MEXICO TRAVEL GUIDE
Mexico is a dazzling land with an extensive cultural heritage that spans many centuries - an urban miracle where native markets thrive amidst a backdrop of colonial churches and sophisticated buildings.
Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on the planet and beckons with a truly astounding range of travel options, from the cultural and historic to the adventurous and scenic. The intrepid traveller is well advised to try a little of each. Soak in sun and sand, dance through a Mexican fiesta, drool over turkey mole. Or simply float through Gothic churches and marvel at the splendours of Indian architecture that has survived the ravages of centuries. Whether rambling through ancient Mayan ruins or musing through Spanish churches, you are infused with the charm of this land, its native Indian culture and its glorious colonial heritage. Much of the tourist industry revolves around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit.
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MEXICO QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
- Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN)
- Area: 1,964,375 km²
- Population: 126,2 million (2018)
- Language: Spanish is the most commonly spoken language various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
- Religion:Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%
- Electricity: 127V, 60Hz (US type A plug)
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MEXICO PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 1 January, New Year’s Day
- 1st Monday in February, Anniversary of the Constitution
- 3rd Monday in March, Benito Juárez Day
- 1 May, Labor Day
- 16 September, Independence Day
- 3rd Monday in November, Anniversary of the Revolution
The week before Lent is Carnival. Also, Semana Santa (Holy Week) from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
FESTIVALS IN MEXICO
- Carnaval - (February) A big bash preceding the 47-day penance of Lent, Carnaval happens during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. It’s wildest in Veracruz, La Paz and Mazatlán, with parades and plenty of music, drinking, dancing, fireworks and fun.
- Semana Santa - (April - the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday). Good Friday sees solemn processions in many places, and enormous crowds attend a re-enactment of the Crucifixion in Iztapalapa, Mexico City.
- Cinco de Mayo - (5 May) Celebrating the battle in 1862 when Mexican forces defeated French troops, the streets of Puebla, where the fighting happened, close for a huge parade of floats with the military, performers and dancers entertaining more than 20,000 people.
- Guelaguetza - (July) Oaxaca is thronged for this fantastically colourful feast of regional dance on the first two Mondays after July 16, with plenty of other celebratory events accompanying it.
- Día de la Independencia - (16 September) On Independence Day patriotic celebrations mark the anniversary of Miguel Hidalgo’s 1810 call to rebellion against Spain, the Grito de Dolores. On the 15th, the Grito is repeated from every Mexican town hall, followed by fireworks. The biggest celebrations are in Mexico City.
- Día de Muertos - (2 November) Cemeteries come alive as families decorate graves and commune with their dead, some holding all-night vigils. Special altars appear in homes and public buildings.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MEXICO
The climate varies dramatically across Mexico's vast landscape. In the northernmost area of the Baja Peninsula, on the Pacific coast, the climate is Mediterranean, whereas the climate is arid on the other side of the peninsula, facing the Sea of Cortez. As you move south on the Baja Peninsula, the climate changes to become more subtropical sub-arid/semi-arid, until you reach La Paz and Cabo, which has a unique tropical desert climate. On the mainland, the northern area of Mexico tends to be mountainous and chilly, and the lower areas have an arid climate. A tropical climate prevails from around the Tampico area down to Cancun, as well as the adjacent side on the Pacific.
BEST TIME FOR:
- Cabo San Lucas - January to December
- Puerto Vallarta - November to May
- Mexico City - March to October
- Oaxaca - February to November
- Cancun - November to August
- High Season (December to April) - This is driest months across most of Mexico, bringing winter escapees from colder countries. Christmas and Easter are Mexican holiday times. Transportation and coastal accommodations can get very busy.
- Shoulder Season (July to August) - Vacation time for many Mexicans and foreigners alike. It is hot almost everywhere and very wet on the Pacific coast. Accommodations prices go up in some popular areas.
- Low Season (May & June, September to November) - May and June see peak temperatures in many areas. September is the heart of the hurricane season, which doesn’t always bring hurricanes but does bring heavy rains on the Gulf and Pacific coasts.
