Mexico is North America’s most creative child, if the United States is its most ambitious. The country is as sensuous and spellbinding as it gets, from its spicy chilly dish to its saucy La Bamba dance. Volcanoes, coral reefs, mountain ranges, and forests are just some of the magnificent natural formations that coexist in awe-inspiring harmony.
History is complemented by culture, and recreation is based on nature. Mexico is a mash-up of contemporary ingredients and time-honored recipes. Are you fascinated by this vibrant, colorful, and lively country? If you answered yes, then go forth and discover its many wonders!
Pre-Columbian Mexico is one of the six cradles of civilization, dating back to 8,000 BC. It was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Maya and Aztecs. From its base in Mexico City, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the region in 1521, establishing the colony of New Spain.
The Catholic Church was instrumental in the spread of Christianity and the Spanish language while also preserving indigenous elements. Native peoples were enslaved and heavily exploited in order to mine rich deposits of precious metals, which helped to cement Spain’s position as a major world power for the next three centuries, as well as a massive influx of wealth and a price revolution in Western Europe.
Over time, a distinct Mexican identity emerged, based on a fusion of European and indigenous customs, which helped Mexico win its war of independence from Spain in 1821.
Political and socioeconomic upheaval characterized Mexico’s early history as a nation state. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Texas Revolution and the Mexican–American War resulted in massive territorial losses for the United States. The Constitution of 1857 enshrined liberal reforms aimed at integrating indigenous communities and limiting the power of the church and military.
This sparked an internal Reform war and French intervention, with conservatives installing Maximilian Habsburg as emperor against Benito Juárez’s Republican resistance. The dictatorship of Porfirio Daz, who sought to modernize Mexico and restore order, dominated the last decades of the nineteenth century.
The Porfiriato era came to an end in 1910, when a decade-long Mexican civil war killed roughly 10% of the population, and the victorious Constitutionalist faction drafted a new 1917 Constitution, which is still in effect today. Until Alvaro Obregón’s assassination in 1928, the revolutionary generals ruled as a succession of presidents. The Institutional Revolutionary Party was formed the following year, and it governed Mexico until 2000.
Mexico is a developing country with a Human Development Index of 74, although it boasts the world’s 15th largest economy by nominal GDP and 11th largest by PPP, with the United States as its largest trading partner.
Mexico is a regional and medium power due to its vast economy and population, global cultural influence, and steady democratization; it is frequently referred to as an emerging power, but other observers believe it to be a newly industrialized state.
The country, however, continues to struggle with social inequality, poverty, and widespread criminality; it scores low on the Global Peace Index, owing in large part to ongoing war between the government and drug trafficking gangs, which has resulted in over 120,000 deaths since 2006.
Mexico has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Americas, and the seventh most in the world. It’s also one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, with natural biodiversity ranking sixth. Mexico’s diverse climate and terrain, as well as its rich cultural and biological legacy, make it a popular tourist destination: in 2018, it was the world’s sixth most visited country, with 39 million international visitors.
Mexico belongs to the United Nations, the G20, the OECD, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Organization of American States, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and the Organization of Ibero-American States.
Chips of stone tools discovered among campfire remains in the Valley of Mexico and radiocarbon-dated to 10,000 years ago are the earliest human artifacts in Mexico. Domestication of maize, tomato, and beans occurred in Mexico, resulting in an agricultural surplus.
Beginning in 5000 BC, this permitted the transition from paleo-Indian hunter-gatherers to sedentary agricultural settlements. Maize agriculture and cultural elements such as a mythological and religious complex, as well as a vigesimal numeral system, were transmitted from Mexican societies throughout the rest of the Mesoamerican culture region in later formative eras.
During this time, settlements grew in population density, became socially stratified with an artisan class, and developed into chiefdoms. The most powerful monarchs wielded both religious and political authority, directing the construction of enormous ceremonial complexes.
The Olmec culture, which flourished on the Gulf Coast from roughly 1500 BC, was Mexico’s first developed civilization. Olmec cultural features spread throughout Mexico, influencing communities in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and the Valley of Mexico throughout the formative period.
The proliferation of different theological and symbolic traditions, as well as artistic and architectural complexity, occurred throughout the formative period. Mesoamerica’s formative period is regarded as one of the six independent cradles of civilisation. The Maya and Zapotec civilizations erected sophisticated centers at Calakmul and Monte Albán, respectively, in the pre-classical period.
