Mexico is not all beaches, margaritas and tacos. The country is filled with intoxicating scenery, from arid deserts to dense jungle forest to one-street cities. If you take the time to explore the off-the-beaten path destinations, you will discover that Mexico is far more than a destination for those who seek a weeklong fiesta. After exploring Mexico for six months as part of a Pan-American road trip from Montreal to Buenos Aires, we recommend you leave your Mexican stereotypes behind to explore any of these 10 awe-inspiring Mexican cities.
A small surfing village with a lot of charm, Sayulita is truly low-key. Walk with no shoes, surf board in hand, leisurely walk towards the beach to master your surfing skills; then spend the evening listening to local music in the main square.
Cozumel’s true beauty lies beneath the sea. With dozens of reefs to explore, both snorkelers and divers will find pleasure spending hours observing underwater life. When you need to take a respite from the open sea, find a hammock under a palm tree for an afternoon snooze.
A city worth its weight in charm, Puebla offers and intoxicating art and nightlife scene. The city is also filled with stunning churches, museums and thriving markets. While in Puebla, we also recommend visiting the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the largest archeological site of a pyramid (temple) in the new world. Notice how the pyramid is entirely hidden underground beneath a lovely church.
As a breath of fresh air in Quintana Roo, Tulum is a small haven for yoga enthusiasts and nature lovers. Boasting one of the best beaches in Mexico, a jaunt to Tulum will leave your relaxed and refreshed. Stay in a beach side bungalow on Tulum’s main strip or pitch a tent in the nearby Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. If you are up for an adventure, drive up to Punta Allen to discover a nearby tiny fishing village settled on a fine stretch of powdery white sand.
A lovely colonial city with an awesome cosmopolitan feel, Mérida is the cultural capital of the Yucatan peninsula. In Mérida you will find world-class museums, thriving markets and a remarkable selection of fine restaurants; around Mérida you will discover several cenotes, Mayan temples and beautiful sandy beaches.
5. San Miguel de Allende
An expat hideaway tucked in an idealistic setting, San Miguel de Allende can also be deemed the perfect weekend getaway. Its cobblestone streets are filled with quaint boutiques, curated art galleries, excellent restaurants and colonial-style accommodations.
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Guanajuato is in a class by itself. No words can describe the setting, the colors and the ambiance of what we consider to be one of the most picture-perfect cities in the world. Take your camera out to find plenty of photo opportunities as you walk through a series of narrow streets between brightly colored houses crammed together and perched atop one another. Guanajuato also hosts one of the most dynamic squares in Mexico.
A Mayan destination at its finest, Palenque’s historical treasures sits at the center of a lush jungle that hosts a community of noisy howler monkeys. For the ultimate digital escape, we recommend pitching a tent in one of the many nearby forest hideaways.
2. San Cristóbal de Las Casas
Set in a lush valley amidst a pine forest in the center of Chiapas, San Cristóbal is at the heart of indigenous Mexico. A place where ancient traditions coincides with modern amenities, the city serves as a great base to explore Mayan villages tucked away on nearby mountains. After a day of cultural exploration, spend the evening roaming San Cristóbal’s cobblestone streets filled with quaint restaurants, cafes and bars.
A beautiful colonial town with a strong indigenous influence, Oaxaca exudes an energetic vibe that lures artists, artisans and worldly travelers alike. Spend a day shopping for one-of-a-kind Mayan goods at its fascinating markets; another visiting its world-class museums; and a third visiting nearby Monte Alban, an ancient Zapotec capital and pre-Columbian archaeological site that will leave you speechless. Remember to indulge on chocolate in Oaxaca. Tasting chocolate where it was first discovered is a delightful luxury.
Pictures courtesy of LuxeInACity
Bio: Roxanne Génier is the co-founder of both LuxeInAcity, a luxury travel magazine with curated city guides, and AgenceLuxury, a digital marketing agency for luxury brands. Having traveled to over 65 countries while working for the elite, Roxanne is constantly roaming the world to experience the best. Follow her on Google + at +RoxanneGenier.