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Mexico: A pocket guide

Mexico is one of the most visited countries in the world and a wonderful destination for families with children. With such a varied plethora of activities and exciting landscapes to explore, it’s no wonder this country running between the U.S. and Central America, is an increasingly celebrated vacation spot. For those who haven’t yet been, the mention of Mexico conjures vibrant images of flourishing jungles, bustling cities and endless fiestas. The reality of what happens in Mexico is not far from imagination at all, and often exceeds expectation.

Its cuisine is familiar and kid-friendly, and nowhere does it taste better than in a local restaurant, prepared by a Mexican chef. Foodies will appreciate Mexico City, which has received worldwide praise from prestigious palettes—for standout seafood, dine at Contramar and order the crab tacos. A city of eight million that sits at an altitude of 7,200 feet, Mexico City is also a good place to get acquainted with the country’s Aztec and colonial past.

History buffs will love exploring Mexico’s colorful colonial towns and ancient ruins, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula, home to the incredible Mayan site Chichén Itzá. Guadalajara, Mexico’s second city, has escaped the spotlight of the capital and retained its small-town charm; it is best known for its mariachi music and the golden spires of the neoclassical cathedral Teatro Degollado. Plan a day trip and visit the street markets, where on a Thursday and Sunday the streets of the region of Tonalá bulge with market stalls selling food and drink amid a carnival vibe.

Many people come to Mexico for its world-classes beaches, found along both on its Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Sybarites may want to head for the white-sand beaches of Tulum or the beachfront village of Punta Mita, 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. Outdoor activities run the gamut from zip-lining in the Lacandon jungle to wildlife-viewing in the Chihuahuan Desert, home to jaguar, antelope, and roadrunners. Also popular: jungle buggy tours, volcano trekking (just a short distance from Mexico City), and whale-shark diving.

Travel inland and up into the mountains north of Mexico City and you’ll reach one of the country’s loveliest towns San Miguel de Allende. Here you can travel back to colonial times by wandering the small cobblestone streets, gazing at beautiful baroque architecture and staying in a secret historic hacienda, hidden behind tall walls.

To spend your Mexico vacation in opulent comfort, have one of our villa specialists recommend a beachfront hotel, a colonial mansion, or a secluded villa with a private pool and exceptional service.

Meet the Experts for Mexico