MEXICO WEATHER SYNOPSIS
The climate in Mexico varies, largely by altitude, with some areas experiencing desert-like conditions and others experiencing a more tropical climate. The northern part of the country experiences cooler temperatures and peak rainfall during the winter months. The southeast of the country experiences a tropical rainy climate that ranges from no dry season to a short dry season. El Nino events typically bring cool, wet conditions to northern Mexico (in winter), and La Nina bring warmer, drier conditions during this same period.
MEXICO TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN MEXICO
If you're looking for snow, you can visit Bosques de Monterreal, Mexico’s only year round ski centre, although the longest run is only 230m, with a pitch of 20 degrees
HIKING & CYCLING IN MEXICO
The best time for outdoor activities in Mexico is from October to May when the weather is dry and temperatures moderate.
BEACH OPTIONS IN MEXICO
The most pleasant time to visit the beaches of Mexico is from October to May. The months of June to September are hurricane season and can be very hot and humid.
SURFING IN MEXICO
Mexico is a year round surfing destination, with the best time to go surfing from June to September.
KITESURF IN MEXICO
The best season to go kitesurfing in Mexico is from November to May. Some places, like Punta Abreojos and Punta San Carlos, have wind all year round.
For more details on kite surfing in Mexico expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN MEXICO
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
MEXICO TRAVEL TIPS
- Get out of the cities and coastal resorts into the countryside and smaller towns and villages, where you’ll see a side of Mexican life that many tourists miss.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin; pick a part of Mexico that you particularly want to explore.
GETTING AROUND MEXICO
- Bus - Mexico’s efficient, comfortable and reasonably priced bus network is generally the best option for moving around the country. Services are frequent on main routes.
- Air - Over 60 cities are served by domestic flights, which are well worth considering for longer intercity trips. Fares vary widely depending on the airline and how far in advance you pay.
- Car - A convenient option giving maximum independence. Roads are serviceable, with speeds generally slower than north of the border.
- Train - Train travel is limited to one spectacularly scenic train route in northern Mexico.
- Ride Hailing - Uber dominates the ride-hailing market in Mexico followed by Cabify and Didi.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF MEXICO
Due to the vast size of Mexico, this page can hardly do justice to provide you with every detail of must see and must do's. We'll keep it relatively simple and give our list of the Top 20 Experiences of Mexico.
- PALANQUE - Gather all your senses and dive headfirst into the ancient Maya world at the exquisite Palenque, where spectacular pyramids rise above emerald jungle treetops and furtive monkeys shriek and catapult themselves through dense canopies. Take your time to marvel at the abundance of reliefs, seek out the tomb of the mysterious Red Queen and her sarcophagus, wander the maze-like palace, gazing up at its iconic tower. Then, pay your respects to Pakal (Palenque’s mightiest ruler) at the Temple of the Inscriptions, perhaps the most celebrated burial monument in the Americas.
- CABU PULMO - Rediscover the magic of old Baja by visiting the largely undeveloped east coast, discovering world-class diving off Cabo Pulmo, the only coral reef on the west coast of North America and, at 71 sq km, one of the largest and most successful marine protected regions in the world. In this beautiful place you can expect to see black coral bushes, schools of trigger fish, and yellowfin tuna and snapper. Depending on the seasons and currents, you may also spy hammerhead sharks, huge manta rays and whale sharks.
- MEXICO CITY - The nation’s long-standing political capital clearly stands at the forefront of Mexico’s cultural scene as well. Remember that this is where many of the country’s top muralists left behind their most important works, such as Diego Rivera’s cinematic murals in the Palacio Nacional and the social-realism work of José Clemente Orozco in the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Art, music, dance and theatre are everywhere in Mexico City – even a gondola ride along the ancient canals of Xochimilco wouldn’t be complete without taking in a fervent mariachi ballad.
