Mexico offers everything from pyramids and ecotourism to tequila
By JOHN BORDSEN — McClatchy Newspapers
What's it like to live in a far-off place most of us see only on a vacation? Foreign Correspondence is an interview with someone who lives in a spot you may want to visit.
Gloria Guevara, 44, is Mexico's Minister of Tourism. The graduate of Northwestern University and Mexico City's Universidad Anahuac was formerly an executive with Sabre, the travel technology corporation.
Q: What parts of Mexico would you recommend for active vacationers?
A: There are many states for mountain lovers, depending on how much time you have. They include San Luis Potosi or northern Hidalgo.
There are several states that specialize in ecotourism. One of my favorites is Chiapas, which also has options for adventure travelers. The same goes for Veracruz for water activities.
Mexico has many opportunities to interact with nature. Like butterflies? Ones from Canada and the United States arrive in Mexico to the same spot, between Michoacan and the state of Mexico. You can get close to millions of them.
Q: Mexican food is more diverse than many think. Where would you recommend going to try something different?
A: The trick is ingredients and freshness. There are places like Mexico City or Guadalajara where you can taste multiple foods, but not necessarily all the flavors of Mexico.
The scallops in Mazatlan are thick, like a filet mignon, and cooked with lime. They're impossible to find in Mexico City - you have to go to Mazatlan for them. They're a year-round delicacy, and there has been a surplus in recent years.
If you like ant roe - the delicacy called escamoles - you'll find it only in September and October. You can try to find it in Mexico City, but only at that time of year.
I love Michoacan's great food. There's a type of tamale you only find there called uchepo - it's a little sweet.
Other foods I like are chile en nogada, original from Puebla; the best chiles are from there, but you can find some decent ones in Mexico City.
Last year, UNESCO declared Mexican food a World Heritage cuisine and a team spent eight months doing an inventory of more than 1,500 dishes throughout the country before they decided to stop. We were able to launch 18 gastronomical routes.
You may think there's only one kind of mole sauce, but there are hundreds of types that vary by state, city and town. They range from the typical chocolate to ones that feature pepper, gelatins and greens. That's why we created a Route of the Mole that takes you from Puebla all the way to Oaxaca.