Mexico is massive. And a country this vast offers endless scope for adventures and experiences. Marvel at 1300-year old Mayan palaces. Enliven your taste buds with searingly spicy salsa roja. Fuddle your brain with tequila shots, dance until the small hours in Guadalajara, or visit the coral reefs at the Yucatan coast; Mexico offers all these opportunities and more. Whether you lose yourself in the buzzing 19-million strong Mexico City or immerse yourself in the azure waters of the Pacific at Puerto Vallerta, this is Mexico.
Mexico has over 50 different species of hummingbirds.
At just 43 feet tall, the Cuexcomate in Puebla is the world’s smallest volcano.
Mexico has the largest population of Spanish speakers on the planet.
The word ‘tomato’ comes from the Aztecs.
Mexico introduced the world to chocolate.
Mexico City sinks 10 inches every year.
What to see
Packed with cultural and historic activities, Mexico City is a sprawling, charismatic and chaotic capital. Head to the main square with the intimidating Catedral Metropolitana, the National Museum of Anthropology or any of its vast swathes of metropolitan parkland to see just how exhilarating, exhausting and fascinating a city can be.
Mexico’s oldest beach resort is arguably still the best. Framed by twinkling lights after dark, it’s a lively, elite and glamorous destination, from the upmarket appeal of Las Bricas to the rowdy energy of Costera.
Popular as an all-inclusive holiday destination, Cancun’s beach parties are legendary. Travel during Spring Break if you plan to party hard, or try Mazatlán just before Lent for the ultimate in authentic Mexican Carnival high jinks.
Located in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, Puebla is a handsome colonial style town filled with traditional churches and brightly tiled houses.
Water sports enthusiasts should head to the Costa Azul, located along the Pacific coast in southern Baja for surfing, parasailing and kayaking galore. Key resorts include Sayulita and Puerto Escondido on the Oaxaca coast.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
Sunset over the Scared City
Watching the sun go down over the prehistoric scared city of Monte Albán is a sight not to be missed. Once the epicentre of the 2,000-year old Zapotec culture, its main plaza is filled with fascinating tombs and historic building that are at their most dramatic and inspiring at sunset.
The very best place to see the Day of the Dead festival is in Janitzio. From here you can watch the beautiful candle-decked boats take passengers to the island in order to decorate the tombs of their deceased loved ones; a magical, moving and unforgettable sight.
Go snorkelling around the coral reefs and marine-life rich waters of Cozumel. Or head to Costa Maya’s Banco Chinchorro or Zihuantanejo along the Pacific coast for more prime diving spots.
This Mayan ceremonial city was built over 1,000 years ago and is a hugely popular tourist attraction. Visit during the spring or autumn equinox to see shadows reveal a snake (Kukulcan) hypnotically slide its way up the steps.
No holiday to Mexico would be complete without a tequila-induced hangover. Take the Tequila Express train from Guadalajara to Tequila in the Jalisco state, where you can sample some of the finest – and most potent - shots on the planet.
When to go
Weather and Seasons: Mexico stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, and each coastline has its own unique climate. Mexico City is at its hottest during June, July and August with humidity reaching its peak during September, while Mexico’s coastal regions have long been popular with winter sun seekers. The best time to visit is generally considered to be from October to November, once the rain seasons have ended and the landscape is at its most lush.
Important Dates and Festivals: Dancing, drinking and dining are a big part of Mexican festival culture, with notable events including Holy Week during April, the Day of the Virgin of Charity (August 15th) and the Day of the Dead and the Day of the Angels in November.
Getting there / around
Flights: Mexico has around 1,800 airports, making it the third highest collection of airports found in any country on the planet. Mexico City is approximately 12 hours from the UK; while Cancun can be reached in 11 hours from London Heathrow.
Bus: Mexico has an excellent bus network. Deluxe tickets are available for services along busier routes, and offer comfortable seats, air conditioning and plenty of legroom. First-class tickets are available on all other routes, and second-class seats can be purchased when travelling in smaller towns and on slower routes. First-class bus journeys usually cost around M$50 to M$70 per hour of travel, with deluxe seats costing 10% to 20% more.
Car: Car hire is easily available, however roads can be chaotic and of varying quality. It’s a good idea to have a basic grasp of Spanish before you get behind the wheel, and most hire companies will expect you to be over 21. Expect to pay at least M$500 to M$600 per day on rental. Costs drop significantly if you hire by the week or month.
Short Trips: At 12 hours from the UK, two weeks is the minimum amount of time most visitors spend in Mexico. Whether you choose to spend it on the shores of the Pacific at Cancun and Cozumel, or explore the inland cities of Monterrey and Mexico City, most two-week holidays tend to be spent in one-destination.
Longer Trips: In a month you can really explore this fascinating country. Starting in Chihuahua, head south to Monterrey and then on to Guadalajara, before hitting Mexico City. And after the adrenalin rush of city-life, why not take a few days to chill on the lush beaches of Acapulco before moving on to the Guatemalan border and the Yucatan Peninsula?
Mexico Spiral Guide
Freytag-Berndt und Artaria KG
Fiery chillies and corn flour tortillas are the backbone of Mexican cuisine, with tacos and quesadillas available on almost every street corner. Popular snacks include tamales (corn-husk parcels filled with spicy sauce) and flautas (rolled tortillas filled with chicken). Fish and shellfish are also popular along both coastlines. Add zingy guacamole, zapte (an avocado-like fruit), cabrito asado (roasted goat) and Cochinita pibil (suckling pig) to your must-try list.
Head to the Pink Zone (Zona Rosa) in Mexico City for its main collection of nightclubs, bars and music venues. In Puebla the Plazuela de los Sapos, and Monterrey’s Barrio Antiguo are the places to go for late night drinking and dancing. Street parties, traditional music and local dancehalls can be found in smaller towns and villages.
Mexican peso (M$), made up of 100 centavos.
EU citizens do not require a visa to enter Mexico as a tourist.
The Department of Health recommends vaccinations against hepatitis A, polio, typhoid and malaria.
Safety, FO travel advice
Mexico is generally a safe place to visit, however care should be taken to prevent falling victim to pickpockets in major cities
Useful Telephone Numbers
Mexican country representatives can be found
in the UK at42 Hertford Street, Mayfair, London. W1J 7JR.Tel:- 020 749 8586
and in the US at1911 Pennsylvania Avenue 20006 Washington District of Columbia. Tel:- 202 728 1698.
There is a tourist board
in the UK atWakefield House, 41 Trinity Square, London. EC3N 4DJ. Tel:- 020 7488 9392.
For more information visit: embamex.sre.gob.mx, http://www.visitmexico.com.
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