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The southern sibling of North America and the northernmost cousin of Latin America, Mexico is known for its rich cultural history, vibrant and spice-filled cuisine, ancient civilizations, energetic mariachi bands, fascinating festivals like the Day of the Dead, and for being the birthplace of chocolate. Mexico is truly a nation of cultural intrigue as well as an important player in the world economy. Pre-book your Mexico car rental via Enjoy Travel for a seamless trip.
Guide to Mexico
The third-largest country in Latin America after Brazil and Argentina, Mexico is bordered in the north by the United States, in the south and west by the Pacific Ocean, in the southeast by Guatemala, and in the east by Belize and the Caribbean Sea.
Within the country, the topography across this massive country varies from rugged mountains reaching elevations of over 18,000 feet (5,700m) at Pico de Orizaba to sweeping deserts in Chihuahua, tropical rainforests in Yucatan Peninsula to low coastal plains along the Gulf of Mexico.
Climate in Mexico
Due to its position on the Tropic of Cancer, Mexico experiences mainly tropical and desert climates. There are two distinct seasons: a rainy season (May to October) and a dry season (November to April). The months of December to April see the most number of tourists due to virtually no rain and extremely pleasant weather. The temperature in all areas of Mexico generally ranges between 50°F to 90°F throughout the year. However, Mexico is a vast country and each state is likely to experience a slightly different climate depending on its latitudinal position and time of the year, so make sure to check the weather before your trip.
Mexico has 31 states and 1 federal entity – Mexico City, the capital. Each one homes a distinct culture with its own cuisine, traditional attire, music and traditions. However, broadly speaking, the culture of Mexico is a conglomeration of indigenous civilizations like Aztec and Maya with European (main Spanish) influence due to colonization. This nation is home to the world’s largest population of Spanish speakers as well as speakers of indigenous languages like Nahuatl, Otomi, and Maya.
The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a multi-day festival meant to honor one’s ancestors. It is a joyous celebration of loved ones who have passed away and the lives they had led. Families clean the grave and build colorful altars with flowers, photos, and candles. Often they have a little fiesta right at the graveyard. Although it is celebrated throughout Mexico, the festivities in Lake Patzcuaro are known to be especially authentic. People dress in elegant costumes and wear face make-up designed to look like skulls.
Things To Do in Mexico
Discover Mexico’s rich culture through its museums
Mexico City has the most museums out of any country in the world. Visit La Casa Azul (The Blue House) to learn about the remarkable life and works of the legendary Frida Kahlo. You can see her husband, Diego Rivera’s most iconic murals in the National Palace and Museum of Fine Arts, including the controversial ‘Man at the Crossroads’ and ‘The History of Mexico’. Other highlights are the massive Anthropology Museum which exhibits the legacies of Mexico’s indigenous cultures like the huge Sun Stone (Aztec calendar).
Visit the largest underwater museum in the world
The Cancun Underwater Museum has over 500 life-size sculptures and installations submerged underwater inside the Cancun National Marine Park. The statues were made with special materials that encourage coral growth and affixed to the sea bed. Over time, they became artificial reefs colonized by the local marine life. You can take a glass-bottom boat tour or go snorkeling or diving to get up and close to these eerily beautiful statues.
Cliff jump from a cenote
Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are created when a section of limestone collapses and groundwater fills the gap, creating a pool of crystal clear water. These unique pools can only be found in the Yucatan Peninsula. Some cenotes are small lakes next to the ocean where you can enjoy cliff jumping. Others are wondrous caverns with massive stalactites and stalagmites. You can also go snorkeling and diving inside some of the cenotes and sometimes spot fish and small turtles.
Witness the grandeur of an ancient Mayan city
Chichen Itza, one of the seven new wonders of the world, was an ancient Mayan city that flourished from 600 to 1200 AD. The Temple of Kukulkan, often referred to as El Castillo, was dedicated to a Mayan feathered serpent god. It is an incredible sight to behold, especially during spring and autumn equinoxes every year because a shadow is cast on the pyramid that resembles a serpent. Do make sure to also visit the intriguing Great Ball Court and Temple of the Jaguars.
Behold the sight of millions of monarch butterflies
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that welcomes hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies every winter. The journey these butterflies take every year is astounding. The 8-month migration takes them all the way up to Eastern Canada and back, during which four generations of the butterflies come to life and perish. Try to visit in January or February to catch the butterflies when they are at their peak numbers. Take a day trip from the colonial city of Morelia and ride horses up the mountains to witness the gathering of these beautiful butterflies.
Experience Mexican wrestling
For a night of frolic, head to a lucha libre match. Lucha Libre is Mexican wrestling, a colorful combination of comedy, acrobatics, and a lot of costume changes. Even if you are not a wrestling fan, it is great fun to watch the high-flying luchadores (masked fighters) put up a show with rehearsed tricks and moves. Many spectators get into the mood and also wear masks. The best place to catch an evening of lucha libre is Arena Mexico in the capital. Matches take place on Tuesday and Friday nights as well as Sunday afternoons. To experience the most raucous atmosphere, try to catch a Friday evening match.
Groove to Mariachi music
Mariachi rules the music scene in Mexico. It is believed to have originated in the 18th century in the state of Jalisco. To listen to mariachi music, there’s no better place than Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City. Bands stomp around the square in cowboy boots, big sombreros, and studded charro outfits. They can also be hired to serenade someone with fervent guitar and trumpet music. If you really enjoy mariachi music, consider checking out the International Mariachi Festival held in Guadalajara every year.
Eating Out in Mexico
Street food in Mexico is an absolute non-negotiable when visiting. Do try antojitos, tacos and tamales.
Mole is the national dish of Mexico. It is a rich sauce made with caramelized onions combined with exotic spices and herbs, ground nuts such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds, and chilies simmered with dark bittersweet chocolate.
Other delectable dishes in Mexico include tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, sopes, gorditas, chilaquiles, pozole, and guacamole.
Flying into Mexico
There are 100 airports in Mexico. Mexico City International Airport (MEX) remains the largest in Latin America and 44th largest in the world.
Public transit in Mexico
Light rail systems operate in Mexico City (Xochimilco Light Rail) and Guadalajara. There are also extensive bus networks within and between the various cities and towns, ranging from comfortable luxury sleepers to rickety converted old school buses.
Driving in Mexico
But road transport is the most common and preferred method of getting around. Mexico has the largest paved-roadway network in Latin America and it covers all areas of the country. Buses, private cars, taxis, colectivo, and mototaxi are some of the common modes of road transport.
Those visiting Mexico for the first time often opt to rent a car for maximum comfort and convenience. The most popular car rental agencies across Mexico are Budget, National and Alamo.
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