The sublime shoreline cities of Cancun and Playacar, as well as the brilliance, bustle and enormity of Mexico City itself make Mexico the perfect holiday destination. When you take your Mexican trip of a lifetime, make sure you leave your budget worries behind and take advantage of some of our favourite free ways to have fun.
Visit Mayan ruins steeped in history
Not a lot of people realise that Mexico is named for the Mejica people who once inhabited the lands formerly known as New Spain. Aztec and Mayan ruins are dotted across the country and have been upheld as cultural icons. Head to Riviera Maya to see the Mayan ruins for yourself. The Ruins of Tulum are also a great place to start, with their intricate carvings and imposing stonework, but it’s also worth checking out somewhere like Coba, the ancient Mayan pyramid near Playa del Carmen.
Eat up the culture of Mexico City
The capital of Mexico is a proud and immense urban sprawl that’s got architectural marvels and ancient lore around every turn. Your first stop should be the colonial Centro Historico, including the central square of Zocalo. This part of town is famous for the immense Mexican flag that flies high above the people, far bigger than any flag you’ve seen anywhere else. Aztec monuments and ruins are free to explore here too, including the Templo Mayor and the nearby rubble preserved at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas.
Take a stroll around Chapultepec Zoo
The zoo in Mexico City is completely free to enter and stroll around, hosting everything from giraffes and lions to aquatic life and reptiles. It’s also a good way to brush up on your South American fauna skills, because around half of the 250 species on display here are completely native to Mexico. That includes the cute yet funny-looking axolotl, a Mexican critter similar to a salamander that’s famous for its squiggly bristles around its face.
Swim with turtles
Not enough animal action for you in Mexico City’s finest zoo? Head back to the sunny shores of the Playa del Carmen region, and you’ll find that Mexico’s relationship with the natural world is blossoming. Big friendly sea turtles are naturally found in the sea surrounding the sunkissed resorts we all love, including loggerhead and hawksbill turtles. The best part? It’s completely free to swim around with them under the waves.
Play with puppies
If fluffy friends are more your thing, Playa Animal Rescue is a centre dedicated to taking care of dogs in need of a good home. They regularly walk, wash and play with the pooches around town, and the best part is that you can get involved. Volunteer some time and you’ll have the chance to make more fluffy friends than you knew you’d ever meet, all of whom will feel happy and thankful you’ve spent time with them in the sunshine.
Mexico’s a destination that rewards the savvy traveller, and we’re only scratching the surface of what you can do without handing over a single note. Have you any fond memories to share about this stunning locale, or your own thrifty triumphs overseas? Share them in the comments below.
All that’s left to do now is book your sun-filled holiday to Mexico!