A street in Izamal, the Yellow City, in Yucatan, Mexico
travel diary

Time travelling in Mexico

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

One of my favourite things about Mexico is the magical experience of going back in time. After years of living in fast-paced North American or European cities, there’s something to be said for slipping into the unhurried rhythm of Mexican life. It is this Mexico that I love… the part that moves slowly, slowly toward its future.

Of course, there are big, bustling modern cities in Mexico, with 5-star hotels, SUVs, abundant nightlife, and trendy restaurants. But, I can find all of that in my home country, so that’s not what lures me south.

A house with a white door in a yellow wall in Mexico

As I wind my way down cobblestone streets, taking in the vivid colours and the blossoms that spill over adobe walls, I become a part of Mexico’s largely pedestrian population. Passing little tiendas and roadside merchants in the village, the aroma of tortillas and sizzling tacos fills the air.

Those who cross my path greet me with the proper salutation for the time of day – Buenos dias! Buenas tardes! Buenas noches!

Everyone, whether a friend or a total stranger, will offer a welcome greeting. When I travel in countries that don’t share this custom, I find myself longing for the friendly respect Mexican villagers have for every resident and visitor they encounter.

Three-wheeled bicycle taxi on dirt village street under a tree in Sisal, Mexico
Crouching man selling clothes at the street in San Bartolo Coyotepec, Mexico
Grilled gorn, a popular street food in Mexico

Much like times of old, street vendors walk, bike or truck the roads, hawking their wares. One can merely step outside the house to acquire everything from gas cylinders and handwoven baskets to snacks to home repair work.

With specific musical jingles or call-outs, it’s easy to recognize the trucks delivering 5-gallon water bottles in my village because (in an oddly fitting way) they always play the theme song from the Titanic movie.

A commercial shopping street in Bacalar, Mexico

When the sun begins its slow descent, barrio dwellers of all ages relax on folding chairs or curbs, catching up on daily news. A woman down the alley sells boiled corn, the hazy steam from her huge cauldron disappearing into the evening sky. Children play ball in the streets and eventually someone fires up a grill to fry gorditas (meat or cheese-stuffed corn cakes).

A neighbour might stop by your front gate, selling homemade flan, a traditional Mexican caramel custard, for a true taste of creamy dessert sweetness, right at your doorstep - no app required!

Plants and chicken by a school in Mexico

Mexican villages are still vibrant social labyrinths, where anything can be accomplished through the local grapevine. Once you become a part of the community, you’re a lucky recipient of mutual connections that keep the wheels of small-town society turning smoothly.

Surely, the “friend of the cousin of your auntie’s hairdresser” can provide whatever you might require…

Want to experience a Mexican village for yourself? Here are my suggestions for some magical villages to visit.

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 28 February 2024

View of Tulum in Mexico


Situated in North America, Mexico is famous for its warm weather, sunny beaches and fascinating history.