The Epi-Olmec and Zapotec cultures established the first authentic Mesoamerican writing systems during this time period. The Classic Maya Hieroglyphic script was the pinnacle of the Mesoamerican writing history. This is when the first written histories were written. Following the conquest by the Spanish in 1521, the writing tradition became increasingly important.
Teotihuacán ascended to power in Central Mexico during the classic period, forming a military and commercial empire with political clout that extended south into the Maya area as well as north. Teotihuacan had some of the largest pyramidal structures in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population of over 150,000 people.
Following the fall of Teotihuacán around 600 AD, competition erupted between Xochicalco and Cholula, two important political centers in central Mexico. During the Epi-Classic, Nahua peoples began migrating south from the north into Mesoamerica, becoming politically and culturally dominant in central Mexico, displacing speakers of Oto-Manguean languages.
Central Mexico was dominated by the Toltec culture, Oaxaca by the Mixtec, and the lowland Maya area had important centers at Chichén Itzá and Mayapán during the early post-classic era (ca. 1000–1519 CE).
The Mexica established dominance toward the end of the post-Classic period, establishing a political and economic empire based in Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City) that stretched from central Mexico to the Guatemalan border.
The modern use of “Aztec” as a collective term applied to all people linked to the Mexica state and xcn Tlahtlyn, the Triple Alliance, by trade, custom, religion, and language was popularized by Alexander von Humboldt.
It was adopted by most of the world in 1843, following the publication of William H. Prescott’s work, including 19th-century Mexican scholars who saw it as a way to distinguish present-day Mexicans from pre-conquest Mexicans. Since the late twentieth century, this usage has been a source of contention.
The Aztec empire was an informal or hegemonic empire since it did not exercise supreme power over conquered lands and was content with tribute payments. Because not all ruled regions were connected, it was a discontinuous empire; for example, the southern periphery zones of Xoconochco were not in direct communication with the core.
The Aztec empire’s hegemony was proved when local rulers were restored to their original positions after their city-state was invaded. As long as payments were paid, the Aztecs did not interfere in local matters.
The Aztecs of Central Mexico established a tributary empire that spanned most of the country. The Aztecs were known for their large-scale human sacrifices. They also avoided murdering foes on the battlefield as a result of this technique. Their battling casualty rate was significantly lower than that of their Spanish colleagues, whose primary goal was to massacre as many people as possible as soon as possible during battle.
With the gradual conquest of Mesoamerica by the Spanish in the 16th century, this distinct Mesoamerican cultural tradition of human sacrifice came to an end. Many more indigenous civilizations in Mexico were subjugated and gradually subjected to Spanish colonial power over the ensuing decades.
Mexico lies in the southern part of North America, between latitudes 14° and 33°N and longitudes 86° and 119°W. The North American Plate encompasses almost all of Mexico, with the exception of the Baja California peninsula, which is on the Pacific and Cocos Plates.
Some geographers consider the land east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (about 12% of the total) to be part of Central America. In terms of geopolitics, however, Mexico, along with Canada and the United States, is totally regarded a part of North America.
Mexico is the world’s 13th largest country by total size, with a total area of 1,972,550 km2 (761,606 sq mi). It has coasts on the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, all of which are part of the Atlantic Ocean.
There are around 6,000 km2 (2,317 sq mi) of islands inside these oceans (including the remote Pacific Guadalupe Island and the Revillagigedo Islands). Mexico stretches for a bit more than 2,000 miles (3,219 kilometers) from its farthest land points.
Mexico shares a 3,141 km (1,952 mi) border with the United States to the north. From Ciudad Juárez east to the Gulf of Mexico, the flowing Ro Bravo del Norte (also known as the Rio Grande in the United States) defines the border.
From Ciudad Juárez to the Pacific Ocean, the US-Mexican border is marked by a succession of natural and man-made markers. Mexico shares an 871-kilometer (541-mile) border with Guatemala and a 251-kilometer (156-mile) border with Belize to the south.
The Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental mountain ranges, which are extensions of the Rocky Mountains from northern North America, run through Mexico from north to south. The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, often known as the Sierra Nevada, runs through the country from east to west in the center.
