Best of Mexico by Travelers Around the World

Welcome to the second round of our monthly series “Best of Country by Travelers Around the World”!

MEXICO

Every destination has its standard cliched icons. But the best travel experiences are personal, and the things that stay with us are not always the most famous, iconic sights, but those meaningful, inspiring experiences that make travel worthwhile. In this series, we asked travelers to contribute photos that best represent what their time in Mexico meant to them.

We went to Mexico for a short time, just a few months prior to our vagabonding journey. It was near the end of my tenuous 2 year graduate program in Chemistry, so we spent most of our Mexico time laying down on the gorgeous beach and eating great food. Other than that, we went to the fabulous Chichen Itza and Ryan plunge into a real cool cenote. We got a great taste of Mexico, but this was not much. We will one day come back to Mexico to explore more. Our fellow world travelers have been kind enough sending their photos of their best Mexican memories, and these have made us even more inspired to go back. I hope you get inspired too to visit the beautiful Mexico!

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1. Land’s End at sunrise in Cabo San Lucas

Land's End at sunrise in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photo © Everything Everywhere

Land's End at sunrise in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photo © Everything Everywhere

By Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere

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2. Isla Mujeres, during the swine flu scare

Mexico by Solo Female Traveler - Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres (Photo © Solo Female Traveler)

I was privileged to be invited to a wedding on the little island of Isla Mujeres, just off the coast of Cancun in May 2009, at the very peak of the swine flu scare. Traveling to a country that had temporarily lost almost all of its tourism due to the minor health scare which the media blew up into a massive end of the world scenario, meant that Isla Mujeres was almost entirely deserted. Our wedding party of approximately 25 had the whole island almost to ourselves – with the exception of the locals, of course. Tourists and travelers who avoided Isla Mujeres during the H1N1 scare really missed out. But as a guest at this wedding, I can say that we all benefited from their absence tremendously.

By Sabina Lohr of Solo Femaler Traveler

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3. Mexico’s Mayan History: Chichen Itza

Mexico by A Little Adrift - Chichen Itza

Shannon jumping at Chichen Itza! (Photo © A Little Adrift and Shannon O'Donnell)

The Mayan ruins throughout Central America rank tops on my list as a reason to travel and explore the region. The architecture at Chichen Itza is so intriguing, and these ruins in particular are in really great shape, so you can still discover the unique acoustics of the ruins complex and a slice of what was built so long ago but yet still stands today.

By Shannon O’Donnell of A Little Adrift

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4. Sunrise at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Campeche

Mexico by Expert Vagabond - Campeche Cathedral sunrise

Campeche Cathedral sunrise (Photo © Expert Vagabond and Year Around The World)

Mexico’s history-rich architecture is one of my favorite memories from that country. Mexico is most well known for it’s ancient Mayan ruins, but even the colonial Spanish cathedrals that were built from the stones of destroyed indigenous temples are beautiful & interesting. This is a sunrise at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Campeche, Mexico. The church was constructed after Francisco de Montejo conquered the Yucatan province for Spain. Knowing the tragic history behind the building makes the experience that much more special.

By Matt of Expert Vagabond / Year Around the World

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5. Coconut candies “factory” in Juluchuca

Mexico by Suzy Guese - Coconut Candy Assembler in Juluchuca

Coconut Candy Assembler in Juluchuca (Photo © Suzy Guese)

When I think of Mexico, all I can see are bright colors. Perhaps the sun is turned up to full power that every color in Mexico appears brighter, just as the people do. The brightness of Mexico’s spirit for me came while visiting Juluchuca, just east of Zihuatanejo on the Pacific Ocean. The side-of-the-road, nothing-looking town is known for its production of coconut candies. Shipped all over Mexico, most of Juluchuca makes a living selling these overpoweringly bright and sweet confections. As you drive in, you will start to see colors not found in nature on the side of the road. Women, men, children and the elderly sell their creations. I toured one “factory” if it can even be called a factory. A woman who was arranging these packages of coconut candies did so in an uninterrupted way. As the saints above her looked down and the sinners of gawkers like me looked on, this is the Mexico I remember, colorful, spiritual and a little bit sweet.

