What to see
Mexico City is a busy and exciting Latin American capital with plenty of sights to justify spending a few days there. In the city centre alone there are ancient Aztec temple ruins (Templo Mayor), impressive colonial buildings and the world-renowned Museum of Anthropology. Also worth seeing is the house where Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lived, and the city's Venice-like canals. 40km northeast of Mexico City lies the enormous archaeological site of Teotihuacan, once the largest city in the Americas.
Oaxaca is one of Mexico's most beautiful colonial towns, and is close to the Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban and the splendid wall mosaics at Mitla. Also in this region is the pretty colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas, which has many impressive colonial buildings and a laid-back atmosphere. Nearby are the Tzotzil Mayan communities of Zincantan and Chamula, a fascinating region which has autonomous status in Mexico and a local form of Catholicism which blends pre-conquest Mayan customs, Spanish Catholic traditions and subsequent innovations such as the idolatry of Coca Cola.
From San Cristobal it is possible to visit the Mayan ruins of Palenque in half a day. Whilst smaller than Tikal and Copan, Palenque contains some of the finest architecture and has a splendid location in the heart of the jungle. We recommend climbing the main pyramid for stunning views of the site's jungle location.
Farther up the Yucutan Peninsula, which has a huge concentration of Mayan ruins, lie the ruins of Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Chichen Itza is rightly famous for its splendid pyramid, and was recently voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, but Uxmal is perhaps even more impressive, and has fewer crowds. In this region there are some beautifully converted haciendas, Hacienda Temozon being a particular favourite of ours.
In other parts of Mexico, Baja California is excellent for whale-watching and there are a number of superb beach properties on both the Caribbean and Pacific sides.