Mexico’s Best Destinations Beyond the Beaches

Although the beaches of Mexico are a great attraction for tourists from all over the world, this country also has cities to enjoy extraordinary cultural, gastronomic and fun experiences. These are some of the best places beyond the beach to spend the holidays.

Guadalajara

Guadalajara is one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities in Latin America, and its hotel and gastronomic services put it at the level of the best capitals in the world. In this fun city, home to iconic Mexican symbols like tequila and mariachi music, travelers won’t have time to get bored. In the city center, visitors can enjoy streets and buildings that are over 500 years old and designed in the Baroque, Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau and Contemporary styles.

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The most important places to visit are the Cathedral, the Government Palace, the Degollado Theater, the Museum of Arts and the Cabañas Cultural Institute, a World Heritage Site, where the impressive fresco “The Burning Man” by the famous Mexican painter José Clemente Orozco is located.

Not far from this area is the Colonia Americana, one of Guadalajara’s oldest and trendiest neighborhoods, where tourists can see many European-style residences built in the early 1900s by must-see architects and renovated more late with good designs that alternate classic and contemporary styles.

Cúpula del Hospicio Cabañas in Guadalajara.  (Photo by the Secretaría de Turismo de Jalisco)
The Cabañas Cultural Institute is a World Heritage Site in Guadalajara. (Photo by the Secretaría de Turismo de Jalisco).

Although Guadalajara’s gastronomic offer is one of the most diverse in Mexico, its most distinctive dishes are Carne en su jugo (juicy meat), which consists of a mixture of steak with bacon, tomatoes and chili peppers. ground. Another popular dish is tortas ahogadas, made with a special bread filled with meat dipped in tomato and spicy sauces. These two dishes are added to birria, a preparation made from mutton, goat or beef, with a sauce made from a mixture of peppers and cooked underground for five hours.

San Miguel de Allende

This charming and bohemian city, located in Guanajuato, is a favorite destination for visitors from the United States and Canada. The atmosphere of its cobbled streets and the beauty of the parish of San Miguel Arcángel, built in a neo-Gothic style, welcome tourists who can take exciting tours of historical monuments, art galleries, boutique hotels and restaurants with world-class service.

The most recommended places to visit are the Allende Garden, the Casa Allende Historical Museum and, above all, the imposing Temple and Oratory of San Felipe Neri, one of the most important examples of colonial architecture in the country. Additionally, for art lovers, the former La Aurora textile factory features collections of books, paintings, and sculptures that visitors enjoy in expansive exhibition spaces.

Majestic por dentro y por fuera, logrará atraparte a primera vista.  Although the exterior has a neogothic style, the interior has a neoclassical decoration.
The parish of San Miguel Arcángel was designed in a beautiful Spanish neo-Gothic style.

Another space that tourists should not miss is the Ignacio Ramírez Cultural Center, located in one of the most important historic buildings in San Miguel de Allende, built in 1754. Visitors can follow art workshops and enjoy exhibitions by renowned local painters.

Additionally, for those looking for wellness experiences, there are spas in the San Miguel de Allende area that offer relaxing treatments and massages in thermal waters and natural springs. Finally, in the Botanical Garden of San Miguel de Allende, tourists carry out activities to connect with nature in an environment of the rich biodiversity of Mexican cacti.

San Cristobal de las Casas

In this city founded in 1528 and located in the mountains of Chiapas, near Guatemala, life is calmer and slower. Its enchanting natural environment invites the visitor to walk its innumerable paths and enjoy the fresh air of the thick forest in which this charming place is located.

One of the most distinctive features of San Cristóbal de las Casas is that it was the meeting point for Mexico’s most important indigenous groups, allowing visitors to learn about the culture and tradition that remain today. intact today.

Pedestrian street and Del Carmen Arch tower (Arco Torre del Carmen) - San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico (photo via diegograndi/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
San Cristóbal de las Casas retains impressive colonial buildings. (photo via diegograndi/iStock/Getty Images Plus).

The city preserves impressive colonial buildings, such as the former Convent of Santo Domingo, one of the best examples of the fusion of Spanish and indigenous Baroque art. This building was built by the Dominican friars between 1547 and 1551 and featured fascinating ornaments, including angels and mermaids, which make it unique among historic buildings in Mexico. Other places to visit are the Amber Museum and the Casa del Jade, precious elements that the pre-Hispanic communities of Chiapas worked with great skill. In this place, tourists enjoy an essential collection of jade carvings made by artists from the Zapotec, Olmec, Aztec and Toltec cultures.

The gastronomic offer of this charming rural destination in Mexico is based on dishes prepared with organic foods cooked with traditional recipes. However, there are also gourmet restaurants and hotels that offer menus of international cuisine and, most importantly, the region’s fabulous gourmet cafe, considered one of the best in Mexico.

Merida

Mérida, in addition to being one of the safest and most fascinating destinations in Mexico, is one of the cities that best integrates the heritage of the Mayan culture with that of the Spanish colony. This fabulous city, capital of the state of Yucatan, is an exotic place surrounded by lush nature and a quiet provincial life in which visitors enjoy the beauty of its grand colonial mansions on the emblematic Paseo de Montejo and a extraordinary cuisine offered both in the smallest restaurants and luxury hotels of international brands.

Besides the architectonic and natural attractions, the gastronomy of Yucatán is key to impulsive tourism.  (Photo: via JoannElle/iStock/Getty Images Plus).
The Paseo de Montejo, in Mérida, is full of extraordinary and elegant mansions. (Photo: via JoannElle/iStock/Getty Images Plus).

To enjoy Mérida, it is advisable to start on foot from the city center, Plaza de la Independencia, then visit the Cathedral and the Church of the Third Order. These two colonial churches were built with limestone and antiques from ancient Mayan temples. In addition to visiting the entire Paseo Montejo, visitors are highly recommended to know the Palace of Canton.

In this spectacular building in neoclassical style, the Regional Museum exhibits a fantastic collection of elements of Mayan culture. Another place not to be missed is the Palace of the Spanish conqueror Francisco de Montejo, built in the 16th century, which today is an important museum housing an essential collection of works of art.

After a day of walking or riding along the Paseo de Montejo, tourists have countless restaurants to enjoy menus of the famous Yucatan gastronomy, the result of the fusion of Hispanic and Mayan cultures, which has made it recognized as intangible cultural heritage of humanity. . In the evening, the weather in Mérida is ideal for strolling and stopping at some of the countless open-air cafes and restaurants to sample fresh juices, ice creams and a myriad of desserts made with products endemic to the region.

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