More than 20 million tourists visit Mexico each year to enjoy the country’s weather, culture and natural beauty. From ocean beaches to large cities, Mexico offers a wide range of alternatives for a traveler’s itinerary.
Visitors learn about Mexico’s intriguing history, including the Aztec and Mayan civilizations; attend colorful festivals like the Day of the Dead; and sample Mexican food, beer and tequila. The nation is graced with scenic coastlines and lush mountains.
In the heart of the country lies the sprawling capital of Mexico City. Art, music, cuisine, architecture, museums and shopping are among the attractions. Remnants of the Spanish colonial era are found in the San Angel and Coyoacan neighborhoods, and earlier structures still stand in the old town area.
About a half-hour drive outside the capital is Teotihuacan, an ancient city with huge pyramids and other ruins from the 2nd century. Guanajuato City, a former silver-mining center known for its museums, is also nearby. The mountain community, which dates to 1554, is famous for its haciendas, colonial architecture and underground tunnels.
For many tourists, the primary reason to go to Mexico is to escape winter weather and relax on a sandy beach. One of the most-visited oceanside areas, Acapulco, has been called the “Pearl of the Pacific.” In addition to upscale resorts along the shoreline, the city offers pulsing nightlife and many restaurants serving traditional Mexico food.
A 150-mile drive north of Acapulco leads to Zihuatanejo, a Pacific Ocean coastal community near the Ixtapa resort. Only Cancun and Puerto Vallarta attract more tourists to Mexico than this picturesque region, where sports fishing is among the favorite activities.
The home of the renowned city of Cancun, the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the world’s top beach destinations. It is popular with spring breakers, as well as other tourists and the Mexican people. In addition to beautiful strips of sand, Cancun is renowned for its resorts, cafes, nightclubs and shops.
Snorkeling and scuba-diving opportunities are available in the Yucatan state of Quintana Roo, which boasts the second-largest expanse of coral reefs on Earth. Many cruiselines include a stop at the island of Cozumel, where visitors charter boats for fishing and diving.
The peninsula is the site of ruins from the Mayan empire and other archaeological treasures. Some of the most impressive ancient temples and pyramids are found at Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan capital of Merida.
People have been flocking to this resort area for decades because of its pleasant climate, stunning beaches, art scene and culinary delights. Puerto Vallarta also is home to scenic areas like Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Off the western coast of Mexico, between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, this strip of land contains more beaches and resorts. At the peninsula’s southern tip is Los Cabos, a former fishing village that now teems with hotels, spas, restaurants and bars. The city’s white-sand beaches and temperate year-round climate are the major reasons it has become one of the most-visited parts of Mexico.
At Cabo San Lucas, visitors enjoy water sports, go fishing and watch whales when they are not taking in the community’s cultural attractions or relaxing at resorts. Baja’s capital of La Paz is the place to go for ecotourism adventures, as well as museums.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of travelers choose the Pacific shore city of Mazatlan as their vacation destination. Among the amenities are beautiful beaches and other places of natural wonder, museums, theaters, a historic district and sidewalk cafes.
Tequila fans love the western state of Jalisco, where multiple varieties of the liquor are available. Mariachi bands provide entertainment in town, while agave field tours and tequila tastings are available in the countryside. Guadalajara is known as western Mexico’s cultural center, with numerous historic sites and museums.