Hello everyone! I’m back from Mexico and here to share my trip with you!
I’ll be sharing what I got up to each day here, so this post might be a little longer than normal with a ton more photos. Honestly, I love sharing my trip each year and while this one was more low key than previous trips, it’s still a great one!
Some background information on this trip, I’ve been going to Mexico for a few years now for time periods spanning from a week and a half to two weeks and with various family members. I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to work this into my work schedule, general life schedule, and budget because the main reason is to go spend time with my grandfather, who is the only grandparent I have left, and to catch up with other family members too. I like to share my day by day activities here because 1) it’s fun and 2) it’s great for memories! This year’s trip was two weeks, with my mom!
Small disclaimer, I might be a little vague on some things such as exact locations of where I was, or personal details for some family members to respect their privacy.
Day 1 – Travel Chicago to Mexico City
Saturday, January 25
On the first day of the trip it snowed because WHY NOT APPARENTLY. (Damn weather.) Anyway, we headed to the airport ridiculously early, dropped off our checked luggage, sent my dad back home to beat the worst of the storm (but not before a ton of hugs and good byes to which he thought I was incredibly dramatic because it was “just” two weeks), and then flew through security.
Once inside the terminal, my mom and I decided we were hungry and wanted to get a quick, small meal. We were tempted by the Mexican restaurant in Terminal 5, the international terminal at O’Hare International Airport, but we were literally about to board a plane to go to Mexico so instead we went to get Garrett’s Popcorn, which is a famous popcorn place that you can only get in Chicago I think. There was no Starbucks weirdly enough so I couldn’t do my usual pre-flight meal but it was still good.
I had the sniffles so I tried to be lowkey about it so as not to incite mass panic because this was at the beginning of the coronavirus making it’s way into the US. I think it had just been the day before when the first case in Chicago was discovered. There were a couple people wearing masks at the airport actually, which I thought was silly, but hey, it’s their decision! My mom and I sat at the gate and ate our popcorn while a lady walked around
annoying asking everyone to fill out some survey about how travelers “felt about going to Mexico”. She said she was with some agency or organization or something and made herself out to sound like she was on official government surveying business but my mom and I got the sense it was a scam because she was asking for personal details from everyone and on top of that we were all going to Mexico so obviously it wasn’t going to be a neutral response? Anyway, we downright refused and she got all huffy about it so I feel like our guts were right.
At some point during all this we called my dad to make sure he made it home okay because he hadn’t texted and we thought he probably forgot. Turns out the weather was worse by our home so he was driving much more slowly than normal. He made it home okay though and so we could relax a bit before our flight and I told him I’d text when we landed.
Eventually we boarded and after what felt like an eternity, we were off! On the plane I watched two films, Yesterday and Rocketman. I really enjoyed them both actually and was really happy with my selections. The meal we got was pretty good, and since not every seat was filled we had the entire row to ourselves. It was about four and a half hours of flight time and about halfway through I checked the map to see where we were and waved to Houston, which we were passing below. Oh, we did fly AeroMexico which we do like flying with.
Once we landed I texted my dad, and we got off, got our visas to get into Mexico, and off we went! After picking up our suitcases we found my aunt and uncle waiting for us. We did stop to exchange some money, which was super annoying because the lady at the bank we picked was so rude. She kept talking super soft and refusing to use the speaker so we couldn’t understand her and had to ask her to repeat everything. Then you had to fill out a form with employment details so they could “verify” you made money??? My mom tried to decline saying she’s a housewife but the lady said we couldn’t get money exchanged so I had to fill it out. Then she tried to argue with us that I didn’t fully fill it out because I was suppose to sign it but there was no signature line so how was I supposed to know? So I signed it and then she said the address wasn’t fully completed. I asked what’s missing and she said the city, I pointed to the box labelled for the city where I had put the city. Then she said state, so I pointed to the box labelled for the state which was also filled out. She didn’t like that it was abbreviated so she spelled it out, whatever. Then she said zip code was missing so I pointed to the box labelled for the zip code. I’m sure you know what’s coming next. Yes, it was filled out! Finally, she stopped being so difficult and exchanged the money for us. There was a couple that came up to the next window way after us and left way before us, so we were really annoyed but finally we went on our way.
On the way back to my aunt and uncle’s home we stopped to get tacos! Yum! On the way back my mom’s dad had one of her brothers call her because she hadn’t called. Usually she calls him every day so he was getting worried. She told her brother she’d call her dad the next day but afterwards she said she should have told him she was on her way because he didn’t know yet! When we got to the house she sent her sister in first to go tell her dad that we had arrived. He sorta suspected we were due to show up any day now because we do normally visit around that time anyway so he wasn’t super surprised but still a little bit surprised. My mom and I got settled pretty soon after that because it was quite late at that point anyway, so off to bed!
