Top Five Places to Experience the ‘Real’ Mexico

When overseas travel first became something that was accessible to ordinary working people, the unusual weather and the simple fact that you weren’t at home was enough to impress most people. Whilst many of us still enjoy spending time at holiday resorts and relaxing in warm weather, the desire for a deeper and more authentic travel experience has become quite commonplace.

If you’re planning a luxury Mexico vacation and you’re keen to experience a taste of the ‘real’ Mexico, it’s worth doing a little research before you book your trip. If you want to absorb the local way of life, eat the local food and learn about the local culture, language and history, it’s important you choose a destination where life is largely undisturbed by mass tourism – or at least somewhere within an accessible distance of such a place.

The good news is that plenty of these kinds of places do still exist in Mexico. Whilst tourism to the country has soured in recent years, the hundreds of years of history – both modern and ancient –that Mexico has experienced have combined to create a nation enviably rich in culture and character, and all of its charms remain entirely discoverable to the savvy traveller.

Below you will find the top five places to consider for your Mexican vacation that will offer you a truly authentic taste of the country, its food and its culture.

Valladolid

The third largest city in the state of Yucatán is named after Valladolid, Spain – which was at the time the capital of that country. It is a place where there’s plenty to do, but which still retains a distinctly small-town feel.

If you’re interested in visiting Mexico’s world-famous landmarks and cultural sites, Valladolid is the perfect base. From here, you’re not too far from the natural wonder of Rio Lagartos, with its colourful landscape and abundant exotic birdlife, or the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá which really need no introduction.

And once you’re done exploring the incredible region, Valladolid itself offers a fully immersive cultural experience: the quiet, sun-drenched streets and pastel-coloured buildings simply couldn’t be more Mexican if they tried.

Puerto Morelos

Halfway between Cancún and Playa del Carmen lies the fishing village of Puerto Morelos. Whilst the town has seen the arrival of the tourist trade in recent years, and does now offer excellent tourist facilities, it has nonetheless succeeded in retaining much of its traditional village charm – and its unmistakably Mexican mañana lifestyle.

Unlike its rowdy neighbours, Puerto Morelos is a place that is visited by those looking for quiet beaches and shallow waters during the day, and real Mexican food and atmosphere in the evenings. A great example of how small scale tourism can peacefully coexist with traditional lifestyles, Puerto Morelos is an idyllic location for people who want to experience the ‘real’ Mexico without having to stray too far off the tourist trail.

San Cristóbal de las Casas

Located in a small valley in the mountains of Chiapas, this cultural town is absolutely brimming with authentic Mexican charm. Its location in the mountains means it enjoys a much milder climate than many towns in Mexico, making it perfect for exploring and sightseeing.

With red tile roofs, cobbled streets and wrought iron balconies, this colonial town retains much of the old-world European charm that was brought to it by its Spanish settlers many hundreds of years ago. Today, it has a chic and bohemian vibe, and the atmosphere is charming and romantic.

The descendants of local Mayan people sell their crafts on the town’s streets, and if you venture into the surrounding villages you’ll discover a world where traditional native customs and beliefs still exist, and otherwise forgotten ways of life still thrive.

Oaxaca

Whilst big cities aren’t often the first places that come to mind when it comes to finding the most authentic cultural experiences, they shouldn’t be forgotten altogether. In the case of a city like Oaxaca, it is of course true that the atmosphere is an unmistakably contemporary one – but it is an unmistakably contemporary Mexican one nonetheless.

With a creative vibe pulsing through the streets, Oaxaca is a haven for artists. In fact, it’s hard not to feel artistically inspired when confronted with a place of such captivating colonial charm. An exciting culinary and cultural scene unfolds beneath the shade of the trees that line the wide streets.

With a strong indigenous culture and some of the best museums in the country, colonial Oaxaca feels intimately connected with its history. The laid-back pace of life is frequently erupting into explosive fiestas that fill the streets with energy and excitement – in many ways capturing the fundamental juxtaposition between sleepy siesta and fiery fiesta that defines the Hispanic spirit.

Campeche

The provincial capital of the state of the same name is arguably the most perfectly preserved colonial town in Mexico. After sustained pirate attacks in the 17th Century, the city was left in a state of disrepair until being declared a UNESCO site. After that declaration, significant restoration work took place and today the walled city centre contains narrow, cobbled streets, pastel-coloured buildings and impressive mansions that evoke so strongly the feel of the colonial era that it almost feels like an open-air museum rather than a working town. If Oaxaca is a taste of modern, cosmopolitan Mexico, then Campeche is a glimpse into Mexico’s colourful and fascinating past.