By Suzy Guese that is Traveling with a Redheaded Temperament

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6. Cenote Samula near Valladolid

Mexico by Wandering Earl - Cenote Samula near Valladolid

Cenote Samula near Valladolid (Photo © Wandering Earl)

Cenote Samula: Located just outside the traditional town of Valladolid on the Yucatan Peninsula, this remarkable cenote (underground, water-filled sinkhole) receives barely any visitors in comparison to the cenotes located much closer to Cancun. But for 30 pesos ($2.50 USD), a climb down into this cave and a relaxing dip in the cool waters is an off-the-beaten path experience that does not disappoint. During the few months I lived in Playa del Carmen last year, I made the 2.5 hour journey to Valladolid and Cenote Samula on four different occasions!

By Earl of Wandering Earl

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7. Mariachi

Mexico by Globe Trotter Girls - Mariachi in Mexico City

Mariachi in Mexico City (Photo © The Globetrottergirls)

When we got to Mexico City, we knew we had to visit the Plaza Garibaldi. Plaza Garibaldi is a square where mariachis congregate on Friday and Saturday nights to practice and perform. Fans of Mariachi converge on the plaza, along with tourists and those interested in hiring Mariachi bands for parties and events.

There was one Mariachi in particular who belted out the most marvelous mariachi folk songs and entertained the crowd tremendously. Listening to him and all the other bands was one of the things that made our stay in Mexico unforgettable.

By Dani and Jess of The Globetrottergirls

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8. Guadalupe Valley: the nation’s prime wine country

Mexico by Tanama Tales - Baja California's Guadalupe Valley

Baja Californias's Guadalupe Valley (Photo © Tanama Tales)

Mexico is well know for its tequila and beer. However, in the heart of northern Baja California you can find the nation’s prime wine country. The whole place is known as the Guadalupe Valley. Recently, I was able to visit the place and I was plesantly surprised by the colorful landscape. There is a mix of blue skies, different shades of green painting the vegetation, irony red soil and white peebles scattered around the mountains. All that surreal combination was accented with rows and rows of vines maturing for the harvest. Without a doubt, a different aspect of ever surprising Mexico.

By Ruth of Tanama Tales

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9. The Cathedral of San Gervasio in Valladolid

Mexico by No Onions Extra Pickles - Valladolid Church

Valladolid Church (Photo © No Onions Extra Pickles)

Valladolid is an adorable colonial town stuck between Cancun and Merida.While most people only seem to stop here on their way to or from Chichen Itza, it is definitely worth your time. I spent three days here and completely fell in love with the town – can’t wait to go back! The Cathedral of San Gervasio sits on the main plaza in Valladolid, where you can find families, couple and street vendors enjoying the evening. It is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy some great people-watching.

By Ashley of No Onions Extra Pickles

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10. Sunset in Zihuatanejo

Mexico by Vagabond3 - Sunset at Zihuatanejo

Sunset at Zihuatanejo (Photo © Vagabond3)

Sunset in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. We went on a surf trip in the Spring and it was perfect!

By Jade, Bob and Rob of Vagabond3

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11. Indigenous Mayan population in Oaxaca and San Christobal

Mexico by Go See Write - San Cristobal

See Mike, the guy in the right. Great outfit, I want one too! (Photo © Go, See, Write)

Mexico was my first country on my RTW all-overland trip and it was a wonderful eye-opener on a completely different culture. I really enjoyed the southern part of the country, especially Oaxaca and San Christobal. The little towns around there have an indigenous Mayan population with a unique characteristic… Coca-Cola plays a role in their religious worship. What a memorable day.

