Visit Beautiful Mexico

¡México Te Da la Bienvenida! ¡Coge Un Sombrero Y Únete a la Fiesta

The national language of Mexico is Spanish and the country is made up of 56 different Amerindian ethnic groups and it boasts a diverse group of foreign ethnicities. According to the 2020 census, Mexico had the 10th largest population in the world coming in at 126,014,024 inhabitants.

Pre-Columbian Mexico can trace its origins to 8,000 BCE and is identified as one of the six cradles of civilization; it was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, most notably the Maya and the Aztecs.

Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world for the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, ranking fifth in natural biodiversity.

The State of Affairs in Mexico.

The crime situation in several areas of Mexico, primarily along its northern border, has received much coverage in the media. The U.S. Department of State has a travel advisory for Mexico.

According to the U.S. Government, millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year. Also, about one million Americans live there. Like them, travelers can greatly enhance their safety by using some common sense while traveling in Mexico. It’s the same common sense one should use traveling anywhere in the world.

How to Safely Travel in Mexico

  1. Don’t Piss Off the Natives

    Just like you would expect a Mexican to obey and obverse the laws and norms of our county, the same applies when visiting their country. Learn a few commonly used phrases and their common responses to show you are trying and most Mexicans will help you as much as they can. Learn to say Hello (Hola), Goodbye (Adiós), Please(Por Favor), Thank You (Gracias), and You’re Welcome (De Nada).

  2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

    Most crimes against tourists are crimes of opportunity. In general, if I become uneasy about my surroundings I start planning escape routes just in case I accidentally trigger a crime of opportunity. Stay out of shady areas and never drink so much you lose control of your senses.

  3. Become a Chameleon

    Like the Chameleon, you will want to blend into the crowd. Leave your America First t-shirts at home and dress according to your surroundings. A flamboyant or arrogant tourist will stick out from the crowd and they are often targeted.

  4. Register Your Travel Itinerary With the State Department

    For Americans, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) will alert the government where you are traveling in case there is an issue while traveling. It will make finding you and helping you that much easier if you need them to help you.

  5. Stick to Public Transportation if Possible

    Driving can be risky in Mexico. If you choose to rent a car or even drive your own car make sure your insurance policy includes uninsured motorists, as well as bail: If you’re involved in a crash, both drivers can be detained, and even jailed until the fault is determined. Also avoid cabs as you will be alone, locked in the back of a car without control of the situation.

  6. Get Vaccinated and Bring Medication

    The CDC also advises getting hepatitis A vaccine to protect against the effects of contaminated food or drink and suggests a typhoid vaccine, especially for adventurous eaters and those going to small cities or rural areas. Pack over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicine. Savvy travelers also carry an antibiotic such as Ciprofloxacin for debilitating bacterial attacks.

  7. Make Copies of Your Passport and Credit Cards

    Or you can photograph them and save the images on your cellphone. Keep tabs on credit and debit card transactions so you can catch any fraudulent charges or withdrawals.

What Is the Capital of Mexico?

Mexico City is the densely populated, high-altitude capital of Mexico. It’s known for its Templo Mayor (a 13th-century Aztec temple), the baroque Catedral Metropolitana de México of the Spanish conquistadors, and the Palacio Nacional, which houses historic murals by Diego Rivera. All of these are situated in and around the Plaza de la Constitución, the massive main square also known as the Zócalo.

What Are the States of Mexico?

Mexico, officially known as the United Mexican States, is organized into a federation and made up of 31 states plus Mexico City, much like Washington DC is for the United States.

  • Mexico City
  • Aguascalientes
  • Baja California
  • Baja California Sur
  • Campeche
  • Chiapas
  • Chihuahua
  • Coahuila de Zaragoza
  • Colima
  • Durango
  • Estado de México
  • Guanajuato
  • Guerrero
  • Hidalgo
  • Jalisco
  • Michoacán
  • Morelos
  • Nayarit
  • Nuevo León
  • Oaxaca
  • Puebla
  • Querétaro
  • Quintana Roo
  • San Luis Potosí
  • Sinaloa
  • Sonora
  • Tabasco
  • Tamaulipas
  • Tlaxcala
  • Veracruz
  • Yucatán
  • Zacatecas

Each state is further divided into municipalities. Mexico City is divided into boroughs, officially designated as demarcaciones territoriales or alcaldías, similar to other state’s municipalities but with different administrative powers.

What Are the Best Beaches in Mexico to Visit?