The Sierra Madre del Sur, which stretches from Michoacán to Oaxaca, is a fourth mountain range. As a result, the majority of Mexico’s central and northern territories are at high elevations, with the highest peaks being found in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: Pico de Orizaba (5,700 m or 18,701 ft), Popocatépetl (5,462 m or 17,920 ft), and Iztaccihuatl (5,286 m or 17,343 ft), as well as the Nevado de (4,577 m or 15,016 ft).
Toluca, Greater Mexico City, and Puebla are three significant urban agglomerations located in the valleys between these four elevations. The Chicxulub crater is a significant geologic feature of the Yucatán peninsula. The Chicxulub impactor, according to scientific consensus, was responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
The Tropic of Cancer separates the country into two zones: temperate and tropical. During the winter months, temperatures north of the Tropic of Cancer are cooler. Temperatures south of the Tropic of Cancer are very consistent all year and vary only as a function of elevation. As a result, Mexico has one of the most diversified weather systems in the world.
The yearly median temperature in areas south of the Tropic of Cancer with elevations up to 1,000 m (3,281 ft) (the southern parts of both coastal plains and the Yucatán Peninsula) is between 24 and 28 °C (75.2 to 82.4 °F). The year-round temperature is hot, with only a 5°C (9°F) difference between winter and summer median temperatures.
During the summer and fall, both Mexican coasts are vulnerable to strong hurricanes, with the exception of the south coast of the Bay of Campeche and northern Baja. Although low-lying locations north of the Tropic of Cancer are hot and humid in the summer, they have cooler yearly average temperatures (between 20 and 24 °C or 68.0 and 75.2 °F) due to more moderate winter weather.
Many of Mexico’s major towns are situated in the Valley of Mexico or nearby valleys at altitudes of above 2,000 meters (6,562 ft). This provides them with a year-round temperate climate with yearly temperature averages (between 16 and 18 °C or 60.8 and 64.4 °F) and chilly nighttime temperatures.
Many sections of Mexico, notably in the north, have a dry climate with infrequent rainfall, although parts of the tropical lowlands in the south receive an annual precipitation of more than 2,000 mm (78.7 in). Many cities in the north, such as Monterrey, Hermosillo, and Mexicali, for example, have summer temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) or higher. Temperatures in the Sonoran Desert can exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
Mexico is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world, ranking fourth in biodiversity. Mexico is home to 10–12% of the world’s biodiversity, with over 200,000 different species.
With 707 known reptile species, Mexico ranks first in reptile biodiversity, second in mammals with 438 species, fourth in amphibians with 290 species, and fourth in flora with 26,000 species. Mexico is also ranked second in the world in terms of ecosystems and fourth in terms of overall species. Mexican legislation protects over 2,500 species.
Mexico had the world’s second-fastest deforestation rate in 2002, trailing only Brazil. It was ranked 63rd out of 172 countries in the 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index, with a mean score of 6.82/10. The government launched another project in the late 1990s, the Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad, to increase people’s awareness, interest, and use of the country’s valuable biodiversity.
Protected Natural Areas cover 170,000 square kilometers (65,637 square miles) in Mexico. 34 biosphere reserves (unaltered ecosystems), 67 national parks, 4 natural monuments (permanently protected for aesthetic, scientific, or historical value), 26 areas of protected flora and fauna, 4 natural resource protection areas (conservation of soil, hydrological basins, and forests), and 17 sanctuaries are among them (zones rich in diverse species).
The discovery of the Americas introduced numerous commonly utilized food crops and edible plants to the rest of the world. Chocolate, avocado, tomato, maize, vanilla, guava, chayote, epazote, camote, jcama, nopal, zucchini, tejocote, huitlacoche, sapote, mamey sapote, many varieties of beans, and an even greater diversity of chillies, such as the habanero and jalapeo, are just a few of Mexico’s natural culinary components. The majority of these names are derived from indigenous languages such as Nahuatl.
Mexico has also been a common destination of bioprospecting by foreign research organizations due to its rich biodiversity. The discovery in 1947 of the tuber “Barbasco,” which contains a high concentration of diosgenin, revolutionized synthetic hormone production in the 1950s and 1960s, eventually leading to the development of combined oral contraceptive tablets.
Mexico was the world’s sixth most visited country and had the world’s 15th largest tourist income, as well as the highest in Latin America. The United States and Canada send the most tourists to Mexico, followed by Europe and Asia. Other Latin American countries account for a smaller percentage of the total. Mexico was ranked 22nd in the world and third in the Americas in the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.
Many expanses of beach line Mexico’s coastlines, which are visited by sunbathers and other visitors. According to federal legislation, the entire coastline is under government ownership, which means that all beaches in the country are open to the public. The resort town of Cancn, on the Yucatán peninsula, is one of the most popular beach resorts, especially among university students during spring break. The beach island of Isla Mujeres is just offshore, and Isla Holbox is to the east.
The Riviera Maya is a coastal strip to the south of Cancun that contains the beach town of Playa del Carmen as well as the ecological parks of Xcaret and Xel-Há. The historic port of Tulum is a day journey south of Cancn. Tulum is famous for its cliff-side Mayan ruins, in addition to its beaches.
Acapulco, on the Pacific coast, is a popular tourist resort. The beaches, once a haven for the wealthy and famous, have grown overcrowded, with many multi-story hotels and vendors now lining the coastlines. Cliff divers, or skilled divers who leap from the side of a sheer cliff into the surf below, are well-known in Acapulco.
Cabo San Lucas is a tourist town on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula known for its beaches and marlin fishing. The Baha of La Concepción, located further north along the Sea of Cortés, is another beach town famed for its sport fishing. San Felipe, Baja California, hosts a weekend draw that is closer to the US border.
Mexico’s road network is enormous, and it connects all parts of the country. Mexico’s road network spans 366,095 kilometers (227,481 miles), with 116,802 kilometers (72,577 miles) of paved roads. The majority of these are multi-lane expressways, with 10,474 km (6,508 mi) being multi-lane expressways, 9,544 km (5,930 km) being four-lane roads, and the rest having six or more lanes.
Mexico was one of the first Latin American countries to support railway expansion in the late 1800s, and the network now spans 30,952 kilometers (19,233 mi). Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transport suggested a high-speed rail link that would connect Mexico City with Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Passengers would be able to travel from Mexico City to Guadalajara in about two hours because to the train’s top speed of 300 kilometers per hour (190 miles per hour). The entire project is expected to cost 240 billion pesos (about 25 billion dollars) and is being funded jointly by the Mexican government and the private sector, including the world’s wealthiest man, Mexico’s billionaire business mogul Carlos Slim.
The Yucatán state government is also sponsoring the development of a high-speed line between Cozumel and Mérida, as well as Chichen Itza and Cancn. There are 233 airports in Mexico with paved runways, with 35 carrying 97 percent of passenger traffic. With 45 million passengers each year, Mexico City International Airport remains the busiest in Latin America and the 36th busiest in the world.
How To Reach Mexico
1. By Air / Flight
Because of the great distance between India and Mexico, the most obvious way to go there is to take a flight from India to Mexico. Individuals can also fly to the United States and then transfer to one of the country’s local carriers.
There are no direct flights from India; however, most cities have routes that include 1-2 transit stops. These connections are dependent on the airline of choice. For example, if one flew from New Delhi to Toronto on Air Canada, the layover would be at Toronto.
In comparison to other Indian cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad, the capital provides the quickest travel to Mexico City. The journey takes roughly 22 hours and 49 minutes from Indira Gandhi International Airport.
However, depending on the transit destination and waiting period, certain airlines can take up to 42 hours. Jet Airways, Air India, Air France, Air Canada, United Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, and Emirates are among the airlines available.
The Benito Juarez International Airport is only 5 kilometers from the heart of Mexico City. In terms of passenger volume and aircraft movement, it is Latin America’s busiest airport. There are duty-free shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, ATMs, and currency exchange services, thus almost anything is available.
Individuals can use the bus, Metrobus, metro, taxi, or hotel shuttle services to get to their desired location after they arrive. Cancun International Airport, Guadalajara International Airport, and Monterrey International Airport are just a few of the home’s efficient airports.
2. By Rail
Rail might just be your cup of tea if you’re looking for an alternate means of transportation. However, there is one snag to consider. You’d have to fly from India to the United States first! There are no trains available from India, regrettably (it would be logistically impossible).
From places such as New Orleans, Houston, Tuscon, and LA, American Track (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) provides connections to numerous regions along the Mexican border.
Private luxury services, such as the Sierra Madre Express, which runs between Arizona and Copper Canyon, are also available. The latter is an excellent method to enjoy in the stunning scenery of fascinating canyons, wonderful waterfalls, and unusual flora and animals.