By Michael Hodson of Go, See, Write

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12. Stunning view from Cabo San Lucas

Mexico by Nomading Film Festival - Sunrise in Cabo San Lucas

Sunrise in Cabo San Lucas (Photo © Nomading Film Festival)

The attached shot was taken at sunrise from a house called, “The Golden Dome” overlooking the Sea of Cortez in Cabo San Lucas from a house called, “The Golden Dome” in the community, Pedregal.  The house offered such stunning views and so many amenities that it was sometimes hard to leave it and experience the nightlife of Cabo San Lucas.

By Bassam of Nomading Film Festival

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13. Creative street performers

Mexico by Superxicana - Street performer

Street performer © Lucero

Creative street performers abound in Mexico and for 10 pesos they will gladly let you take their picture. This guy just topped them all by imitating one of the greatest comedians of all time…Cantinflas en el ba~no! LOL (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico)

By Lucero of Superxicana Travel Adventures

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14. Just Relaxing on the beach of Playa del Carmen

Mexico by Vagabond Quest - Just relaxing on the beach of Playa del Carmen

Just relaxing on the beach of Playa del Carmen

We went to Mexico right after I did my graduate program’s defense, before we started our vagabonding journey. We were timid, and we were tired. The fondest memory of Mexico for our lazy asses? Just relaxing on the beach everyday, becoming one of many beach bums there! Of course we also loved visiting Chichen Itza and jumping into the cenote (sinkhole). And oh, we also ate a lot. A lot!

By us (Ryan and Dina) from this blog ;)

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15. Oceans of Plenty – The Sea of Cortez

Mexico by Family Firepit - Oceans of Plenty: The Sea of Cortez

Starfish! (Photo © Family Firepit)

 

My second trip ever to Mexico was to Baja California Sur to the protected area Isla Espiritu Santo. One day spent on this northeast coast was absolutely magical: beautiful weather with seals sunning themselves on island rocks. We sailed in and amongst the caves and dolphins. The ocean was calm, clean, pristine and pure from aquamarine to navy blue.

We stopped near the seals to snorkel but I am not a swimmer so needless to say I did not jump in. Others jumped in to explore the ocean depths. The trip leader was kind enough to show me what I was missing on the dive: he brought me up some different starfish to look at. Look at what I was missing! We returned them to the ocean before we left though.

Yes Mexico is magical!!!

By Karen Ho Fatt of Family Firepit

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16. Making quesadillas in Oaxaca Mexico

 

Mexico by Ayngelina - Making quesadillas in Oaxaca Mexico

Making quesadillas in Oaxaca (Photo © Bacon Is Magic)

 

 

Oaxaca has been named a UNESCO world heritage site for cuisine and the complexity of the food can stand up to any of the world’s culinary centres. This photo represents all of the great food memories that I had while in Mexico and reminds me that I need to return.

By Ayngelina of Bacon Is Magic

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17. Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres (Photo © Traveling Canucks)

Isla Mujeres (Photo © Traveling Canucks)

By Cam and Nicole of Traveling Canucks

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What about the rest of you, guys? Tell us your favourite memory of Mexico!

Got a photo and a story as well that you want to share here? Send it to dina@VagabondQuest.com, and we will update this article!

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Next in the series: “Best of AUSTRALIA by Travelers Around the World”

Join the fun!

  • Have you traveled to AUSTRALIA? Do you want to share your memory of it? Anybody can participate!
  • What do we need?
    • 1 photo of Australia that best represents your memories of Mexico. You must be the owner of the photo. Photo at least 600×400 px is preferred
    • A description, no more than 1 paragraph
    • Your name, and if applicable blog name and URL (alternatively: Twitter or Facebook)
    • Optional: If you have written an article in it, you can include the link. We will post it up if it fits.
  • Where to send your submission?
    • Email me at dina@VagabondQuest.com
  • What’s the deadline?
    • 19 May 2011 (Thu) – That’s 3-4 weeks from this post’s date.
    • But don’t worry, if you submit later than that, we will update the article with your submission!

