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Too many expats/too touristy?

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
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Manhattan, KS
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22 posts
379 reviews
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Too many expats/too touristy?

I just got back from a visit to a bunch of World Heritage Sites in Mexico and was pleasantly surprised at how few overseas tourists there were at many of these spots. As a result the places were full of local flavor and did not feel like they were overrun by foreign visitors. I would like to go back and see more World Heritage sites in Mexico, including those on the Ruta de la Independencia (Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and Queretaro).

I am particularly concerned about San Miguel de Allende ... is it really some sort of Mexican Disneyland colonized by hordes of expat Americans or does it still feel like an authentic Mexican historic town? I wouldn't want to visit there if all I will see are a bunch of rich American retirees living it up in some kind of low-cost paradise ... any info on this will be greatly appreciated!

Sanibel, Florida
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199 posts
23 reviews
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21. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

Dear Max,

I love your restaurant and so does everyone who goes there. We love the food, the free guacamole, the fun of having MAX stop by our table. The friendly waiters. Never had a bad moment at Tio Lucas.

I don't think I ' ll ever get back, Que lastima! Feliz Navidad Max,

from Rumba

Albuquerque, New...
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1,663 posts
447 reviews
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22. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

Have had this discussion over and over and I certainly don't consider it to be a perjorative term. My "handle" was granted to me by a younger Immigration officer at the Guadalajara airport over ten years ago and I have used it ever since. I do admit to receiving strange looks from the Hispanics here in New Mexico when I use the term. I have been asked by numerous Mexico business aquaintances how I came to use my handle and they get a real kick out of the story.

Cozumel, Mexico
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5,000 posts
13 reviews
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23. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

Shouldn't your Handle be called "Chinagringa" for a woman, or "Chinogringo" if a man?....to be Spanish Grammer Correct.

Albuquerque, New...
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1,663 posts
447 reviews
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24. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

Maybe so Dan but my Spanish is less than adequate, so I have no business commenting either way! Actually the way that the official pronounced it: "cheenagringo" and I have used that spelling on some Mexico forums. One thing positive s that I have never had a conflict when establishing a "user name" for any account.

San Miguel de...
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2,182 posts
58 reviews
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25. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

I wouldn't worry too much about San Miguel not being "authentic". There's plenty of trash, beggars, as much dog poop on the sidewalk as you want, and a bunch of unfinished houses just like the rest of Mexico. Probably the only thing you won't see are the jugglers and fire eaters at intersections since there are no stop lights.

New York
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303 posts
7 reviews
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26. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

This post (above) reflects my views of San Miguel exactly (I've been there twice). And I love Tio Lucas--good music, good food, kind staff that make a solo traveler feel comfortable. I still find SMDA to be a very Mexican city. Head out to that Tuesday market on the outskirts ... if you're traveling in the region it would be a shame to miss it.

Edited: 4:53 pm, December 22, 2012
New York
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303 posts
7 reviews
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27. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

Want to make it clear that the post I was referencing, the one I agree with, was written by someone whose family owns Tio Lucas (somehow I thought my post would appear after that). That was the post that reflected my feelings. It's a beautfiful town, and still very Mexican if you just walk a few blocks.

Medellin, Colombia
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1,104 posts
54 reviews
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28. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

As a careful reader of Tripadvisor and other expat fora, I've noted that it's useful to make distinctions and read between the lines. Just about every city you can think of in the Americas has expat residents who's comments remind me of that often caricatured, insular New England Cape Cod-ish mindset which provides them with abundant opportunities in the high season to look down their noses at anybody not born on the island. The Lodges speak only to the Cabots and the Cabots speak only to God...type of arrangement.

My advice is not to expect to "nail it" on the first try. Take your little square inch of integrity and a healthy dose of respect for others and just go, learn, love. They are qualities you could lose if you're not careful but that nobody can take away from you. They'll make you a welcome addition to most situations.

San Miguel de...
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7 posts
12 reviews
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29. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

It is funny to read all these responses. Who are these people who bash San Miguel? I especially chuckled about the response that gringos are everywhere!

I can walk to the center of town, a 7 minute walk, and perhaps see 1 out of 90 or 100 people who are gringos. (This is different at Christmas when lots of gringos have their families here for the holidays.)

Guanajuato is beautiful, but lacks good food.

I highly suggest visiting it for a day or two, but for a long vacation with cultural opportunities and lots of interesting things to do, San Miguel is it!

Fayetteville...
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88 posts
141 reviews
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30. Re: Too many expats/too touristy?

I am in San Miguel right now. Perhaps it is the economy, or fear of Mexico, but there are few people from the U.S. in evidence. We do run into a few people from the U.S. and Canada (mostly Canada) at certain restaurants , at the local blues bar on Hidalgo and at the English-only film theatres in town. We arrived through the Queretaro airport and we appeared to be the only Anglos on board the flight from Dallas, with the exception of one young man on his way to a wedding. Going through the immigration line for foreigners, nearly all of the foreigners appeared to be from countries in central or South America. No one was speaking English. On weekends, in the area around El Jardin, there are some Canadian and U.S. tourists in evidence, wearing shorts and sneakers. But at the food market, at the little tiendas where you buy tacos and chickens, at the big Tuesday market, on the local buses -- you are hard pressed to find anyone at all who might speak English. This is not Disneyland. And yet, as someone who has traveled a fair amount in Mexico, it feels safer and quieter than many other towns. And it has a killer library.

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