A QUICK GUIDE TO THE REST OF MEXICO
Sunday 25 May 1997
And despite the evident fascinations of the capital (see above), Mexico City offers just a tiny fraction of the total attractions the country has to offer. Under the hot Mexican sun, you'll find not only small men in big hats, but also Aztec monuments, cacti-filled deserts, tropical jungles, colonial towns and beach resorts. Travelling through the country on improbable mountain railways is also recommended (for example the daily train from Chihuahua to Los Mochis). Although the highlight of many Mexican journeys turns out to be something quite random - say, a mangy dog and a crumbling baroque church in the desert scrub - the following are a few of the more obvious attractions:
North of Mexico City, this is one of the nicest cities in Mexico, with a small population and a decidedly Alpine location at over 2,000 metres. Set in a narrow gorge amid striking scenery, the streets of the town are so steep and narrow that kisses can be exchanged from opposite balconies in certain streets. The city also has an abundance of 17th- and 18-century churches as well as curious subterranean streets.
This southern, medium-sized town is one of the most strongly Indian in Mexico. Come here for colourful markets and elegant old shopping arcades; the central Zcalo area is a delightful traffic-free zone full of music and dance.
Dangling all the way down the west coast of Mexico, this strange finger of land is for the most part a desert wilderness. Nevertheless it is a great refuge from the human-torture chamber of southern California, and the border town of Tijuana claims to be the world's most visited city - with 35 million people crossing the border here annually. Americans come here for cheap dentistry, duty-free bargains and night-clubs, but if you are from Britain you might as well head further south to see the dolphins of Ensenada, the whales of Laguna Ojo de Liebre, or the wild, rugged interior.
This great bulge of land projects north out of the southeastern part of Mexico near Belize and is one of the most heavily visited parts of the country. Tourists are tempted here en masse by the much-touted combination of Maya archaeology and beach resorts surrounded by coconut palms. The beach resorts in the Cancn area have been so swamped by tourism that they now have few if any Mexican characteristics left at all. They are also the most expensive parts of the country. To call Cancn the Torremolinos of Mexico would not be a travesty. Rather nicer is the offshore island of Cozumel which offers great snorkelling and scuba-diving, weird endemic wildlife and abundant Maya remains.
There is a string of ports and resorts of varying interest down this coast, and Puerto Vallarta is probably the most notable of the resorts. It's touristy but apart from the odd monstrous condominium, you'll find good beaches and a lively strip of bars and restaurants along the shore. Upmarket water-sports such as shark-fishing and parachute-water-skiing are available.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 2 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...