One big question that all travelers need to answer is WHERE? Where to go on holiday? Some make this determination based on time off. Perhaps others need to plan around multiple family member’s desires. Many travelers swarm to the warm beaches, while others seek adventure and culture.
Whatever comes into play for the individual, Mexico offers up the answer. This magical country offers up an amazing diversity that many are unaware of. Here are five of the less known regions in Mexico that should be having all travelers book a flight immediately. In fact, with the close proximity to the United States, perhaps even a splurge on a private jet!
1. The Wide Open Beaches of Baja
Many travelers are well aware of the gorgeous white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Caribbean on Mexico’s east side. What fewer are familiar with are the miles and miles of nearly empty sand in Baja. Baja California is an entity unto itself when compared to the rest of the country. This narrow and lightly traveled peninsula features thousands of miles of coastline, featuring both the mighty waves of the Pacific, along with the much more tranquil Sea of Cortez.
Best known for the upscale party city of Cabo San Lucas, the real gems are found off the beaten path. Magic exists in the small fishing villages of San Felipe and Los Barriles. Fish tacos and beach camping line the entire coastline. And the historic city of Loreto, along with the artsy town of Todos Santos will charm those looking for culture.
2. Finding Magic in Pueblo Magicos
One surprise to many travelers is finding that there are currently 101 towns and villages in Mexico that are considered so special the government has deemed them Pueblo Magicos… villages of magic. These towns offer astonishing diversity, from the gorgeous and tiny village of Alamos to the large and thriving city of Patzcuaro.
What all share is a certain historical and cultural significance that the government seeks to preserve for the future. They exist in far reaching regions of the country, from beach villages to the high elevations of the colonial hill-town area. Each pueblo magico is unique in its own right and multiple vacations could be planned with the simple premise of visiting each and every one.
3. Ruins Less Known
Nearly everyone has heard of the “big boys” of Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan and Monte Alban. What not everyone knows is that nearly the entire country of Mexico is overrun by Mayan ruins both large and small. Some are remote, but many are located very close to the larger and better known sites. While it is well worth it to climb the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan or explore the ball fields of Chichen Itza, it is equally rewarding to seek out the under-explored gems such as Yagul in Oaxaca state or Yaxchilán, which can only be accessed by boat creating a feeling of being a modern day Indiana Jones.
Travelers will find smaller numbers and wide open spaces as you explore every nook and cranny of Mayan monuments that are thousands of years old. Climb through the jungles vegetation at Palenque or enjoy the Yucatan region without the crowds at Ek Balam, one of the few sites still occupied when the Spanish invaded.
4. Another Look at Resort Towns
Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun. The resort towns of Mexico are well documented and well-traveled. You can, however, see them in a whole new way. It was once the norm to book a fancy resort or all-inclusive and rarely get out to explore the real town behind the glitz. Not anymore. The travelers of today are looking for a more enriching experience in their holidays.
The key to a more evolved vacation experience lies in getting off the main tourist strip. In nearly every case, the mere act of walking a few blocks from the malecon or waterfront and you find the “real” Mexico. Locals flock around their favorite tacos stands. Families spill out onto the sidewalks. Guitar music envelopes the scene. THIS is a Mexico you will never forget.
5. Colonial Charm
Far away from the beaches and hotel strips of Mexico lie some of the most astonishing cities travelers will find anywhere. The upper elevations and nearly perfect climate of the hills of Central Mexico hold untold treasures in architecture, culture and cuisine. Some, such as Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende are quite well established on the tourist’s radar.
However a multitude of fascinating stops exist for the traveler willing to step away from their comfort zone to search for a deeper experience. San Cristobal de las Casas, located deep in the jungles of the southern state of Chiapas is a perfect example of traditional Mayan culture, delightful cafes and restaurants, and colorful architecture. Further north, Zacatecas is rarely visited by tourists but is steeped in stunning architecture, delicious food, and one of the most fascinating ceremonial mask museums in the world.
Mexico has gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years, but for those in the know this eclectic country retains all of the charm and tradition that has drawn travelers to her shores for hundreds of years. Search out Mayan culture in unexpected places. Indulge on one of the worlds most revered cuisines. Sun yourself on the thousands of miles of beaches encompassing two oceans, a gulf and a sea.
The size of the country, alone, creates an enticing bounty of choices for the traveler. For few countries in the world can offer up the boundless diversity offering elevations from sea level to 10,000 feet. From relatively new, government created towns to several thousand year old cities. Perhaps an entire vacation could revolve around discovering the intricate differences between tequila and mescal. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Make all of your friends jealous this year by heading off to a country steeped in history, and yet fully immersed in the modern world.