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Mexico is so much more than just a place to pound tacos and tequila during spring break. It’s a place where you’ll never be bored. Do you want adventure? There’s skydiving. Do you want to relax? Visit the Temazcales, sweat lodges that date back to Mesoamerican times. Looking to flirt? The locals won’t hesitate to flirt back.
There are a few things you should know before visiting Mexico. The weather can be quite unpredictable, so pack accordingly. Luckily, it’s easy to travel there, as most countries don’t require a visa to visit. The exchange rate is pretty good, too; at five cents to the peso, great shopping is in store.
Mexico has a lot to offer: big cities, little towns, arid deserts, humid jungles, hot beaches, snowy mountains. Whether you come alone or with friends, you’re sure to have a great time.
Here are the top 10 reasons to visit Mexico this year:
1. The Nightlife
No matter if it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday, parties in Mexico just happen — and they go way beyond mariachi bands. (But if you really like mariachi, visit Garibaldi Square in Mexico City.) Some of the best bars in Mexico City include Licorera Limantour, Aurora and Gin Gin. If you’re looking to to dance, Mexico City’s Zona Rosa is the official gayborhood. Excellent options for night owls in other cities include Babel in Guadalajara, Missa in Monterrey and 11:11 in Cancun.
2. The Pueblos Mágicos
Even though Mexico City is one of the most cosmopolitan capitals of the world, there are other places — Pueblos Mágicos (magical towns) — all over the country. These pueblos protect and promote beautiful historic sites and help preserve the culture, geography and people. If you’re sick of the city, you have over 100 picturesque towns to choose from. Take a train to Tequila to enjoy the scenery and some quality drinks. Go to San Miguel de Allende for its Independence Day celebrations. Shop in Taxco for silver jewelry. And those are just a few of the towns you can visit. Each has its own claim to fame that makes it truly special.
3. The Beaches
If you just want to listen to the waves and work on your tan, Mexican beaches are the best. Acapulco Bay has always been great, but since they’ve renovated its most popular area, Diamante, it’s really a must-see. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel all have the white, soft sand of the Caribbean. Cabo San Lucas is great for surfing. Puerto Vallarta is definitely Mexico’s gay capital, so bring your sexiest swimsuit. And if you want to just relax, Mazatlan, Ixtapa, Puerto Escondido and Veracruz are all excellent options.
4. The Pride Events
Mexico is one of the most broadminded countries not just Latin America but in the world. The nation has marriage equality and trans rights, and even though there’s still some work to be done, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate Mexico’s queer community. Several cities have Pride events during the month of June, but the truly not-to-be-missed celebrations are in Puerto Vallarta (held on the beach) and Mexico City (which receives millions of people from Mexico and abroad).
5. The Music
If a musician wants to succeed in Latin America, Mexico is the first stop. Lady Gaga, Shakira, U2 and many more have performed in world-class Mexican venues, including the Sol Forum, the Azteca Stadium, the Palacio de los Deportes and the National Auditorium. The best musical festival in Mexico may be the Corona Capital at the end of the year. If pop isn’t your thing, the Bellas Artes Palace, the Sala Nezahualcoyotl and the Cultural Center Ollin Yoliztli are famous for hosting the best that classical music has to offer.
6. The Culture
Mexico is full of great culture. If history’s your thing, you’ll want to check out the country’s great archeological ruins, like Chichen Itza, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. If you’re a film buff, you’ll want to see the National Cineteca (film archive) in Mexico City and the film festivals in Morelia and Guadalajara. Speaking of festivals, the Cervantino in Guanajuato might be Mexico’s best cultural experience, featuring great theater, musical performances, dance and more. But think broader; Mexico has many great theaters for dance and drama year-round.
7. The Nature
Attention animal lovers: Mexico is a great place to spot migratory animals. For direct contact with some of the country’s most beloved visitors, go to Cabo San Lucas to watch the whales, Michoacan for Monarch butterflies, Yucatan for flamingos and Chiapas for sea turtles. In the middle of the rain forest in Xilitla is the surreal castle of Edward James. The architecture mixes Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Gothic styles with Dalí and Picasso’s influence. More astounding sites include the Mayan ruins of Palenque, the Cacahuamilpa caves in Cuernavaca and the Silence Zone in Durango.
8. The Sports
There’s one important thing you must realize before visiting Mexico: Mexicans love soccer (and their sexy players). It truly is a national obsession. Just watch a game at the Azteca Stadium (with 87,000 other people) for proof. But a cultural must is Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) at the Mexico Arena. It may seem a bit aggressive, but it’s a lot of fun. Or if you like auto racing, you’ll want to hit up the Rodriguez Brothers Autodrome and the Racetrack of the Americas. For those who really want to get in on the action, opt for go-karts in La Marquesa.
9. The Catholic Temples
The Catholic Church doesn’t have a reputation of always treat the LGBTQ community well, but for a long time it has controlled the economic, social, cultural, political and artistic aspects of Mexico. The ornate churches are majestic architectural works, whether they date from colonial or modern times. If you want to get your God on, check out La Conchita in Coyoacan, the Temple of Santo Domingo de Guzman in Oaxaca or the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel in San Miguel de Allende.
10. The Mexicans
Mexicans don’t always get the best rap in the news — and Donald Trump certainly isn’t helping things. But tourism is a huge part of the Mexican economy, so Mexico takes great care of its tourists. Anyone who has headed south of the border can attest that Mexicans are a warm and polite people who like to party, eat and drink. Not to mention they’re sexy, too.
¡Bienvenidos a México!