By Carol Cain, on May 2, 2016

The best of Mexico

Over the years I have been fortunate to visit different parts of Mexico, and yet, despite my many trips there, I have so much more to explore.

Mexico’s landscape is as diverse as its people and cultural roots. The country is made up of mountains and valleys, ocean coasts, and deserts. Its culture is influenced by the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztec cultures, as well as several dozen more. To visit Mexico once is to want to see more of it. To spend time with its people is to fall in love with all this wonderful country has to offer.

Though my list of places to see is still long, here are some of the best spots to experience Mexico.

Mexico City

The largest city in the country, Mexico City, has it all. Its busy, lively vibe can be overwhelming to first timers, but it’s here where the country’s diversity comes together—through the arts displayed in its many museums, its food, and even its neighborhoods, which can at times feel like parts of Europe, and others times like very traditional Latin American treasures. I would make this a one-stop visit, as there is much to see and do, and often times not enough days to explore it all.

Mexico City
Mexico City is full of life, art, culture, and great food.

Riviera Maya

This is often the area most familiar to tourists. Playa del Carmen and Cancún are synonymous with Caribbean beach vacations and spring break getaways. But beyond the large resorts and nightclub party scene is an area full of history and a pride for conservation. Archeological sites like Tulum as well as nature sites like the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve are wonderful destinations to explore and learn a bit more about the area and its surrounding Mayan culture. Vacationers who enjoy nature but also want to have a good time would love a trip to warm Puerto Vallarta too.

 Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Views from Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve


Mazatlán, also referred to as “The Pearl of The Pacific,” is where I saw myself really feeling like Mexico had permanently engraved its mark in my heart. A surfer’s paradise and a snow bird’s haven, the coastal shores offer a warm escape, yet more peaceful retreat than many other beach towns in the country. I visited for the first time during El Día de Los Muertos festivities, and though this experience is different in every region, celebrating it in Mazatlán remains my favorite memory. Take a day trip to the outskirts of the city, to towns such as El Quelite, for a deeper immersion into the culture of its lovely people.

Performing a Pascola dance in worship of the sun god.
Performing a Pascola dance in worship of the sun god.

Los Cabos

Los Cabos is a familiar getaway spot for West Coast Americans, but I really encourage other travelers to visit too. This is a golfer’s favorite, and a wonderful spot for adventure travelers and water sports lovers. There is a lot to love about Los Cabos—the people, the food, the luxurious resorts, all the activities. But what I will always remember are the gorgeous sunrise and sunsets—some of the most beautiful in the world.

Sunset golfing in Los Cabos.
Sunset golfing in Los Cabos.

Wherever you decide to start your exploration of Mexico, remember that no two locations are the same. There is always something new to fall in love with, something new to discover, and many reasons to want to return again and again.

What are your must-see destinations in Mexico?