The People's Guide to Mexico

The People's Guide to Mexico

by Carl Franz, Lorena Havens
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Over the past 35 years, hundreds of thousands of readers have agreed: This is the classic guide to "living, traveling, and taking things as they come" in Mexico. Now in its updated 14th edition, The People's Guide to Mexico still offers the ideal combination of basic travel information, entertaining stories, and friendly guidance about everything

Overview

Over the past 35 years, hundreds of thousands of readers have agreed: This is the classic guide to "living, traveling, and taking things as they come" in Mexico. Now in its updated 14th edition, The People's Guide to Mexico still offers the ideal combination of basic travel information, entertaining stories, and friendly guidance about everything from driving in Mexico City to hanging a hammock to bartering at the local mercado.

Features include:

Advice on planning your trip, where to go, and how to get around once you're there

Practical tips to help you stay healthy and safe, deal with red tape, change money, send email, letters and packages, use the telephone, do laundry, order food, speak like a local, and more

Well-informed insight into Mexican culture, and hints for enjoying traditional fiestas and celebrations

The most complete information available on Mexican Internet resources, book and map reviews, and other info sources for travelers

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598809602
Publisher:
Avalon Travel Publishing
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Edition description:
14th Edition
Pages:
768
Sales rank:
1,068,666
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

The People's Guide to Mexico


By Carl Franz

Avalon Travel Publishing

Copyright © 2012 Carl Franz
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781598809602


Exploring Mexico with Carl Franz & Lorena Havens

1. This is the 14th edition of The People's Guide to Mexico. Please tell us the story of how this book came to be.

The People’s Guide to Mexico began on a Mexican beach in 1970 as a series of detailed letters to friends in Alaska who were eager to join up with Lorena, Steve and myself on our first major van odyssey through Mexico. It developed further through storytelling around countless campfires as we travelled on to Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.

There were no guidebooks at the time that explained how to travel in Mexico and Central America in more than general terms. Our friends and other travelers constantly peppered us with practical questions—how to take a local bus, where to eat cheaply, how to find a budget hotel room and more. With Steve looking over my shoulder and contributing his vast personal experience, I started hammering away on my Olympia portable typewriter. I was easily bored, however, and tended to drift off-topic into stories about our current adventures. Lorena applied her organizational skills in an attempt to keep me focused.

In a small house overlooking Lake Atitlan the manuscript piled beside me eventually reached over one thousand typewritten pages. It became apparent that things had gotten out of hand. Was it a book? Everyone we asked said the answer was obviously, “No!” Who would possibly publish an unknown author writing about off-beat Mexico?

On our slow return northward, we visited John and Eve Muir in San Miguel de Allende. John’s book, “How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive” was selling like crazy and he’d decided to start his own publishing company. He and Eve took a quick look at our manuscript—the rest, as they say, is history.

2. How has traveling in Mexico changed since the 70's and how is the travel experience the same?

There is no aspect of travelling in Mexico that hasn’t changed dramatically since the seventies, at least in a practical sense. In those days, for example, there were almost no road or directional signs, even on major highways. It wasn’t just easy to get lost and confused, it was inevitable; an integral part of the Mexican experience.

People weren’t used to seeing foreign travelers outside of the most obvious tourist attractions and resorts. Anyone who didn’t look like the typical gringo resort-hopping tourist drew a lot of attention, some of it definitely unwanted (especially from the police).

Mexico’s public service infrastructure was very weak and unreliable—it often took hours and a lot of pesos to make an international phone call. Changing traveler’s checks was a drag.

Of all the changes we’ve seen, however, I don’t think anything can top the arrival of the internet and cell phones. Second on the list would be the tremendous improvement in highways and transportation.
What hasn’t changed in Mexico, or not as much? The hospitality and generosity of the Mexican people, as well as their incredible sense of humor.


3. The People’s Guide to Mexico is often cited as one of the books that launched the independent travel movement. What is your reaction to this?

Since the People’s Guide was first published in 1972, we’ve received thousands of letters, emails and personal testimonials from people who say that the book gave them the confidence and tools they needed to visit Mexico. So, yes, in that sense we did inspire others to grab a backpack or a suitcase and head out. It isn’t easy to remember, but in the sixties and early seventies tourism outside of the U.S. was almost exclusively for people with money. The People’s Guide was for the rest of us—“independents” with more time than money, along with a strong curiosity and appreciation for the “real” Mexico.

As an aside, one of the most gratifying compliments we heard in the book’s early days was from travelers who recommended it for travel to India and Asia. “The People’s Guide is the best guidebook to travel in the Third World.” was the way one person put it.

4. What's the one site/activity/experience in Mexico that should be on a traveler's "bucket list"?

My “bucket list” tends to be filled with apparently ordinary experiences that travelers ordinarily do not think of when away from home. For example, I’ve had haircuts in small town barbershops in Mexico, India and other countries. It’s an experience I don’t necessarily want to repeat but one I seldom forget.

If you are near a beach, there’s nothing more Mexican than spending an entire afternoon in a seaside restaurant, eating and drinking your way through the menu, one delicious dish after another. Hire a taxi for an hour in any mid-sized city and ask the driver to show you the sights. I can’t pass up a Mexican hardware store or street market without looking for handmade tools and ingenious mouse traps.

Lorena’s suggestion is to take a morning bus to a small town you’ve never heard of, eat breakfast there, have your shoes shined and wander the streets. Lorena looks for yarn and interesting little gifts as an excuse to poke her head in small shops. Smile a lot.


Continues...

Excerpted from The People's Guide to Mexico by Carl Franz Copyright © 2012 by Carl Franz. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Carl Franz and Lorena Havens have been exploring Mexico since the early 1960s. The warm, easygoing style and personal insights of the writer/editor team have inspired generations of travelers. When not on the road—or living somewhere in Mexico—they can usually be found in their pioneer-era log cabin in the North Cascade Mountains.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >