Mexico is currently one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and with a reason. This passionate Latin-American country situated South of the United States has endless sunshine on its beach resorts, rich history, and cultural heritage, breathtakingly beautiful natural sights as well as wonderful people.
Things to see and do in Mexico
Copper Canyon (Barranca Del Cobre)
This geological wonder is the most visited natural attraction in Mexico. Lying in one of the country’s most northern states (Chihuahua), Mexico’s Grand Canyon network is much deeper and larger than its American counterpart. One can explore it by taking a scenic rail trip with Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico, by bike or even on horseback.
Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico)
World-class museums and art galleries, refined local and international cuisine, archeological treasures and cultural attractions, Mexico City is a vibrant capital full of music and color. With 5.7 square miles of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you are sure to find something you will adore about this megalopolis.
This outstanding Mayan Metropolis is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico. Being the biggest and best restored of them all and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers many interesting sights to explore. El Castillo is the tallest structure of the site also called the Pyramid of Kukulkán, Caracol is an almost one thousand-year-old observatory, then there is the large Ball Court, where the winner of the game won the privilege of being sacrificed.
One of the most architecturally significant pyramids built in the Americas, this enigmatic city is located only 25 miles from Mexico City. It is the most visited archeological site in Mexico, so you would not want to miss it.
Chiapas (San Cristobal and Palenque)
The southern state of Chiapas is a natural wonder. As a remarkable blend of biodiversity, it welcomes its visitors with mountains and waterfalls, jungles and a unique flora and fauna. Two places worth a pilgrimage are the quaint little settlement of San Cristobal as well as Palenque. You can just stroll along the streets of the first one and get your authentic local souvenirs, while the latter protects the site of magnificent Mayan ruin complex dating back from before Christ.
The Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Cozumel, Tulum)
Starting from Playa del Carmen and ending with the only Mayan site built on the coastline, the Castle of Tulum, the Riviera Maya is your number one beach destination. Parts of coastline north and south are aspiring to be included in the denomination, so Cancún is sometimes called the ‘gate to the Mayan Riviera’. When there, don’t forget to visit the unforgettable island of Cozumel. You’ll be able to admire some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world and try scuba diving and snorkeling in one of the best diving areas on the planet.
La Huasteca Potosina
Be totally swept away by the beauties of Mexican wildlife in La Huasteca Potosina. Enjoy your hike or a package tour in the jungle among vertical caves, lagoons, rivers and waterfalls in this place of paradisiac beauty. Giving the impression of pristine and untouched land, tours there are usually very well-organized and on safe routes.
Starting with high-end five-star hotels at beach resorts as well as in the capital city, to more budget-friendly places to stay, it is easy to book your accommodation in Mexico. In the capital city, if you want to stay on the safe side, book in the Polanco or Condesa area. The most impressive five-star hotels are JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City, InterContinental Presidente Mexico City, Live Aqua Mexico City Hotel and Spa, Hyatt Regency Mexico City and Las Suites.
Hostels are another way of sheltering yourself in the city if you are young, adventurous or on a budget. I would recommend Hostel Cathedral in the heart of the city, which offers privates from around 30 USD per night and shared dormitories for 10 USD per night. Also, check out Hostel Suits DF and Hostel Moneda as a ground for comparison.
Food and Drink
When in Mexico, you need to try authentic Mexican food. Very different from its American variations suited to the tastes of their northern neighbors, but still familiar if you have ever sampled it anywhere in the States or in Europe, Mexican food will steal your heart.
A few musts without which you cannot leave the country include Enchiladas, Chilaquiles, Pozole, Tamales, Guacamole, Mole, and Elote.
Enchiladas are corn or flour tortillas filled with meat, cheese, seafood, beans, vegetables and covered in a chili sauce. Chilaquiles are a traditional breakfast food with fried corn tortillas cut into quarters topped with green and red salsa. They have eggs and chicken on top with cheese and are served with frijoles (refried beans). Mmm… Try Pozole with pork, chicken or in its vegetarian version. It is a delicious Mexican soup with onion, radish, lettuce, lime and chili sprinkled on top.
Tamale is a unique dish which covers corn dough mixed with meat, cheese, fruit or vegetable and chili wrapped in corn husk or banana leaves and steamed. Very Mexican. It used to be the food of the Aztec, Mayan and Inca tribes when they were leaving their home for a longer time to engage in war. Guacamole must be well-known to you. Mashed up avocados, onions or garlic, tomatoes, lemon juice and chili peppers are mixed in front of you in some of the best Mexican restaurants. It is served with many dishes. Mole Poblano is a rich rusty-colored sauce poured usually on top of turkey or chicken. As for street food, grab a corn on the cob (Elote), salt it bountifully or use chili powder, lime, butter, cheese mayonnaise or sour cream if you want to eat it like a local.
The most famous national drinks of Mexico are Tequila and Atole. Tequila is made with blue agave and the most famous brands are Patron and Jose Cuervo. Atole is a cornmeal-based drink served hot or on room temperature which goes very well with tamales. It is also the typical drink consumed on the Day of the Dead. It’s chocolate version, Champurrado is the Mexican Christmas drink.
The transportation system in Mexico is very good. There are plenty of flights to Mexico City, Cancún and many other bigger cities and resorts, so you can land according to your booking and preference. Mexico City is gigantic, but very easily mappable because of its clear and easy metro system. There is a metro ( the collective name for the underground lines) as well as a metro bus (which can be used as a shuttle from the airport as well as for going to places and sightseeing). All you need is a card bought in any of the stations and then regularly recharged in the same places or at any shop in the city where you see the metro sign. It is fun and inexpensive.
Apart from arriving and getting around in the capital city, there are great package tours offered in most of the hotels and other types of accommodation, taking you back and forth to Mexico’s archaeological sites and natural parks. These often include designated stops with buffet lunches and entrance fees to the sights. Hop on and enjoy.