Top Mexico Destinations

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    Condesa Beach, Acapulco
    ••• Condesa Beach in Acapulco. Vladimir Pcholkin / Getty Images

    Where to go for your Mexican vacation

    Whether you're heading to the beach or to one of Mexico's beautiful colonial cities (or a bit of both), here's a selection of Mexico's best destinations. Here's some basic information about Mexico's most popular destinations to help you choose the perfect place for your Mexican vacation.

    Acapulco, on Mexico's Pacific coast in the state of Guerrero, offers stunning beaches and wild nightlife. It's a popular spring break destination and is also the choice weekend getaway spot for folks from Mexico City.

    Read more about Acapulco:
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    ••• Northern End of Cancun Hotel Zone. © Suzanne Barbezat

    Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is the most visited resort area in the country and receives over 3 million visitors each year. Its modern hotels, gorgeous Caribbean coastline and proximity to Mayan archaeological sites makes it a destination anyone can enjoy.

    More about Cancun:

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    Guadalajara's Main Plaza
    ••• &copy Suzanne Barbezat

    Guadalajara offers everything from historic sites and remarkable museums to traditional architecture and elegant monuments which attest to its nearly 500 years of history. Its vibrant cultural and intellectual life make it a magnet for foreign students. Last but not least, the city takes pride in being the birthplace of mariachi music and tequila.

    More about Guadalajara:

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    Guanajuato City

    Guanajuato City
    ••• &copy Suzanne Barbezat

    Guanajuato City is the capital of the state of the same name. It has approximately 80 thousand inhabitants and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was a silver mining town and played an important role during Mexico's war of Independence. Guanajuato has beautiful examples of baroque and neoclassical architecture.

    One of Guanajuato's popular attractions is the Guanajuato mummy museum.

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    ••• Santa Cruz beach in Huatulco. &copy 2006 Suzanne Barbezat, licensed to About

    The Bahias de Huatulco (Huatulco Bays) occupy over 20 miles of beautiful coastline along Mexico's Pacific coast. The nine bays that make up Huatulco offer a variety of options for visitors: Tangolunda is where the big resorts are located, Santa Cruz has tranquil waters - great for kids, and La Entrega has a coral reef just offshore which makes it the best choice for snorkeling. Besides beautiful beaches, Huatulco also has amazing natural life, located as it is in a large undeveloped natural area.

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    ••• Ixtapa. Photo by Guillermo Aldana, courtesy of the Mexican Tourism Board

    Ixtapa, on the Pacific coast 160 miles northwest of Acapulco, is a beach resort area with high-rise hotels, golf courses and all-night discos. Its sister city, Zihuatanejo, just 4 miles away, is a fishing village with cobble-stone streets and inexpensive restaurants.

    Learn more about this duo destination with our Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Travel Guide.

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    Los Cabos

    Los Cabos Arch
    ••• &copy Kristen Kane

    Located on the tip of the Baja California peninsula, the two cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo offer distinct attractions in a beautiful natural setting.

    More about Los Cabos:

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    Mazatlan's Old Town
    ••• The Pearl of the Pacific. Photo by Dennis Sylvester Hurd

    Mazatlan is a Mexican beach destination located on Mexico's Pacific coast in the state of Sinaloa, some 270 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. This is a popular port of call for cruises along the Mexican Riviera. With golden beaches, vibrant nightlife as well as a host of water sports and wildlife watching activities available, Mazatlan has a lot to offer visitors.

    Mazatlan's yearly Carnaval celebrations are some of the biggest in the country.

    Read more about Mazatlan: Mazatlan City Guide

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    Monumento a la Patria Merida
    ••• Monumento a la Patria, Merida. © Suzanne Barbezat

    Merida is a bustling cosmopolitan city and its location on the Yucatan Peninsula gives it a unique flavor. Yucatecan cuisine, beautiful colonial buildings, the proximity of some of Mexico's most impressive Mayan archaeological sites and a vibrant cultural scene make Merida a fascinating destination.

    More about this destination:

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    Mexico City

    ••• &copy 2007 Suzanne Barbezat, licensed to About

    Once the capital city of the Aztecs, later the capital of colonial New Spain, Mexico City is now a modern metropolis brimming with possibilities for the visitor.

