A SMART WAY TO TRAVEL
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There's no better time to start planning your 2012 winter vacation than during these warm summer months. However, with so many dreamy tropical places available and the publicity surrounding the drug violence in northern Mexico, vacation planning has become a little more complicated.
Many travel destinations in Mexico are still safe, among them the Yucatan Peninsula in the far western section of the country. Mexico is full of history, cultural attractions and natural wonders that are too good to miss. Consider these top 10 reasons for taking a Mexico vacation:
1.) Cheap Vacation
There has never been a better time in history to vacation in Mexico, and despite negative media coverage, you will not be risking your safety. As a result of the worldwide economic crisis, vacation packages in Mexico are at an all-time low, but value is at an all-time high. Affordable rates are now available at luxury resorts and beach hotels throughout Mexico.
2.) Beautiful Beaches
Mexico beaches draw travelers from near and far for their incomparable beauty. From the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, Mexican oceans are among the most popular places for tanning, swimming, and practicing water sports because of the waves and warmth. Some of the most exquisite beaches in Mexico are the Caribbean beaches along the Riviera Maya and Cancun coast.
3.) Snorkeling & Diving
The oceans that surround the coasts of Mexico contain fascinating tropical fish and marine life, including endangered sea turtles and coral reefs, making them ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Part of the world's second largest reef − the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System − lies in the Caribbean Sea near Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, and Playa del Carmen. Nearby Punta Nizuc National Marine Park contains an underwater museum which acts as an artificial coral reef which was created in order to promote natural reef conservation.
4.) Archaeological Sites & Ruins
Mexico has a long and diverse cultural heritage dating back to Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica with the Olmec, Toltec, Aztec, and Mayan civilizations. Over time, many of their ancient cities have been discovered and preserved as now accessible archaeological sites. The Yucatan Peninsula features many incredible Mayan ruins, temples, and pyramids in Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza, among others.
5.) Nature Parks
Natural wonders ranging from mountains and woods to cenotes and rainforests exist in Mexico, but many are diminishing from human development and pollution, making conservation essential. Mexico's nature preserves and conservation programs are not only inspirational but also practical and include Tres Rios Nature Park, the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, and mangrove reforestation and sea turtle rescue programs.
6.) Cuisine & Cocktails
For delicious cuisine, Mexico is the place to go. Authentic Mexican food combines a creative blend of flavors, from sweet-spicy to sour-savory, such as Mole Poblano which contains chocolate and chile. The Yucatan Peninsula's Yucatecan cuisine is a unique mix of European, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Cuban, and Mayan styles. Mexico's numerous types of tequilas are also a tasty treat.
7.) Family Vacation Fun
In a country that officially honors its youth on Children's Day (El Día Del Niño), April 30th, there are many fun things to do. Most Mexican resorts offer supervised kids' programs with daily activities for children and families, including beach and water sports. Mexico's many geological and cultural attractions, such as Xcaret eco park, Xel-Ha, and Xplor adventure park provide tons of family fun.
8.) Shops & Markets
Variety is the spice of life, and Mexico has both variety and spice. Brimming with diversity from Indian origins, Spanish colonization, and foreign migration, its rich cultural heritage is reflected in traditional Mexican art and Mexican pottery, such as the renowned Talavera. Most cities also contain trendy shopping malls, upscale international boutiques, and authentic jewelry stores.
9.) Mexican Architecture
Mexico's cultural legacy is reflected in its historic architecture, from ancient Aztec and Mayan temples and pyramids to Spanish colonial cities. Spanish rule influenced a uniquely Mexican style of haciendas, cathedrals, and monuments, found primarily in Merida (Yucatan), Chiapas, Queretaro, Guanajuato, and Oaxaca. Cultural museums and performances can be found throughout Mexico.
10.) The People
The Mexican people are nearly always identified as one of the top reasons why travelers enjoy a Mexico vacation − and for good reason. After centuries of oppression, these resilient people are among the friendliest, most appreciative, helpful, and hospitable in the world. If Disneyland is considered "the happiest place on earth," then Mexico is definitely "the friendliest place on earth."
About the Author
Christina Famiglietti is a professional writer and editor with experience in various industries. Her most recent passion is the Mexican Caribbean, where she lives and is inspired to write about her beloved Mexico — its nature, culture, travel, and tourism. Follow her on Twitter.
Reedited by Kristin Busse