guest post by Lara Nicotra
Mexico is a popular destination for tourists from around the world, and its popularity is well-earned. The country boasts beautiful landscapes, stunning beaches, rich historical sites and authentically delicious food, among other things. One of the other major benefits to Mexico is that it’s affordable. Travelers from other parts of the world can enjoy the favorable exchange rate and the low price of food, lodging and transportation.
Mexico’s popularity as a tourist destination does mean that some places can tend to be overrun with visitors and are often highly commercialized. While popular destinations like Cancun or Mexico City can be enjoyable, it’s often more fun to go off the beaten track and explore some of the lesser-known parts of Mexico. If you’re considering a vacation, here are a few destinations you need to try:
Just eight miles northeast of Cancun lies Isla Mujeres (photo above), a sunny beach destination with all of the appeal of Cancun but fewer crowds and a less juvenile reputation. The island is located just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and rests in the Caribbean Sea. This gives the island pleasant weather nearly year-round and pristine beaches for relaxing and enjoying yourself.
The island has a long history. In pre-Columbian times, it was considered to be sacred. It was also a source of salt for the local Mayans, who used it to preserve food and serve as currency. In modern times, the island is a popular tourist destination, but it gets substantially less traffic than nearby Cancun.
Isla Mujeres is accessible by ferry from Puerto Juarez on the mainland. Once on the island, most transportation takes place by taxi or golf cart. Mopeds are also popular, and one bus route travels from the major city center throughout the rest of the island.
The island is a popular location for day trippers, but it gets quieter in the evenings. The beach on the east side has excellent conditions for surfing, and the view of the Cancun skyline across the clear Caribbean waters is stunning. Hotel accommodations are quite affordable for the most part, but there are a few very expensive resorts if you like to indulge.
Located north of Nuevo Vallarto, this small fishing village is practically unknownto most tourists. This means that you can benefit from the same high-quality beaches and relaxed atmosphere without competing for space. Food and lodging costs are also much more affordable here than in other places.
Though a small town, Bucerias comes with everything a vacationer would need in a resort town, including dining and nightlife. There’s also a thriving artistic community in the village, and visitors can visit galleries and enjoy cocktails on one of the many art walks on Thursday evenings.
Located near Zacatecas, Guanajuato is a state filled with historically fascinating destinations. Travelers will enjoy tracing the route of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s armyand visiting culturally significant cities along the way. Most of the tourists who travel through the state are from other parts of Mexico, so the time spent there will feel especially authentic.
Guanajuato has some of the most stunning photographic opportunities of any state in Mexico. The countryside is largely agrarian, meaning that large swathes of farmland cut across the country. The architecture in the cities is stunning, with churches, monasteries, haciendas and other large, ancient buildings standing up to the test of time.
You can also explore ghost towns and mining villages. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can also enjoy one of several festivals that occur throughout the state – like the Baile de las Flores (Dance of the Flowers) a tradition held each spring featuring music, fancy dress, and lots of flowers! Overall, Guanajuato is an ideal location for people looking for a fun and history-filled adventure.
San Cristobal de las Casas
Located in Chiapas, San Cristobal del las Casas is nestled in a small valley surrounded by hills on all sides. The architecture is styled in a Spanish colonial way, and its red roofs, wrought iron fences and cobblestone streets make it both visually stunning and very quaint-feeling. The city has a strong cultural vibe and is considered by many to be the cultural center of Chiapas.
Visitors can appreciate historical aspects, including churches and Mayan temples. Several architectural styles are represented here. There are also many museums to visit. You can enjoy the area’s rich history and take stunning photographs. The weather is pleasant year-round, though it does get colder here than in some other parts of Mexico due to the relatively high altitude.
Whether you’re looking for pristine beaches, historical sites or just a place to get away from the daily grind, consider Mexico for your next vacation. And remember, you don’t always have to go to the popular seaside towns to have a great vacation. With some research and guidance from a trusted travel consultant you can be exploring some great spots!
Lara Nicotra is the Social Media Specialist for Liberty Travel. She loves to discover new cities around the world and share them with the travel community. Favorite quote: “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta