Just Back From… Mexico With Paul Winrow-GIffen
Travel Consultant Paul shares his experience of travelling to northern Mexico for the first time
Which country did you visit?
How did you get there?
We flew with Aeromexico on the non-stop direct service from London Heathrow and then continued on an internal connection to the regional airports. This is the most convenient and often the most economical way to and within Mexico.
Where abouts did you go?
Beginning in Chihuahua, we worked our way west through the highlands and skirting the amazing Copper Canyon, before descending in altitude aboard the Copper Canyon train towards the coast on the Gulf of California. From here a short hop by light aircraft across the gulf onto the Baja California peninsula, where we explored the very Southern region including La Paz, Todos Santos and Los Cabos.
Have you been before?
I'd previously travelled to Mexico a few years ago though only kept to the central and eastern part of the country, however not the northern part.
If so, any notable differences?
This part of the country is very different to some of the classic highlights in the south, with some strong cultural identity from Western Cowboys to Mennonites to the indigenous Raramuri. The land is predominantly desert with some stunning mountainous areas. In Baja California, the juxtoposition of the beautiful ocean and marine life, with the dry arid desert is just amazing.
Which was your favourite:
Place: Divisidero - here you'll find the best unobstructed views into the canyon which are just incredible and rival both the Grand and Colca Canyons.
Hotels: Grand Velas Los Cabos - what a treat! This property is just a fantastic experience all around, with the most amazing rooms, impeccable friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere as a result of its luxury all-inclusive approach.
Excursion: Espíritu Santo Island - I was lucky enough to take this boat trip out on my birthday which was such a great excursion. We had amazing weather, calm water and were lucky with the wildlife, seeing turtles, swimming with sea lions, finding pods of dolphins on the hunt, huge schools of tropical fish and wrapped up getting close to some whale sharks - a brilliant day out on the water.
What was your most memorable moment?
A birthday lunch and cake out on a deserted beach in Espíritu Santo and traversing the ziplines and hanging bridges of the Copper Canyon!
Were there any surprises along the way?
I found myself trying a few cooked insects which certainly wasn't planned!
What tips fo you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destination?
If you are interested in snorkelling, do take into account the dates of breeding season of wildlife in Baja California, as some areas can be closed or off limits. In this case, months to miss would be June, July and August.
Is there anything indispensible to pack or prepare for?
Sunglasses as the desert sun can be bright!
Any local snacks, dishes or drinks that should be sampled?
I recommend the breakfast burritos. Not really a light start to the day, but it will keep you going!
Any restaurant or bar recommendations?
La Casona restaurant in Chihuahua is a delight!
Sum up your trip in a sentence?
See a different side of Mexico: fewer tourists, more wildlife and stunning panoramas.
Follow in Paul's footsteps on our Mexico's Copper Canyon Railway and Baja coast.