Why We Love Mexico

Visiting the land where the foundations of western civilization were laid is always educational and edifying. It is also delicious, as the Romans have been testing out their recipes, sauces and fine wines for at least a couple millenia. Walk where the Caesars walked, view the amazing artistic genius of mankind in museums and churches in Rome, Florence, Venice and elsewhere, gaze at the quiet caldera of Vesuvius from the streets of Pompeii, or hike to the edge of Etna in Sicily. The past is always present in Italy, and it is rich indeed.

Top Destinations in Mexico

Cabo San Lucas

The southern tip of the Baja Peninsula is chockablock with new resort hotels, golf courses, miles of fabulous beaches, some of the best sport fishing in the Pacific and plenty of nightlife.

Cancun

Gateway to the so-called Riviera Maya, Cancun is a bustling city of fabulous resorts, fun nightlife and a long, sparkling beach. Gateway to Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, the ruins at Tulum and more.

Chichén-Itzá

The ceremonial city of Chichén-Itzá was built over 1,000 years ago, but the Mayan magic still draws crowds. Each spring and autumn equinox, shadows show Kukulcan (the snake) working his way up the steps. Other amazing but less-visited Maya sites include Calakmul in southern Campeche and Bonampak, with its polychromatic murals, in Chiapas.

Mexico City

The capital is positively brimming with historic and cultural attractions. Its gigantic main square is overlooked by the imposing Cathedral Metropolitana and flanked by the remains of the Aztecs' ceremonial centre. Of the city's myriad museums, the one must-see is the National Museum of Anthropology, covering Mexico's astounding archaeological legacy by region.

Puebla

For chic colonial-style, look no further than Puebla, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre. Church domes and house walls are covered in talavera, colourful glazed tiles that are still produced by the town's artisans.

Sacred City

The sunset over Monte Albán, a sacred prehistoric city and centre of the Zapotec culture, which flourished 2,000 years ago, is a magical sight. The remarkable Central Plaza, the Ball Court, and many of the tombs are open to the public.

San Miguel de Allende

Volcanically active central Mexico is dotted with numerous hot springs. Some of the nicest are near the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende: Escondido Place and La Gruta have various indoor and outdoor pools on attractively landscaped desert grounds. Other popular soaking destinations include Cuautla in Morelos state and Tequisquiapan, near Querétaro.

Teotihuacán

Located 50km (31 miles) northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacán grew to be the largest of Mexico's pre-Hispanic cities, with an estimated population of 200,000 during its prime in the sixth century AD. Don’t miss the Pyramid of the Sun, standing at a height of 63m (207ft) or the Moon Pyramid, both on the Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacán's main street.

Articles

East v. West

The Active Life
Golfers who want to book a vacation in Mexico dedicated to chasing the little white ball have plenty of excellent choices in destinations. And, perhaps, just one big decision... Read More

East v. West

The Active Life
Golfers who want to book a vacation in Mexico dedicated to chasing the little white ball have plenty of excellent choices in destinations. And, perhaps, just one big decision... Read More

New Age Meets The Old World

Body & Soul
A visit to the Maya ruins at Tulum used to be one of the favorite day trips for travelers ensconced in Cancun’s hotel row, known as the Zona Hotelera,... Read More

New Age Meets The Old World

Body & Soul
A visit to the Maya ruins at Tulum used to be one of the favorite day trips for travelers ensconced in Cancun’s hotel row, known as the Zona Hotelera,... Read More

Overview

Long before the Europeans arrived, the land that makes up modern Mexico was already an advanced, highly cultured civilization. The peoples of this large and varied land had built elaborate pyramids and ceremonial architecture in places like Teotihuacán, Chichen Itza and Tulum. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the land became dotted with Gothic church towers, sunwashed piazzas and elaborate haciendas.

Today’s Mexico is just as culturally and architecturally advanced, a thriving industrial nation. The capital of Mexico City, an amazingly diverse and sprawling metropolis of more than 20 million inhabitants, is a world unto itself as well as the country’s political, cultural and economic center.

Visitors can choose from any number of Mexican destinations for spectacular vacation options. The Pacific coastline includes the upscale resort areas of Cabo San Lucas at the tip of Baja California, and the longtime playgrounds of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. On the Caribbean coast, the “Mexican Riviera” includes the resort destination of Cancun and Playa del Carmen among others.

In the mountainous interior, one finds the ancient Spanish cities like San Miguel de Allende, San Cristobal de las Casas and Tepoztlan with their Spanish architecture and relaxed way of life.

And everywhere in Mexico, the spicy cuisine, refreshing Mexican beers and the potent home-grown tequila make culinary exploration delightful and delicious.

