A land of contrasts, a fusion of antiquity and modernity – book one of our Mexico holidays and enjoy the colours, spectacle and sheer exuberance of this wonderful country. Beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, wild nightlife and fascinating culture, you can find all this (and much much more) in the resorts of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
Mexico is a destination of wondrous variety, from majestic sandy beaches to lush jungle landscapes, the geography of Mexico showcases perfectly this country of contrasts. Whether you are looking to explore the rich cultural history of the Mayan civilisation or absorb the high-octane night life of the city, holidays to Mexico offer plenty to get excited about. Known for their infectious energy and lust for life, it is the spirit of the Mexican people that truly makes this an exhilarating destination.
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The nightlife in Mexico is internationally celebrated and attracts many travelers each year. The party capital Cancún offers lavish beachside celebrations, but across Mexico you can also find street food vendors, late-night bars with mariachi bands as well as traditional old-school dancehall venues.
Sport is ingrained in Mexican culture and provides visitors with some truly unique holiday experiences. From football to baseball, the zeal of Mexican sports fans is a wonder to behold. But the pick of the bunch is ‘Lucha Libre’ – Mexican free wrestling. The aerial acrobatics are impressive, but it is the flamboyant masks and costumes as well as the colourful storylines that makes this a truly memorable sporting event.
There are plenty of activities to keep the entire family entertained during a holiday to Mexico. The sea provides a range of family-friendly activities, from snorkelling in calm waters to learning to surf waves across a range of difficulties. If you are staying in a city, museums and aquariums cater for children’s curiosity in a cosmopolitan setting.
Whatever your idea of the ideal romantic getaway, there are many reasons why Mexico is the perfect location for a couple’s retreat. Share a taste of world-class gastronomy before retiring to the pool to watch for whales. The allure of secluded luxury accommodation situated amongst pristine white beaches and turquoise waters provide an idyllic backdrop in which to enjoy a holiday for two.
The incredibly well-preserved temples of the Maya civilisation in Chichén Itzá are considered some of the finest architectural examples of their kind in Mexico and are one of the new seven wonders of the world. These marvels help to unlock the mysteries of the Maya astronomical calendar and should be at the top of any history lovers list.
Mexico City is the beating heart of Mexico. This vast, energetic city is blossoming with loads of things to do and a fantastic food scene and a particularly rich culture, juxtaposing the traditional and the modern. The Palacio Nacional is a glorious 16th century colonial palace, featuring modern murals painted by Diego Rivera. If art is what you are after, look no further than the Museo Frida Kahlo, located inside the famous painter’s childhood home, Casa Azul (Blue House). The house is packed with jewellery, clothing and cherished objects that paint a unique picture of Frida Kahlo’s life and influences.
If you are looking for a day-trip with a difference, then a drive to the pink salt-lakes of Las Coloradas should be on the itinerary of anyone planning a holiday to Mexico. These pink lagoons are coloured with red algae and plankton and are home to an array of magical animals, from flamingos and crocodiles to jaguar and turtles.
The Mexican state of Oaxaca is steeped in tradition and enchanting natural landscapes. For lovers of the outdoors, there is the option to hike around small community villages, exploring caves and waterfalls before admiring the surrounding verdant hills. This state is also considered to offer some of the finest culinary delights to be found across the entire of Mexico. Make sure to grab a taste of traditional mole sauce, made from a mixture of many ingredients including chocolate and fiery chili, this is a must-try staple of Oaxaca!
Flights to Mexico usually take around 12 hours from the UK. Most major airports regularly offer flights to Mexico with a few options of where to land, with Mexico City being the most common. Mexico City is 6 hours behind GMT.
