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With its perfect combination of rich cultural heritage, stunning scenery, endless sunshine and beautiful sandy beaches, it comes as no surprise why Mexico is a top vacation destination at any time of year. A mix of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, luxury resorts and traditional beach vacation spots, Mexico offers visitors an enticing blend of Mesoamerican cultures, where authentic Spanish traditions, delicious cuisine and shimmering blue coastline are only a few of the enticing facets of culture to explore. Perfect for nature lovers, visitors will find a range of outdoor activities in addition to miles of tranquil beaches, perfect for either a day of relaxation or partaking in thrilling water-based adventures. From cities with snowcapped mountain backdrops to beach destinations with colorful underwater marine life, discover the best places to vacation in Mexico.
Located on the picturesque Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carmen is one of the most beautiful beach areas to explore in Mexico. A lively resort town in the state of Quintana Roo, it is a former fishing village with a European influence, where visitors are greeted with a mix of soft sand beaches and buzzing entertainment venues. Boasting a laid-back personality, most visitors come to Playa Del Carmen to relax, enjoy the endless sunshine and partake in one of the many outdoor activities available. From scuba diving to snorkeling, the crystal clear waters and beaches are bustling with locals and visitors alike throughout the day until the bars and nightclubs in La Quinta Avenida fill up with revelers in the evening.
It’s not only the capital of the country, but Mexico City is also one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Surrounded by striking volcanic mountains, Mexico City boasts a collection of world-class museums, art galleries and attractions to fill up an itinerary for most travelers, while its historic city center serves as the centerpiece of the area and welcomes visitors to explore the streets lined with restaurants, bars and attractions. A 5-square-mile UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitors will find more than 1,400 notable colonial-style buildings that date back to the 16th century. Take a stroll through the bustling Constitution Square to find the National Palace, spot the Metropolitan Cathedral and visit the Templo Mayor with Aztec relics, then retreat to one of Mexico City’s top hotels.
What was once a tucked away oasis in Mexico’s east coast has developed into a coveted beach destination for luxury travelers, Tulum is also known for its well-preserved Mayan ruins and outdoor attractions. While visitors flock to Tulum to explore one of the last cities built by the Mayans, the area’s postcard-perfect location perched on a bluff also makes it a spectacular destination to soak in the stunning splendors of the Caribbean Sea. A day spent visiting Tulum’s craft markets, indulging in its array of restaurants, or swimming and snorkeling in its bright blue waters will be a memory visitors won’t soon forget.
Offering a small town atmosphere with a vibrant array of outdoor activities to choose from, Puerto Vallarta is an increasingly popular beach destination for a variety of travelers. The Pacific coastal city has gained significant attention throughout the years, with active travelers flocking to the area to indulge in exciting water-based activities that including swimming with dolphins, paragliding and jet skiing. With a lush jungle atmosphere and mountain backdrop, visitors can explore colonial landmarks during the day and rest their head in first-class resorts at night, or spending their days spotting giant manta rays on one of the area’s pristine beaches. Those looking for activities on land can dine in gourmet restaurants, shop at high-end shops or dance until the late hours of the night in one of the many buzzing nightclubs.
Highly regarded as the marlin sports fishing capital of the world, Cabo San Lucas is equally as famous for its buzzing party reputation, where visitors go to enjoy its lively nightlife scene in addition to its sun-kissed beaches. Lined with luxury resorts and upscale restaurants, those who want to indulge in a glitzy party scene will find this area appealing, as it is bustling with a party crowd throughout the year. Perfect for a daytime excursion, visitors can also explore the cluster of rock formations shaped by the sea at El Arco de Cabo San Lucas and spend the day swimming and snorkeling where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific.
Located about 170 miles northwest of Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende was once full of wealth from nearby silver mines but is now home to a picturesque town filled with handicraft shops, 17th-century cathedrals and botanical gardens. Walk along the charming cobblestone streets to find vibrantly colored buildings, as this romantic city is popular for travelers who want to get a glimpse of Mexico’s diverse music, food and arts scene. With 500-year-old colonial walkways and Baroque architecture, shopping enthusiasts will be delighted to find a variety of artisan shops with unique treasures, such as crafts, jewelry and handmade accessories.
Boasting a combination of secluded beaches, colorful sunsets and a laid-back personality, Zihuatanejo worked hard to maintain its charming small-town feel. Offering a more authentic experience compared to its Mexican Riviera counterparts, Zihuatanejo is popular with divers and snorkelers, as they will be in heaven with their pick of more than 30 sites to explore diverse underwater marine life. Passionate foodies will find Zihuatanejo to be a refreshing change of pace, where fresh fish tacos and ceviche are in abundance along the postcard-worthy beach. Lying along a well-protected bay, visitors love this city for its vibrant fish markets, top-rated restaurants and beautiful beaches.
Cancun is a world-famous destination, where its spectacular beaches are the perfect spot to try a range of water sports, from jet skiing to parasailing. Offering visitors a comprehensive vacation package, Cancun is known for its glittering beaches, all-inclusive hotels and exciting nightlife. With year-round weather ideal for soaking in the sunshine, Cancun maintains its reputation as one of the most popular Mexican destinations. With restaurants, bars and clubs around every corner, visitors are spoiled for choice in how they spend their days and nights in Cancun. While the area’s after-hours activities are some of the most popular in Mexico, visitors shouldn’t miss out on exploring the Chichen Itza, a large Mayan archaeological site that is considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
The capital of the state of the same name, Oaxaca is the place to go for travelers who want to be completely immersed in an authentic Mexican experience. Mixing native Indian and Spanish elements, this largely unspoiled area of Mexico has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Famous for its colorful festivals, including the Guelaguetza, the city is also a perfect place to explore the local cuisine, vibrant markets and native customs. Situated 5,000 feet above sea level, food lovers and history buffs alike enjoy the area’s cultural treasures and architectural gems. Surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, it is a picturesque town not to be missed.
Known around the world for its crystal-clear waters and coral reefs, Cozumel impresses even the most discerning beachgoer with its stunning beauty and abundance of exciting water sports opportunities. Visitors will find an array of water-based activities to fill their days, including snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, deep-sea fishing and diving. Located in the Caribbean Sea on the Yucatan Peninsula, visitors are met with a 30-mile island that is popular for its year-round cruise port-of-calls packed with local vendors selling a variety of souvenirs to tourists. Venture outside of the tourist hotspots to find what makes this area so alluring with a local diving charter boat or glass-bottom boat tour to really see the island’s best-kept secrets and natural wonders.
Often considered a “mini Mexico City”, Pueblo is a colonial city packed with a range of beautiful cathedrals, museums and other enticing attractions to explore. Walk along its historic center to gaze at buildings decked with gorgeous painted tiles, sample some of the local cuisines and visit a range of historic landmarks. Located in the middle of Mexico, Puebla is one of the oldest Mexican cities where visitors can get lost in its winding streets to find an array of picturesque fountains, gardens and craft markets. Boasting a thriving art and nightlife scene, visitors will find a vibrant city with a unique mix of old and new, where they’ll be engulfed in more than 70 historic churches in the city center alone.