The Top 3 Best Travel Destinations in Mexico
Choosing a few destinations in Mexico is like ordering a meal in the country. The options are so varied and each is so enticing that limiting yourself to a few choices is challenging. Mexico is a multifaceted destination that offers everything from beautiful colonial monuments and dense jungles to stunning ancient cities, postcard-perfect beaches and a lively and vibrant culture that makes most travelers fall in love with the country. Taking in everything Mexico has to offer could take years, but — for travelers on a limited schedule — a few spots are simply unmissable.
A Bit of Everything
The Riviera Maya tourist route combines ancient ruins, world-class resorts, natural wonders and jaw-dropping Caribbean beaches — all connected by easy and manageable transportation routes and tourist services. Most travelers start their trip in the resort city of Cancun, easily accessible by bus from Mexico City or air from the United States, and then move along the route. If you only have time for one destination in Mexico, the Riviera Maya makes it easy to enjoy a number of different attractions. A few highlights include the white-sand beaches of Playa del Carmen, a luxurious appointment in a Cancun spa, the fascinating Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza or Tulum, a visit to a traditional Mayan village or outdoor adventures like kayaking and hiking in the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an.
Visiting the southern state of Oaxaca is like stepping into another world. The state’s large indigenous population still clings firmly to its traditional beliefs and customs, infusing the area with a captivating sense of history and culture that is at times downright magical. Both the state’s colonial capital city — also called Oaxaca — and the ancient ruins of Monte Alban are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other attractions include treks through the beautiful highlands, visits to colorful handicraft and food markets or the beach resort towns of Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido. Both Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido have regional airports and are easily accessible by bus from anywhere in the country.
The Heart of It All
Chaotic, electric and grand in every sense of the word, Mexico City is the undisputed cultural, economic and political capital of the country — a must-see for any traveler looking to truly understand contemporary Mexico. The ancient capital of the Aztecs, the colonial capital of the Spanish and the modern capital of Mexico, the city has been a metropolis for nearly 800 years — and has the sights to prove it. The historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the foundations of Aztec pyramids run up against the beautifully ornamented facades of Baroque churches, handsome 19th-century palaces and modern skyscrapers. This bustling city is also center stage for the drama that is modern Mexico, with the best restaurants, museums, bars, nightclubs and people-watching in the country.
Tips and Precautions
Mexican tourist infrastructure is highly developed — especially in areas like the Riviera Maya and Mexico City. Travelers should have no trouble making their way through the country. In some rural areas, however, visitors could encounter unexpected delays or transport cancellations. Some flexibility in your travel plan and at least a few words of Spanish to get you out of a bind can be very helpful. While the vast majority of travelers visit Mexico without incident, the U.S. State Department warns that “crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere.” Travelers should remain alert and exercise basic precautions, like avoiding poorly lit streets, always using reputable taxis recommended by a hotel or travel agency and dressing simply to avoid attracting attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises travelers to visit a physician before the trip, make sure they are up to date on routine vaccines and avoid tap water or food cooked in the street.