Day 2 – Rest Day
Sunday, January 26
Since it was Sunday, there wasn’t much to do so my mom and I spent the day catching up with her family and resting. She has a lot of siblings so they kept showing up as they found out we were in the area. I gave my grandfather his presents – a new shirt, a new razor set, and a framed photo of me from graduation! I know, so humble. (I’ll have you know that he started taking the photo everywhere with him omggggg.)
We went to go get ice cream later that day and went to the market as well so it was super lowkey and calm!
Day 3 – Colonia Roma
Monday, January 27
My mom and I did some laundry in the morning because it’s just weird to leave airport germ clothes for long without washing in our opinions. We were at the house all morning and then after lunch we left to go to Colonia Roma, which is one of the most central and historic areas of Mexico. We went to visit my aunt as she is having health problems right now and that seemed to cheer her up. We also saw two of her three kids, my uncle, and then one of my other cousins (one of the daughters of the aunt and uncle I was staying with) arrived too as she was working nearby. We chatted awhile before heading back to the house.
Day 4 – Low Key Day
Tuesday, January 28
My mom and I were at the house all morning and I helped prep lunch! It was just breaded chicken so super simple, but I helped! It was kinda fun too. We didn’t really do much except more laundry (all by hand). Oh! And an outdoor cat came by to say hi, it was so nice! Apparently one of my cousins who lives in the house (it’s a big multi-family home, sort of set up like apartments almost) sometimes feeds that cat along with his cat so it likes to hang out and wait for him. Everyone jokes that the cat is desperate to be adopted by someone since no one knows where he comes from but he tries to cuddle everyone.
Day 5 – Travel to Morelia
Wednesday, January 29
This was another travel day! Morelia is about 4 hours from Mexico City so we got up early and hung out at my aunt’s again in Colonia Roma because my uncle had to complete a job for a client before we could leave. After that, we headed to Michoacan! We got delayed behind a large pilgrimage tour group on bikes that were so spread out and took over one of the two lanes so that was annoying but we got past eventually. We stopped in a town on the way, Zinapecuaro, for lunch. Finally, we got to my grandfather’s home which is a little outside Morelia. He had the most beautiful papaya plant that I loved and was also growing avocados, mandarins, apples, mango, limes, limas, and so many more plants! I was getting jealous at all the fresh fruit he has in his backyard. Mexico seems like the most amazing place, honestly.
There was also a small flower bush that my grandmother planted before she passed away about 13 years ago which was beautiful! Actually the entire garden was hers, so my grandfather really only takes care of it because it makes him feel closer to her now.
We went to my dad’s family’s home where we were staying that night and saw his aunt who lives in part of the house and his uncle (the aunt’s brother) who lives in another part of the house (again, set up for multi-family, like apartments). We also saw some of my dad’s cousin’s kids, who were all so cute! Two of the kids are brothers but the other boy is about to be a big brother to twins! I’m excited to meet them next year when we visit. After chatting a bit, everyone went to bed.
Day 6 – Morelia
Thursday, January 30
The next day we spend the whole day in Morelia! My grandfather stayed behind because the person he paid to water the garden didn’t actually water the garden so he was MAD.
First, we ate brunch at a restaurant close to the cathedral in the city center. I think it was called Cafe Europa and it was pricey because of the location but it was really good. The restaurant was really nice too, which I explored a bit.
We were planning to visit the cathedral but there was some sort of protest that suddenly arrived. We have such bad luck because this happened to us last year too! Because my study abroad teacher in college years ago drilled into our heads that if there were protests we should leave immediately, we skipped the cathedral and instead headed a few streets away in the opposite direction of the march to the candy/artesian market. There’s a store nearby that has cheaper candy because it’s not in the market so we bought from there too and I bought so much that they gave us a bunch of free stuff. They also didn’t have proper change so they threw in more candy in lieu of the change. I was okay with it and some of the free candy was delicious. We haven’t gotten to the extra candy yet though so I can’t speak for that.
Then we headed to the opposite side of the city to explore the same church as last year that is just gorgeous near the Bosque. There was a nice path in front of the church (picture above from last year of the church) and we followed that down along the aqueducts, to a famous fountain in the city (pictured below). It was such a great little walk!
We also stopped by the Mercado Independencia, the oldest market in the city, to get my grandfather some new plants. After that we headed back and then stayed at my grandfather’s house that night.
Day 7 – Small Town Life
Friday, January 31
On Friday we didn’t end up doing too much. Since we weren’t sure if my grandfather was coming with us to Mexico City we wanted to stay home with him and spend time with him. We did head out to town to get some food, run some errands, and we also got a flower arrangement for my grandmother’s grave. Since we aren’t able to get one for Day of the Dead, we did it this time around. While we would have preferred to give her flowers while she was alive, it was still nice to be able to do this for her.