3. By Sea
India provides spectacular cruises to a variety of international ports across the world, but Mexico is not one of them (it would be geographically and logistically impossible). But don’t be concerned! Companies based in the United States provide lavish and luxurious cruise services to both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Mexico.
From Carnival to Royal Caribbean and Costa, you can book your cruise right from the comfort of your own home in India! Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Tampico are among the ports that individuals can go to from the United States.
Best Time To Visit Mexico
Between December to April, the dry season, when there is almost no rain, is the best time to visit Mexico. The months of December and February are the coolest, yet temperatures can still reach 28°C during the dry season. In the south, the rainy season begins in May and lasts until October.
During this time, a hard shower usually clears the increased humidity before it builds up again. The hurricane season, which spans from June to November, can have an impact on the Caribbean coast. Mexico is a large country, and the weather changes greatly depending on the season and region. It’s a good idea to look up the local forecast for your intended trip.
Mexico’s Best Tourist Attractions
Mexico has long been a popular vacation destination for North Americans, but it is also gaining popularity among European visitors who want to enjoy the country’s seemingly unending sunlight, magnificent scenery, and beautiful sandy beaches, not to mention its astoundingly rich cultural past.
Many of Mexico’s ancient Aztec and Mayan sites, as well as historic colonial cities, have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ensuring that they will be preserved for future generations. Surprisingly, Mayan sites such as Guanajuato, Chichén Itzá, and Uxmal are frequently as popular as classic beach tourist places like Cancn, Puerto Vallarta, and Playa del Carmen.
The country’s rich culture, a fascinating experience of indigenous peoples and Spanish colonial influences, is reflected in everything from the country’s culinary inventions to its vibrant musical and dancing traditions.
It’s also a country with a diverse range of flora and animals, with climate zones ranging from barren deserts to lush tropical rainforests. Check out our list of the best places to visit in Mexico to make sure you plan the best Mexican vacation possible.
1. The Mayan Riviera and Cancn
The resort locations of Cancn, Playa del Carmen, the island of Cozumel, and beyond are located along a stunning length of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. The Riviera Maya is the name given to these group of islands.
This beautiful area on the Yucatán Peninsula’s eastern coast attracts over five million people each year, producing significant tourist money. Despite these numbers, the Riviera’s huge beaches, limitless crystal-clear sea, and abundance of best all-inclusive resorts ensure that you won’t feel like a part of the crowd.
Scuba diving in the world’s largest underwater museum, a spectacular collection of sculptures submerged at depths of up to eight meters, as well as dolphin and stingray swims, snorkeling among reefs and tropical fish, and scuba diving in the world’s largest underwater museum, a spectacular collection of sculptures submerged at depths of up to eight meters, are just a few of the exciting things available in the area.
Then there are the many old Mayan ruins in the area, some of which are within walking distance of the beaches, while the largest and most impressive – Chichén Itzá and Tulum – are only a few hours away.
2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific city, is another increasingly popular beach vacation. Vallarta, which is frequently abbreviated as “Vallarta,” first gained popularity as a playground for North America’s social elite in the 1960s and has since grown in popularity with foreigners searching for second homes in a sunny, warmer environment. Many areas of it have remained unaffected by modernization.
Due to the variety of activities available in Puerto Vallarta, the city now attracts both older cruise ship things eager to swim with dolphins and younger travelers seeking adventure in activities such as paragliding and jet skiing.
For those who prefer a more leisurely vacation, the city offers numerous opportunities to buy for arts and crafts or simply stroll along nice coastal promenades with their numerous green spaces and sculptures. Of course, you can’t leave the city without visiting the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta, just like you can’t leave any good resort destination in Mexico.
3. The Los Cabos Corridor and Cabo San Lucas
Los Cabos—often referred to simply as “Cabo”—is one of Mexico’s finest beach resorts, located at the southern point of the gorgeous Baja Peninsula.
This 30-kilometer stretch of pristine beaches, known as the Los Cabos Corridor (Corredor Turistico), stretches from the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo and attracts visitors from all over the world for its clear waters, diving, snorkeling, and fishing (it also hosts the world’s largest marlin contest).
There are now a plethora of resorts to suit all tastes and budgets, ranging from exquisite spas to golf-centered hotels with some of North America’s best courses. Los Cabos, on the other hand, is mostly geared toward high-part vacationers. It is one of Mexico’s luxury capitals.
Swimming and snorkeling around the iconic natural monument El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, a giant archway carved out of the coastline where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific, is one of the most popular activities in addition to spending time on the beaches and touring Cabo San Lucas.
