Mexico Travel Guide
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We hope that mexico travel will be a great experience for you. Mexico supports one of the largest tourism industries in the world, attracting over 20 million people every year. Brimming with ancient wonders, beautiful beaches, and bountiful nature, Mexico’s abundance appeals to all in search of a dynamic adventure. If bathing in translucent, Pacific waters strikes your fancy, Mexico’s beaches are both plentiful and amongst the most world renounced. Nature enthusiasts and archeological buffs are also sure to get their fill thanks to Mexico’s impressive biodiversity of over 200,000 unique species and the ancient Meso American ruins that span the country.
Mexico constitutes not only the literal point of convergence between Central and North America but is also a cultural nexus, as well. Uniting distinct features of its pre Columbian past with elements of Spain, Latin America, and the United States, Mexico’s national character is dynamic, to say the least. While it is suitable to visit yearlong, June to October are Mexico’s hottest and wettest months. In order to avoid the prominent tourist surges, steer clear December through January and July through August, along with Spring Break and Easter weekend.
- Sleeping in Mexico
Mexico’s sleeping accommodations range from opulence to the bare bone, with its big cities offering patrons the widest selection. Mexico’s cities have upped the ante in past years, constructing hotels premised on couture style and design. For those with tighter budgets, country lodging is usually comfortable and appealing, mixing elements of both the traditional with folk art themes and colorful décor with a contemporary flare. Those staying in small villages, a bit off the beaten track, will find that most mid range bed & breakfasts and hotels are easy on the wallet, clean and include all the amenities. Whatever kind of accommodation one chooses, rest assured that the service will likely be warm and attentive, characteristic of the Mexican temperament.
- Eating & Drinking in Mexico
National cuisine is characterized by the use of numerous spices and ingredients, some of which are native to the Mexican terrain, others that were introduced by Mexico’s Spanish colonizers. During pre Columbian times, the Mayan and Aztec people tilled the earth and plucked its local vegetation of corn, chili pepper, beans, squash, and avocadoall of which are staples of Mexican cuisine today. Culinary influences from the Spanish conquistadors, including pork, beef, and rice, were fused with indigenous ingredients to produces traditional Mexican dishes like enchiladas, tamales, and tacos. Tomatoes, along with garlic and onion, are typically used to season and garnish, while mole, a thick, sweet sauce made of chocolate, spices and herbs, frequently accompanies main dishes. The sophistication of Mexico’s dishes is parted accredited to the assortment of over one hundred different chilies used as seasoning. From the sweet ancho chili pepper to the painfully hot habanero, every heat preference is met. Rich flavors and colorful presentation are ubiquitous in Mexico, yet each region offers distinct interpretations and unique dishes, based on variations in climate, technique and local ingredients.
- Sights of Mexico
The scope of Mexico’s attractions guarantees that every traveler will find something to suit his or her tastes. For those with an interest in the pre Columbian Americans, Mexico’s enormous archaeological relics represent some of the country’s most impressive features. Teotihuacan, located in the Basin of Mexico, is full of fascinating vestiges, including towering pyramids the largest of its time and colorful wall murals, depicting life in the once flourishing, religious epicenter of Mesoamerica. For those with a penchant for art and architecture, visit the National Palace in Mexico City’s Plaza de la Constitución, home to the nation’s president and historical murals by the famed Diego Rivera. If leisure is the goal of your getaway, Mexico’s beaches range from the popular spring break locations to the virtually vacant stretches of white sand. Puerto Vallarta, located on the Pacific’s Bahía de Banderas bay, is hugged by some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Despite being one of Mexico’s major tourist draws, the small fishing town has retained much of its quintessential charm.
- Arts & Culture of Mexico
Mexico’s present day culture is strongly linked to its unique history and deeply rooted traditions. The Mexican Revolution was a pivotal time in the country’s history, as Mexico stove to shed its colonial status and foster its own unique national identity. This vibrant national movement inspired some of Mexico’s most influential artworks produced by the likes of Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
The Spanish influences that Mexico inevitably retained after 300 years of colonialism fused together with pre Hispanic traditions to produce this fascinating cultural hybrid. Mexico’s world famous folk art traditions, which have a place both in the past and in present times, derive from indigenous and Spanish crafts. From the ancient artefacts of Meso America to the abstract works of Rufino Tamayo and Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s countless museums reveal the fascinating story of its primordial past up to its epic revolution. A flourishing artistic creativity has transcended time and is very much present today. Besides traditional folk art, there is also a contemporary art scene that has emerged in many of Mexico’s metro areas, producing a profusion of critically acclaimed art, cinema, music and more.
