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Mexico Travel Guide
Mexico Travel Guide

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on earth (over 20 million foreign visitors last year). Much of the tourist industry is centered around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. American tourists tend to predominate on the Baja peninsula and the more modernized beach resorts (Cancun, Puerto Vallarta), while European tourists congegrate around the smaller resort areas in the south like Playa del Carmen and colonial towns San Cristobal de las Casas.

Climate

Mexico uses the metric sytem for all measurements. All weather forcasts will be in celsius (°C).

Varies from desert-like regions on the northwest part of the country (cities like Hermosillo, Ciudad Juarez, or Los Cabos); and temperate in the northeastern part (cities like Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Acuņa), but note that much of the northern Mexican territory gets rather cold during the winter with average day time highs from 8C (39F) to 12C (59F), overnight lows average around -4C (24F) and snow is sometimes frequent in certain northern places like (the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and northern Tamaulipas) but can also occur at higher altitudes in the temperate forests in the central part of Mexico. Also, northern Mexico gets very hot during the summer with sudden violent storms in the afternoon, with heavy rain and hail, also an isolated tornado can occur with these storms but rarely, and the temperatures during the day can quickly exceed 39C (100F). The Bajio region is semiarid (cities like Aguascalientes, Leon and Zacatecas); and temperate forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}, and tropical rain forests in the south and southeast regions like (Chiapas, Cancun). The region stretching from Guadalajara to Morelia enjoys what many consider one of the best climates in the world, with daily high temps in the high 70s and 80s year round. During hurricane season, hurricanes are common in the coastal cities specially those near the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Landscape

High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancun} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.

Cities

  • Mexico City - Capital of the Republic, one of the three largest cities in the world, and a sophisticated urban hub with a 700-year history. In Mexico City, you will find everything from parks, Aztec ruins, colonial architecture, museums, to nightlife and shopping.
  • Acapulco - A sophisticated urban beach setting known for its top-notch nightlife, elegant dining, and nightmarish traffic. Many of the older (pre-1990s) concrete structures have suffered tropical decay.
  • Cancun - One of the worlds most popular and famous beaches, known for its clear Caribbean waters, its lively party atmosphere, and its wealth of recreational facilities. During Spring Break it is noted for drinking, sunburning, and debauchery.
  • Guadalajara - A traditional city, capital of Jalisco state, and the home of mariachi music and tequila. Guadalajara is blessed with perpetual spring weather and its colonial downtown is graceful and sophisticated.
  • Mazatlan - Lively Pacific coast town, Mazatlan is a shipping port, a transportation hub with ferries to Baja California, and a beach resort destination with miles of sandy shore. It is a popular Spring Break destination due to its variety of affordable lodging options.
  • Monterrey - A large modern city that is the commercial and industrial hub of Northern Mexico. Monterrey enjoys a dry, mountainous setting and is known for its high-quality educational and transportation infrastructure.
  • San Luis Potosi - Located in central Mexico, a colonial city that was once an important silver producer, but today, relies on manufacturing for its economic base.
  • Taxco - In central Mexico west of Cuernavaca, this nice steep mountain town was once a major silver producer, and now has a strong place in the trade of decorative silver, from cheap fittings to the most elegant jewelry and elaborate castings.
  • Tijuana - Mexico's busiest border crossing for pedestrians and private vehicles, and a long-time bargain Mecca for southern Californians due to its proximity with San Diego.

Other destinations

  • Copper Canyon (Barrancas del Cobre) - An exotic destination for travellers looking for a unique remote adventure! An awesome mountain rail ride --- one of the greatest in the world --- takes you upwards over 8000 feet on the CHEPE, the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway. Hiking, horseback riding, birding, & Tarahumara Indians. Copper Canyon, the Sierra Madre and the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico. This area is designed for adventurous individuals who will tolerate some rough travel to get to their point(s) of interest. Copper Canyon, a magnificent remote wilderness is not likely ever to become a mass market destination.

NOTE:  If taking the chepe train ride, start your trip at El Fuerte on the western side and travel uphill to Creel or Chihuahua. Stand in the few open vestibules with your camera -- the uphill scenery is fairly splendid for at least two of the seven or nine or twelve hours of the journey. On the downhill run, put yourself in the club (bar) car, where you can stretch out in a modicum of comfort. The first-class (express) and second-class (tourist) trains are essentially the same, except that the express stops less and is twice as expensive.

  • Sea of Cortez - See whale birthings, swim with dolphins, and sea kayak in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, along the eastern coast of Baja California, near La Paz. And the sunsets at Puerto Penasco are not to be missed.
  • Monarch Butterfly Breeding Sites - Protected natural areas in the highlands of the state of Michoacan. Millions of butterflys come to the area between November and March of each year, although numbers have declined sharply recently. See them before they're all gone.
  • Sumidero Canyon - From docks on the Rio Grivalva (the only major river within Mexico) near Tuxtla Guiterrez in Chiapas state, tour launches take you into this steep-walled National Park. You'll likely see vast flocks of flamingos, pelicans, and other waterfowl, as well as crocodiles, impossible caves, and tourists urinating from sheer clifftops a kilometer above you.
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