Surrounded by exuberant nature, the beaches of Mexico have something special to offer for all tastes and budgets. Mexico has 5,797 miles of coastline, of which 4,559 miles face the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, and 1,742 miles along the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

  • Playa del Amor, Cabo San Lucas
  • Playa Sisal, Yucatan
  • Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido
  • Playa Delfines, Cancun
  • Playa Mayto, Jalisco
  • Troncones, Guerrero
  • Playa Balandra, La Paz
  • Progreso, Yucatan
  • Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas
  • Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Quintana Roo
  • Playa Tangolunda, Huatulco
  • Playa Maroma, Riviera Maya
  • Isla Holbox
  • Playa Mujeres, Cancun
  • La Punta, Puerto Escondido
  • Playa Paraiso, Tulum
  • Playa Blanca, Zihuatanejo
  • Costalegre, Jalisco
  • Playa Cerritos, Todos Santos
  • Playa Canalan, Nayarit
  • Lagunas de Chacahua, Oaxaca

Whether your travel plan is to relax in an all-inclusive hotel by the sea, get in contact with nature or simply discover new destinations, the beaches of Mexico have everything for you to experience the best holiday.

What Are the Best Attractions in Mexico to See?

Mexico is one of the world’s favorite tourist destinations, not only for its history, traditions, culture, the warmth of its people, and delicious cuisine but also for the beauty and variety of attractions located throughout its entire territory.

  • Copper Canyon: Mexico’s Grand Canyon
  • Mexico City’s Historic Center
  • Chichén Itzá: The Mayan Metropolis
  • The Island of Cozumel
  • Ancient Ruins of Monte Alban
  • El Tajin
  • The Ancient Fortress of Tulum
  • Guadalajara
  • Mérida: Yucatán’s White City
  • Oaxaca
  • El Castillo, Stepped Pyramid
  • The Great Pyramid of Cholula
  • Morelia Cathedral
  • Mazatlan
  • Cenotes, Yucatan Peninsula
  • Palenque, Chiapas
  • Isla Holbox
  • The Ancient City of La Venta

So far, there are approximately 193 archaeological sites distributed throughout the country. However, it is believed that there are many that remain hidden in the jungle or under the asphalt of the big cities.

What Are the Best Resorts in Mexico to Stay At?

In Mexico, many all-inclusive resorts are often priced far cheaper than their Caribbean counterparts. Whether you’re a couple looking for secluded romance in rooms with private plunge pools, or a family planning a multi-gen escape for everyone from toddlers to grandma, there’s an all-inclusive resort for you.

  • Viceroy Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen
  • Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort, San José del Cabo
  • Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, San José del Cabo
  • Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Acapulco
  • Mahekal Beach Resort, Playa del Carmen
  • Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen
  • Montage Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas
  • W Punta de Mita, Punta Mita
  • Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta
  • Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas
  • Cala de Mar Resort & Spa, Ixtapa
  • Las Brisas Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo
  • Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas
  • Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta
  • Vidanta Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen
  • Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen
  • Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas
  • One&Only Palmilla, San José del Cabo
  • Grand Velas Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas
  • Chileno Bay Resort, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas
  • The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Cabo San Lucas
  • Vidanta Los Cabos, San José del Cabo
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Cancún
  • Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Punta Mita

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What Are the Best Mexican Holidays to Celebrate?

Mexico is a country rich in heritage and traditions. Thus, it is no wonder that Mexicans celebrate a wide array of holidays over the course of the year. This is a guide to the diverse holidays that take place in Mexico year-round.

  • January 5th: Día de Reyes (Epiphany/Three Kings Day)
  • Floating – 1st Monday in February: Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day)
  • January 15th-23rd: Danza de los Parachicos (Dance of the Parachicos)
  • February 2nd: Día de la Candelaria (Day of the Candlemas)
  • February 5th: Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day)
  • February 24th: Día de la Bandera (Flag Day)
  • March 21: Natalicio de Benito Juárez (Benito Juárez’s birthday)
  • Floating – Week Before Easter: Semana Santa (Holy Week)
  • April 30th: Día del Niño (Children’s Day)
  • Floating- 2 Mondays after July 16: Los Lunes del Cerro (Mondays on the Hill)
  • May 1st: Día del Trabajo (Labor Day)
  • May 5th: Cinco de Mayo/Batalla de Puebla
  • May 10th: Día de las Madres (Mothers’ Day)
  • June 20th: Dia del Padre (Fathers’ Day)
  • September 15th-16th: Día de la Independencia (Independence Day)
  • October 12th: Dia de la Raza (The Day of the Races)
  • November 1st and 2nd: Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)
  • November 20th: Día de la Revolución (Mexican Revolution Day)
  • December 12th: Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe)
  • December 16th-25th: Navidad y las Posadas (The Christmas Season)
  • December 31st: Año Nuevo (New Years’ Eve)

Given the predominance of the Catholic faith in the country, many celebrations are religious in nature, with large-scale festivities taking place around Christmas, Easter, and other occasions in the Christian calendar. However, Mexico also has many festivities which are unique to the country, including Día de Muertos, as well as civic and statutory holidays.