- Nightlife in Mexico
Mexico is most certainly a country that can let loose and, truth is, there is a lot that lies beyond the beaches of Cancun. Both music and dance are pervasive cultural elements in Mexico, which means that, whether in the city center of hinterland, there is likely a force beckoning you to the dance floor. From the traditional Mariachi and Polka to the in vogue, Mexico is a nation that can move its feet. Mexico city is the crux of the county’s cosmopolitan nightlife, fully decked and fast paced. In addition to places to dance, there is never a dearth of happening bars and nightclubs, ranging from the seedy to the extravagant. Whether you prefer to watch a Mariachi Bands at Plaza Garibaldi or dance to Cuban tunes till dawn, there are always options.
- Shopping in Mexico
Mexico’s shopping experience is hardly uniform, but rather depends on where you being to browse. City shopping centers, like that of Polanco in Mexico City, offer its patrons the more mainstream, with brand names and fashionable boutiques galore. For the less commercial shopping spree, one is never hard pressed to find market places overflowing with traditional indigenous crafts. Specimens of pure Mexican craftsmanship, from papier mâché masks and dolls and brightly colored embroidered garments, to turquoise jewelry and intricately pained ceramics, are plentiful. Travelers to Puerto Vallarta will have the treat to view and purchase crafts produced by the Heichol Indians who inhabit the area. As one of the few indigenous groups to retain their cultural identity in the face of Western influence, their marketplace is an oasis for authenticity. Travelers who lust over the finer things in life should note Taxco, a former colonial silver mining center. World renowned for it production of fine jewelry and silver ware, Taxco is an essential for those looking to weigh themselves a bit with top tier accessories.
- Sports & Wellness in Mexico
Soccer, which is referred to as ‘football’ by Spanish speakers a fact that makes perfect sense when you think about it is the most popular participatory and spectator sport in Mexico. The Charreria is the traditional national sport that resembles a rodeo, around which the important equestrian event, charreada, was created.
- Events & Festivals of Mexico
Mexico’s events and festivals are hardly sporadic, but rather fill the calendar year, providing ample occasions to convene in good company, indulge in festive foods, and acknowledge the nation’s cherished traditions. The size, significance and secular or religious nature of the celebrations differ, each one possessing its own distinct features and highlighting an interesting facet of Mexico’s dynamic culture. One of the year’s most important and fun filled events is Dia de los Muertos, or All Saints Day, celebrated on November 2nd. Believed to be the day when the souls of the dead return to earth, friends and family pay homage to the departed by constructing colourful shrines in their honour, strewn with traditional, painted sugar skulls, gifts, and marigolds. September 16th marks Mexico’s independence from Spain and another noteworthy annual event, devoted to reveling in Mexico’s vigorous nationalism. As the president rings the historic liberty bell and the crowd echoes back a collective, ‘Viva Mexico!’ three times, the excitement and solidarity it felt even amongst non natives.
Regions of Mexico
- Northern Mexico
Northern Mexico most resembles the southern climate of the U.S. in that it is predominately dry and hot. Besides important city centers like Monterrey and small indigenous communities, the extensive, desert like terrain of the north remained largely desolate until half way through the 1900’s. Still sparsely populated, with small towns dotting its vast landscape, the topography of this region coincides with a romanticized idea of Mexico. Dusty Durango, located in the Sierra Madre Occidental, possesses Mexico’s second lowest population density and elicits images of old westerns starring the likes of John Wayne and Nick Nolte. The region, as a whole, offers its visitors with great conditions for camping under a star strewed sky and backpacking over rugged terrain.
- Baja California
The Baja is uniquely situated between two seashores, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Gulf of California to the east. The eastern coast of the state possesses numerous fishing and tourist towns like Bahia de los Angeles and San Felipe, which draw those looking for prime fishing conditions and to indulge in the area’s renowned seafood. Virgin beaches lay just south of San Felipe: an area that is largely undeveloped. San Jose del Cabo is another prominent attraction in the Baja, where the beaches are beautiful but prices can be high the closer to the shore the pricier.
- The Gulf and the South (Yucatan Peninsula)
This region of Mexico claims some of the county’s most esteemed destination, including the Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Cancun. Home to the historic Zapotec and Mixtec people, the sum of Oaxaca’s architecture, archaeological treasures, and folk art exemplifies the undiminished charm of this colonial town. Chiapas’ astounding natural beauty includes waterfalls, rain forests, volcanoes, and a breathtaking coastline. The mysterious Mayan pyramids of the region like that of Palenque lay concealed by untamed jungle. Cancun is arguably the most famous vacation destination not only in this region, but in all of Mexico. Its beautiful beaches and translucent, blue waters present the ultimate setting for a bit of well deserved respite.