4. Copper Canyon: The Grand Canyon of Mexico
Chihuahua, one of Mexico’s most northerly states (it shares a border with New Mexico in the United States), is home to the magnificent Copper Canyon, one of the country’s most popular natural attractions (Barranca del Cobre).
Copper Canyon, which is located in the Sierra Madre Occidental and consists of a beautiful network of deep canyons, is actually larger and deeper than its more famous cousin, the Grand Canyon. These spectacular natural features were constructed by six rivers that converge in the Rio Fuerte before pouring into the Gulf of California, taking them the name Copper Canyon.
Because of the area’s growing popularity as a tourist destination, visitors can choose from a variety of activities to explore this area of great natural beauty, ranging from scenic rail tours onboard the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacfico to more adventurous bike or equestrian adventures.
5. The Historic Center of Mexico City
Mexico City (Ciudad de México) is the country’s capital and seat of government, as well as one of the country’s most popular alternative travel destinations, thanks to its numerous world-class museums, art galleries, and attractions. Don’t let its size deter you. Instead, concentrate your efforts on the historic city center (Centro Histórico de la Ciudad), a 15-square-kilometer UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 1,400 significant colonial buildings dating from the 16th to 19th century.
Most of Mexico City’s major attractions, including the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor with its Aztec treasures, are located here, many of which are within walking distance of Constitution Square (Plaza de la Constitución), the city’s busy main plaza.
The massive volcanic mountains Popocatépetl and Iztacchuatl, which tower over the city and offer a fantastic excuse to get out and explore the spectacular environment in this part of the Mexican Highlands, add to the overall experience.
6. The Mayan Metropolis, Chichén Itzá
The majestic Mayan city of Chichén Itzá is one of Mexico’s most visited archaeological monuments, as well as one of the largest and best maintained. It is a popular day excursion for people visiting Cancn and Playa del Carmen, or the Yucatán capital of Mérida. There are several reasons to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The huge El Castillo, also known as the Pyramid of Kukulkán and the site’s tallest structure at 30 meters, is a must-see.
Another notable interest here is the spectacular Caracol, a nearly 1,000-year-old observatory that demonstrates the Mayans’ technological prowess.
The building is famous for the thin openings in its walls that allowed the sun to shine twice a year, allowing priests to establish the date precisely. The site’s numerous statues, including various depictions of the iconic Mayan Chacmools clutching their sacrificial vessels as they continue to guard these ancient temples, are also worth seeing.
Guanajuato, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a city that begs to be explored on foot, with its many old colonial buildings, winding streets, and tight alleys. Visiting the city’s many plazas, notably the lovely Jardin de la Union, the city’s main square with its splendid old architecture, is a particularly pleasurable experience. The lovely old San Diego Church and the grandiose Juárez Theater, as well as fountains and flower beds, cafés, and restaurants, are all located here.
After that, go beneath to the city’s subterranean streets, which are part of a network of tunnels that used to carry a river but are now utilized by automobiles and people looking to move around swiftly.
Guanajuato is known as an art city, with several great galleries and noteworthy museums, including the Museum of Quixote, which is dedicated to the works of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.
The International Cervantino Festival, Latin America’s most prominent festival in honor of the writer, is held in the city. Check out the city’s famed Mummies of Guanajuato museum, which features several naturally mummified bones of people who perished during a cholera outbreak in the mid-nineteenth century.
8. Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo
While there’s no disputing that Mexico’s larger beach resorts have their allure, there’s also a lot to be said about visiting some of the country’s many smaller holiday spots. On the country’s Pacific coast, the towns of Ixtapa and its neighbor, the much smaller former fishing village of Zihuatanejo, are two of the best.
Despite being the larger of the two, Ixtapa, the old coconut and mangrove producing town, has been masterfully organized as a tourism destination, with its streets and beaches being uncluttered and easy to navigate. Make a reservation at one of Ixtapa’s best all-inclusive resorts.
In lovely Zihuatanejo, which has worked hard to maintain its small-town character, the contrast to classic beach resorts is even greater. Despite this, the town has a long list of things to do. It’s a pleasant and safe town to explore, with a lot of great hotels and restaurants, and it’s located along a small, well-protected harbor. Shopping in the fish market or, better yet, taking on a fishing trip to catch your own fish are both enjoyable hobbies.