- MEXICO'S LAST TRAIN - The Ferrocarril Chihuahua Pacífico (Copper Canyon Railway) remains one of Latin America’s best rail trips. Trains climb from sea level at Los Mochis to Chihuahua’s high desert plains via the sensational rocky landscapes of the Copper Canyon. Vistas from your window include alpine forests, subtropical valleys, Tarahumara villages and glimpses of some of the world’s deepest canyons. Alight at a photogenic stop for 15 minutes along the canyon’s edge, or stay for days of exploring, hiking, biking and even zip-lining in one of Mexico’s most breath-taking destinations.
- PYRAMIDS OF TEOTIHUACAN - Once among Mesoamerica’s greatest cities, Teotihuacán lies just an hour out of Mexico City. The immense Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) and Pirámide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon) dominate the remains of the ancient metropolis, which even centuries after its collapse in the 8th century AD remained a pilgrimage site for Aztec royalty. Today it is a magnet for those who come to soak up the mystical energies that are believed to converge here.
- OAXACA CITY - This highly individual city basks in bright upland light and captivates everyone with its deliciously inventive version of Mexican cuisine, gorgeous handicrafts, colourful fiestas, colonial architecture, booming arts scene and fine mezcals distilled in nearby villages. Within easy reach of the city are the superb ancient Zapotec capital, Monte Albán, dozens of indigenous craft-making villages with weekly markets, and the cool, forested hills of the Sierra Norte, perfect for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.
- MERIDA - The cultural capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, this large but manageable city has a beautifully maintained colonial heart. It’s traced with narrow cobbled streets and dotted with sunny plazas, a wealth of museums and galleries and some of the best food in the region. Just out of town are wildlife reserves, graceful haciendas (estates) and jungle-shrouded cenotes (sinkholes) to swim in. A little further afield, the little-visited Maya sites along the Ruta Puuc allow you to step back in time without the tour groups.
- SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASA - Saunter the cobble-stone streets of hill-ringed San Cristóbal de las Casas, the high-altitude colonial city in the heart of indigenous Chiapas. A heady mix of modern and Maya, with cosmopolitan cafes and traditional culture, it’s also a jumping-off point for Chiapas’ natural attractions and fascinating Tzotzil and Tzeltal villages. Spend sunny days exploring its churches and bustling markets, or riding a horse through fragrant pine forest, and chilly evenings warmed by the fireplace of a cosy watering hole.
- CHICHEN ITZA - There’s a reason why this Maya site is the most popular of Mexico’s ancient sights – it's spectacular. From the imposing, monolithic El Castillo pyramid (where the shadow of the plumed serpent god Kukulcán creeps down the staircase during the spring and autumn equinoxes) to the Sacred Cenote and curiously designed El Caracol, the legacy of Mayan astronomers will blow your mind. Admire the Wall of Skulls and the stone carvings at the Temple of Warriors, or come back at night for the sound-and-light show.
- THE OAXACA COAST - After a few days on this 550km sequence of sandy Pacific beaches you’ll be so relaxed you may not be able to leave. Head for the surf mecca and fishing port of Puerto Escondido, the low-key resort of Bahías de Huatulco, or the ultra-laid-back hangouts of Zipolite, San Agustinillo or Mazunte. Soak up the sun, eat good food and imbibe in easy-going beach bars. When the mood takes you, have a swim, surf or snorkel, or board a boat to sight turtles, dolphins, whales, crocs or birdlife.
- LA HUASTECA POTOSINA - Gorgeously green Huasteca Potosina, a sub-region of San Luis Potosí, offers ruins, cave visits and wild and wet experiences. You can plunge into, boat to or ogle at a number of stunning waterfalls and rivers. The turquoises, aquas and greens are as vibrant as any manipulated image. Huastec culture is strong here: don’t miss trying a local zacahuil, a massive tamal. The region is home to surrealist garden, Las Pozas, where gigantic Dalí-esque structures strut their quirky stuff.