Since the time of Cortez, people have been coming to Mexico in search of gold and other riches. Surprisingly, they have found it in the warm and generous spirit of the Mexican people, proud and proper, the descendants of the Aztec and the Mayans and the Olmecs. Such rewards are still found in Mexico today.

Quick Facts

Mexico’s official language is Spanish, although millions still speak an indigenous tongue as well. English is understood most places in the country.

The official currency is the Peso ($MXN). The peso is divided by 100 centivos. The U.S. dollar buys approximately $MXN 17.75.

The electrical current in Italy is 110-120V AC, 60Hz. Socket and plugs are the same as in the United States. Visitors from other countries may need adapters or converters.

Internet connections and WiFi spots are found throughout the country. Most major hotels provide good accessibility.

Tourist visas are not required of visitors from the USA, Europe and most western nations. A valid passport is required for entry. Visitors must fill out a tourist card (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM) upon arrival and pay the tourism fee of $22 per person.

Generally, it is best to avoid using tap water for drinking and washing. Most of the larger hotels and resorts do offer purified and treated water, but most visitors should use bottled water when possible.

Mexico uses four time zones. Most of the country is in the Central Standard (Zona Centro). The state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun and region, is on Eastern Standard Time (in Mexico, Southeastern Time, or Zona Sureste). The southern portion of Baja California, which includes the Las Cabos area, is on Mountain Time (locally Zona Pacifico), while the northern section of Baja is on Pacific Time (locally, Northwest or Zona Noroeste). Daylight Savings Time is observed from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.

Although visitors arrive year-round, Mexico’s peak tourist season is in the winter months: November through April.

Average High and Low Temperatures

Things To Do in Mexico

Mexico City

Mexico City (Ciudad de México) is not only the capital of the country and the seat of government, it is one of the country's most popular alternative travel destinations, thanks to its many world-class museums, art galleries, and attractions. Start at the Zocalo Square and the Plaza de la Constitucion, ringed by many governmental buildings and museums.

Puerto Vallarta

This popular beach destination began to host the rich and famous beginning in the 1960s, and remains popular with the international elite. Still, cruise ships regularly call and a younger crowd comes in search of activities like paragliding and jet skiing. Lots of shopping for arts and crafts and great for strolling along pleasant beachside promenades with their many green spaces and sculptures.

Copper Canyon

One of the country's most visited natural attractions, the stunning Copper Canyon (Barranca del Cobre) is in a region known as the Sierra Madre Occidental and consisting of a spectacular group of deep canyons. Taking its name from the distinctive copper green coloring along its steep canyon walls, these amazing natural structures were formed by six rivers that converge in the Rio Fuerte before draining into the Gulf of California. There are scenic rail trips aboard the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico as well as more adventurous excursions by bike or even on horseback.

Guanajuato

With its many old colonial buildings, winding lanes, and narrow alleys, Guanajuato is a city that just begs to be explored on foot. A particularly pleasurable experience is visiting its many plazas, including the delightful Jardin de la Union, the city's main square with its splendid old architecture. Known as an art city, Guanajuato is home to many fine galleries as well as interesting museums, none more so than the Museum of Quixote, dedicated to the works of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.

Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo

While there's no denying the appeal of Mexico's larger beach resorts, there's much to be said for paying a visit to any one of the country's many smaller vacation destinations. Two of the very best are the towns of Ixtapa and its neighbor, the much smaller former fishing village of Zihuatanejo on the country's Pacific coast.

Tulum

Famous as the only fortified Mayan settlement located on the coast, the ancient city of Tulum is one of the Yucatán Peninsula's most visited attractions. In the Mayan Riviera and within easy reach of the beaches of Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, the site's well-preserved ruins can be seen for miles around due to their location atop 12-meter high cliffs overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

Guadalajara

Second only to Mexico City in size, the capital of the state of Jalisco, has successfully conserved its unique mix of colonial and native Tapatíos influences. Famous for its broad avenues flanked by picturesque parks and fine old buildings notable for their European flair, Guadalajara is a hotbed of traditional Mexican culture, from the mariachi music that seems to emanate everywhere, to its fascinating Charreadas, a type of rodeo that is usually accompanied by festivities such as dancing, singing, and plenty of great food.

Merida

The capital of Yucatán, Mérida is one of Mexico's finest old colonial cities and is perfectly located to serve as a base from which to explore the region's many fine Mayan sites, including Chichén Itzá and Tulum. It's an equally popular day trip or overnight stopover from the resorts of the Mayan Riviera. It's also a remarkably neat and tidy city, something of a badge of honor for its citizens who like to dress in white, giving the city its long-standing nickname of Ciudad Blanca, the "white city."

Hotels and Resorts