From tropical beaches to historic architecture, Mexico has so much to offer that first-time visitors may find it overwhelming.
To help you start planning your next trip there, here’s a list of five destinations in Mexico you simply can’t miss. Whether you prefer laid back resorts or the hustle and bustle of a city, there’s something here for every type of adventurer.
The Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, hugs the coastlines of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. With diverse marine life including sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, whale sharks and 500 species of fish, the reef is a paradise for nature lovers and diving enthusiasts.
There are some great diving spots along the Mexican part of the Mesoamerican Reef, like the colourful Manchones Reef in Isla Mujeres, Cancun's Underwater Museum with 500 life-size sculptures, and the C58 Shipwreck – a World War II vessel sunk to create an artificial coral reef.
Are you a foodie? If so, you can’t leave Oaxaca out of your Mexico itinerary. This city is widely considered Mexico’s top food destination, and boasts many regional delicacies you won’t find elsewhere.
Once you satisfy all your cravings, make sure you explore its architectural and cultural sites. Inhabited since ancient times, Oaxaca is a UNESCO-listed colonial city and a real treat to history buffs. Here, you can enjoy a visit to the city’s numerous museums and take a tour of the Monte Alban archaeological site to learn about the Zapotec civilization.
There are countless long sandy beaches in Mexico, but Tulum’s might just be the most beautiful. If you’re dreaming of picture-perfect views and a laid-back atmosphere, this charming resort town is the place to be.
And if you’re not a beach bum, fret not as there are plenty of activities around here. For instance, you could visit the Mayan ruins that served as a religious and ceremonial centre, explore jungle paths, or go swimming in ‘cenotes’, the beautiful caves filled with crystal clear water.
Located in the national park of the same name, Sumidero Canyon is a spectacular natural wonder. You can explore it on a boat trip from Cauhuare or hike to one of the vantage points for a bird’s eye view. Or better still, budget enough time for both. And keep your eyes open for plenty of wildlife, from lurking river crocodiles to treetop monkeys.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say Mexico’s capital has something for everyone. Give Mexico City half a chance, and you’ll find something. Are you an art lover? Then check out the Popular Art Museum and visit Frida Kahlo’s house. Interested in ancient civilizations? Take a day trip to Teotihuacán and climb the Pyramid of Sun. Or maybe you’re a foodie? Here, you’ll be spoilt for choice, from humble eateries to restaurants in the World’s Top 50 list.
And for something a little quirky, you can’t leave Mexico City without attending Lucha Libre, the traditional wrestling show. The flamboyant personalities and skin-tight spandex isn’t something you’ll soon forget.
Staying safe in Mexico
It’s easy to forget about safety when you’re having so much fun. But if you don’t want to bring back bad memories from your holiday, make sure to follow basic travel safety rules.
Firstly, pickpocketing and street crime can be a problem in Mexico, but particularly in Mexico City. So leave expensive jewellery and watches at home and dress down if possible. And keep a close eye on your belongings, especially when taking the metro and other public transport. It’s a good idea to limit the amount of cash you have on you and carry it in a money belt too.
Something we often forget about is cybercrime. If you’re planning on using public wi-fi during your trip (at the airport, your hotel or a café), you should be prepared. Public networks are often unencrypted and can be intercepted by hackers to steal your passwords or credit card details. So always connect your device to a VPN server to encrypt your traffic without compromising speeds.
Bear all of this in mind and you’ll be able to navigate risks and pitfalls in wonderful Mexico.
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