Steaming jungles hiding jaw-dropping temple complexes, golden sand beaches dotted with smokey seafood shacks, peeling colonial grandeur rubbing shoulders with vibrant nightlife, wild fiestas and cutting edge culture – for a country that boasts such aesthetic beauty, it speaks volumes that its main attraction lies in its people and its culture. Oh, that and the food.
Whilst Mexico has no end of natural beauty, whether it’s the endless stretches of palm-fringed sand on the Pacific coast, the lush jungles of the Yucatan, the snow-capped volcano of Popocatepetl, or the eerie northern desert dotted with cacti, if you really want to get the best out of Mexico, you need to dig beneath the surface and discover the endlessly rich and varied tapestry of its people.
The incredible story of Mexico’s people is reflected in the architecture of the land. Huge Mayan, Mesoamerican and Aztec ruins dot the landscape at sites like Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza, and beautiful Spanish Colonial townhouses and city halls line the cobbled streets of Oaxaca and the sprawling expanse of Mexico City.
Each of these tell stories of brutality and resistance, and with a history as complex as Mexico’s, it doesn’t take long for the thread you’re following into the past to become impossibly tangled with other stories, myths and legends. Out of this come the Mexicans, one of the most fiery and passionate, yet also warm and hospitable populations you’re likely to ever have the pleasure to come across.
Throw yourself into the whirlwind, go to the madness of the fiestas and the parties, head to the local neighbourhoods and sit in a little eatery to try incredible guacamole, ceviche and other food of the most mind-popping flavour and spice. Whilst your head and stomach may not thank you for it later, the hazy memories you collect in Mexico will be some of the most treasured you ever hold.