Mexico is many things – good, bad and ugly. The upside: most of it is good. Very good. From snowy volcanic peaks to warm azure waters, mysterious ancient wonders to fast-paced city living, this is a country of contrasts, colour and intrigue.
Head to the northern state of Chiapas to explore the Maya city of Palenque in the jungle or combine temples and tans at Tulum, with its magnificent thirteenth-century walled city and clifftop castle. While you’re in this part of the world, take a dip in the Yucatan’s cenotes, underground caves with pools of turquoise water formed when the porous limestone bedrock collapses.
Spend some downtime chasing waves. Small beachside towns like Sayulita and Puerto Escondido offer decent breaks and a low-key vibe. Elsewhere you can hike, kayak, zip-line, horse ride and take on just about any other adventure you can imagine.
For urban adventurers, Mexico City is a goldmine. Huge and chaotic, it offers incredible history, outstanding art, extraordinary cultural experiences (the Arena México hosts lucha libra, the country’s own form of wrestling, each week) and thriving hip neighbourhoods. Check out Condesa, Roma and Juárez for cool bars, restaurants and shops.
If you’re willing to give the well-worn tourist traps a swerve, Mexico will reward you with some remarkable travel experiences. Bring your phrasebook and a sense of adventure and you’ll find this epic country has an incredible allure.