Mexico's must-see attractions
Mexico is a fascinating destination that evokes diverse images. We think of the remains of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations and the beautiful beaches with turquoise waters. There is also the bubbling capital Mexico City and the small seaside resorts that offer beautiful sunny breaks. Nature is unique and shared between arid lands and tropical forests. In other words, the country offers ten thousand reasons to visit it, to explore its regions and to dive into the heart of a culture with well-established traditions. Here are the main places to discover during a Mexican getaway.
The Yucatán Peninsula, open-air museum
A stay in the Yucatán Peninsula offers a journey of a thousand faces. Fans of urban environments enjoy strolling around the capital, Mérida. There is a real gentleness of life here. Valladolid is another city not to be missed, especially for the pleasure of strolling through the narrow cobbled streets with colourful facades emblematic of Central America. There is also the possibility of visiting ancient archaeological sites and contemplating a heritage unique in the world. To do so, you have to reach the ruins of Cobá or the inevitable Mayan pyramid of Chichén Itzá. Finally, those who dream of postcard landscapes cannot fail to visit Tulum. As well as being home to a formidable historical heritage, the beaches are real natural swimming pools where you can swim with sea turtles.
Chiapas, the authentic Mexico
Chiapas is an exceptional region to discover lush vegetation, as well as to go back in time and stop in front of fabulous remains, such as the Mayan city of Palenque. In some remote villages, there is also an opportunity to get in touch with the indigenous Tzotzile population and discover their culture. To the south, there is also the city of Comitán, which houses colonial architectural jewels and unmissable Mayan ruins. Then it is necessary to take the time to practice ecotourism, by taking the direction of the Sumidero Canyon. It is here that you have the opportunity to hike in the jungle and enjoy the exceptional fauna and flora. Not to mention the discovery of coffee plantations, which opens the way to tasty tastings.
Mineral de Pozos, a ghost village that has come back to life
The village emerges in the middle of a desert landscape and gives the feeling of being at the end of the world. Under the sun, you should take the time to walk through the alleys and stop in front of the beautiful church of San Pedro on the banks of the Jardín Juárez. The municipality, which was once abandoned twice by its inhabitants, has come back to life over time. And today, there are art galleries, beautiful old houses transformed into hotels and musicians populate the streets and let themselves go to a few musical notes. It is also necessary to take a look at the old mines. A walk through the wooded pits and ruined buildings is undoubtedly moving. Mineral de Pozos is a village with a strong history.
Mexico City, sprawling city
Mexico City is a colourful and multi-faceted capital. It is necessary to start by walking through the streets and alleys of the historic centre. Go through the Plaza Constitución to see the cathedral or stroll around the market. Behind the religious building is the Templo Mayor, the main temple of Tenochtitlan, whose importance can be better understood by going to the museum which houses many pre-Hispanic objects. Then later, join the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico's first opera house. We go there for its permanent exhibition, but also in the evening to enjoy the cultural program and attend a show. Gourmets can visit the Mercado San Juan, the city's oldest, when culture lovers stroll around the Museo de Arte Popular. In the evening, a getaway to Zona Rosa offers the opportunity to celebrate with the presence of many bars, cabarets and discos.
A tour in the Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca
Since 2008, this wonderful and unique place has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn more about this place that is home to the Monarch butterfly species, when it flees the cold to breed on Mexican soil. Pass through the Centro de Cultura para la Conservación Sierra Chincua before being guided by a professional to the forest and its most lost corners to observe this species that contributes to the ecological balance of the places it occupies. Observe the colourful flights in the sky, then the wedding parades, before taking the paths that take you back to Angangueo, a magnificent village lost in the middle of the evergreen mountains.
Calakmul, a Mayan city in the middle of the jungle
Calakmul is located on the border with Guatemala and is definitely a must in Mexico. It is the largest tropical reserve in the country and there is a large Mayan city in the middle of the jungle. It is a place where you can see sublime remains, but with far fewer tourists. It is estimated that Calakmul has more than 6,500 old structures, but only about 20 have been cleaned and can be visited. Different itineraries lead visitors to emblematic sites such as the Great Acropolis, Chan Ch'ich or Chii'k Nab. It is also important to open your eyes, remain cautious and enjoy the wildlife. There are 235 species of birds, felines, reptiles and many monkeys that can often be seen jumping from one branch to another.
Uxmal, another archaeological site
Uxmal is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Mexico, it is located in the Yucatán. It was once a Mayan city that was founded around the year 600. What is great about this site is to contemplate the different architectural details, which have been extremely well preserved. The style represented is the Puuc style, which has the particularity of representing elongated and highly decorated buildings. We can see structures such as the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the Quadrilateral of the Nuns, the Great Pyramid or the Palace of Governors, from the top of which we can enjoy an incredible view of the site and the surrounding nature
An escapade in the valley of Tlacolula
The Tlacolula Valley is famous for its towns with many craftsmen, its Zapotec ruins and its geological formations that are surprising to say the least. You have to stop in Tule, to see one of the largest trees in the world, which is 2,000 years old, and which is juxtaposed with a 17th century church. Then we head for Mitla, a Zapotec town full of handicraft stands. It is also famous for its fabulous archaeological site where monuments are covered with stone mosaics. Finally, how not to take the opportunity to go and contemplate the magnificent surrounding landscapes of the State of Oaxaca, where the mountains are next to an impressive geological phenomenon: the petrified waterfalls of Hierve el Agua. Here, water that has flowed from mineral springs for centuries forms solid cascades that give the appearance of water that would have frozen. A site not to be missed and if the weather permits, there is the possibility of bathing in the springs.
Todos Santos, a small village with a certain charm
At the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula is Todos Santos, a small town of 5,000 people. It is both dusty and at the same time refreshed by the presence of the Pacific Ocean. We walk along the long American-style alleys and admire the architecture until we reach La Misión de Todos Santos, an 18th century building that houses the Virgen del Pilar. This city is also a haven for artists of all kinds. It is therefore necessary to take advantage of art galleries where you can find works by well-known and lesser-known artists, as well as Mexican craftsmanship in all its splendour. It is a unique cultural place, with many events in the field of music and film. Surfers also appreciate the spot known by professionals. And finally, you can enjoy the local speciality, empanadas with meat and olives.
Escobilla Beach, turtle paradise
The Escobilla Beach Sanctuary offers a unique experience that delights animal lovers. Between February and May, then in summer, thousands of olive-turtles land in this mythical place to lay their eggs and incubate them, known as arribadas. Accompanied by a guide, it is possible to participate in activities that provide an opportunity to observe this species, which remains threatened. It is fabulous, discreetly, to be able to see a turtle laying eggs in the sand. Then there is the moment of the hatching of the eggs and this stage, not always simple, where the turtles try to reach the sea, a moving spectacle, unique in the world and which makes it important to respect this natural cycle.