Mexico is a vast country with several hidden treasures and delights waiting to be discovered by discerning travelers from all over the world. Here are some fabulous places to start, but you better hurry to visit these lesser-known areas, because they won’t stay that way for long!
Near Cabos San Lucas in Baja California Sur, Todos Santos was once a thriving sugar plantation region. Today, it’s a bohemian surfer’s paradise, a thriving artist colony and a rendezvous for cosmopolitan foodies. Canadian travel blogger Colleen Friesen writes, “ Little downtown Pescaderia serves up the best fish tacos on the planet!” The Hotel California is worth a visit for the good food and its musicians, although, unfortunately, it is not inspired by the song of the Eagles. For a stay of quirky charm, the Hotel Casa Tota is the right place. Looking for an adult-only environment? Luxury living by the sea awaits you at Rancho Pescadero , which is also the perfect winter spot for whale watching.
Two hours from Mexico City, downtown Puebla is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. A mosaic of colorful cultures, its cosmopolitan center is still shrouded in the grandeur of a rich colonial past, and not far away in Cholula you’ll find the world’s largest pyramid topped by a church. Families will appreciate the Puebla Marriott ‘s large grounds , while those seeking a more intimate stay will appreciate El Sueño Hotel and Spa . This region is also famous for its intricately patterned Talavera pottery, which you will find everywhere. Moreover, Puebla is also a thriving college town.
Tucked away on the Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido means “hidden port,” and except for visitors experienced in the surfing culture, it didn’t feature on tourist routes. But now, due to its admirable safety rating and very affordable prices, many more people are discovering its charms. If you stay at Villas Carrizalillo , from the top of the cliff you will often see whales during the migratory season. Families will appreciate the fully equipped kitchenettes of the small apartments at Casamar Suites . Michele Peterson, a Canadian travel writer, recently bought a second home there. She says, “what we love here is the authentic Mexican culture, the bustling outdoor market, and the endless beaches.”
Unsurprisingly, temples and pyramids dating from the time of the Maya appear among the most mysterious monuments around the world.
This little-known region of the Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, is the most biodiverse in the country and boasts a Green Globe certification for sustainable tourism. Eco-activities and abundant wildlife are the preserve of nine pristine bays, linked by dramatic rocky cliffs leading to lush mountains of tropical rainforest. Visit pre-Hispanic ruins at Copalita Ecoarchaeological Park, explore coffee plantations, or snorkel in resplendent reefs… it’s all there. For an upscale adults-only stay, Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa is ideal, while Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa is the choice for families. And for a unique ancient beauty ritual, enjoy a natural mud treatment at Playa Bocana, the beach for surfers.
San Miguel de Allende
Located in the mountains, San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most picturesque and well-preserved colonial towns in central Mexico. Irene S. Levine, creator of More Time to Travel explains, “Tourists come to San Miguel to walk its narrow cobblestone streets and enjoy its ideal climate. You will see something interesting around every corner.” Romantics will appreciate the luxurious boutique Hotel Matilda , while families and groups will be very happy with the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende . Must-see tourist attractions include the Jardin Park , the market ( Mercado Ignacia Ramirezlisten )) and its parish church, La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel .
Impossible not to be amazed by these breathtaking images of abandoned cities!
San Cristóbal de las Casas
In the heart of a mountainside valley in the state of Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas offers a kaleidoscope of cultures and a well-preserved environment, typical of the beginning of Spanish colonization. Filled with museums, churches, colorful markets, there are also several aspects of this cultural center to explore. Judy Karwacki, owner of Small Planet Travel , says, “You really have to wander around on foot to see the amazing local artisans who create wonders in old traditional ways.” If you want to stay in the heart of the city, Casa Felipe Flores is a good choice. For a more natural environment, the Hotel Molina de la Alborado , outside the city, is perfect.
Although Cozumel is a popular cruise port, it’s still a world apart from its mainland neighbors. And while there are plenty of famous adult-only resorts like Secrets Aura Cozumel and more family-friendly spots like the Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa , it still retains a bit of community flair. But more than anything, it’s a diver’s paradise, home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, with over 250 species of tropical fish to discover. Travel writer, Cathy Whitlock, notes, “Cozumel can be lively during the day, but it goes to bed early since people dive early in the morning.”
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast can be considered as sister destinations, as they are only six kilometers apart. Mark Rogers of Go! Destination Marketing remarks, “Ixtapa’s beach and properties are absolutely gorgeous, but ‘Zihua’ is a more authentic escape.” The Playa Municipal de Zihuatanejo still has the colors of a small Mexican fishing village and offers mostly typical small stays, while Ixtapa offers large resorts like Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa . Golfing, diving and fishing are popular activities and you can also hire bikes to explore the area’s 8.25 km of cycle paths.
A two-hour drive west of Mexico City, the tiny state of Tlaxcala is packed with interesting sights for history buffs and nature lovers. There are towering twin volcanoes, restored haciendas and pristine, fertile valleys. Day trips allow you to discover the region well. One can make an ideal stay at the Hacienda Soltepec or at the Posada la Casona de Cortés . The Cacaxtla archaeological site has some of the best pre-Hispanic murals in the world, while the Huamantla Historic Center boasts a National Puppet Museum! During the summer, visit the natural wonder of the Firefly Sanctuary to see thousands of fireflies that light up the forests at night.