    Read more:

    Mexico City Sights
    Mexico City Walking Tour

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    ••• Fountain in Morelia. Photo by Bruce Herman courtesy of the Mexican Tourism Board

    Morelia, in colonial times known as Valladolid, was one of the country's first Spanish cities, founded by New Spain's first viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza. He encouraged Spanish nobles to settle there, and their presence brought about the construction of buildings which were both elegant and grandiose. As the birthplace of revolutionary hero Jose Morelos de Pavon, the town played a strategic role during the War of Independence. It was among the first to fall to the independence movement, and Morelos led his army from there on towards Mexico City. After Mexico gained independence, the town's name was changed in his honor.

    Morelia maintains a very Spanish feel. The colonial buildings are well-preserved and the town plan is in typical Spanish style. It is a great place to appreciate Mexico's colonial architecture and is host to many cultural events throughout the year.

    More: Morelia City Guide

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    ••• Oaxaca City. &copy 2006 Suzanne Barbezat, licensed to About

    Oaxaca (pronounced "wa-ha-ka") is a colonial city located in the South of Mexico, nestled in a valley in the Sierra Madre mountain range. Oaxaca was occupied in ancient times and the first Spaniards arrived in the 1500s. Among them were Dominican friars, responsible for the construction of numerous remarkable churches. The Prehispanic and colonial legacies combine to make Oaxaca a fascinating place to visit.

    More about Oaxaca:

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    ••• Fountain in Puebla's Zocalo. &copy 2006 Suzanne Barbezat, licensed to About

    Fewer than two hours outside of Mexico City, Puebla de Zaragoza has beautiful colonial architecture, great cuisine and a fascinating history. It was the site of the landmark battle of 1862 which is celebrated every year throughout Mexico (and beyond) as the 5 de mayo holiday. And if you're traveling with kids, they'll be thrilled by a visit to nearby Africam Safari park.

    More about Puebla:

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    Puerto Vallarta

    ••• Photo courtesy of Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board

    Located in Mexico’s largest natural bay, the Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful beach destination in the state of Jalisco. Puerto Vallarta combines the charms of a traditional Mexican town with the comforts of a modern resort area.

    Read more about Puerto Vallarta:

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    San Cristobal de las Casas

    San Cristobal Cathedral
    ••• &copy Suzanne Barbezat

    A lovely colonial city in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas has cobblestone streets, houses with slanted red tiled roofs, and impressive colonial architecture. San Cristobal's large indigenous population gives the city a colorful atmosphere and rich cultural heritage. This is a great destination to learn more about Maya culture, and a base from which to explore more of what Chiapas has to offer.

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    San Miguel de Allende

    ••• San Miguel de Allende's cathedral and other colonial buildings. Photo by Esparta Palma licensed under Creative Commons

    San Miguel de Allende, colonial jewel of the state of Guanajuato, is doted with a mild climate, thermal springs and beautiful colonial architecture. The city, located in central Mexico, played a major role during the Mexican War of Independence and is now home to a large expatriate community.

    Read more about San Miguel de Allende, or take a walking tour of San Miguel de Allende.

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    ••• Taxco's cobblestone streets. Photo by Bruce Herman courtesy of the Mexican Tourism Board

    Mexico's silver capital is an easy two hour drive from Mexico City. The city's whitewashed buildings with red tile roofs are nestled in a hillside with narrow cobblestone streets and cozy plazas.

    More: Taxco City Guide

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    ••• Tulum Ruins and Beach. Photo by Guillermo Aldana, courtesy of the Mexican Tourism Board

    Tulum, in Mexico's Riviera Maya, was once a busy Mayan ceremonial center and trading port. The archaeological ruins are in a spectacular setting, on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The town of Tulum has some budget options for accommodation as well as some nice cabanas to rent along the beach.

    Read more about Tulum:

    Hotels and resorts in Tulum:

    • Azulik is an eco-friendly, romantically rustic adults-only resort
    • Cabanas Copal offers cabanas and a clothing optional beach in a family-friendly environment
    • Nueva Vida de Ramiro is a laid-back eco resort with bungalows on the beach