Mexico is an absolutely fascinating country. It’s obviously a major destination for beach vacations, for one thing. However, Mexican and Hispanic culture are one of my favorites in the world to learn about. There are so many beautiful, unique, and intriguing things about it! Every country or city certainly has its dangers, but with each passing year Mexico becomes more heavily shrouded in stigma, at least in the United States. So, if you haven’t thought of Mexico as a place to travel to outside of a five-star resort, I would encourage you to take another look. Below are just a few things I drew me in, so hopefully, they work on you too.
1. Rooted in history
As I get older, my interest in cultural history grows by the day. In fact, learning about history is one of the main reasons that I travel now. Ancient history specifically dazzles me—particularly Mayan history—and getting to visit the ruins at Tulum last year was the icing on the tip of my Mexican vacation cake. I don’t love guided tours, so I always recommend exploring on your own and seeing what you want to see, and then doing some library or even just Internet research when you get back home or just to your hotel room. It helps maximize the experience.
2. Beautiful beaches
For vacationers, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention “Mexico” is the pristine coastline, and for valid reasons. Turquoise waters and white sands that span from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean have enticed tourists for decades, and kept them coming back. It makes water sports like kayaking, sailing, parasailing or even just swimming that much more magical. Or, you can just enjoy looking at it from your lounger at the beach. No matter how you experience them, Mexico’s beaches are some of the best in the world, and the just about the easiest for American travelers to get to.
3. Tacos & Tequila
Everyone’s two favorite things to come out of this North American paradise. Many cities like Mexico City and Tequila itself offer unique tequila tours and tastings, or if head down to Oaxaca for an inside look at the world of mezcal—it’s the scotch to tequila’s whiskey. But really, you’ll find these Mexican staples anywhere without even trying. Same with tacos—now that’s my kind of paradise. Try a variety of fish tacos in the cities by the sea and other meat (or veggie) varieties inland. But you can guarantee they’ll be authentic—skip the lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream but don’t forget the squeeze of lime juice.
4. Monarch Butterflies
You might have heard once about the magnificent Monarch butterfly migration that takes place each winter, when those beautiful little flashes of orange flap their wings from Canada to Mexico and set up camp on the oyamel fir trees, just a few hours outside of Mexico City. What a once-in-a-lifetime sight to see millions of these striking beauties basking in the midday sun! There’s a ton of research out there on how to put this trip together, and it’s easily made its way onto my bucket list.
5. Dynamite cruise ports
Whether you’re on the Caribbean side (Cozumel, Costa Maya) or the Pacific side (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Acapulco), cruise ports were built to handle thousands of people coming in and out each day while giving them a taste of the culture in every region. After the recent hurricanes around the Caribbean, ports were built back up to be bigger and better and they’re all welcoming new visitors. Cruising is a great way to see a new side of Mexico by land and sea alike.