Ruled by Mayan ruins and rituals, Mexico is a mélange of smouldering volcanos, cactus-dotted deserts, Aztec pyramids, emerald jungles, white-sand beaches, and the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Americas. From the swanky beach resorts of the Yucatan and Baja to the urban chaos of Mexico City, this erstwhile Spanish colony lures holidaymakers with Mesoamerican cultures, mariachi bands, and archaeological monuments more intoxicating than a shot of tequila.
Loaded with glittering canyons, time-warped colonial towns, rich Aztec and Mayan cultures, and much-lauded pyramids, holidays to Mexico offer desert canyons in the north, Mayan jungle cities in the south, and Spanish colonial towns everywhere else. At its heart is Mexico City, the cultural and political capital that was once the centre of Aztec civilisation. What it lacks in good looks, it makes up with a frenetic energy and mosaic of spruced-up baroque buildings battling for street space with futuristic skyscrapers.
Once you’ve had your urban fill, beach bliss awaits at Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, and the ever-glitzy Acapulco on the Pacific coast. For further sun-drenched glamour, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Cancún on the beach-dotted Yucatan Peninsula allure with coral-crushed white sands, turquoise waters, and underground natural pools.
For culture holidays, Mexico’s variety of archaeological sites and architectural triumphs is mind-blowing. Showstoppers include the gleaming white city of Mérida, the floating gardens at Xochimilco, the Magician’s Pyramid at Uxmal, the Giant Conch Snail at Chichén Itzá, and the sprawling ancient city of Teotihuacán, best known for Pyramid of the Sun and Avenue of the Dead.
Other significant gems include the rugged and remote Copper Canyon, whale-watching paradise Los Cabos in Baja California, frontier town Tijuana, and historic San Cristóbal de las Casas in the Chiapas highlands. For foodies, the artists’ colony Oaxaca is the unrivalled jewel in Mexico's gastronomic crown, whilst second-largest city Guadalajara is the birthplace of tequila, mariachi music, the broad-brimmed sombrero, rodeos, and the Mexican Hat Dance.