Tequila, nachos and Frida Kahlo… Mexico has something for everyone. This vast country has a variety of landscapes from deserts to snowy peaks, to jungles and beaches. Mexico has a rich history and tourists flock to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and the temples of Chichen Itza; San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, and Guanajuato are the jewels in the crown of the Colonial Heartland.
The attractions of booming Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, include world-class museums, exquisite restaurants, and sprawling markets. Mexico attracts adventure loving travelers from all over the world, some of the most famous hot spots are Baja California for whale sightings and the Yucatan Peninsula for reef diving.
Mexico Travel Info
Language: Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Apart from this, the English language is also commonly spoken in most tourist areas.
Currency: Mexican Peso.
Visa: If you plan to visit Mexico as a tourist then a visa is not required, you just need to fill out an immigration form available online or when you land. Make sure you keep this form safe as you will need to show it when you leave the country.
Electricity: Mexico operates on 127 volts with a frequency of 60 Hz. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Mexico Festivals & Celebrations
Day of the Dead: Despite the sombre theme, death, “Dia De Los Muertes” is over two days and an explosion of color, fun costumes and joyful celebrations to show love and respect for deceased family members.
Independence Day: Dia de la Independencia or Independence day is celebrated every year on 16th September signifies the decade-long battle of Mexico. The celebration goes on for several weeks, and every town exhibits art shows, parades, and concerts with people donning traditional revolutionary style costumes. Avenida Paseo de la Reforma is famous for its fireworks on this occasion. The famous places to fully enjoy this festival are Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, and Mexico City.
Semana Santa: Celebrated with much enthusiasm and vigor for a week in the city of Veracruz, the Holy Easter attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. The celebration kicks off by burning the effigy of Judas Iscariot on Saturday night, who is believed to have betrayed the Christ followed by astonishing fireworks. An enormous parade follows the Holy week and events that re-enact Christ’s crucifixion.
Las Posadas: Another essential festival of Mexico is Christmas celebrated on 16th December. Children carry out candle-lit processions and visit designated home, where they hit star-shaped piñata which filled with fruits and sweets, this ritual is a re-enactment of the scene where Joseph and Mary explore the room for infant Jesus. This ritual gets repeated until Christmas.
Safety In Mexico
Mexico is a relatively safe place for tourists to travel to. The infamous Mexican Drug cartels tend to go about their business in the non-touristy areas. Thefts, bag snatching and scams are prevalent in all big cities so be mindful of this. Based on my own travel experiences in Mexico, I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination is considered. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. For this reason I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks or months before you plan to visit Mexico.
Top Things To Do In Mexico
Cancun and the Mayan Riviera
The resort destinations of Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Cozumel Island are collectively called the Mayan Riviera. These lie on the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and attract more than 5 million visitors annually. The beaches are full and the water crystal clear. Here you can enjoy a wide array of fun activities like swimming with stingray and dolphins, snorkeling, scuba diving, and exploring the largest underwater museum in the world.
Enjoy a beach day at Cabo San Lucas
At the southern end of the spectacular Baja Peninsula lies one of the best beach destinations called Los Cabos or simply Cabo. It is a 30 kilometer long stretch of fine sand and pristine beaches that attract visitors from all over the world. The beach is famous for its clear waters, diving, snorkeling and fishing with the world’s largest marlin contest held here. The place has so much to offer that you will fall short of time.
Explore the Mayan City of Chichen Itza
Visiting Chichen Itza can be easily reached from Cancun, and Playa del Carmen and the city has enough to engage you for an entire day. This beautiful Mayan city is among those archeological sites in Mexico that welcome the highest number of visitors every year. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the biggest and the most reserved place as well. There are some structures and statues here that are attractive enough to capture the attention of every visitor.
The best way to explore the city of Guanajuato is on foot. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has many old buildings, narrow alleys, and winding lanes. Its highlights are its plazas, and the main square of the city which is architecturally splendid. There is an old and beautiful San Diego Church and a grand Juarez Theater here as well as flower beds, fountains, restaurants, and cafes. The city is also known for its art galleries and museums.
Ancient Fortress of Tulum
The fortress of Tulum was the only Mayan settlement that was fortified. This old city is the most visited attraction on the Yucatan Peninsula. The location of the site is at the height of 12 meters over a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea and hence can be seen from afar. Tulum is known for its high walls, suggesting that the fort must at some point of time be of religious or military significance.
Explore Art at Frida Kahlo Museum
The museum has cobalt blue walls due to which it is also called Casa Azul and is home to the work of one of the most eminent artists of Mexico. It is the place where Frida Kahlo was born, spent her entire life and later died in 1954. The setting of the house is unchanged since 1950 except for the glass cases incorporated around a few exhibits. It still contains all the miscellaneous items she used in her lifetime.