For Gary, Sabina, Shannon, Matt, Suzy, Earl, Ruth, Ashley, Jade, Bob, Rob, Mike, Lucero, Dani, Jess, Bassam, Karen, and Ayngelina, the contributors to this article:

Thank you so much, this article wouldn’t exist without you!

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63 Responses to “Best of Mexico by Travelers Around the World”

  1. Adam @ SitDownDisco
    12 May 2011 at 4:11 am #

    Awesome! I never wanted to go to Mexico. Now maybe I do!
    Adam @ SitDownDisco´s last post…Foursquare Sucks

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      It’s a great country :)

  2. Danny
    12 May 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I stayed at that hotel at Playa del Carmen! Ii was amazing!

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Cool! The food was great there!

  3. Cam
    12 May 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Fun photo blog! We actually got married in the Mayan Riveria a couple years ago and will be back in Mexico later this month.
    Here is a photo from our trip to Isla Mujeres – http://www.flickr.com/photos/camwears/5585874881/in/photostream/

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      You guys got married in Mexico? Really cool!
      Loving the photo, guys, but I can’t download it (it says it’s disabled)…

  4. Sailor
    12 May 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Lots and lots of beautiful Pictures. I always loved traveling through Mexico and it is fun always!
    Sailor´s last post…Cruising the Western Mediterranean

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      Thanks to all the contributors :)
      Yeah, I wish to explore more of this country one day!

  5. John
    18 May 2011 at 2:20 am #

    One of the best collection of Mexico pictures that I’ve ever seen! I’ve been to Mexico many times before and it never stops to amaze me.

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:20 pm #

      Wow John, thank you so much. Thanks to the kind travelers that have contributed their photos :)

  6. Nancie
    18 May 2011 at 9:51 am #

    Great post. I’ve been to Mexico twice. Both times was before digital cameras :) I’ve also been to Australia, and again, before the age of digital :)
    Nancie´s last post…Travel Photo Thursday- May 12- 2011- Lantern Parade 2011- Seoul Korea

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      Before digital times eh, I remember that time, you have to be easy on taking photo, each costs money!

  7. Angela
    21 May 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Great photos and memories, Mexico has always been on my list, can’t wait to spend some time there!

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:25 pm #

      Great, hope this post can help you in deciding what to do there :)

  8. van025
    24 May 2011 at 4:48 am #

    So many beautiful landscapes from Mexico.Love your photos.How can we travel to Mexico?hixhix
    van025´s last post…do college students go on vacation with their family

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:31 pm #

      Thanks! Mexico is beautiful indeed, I hope one day you get there! Thank you to all photo contributors for this post!

  9. Mark E Tisdale
    27 May 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Have been to Mexico three times and always up for more. My last trip was a whirlwind from Mex City down to Cancun but I saw so many places I want to go back to again! Great list!
    Mark E Tisdale´s last post…Manhattan Skyline

    • Dina
      4 June 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      We also need to go back there again! We were there only for a short holiday before, we want to explore the country more!

  10. David
    26 June 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    We would love to go to Mexico, not the boring Mexico of beaches and resorts but old Mexico, historic Mexico, rural Mexico. However, we have no intention of visiting a country that these days appears to be totally lawless, if not downright dangerous, notwithstanding its beauty and history. Such a shame.

  11. هتل
    28 February 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    very nice traveling guide
    i love Mexico sso much
    which season is best time for traveling to Mexico!?

  12. DavidD
    30 March 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I love your blog, I love your pictures. Regrettably, while I would love to visit Mexico for the sights David has mentioned, I would not want to go there for the reasons he mentions. I lived in Europe in the 80s, during the time that terrorism was rampant and did not understand why North Americans were so anxious about visiting, but now that I’m older, the thought of going to Mexico, with its drug cartels, bandits and crooked police does not encourage me to visit.

  13. Paulina
    6 November 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I love this post! Mexico it’s so interesting! I love that their culture they have so many colors and history!

    Mariachis are always fun to watch and dance!

    I’m going to San Carlos Mexico for Christmas! Can’t wait!

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