Mexico is a mélange of cultures, music, languages, landscapes, history, architecture and arts. When Hernan Cortes was asked by the king of Spain in the 16th century to describe Mexico, he crumpled a piece of paper and threw it on a table to show it ruggedness. The topography he was talking about has produced an immense variety of distinctive peoples, places and traditions. To discover Mexico is to travel over huge expanses of desert, stumble over cactus-ridden mountains, ramble through rainforests, stroll long powdery remote beaches, and to wander through the narrow cobblestone streets of colonial cities older than any cities in the U.S or Canada. It is to explore snowcapped volcanoes and the busy traffic filled streets of cities with their bustling markets, cafes, and museums. It is to retreat back centuries to the ruins of the Mayans, the Aztecs and all the other ancient civilizations that prospered in this always fascinating and ever beautiful country.
Although Mexico is given a bad rap by the media for violence, most of this violence is isolated to the Mexican and US border and the majority of it is amongst gang members themselves. They're not after tourists.
There's so much to see of this vast country, from the Copper Canyon in the north, which most people are surprised to learn is bigger than the Grand Canyon in Arizona; to the beaches and cities of the West coast, to the Yucatan Peninsula with its Mayan ruins, to Central Mexico with its stunning old colonial cities, to Oaxaca and Chiapas in the south, to the astounding Mexico City itself. Where does a traveler begin? You'll probably have to make several trips to Mexico to get a taste for even a fraction of all this country offers.
One of the many highlights is Palenque, in the southern province of Chiapas. Palenque is a town surrounded by jungle. It's steaming hot most of the year but the jungle around the town is full of ancient temples, some of the best ancient architecture in all of Mexico. The town of Palenque itself, a mile or so from the jungle with its temples, isn't particularly interesting other than being a gateway to the ruins. Rather than staying in town, it's possible to find accommodation in some forest hideouts between the ruins and the town, and one of the best of these is the popular travelers' hang-out called El Panchan.
Another highlight is Teotihuaćan, a comlex of pyramids set on an ancient Mesoamerican city which was about 30 miles to the northeast of Mexico City. This is a massive site — and is still being excavated — comparable in size and impressiveness to the ruins in Chiapas and in the Yucatan.
Rean on Mexican culture.