Thinking of taking a Mexico holiday? Mexico vacations include everything from mysterious Aztec ruins to plush resorts nestled along silky soft beaches. Whether it is a day of parasailing in Acapulco, a morning of SCUBA diving in Cozumel or an evening of dining in San Miguel de Allende, a Mexico holiday will surely enchant.
For those in search of sand, sun and first class visitor amenities, perhaps one of the most popular Mexican destinations is Cancun. Known for its perfect beaches and all inclusive hotels, Cancun was specifically developed by the Mexican government to be a top notch resort destination, and from all accounts, it has succeeded wonderfully. The city is located in the Yucatan Peninsula and attracts more than 1.5 million tourists a year, more than any other Mexican resort. Slick and glitzy, Cancun has grown rapidly and is highly Americanized but offers outstanding shopping, delicious food and some spectacular mega resorts.
Another of Mexico’s popular vacation destinations, one favored by foreign tourists and Mexicans alike, is Puerto Vallarta. This enticing city, with its palm-lined beaches, white-washed buildings and cobblestone streets, typifies the Mexican Riviera resort. Nestled at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains with the sparkling Pacific stretched out at its feet, Puerto Vallarta has some delightfully secluded beaches, tasty restaurants and luxurious hotels.
Everyone should spend at least one Mexico holiday at a resort in Acapulco. This romantic spot is actually one of Mexico’s oldest Colonial towns, a port where Spanish ships offloaded treasures such as ivory, spices and silk from the Philippines. Acapulco has soothing beaches, world renowned cliff divers and lively party ambiance but manages to retain much of its Colonial charm. This Mexico vacation destination should not be missed.
On the Baja Peninsula is the resort of Cabo San Lucas, another of Mexico’s popular vacation destinations. Cabo is known for its fertile waters and first class fishing with marlin, tuna and sailfish running in abundance. Throw in a lively party scene, and Cabo is at the top of the favorite Mexican vacation destinations’ list.
Divers have come to recognize beautiful Cozumel, on Mexico’s eastern coast, as one of the world’s leading SCUBA locales, thanks to warm waters and visibility that can reach 120 feet. A wonderful variety of fish and mammals, caves and sand falls make diving here a real treat, but Cozumel resorts also have silky soft beaches and comfortable tourist amenities.
Mazatlan, a fun Mexican vacation destination, is one of Mexico’s oldest resorts and a favorite spot for sportfishing. Tuna, marlin, dorado, grouper and snapper are plentiful, and charter fishing tours run daily. This popular locale got its start in the 1950s when Cancun and some of the other splashy resorts of today were nothing more than strips of undeveloped sand. Dining and shopping are excellent, and the city is restoring its historical downtown.
Not everyone, however, comes to Mexico for the beaches and water activities. Some come for the country’s inland natural beauty, including the spectacular Copper Canyon in the state of Chihuahua. This region, known as the Sierra Tarahunara, is home to more than 200 ravines and gorges that combine to form six interconnected canyons that are four times the size of the United States' Grand Canyon. Some of these canyons, including the Copper Canyon, so named for the copper-colored lichen that clings to its walls, are 1,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon. Trains take passengers on sightseeing trips through this amazing landscape, making it one of the best of Mexico’s vacation destinations.
Tourists also visit Mexico to experience its fascinating history. Wonderful Spanish Colonial cities dot the countryside, with communities such as San Miguel de Allende, Taxco, Guanajuato, Puebla and Alamos, among many others, dating from roughly 1521 to the early 1800s. It is here, in these historic towns, that a visitor catches a glimpse of the Mexico of old, when Spanish and Moorish influences mingled with the rich traditions of the indigenous people, creating a new culture in an ancient land. Mission churches, narrow winding streets and bougainvillea-filled courtyards beckon, giving visitors a peek into a time gone by.
But even before the Spanish stepped foot on the shores of modern-day Mexico, two thriving civilizations, the Mayans and Aztecs, called this land their home and populated vast swaths of Mesoamerica. Today, no Mexico holiday is complete without visiting the ruins of these ancient cultures.
Mayan ruins are found primarily in the state of Yucatan, a popular Mexican vacation destination on the country’s most eastern tip. Some of these archeological treasures have been restored, but many have not and are nearly deserted, making exploring them a nearly mystical experience. Mayan ruins are also found in Teotihuacan, a huge, pre-Columbian site, 25 miles outside of Mexico City, that was once home to 100,000 people.
An important Aztec archeological site is the Aztec capital city of Tenochtilan, where 200,000 people lived when Hernan Cortes first arrived in the early 16th century . Built around 1325, this ancient city is located under present-day Mexico City and is the location of the Templo Mayor ruin, the primary Aztec temple for worship and human sacrifice, making it a must see stop on any Mexico holiday.
Mexico is a land of sun and sand where milky white beaches meet emerald seas. It is also a place where ancient temples rise out of steamy jungles, where indigenous peoples still speak an ancient language and where modern day tourists can spend days soaking up sun, diving for pirate treasures or strolling the cobblestone streets that Spanish conquistadors once walked. Take a Mexico holiday soon. Sprawling haciendas, colorful Mariachi bands, swaying palm trees, quiet mission churches, glistening beaches, historic cities and stunning resorts – they are all here, waiting to be explored.