- VOLCAN PARICUTIN - As volcanoes go, Paricutín is still in its adolescence. Blasting out of a Michoacán maize field in 1943, it’s one of the youngest volcanoes on Earth, and one of only a few whose life cycle has been fully studied by scientists. And the dormant, 410m-high cone is relatively easy to climb. Some rock hop across barren lava fields to bag the peak, others ride horses through hot black sand before dismounting for the final summit scramble over volcanic scree. The goal’s the same: a chance to stand atop a veritable geological marvel.
- PICO DE ORIZABA - Touch the sky high above Mexico on the gruelling climb to the 5611m summit of Pico de Orizaba, the snow-capped highest mountain in the country. The trek is no walk in the park. You’ll need the help of an experienced local trekking operator, clothing for extreme cold and a sense of adventure as big as the mountain itself. If this all sounds a bit extreme for you, you can enjoy any number of less-demanding trails on the peak’s lower slopes.
- SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE - This colonial beauty has it all: a spring like climate, extraordinary light, architecture, handicraft shopping and some of the best culinary experiences in the country. Its frequent festivities mean that music, parades and fireworks are never hard to find, and its nearby hot springs are a joy to unwind in. Famously a place for retired gringos to spend the winter, San Miguel has so much more to offer than expat hangouts; spending time here is often a highlight of Mexico for many visitors.
- SPOT MONARCHS IN THEIR MILLIONS - Canopies of butter-flies cover the forests and hillsides in the Reserva de la Biósfera Santuario Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve), an astonishing yearly natural phenomenon. It’s the kind of annual event to plan your trip around – between late October and March the migrant monarchs cover every surface, weighing down fir tree branches and changing the landscape into a permanent sunset as the butterflies winter far from the freezing Great Lakes. It is one of the planet’s most spectacular migrations and not to be missed.
- COSTA MAYA - Unlike the overdeveloped Cancún and Riviera Maya, you can still find quiet fishing villages on the Costa Maya that put a premium on sustainable development, such as Mahahual and Xcalak, both of which boast some of the best dive sites on the Caribbean coast. Then head inland for Laguna Bacalar, a laid-back lakeside town known for its mesmerizing scenery, a 90m-deep cenote and an old Spanish fortress.
- THE PACIFIC COAST - Running from the desert islands of Baja California to verdant coves backed by lush mountains, and from untrammelled expanses of sand to lagoons teeming with birdlife, Mexico’s Pacific coastline is stunning in its natural beauty. Punctuating this primordial grandeur is a series of resort towns – Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo and Acapulco – interspersed with world-class surf spots such as Barra de Nexpa, Boca de Pascuales, Troncones and Puerto Escondido, where clear barrels of awesome power batter the shores.
- NAVIGATE GUADALAJARA - Mexico’s second-largest city manages to dazzle despite being more a collection of pueblos than a great metropolis. This charmer gets under your skin with colonial buildings, lofty churches, labyrinthine markets, awesome public spaces and craft shopping in the arty suburbs of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá. The young and middle class party all weekend in hip bars and dance clubs, and there’s nowhere better in western Mexico to eat out, whether you’re after local specialties such as spicy goat stew, or chic New Mexican and fusion cuisine.
- DIVE ESPIRITU SANTO - Part of a UNESCO-protected Biosphere Reserve, Espíritu Santo island is spectacular in every way. Pink sandstone has been eroded by wind and waves into finger-like protrusions, each harbouring a beautiful cove. And if this otherworldly beauty isn’t enough then you can descend into the endless blue with whale sharks, dive the many colourful reefs, camp under a canopy of stunning stars, watch frolicking sea lions at their island colony and paddle your way along myriad azure bays.
- TULUM - Take a world-famous Maya ruin, plonk it down beside the achingly beautiful white sands and turquoise-blue waters of the Caribbean and you’ve got the rightly popular Tulum. Add in accommodations for all budgets, from beachside shacks to top-end resorts, some fantastic restaurants and bars, and numerous attractions in the surrounding area from cenotes (limestone sinkholes) to other Maya ruins, and it’s no wonder many people come for a few days and find themselves staying for far longer.