The History of Mexico.

First populated more than 13,000 years ago, central and southern Mexico (termed Mesoamerica) saw the rise and fall of complex indigenous civilizations. Mexico would later develop into a unique multicultural society. Mesoamerican civilizations developed glyphic writing systems, recording the political history of conquests and rulers.

Ancient Mexico can be said to have produced five major civilizations: the Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Aztec. Unlike other indigenous Mexican societies, these civilizations (with the exception of the politically fragmented Maya) extended their political and cultural reach across Mexico and beyond.

The Olmec 1500–900 BC

The Olmec first appeared along the Atlantic coast (in what is now the state of Tabasco) in the period 1500–900 BC. The Olmecs were the first Mesoamerican culture to produce an identifiable artistic and cultural style, and may also have been the society that invented writing in Mesoamerica. By the Middle Preclassic Period (900–300 BC), Olmec artistic styles had been adopted as far away as the Valley of Mexico and Costa Rica.

The Maya 2000 BC–1697 AD

Maya cultural characteristics, such as the rise of the ahau, or king, can be traced from 300 BC onward. During the centuries preceding the classical period, Maya kingdoms sprang up in an area stretching from the Pacific coasts of southern Mexico and Guatemala to the northern Yucatán Peninsula. The egalitarian Maya society of pre-royal centuries gradually gave way to a society controlled by a wealthy elite that began building large ceremonial temples and complexes.

The earliest known long-count date, 199 AD, heralds the classic period, during which the Maya kingdoms supported a population numbering in the millions. Tikal, the largest of the kingdoms, alone had 500,000 inhabitants, though the average population of a kingdom was much smaller—somewhere under 50,000 people. The Maya speak a diverse family of languages known as Mayan.

The Teotihuacan 200 BC–650 AD

Teotihuacan is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Apart from the pyramidal structures, Teotihuacan is also known for its large residential complexes, the Avenue of the Dead, and numerous colorful, well-preserved murals. Additionally, Teotihuacan produced a thin orange pottery style that spread through Mesoamerica.

The city is thought to have been established around 100 BCE and continued to be built until about 250 CE. The city may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries CE. At its zenith, perhaps in the first half of the 1st millennium CE, Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. At this time it may have had more than 200,000 inhabitants, placing it among the largest cities in the world during that period. Teotihuacan was even home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate this large population.

The Toltec 950–1150 AD

The Toltecs were Mesoamerican people that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo, in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology (ca 800–1000 CE). The later Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors and described Toltec culture emanating from Tollan (Nahuatl for Tula) as the epitome of civilization; indeed, in the Nahuatl language, the word “Toltec” came to take on the meaning “artisan”.

The Aztec Empire 1428–1521 AD

The Nahua people began to enter central Mexico in the 6th century AD. By the 12th century, they had established their center at Azcapotzalco, the city of the Tepanecs. The Mexica people arrived in the Valley of Mexico in 1248 AD and began to establish their empire. What the Aztecs initially lacked in political power, they made up for with ambition and military skill. In 1325, they established the biggest city in the world at that time, Tenochtitlan.

Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely the Valley of Mexico and surrounding territories, with its people being known as the Mexica. Three city-states ruled that area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies who ruled under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521.

The Colonial Era 1521–1821 AD

In the colonial era (1521-1821) Mexico was called New Spain. The ‘Spanish conquest of Mexico’ denotes the conquest of the central region of Mesoamerica where the Aztec Empire was based. The fall of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in 1521 was a decisive event, but the conquest of other regions of Mexico, such as Yucatán, extended long after the Spaniards consolidated control of central Mexico.

Smallpox (Variola major and Variola minor) began to spread in Mesoamerica immediately after the arrival of Europeans. The indigenous peoples, who had no immunity to it, eventually died in the millions. A third of all the natives of the Valley of Mexico succumbed to it within six months of the Spaniards’ arrival.

The Spanish conquest of Yucatán was a much longer campaign, from 1551 to 1697, against the Maya peoples of the Maya civilization in the Yucatán Peninsula of present-day Mexico and northern Central America.

