small places can be some of the most amazing you've ever tasted. The women are well known for creating their own recipes mostly because of limited resources. You will find an increase in the consumption of goat meat and cheese as you travel farther away from highly populated cities. But, much to your surprise, there are still miniature, gas station-like shops where Pepsi products, chips, and deli sandwiches are sold. Granted, the sandwiches may not be properly refrigerated...but if you find yourself with a great deal of hunger, these shops are increasingly appetizing.
I realize that most people want to visit a beach when on their Spring Break/Christmas vacation/Summer vacation. With that being said...I have an incredible Mexican beach to recommend. You may have heard of Ixtapa which is in the state Guerrero (just south of Mexico. This beach is very beautiful...yet a little too well-known for my taste. Unbeknownst to most tourists, three minutes down the road from Ixtapa is a beach/pueblo called Zihuatanejo. This is, by far, the most beautiful place I have ever been...and I consider myself something of a world traveler. Zihuat (for short) is a pacific coast jewel waiting to be fully unearthed. With its white sand, clear waters, and perfect weather, the beaches in Zihuat offer opportunities ranging from snorkeling, to parasailing, to scuba diving, to speed boat and waverunner rides...the list goes on and on. I personally only had time to experience the snorkeling, but the people that facilitated it were incredibly accommodating. Not only did they escort my friends and I by boat to a private beach for extremely clear watered snorkeling...but we also got to participate in deep sea fishing along the way! With prices that range from $25-$50 per trip, we also were fed the most amazing fish tacos at a separate beach for a break during snorkeling to catch our breaths and "refuel". For such a low price, we were very well taken care of.
To summarize, don't get suckered into vacationing at the "usual resorts" by your family and friends when there are so many more places to discover in Mexico. And if you feel the need to lay out on a beach for your vacation, there are more secluded beaches that offer the same amazing experiences as the "popular ones" with an added bonus of less crowds on a beautiful day.