- PUERTO VALLARTA - Visitors adore colourful Vallarta’s profusion of charms and it’s undoubtedly a more genuine, vibrant place than most of Mexico’s large beach-resort towns. Set on a long bay dotted with lovely beaches, it offers big-city nightlife, small-town friendliness, get-away-from-it-all excursions and a legendary LGBT scene. Beyond its lovely seafront boardwalk, one of the real delights of Puerto Vallarta is the abundance of top-quality street food, counterbalanced by a refined selection of fusion restaurants.
- GUANAJUATO - The glorious World Heritage–listed city of Guanajuato packs a huge amount into its narrow valley. The former mining town turned colourful university city is a feast of plazas, fun museums, opulent colonial mansions and pastel-hued houses. Snake your way along pedestrian alleyways, people-watch in the squares, mingle with marvellous mariachi groups, or party hard at estudiantinas (traditional street parties) and in the many student bars. The underground tunnels – the town’s major transport routes – make for a particularly quirky way to get around.
- Playa Zicatela - This 3km strip of golden sand and crashing waves in Puerto Escondido is heaven on Earth for surfers.
- Xcalak - Timeless Caribbean coast with a wonderful barrier reef.
- Playa Maruata - Tranquil, low-budget Michoacán fishing village beloved by beach bums and sea turtles.
- Barra de Potosí - Palm-fringed white sands, calm waters and a lagoon full of birds and crocs.
- Isla Holbox - Escape the Riviera Maya and wander the sandy roads of this palm-fringed Gulf coast getaway.
- Espíritu Santo - Shallow waters, pristine sandy beaches and boat trips.
- Reserva de la Biosfera Los Tuxtlas - The reserve’s mountain-backed beaches are the Gulf of Mexico’s ultimate chill-out spot.
- Playa Escondida - Battle your way along a rough road to reach this pristine sand crescent in southern Veracruz.
TEMPLES & PYRAMIDS
Mexico’s ancient civilizations were the most sophisticated and formidable in North and Central America. These often highly organized societies didn’t just build towering pyramids and sculpt beautiful temples; they could also read the heavens, do complicated mathematics and invent writing systems. Exploring their sites is an unmissable Mexico travel experience.
- Palenque - Exquisite Maya temples backed by jungle-covered hills.
- Chichén Itzá - A vast Maya temple complex, its step-pyramid design testimony to the Maya’s exceptional astronomy skills.
- Uxmal - Set in hilly Puuc, this large Maya site is a riot of fascinating carved-stone ornamentation.
- Yaxchilán - Impressive temples in a Chiapas jungle setting, reached only by river.
- Monte Albán - The ancient Zapotec capital sits spectacularly on a flattened hilltop site just outside Oaxaca.
- Tulum - These late Maya temples and pyramids sit right on a rugged stretch of Caribbean coast.
- Calakmul - High pyramids in a huge, remote Maya city, still largely hidden in protected rainforest.
- Teotihuacán - Massive Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, and mural-decked palaces, in Mexico’s biggest ancient city.
- Tzintzuntzan - Atmospheric Tarascan ruins with fantastic views of Lake Pátzcuaro, few crowds and unusual semi-circular temples.
- Edzná - Marvel at the fine carvings at the Templo de Mascarones (Temple of Masks).
HISTORIC COLONIAL TOWNS
- Guanajuato - The opulent mansions and winding streets of this university town squeeze into a picturesque valley.
- San Miguel de Allende - Artsy town of cobblestone streets and lovely stone architecture, with many foreign (mostly US) residents.
- Oaxaca - Gorgeous southern city with an indigenous flavour and stunning art and artisanry.
- Zacatecas - The magnificent cathedral in this former silver-mining city is the ultimate expression of colonial baroque.
- Mérida - Even if you’re not big on architecture, the stately mansions here never cease to impress.
- Álamos - Wander the cobbled streets of northern Mexico’s colonial jewel, nestled in the verdant Sierra Madre foothills.
- Todos Santos - This former cane-milling town has streets lined with handsome 19th-century brick-and-adobe haciendas.
