1. Mexico City
Mexico City is considered by many to be the most intriguing city with the world. This greatly misunderstood capital has a crime rate approximately a third of the size of Washington, DC and a population of more than 21 million people. For the bi-centennial celebrations, the city underwent an intensive scrub. Certain places such as the mariachi-filed Plaza Garibaldi are considered safe enough, similar to Times Square in New York. This particular plaza has earned a reputation of transforming into a “Disney Version” of its former self.
Numerous colonial buildings show fresh details that were formerly disguised by years of build-up and pollution. This ancient city has been built over a lake that has been filled in which contains pyramids, Aztec canals, hipster dining, the old studio of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and exquisite dining offered by Polanco and Condesa.
Located 4 hours inland from Cancun, this city offers a glimpse of authentic Mexico. It is a colonial city that is the proud home of 750,000 locals. It is situated within distance of several days of excellent daytrips. It has become an interesting destination in its own right and is not simply an under rated add-on. Merida is most fun on the weekends, due to the historical core of the city closing to vehicles and unleashing much life with taco stands, open-air stages and excellent sights to see, hear, smell and taste. The 17th century cathedrals are made from Mayan bricks and offer gorgeous photo opportunities.
An easy day trip is the Ruta Puuc; simple to access with a DIY bus loop of Uxmal along with 4 other interesting Mayan cities. Another fun option is touring the flamingo-filled mangroves in Celestun, a fun little fishing village to explore.
3. Todos Santos
Todos Santos is an excellent option for your next vacation to the Baja. There are always people who express things are not what they used to be, especially since there are as many Americans as Mexicanos there due to its rise in popularity; however, it still beats the condos of Cabo San Lucas. Baja Sur provides a laid back peaceful and restful vibe. This city is situated only a couple of hours from the La Paz or Cabo airports. It offers excellent surfing beaches and is a gorgeous mountain-backed artist community.
4. San Miguel de Allende
This city makes excellent choice for the safety oriented. There are numerous American ex-patriots who visit these silver towns located in the central highlands north of Mexico City, situated approximately 2 hours from the Leon Airport. This lovely town is a far cry from any drug violence. The actual town can be seen in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, by Robert Rodriguez. Since 2008, it has been deemed a World Heritage site. There are approximately 62,000 residents in the town and an abundance of 17th century cathedrals, luxury guest-houses, botanic gardens, organic farmer restaurants and a variety of handicraft shops.
If you are craving a resort vacation, Huatulco is quite a success story in terms of recent development. This was originally a former fishing village. Lately it has become the Oaxacan beach of choice lately. It benefits from a gentle development plan that keeps the majority of the sandy shoreline completely unspoiled. The entire town is less than 6 stories high. Activities can take many days. Day trips can be spent surfing, rafting, snorkeling, kayaking and diving. There are waterfall tours to explore, cycling trips to take and coffee farms to enjoy!
6. Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen, speaking of resort towns that are considered forward thinking; amends practically every mistake of Zona Hotelera found up the road in the Yucatan Peninsula. Being only one block from the beach, makes it a lovely seaside location. There is also the pedestrian oriented La Quinta or Fifth Avenue. Here it is wise to keep track of your belongings after hours. Lined with night-clubs, take away taco stands and many souvenir options, this touristy attraction is fun for shopping and sand excursions. If you want to take a day trip to Cozumel Island, you can experience the best snorkeling that the world has to offer.
This amazing hillside town is home to 16th century cathedrals and lovely colored homes on plazas lined with laurel trees and gorgeous alleyways. Best to take into consideration the Festival Cervantino which is an annual event filled with mariachis, Mexico City punk bands, orchestras, modern art, Moroccan Folk music and a series of additional cultural extravaganzas. The majority of these festivals are offered for free. It is an excellent hub to visit any time of year; offering a real mummy museum and a laid back colonial lifestyle. A great option is to combine this trip with an excursion to nearby San Miguel de Allende.
Puebla offers a glimpse of being a smaller version of Mexico City. There are approximately 1.5 million residents who call this city home. It is jam packed with fun things to see such as numerous cathedrals and a museum devoted to ancient artifacts. It is quite laid back and more manageable than it may seem given its size. Staying in the historic center is your best option. There are buildings flamboyantly decorated with painted tiles or azuelos and a variety of spots to sample the Arabic taco, a local cuisine. This specialty taco is comprised of marinated pork and served on Middle Eastern style flat bread.