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Overview

Introduction

Mexico is a fascinating experience characterised by deep-rooted traditions, bustling colonial cities, sleepy villages and the striking archaeological sites of the Maya and the Aztecs. A leisurely wander around the streets of Oaxaca and Mérida is an absolute delight – listening to live music and soaking up the ambience.

The hard-working Mexicans are congenial and welcoming people. Out of a total population of 105 million, nearly 30 percent are indigenous whilst 60 percent are mestizos (fusion of indigenous and European blood). They are great fans of pyrotechnics and incorporate fireworks whenever possible into the numerous celebrations.

Mexicans have the greatest respect towards death. They strongly believe in afterlife and they expect to meet their loved ones during the Day of the Dead celebrations. Altars in homes are adorned with goods that were enjoyed by departed family members such as cigars, tequila and chocolate. Miniature skeletons and papier mâché life-sized devils and skulls are also very much in evidence.

A variety of cuisine and cooking methods can be found throughout Mexico. The country is renowned for its fresh seafood such as ceviche (white fish marinated in lime juice), conch, octopus and shrimp. Common meat dishes are shredded beef and barbecued goat.

Mexico’s earliest and most fascinating civilizations were that of the Maya; its people occupied the Yucatan peninsula, as well as Chiapas and other parts of Central America. There are three main centres of Maya civilization in Mexico; Palenque, Chichén Itzá and Uxmal. The pyramids here rival those found in Egypt.

Mexico does offer some interesting flora and fauna, which are found in the more remote corners of the country. The Yucatán peninsula is a breeding ground for sea turtles and the coral reef boasts an impressive marine life. Celestún also on the Yucatán peninsula, is a prime spot for observing flamingos.

The majority of tourism comes from North America and is focused on four developed and commercial coastal resorts. The discerning European traveller interested in history, culture and wildlife can thus enjoy other parts of the country in relative peace.

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At a glance

  • Stunning pyramids at historic sites throughout the country including Palenque, a magical, jungle shrouded Maya city
  • Mexico has many UNESCO World Heritage Cities and sites including; Mexico City historic centre, Oaxaca (and Monte Albán), Campeche and Uxmal
  • Charming colonial cities such as Oaxaca and Mérida
  • Caribbean beaches – coral reefs, turquoise water and long stretches of sand
  • Good to visit all year round, though coastal and lowlying regions, especially in the southern half of the country, are hot and humid from May to September (period of highest rainfall across the whole country). Interior of country more temperate – can be chilly in the north and central highlands between November and February
  • July, August, mid-December to early January and Easter are peak season months for Mexicans and overseas travellers
  • Character and comfortable boutique hotels in most locations
  • Vibrant arts, music and dance scene
  • Convenient internal flights to reduce travel time between destinations

Getting there

There are direct flights with British Airways and AeroMexico from London Heathrow to Mexico City. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also fly from London Gatwick to Cancun. Iberia operate  from London Heathrow to Mexico City and Cancun via Madrid.  Other options from London Heathrow include Air France (via Paris) to both Mexico City and Cancun; and KLM (via Amsterdam) to Mexico City. US carriers cover Mexican destinations extensively, notably United Airlines via Houston. Other airlines include American Airlines and Delta.  Any flights via the US require an ESTA application. Regional departures include Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham.

Combinations

Mexico boasts a variety of destinations and attractions and is therefore ideal for a 15 to 20 day trip. It can also be easily combined with the archaeological sites, lakes and colonial towns of Guatemala.

Autumn Equinox

Autumn Equinox (Mexico) 20-22 September

The temple of Kukulkan is the largest and most important ceremonial pyramid at Chichén-Itzá. This 90 foot high structure reveals considerable information about the Mayan calendar. At sunset on the autumn equinox, the light catches the edges of the terraces on the pyramids, creating the visual effect of a snake leading down toward the stone head of the serpent at the base.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead (Mexico plus other countries) 31 October – 2 November

Mexicans honour their deceased relatives during this moving and vivid ritual, which is celebrated between October 31 and November 2. Mexicans visit the cemeteries to decorate the graves, pray, chant and lay petals on their way home to guide the spirits into the house. They construct colourful altars in their homes which they adorn with food and favourite personal possessions of the deceased. It takes place all over Mexico although the more colourful spectacles take place in Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Useful information

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Joe
Joe Johnson
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT - 5 hours

Currency

Peso

Language

Spanish

Average flight times

11 hours 25 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Mexico expert

Joe
Joe Johnson

Joe is a welcome addition to our Latin America team. He previously completed a 5 month personal trip around South America. His knowledge of the region has been enhanced even further by a 5 week research trip around Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica. However, his passion for travel started long before this. He has visited 53 countries (and counting) and he loves nothing more than discovering the unknown and trying new experiences. Not one for a straightforward beach holiday his main passion whilst abroad is scuba diving but any adventure activity or getting out into the great outdoors is what truly appeals to him. Having spent 5 years with other specialist travel firms he could not have had better experience in crafting the best itineraries.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
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  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

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