With a Native American heritage and a distinct Spanish flavour, Mexico is vibrant, colourful and unique. Its varied terrain ranges from cactus-studded deserts to white sandy beaches and blue waters, tropical rainforest and jungle-clad hills to steep rocky canyons and narrow gorges, and from snow-capped volcano peaks to huge, bustling cities. The extraordinary history of the country is visible in the ancient Mayan temples strewn across the jungles, the ruins of Aztec civilisations, rural indigenous villages, Spanish colonial cities, silver mining towns, and traditional Mexican ports.
Since the height of the Mayan and Aztec civilisations, Mexico has suffered the destructive force of the Conquistadors, European colonial rule, civil and territorial wars, rebellions, dictatorships, recessions and earthquakes. Despite all this, Mexico’s people remain warm and friendly, much of the countryside remains unspoilt by development, and its cities boast a unique blend of architecture. Mexican Buildings display a striking combination of colonial and pagan architecture, blending together Art Nouveau, Baroque, Art Deco and Native American design in churches and public structures. The country’s culture displays a similar blend of the traditional and modern, where pagan meets Christian in a series of festivals, or fiestas, throughout the year.
Besides a combination of unique culture and fascinating cities, Mexico also boasts several hundred miles of coastline extending down through both the Pacific and the Caribbean, which has branded the country as an extremely popular beach resort destination. Beach resort cities such as Acapulco, Cancun and those of the Baja California peninsula are accepted vacation havens. The countryside enclosing these summer retreats is also rich in archaeological treasures with pyramids, ruins of ancient cities and great stone carvings of ancient gods standing as testament to a country once ruled by the Aztecs and Mayans.
Despite recent reports of drug wars and safety issues Mexico remains a hugely popular and predominantly safe tourist destination. Violence linked to the drug cartels is widespread but seldom aimed at tourists and generally does not spill over into the resort areas.