The Best of Mexico

Beautiful beaches. Exciting cities. Gorgeous hotels. Little islands. Peaceful national parks. Up-and-coming wine regions. Mexico is the ultimate quick-getaway destination. Here are 17 must-see spots to explore south of the border.

Photo: Acre Hotel & Restaurant

Ánimas Bajas: Feast on small-batch mezcals, a seven-course tasting menu, and wine pairings before stumbling through lush gardens to go back to your treehouse in Los Cabos.

Photo: Grupo Posadas

Cozumel: Hide out amid a dramatic lobby, an airy restaurant, a wood-burning pizza oven, a self-serve bar, a long pool, and streamlined rooms in the jungle.

Photo: Grupo Habita

Guadalajara: Set the tone of your trip with a tree-lined neighborhood, an Art Deco mansion, a new hotel, a restaurant with a tropical vibe, a retro bar, modern rooms, and a rooftop pool in the capital of Jalisco.

Photo: Justin Vidamo via flickr

Guanajuato: Discover the mountains of Central Mexico, a colonial city, tightly clustered buildings, winding alleys, a network of underground tunnels, gorgeous architecture, and a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar in the most beautiful place in Mexico.

Photo: Dronepicr [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
Isla Holbox: Enjoy cheap cervezas, a flamboyance of flamingos, hammocks, kiteboarders, lobster fishermen, overgrown mangroves, sandy roads, street art, and whale sharks on the Yucatán Peninsula’s best-kept secret.

Photo: Villa La Bella

Isla Mujeres: End a perfect day with a conch-shell shower, happy hour, a Cadillac Margarita, a bar with swinging seats, chips and guacamole, and a big smile on your face on a small island east of the Yucatán Peninsula.

Photo: Capella Ixtapa

Ixtapa: Search for the green flash, a cool breeze, sparkling turquoise water, gliding catamarans, and whales from your cliffside plunge pool.

Photo: gotoloreto.com

Loreto: Kayak through Mexico’s largest marine reserve, beaches, mangroves, rocky islets, turquoise water, massive rock formations, and pods of dolphins in Baja California.

Photo: islasmarietas.com.mx

Marieta Islands: Take a day trip  to see an uninhabited archipelago, a former military testing site, caves, rock formations, a national park, and a hidden beach northwest of Puerto Vallarta.

Photo: Patiño Olvera Sandra Carolina (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Mexico City: Explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a church and a monastery that the Spanish built after their conquest of the Aztec Empire, brightly colored buildings, street vendors selling ice cream, and canals in one of the capital’s 16 boroughs.

Photo: Grupo Habita

Puerto Escondido: Fall in love with a fishing village, white-sand beaches, grazing horses, slow-moving oxen, papaya farms, green mountains, an artist community, olive ridley sea turtles, and a little hotel with individual cabanas south of Oaxaca.

Photo: Xinalani

Quimixto: Carve out time for yourself with a quick getaway, yoga, meditation, a private beach, a little eco-resort, suites and casitas tucked into a jungle-shrouded hillside, and an oceanfront spa just a boat ride away from Puerto Vallarta.

Photo: cabos.com

San Benedicto Island: Step up your scuba-diving game with a shark lover’s paradise, schools of Moorish idols and triggerfish, breeding humpback whales, and uninhabited islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Photo: Justin Vidamo (Flickr: San Miguel de Allende at Sunset) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
San Miguel de Allende: Find real Mexican culture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a pink neo-Gothic church, Baroque buildings, cobblestone streets, colorful homes, and rooftops with gorgeous views in a colonial city.

Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Tulum: Make your dream about a Mayan walled city, a biosphere reserve with crocodiles and sea turtles, underground cenotes, a gorgeous beach, and gourmet restaurants come true on the southern end of the Riviera Maya.

Photo: Gabriel Flores Romero from Tecate, México (originally posted to Flickr as viñedos) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Valle de Guadalupe: Head south of the border for warm days, cool nights, ocean breezes, an ideal grape-growing climate, and a burgeoning wine region.

Photo: La Casa Que Canta

Zihuatanejo: Return to an old favorite, breathtaking scenery, a well-protected bay, a charming fishing village, and an amazing boutique hotel on the Costa Grande.

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