Tequila, tamales and Frida Kahlo, deserts, jungles, beaches and snowy peaks… Mexico has something for everyone. Mexico attracts adventure loving travelers from all over the world to Baja California for whale sightings and the Yucatan Peninsula for reef diving. San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, and Guanajuato are the jewels in the crown of the Colonial Heartland. Then theres the pyramids of Teotihuacan and the temples of Chichen Itza. Visit Mexico City, the capital, for world-class museums, great restaurants, sprawling markets and perhaps the world’s tastiest tacos.
MEXICO TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
When it comes to the most famous sights in Mexico, it’s hard to top Chichen Itza. The ancient Mayan city is one of the new 7 wonders of the world and it attracts millions of visitors each year. A trip here is absolutely one of the best things to do in Mexico. The fusion of Mayan construction techniques with new elements from central Mexico make Chichen-Itza one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán and it’s super pretty at night. There’s lots more to see and discover at Chichen Itza, so it’s best to hire a guide to enhance your experience.
Take advantage of the wide bike lanes and ride around Mexico City. Take in the beautiful architecture, bustling streets and chic cafes as you go and then relax in one of Mexico City’s parks for a break. You’ll find bike rentals all around the city if your hotel doesn’t provide them for free. As the day ends, get ready to experience Mexico City’s great nightlife. Check out the Roma and La Condesa neighborhoods for the best places to party. Whether you want live music, a hole-in-the-wall, top craft beer or rooftop views you’ll find it all here.
Pyramids of Teotihuacan
Once the largest city in the region but abandoned centuries before the arrival of the Aztecs, Teotihuacán boasts towering pyramids and stone temples. The ancient city of Teotihuacan welcomes roughly 4 million visitors each year, making it the most popular archaeological site in the country and perfect for a day trip from Mexico City. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, climb on top of the Pyramid of the Sun to take in the views and imagine what life was like here long ago.
Spending one week in Oaxaca, dividing your time between the city and the coast, will allow you to enjoy the culture and history of this colonial city. Oaxaca City is perfect for wandering around the winding streets and discovering some of the best street art in Mexico. Take a 45-minute drive outside of Oaxaca City to visit the town of Tlacolula on Sunday when they hold their weekly market which is the largest indigenous market in Latin America. Get a glimpse into the everyday lives of the locals and the indigenous people that come from all around the region to sell their own goods or to stock up for the week.
Diving in Cozumel
Cozumel, is a Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea and a popular cruise ship port of call famed for its scuba diving. Cozumel island is considered one of the best places to go scuba diving in the western hemisphere. If you’re not yet scuba certified, this is the perfect place to do it. There are tons of dive shops on this island offering open water courses at very fair prices. The diving here is definitely top-notch with crystal clear waters and an abundance of marine life. At Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, there’s diving spots around the Mesoamerican Reef and the Museo Subacuático de Arte’s submerged sculptures.
Read more: Don’t miss these top things to do in Mexico
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MEXICO TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. Mexicans view it not as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration because their loved ones awake and celebrate with them.
Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) is a Mexican holiday to celebrate the “cry of independence”, which started a revolt against the Spaniards. It follows from the day of the Cry of Dolores (El Grito de Dolores), on September 15. Often confused with Cinco de Mayo by people living in the United States, Mexico’s independence day is actually September 16.
Holy Week is a major holiday in Mexico and next to Christmas, Semana Santa is the second most widely celebrated holiday. Semana Santa celebrations are renowned as a mixture of spiritual, artistic, and emotionally involving celebrations of family, God and country. Mexican Nationals wouldn’t dream of missing the annual festivities associated with the religious holiday.
Language: Spanish is the official language of Mexico. English 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 when you land. Make sure you keep this form safe as you will need to show it when you leave the country. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for Mexico is required (which may depend on the country you are from) and how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In Mexico the standard voltage is 127 V and the frequency is 60 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Mexico if the standard voltage in your country is between 110 – 127 V (so if you’re from the USA, Canada and most South American countries). Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Mexico: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN MEXICO
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in Mexico are listed below.
Chilaquiles: From the Nahuatl word chīlāquilitl is a traditional Mexican dish. Chilaquiles are basically corn tortilla pieces that are fried, cooked in salsa, and sprinkled with cheese. They are often served for breakfast with eggs and a side of beans or nopalitos.
Pozole: Pozole means “hominy”, and is a traditional Mexican soup or stew. It is made from hominy, with meat, and can be seasoned and garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa or limes.
Tacos al pastor: This is a taco made with spit-grilled pork. Based on the lamb shawarma brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico, tacos al pastor combines traditional Middle Eastern spices with those indigenous to central Mexico.
Elote: Elote is the Mexican corn on the cob, and you can usually 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 reasonably affordable place to visit.Finding excellent accommodation in Mexico is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to Mexico affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Mexico will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in Mexico can cost less than $50.
If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Mexico City, Cancun, San Miguel De Allende, Oaxaca and Guadalajara.
Whatever month you choose to visit Mexico, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. Mexico is an extremely popular year-round destination with business travelers and tourists alike.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Mexico. However, if you are backpacking in Mexico or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Mexico very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
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 less 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 all budgets. The cost of your trip to Mexico really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between $50 to $100 per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $100 to $200 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least $200 to $500+ per day.
IS MEXICO SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Depending on where you visit in Mexico, its a relatively safe place for tourists. The infamous Mexican Drug cartels currently tend to go about their business in the non-touristy areas. Thefts, bag snatching and scams are prevalent in all popular tourist cities so be mindful of this. Based on my own travel experiences in Mexico, I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance. You can always miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. Check out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your trip to Mexico.
MEXICO VISA CHECKER
MEXICO FLIGHT DEALS
MEXICO TOURS & ACTIVITIES
MEXICO PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to Mexico, like most other places in North America, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to Mexico.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
If you’re visiting Mexico during the warmer months it will be much easier to travel light. Pack mainly lightweight and breathable clothing but still be prepared for cold mornings and evenings depending on the month you visit. Other essential items to pack for a trip to Mexico include, most importantly, 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.
Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.