Mexico holidays might be known for more than its beaches, but they're a handy luxury when holidaying in this part of the Americas. And with summer in Mexico offering a stunning climate – not to mention the winter sunshine too – the beaches here are easy to enjoy. From Cancun to Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya, the shores here are laden with soft white sands exuding Caribbean vibes.
The beauty isn't limited to just the coast. Outdoor adventures in Mexico are set against the backdrop of jungles, rainforests, caves, mountains and ruins that define what it means to be 'ancient'. There's much to enjoy underwater, too – on the island of Cozumel you can suit up in snorkelling gear and explore the world's second largest coral reef and sunken statues alongside giant sea turtles. Boat cruises leave from Cancun and Riviera Maya, so even your travel time is a sightseeing expedition.
Temples, ziplines and snorkelling
Mexico's lush terrain begs for holidaymakers to unleash their inner adventurers – once you've pried yourself away from the beach, you can zipline high above the treetops, dune buggy through the jungle or kayak along the coast.
And then there are the ancient ruins. Mexico is home to more World Heritage Sites than historical superpowers Greece and Egypt. Mexico is the cradle of the Mayan civilisation, whose 3,000 years of existence are still on display in the cities of Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza is where you'll find the Kukulkan Pyramid – you'll recognise its flat top instantly – one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Tulum is located at the bottom of the Riviera Maya, and combines Mayan ruins with a scenic beach. That just means you've got a day of relaxation and culture all wrapped into one.
It's no secret that Mexico holidays are known to host a fiesta or two along its coastlines. The country is a hotspot for American spring-breakers in search of a wild night, though the bars and restaurants here also play host to more laid-back evenings too.
The tequila is free flowing in Cancun - Mexico's party central. Here, you'll find DJ-driven clubs and beach parties, along with some of the country's most famous bars. Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen are also top contenders for their nightlife scenes, though you won't have trouble taking things slow if partying until sunrise doesn't suit your holiday mood.
Many of the bars and restaurants around Mexico come to life with live music, whose mariachi crooners and salsa dancers keep things easy-going on warm nights.
Playacar comes packed with adults-only accommodations, which means the evening agenda here revolves around chilled out entertainment and cool glasses of sangria.
Calling all carnivores
Take our word for it – holidays in Mexico are worth it for the food alone. With succulent grilled meats spiced to perfection and peppered in the restaurants' colourful decoration, there's nothing quite like dining in this corner of the world.
The streets of Mexico are paved with everything from vendors filling the air with the scent of freshly cooked tamales, to locals flattening tortillas and baking them on stovetops right before your eyes. You'll also find a healthy dose of home in the form of international eats – from takeaway options to romantic nights on outdoor terraces, Mexico is a versatile destination that'll have even the most homesick holidaymaker covered.
From high-end boutiques to traditional market stalls, Mexico shopping opportunities come in every shade on the retail spectrum. At the centre of Playa del Carmen are street performers and musicians entertaining shoppers browsing souvenir stalls for colourful ponchos and Cuban cigars - though most towns will have flea markets of their own, where you'll find handmade jewellery and handbags.
Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Playacar are where the ritzy goods await. Designer brands and high-end boutiques pave the way along some of these streets, along with Playa del Carmen's 5th Avenue.
What are the main resorts in Mexico?
Many of Mexico's resorts can be found on the Riviera Maya, a gorgeous strip of coastline on the Yucatan Peninsula. One of the most well-known is Cancun, a resort city surrounded by 25km of powdery white-sand beaches. It's a renowned destination if you're into water sports and nightlife, with options ranging from swanky cocktail bars to beachfront clubs.
Playa Del Carmen is a slightly quieter spot, although it still knows how to party come nightfall. It's a great spot for visiting some of Riviera Maya's cultural attractions, such as the ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum. If you're looking for luxury, stay at one of the opulent hotels in its exclusive suburb, Playacar. Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, Puerto Vallarta is a coastal resort with a picturesque old town, and some fantastic art galleries and restaurants. Wherever you choose, you'll get to enjoy the luxurious accommodation, Instagrammable beaches and Tequila-fuelled nights that Mexico is known for.
What month is best to go to Mexico?
The best month to go to Mexico depends on what you're looking for. The dry season – when most people visit – is between December and April. December to February is also the coolest time of the year, with temperatures averaging around 23°C, but they often shoot up to the high 20s. At this time of year, you'll enjoy perfect beach weather, but it's not too hot if you fancy some sightseeing. If you love to party, March is the best time to visit Mexico as there are lots of Spring Break parties, including the world-renowned Inception Music Festival in Cancun.
What is the cheapest time of year to go to Mexico?
Low season in Mexico lasts from the Easter holidays until mid-December, with the rainy season running from May to September. But even if it does rain, it only tends to be in short, sharp bursts in the afternoon, cooling the atmosphere down after midday temperatures that peak in the 30s. Even in the rainiest month of the year, September, you're only likely to get rain once every few days. Throughout the rainy season, prices fall from between 20%-50%. Alternatively, visit in May to enjoy the benefit of reduced prices as it's the start of the rainy season.
Which part of Mexico should I visit?
Mexico is a diverse and interesting country, with lots of fascinating places to visit. If you're looking for a beach break, then the Riviera Maya is definitely the best part of the country to base yourself in. You'll be spellbound by the long stretches of white-sand beaches, sloping down to the ocean.
The iridescent waters off the Riviera Maya are great for snorkelling and scuba diving, as the area boasts a colourful coral reef lying just offshore. Many people visit Riviera Maya for the beaches and the nightlife, but there are also some colourful colonial cities, ancient ruins and rainforest hiking trails you can visit. The Pacific state of Jalisco is also renowned for its beaches, mariachi music and Tequila. Base yourself in Puerto Vallarta and you'll experience traditional Mexican culture, from its quaint architecture to lively fiestas.
What are the safest places in Mexico?
First of all, the key thing to remember is that the holiday and tourist areas of Mexico are incredibly safe. There are lots of quiet, safe cities in the Riviera Maya, including the coastal town of Tulum, and the even more uncrowded resort of Bacalar. You may have read some warnings about crime in Mexico, leaving you wondering whether or not it's safe to travel in the country, but remember that the pockets of crime that do exist in the country – like anywhere else in the world – tend to be restricted to the big cities, and not tourist resorts.