It’s true what they say – the beaches of Mexico are where dreams of romance become reality. Imagine relaxing on the beach with the warm sun on your skin, then splashing playfully in crashing ocean waves before chasing each other back to a giant daybed on the beach. Enjoy lunch served alfresco beneath a picturesque beachside cabana ̶ its airy curtains swaying gently in the ocean breeze. It sounds like the perfect lazy day or two, but with Mexico’s impressive colonial architecture, ancient civilizations and rich culture, there is so much more to this paradise than its perimeter. Dump the sand from your shoes and spit out that saltwater– here are our top 10 ways to explore Mexico beyond its beautiful beaches.
10. See a Show in Mazatlán
An elegant pink colonial building in the heart of Mazatlán, The Angela Peralta Theatre is an iconic date night destination to catch an opera, symphony or ballet performance. After the show, wander the surrounding Plaza Machado, admiring its impressive colonial architecture, grabbing dinner on a charming patio or watching as street performers and boisterous nightlife envelop the square.
9. Take a Cooking Class
If you want to further your knowledge of Mexican cuisine, consider taking a cooking class from a local cocina! Classes are often a great mix of cooking, sampling and learning together. Peso for peso, you’re often able to taste a wider variety of authentic dishes for what you spend than simply eating out. Learn the culture, traditions and history of some of your favorite Mexican dishes. Bring home recipes to recreate together to remember your trip.
8. Visit Paseo de Montejo in Mérida
Experience the Mayan and colonial heritage of the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, along the main street of beautiful Mérida. Paseo de Montejo is Mexico’s Champs-Élysées – a picturesque tree-lined boulevard encompassing dozens of elegant 19th century mansions. Start at Plaza de la Independencia walking north towards calle 59. You’ll pass the beautiful architecture of Mexico’s old aristocracy, peppered with various museums, historical monuments, and charming cafes. Stop at the art galleries and handicraft shops of Plaza Santa Ana before continuing towards Monumento a la Patria. The walk itself only takes about 35 minutes, but with all the noteworthy stops along the way, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon exploring this romantic area.
7. Tour the Tequila Trail in Guadalajara
Travel inland to rolling hills lined with rows of spiky agave plants where some of the world’s most recognized tequilas are born, just outside Guadalajara in the town of Tequila (yes, it’s a place!). This UNESCO world heritage site is a cluster of picturesque neighboring towns on the forefront of tequila production. Train tours carve through the scenic countryside visiting both boutique and big-name equilibria’s, such as Jose Cuervo, Sauza and La Cofradia. Learn how tequila is made and sample a taste of the fiery fluid – maybe you’ll even find a new favorite to bring home with you.
6. Visit the Xcaret Eco Park
If you’re thinking this sounds like a boring theme park, think again. Xcaret in Playa del Carmen was once a port for Mayan maritime trade and home to several important ceremonial sites. Today, its archaeological remains are part of a larger cultural heritage park paring the beauty of the Riviera Maya with exhibitions celebrating the vibrant Mexican culture. Its grounds encompass over 50 different attractions, including a Mayan village, scenic beachside chapels, a shopping plaza, waterpark, wine cellar and the main performance area, where over 300 artists lead an interpretive journey through the history of Mexico. Experience it all and see for yourself why Xcaret was voted the best park in the world.
5. Take a Salsa Class!
Salsa originated in the Caribbean, but it has since become one of the most popular pastimes in Mexico. Learn the culture firsthand with a private lesson. Many clubs host classes earlier in the day before their doors open to the seasoned evening crowd. Then, take to the floor and show off your new moves! Dancing is a great way to learn the culture and bond together. Take a salsa class and come home with a souvenir that you can continue to build upon and remember for a lifetime.
4. Plan Your Trip during Día de los Muertos
The Day of the Dead Festival might sound like a morbid extension of Halloween, but the truth is just the opposite. This public holiday on November 1st is an opportunity for Mexicans to gather at cemeteries and celebrate the lives of deceased loves ones, not through somber grieving, but through extravagant parties, colorful decorations and elaborate costumes. Once a closely-held family tradition, Día de los Muertos is now a community event with picnics, parades and music performances in and around cemeteries and town squares across Mexico. Share in some pan de muerto (a sweet braided bread) or Calaveras (colorfully-decorated candy skulls) in a festival meant to replace the gloomy associations of death with ones of joy, community and celebration.
3. Stroll along El Malecón Boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta
Stretching from downtown to Los Muertos beach, El Malecón Boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta is the ideal path for a romantic sunset stroll or bike ride along the beach. Shop for handmade artisan goods and souvenirs, enjoy authentic Mexican food from beachside vendors and see artists construct elaborate sculptures in the sand, or simply wander along the beach and enjoy the view. At night, the boardwalk comes alive with twinkling lights, energetic live music and plenty of lively bars to break out those salsa moves and dance the night away.
2. Go Museum-Hopping in Mexico City
If you’re into art and history, don’t miss the cultural (and literal) capital of Mexico. Visit mammoth museums like the world-famous Palacia de Bellas Artes (fine art museum) or el Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Anthropology Museum). See the curvaceously-modern Museo Soumaya and niche galleries featuring individual artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. With over 150 galleries and museums, there’s everything from traditional to modern, impressionist to surrealist, historical, hip and downright strange. You won’t be able to see them all, so pick your favorites and save a few for the next trip… anniversary plans, anyone?
1. Travel through Time with a Trip to the Mayan Archeological Sites
There is no better way to gain appreciation for the Mexican culture than discovering its decorated ancient history. The Mayans were most known for their mysterious glyphic codices and chilling sacrificial rituals, their reverence for mathematics and astronomy (as evidenced by their sophisticated calendar system), and, of course, their meticulously-engineered temples. Some of our favorites sites and cities include Chichén Itzá, Palenque, Tulum, and Uxmal, and there are various other archeological sites scattered around the Yucatan peninsula. Discover ancient history and build upon your own history together with an awe-inspiring tour of Mexico’s foremost architectural attractions.
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