Over five years ago, a group of theme park fans went to Mexico for Theme Park Review’s Mexico tour. I was among those who joined this group, and in many ways that particular tour did more to shape my overall viewpoint of travel, and lead to my desire to engage in more international travel, as well would be an inspiration for this website down the road. This tour inspired the site because we had the chance to participate in several cultural attractions in this tour to compliment our theme park visits, such as the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, Ballet Folklorico and the Jose Cuervo factory tour. This inspired me to seek out more cultural experiences in my future travels, even if theme parks were the main reason for going to a particular place.
But the bigger influence that shaped my outlook about international travel and people from other cultures was one of the first experiences of that trip. Upon landing, I was a bit ahead of my friend Jeremiah who was going to take the same cab as I to the hotel from the airport, and so I was waiting outside of the customs area in the arrivals hall waiting for him to get there. I was a little bit nervous as it was my first time being on my own in a country where the primary language being spoken was not my own, and Mexico City’s airport feels really busy, not just from the amount of people utilizing it, but also from the way there are tons of stalls, shops and currency exchange places that lined the walls whereas other airports I had been to at the time would have had fewer shops, or more decorative walls.
So after waiting a bit I saw a family who was also waiting, and when the woman that they were waiting for came out of the customs area into the arrival hall, they all greeted her very warmly with smiles all around. Seeing this interaction led me to a realization that while there may be a few in the world who intend ill-will toward others, most people in the world most likely want the same thing as others in the world, to live right and to provide and take care of their families. It was a touching thing to see, and it was a moment that has play a huge influence in my outlook on life and other people.
Fast forward to 2018, some of those parks that we visited in the 2013 Mexico Tour have added some new coasters, and there were other parks that were in other areas that were not part of that tour, thus it added to the list of reasons to make a return trip to Mexico. While most of the time would be spent around the Mexico City area, there were also stops in Monterrey, Guadalajara and Cancun before the longer stop in Mexico City.
For this trip, I found a pretty good deal through Alaska Airlines to get there by way of a connection through Los Angeles. Most flights I have taken the past few years with Alaska were direct, however there is no direct route from Seattle, and the price made it had to turn down in favor of a direct route.
The downside of taking this flight was that it was the last flight of the night out of Seattle, and then there would be a 7+ hour layover in Los Angeles before catching the first flight in the morning to Mexico City (which may have played a part in the lower price). The good news was that I lucked out with getting the MVP upgrade for both flights, so that was a nice trade-off.
As for the layover, I could have theoretically gotten a hotel room near the airport, but most of the hotels with available space were wither close to $200 or higher for the night, or they were the kind of hotels that you might end up with a venereal disease just by being inside of it. So I took the cheapskate’s route and just hung out at the terminal. I did mange to take a short snooze here and there, but the benches at LAX are not exactly the most conducive for resting by laying down, leading to some time spent on the floor and using one of my packing cubes of clothes as a pillow. When it came to needing a restroom visit, that would prove to be quite inconvenient as I had to go to a different terminal to do so since they had the restrooms in that terminal closed for cleaning for what seemed to be several hours (either they were doing a more thorough cleaning, or someone took a really long smoke break). Eventually, when the hope of getting some sleep was lost, I decided to find a spot for working on previous videos and updates for the site.
After several hours, the time had finally come to make our way to Mexico City! The flight was comfortable and made for some great views along the way of the California coast and toward the deserts of Northern Mexico. Eventually the clouds would block the views for a while until we began our descent into Mexico City. While I had not really thought about the weather as I expected it to be similar to what it was when we were on the tour in 2013, it turns out that October is in the rainy season for many areas in Mexico, and thus would be a factor several times during this visit.
Upon landing in Mexico City and clearing customs, I had a few hours before getting onto one last flight to get over to Monterrey that evening, so what better way to start this visit in Mexico with lunch! If there is one thing that I learned about Mexico on the previous tour, it’s that they have FANTASTIC food! I found a place inside of the terminal called El Porton, and ordered their bistec (steak in Spanish) tacos and a Tecate. Before getting the tacos, they bring an appetizer of chips with beans and salsa, and while I’m not big on beans, the salsa they make here was great! These tacos were served with potatoes and caramelized onions, which were absolutely fantastic with the seasonings they used in the steak (and I’m usually not a big fan of onion, but it was great with these tacos).
After lunch, I went ahead and went through security for the last flight of the day, and found a lounge to spend time in before the flight. There were a few options for Priority Pass members to choose, and ultimately, I think I chose this one as I saw on the pass website that it had a shower (which that alone is a worthwhile reason to take advantage of membership if you can). Since I had just eaten at the restaurant, I didn’t take advantage of the meal offerings at the lounge, but did enjoy a Modelo before heading to the gate.
As the time for the flight drew near, it was time to head to what would be one of the most chaotic boarding experiences I ever had. This was my first flight with Volaris, one of Mexico’s low-cost carriers, and while they have four boarding groups, this particular area of Mexico City’s airport was not very well set-up for enforcing the boarding groups. On top of our flight waiting to board, there were about 3 other flights of passengers who were also waiting to board their flights in a space that really should only have one plane’s worth of passengers. On top of that, the flight was delayed a good bit of time, which meant more time standing in the middle of this crowd. At this point, I began to wonder if this was what I had to look forward to with the next three flights as well since they were all with Volaris. Fortunately, we would eventually board the flight, and get to Monterrey without too much trouble once we departed. While Volaris does things much like other low cost carriers (pay for more baggage, pay for snacks and beverages, smaller space between seats), I managed to luck out for this flight as I was able to select an emergency exit row when checking in, thus I was able to enjoy a bit more leg room.
And with the arrival to Monterrey, I would grab a taxi to get to the first hotel, City Express Lindavista. While the décor of the hotel is really basic, the room itself was nice and clean, and the bed comfortable, especially since the previous night was spent on the floor at LAX. It wasn’t very long after my head was on the pillow that I fell asleep after a long day and a half of traveling.
And that was the journey to get to Mexico! The next day offers an opportunity to explore one of Monterrey’s main public parks, and its two area theme parks!
See more of the 2018 Mexico Trip:
1: The Journey South / 2: A Day in Monterrey / 3: More Mexican Coasters / 4: Exploring Guadalajara /
5: Looking for Guadalajara Coasters / 6: Selva Magica / 7: A Night of Lucha Libre / 8: Cancun / 9: Back to Mexico City /
10: Día de los Muertos Parade / 11: La Feria Chapultepec Magico / 12: Six Flags Mexico / 13: ¡Kataplum! /
14: Día de los Muertos in Mixqic