- Puebla - Dense with restored colonial churches and mansions, sparkling with azulejos (painted ceramic tiles).
- Morelia - UNESCO-listed since 1991, Morelia is anchored by what is arguably Mexico’s most spectacular cathedral.
- San Cristóbal de las Casas - An indigenous highland town with winding cobblestone streets and old churches aplenty.
WHAT TO EAT IN MEXICO
Mexico has one of the world’s great street-food cultures. All over the country, street stands, markets and small eateries dole out endless supplies of filling and nutritious snacks and light meals, morning, noon and night. The busiest stands usually have the tastiest offerings and freshest ingredients.
Foremost are the many varieties of antojito (‘little whim’), light dishes using masa (corn dough). The quintessential antojito is the taco – meat, fish or vegetables wrapped in a tortilla (Mexico’s ubiquitous corn- or wheat-flour flatbread). Delicious varieties include tacos al pastor (with spit-cooked pork), tacos de carne asada (with grilled beef) and tacos de pescado (fish tacos, a favourite on the Pacific coast). There are many more types of antojito and an infinite variety of ingredients that can go into them. The most popular types include:
- Quesadillas - A tortilla folded in half with a filling of cheese and/or other ingredients.
- Enchiladas - Lightly fried tortillas with fillings, and covered in a chili sauce.
- Tamales - A wodge of masa mixed with lard, with stewed meat, fish or veggies in the middle, and steamed in corn husks or banana leaf.
Other common street foods:
- Tortas - Sandwiches (hot or cold) using a white bread roll.
- Elotes - Freshly steamed or grilled corn on the cob, usually coated in mayonnaise and often sprinkled with chili powder.
Traditional dishes that will leave you with the taste of Mexico:
- Chiles en nogada - Chiles en nogada comprises green, white and red ingredients, the colours of the Mexican flag: poblano chili, stuffed with minced meat and flavored with spices, topped with a cream sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
- Tacos al pastor - One of the country’s favourites, tacos al pastor (‘in the style of the shepherd’) is a corn tortilla filled with thinly sliced pork that’s been cooked on a spit, and served with onion and cilantro (coriander).
- Mole negro - A Oaxacan specialty, the recipe of this dark, sultry sauce is jealously guarded, and the sauce itself is time-consuming and difficult to make. It tastes of chocolate, spices and...you’ll see!
LGBTQ IN MEXICO
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Mexico have expanded in recent years, in keeping with worldwide legal trends. On 18 December 2019, the ruling party, introduced a constitutional amendment that would legalise same-sex marriage in Mexico at the federal level, upgrade civil unions to marriage, and require all states to adjust their laws correspondingly within three months of passage.
Tolerance of sexual diversity in certain indigenous cultures is becoming widespread and attitudes are slowly changing. This is most marked in the largest metropolitan areas, such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Tijuana. Change is slower in the hinterlands, however, and even in large cities discomfort with change often leads to backlashes. Even though visible and well-attended LGBT marches and pride parades have occurred in Mexico City since 1979 and in Guadalajara since 1996, there is still not an overwhelming majority of public acceptance towards sexual diversity. That being said, Mexico City Gay Pride is one of the largest, wildest, most fun Gay Pride events in Latin America.
WHERE TO STAY IN MEXICO
Mexico offers a full spectrum of accommodations. In popular destinations, book a couple of months ahead for peak times such as Christmas, Easter, and July/August.
- Hostels - Found largely in backpacker-heavy destinations, hostels are inexpensive, and are often run by savvy travellers.
- Hotels - Hotels range from nondescript to renovated historic residences.
- Guesthouses - Typically good value and family-run, guesthouses offer a great taste of local life.
- Cabañas - Cabins and huts, mostly found at beach destinations, range from basic to luxurious.
- Camping and hammocks - In more budget-oriented beach spots, you can often sleep in a hammock or pitch a tent cheaply.
It’s worth asking if a discount is available on room rates, especially if it’s low season or you’re staying more than two nights.
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