"I HAD WHAT I CAN ONLY DESCRIBE AS AN EPIPHANY, A MOMENT OF LUCID AND COMPLETE SURRENDER, IN WHICH THE WHOLE OF MEXICO SEEMED TO COME UP INSIDE ME AND I FELT THAT THIS WAS A MOMENT THAT WOULD NEVER END AND THAT WHEREVER I WENT I WOULD NOT LEAVE THIS PLACE."
Mexico is the country of delicious food, fantastic beaches, beautiful colonial cities, the best tequila and men with great hats (and often great moustaches to boot!) Unfortunately, it is also a country with a reputation.
A country where one coast has been tarnished by spring-break and package holidays, and the other by the cartel. It's sometimes difficult to get beneath the skin of one of our favourite parts of the world.
However, for those of you that choose to venture even slightly off the well-trodden gringo track, you will see the Mexico that we fell in love with.
Old couples dancing in the street, the calming hum of congestion along busy streets, football on every screen and street food sizzling on each corner: Mexico will hit all your senses.
Stereotypes, largely propagated by its northern neighbour, will begin to fade away as you discover the richness of Mexican culture.
Give it time and it will fill your heart, and your belly and, like us, you'll struggle to leave
so, you're thinking of going to mexico?
We spent two and half months in Mexico, but even with that we felt like we could only scratch the surface!
Our favourite state? It's got to be Oaxaca. Whether you prefer to spend your days sampling the very finest Mexican cuisine in its capital city, getting a little tipsy in one of the fantastic mezcalerias or discovering your inner beach bum in Zipolite, you'll find plenty to while away weeks, literally.
Only got a week or two? Then the Yucatan is a popular choice - and for good reason. Whilst we encourage people to skip the overdeveloped beaches of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, head further south to Tulum and you'll find a beautiful expanse of white sand that is difficult to beat!
And whilst you're in the region, don't miss our favourite town of Valladolid - our first glimpse of the 'real Mexico' and a photographer's dream and located only a hop skip and jump from one of the country's biggest draws, Chichen Itza.
Heading to Belize after this? Don't forget Laguna Bacalar along the way. You won't believe the colour of the water - just get there before everyone else has heard of it too!
For you history buffs, a trip to Palenque coincides nicely with one of our favourite colonial cities, San Cristobal de las Casas, where Mayan culture still abounds but if you're more interested in the ocean, Chiapas is not short of a beach or two....
After all that time ankle deep in sand, you'll probably be craving a little city life, and what better place than Guadalajara. A university town with a buzzing night life, it's a great spot for a party or to watch some lucha libre.
And then there's Mexico city, THE capital city. Yeah, we didn't quite make it here. But at least now, we HAVE to come back.
We've written a lot about Mexico but here are a few of our most popular posts to get you started.
But if you're looking for somewhere in particular, check to see if we've been!
"IT'S IN MEXICO. A LITTLE PLACE ON THE PACIFIC OCEAN. YOU KNOW WHAT THE MEXICANS SAY ABOUT THE PACIFIC? THEY SAY IT HAS NO MEMORY. THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO LIVE THE REST OF MY LIFE.
A WARM PLACE WITH NO MEMORY."
our hidden gem
Every country has them, those secret little towns, beaches or pokey little cafés that no-one seems to have found yet - or at least written much about.
For us, it was this place - so take a look, just try and keep it between us, at least for a little while....