Hot and spicy are two words that can sum up this country; with vibrant sights and cities, a unique culture, blissful beaches and matchless fiestas, it’s no surprise that Mexico is the 9th most visited country in the world. Covering over 760,000 square miles, there’s plenty to explore, so why not follow the crowd and see what all the fuss is about? We’re fairly certain you won’t be disappointed…
Undoubtedly one of the most famous and impressive features of the Mexican landscape are the Mesoamerican pyramids, built by civilisations such as the Olmecs, Aztecs, Mayans and Incas, who used the structures to house their deities, and bury their kings. Some of the best known of these pyramids include those at Cholula, whose Great Pyramid, Tlachihualtepetl, is the largest pyramid structure by volume in the world, and at Teotihuacán, or the ‘city of the Gods’, in central Mexico, which was an ancient Mesoamerican city and lies about 30 miles away from modern day Mexico City. The single most famous pyramid in Latin American is located at Teotihuacán, the Pyramid of the Sun, which is the third tallest pyramid in the world standing at 233.5 feet tall, and is flanked by the Pyramid of the Moon and the nearby Temple of Quetzalcoatl. The entire ancient city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to experience it for yourself you can either book a tour, or take a more unorthodox approach and sail over Teotihuacán in a hot air balloon for a truly breathtaking view.
Not far away from Teotihuacán lies the Mexican capital of Mexico City, with a population within the main city of almost 9 million. The historic centre of Mexico City is focused on Zocalo, or the main plaza, which is the largest plaza in Latin America and can hold almost 100,000 people, and this area of the city is home to 1,550 buildings that have been declared of historical importance, contributing to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among these buildings is the Palacio de Bellas Artes (or Palace of Fine Arts), which is considered the most important theatre and cultural centre in the country, and was declared an artistic monument by UNESCO.
Museums in the city include The National Museum of Anthropology, the largest and most visited museum in Mexico, exhibiting significant artefacts such as the Stone of the Sun (the Aztec calendar stone), and the Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the Blue House (for obvious reasons, as you can see from the picture below), which was once the family home of artist Frida Kahlo, but is now one of Mexico City’s most visited museums.
A sight that would be unforgivable to miss in Mexico City is the borough of Xochimilco, famed for its 110 miles of canals which attract tourists and residents alike to ride on the boats called ‘trajineras’, which are brightly painted, earning the canals the colloquial name of the ‘Floating Gardens of Xochimilco’.
Of course you can’t go to a country with two coastlines and temperatures regularly in the 30s (˚C, of course) without a look at the beaches, on which we all dream of sipping a beer and dozing off. Some favourites across Mexico include Zipolite, which is famous for being one of Mexico’s few nude beaches, and has retained its hippie culture from the 1960s and 70s; Playa del Amor, or the Hidden Beach, which can be found among the Marieta Islands, is invisible from the outside and can only be reached by swimming or kayaking; and the beaches of Tulum, where you can see ancient Mayan ruins, nesting sea turtles, or simply take in the sun and sights. Playa del Carmen is also one of the most popular coastal resort towns, known for its European style nightlife and outstanding reefs that are home to rays, turtles and a range of corals, meaning snorkeling and scuba diving are a popular activity in the area.
Other unmissable highlights of Mexico include Rio Secreto, an underground cavern and river system with tours, and Coco Bongo nightclub (as well as the nightlife of Cancún in general), which combines Las Vegas-style shows with a 1800 person capacity club.
Do you fancy making some memories in Mexico this autumn? If so, pick up these specs before you make a move…