The bohemian glamour of Tulum and the humble fishing hamlets that huddle around the Lago de Pátzcuaro. San Cristóbal’s red-roofed cottages and the palm-fringed beaches of the Mexican Riviera. Mexico is a sprawling country with countless treasures just waiting to be discovered.
In a country where the landscape varies from the ferocious desert in the north to the lush, palm-strewn coves of the south, where you stay in Mexico will very much depend on what sort of trip you’re after.
From gorgeous Oaxahaca, with its world famous food scene and intimate plazas, to the candy-coloured buildings of Merida, there are no shortage of cities to visit in Mexico.
The capital, Mexico City, is a sprawling organism that’s swallowing up more and more of the valley it inhabits amid the great stone plateaus in the heart of the country. Expect Aztec canals, atmospheric cantinas and a clutch of excellent museums, including the Museo Nacional de Antropología.
Are you an art fan? Museo Frida Kahlo is one of the top things to see in Mexico City. Instantly recognisable for her unique looks and colourful personality, Kahlo’s bright blue family home is equally striking.
Known for its enigmatic pyramid temple, the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza has to be on of the top things to do and see near Cancun. It’s just two hours by car, the ideal distance for a day trip before a night spent dancing barefoot on the sand of the city’s many beaches.
One of the best places to visit in Mexico for scenery and culture is the Yucatan Peninsula, the lush outcrop which separates the Caribbean Sea from the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Not only does it boast some of the best beaches in the country, you’ll also discover historic colonial towns that ooze character, such as Merida.
Los Cabos is also a must-see if you live for the beachy lifestyle. Clinging like a very chic barnacle to the sunny southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, it is the jet set’s favourite playground.
And let’s not forget one of Mexico’s biggest drawcards – the food. Creamy guacamole and barbecued corn dripping with butter and chilli salt. Enchiladas bursting with fresh fish and sour cream. Tamales, the legacy of the Aztecs, steamed in banana leaves until tender. Mexico’s food scene is a celebration of the many exotic ingredients that flourish in its year round sunshine and mineral rich soil.
One of the world’s great wildlife destinations, Costa Rica is on par with the great parks of East Africa. There are a number of great eco friendly stays in this part of the world, so it’s a great option for those wanting to tread lightly when they travel.
One of the great (largely undiscovered) spots in Costa Rica is Puerto Viejo – a mecca for surfers and those seeking out a laid-back beach vibe. Puerto Viejo’s charms are heightened rather than diminished by the fact that there are no sealed roads and mostly basic accommodation choices. Rather the allure here lies in the surf (there is a strong rip so it’s for experts only), palm-fringed beaches and a heady mix of Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Bribri cultures.