After we got back, my mom took a quick nap and we headed back to my dad’s family’s home to see two of his cousins that came into town just to see us! We spent the afternoon there and their bus ended up leaving an hour ahead of schedule so we dispatched my uncle to go drive them to the nearest large town to get a bus from there as it’s more frequent and they were heading back to Morelia.
To end the day, we went back to my grandfather’s. He ended up showing me a photo he kept that my mom sent when I was a little 8 month old baby! That was so cute that he had kept it that long and we had such a laugh because I was a little fat baby. I just wanted to squish myself honestly, I was THAT cute!
Day 8 – Travel Day to Mexico City (Again)
Saturday, February 1
We had decided to go back on Saturday and my mom always tries to leave everything cleaned up and looking nice before we leave. We did go to a neighboring town to run a quick errand for my grandfather early that morning but otherwise we were cleaning. She did laundry and I “helped” by hanging it up to dry and taking photos in the garden. My aunt and uncle also helped by cleaning out the kitchen and trying to get arrangements done to get someone to either watch the house or keep an eye on my grandfather, depending if he decided to come with us or not. A neighbor was eventually able to help us convince him to come with us though, so he quickly packed and we were good to go! We left pretty late int he day and got to Mexico City at around 10pm. We were tired from the journey but honestly those few days there were the most rested and relaxed that I’d felt in a long time!
Day 9 – Recovery Day
Sunday, February 2
We ended up staying home because my mom was starting to feel sick. We had hoped that she had escaped the sniffles I got but nope. She napped while one of my cousins, my aunt, and I went to the market and got some ice cream. My mom pretended to be annoyed that I’d left the house without telling her but she was fine with it actually.
Later that night we went out to the fair down the street for a holiday that weekend. It’s a religious holiday where you dress up a baby Jesus figure. I’m not too sure what the reason for it is except to try to get Jesus the most extra costume possible, but it was cute to see. We had a snack at the fair and walked around a bit but it was so crowded that we quickly left instead. There was quite the danger element too as the rides were small but they weren’t fenced or roped off really so if you weren’t careful you could easily be knocked over by it if it started up suddenly. So weird to me!
Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of this as I left my phone behind to avoid it being lost or stolen. It would have been cool but I really didn’t want to risk it!
Day 10 – Exploring the City Center
Monday, February 3
We headed out to go see the city on Monday! We went to the city center, exploring the Zocalo, shopping on Correo Mayor, and then going to the Mercado Merced. We thought we might be able to get into a museum but actually museums are closed on Mondays in the city, so that was disappointing. We did see a film crew while we walked so that was cool. I also found some cool stuff to buy so I’ll share that in next week’s post.
We stopped by Colonia Roma again to see my aunt and she seemed to be so much better so we left feeling great and hopeful for her. We headed back to the house at rush hour, thinking it was going to be crazy busy, but it was pretty light because of the holiday.
Again, I did leave my phone at the house. I’m not quite sure why I was being so cautious with it on this trip but I didn’t feel like risking having the phone stolen or losing it. Better safe than sorry I think!
Day 11 – City Center (Again)
Tuesday, February 4
We went back to the Mercado Merced because we had to try to find something and we hadn’t fully explored it the day before. We spent most of the morning there and then left before the afternoon rush. I left my phone again as we were traveling by the subway system and plus the market is always busy so it just didn’t seem like a good idea but there wasn’t a time that I didn’t feel unsafe. It seemed pretty good so I think I was just overly cautious but oh well!
After we got back to the house we just hung out with my grandfather, who was surprised at how early we were home since we were out quite late the night before.
Day 12 – Market Day
Wednesday, February 5
You might think, the market? Again?? Well we went to the small market down the street because it was the market’s anniversary. The merchants at the market will give out presents to everyone buying from their booths as a way to say “thank you” to those supporting them. If you’re a better client, you get better gifts apparently as one of my aunts has a restaurant business and so she gets amazing gifts for buying so much all year. One of my cousin’s also gets good gifts from certain vendors because she used to sell there as a street vendor as a side hustle and would buy her ingredients from there. It was so fun! The presents were things like buckets, tubs, food tupperware, bowls, and small things like that. Although we did see some people were getting bigger plastic tubs for dirty dishes or small clothing baskets. It was cool!
Day 13 – Day Trip to Morelos
Thursday, February 6
We always try to explore some new place around Mexico and this time my mom wanted to go to a water park. Originally she had been saying she wanted a beach like Puerto Vallarta but we were getting to the end of the trip and there was still stuff she wanted to do in the city so we chose a place where we could do a day trip. We picked a water park called Las Estacas in Morelos, recommended by one of my cousins.
