Tourism to the United States’ southern neighbor, Mexico, has energetically rebounded over the past few years. Hotel rooms and beaches are filling up again with international visitors after numbers dwindled as a direct result of the country’s drug war. While the violence unfortunately continues in some parts of the country, security and spirits have all-around improved. The U.S. has acknowledged the increased safety, as well, in lowering its official travel warnings to the country, while the Mexican government has enthusiastically launched tourism promotion campaigns. In other words? It’s time to plan that vacay! Here's four must-visit places for anyone's first or repeat visit.
For a trendy locale: Mexico City
For arts and culture old, new and of tomorrow, Mexico City is the place to visit. The sprawling capital city, which more than 20 million people call home, is the largest city in North America and is full of life! Impressive ruins stand right within city boundaries, as it also was the capital of the Aztec empire. The Mexico City of today, as much a cultural epicenter as ever before, has all the designers, trendy dining spots, boutiques, galleries and hot hotels to back up its standing as a fashionable metropolis and travel destination.
For the bustle of a city and retreat of a beach: Cabo San Lucas
The pristine turquoise water and white sand beaches could very well have a magnetic pull, this picturesque locale is so alluring. The luxurious resorts and numerous spas could keep you happily relaxed and entertained for entirety of a trip, but many visitors also head out into the water to peek the diverse marine life and top scuba diving. And while people party in Cabo, the city avoids the highest tides of Spring Breakers that inundate many Mexican seaside cities. The majority of the residents are from the U.S., though, so if cultural immersion is more what you want, the next trip idea could be what you are seeking.
For history of the Mayans and Mexico: Yucatán Peninsula
More than 1,000 years ago the Mayan Civilization was booming on what is now known as the Yucután Peninsula in Mexico. While new cities like Mérida have been founded over the ruins, many of the impressive constructions still stand for visitors. The area is even charged with eerie excitement (for those who buy into it): Members of the tourism industry have not missed the chance to promote tourism to the area in 2012, the year the Mayan calendar supposedly predicted the world would end. Whether it is fear, a cultural connection or geeky curiosity to see in-person what you learned about in school that leads you to hop a plane to the Yucatán, the region certainly offers much to take in and learn.
For a remote beach escape: Yelapa
If you’re looking to really get away and bask on a beach, Yelapa in Jalisco is the place to go. The hamlet is located in a quiet cove in one of the largest bays in the world, right between the sea and a jungle, and it really only can be accessed by boat. Spending time on the beach is the top priority in this town for both friendly locals and visitors, and people can set up with a book in a hammock, take a dip, snorkel and parasail. Travelers to Puerto Vallarta, which is located about 20 miles north, might choose to just make a day trip of Yelapa, but those looking for pure, uninterrupted beachside relaxation can make a full vacation out of Yelapa.