North America Travel and Tourist Guide
Mexico Top Destinations - Best Places to visit in Mexico
Cancún - Isla Mujeres - Cozumel - La Rivera Maya - Acapulco
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Mexico Vacation and Travel Guide
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Mexico, officially the United Mexican States is a federal republic in the southern half of North America. Covering over 760,000 sq mi, Mexico is the sixth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent nation in the world.
With an estimated population of over 120 million, it is the eleventh most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world while being the second most populous country in Latin America.
Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and a federal district that is also its capital and most populous city. Other metrópolis include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tourism in Mexico
Mexico has traditionally been among the most visited countries in the world according to the World Tourism Organization and it is the most visited country in the Americas, after the United States. The most notable attractions are the Mesoamerican ruins, cultural festivals, colonial cities, nature reserves and the beach resorts.
The central and southern parts of Mexico was host to several pre-Hispanic civilizations, the most prominent being the Aztec, Mayan, and the Olmec. There are numerous tourist destinations where these ruins can be viewed.
The Yucatán peninsula was home to the Mayan people, and many of the indigenous people still speak the language. The area also contains many sites where ruins of the Maya civilization can be visited.
The richest of these are located in the eastern half of the peninsula and are collectively known as La Ruta Puuc (or La Ruta Maya). The largest of the Ruta Puuc sites is Uxmal, which was abandoned in the 12th century.
A one-hour drive to the northeast of Ruta Puuc are the surviving remains of the city of Mayapán. This settlement was controlled by Chichén Itzá to the east, now a large archaeological site with many interesting ruins.
Other ruins on the peninsula include the aforementioned Tulum on the east coast, Cobá to the northwest of Tulum, Polé (now Xcaret) just south of Playa del Carmen and Calakmul in the nature reserve along the Guatemala border. However this list by no means exhausts the number of archaeological sites to be found in this area.
To the west, the state of Chiapas includes the temples and ruins of Palenque, the glyphs of the city of Yaxchilán, the painted walls of nearby Bonampak, and the remains of the fortress of Toniná.
Along the gulf coast area in the state of Veracruz are more archaeological sites, with the Olmec ceremonial center of Tres Zapotes, the ruins of the large Totonac city of Zempoala, and the ruins of El Tajín with the Pyramid of the Niches. The city of Xalapa contains the Museo de Antropología, a notable museum featuring a collection of massive Olmec head sculptures.
In the state of Oaxaca along the Pacific coast are the ruins of Mitla, known as the "City of Death" and of Monte Albán, the remains of the once extensive Zapotec capital and religious center.
The peak tourism seasons in the country are during December and the mid-Summer, with brief surges during the week before Easter and Spring break, when many of the beach resort sites become popular destinations for college students from the United States.
The vast majority of tourists come to Mexico from the United States and Canada followed by Europe and Asia. A smaller number also come from other Latin American countries.
The coastlines of Mexico harbor many stretches of beaches that are frequented by sunbathers and other visitors. On the Yucatán peninsula, one of the most popular beach destinations is the resort town of Cancún, especially among university students during spring break.
Just offshore is the beach island of Isla Mujeres, and to the east is the Isla Holbox. To the south of Cancun is the coastal strip called Riviera Maya which includes the beach town of Playa del Carmen and the ecological parks of Xcaret and Xel-Há. A day trip to the south of Cancún is the historic Port of Tulum. In addition to its beaches, the town of Tulum is notable for its cliff-side Mayan Ruins.
On the Pacific coast is the notable tourist destination of Acapulco. Once the destination for the rich and famous, the beaches have become crowded and the shores are now home to many multi-story hotels and vendors. Acapulco is home to renowned cliff divers: trained divers who leap from the side of a vertical cliff into the surf below.
At the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula is the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, a town noted for its beaches and marlin fishing.
Further north along the Sea of Cortés is the Bahía de La Concepción, another beach town known for its sports fishing. Closer to the United States border is the weekend draw of San Felipe, Baja California.