Mexico is a fascinating, diverse, gorgeous country to explore. Stretching from the deserts of Sonora in the north, via mountainous highlands, coastal jungles, flat green plains, gorgeous beaches, and stunning lakes, it is a country that offers almost every kind of experience you could hope for. With a rich culture, amazing cuisine, and intriguing history, it is somewhere that is well worth spending time sinking your teeth into.
Thanks to this incredible variety and diversity, Mexico rewards travelers who like to take things slowly. For many people, Mexico is just sombreros, tequila, Spring Break, and beach resorts, but for those who are willing to dig a little deeper and spend some time exploring, there is a wealth of amazing destinations to discover.
So if you want an unforgettable cruise to Mexico, don’t be afraid to get off the beaten track a little and discover a more authentic side to the country. Here are a few of the best places to visit that aren’t included in every tourist’s itinerary.
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
This picturesque town nestled in the mountains of the southern state of Chiapas is a world away from the better-known beach destinations of Mexico, and all the better for it. With its whitewashed buildings, red-tiled roofs, and mountainous surroundings, it is a beautiful place to explore, and has developed a reputation as something of an arts hub with artisans and makers galore. The town was once one of the most important shopping points on the trade route between Mexico and Guatemala, and you can still see this evidenced in the architecture of the town (as well as in nearby Chiapa de Corzo). There remains a large indigenous community in the area, whose traditional dress and language, Tzotzil, is in evidence wherever you turn, and a visit to the town of San Juan Chamula offers a glimpse into the unique religion practiced in the region.
El Cuyo, Yucatan
If you are looking for a laid-back beach destination far from the tourist crowds where you can just relax and unwind, then El Cuyo is for you. A tiny fishing village separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon full of flamingos, it is about as far from the hectic pace of Cancun as you can get. Its beaches are unspoiled and empty, and the town is charming and tranquil. There are a few small hotels, but for the best experience rent a beachfront cabana and enjoy doing nothing in a hammock for a few days!
Taxco de Alarcon, Guerrero
This gorgeous colonial town in the mountains of Guerrero might just be the most beautiful of all of Mexico’s pueblos magicos (magic towns). Famous for its silver mines, Taxco is one of the best places in the world to shop for jewelry, with shop after shop offering stunning, intricate pieces made by skilled local craftsmen. Taxco has a fascinating history too – the birthplace of the first Bishop of Mexico, as well as the home of artist William Spratling, and offers an opportunity to get to know a side of Mexico that most people never experience.
Guanajuato has to be one of the most impressive cities in Mexico. Located in a bowl-like valley in the Sierra Madre mountains, it is a brightly coloured beauty, filled with gorgeous colonial architecture and fascinating museums. Guanajuato is famous for its unique (if bizarre) mummies, its silver and gold mines, and for its annual Cervantino and Day of the Dead festivals, but the real charm of the city lies in its callejones (alleyways). Criss-crossing the city and winding up and down the mountainous ascents and descents, these alleyways give the city a truly special ambiance. Best of all, almost all the road traffic is diverted into underground tunnels, making it a wonderful place to explore on foot!