HOW TO GET A VISA FOR KUWAIT

Kuwait is a country in the middle-east with many treasures to show. If you plan on making a trip there, you should know that you cannot enter the country without a visa. However, there is some good news ahead. The citizens of over 50 countries are eligible for a Kuwait evisa thanks to the services provided by iVisa. You can apply online, and the visa will arrive in as little as 12 hours.

What is an evisa?

An evisa is also known as an electronic visa. It means that you can acquire it online, and the process is as simple as you can imagine. It has the same legal standing as the visa you get from the embassy. In order to know whether or not you qualify for the evisa, you can use a tool called Visa Checker. You find it on iVisa’s website. You insert your country of origin and choose Kuwait as a destination. The information will unfold in front of you instantly.

What are the requirements?

If you are eligible for the Kuwait evisa, you are saved a trip to the embassy. However, that does not mean you are not required to have a few documents at hand. Here is what you need:

  • A passport – make sure that your passport is valid and will maintain its validity for at least six months from your arrival date in Kuwait.
  • Digital copies of your passport
  • Means of online payment – you can use a credit or debit card, and if you have a Paypal account, iVisa accepts that as well. You will be asked to make the payment before submitting the application.
  • A valid residency card– this is applicable only to GCC residents

Once you check those documents off your list, you can move on to the application itself. The form is quite easy to comprehend, but if you have difficulties in filling it in, you can refer to iVisa’s 24/7 support service.

The application consists of three steps. In the first one, you will be required to fill in your basic information. Put in your name, address, passport information, email address, and so on. You must also select a processing time. The second step consists of a simple revision and payment. Once you finish, you can get to the last step, which will require you to upload some of the documents listed above. After that, you hit the submit button, and your visa will arrive via email in PDF format in the timeframe you chose when you completed the application.

Processing time and costs

The visa itself is free. What you need to pay is the service fee towards iVisa. You can choose one of the following processing times:

  • Standard – your application is processed in 72 hours, and you will be charged 20$
  • Rush – the visa will be ready within 48 hours, and it costs 60$
  • Super Rush –your visa will be in your inbox in 12 hours, and the cost is 80$.

Delays may occur, which is why it is recommended that you apply for the visa one week in advance, just to be on the safe side. You will be notified via email if and when it happens. Also, keep in mind that your application will not be processed during the weekend, and weekends in Kuwait are held on Friday and Saturday.

TRAVEL STORY TELLING IN VIETNAM FOR FILIPINOS

In the most travelers’ mind, Vietnam is a visually stunning and richly wonderful country with a lot of attractions that holidaymakers want to plan for. Besides coming for the history and culture, Vietnam is also the destination for the landscape, for the warm and welcoming people or just the beauty of tropical shoreline.An amazing Hanoi City Tours is truly an interesting experience for most of the foreign travelers, especially the Filipinos, who have ever been to Vietnam, may have passion for this country and will have a journey back in their future agenda.

Vietnam was loved by most Filipinos for many reasons, mainly for its dramatic landscapes, appealing history, epic food and pulsating energy. The first impression when coming to Vietnam is the variation of street food. The colorful food on the plastic stools on the sidewalk always catch the travelers’ eyes, with a wide range from noodle soups, like the iconic Pho or bun ca (the fish and pork-based soup garnished with dill pictured here), to bun cha – grilled pork served over rice noodles with herbs and dipping sauces. Surfing around the street at any time, it’s easy to find Vietnamese people of all ages congregating under market eating the street food — a way to truly experience daily life in Vietnam, and also the chance for visitors to try the delicious typical food in Vietnam.

Filipinos who come to Vietnam may be inspired by the warm welcome and the friendliness of people here. What visitors think about Vietnamese people can be all described by those adjectives: kind, thoughtful, industrious, optimistic, and generous. Absolutely, the people are the heart of country, and when you have a trip to Vietnam, don’t miss out any opportunity to get to know them.

For those who are interest in studying about history, Vietnam is a good place for them with the tumultuous and complex history. There is a fact that the country having been occupied and divided by various countries for decades, with the colonial influences are visible everywhere, from the architecture to the food. In the museums, you may find the information through the monuments and also in stories of survivors. Actually, Vietnam’s past is not only fascinating, but it’s also significant to learn about.

One thing Filipinos should never miss visiting is The Mekong Delta – a fruitful area in Southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River dumps into the sea. Traveling up the backwaters, visitors will be wowed by the floating markets and above all else, the friendly people who live in the region. Travelers can also discover Can Tho, the largest city in the area, and get a real taste of rural life in this region affectionately known as the “rice bowl.”