Visit the Copper Canyon
The stunning Copper Canyon which is the most popular natural attraction of Mexico lies in Chihuahua, one of the northern states of Mexico. The Canyon has steep copper green colored walls which were formed by six rivers that fall in the Rio Fuerte from where they drain into the Gulf of California. This Canyon is a larger and a more in-depth version of the Grand Canyon and is gaining popularity thanks to its breathtaking natural beauty.
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
This cathedral was built in stages starting from 1573 and got completed in 1813. Claudio de Arciniega, a Spanish Architect, drew the plans of the cathedral spread across 6,732 sq meters of area. The construction of the Cathedral took place in a combination of styles including Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassic styles. It has 16 chapels, some organs from the 18th century, a splendid Renaissance and Gothic sacristy and Altars of forgiveness and Kings.
National Anthropology Museum, Mexico City
It is the right place to satiate your curiosity for the pre-Columbian culture of Mexico. The museum is home to anthropological exhibits and artifacts that date back to a millennium. Also, you will find detailed information and objects in the form of statues, reliefs, murals and many more things from the pre-Hispanic era including the Mayan, Olmecs and Aztec cultures.
Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City
Paseo de la Reforma is a full street running diagonally across the center of the City since 1860. The inspiration behind this piece of architecture was the grand boulevards that were trending in Europe during those days. Along the avenue, you will find skyscrapers and embassies and a few vendors selling tortas and tacos. It is the best place for sightseers as most of the highlights of the city lie around this place.
Other than these top things to do in Mexico, there is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Be prepared to be flexible because sometimes other travelers that you meet on your travels will have the best suggestions for things to do in Mexico that are off the beaten path.
What To Eat In Mexico
Mexico has been among the most loved tourist destinations since long attracting adventure seekers as well as foodies from across the globe. If you happen to be among the lucky ones visiting the country, do not forget to sample some of the listed food items.
Chilaquiles: Chilaquiles is a famous traditional breakfast made up of corn tortillas which a lightly fried and topped with red or green salsa, fried or scrambled eggs and chicken and heaps of cheese and cream. It gets served with lots of cooked beans.
Pozole: As stated by anthropologists, this soup got used in the pre-Hispanic era during ritual sacrifices. Today, pork, chicken and vegetable versions of pozole are readily available all over Mexico. The soup is made from corn and herbs, stewed for hours and then served with lettuce, radish, lime, and onions.
Tacos al pastor: This taco dish dated back to 1920s and was brought into Mexico by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants. Thin strips of pork sliced as pit get served on corn Tortilla along with onions, pineapples, and coriander leaves.
Elote: Elote is the Mexican corn on the cob, and you can find at least one vendor on every street. The locals boil the corn, and the kernels are served either in cups or on sticks. They add lots of salt, chili, lime, cheese, and butter to it.
Enchiladas: Enchiladas belong to the Mayan era, and at the time people used to eat corn tortillas stuffed with small fish. The locals have replaced the filing with meat, cheese, beans, seafood, vegetables or all of these. Then they cover the tortillas with chili sauce.
Where To Stay In Mexico
Mexico is a very affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Mexico is easy even if you’re on a tight budget. Mexico hostels and dormitories make travel here very affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best accommodation options have already been snapped up. Mexico is a very popular year-round destination.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Mexico.
If you’re backpacking in Mexico or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Central America very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Mexico Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Mexico
Mexico is a huge country and the weather varies by season and region. The best time to visit is generally between December and April, when there is hardly any rain. The coolest months are between December and February, while the wet season begins in the south in May and lasts until October.
Mexico Travel Budget
Mexico is generally an affordable destination for travelers on a tight budget. The cost of your trip to Mexico really depends on the level of comfort you will want while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between $35 to $50 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $50 to $100 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget about $250 plus a day.
- Budget: $15 – $35
- Mid-range: $35 – $100
- Splurge: $100 +
Meal For One
- Budget: $8 – $25
- Mid-range: $25 – $60
- Splurge: $60 +
Mexico Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Mexico, like most places in central America is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for dry season and warm, waterproof clothing for trips during the rainy season.
Be prepared for the weather to get extremely hot during the summer so pack a high factor sunscreen and a sun hat. If you forget to pack something you can buy anything you need while you’re in Mexico. Prices are generally higher in smaller boutiques (aimed at tourists) than they would be online so expect to pay a premium if you don’t have the option of shopping around due to time restraints on your central America trip.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Mexico include a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Mexico check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Central America Packing List For Female Travelers.