SUN AND SEA
Those seeking fun in the sun will find plenty of variety in Mexico. The Yucatan Peninsula’s Caribbean shoreline features hotspot Cancun, the laid back islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, and the lovely beach resorts of Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Xpu-Ha. On the Pacific coast, Acapulco beckons with its sublime bay, outstanding hotels, and round-the-clock energy while further north, you’ll find the charming beach village of Zihuatanejo and exceptional lodgings in neighboring Ixtapa.
Numerous archaeological treasures left by centuries of pre-Hispanic civilizations attest to Mexico’s glorious past. Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, is famous for the pyramid-lined Avenue of the Dead featuring the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. Monte Alban is a significant Zapotec ceremonial center on a mountaintop overlooking the valley of Oaxaca. The Mayan ruins at Palenque in the state of Chiapas are dramatically positioned atop a tall ridge at the base of forested mountains. And Uxmal, Chichen Itza, and Ek Balam are important Mayan sites on the Yucatan Peninsula.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS Mexico is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty and wildlife, Head to the Baja California Peninsula (from January through March) to witness the majesty of the gray whale. An estimated 10,000 of these graceful creatures travel from the frigid Bering Sea to mate and give birth to their calves in the warm Pacific waters. While there are many great viewing locations, the protected waters of El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve provide ideal conditions for both the whales and whale watchers.
Inland, magnificent Copper Canyon is a 6,487-square-mile network of canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuahua. The Chihuahua to Pacific Railway leaves from Los Mochis on the Sea of Cortes and travels inland to Copper Canyon. The railway, an engineering feat with 39 bridges and 86 tunnels, traverses the canyon offering incredible vistas of pine forests, jagged peaks, and valleys before descending into the city of Chihuahua. You can stay overnight at stops along the way to explore the dramatic terrain while hiking, horseback riding, and camping.