- West Coast
The west offers everything from snow capped mountains to tropical jungles. The Puerto Vallarta is one of the region’s most prominent sites, along with Lake Chapala, the beauty of which has inspired artists for generations. The famed Acapolco also lies within the confines of the west coast region, possessing magnificent beaches and a vibrant nightlife. The Mexican state of Jalisco, located a bit more central, is the hub of Mexico’s tequila production and birthplace of the mariachi dance.
- Central Mexico
Once the principal stomping ground for advanced Indian cultures during pre Columbian times and the core of the colony of New Spain, Central Mexico continues to be the focal point of the Mexican nation. Consisting of the four states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, and Morelos, it is the most densely populated and the most influential among the regions. It houses the world’s third largest city and national capital, Mexico City, along with a host of other prominent tourist attractions including, Guadalajara, pre Columbian ruins of the Toltecs and Aztecs, Michoacan and more.
Citys of Mexico
- Mexico City
Mexico City is a sprawling metropolis, notorious for the canopy of smog that hangs over its vast cityscape. In spite of the grit and grime, this bustling city is the chosen residence of 19 million people. It serves both as ground for most of the county’s administrative and economic activities, while also constituting the industrial and cultural epicenter of Mexico. Not only the current capital, Mexico City was both the capital of the Aztec Empire and seat of New Spain’s viceroys responsible for the city’s dynamic past in the realm of artistic expression. Mexico City continues to be an exceptional mecca for musical, theatrical and artistic endeavors. Home to countless museums and theaters, Mexico City also boast its renowned National Symphony Orchestra and the Philarmonic Orchestra of the National University. The potent mixture of its prolific past, with pre historic ruins like Templo Mayor dotting the city, and its contemporary fervor, has generated a totally unique vibe.
Commonly referred to as Mexico’s silicon valley because of its thriving electronics industry, Guadalajara is much more than this epithet implies. This city, the second largest in the country, possesses rich cultural heritage visible in its distinctly colonial architecture. As birthplace of both Mariachi music and tequila, it should come as no surprise that this city has a sufficiently sultry nightlife that unites both of these legendary innovations. To accompany the 200 different kinds of tequila available is a varied culinary landscape that includes local specialties like birria, tortas ahogadas, and chilaquiles. Mercado Libertad, referred to by locals as Mercado San Juan de Dios, will bring tears of joy to the eyes of die hard bargain hunters. Home to the largest indoor/outdoor marketplace south of the border, there are over 1000 vendors to browse, chock full of handmade crafts, from hand woven blankets to traditional folk art. Guadalajara is also host to many of the country’s most prolific cultural events, including the Fiesta Internacional del Mariachi and the Feria Internacional del Libro. It is the current haven for a wealth of Mexico’s artistic pioneers and, in the coming years, will claim possession of the world’s sixth Guggenheim museum, which has already been approved for construction.
Monterrey is Mexico’s third largest city, renowned not for its status as a tourist destination but, rather, for its productivity in the realm of business and industry. Home to the headquarters of Mexico’s most influential companies, Monterrey is also the crux of production for many of its exports. There are those who testify that this city is uncharacteristic of Mexico and feels more akin to the Unites States. For this reason, amongst others, Monterrey tends not to hold the attention of travels. In spite of this fact, there are certain note worthy attractions for those who pass through. Nature lovers should be sure to catch a breathtaking vista from Monterrey’s Cerro de la Silla, the most recognized symbol of the city. This mountain towers above the city and contains many hiking trains that lead to summit. Montterrey is also home to Mexico’s top university, Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, and the well known Museum of Contemporary art.
Tucked against the mountains of the Sierra de Guanajuato, this area was one of the first to catch the eyes of Spanish conquestadores in the 16th century. Lusting over the copious silver deposits that ran below the earth’s surface, the Spanish staked their claim and began to cash in on this coveted resource. Upon this rich land, they built impressive, ornate architecture, much of which has stood the test of time. This quaint colonial town, surrounded by lush, hilly terrain, is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Humble in size, Guanajuata permits its visitors to explore its colourful architecture, mining culture, restaurants and shops by foot. Having exhausted the city’s aboveground potential, be sure to traverse the network of underground walkways that follow the course of the Guanajuato River.