There’s far more to Mexico than jalapeno-spiced tacos, salt-rimmed margaritas and cactus plants. Think paradise-like, palmed-studded beaches with candlelit cabanas, vibrant cities, and awe-inspiring cloud-topped volcanoes for starters… not to mention some seriously unique places to stay!
The Great Outdoors is never greater than in Mexico, with its 10,000km of coast, dense jungles, and lagoons that breathe with wildlife. And if you’re looking for creativity and culture, this is a country that doesn’t disappoint. Some of the world’s great monuments have been built here – including the Maya temples of Palenque – and of course, there’s a wealth of iconic art from the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
There are plenty of beach resorts to stretch out your towel on… how about going loco in Acapulco for starters? Soft sand, lively beach bars, and friendly villages are abundant along these long stretches of Pacific coast (and a rolling sea with magnificent waves you just have to try surfing on at least once in your life!)
Cancun is a large and friendly resort that specialises in glamour and glitz, while Playa del Carmen has transformed from its former life as a sleepy fishing village, to become a hip, culture-rich hotspot.
And Baja California, with its rich marine life and scenic desert landscapes, is the perfect setting for grey whale watching, during their annual winter migration.
Prefer the lure of the city? The country’s capital, Mexico City, is strewn with street art, underground night spots, and world-class restaurants. Second city Guadalajara is the home of mariachi (so don’t leave without hearing it!) and you’ll find it packed with energetic squares, whose comings and goings are ripe for observing over a café con leche.
Meanwhile, Puebla, to the east of Mexico City, is more elegant and refined, stunningly surrounded by mountains and peppered with museums and mansions.
Traces of Old Mexico can be discovered in Tulum, an ancient Maya site that soars above the Caribbean, and in Oaxaca, with its fascinating blend of vigorous fiestas, bustling markets and nightlife, with indigenous traditions… many people still speak the old languages here.
If we’re talking about history and culture, the spectacular ruins of Chichen Itza are hard to beat. A true tourist trap with good reason, you’ll be astounded by the extensively restored Mayan site, with its dizzying temple, observatory, and mesmerising Chac-mool figures.
Head for the north to discover a dynamic part of Mexico that’s more closely tied to its American neighbours. There’s a strong ranching culture here, with frontier towns and deserts that promise to remind you of old Western movies.
And the food! Forget dry burritos, when you’ve got the likes of Yucatan’s slow-cooked pork (cochinita pibil), taquerias serving stuffed tortillas, and the seafront shacks (palapa) that burst with fine, fresh seafood. Bliss.
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