2 days from now we will be sitting on our plane to Mexico. And since we are planning to stay in Mexico for a longer period of time, we have decided to collect some tips for beginners split by the most common and popular destinations and share the best experiences in Mexico in the year 2021. If you are interested in more about the topic, also do review our list of the 10 useful things to know before traveling to Mexico.
- 1 Cancún
- 2 Tulum
- 3 Mérida
- 4 Oaxaca
- 5 Puebla
- 6 Mexico City
- 7 Tequila
- 8 Guadalajara
- 9 Puerto Vallarta
- 10 Tijuana
Cancún is a popular Caribbean tourist destination on the northeast tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, in Quintana Roo, which also is called the Mexican Caribbean. Next to 22 km of beaches, you’ll find a wide variety of resorts, spas, clubs, and malls. Cancún, now a city of over 700,000 inhabitants, literally did not exist before the 1970s. It was a tourist project started at that time by the Mexican government in a sparsely inhabited, pristine area. Since then it has grown to become a big city and one of the premier beach resort destinations in the world. It is the home of the Mayan archaeological wonders, turquoise seas, a bountiful underwater world, and world-class vacation amenities. It is still considered the gateway to the Mayan World (“El Mundo Maya”). Mayan temples and ritual sites are everywhere, some smothered by lush jungle, others easily accessible.
When to travel to Cancún
The climate in Cancún is tropical, with consistent hot and humid weather throughout the year, and very warm sea temperatures. You can expect a gentle breeze from the ocean to keep you comfortable. Temperatures reach their peak around May, and you may notice the extreme heat as you travel inland. Prepare for trips to archeological sites: wear light clothing, stay cool, and rest often. The peak season in Cancún tends to run from December to April. Airfare and hotel prices increase dramatically during these times while dropping in the (northern hemisphere) summer and early autumn months. Late June is especially hot, so come prepared or try the off-season. Hurricanes can be a major threat in late (northern hemisphere) summer and autumn.
Best experiences in Cancún
Tulum is also located on the Yucatán Peninsula. It is one of the earliest resorts in Mexico, offering a place of worship and solitude for the Mayan kings, clergy, and gods in early times. The tropical beach backdrop is the main attraction of this picturesque, much-visited small ruin on the shore of the Caribbean Sea. Shortly after your arrival, you will understand why early Mayans picked this beautiful place to relax. Be prepared for lots of people and tour groups at the archaeological site. To avoid the crowds, it is best to stay overnight and visit the ruins early in the morning before the buses arrive, or later in the afternoon. Morning is recommended since you can catch spectacular vistas when the sun is rising over the Caribbean.
When to travel to Tulum
The climate of Tulum is tropical, hot all year round, with a muggy, rainy season from May to October and a cooler, relatively dry season from November to April. However, also in the latter season, rainfall may occur, in addition to wind and cloudiness, especially in December and January.
Best experiences in Tulum
Mérida is the cultural center of southern Mexico, boasting a panoply of excellent museums and attractions, a vibrant street life, and a wealth of historic colonial-era architecture. The capital and largest city of Yucatán state with a population of just under 900,000 (2015), Mérida is a city of contrasts. You will find elegant hotels, restaurants, and malls in the northern part of the city. Downtown, there are hotels and restaurants to suit every budget. A large central market and numerous small shops are found all around the main plaza. Mérida has a rich cultural life which also reflects its diversity. Many free concerts, performances, and other events are held daily.
When to travel to Mérida
If Mérida is your destination, you can expect to give your air conditioner a good workout for most of the year. Sitting in the northwest corner of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida is hot pretty much year-round with moderate to high humidity. It is most often a few degrees hotter in Mérida than in neigh-boring coastal areas due to its inland location and low elevation.
Best experiences in Mérida
There’s been a settlement here since earliest times, the first settlements being by the Zapotec and Mixtec peoples. The nearby sites of Monte Albán and Mitla are from this time, and the former is regarded as a precursor to present-day Oaxaca, and a world heritage site. The Aztecs arrived around 1440, and the current name derives from Aztec “huax yacac”, meaning “in the nose of the squash”, and in 1521 the Spanish led by Francisco de Orozco, looking for gold. The Spanish laid out a colonial town in the present grid pattern in the 16th century, and in the 19th century, it grew rich from the export of cochineal, the red dye. Later development didn’t much touch it, so today it makes for a charming old-time city center. During the Spanish era, the name of the city was Antequera, but after Mexican independence, it was changed to Oaxaca. Perhaps the most famous Mexican president, Benito Juárez (whom the airport in Mexico City is named after) was born in the state and started his political career in the city. After his death in 1872, his family name was added to the city’s official name, which since has been Oaxaca de Juárez.
