Mexico has so much to offer the adventurous traveller – an abundance of beautiful beaches along Caribbean and Pacific coasts; some of best colonial architecture; massive ancient ruins and some world-class cuisine. With more flight options between the UK and Mexico than ever, and new tours, hotels and cruises entering the market, there is more choice for your holiday than ever before.
10 reasons to visit Mexico
- Tasty tacos:Mexican cuisine was put on UNESCO’s heritage list in 2010, and is famous for good reason. Tuck into traditional tacos, tortas, tamales and much more.
- Magical villages:The ‘pueblos mágicos’ programme was started in 2001 and highlights villages of particular cultural or historical significance across Mexico. With 111 of them, you’re spoilt for choice.
- The big city:The vastness that is Mexico City is hard to beat for sheer variety: history, culture and cuisine jostle with markets, museums and murals.
- Beaches:Mexico is blessed with abundant beaches. In the north, from Los Cabo the Pacific coast runs the length of the country. In the south, on the Caribbean side, hot spots include Cancún and Riviera Maya.
- Wildlife viewing:Mexico is the sanctuary of the Monarch butterfly during the winter and 600 million of them annually descend on Michoacán. It was spectacularly featured on ‘Mexico: Earth’s abundance of life’, recently shown on the BBC.
- Royal ruins:To get up close and personal with Mexico’s ancient heritage, head south for Mayan ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula and in Chiapas. The centre is home to Aztec sites, while Oaxaca and Veracruz offer Zapotec and Totonac heritage.
- Party the Mexico way:Every village has its own saint, so Mexico is not short of festivals. The ‘big ones’ include Easter/Holy Week, Day of the Virgin Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico, and Day of the Dead, which featured at the start of Bond’s latest outing ‘Spectre’.
- Local brews:Tequila is the national tipple but you really should try Baja California’s excellent wines and mezcal from Oaxaca.
- Natural wonders:Mexico has 67 protected areas, covering everything from volcanoes to deserts. Even mega-metropolis Mexico City has national parks.
- Mexican market marvels:To experience the colourful culture of Mexico head to the local markets, selling fruit, vegetables and local handicrafts.
Sights: Ichkabal Mayan, a newly-discovered archaeological site in southern Quintana Roo, should finally open in 2018. Larger than Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, which are both known for their vastness.
Events: Mexico City is the World Design Capital in 2018.
Tour operators: Kuoni has added two new resorts in its 2017/18 brochure: Dreams Playa Mujeres near Cancún and Hotel Xcaret on the Riviera Maya. Journey Latin America has launched a cruise itinerary in Baja California. Travel 2 has added Hotel Xcaret to its 2018 packages, and Gold Medal has added UNICO 20°87 Hotel Riviera Maya to its 2018 options.
Hotels: Next year sees the opening of several new hotels in Los Cabos (Los Cabos Airport is also gearing up to opening a new terminal in 2018), including Four Seasons, Park Hyatt and Starwood. Palladium Hotel Group is opening a five-star development on Costa Mujeres, north of Cancún, next autumn.
What to book
Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in the Riviera Maya resort is part of Thomas Cook’s Aquamania range and a 14 night stay in March starts from £1460 per person on an all-inclusive basis. Fill your days with 80 different activities, many eco-friendly or Mayan culture focused. If you just want to sit back and relax, there’s an adult-only section with its own beach, clubhouse and pool.
Cox & Kings’ 12-night Highlights of Mexico tour is from £2,695pp, including flights to Mexico City and returning from Cancún, accommodation, breakfasts, transfers and guide. Explore magnificent pyramids and temples, colourful colonial cities with their indigenous influences, and the natural beauty of valleys, canyons, waterfalls and tropical rainforests.