War of Independence 1810–1821

In 1810, insurgent conspirators had plotted a rebellion against the royal government, which was again firmly in the hands of Peninsular Spaniards. When the plot was uncovered, Father Hidalgo summoned his parishioners of Dolores, exhorting them to action. This event of 16 September 1810 is now called the “Cry of Dolores”, now celebrated as Independence Day.

On September 27, 1821, Iturbide and the last viceroy, Juan O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba whereby Spain granted the demands. O’Donojú had been operating under instructions that had been issued months before the latest turn of events. Spain refused to formally recognize Mexico’s independence and the situation became even more complicated by O’Donojú’s death in October 1821.

First Mexican Empire 1821–1823

When Mexico achieved its independence, the southern portion of New Spain became independent as well as a result of the Treaty of Cordoba, so Central America, present-day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and part of Chiapas were incorporated into the Mexican Empire.

Although Mexico now had its own government, there was no revolutionary change either socially or economically. The formal, legal racial distinctions were abolished, but power remained in the hands of white elites. Monarchy was the form of government chosen and the political power of the royal government was transferred to the military. The Roman Catholic Church was the other pillar of institutional rule.

The Monarchy would spiral out of control until Colonel Antonio López de Santa Anna raised a rebellion that led to the emperor’s abdication on 19 March 1823.

The Age of Santa Anna 1823–1862

In much of Spanish America soon after its independence, military strongmen or caudillos dominated politics, and this period is often called “The Age of Caudillismo”. In Mexico, from the late 1820s to the mid-1850s the period is often called the “Age of Santa Anna”, named for the general turned politician, Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Liberals (federalists) asked Santa Anna to overthrow conservative President Anastasio Bustamante. After he did, he declared General Manuel Gómez Pedraza (who won the election of 1828) president. Elections were held thereafter, and Santa Anna took office in 1832. He served as president 11 times.

French intervention and Second Mexican Empire 1862–1867

In 1862, the country was invaded by France which sought to collect debts that the Juárez government had defaulted on, but the larger purpose was to install a ruler under French control. They chose a member of the Habsburg dynasty, which had ruled Spain and its overseas possessions until 1700. Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria was installed as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, with support from the Catholic Church, conservative elements of the upper class, and some indigenous communities.

Restored Republic 1867–1910

The rule of Porfirio Díaz (1876–1911) was dedicated to the rule by law, suppression of violence, and modernization of all aspects of the society and economy. This period of relative prosperity is known as the Porfiriato. Mexico moved from being a target of ridicule to international pride. As traditional ways were under challenge, urban Mexicans debated national identity, the rejection of indigenous cultures, the new passion for French culture once the French were ousted from Mexico, and the challenge of creating a modern nation by means of industrialization and scientific modernization.

Revolution of 1910–1917

The Mexican Revolution is a broad term to describe political and social changes in the early 20th century. Most scholars consider it to span the years 1910–1917, from the fraudulent election of Porfirio Díaz in 1910 until the December 1920 election of northern general Alvaro Obregón. Foreign powers had important economic and strategic interests in the outcome of power struggles in Mexico, with the United States involvement in the Mexican Revolution playing an especially significant role

The United Mexican States 1917–Present

The official name of the country has changed as the form of government has changed. In the Mexican Constitutional Signing of 1917, it declared the official name of the country as Estados Unidos Mexicanos or the variant Estados-Unidos Mexicanos, all of which have been translated as “United Mexican States”.

FAQ

  • Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico? To enter Mexico it is necessary that you present your valid passport, as well as the Tourist Immigration Form, this form is obtained online. Know the details and countries that require a visa here.
  • How long can you stay in Mexico as a tourist? As a tourist, you can stay in Mexico for a maximum of 180 days.
  • Is any type of vaccine required to travel to Mexico? At the moment, there is no mandatory vaccination requirement to enter Mexico, however, it is advisable to be up to date with the international vaccination scheme that includes: vaccines against Hepatitis A, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, rubella, and mumps, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test required to enter Mexico? At this time, a negative COVID-19 test is not required to enter Mexico. Check the measures you must take before traveling at: https://coronavirus.gob.mx/
  • Do I need an electrical adapter? Electricity in Mexico is 110 volts, the same as in the US. Visitors from countries that use 220 volts will need voltage adaptors.
  • Is the water safe to drink? Tap water is generally not safe to drink in Mexico. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, and restaurants. Don’t forget to use bottled water when brushing your teeth as well! Ice is not always made with boiled/ bottled water. Order your beverages without ice (“sin hielo”).

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Bonny Calypso
Bonny Calypso
Bonny Calypso is a travel and lifestyle photojournalist based in Miami. She loves to focus on weird and offbeat destinations around the world.
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