Mexico has over five thousand miles of beaches, which along with its tropical climate attract the majority of vacationers to this enchanting country. Although many seaside resorts are popular, the leading vacation destinations are located along tor near the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean coast or the Mexican Riviera on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Planning your next trip to Mexico?
Be ready for more crowds, noise, bustle and poverty than you're accustomed to, Invest a little time before your trip in learning even just a few phrases of Spanish – every word you know will make your trip that little bit easier and more enjoyable.
From the tourist’s point of view, there are three Mexico’s that attract attention.
The most popular of these is the Yucatan peninsula, which encompasses the delightful area that has come to be known as the Riviera Maya by some and Caribbean Riviera by others. Including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and other gorgeous beach towns and islands (such as Cozumel), the Riviera Maya is known for its majestic, white-sand beaches, warm sunny weather and Mayan ruins.
The second most popular area of Mexico is known as the Mexican Riviera, a delightful swath of beaches spanning over 2,000 miles of the Pacific coast between Ensenada and Acapulco. The distances separating the major resort areas are great and, as a result, the leading resort towns are not likely to be explored during in a single vacation.
In some ways the concept of the Mexican Riviera is marketing-speak coined by the Mexican government and eagerly adopted by cruise lines, since the best way to sample this beautiful and enchanting region is see it during a cruise. Although there are a number of great vacation spots for cruise itineraries, best places of attraction are Cabo San Lucas, the Puerto Vallarta area and the Ixtapa.
The third Mexico runs down the center of the country and includes Copper Canyon, Morelia and Mexico City. Although each location is attractive to many travelers, most visitors to Mexico will focus on the Caribbean or Pacific shores of this interesting country.
Mexico is an enchanting country, but one that is troubled by drug gangs and their battle with each other and the government. Independent travel in Mexico, outside of the established tourist zones, is not recommended at this time. However, there remain some great ways to explore the famous hospitality of Mexico.
Top Places to Visit in Mexico
Capital of the Republic, one of the three largest cities in the world, and a sophisticated urban hub with a 700-year history. With its exciting nightlife and fascinating things to do and see, Mexico City is an energetic metropolis and an incredible place to visit for both business and leisure travelers.
Mexico City should be on your "must visit" list if you are a fan of world-class museums, archeological treasures, international cuisine, incredible shopping experiences, stately mansions, colonial neighborhoods, dazzling nightlife, inviting plazas and beautiful city parks. The National Museum of Anthropology is one of the world's greatest museums and could easily fill a short Mexico City vacation by itself.
Acapulco is a world renowned synonym for relaxation and fun. The exotic mix of golden beaches, Sierra Madre Mountains, tropical jungles and lagoons, along with Mexican warmth, mysticism and tradition are perfectly combined for a very unique experience.
Cancun is the ideal place to enjoy sun and beach, an extensive array of shopping opportunities and its renowned nightlife. Cancun also is the optimal starting point for you to explore coral reefs, jungles and archaeological sites of the old Mayan world.
Chichén Itzá, in Yucatan state, is the best preserved and most famous of the Mayan ruins in Mexico. It is considered one the greatest Mayan-Toltec centers in the Yucatan Peninsula and at only 90 miles from Cancun, it is a popular day trip.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a stunningly beautiful, vibrant part of the Mayan World located on the pristine Caribbean coast of Mexico. The capital of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen has evolved from, originally a small village of Mayan pilgrims, into a lively, cosmopolitan city with the highest urban growth in the country.
On the eastern side of the idyllic state of Quintana Roo you'll find the Riviera Maya, a new tourist destination comprising well over 75 miles of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The Riviera Maya is the coastline that starts at Puerto Morelos and ends in the picturesque fishing village of Punta Allen.
When you think of the Mexican Riviera, with its palm-fringed beaches, luxuriant jungle vegetation and incredible resorts, many places come to mind. But no resort typifies better the classic Mexican beach vacation than Puerto Vallarta does. It has now become the sixth most popular travel destination in the world.
Offering an extremely wide variety of attractions and entertainment options, Puerto Vallarta has something special for everyone, regardless of your personal preferences.
Los Cabos is located on the tip of the state of Baja California, an area surrounded by arid desert, golden beaches and turquoise waters. A lively, fast-growing destination, Los Cabos offers spectacular championship golf courses, exceptional sport fishing, endless possibilities for diving and snorkeling and superb shopping and entertainment.
Offshore from the Riviera Maya, the Island of Cozumel offers romantic beaches and a relaxing environment. Scuba or dive here if you get the chance, as this is a highlight of visit to this island.
A traditional city, capital of Jalisco state, and the home of mariachi music and tequila. Guadalajara is blessed with perpetual spring weather and its colonial downtown is graceful and sophisticated.
Lively Pacific coast town, Mazatlan is a shipping port, a transportation hub with ferries to Baja California, and a beach resort destination with miles of sandy shore. It is a popular Spring Break destination due to its variety of affordable lodging options.
A large modern city that is the commercial and industrial hub of Northern Mexico. Monterrey enjoys a dry, mountainous setting and is known for its high-quality educational and transportation infrastructure.
San Luis Potosi
Located in central Mexico, a colonial city that was once an important silver producer, but today, relies on manufacturing for its economic base.
In central Mexico west of Cuernavaca, this nice steep mountain town was once a major silver producer, and now has a strong place in the trade of decorative silver, from cheap fittings to the most elegant jewelry and elaborate castings.
Mexico's busiest border crossing for pedestrians and private vehicles, and a long-time bargain Mecca for southern Californians due to its proximity with San Diego.
Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre)
An exotic destination for travellers looking for a unique remote adventure! An awesome mountain rail ride --- one of the greatest in the world --- takes you upwards over 8000 feet on the CHEPE, the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway. Hiking, horseback riding, birding, and Tarahumara Indians. Copper Canyon, the Sierra Madre and the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico. This area is designed for adventurous individuals who will tolerate some rough travel to get to their point(s) of interest. Copper Canyon, a magnificent remote wilderness is not likely ever to become a mass market destination.
Top Archaeological Sites in Mexico
Chichen Itza is the second most visited archeological site of Mexico today. Recently voted as one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, the ruins of Chichen Itza lie about midway between Cancun and Merida.
Majestic Mayan city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and recently voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Recently reconstructed Mayan site, famous for its unique decorated stucco and stone carved temples. It's a bit off the beaten path since it's located about 20 minutes north of Valladolid. From Playa del Carmen.
In the state of Veracruz near the town of Papantla. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the state of Guanajuato, two sites making part of the "Tradición él Bajío": Plazuelas and Peralta.
In the state of Oaxaca, a Zapotec site dating from about 500 B.C. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mayan city in the state of Chiapas, Palenque famous for its elaborate paintings. Also well known for having the largest tract of rainforest in Mexico located in the same area.
In the state of Mexico, near Mexico City. Enormous site with several large pyramids.
Mayan coastal city with spectacular Caribbean vistas. Dates from late Mayan period.
Impressive Mayan city-state in the Puc Region, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
The United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos), briefly Mexico (México) geographically is situated in North America, but in historical and cultural grounds is a Central American state. It is considered the world`s most populous Spanish-speaking country and it's the northernmost and westernmost realm in Latin America.
The central part of the territory is the grassy Mexican plateau or the Mexican plain. In the central part of the flat lays the Mexican Basin with the state`s capital, Mexico city (Ciudad de México). The plateau is surrounded by beautiful glacier mountains, the Cordilleras which offer an unforgettable and breathtaking view of the region. In the south part of the country visitors should not miss to see the unique Gulf of Mexico which is absolutely fantastic. On the gulf`s bank lies the warm swampy flat named the Campeche Plain. Mexico also has a few beautiful rivers that are waiting for their visitors (Rio Grande, Rio Usumacinta, Rio Grijalva, Rio Balsas, Rio Pánuco etc).
Visitors should not miss to visit Mexico and it`s fascinating world, a place where several treasures are hidden which are waiting to be discovered.
US and Canadian tourists can enter Mexico without a passport if they have official photo identification, such as a driver’s license, plus some proof of their citizenship such as an original birth certificate. But to return to or transit the US by air, a passport or other secure travel document such as a Nexus card is required. To return to or transit the US by land or sea, Americans and Canadians must present either a passport, or other documents proving identity and citizenship (for example driver’s license and birth certificate), or the recently introduced US passport card, or a Nexus or other ‘trusted traveler’ card. Canadians flying back from Mexico to Canada are advised to carry a passport. Further information is available on the websites of the US State Department, US Customs & Border Protection, the US Department of Homeland Security and Canada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry
There are over 40 official crossing points on the US–Mexico border. There are about 10 between Guatemala and Mexico, and two between Belize and Mexico. Most Mexican border towns are not places where many travelers have much reason to linger.
Mexico’s two flag airlines are Mexicana and Aeroméxico
Only Mexico City and Cancún receive direct scheduled flights from Europe, Canada, Central and South America and Havana, Cuba.
Mexico City, Cancún, Guadalajara and Monterrey have the most international flights
Mexico`s tourism is characterized by diversity. Outside the Aztec and Mayan civilizations also a few other ethnic groups have created an advanced culture in the country.
The state`s biggest cities are: Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Chihuahua, Puebla, Tijuana, Acapulco, Leon etc.
When you get to the Capital, you should not miss to visit Teotihuacán, the gigantic city in ruins that was the burial place of kings, and the famous Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon and also those many buildups that represent the vast knowledge of the culture at that time. Do not miss the Mexican museum in the Capital, of which detailed traversal needs to be planned at about six or eight hours. The collection that you can see here is unbelievably rich and provides such a comprehensive picture about that time`s cultures and about their high level and surely will remain a really nice experience of your journey.
In today`s Mexico City the memories of the Aztec Empire live together in a close symbiosis with the buildings that originate from the era of Spanish viceroyalty and the modern skyscrapers made of glass. On the area`s north side we can find the monumental Cathedral with five ships which was built over 250 years. During this time next to the Cathedral the Urban Chapel was built which is an ornate example of the Spanish Baroque. Another attraction of the area is the National Palace and the building`s central side can be visited.
In some streets in Mexico City there is an active life day and night because on the tarpaulins spread on the ground everyone sells something, for example cloth reading books, colorful necklaces made of bead, the casual vendors ensure that you do not have anyone with empty stomach. You can taste the Tacó and the crunchy tortillas. The typical street food is the Tamale. You should also go for a walk on the capital`s most atmospheric streets of Madero. On the remaining temples and palaces the former elegance is brought to life again. From the earlier remaining lakes a single piece is that of the Xochimilco which is not only the city`s most pleasant accent but the tourists` and locals` favorite picnic place.
One of the country`s natural beauties is constituted by the Agua Azul waterfalls where hikers will find picturesque camps. There you can find simpler restaurants and drink stalls. The long stretch of waterfalls of the breathtaking Agua Azul and the temples and palaces hidden in the Palenque jungle provide a unique vision to any visitor.
Barranca del Cobre is Mexico`s Grand Canyon where traveling is more exciting by train. While going by train 13 hours long between jungles, mountains and deserts you'll end up with an unforgettable adventure travel.