It’s no wonder why Americans vacation in Mexico more than any other country in the world. With its picturesque beaches, ancient civilizations and worries-by-the-wayside attitude, this warm wonderland makes an ideal getaway for families and spring breakers alike. Wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, there is no shortage of adventure or relaxation. Listen to the waves crash on the shore or explore the steps where Mayans used to gather thousands of years ago. Whichever it is, get used to carefree livin’.
As the capital of Mexico, Mexico City is bursting with one of the largest metropolitan centers in the world that’s located on the former grounds of the Aztecs. Take a trip back in time as you step foot in the Plaza de la Constitución Zocala, the ancient capital and ceremonial center of Tenochtitlan and the biggest public square in the western hemisphere. In the center of the square, the army ceremoniously raises and lowers the flag each day at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. You won’t want to miss Templo Mayor, where archaeologists are still discovering artifacts about Aztec history and lifestyle. Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology unveils everything from pre-Hispanic Mayan cultures to the Spanish conquest. Then dress sharp as you make for one of the countless five-star restaurants, or chat with the locals in artsy neighborhoods like Romo or Condesa. As a stunning stratification of ancient ruins beneath modern bustle, Mexico City is a must-visit.
With a kaleidoscope of activities along 40 miles of coastline, Puerto Vallarta has it all. It is tucked in the Sierra Madre Mountains, and its locals have be known to welcome visitors with open arms. Swimming with dolphins, boating across the bay and unwinding along El Malecon are all on the menu here. Thrill-seekers, take on the adventure of a lifetime at the Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Tour, where you can speed across canopies zip-lining, embark on a 4x4 off-road drive and even go rappelling down a waterfall! Once you’re beat and need a little rest, hang out in the oceanside central plaza to gaze at the beauty of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an emblem of the Puerto Vallarta that is famous across the world.
Live it up amidst the hustle and bustle of the Cancun nightlife. Party-rockin’ bars and clubs bursting with music and dancing are everywhere. Pulse-pounding rhythms and an up-till-5 attitude make Cancun a haven for college spring breakers. However, it is also a great cultural destination for those who want to experience Chichen Itza, an awe-inspiring Mayan archaeological site which was a main hub of the ancient civilization. Avoid crowds by getting there early in the morning before the tour buses arrive. Along the coast, the beaches are pristine; Isla Mujeres and Playa Linda, among others, offer magnificent swimming with even better views.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel del Allende provides an authentic Mexican escape off the beaten path from overcrowded beaches and tourist lines. Situated on the steep hillside, the city exudes a feeling of warmth as the churches, orange rooftops and brightly colored buildings serve as an inspiration for the artists who live there. During the day, you can take your lover horseback riding or visit Bellas Artes for a look into the study of visual arts, dance and music since 1938. Bask in the beauty of El Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel’s botanical garden, that features 445 aces of ecological reserve that the Dalai Lama declared one of the five “zones of peace” in Mexico. It gives you an opportunity to slow life down again and enjoy it as it comes. When the sun sets, grab a delicious meal at Cafe Rama for a casual yet elegant atmosphere.
Located off the eastern coast along the Caribbean, Cozumel is a small island that boasts big fun. Wade in the turquoise waters of Palancar Beach that are beyond dreamy. It is known for water sports like snorkeling, sailing and kayaking. Expert divers tend to flock to North Beach. Or, embark on a pirate cruise for dinner and fun for the whole family. Discover Mayan remains at the San Gervasio Ruins, a shrine where Mayan women used to visit to worship their goddess of love and fertility Ixchel. Wear close-toed shoes, though, as you’ll be walking black sand beaches with lizards and iguanas. For nature buffs, head south to embrace Faro Celerain Eco Park, also known as Parque Punta Sur, which holds 2,500 acres of indigenous species, such as crocodiles and sea turtles.
Come see why Mexico’s idyllic beaches, historical sites and vibrant city life are a mecca for tourists year-round.