After arriving early in the morning we paid the entry fee of around 425 pesos I think it was. It was the most expensive parks we found but the others didn’t look as fun or the reviews said the water was freezing so we figured why not splurge on a good one. Since it was a Thursday the park was nearly empty. There was only one restaurant and it was very overpriced for not very good food. We were quite disappointed! We really only liked the fresh fruit we got. I also checked the store for sunscreen as we didn’t have any and goggles, because I forgot to pack them. But the options were so overpriced! I ended up not getting either so I did get some quite red shoulders and couldn’t open my eyes underwater but it was fine.
The park itself was amazing. We were the first ones to arrive at the pools so we had them to ourselves for most of the morning. My mom was a great photographer for me too, as evidenced by the photos here. I’ll be putting more on Instagram but here’s a few! We swam around a lot, I gave my aunt and uncle a quick swim lesson on how to swim faster (I used to compete so even though I’m out of shape I’m still quite fast compared to someone with no training), and then we went to the natural river in the park.
The water in the river was freezing but swimming around I quickly got used to it and it was actually more fun! There were diving platforms that my cousin and I saw some guys jumping off of so we did the same. I loved it! They weren’t very high but before the guys showed up I didn’t want to go first because who knows what’s down there so I told my cousin to go first because she’s older and so comparatively I still had more life to live. She was not convinced but once the guys did it and survived, I had no issues doing it! We had so much fun!
Eventually we went back to the pools for a bit, then back to the river, before showering and packing up to leave. The park closed at 6 and we left pretty much exactly at 6. However, we realized it would have been better to stay overnight because it was only 600 pesos per person to stay overnight, the cabins were really nice looking, and you got not only the entry for the day of arrival and the departure, but also meals! Well now we know. We also met a lady at the river who lives ten minutes from the park and she pays a little under 2,000 pesos for a four month pass and told us the entire year is a little over 3,000 pesos. That was so cheap compared to a pass for one day! Honestly the entire state of Morelos was magical and beautiful and I’m trying to convince my parents they should retire there so I can visit all the time.
Day 14 – Goodbye Colonia Roma
Friday, February 7
On Friday we spent the morning at the house, doing laundry again and then headed out to Colonia Roma again that afternoon. We wanted to say goodbye to my aunt and wish her well before leaving. She looked stronger and better than ever! We also met up with a cousin and headed to the area known as Alvaro Obregon and my mom was so surprised. She said the area used to be only residential but now it was also commercialized and looked cool. We decided we want to go back and explore next visit but that night we only went to Bisquets Obregon, which is like a cafe sort of place. It was pretty good and the pan dulce was amazing (pictured above).
Day 15 – Packing Up
Saturday, February 8
My mom and I worked on packing and having stuff mostly set for traveling the next day back home. We also went to see one of her brothers who is also having health problems right now so it was nice to see him and spend time with him too. We really didn’t do much else except pack, visit, and the pack some more!
Day 16 – Travel Home to Chicago
Sunday, February 9
We got up super early and, after many issues and long lines, we finally got our boarding passes printed and bags dropped off. We flew by security again though so that was nice. We felt like we were running short on time so we went to a little restaurant to get food but we later realized there were people walking around with Starbucks so we slightly regretted our decision. Oh well! We only got one sandwich to split because we didn’t want to be too full.
At boarding, we were the next people who were waiting to have our boarding passes scanned and then they announced they were stopping boarding because we were delayed for 45 minutes! We were annoyed at the time but it actually ended up being a good thing because if we hadn’t been then my dad would have been driving in almost white out conditions back home to the airport, but since we were delayed he left a little later and was okay.
Anyway, we waited the 45 minutes, boarded, and off we went! This plane was super old so it didn’t have individual screens, which was kind of annoying for a four and a half hour flight but I had a ton of podcasts to listen to so I was fine. There was a girl in our row who was very annoying though. She was in the aisle and her friend was across the aisle from her and she was sooooo chatty! She also moved a lot while she talked so she kept bumping into me. It didn’t bother me a whole lot but it was just kind of weird. She also declined a drink and her meal (it wasn’t that great actually so I don’t really blame her) but it still was odd. Then, about an hour and a half before landing she got up and didn’t come back? My mom said “I wonder what stop she got off at?” and we had such a good laugh! I think she had another friend towards the back of the plane so she went to chat with that friend as the plane wasn’t full and just stayed there until we landed. She was weird for sure.
Anyway, we finally got into Chicago, got through customs, got our luggage, and found my dad! He took us home and I ran around the house hugging the walls because I missed my home. Mexico was amazing, and I love going so much, but there is no place like home!
So that’s my entire trip this year! I hope I can go on a trip to Mexico again next year, and I’ll be sure to share if I do! In the meantime, next week I’ll be posting all the things I brought back from Mexico for myself to enjoy.
Thanks for reading!
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