Every American Should Visit Mexico—And There's Never Been a Better Time Than Now

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough—to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” —Anthony Bourdain

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In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the “Good Neighbor Policy,” a strategic initiative to strengthen our bonds with Latin American countries and reduce U.S. intervention in their affairs. It also led to Americans discovering Cinco de Mayo (a holiday that nearly nobody in Mexico celebrates) and a taste for tequila. The policy wasn’t perfect, but it opened the door to trade and friendship across our southern border.

In recent years, however, relations with the nation next door have grown a bit fraught. It hasn’t helped that we’ve elected a president whose blatantly racist comments have not only insulted the Mexican people, but have also attacked and demeaned many of our other allies around the globe. Talk of walls, tariffs, and “professional mountain climbers” has put us at odds with one of our closest allies. It’s in bad faith, and it’s by design. But despite what talking heads and politicians want you to believe, we couldn’t ask for a better neighbor. For proof, you just have to go there.

Palm Trees By Sea Against Sky

A beach in Tulum, Mexico.

Getty ImagesChlo Boulos / EyeEm

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Wherever you travel in Mexico, you’ll find something new to discover—and plenty you already love. In a country where soccer reigns supreme, it’s estimated that over 1.5 million NFL fans live in Mexico City alone, more than you’ll find in Detroit and Las Vegas combined. The art and culinary scenes are booming, with festivals like Art with Me in Tulum and the Guadalupe Valley’s celebration of Wine, Food, and Music. If relaxing by the beach is your thing, from Cabo to Quintana Roo, there’s no shortage of beautiful places to fall asleep in a hammock.

Across the border is a country that’s welcoming, diverse, and full of life, and a newly elected president has brought the country a rush of pride and a hopeful national attitude that the best is yet to come.

Despite what talking heads and politicians want you to believe, we couldn’t ask for a better neighbor.

And yes, parts of the country have seen violence. There are some areas you may prefer to avoid altogether. But the need to exercise caution and make smart decisions is an important part of travel no matter where you go. It’s not a reason to block yourself off from experiences that will make your life richer and fuller, and give you a better understanding of the world around you.

Here’s the thing about travel: It’s a privilege. The ability to move freely about the globe, passport in hand, is not an everyday option for billions of others. Those who can travel bear a responsibility, at the very least, to try and represent the best version of what it should mean to be a citizen of the world. Explore without getting in the way. Hang up and listen. Try everything once.

The world can be a big place. Get to know a piece of it by opening yourself up to the cultures, the places, and most importantly, the people we share it with. Start with the country next door. It’s what being a good neighbor is all about.

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Lifestyle – Esquire

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