Since arriving home recently from my seven week trip around South and Central America, where I was lucky enough to be hosting tours with Two’s A Crowd, many people have asked me what the highlight was. It’s hard to pick just one place, it was all amazing. From Peru to Cuba, the Amazon jungle to Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands to La Paz in Bolivia. How do you pick just one highlight? But perhaps one of the biggest surprises was Mexico. There is so much to see and do here, from beautiful beaches to Mayan and Aztec ruins.
But if you’re not convinced here are five reasons I fell in love with Mexico.
Dance in a city square
You’ve got to love a city square that encourages dancing. And not just any dancing – salsa dancing! We turned up in Puebla, went for a walk and by early Sunday afternoon a band had set up and dozens of people were moving to the sounds.
You might want to take a dance class first, but really dancing is all about just getting in there and having fun.
And if you don’t have a partner or really can’t dance, just enjoy the free entertainment.
Marvel at the ruins
Aztec, Mayan, Zapoltec – Mexico’s history is fascinating and the countryside is littered with ruins honouring its rich heritage.
You can still walk in the footsteps of these ancient civilisations, up some very steep buildings with high and uneven steps!
Walking through valleys and temples built thousands of years ago, structures that have withstood the weather, wars and earthquakes is mind-boggling.
From Teotihuacan to Monte Alban, Tehuantepec to Palenque; all have unique characteristics and provide a look at a different aspect of life. Check out the postcards to see what the sites would have looked like at their peak – they are impressive today, but they would have been an amazing sight in full colour!
Learn about Mayan history
You know about the Mayan calendar, and have probably heard of Chichen Itza, it is after all one of the Seven Modern Day Wonders of the World, but the Mayan Civilisation spread across the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and into Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The ruins show just how progressive and impressive this culture was. But don’t just visit Chichen Itza, visit a few of the different sites, if you can, to get a real feel for the Mayan mite.
And if you’ve had enough of visiting ruins you can visit existing Mayan cultures in the mountains near San Cristobal de las Casas.
Visit a museum
Travellers seem to fall into two groups, those that absolutely love museums and visit every museum in every city they ever visit and those that would rather meander through a town and see the sites. We sit somewhere in the middle we enjoy a good museum but don’t feel the need to visit them all. Our favourite thing to do in cities is simply to wander around and people watch.
But please don’t miss the museums in Mexico. They are the most beautiful we’ve been to. Mexico has a proud and interesting history from the Mayans and the Incas to the Spanish. And they’ve found a way to represent that history in beautiful surrounds. The museums don’t replace visiting the actual ruins, but they enhance the whole cultural experience perfectly.
There are a lot of museums and galleries here, more than almost any other city in the world so you won’t get around them all. We recommend the Anthropological Museum in Mexico City, it is stunning.
Swim swim swim
The Gulf of Mexico? The Caribbean? Cabo or Cancun? When it comes to seaside activity, there is a lot of choice in Mexico. We swam in the Gulf – just because you can! And the Caribbean. Both were warm and beautiful azure blue waters.
The beaches were lovely – though Playa Del Carmen was packed with tourists, with barely an inch of sand left. Fortunately for us, most of the tourists were content to sit on the beach with cocktail in hand, so the water wasn’t too crowded.
*I travelled to Mexico to host a tour with the Australian travel company, Two’s A Crowd.
Ever been to Mexico? What are your recommendations?