Travel in Mexico is what you make it. You can stay in huge resorts on the Riviera Maya, budget beach huts on the Pacific or colonial mansions in the highlands. You can eat gourmet food in chic city restaurants or equally delicious grandmothers’ recipes at a busy market. There are snow-capped mountains and sandy deserts as well as a coast lined with beaches.
Traveling to Baja, the earth’s second-longest peninsula, along highway 1, offers stunning vistas at every turn. This is the middle of nowhere and it is more beautiful than you ever imagined. The people were very friendly, relaxed and quite helpful. We took a few side roads that passed through tiny villages and wound along the sides of mountains. It is absolutely beautiful.
We spent a few nights in Mexico City, the nation’s capital. I was much surprised by revamped public spaces and cultural renaissance. Strolling through the buzzing downtown area we could see the capital’s storied history, from its pre-Hispanic underpinnings and colonial-era splendor to its contemporary urban edge. We stayed at Hotel de Cortés, a 5-star venue for only $100 a night. It was situated across the street from Alameda Central, Mexico City’s oldest park, this contemporary boutique hotel was recommended by Anna our agent because it offered delicious regional cuisine and a central location in the city’s business district.
The Northern Highlands
The Northern Highlands were quite different from Mexico City. From cobbled lanes to pretty plazas, deserts to cloud forest, this region is as varied as its history, cuisine and cultures. Cities in the region you shouldn’t miss are Guanajuato and Zacatecas, a very arty San Miguel de Allende, and nature-filled Sierra Gorda. We literally ate our way through all of them. The food was spicy, sensual and always included delicious trusty tortillas or regional specialties.
The Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya is a very popular tourist destination featuring white-sand beaches, scenic ruins and limestone sinkholes. The Riviera is basically 135km of coastline that stretches south from Puerto Morelos to Tulum so getting from town to town is fast and simple. We quickly discovered that the place to go for a party is the boomtown they call Playa del Carmen. However, while it may trump fast-growing Tulum as the Riviera’s wildest city, it’s got nothing on Tulum’s spectacular Maya ruins perched high above the beach. We chose to stay in Tulum at La Vita é Bella, which offered a lovely bungalow with tiled floors, a big comfy bed and hammocks on the beach. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Our trip through Mexico was really quite enjoyable. With such a varied climate and pleasant perspective, Mexico is a delightful place to spend a few days, a week or even the rest of your life. Go there, you’ll be glad you did.