When you think of Mexican food, you usually think of spicy chili, acidic lime and rich sauces. Classics like tacos filled with marinated pork, onion and hot salsa are staples of the Mexican food world. Mexico has a culinary tradition with real depth – from open-air street food markets to high-end restaurants serving world-class contemporary gastronomy. A popular dish, Elote, is served on every busy street corner. This street food dish is corn on the cob covered in salt, chili powder, cheese and a liberal amount of butter and makes for an utterly decadent snack. Tamales are corn husks that have been wrapped around meat or vegetables before being steamed. A useful technique to discover where the best eating can be found is to ask a local where they go, this will lead you to some of the more authentic and delicious vendors around. If you are looking for fine dining, Mexico City has many internationally recognised restaurants cooking traditional dishes with a refined contemporary twist.
There are plenty of festivals and national celebrations throughout the year in Mexico, so there is always an opportunity to join in these special festivities. The most famous festival is Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) which takes place from October 31st until November 2nd and is held throughout the entire country. Participants wear bright costumes and face paint and make offerings to the dead. The Guelaguetza Festival is situated in Oaxaca and takes place on the last two Mondays in July. This wonderful event is a celebration of the diversity in the communities of the state. Traditional clothing is worn as each group performs folk dances and at the end, they throw items that represent their region in to the crowd.
Mexico is a vast country and so the weather in each region and season varies greatly. The peak time to visit is generally between December and April, which is the dry season and there is almost no rain. Temperatures are usually cooler and more pleasant between the months of December and February, making this a very popular time to visit Mexico. In the south, the wet season begins in May and usually lasts until October. This time of the year is typically more humid than other seasons and if you are looking for cheaper prices, this might be the best time of year to fly.
If you are flying to Mexico from the UK, you can stay for 180 days without a visa. There is no separate fee to enter the country and your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay in Mexico.
Mexico is rich with history, from the ruins of Palenque, some of which date back to 226 BC, to the Pyramid of Kukulcan that dominates the landscape of Chichén Itza. Enter one of the temples in the Mayan ruins of Bon Bonampak and see vivid murals and lintels that tell stories of a long-dead civilisation. Climb 248 steps to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in ancient Teotihuacán for incredible vistas of an Aztec city. And just as spectacular as the man-made wonders of centuries ago is Copper Canyon, consisting of six individual canyons that each have a coppery-green hue, hence the name. The Spanish discovered silver here in the 17th century and Barrancas del Cobre – as it is known in Mexico – dwarfs even the Grand Canyon in size.
In Mexico you'll discover beautiful beaches like Baja, with its white sands contrasting exquisitely with the warm turquoise sea – the perfect place to relax, and even spot whales. The spectacular coastline of Tulum is home to one of the country's best beaches and there's even a prominent Mayan ruin to explore. It's also an excellent place for snorkelling. Mexico has its fair share of cenotes – or sinkholes – that occur naturally, and in Tulum you'll find Gran Cenote with its glorious stalactites, stalagmites and crystal-clear water. Diving enthusiasts will adore Isla Cozumel which has some of the world's best reefs. And for a different kind of diving, La Quebrada Cliff in Acapulco provides jaw-dropping heights from summit to sea.
For sheer natural wonder, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve takes some beating. See a host of animals in over 1.6 million acres made up of tropical forests, wetlands, and coastal habitats. There are big cats including jaguars and pumas, and creatures such as tapirs and anteaters, dolphins and manatees. Not forgetting a huge array of birds, reptiles and fish.
Taxco is the destination for silver merchants from all over the world and you'll find many places selling a wide range of superbly crafted silver jewellery.
The State of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico has probably some of the best markets in the whole of the country. Here you can sample and buy delicious food products, from coffee and chocolate to fresh-baked bread, sausages and tacos. You'll also find a whole range of artisan goods including hats, rugs and hammocks, leather bags and sandals.
Whether you fancy listening to the traditional and stirring strains of a Mariachi band, sampling the café and bar culture of Guanajuato or the nightlife of Playa del Carmen, there's something in Mexico to suit your taste. And while you're here, make sure to try coffee and cocoa made to traditional Mexican recipes. And for a drop of the hard stuff, an authentic Mexican Tequila should be top of your list.
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