Going back to its early indigenous people and Mayan inhabitants, through to the Spanish conquest and the current day, the Central American country of Mexico is a melting pot of cultures, creating a beautifully diverse and interesting place to visit…

Glorious beaches at Riviera Maya…

Found on a stretch of the Caribbean coastline in the north-eastern region of the country, the Riviera Maya is one of the most beautiful resorts in Mexico. Golden sands and crystal clear waters that are perfect for diving in can be found in abundance.  Popular beaches include the Paraiso Beach and the Akumal Bay (also known as ‘the place of turtles’). Mamita’s is one of the liveliest, hipster-friendly resorts in the area, where plenty of trendy bars and clubs can be found.

History near Cancun…

The coastal city of Cancun is the most well-known holiday destination in Mexico, with good reason. Like Riviera Maya, the beaches here are stunning. Head to Playa Chac Mool beach if you’re after a great diving spot; the sea’s conditions are usually perfect. A two-hour journey inland from Cancun, you’ll find the historic ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza. Built around 600 AD, many of the landmarks still stand, including the iconic El Castillo pyramid.

Beyond the beach

Although the aforementioned coastal spots Cancun and Riviera Maya are beautiful and well worth a lot of your time, Mexico is a huge place with much more to offer. The city of Valladolid – just under two hours away from Cancun – is one of the hidden gems of the country. The colonial city has everything to offer; from glorious walks in its mountainous surroundings, traditional Mexican folk art galleries in the city centre, to the Cenote Zaci – a cavernous natural outdoor pool perfect for cooling down in after a day of exploring.

Great food and drink…

Mexican food is widely regarded as some of the most delicious and hearty food on the planet. Famous dishes include burritos, enchiladas and tacos, all of which make use of Mexican chillies, a staple of the Mexican diet. There are around 150 types produced in the country, including some of the spiciest you can find, so be prepared to experience some heat.

Between meals in Mexico, it’s a tradition to eat “Botanas”, the Mexican equivalent of tapas. Many Mexican cantinas will offer free botanas with the purchase of a beer. Dishes can include everything from Tostadas – a sort of baked tortillas with shredded chicken or pork – to popular Mexican cheeses (queso) like Fresco and Añejo.

Visiting Mexico without drinking Tequila would be sacrilege. The iconic drink is made from the Mezcal produced from the Agave plant, a native Mexican plant that takes up to eight years to harvest.

Useful tips…

Keep your paper slip upon arrival

Upon arrival, you’ll be handed a small piece of paper at the airport within your passport when it gets stamped. It is important you hang on to this as you may be fined if you don’t have it when you’re leaving the country again.

Toilet labels

Contrary to our UK traditions, toilets labelled “M” in Mexico are actually for women (M standing for the Spanish word for women “Mujeres”. Men should look for the toilets labelled “H” (man = “Hombres”)

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