Vietnam has gone to every visitor’s mind thanks to the charming and exciting experience they can enjoy in an intriguing trip to Vietnam. Coming to this beautiful nation has become the common choice for every traveler all over the world due to the above reasons, and also the visa procedure is much more facilitated for those who wish to apply for Vietnam visa to enjoy a journey to Vietnam.

THE BEST WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BOOKING A HOTEL

With the holidays also come along several travel days. If you plan to book a hotel rather than stay with families you can save money when the time comes to book. Even for those who will travel for work, or are after the best booking deals at any time of the year, it is possible to find a great price when booking a hotel room. But, you can’t simply go to one travel site and call it quits; doing this is going to result in finding less than average rooms, low star ratings, and yes, over paying for the room you are going to book during your stay as well. To avoid all of this, consider some of these things you can do when you are booking a room, in order to be sure to find a great deal.

  1. Don’t ditch the agent –
    Yes, there are great booking and online sites to find a deal. With this in mind, a travel agent is still a viable option when you book. Especially for all inclusive trips, or those business trips you can’t find a room for last minute, an agent can help. In addition to finding a great deal on the room, they can typically find you great deals on tickets for flights as well. SO, take the time to contact an agent, especially if you are not happy with rates you have found through online searches as well as with the booking sites you have already visited when booking your stay.
  2. Compare sites –
    Yes, if you want to save you have to compare when you shop. so, take the time to compare a few of the top travel sites. By doing this you can compare room, hotel chains, and amenities where you want to book. Further, you can find inclusive deals, hotel and car rental packages, and other deals. So it is worth comparing a few sites and seeing what is out there, so you know you do find the best price when you ultimately book the room.

  3. Know your times –
    Yes, timing is everything when you book. So begin the search early. If you have flexible dates, try to book around those times of year when other travellers aren’t flocking the beaches (or ski resorts in the winter). By booking around busy peak seasons, you not only have far more choices, you have far more options in terms of the savings (for far greater rooms and some of the top chain hotels brands out there).

You have to know where to go and you have to be willing to take some time to compare the top deals out there if you really do want to save when booking a hotel. Whether travelling for the holidays, booking a business trip, or travelling on a vacation with the family, you need the right hotel for your travel needs. In order to find that great hotel, and not have to compromise on over priced rooms, these are a few ways to save when you book it.

HOW TO GET THE BEST DEALS ON FLIGHTS

Booking a flight to any destination doesn’t have to be an overpriced pain. In fact, you can find a few great deals when booking flights if you know how to time things, where to book, and what to look for when booking your trip. Before you book through any online site, try some of these simple things to save.

  1. Book early –
    Booking in advance is the best way to find lower fares. Add in the fact that most booking sites offer a low price guarantee (meaning if a lower price pops up after you book they refund you the difference) there really is no losing when you book in advance. The earlier you can plan, the better it will be when you are trying to save.
  2. Inclusive deals –
    If you are booking a hotel, car rental, meal packages, and other local accommodations during your trip, do everything together. Many booking sites or travel agents can find you exceptional all inclusive travel packages. Not only is the flight cheaper, but you are going to save a great deal on the entire trip (as opposed to if you were to book everything individually for that trip).

  3. Compare sites –
    Yes, travel sites typically do offer the best deals for booking; this doesn’t mean choose the first one you visit. If you are a discount shopper, the best way to find the deals is to comparison shop. So, get out there and compare a few of the top booking sites, deals, possible savings, coupons, codes, and other options they have available for you to save on the cost of the flight. One good comparison site to use when booking flights is Expedia.

  4. Book together –
    If you are travelling in a group or with your spouse (kids, etc), book it all together. As is the case with all inclusive travel packages, many airlines are going to offer bulk or group pricing discounts. So if you are going to travel with a large group, or a few friends, make sure to see if there are bulk booking deals. In addition to paying less per ticket for the flight you are taking, you can choose to sit together, so you don’t get stuck with complete strangers during the flight, and can sit with the group you are travelling with during the planned trip you are taking.

Of course relying on a travel agent is still something many people do; so before you book with a travel site, this is another way to find possible deals which are floating around out there. Booking during non-peak seasons is yet another way to save and find great deals on inclusive packages and hotel plans as well. You do not have to overpay for a trip, even if it is to a popular destination when you are booking your airline flight. Comparing, shopping around and taking as much time as possible to do your planning in advance, are a few of the ways in which you will not only find better deals, but can also score upgrades or fly with the best airlines out there, for a low price