When to travel to Oaxaca
Oaxaca lies at an altitude of 1,555 m, so in winter nights are cold and days are warm. In summer it’s always hot and dry. With a tropical location but high above sea level, Oaxaca has a tropical savanna climate. The dry season, from November to April sees very little rain, and during that time night temperatures usually drop down to around +10°C but on occasion down to freezing. Nevertheless, daytime highs average +27.1 °C even in the coolest month, December. In the first months of the year-day temperatures climb until April, which is the hottest month. After that comes the rainy season from May to October with smaller daytime temperature variation and warmer nighttime temperatures, but 16-17 days of rain every month on average.
Best experiences in Oaxaca
The city of Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico with 2.1 million inhabitants and the Capital of the State of Puebla. It was founded on April 16, 1531 as “La Puebla de los Ángeles”. It was the first city in central Mexico founded by the Spanish conquistadors that was not built upon the ruins of a conquered Amerindian settlement. Its strategic location, halfway between the port of Veracruz and Mexico City, made it the second most important city during the colonial period. During the seventeenth century, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz lived in the city until her confrontation with the Bishop of Puebla.
When to travel to Puebla
In Puebla, the wet season is warm and overcast and the dry season is comfortable and partly cloudy. Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Puebla for warm-weather activities is from mid-March to late May.
Best experiences in Puebla
Mexico City (Spanish: México, Ciudad de México or CDMX) is Mexico’s capital and the newest of the 32 states of Mexico. Prior to receiving statehood in 2016, it was also known as the Distrito Federal or D.F. The city center is built on the ruins of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan and later came to be the capital of New Spain, which included much of North America. The city has grown fast in the 20th century and is today North America’s largest city (and the world’s largest Spanish-speaking city) with 8.9 million inhabitants in the city proper, and more than 20 million in the urban area.
When to travel to Mexico City
Mexico City has a monsoon-influenced temperate oceanic climate with five seasons, Spring, Summer, Monsoon, Autumn, and Winter. Spring months are mild and sunny, while the summer months warm and humid. The monsoon season lasts from June to September, which can vary from light to heavy rains especially in the late afternoon. Dawn in the autumn and winter get really cold, but with an amazingly clear sky. Temperatures range from 0°C in late October, November, December and January mornings, to 32°C in March, April and May during mid-day highs.
Best experiences in Mexico City
Tequila is a municipality in Jalisco, Mexico, near Guadalajara. It is famous for being the birthplace of the Tequila drink and contains a number of distilleries with offer tours of the fabrication process as well as tours further out into the fields where the Agave plant, from which it is made, is grown. The “Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila” has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
When to travel to Tequila
In Tequila, the wet season is overcast, the dry season is partly cloudy, and it is warm year-round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 6°C to 34°C and is rarely below 2°C or above 36°C. Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Tequila for warm-weather activities is from late April to early June.
Best experiences in Tequila
Guadalajara is the capital of the central state of Jalisco in Mexico, and the second-largest city in the country, with about a million and a half citizens (known as “Tapatíos”). It is considered a colonial city, though much of its architecture dates from the independence period. Although it has a far more relaxed feel than Mexico City, the city center can still seem a bit stuffy and dusty, especially during rush hour when the sun is out. All in all, however, it is a lovely city and contains many nice areas for walking, not just in the center.
When to travel to Guadalajara
In Guadalajara, the wet season is overcast, the dry season is partly cloudy, and it is warm year-round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 5°C to 32°C and is rarely below 1°C or above 34°C. Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Guadalajara for warm-weather activities is from late April to early June.
Best experiences in Guadalajara
Puerto Vallarta, colloquially known as Vallarta, is a city on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. While it is established as a modern resort town, the Old Town (the Zona Romantica district) south of the River Cuale is more of a traditional Mexican city. Around the Bay, beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and sparkling waterfalls offer many opportunities for the adventurous, while five-star resorts, world-class shopping, and gourmet restaurants satisfy even the most sophisticated traveler. Stretching from the south end of Old Town to central downtown, a newly extended and refurbished boardwalk along the ocean, called the Malecon, passes by any number of shops, restaurants, and hotels, and often plays host to mimes, breakdancers, clowns, and artists.
When to travel to Puerto Vallarta
In Puerto Vallarta, the wet season is hot, oppressive, and overcast and the dry season is warm, muggy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 16°C to 32°C and is rarely below 14°C or above 34°C. Based on the beach/pool score, the best time of year to visit Puerto Vallarta for hot-weather activities is from late April to early June.
Best experiences in Puerto Vallarta
Tijuana is a city in Baja California, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego, California, USA. The city has grown from a small border town with a salacious reputation during the Prohibition Era in the United States into a large, modern city with a sizable middle class. Its proximity to the United States has made it a very popular tourist destination, especially for day-trippers from San Diego.
When to travel to Tijuana
Visitors can expect a warm climate for most of the year, with average temperatures during the daytime ranging from 20°C in January, to 30°C in August. The rainy season is short (and tame, with yearly averages close to only 254 millimeters of rainfall), and encompasses late winter to early spring.
Best experiences in Tijuana