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Archaeological sites and beaches aplenty.

Think of Mexico and the first things that will usually pop into your head are Sombreros and tequila. But there’s so much more to Mexico than these. Discover its sandy beaches, cities like Cancun dripping with culture or explore the famous archaeological sites at Tulum. For those seeking adventure try diving or snorkelling or go hiking in the diverse mountains and rainforests.

Mexico’s entertainment is as vast as the country itself so read below for some suggestions on how to make the most of your trip to Mexico.

Mexico Tourist Board: The official website for the Mexican Tourist Board – a useful resource for planning your trip to Mexico.

Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Mexico from the FCO.

Things to see and do

Visit Mexico’s beautiful beaches such as those at Acapulco, known as the “The Pearl of the Pacific” with its wonderful harbour. If you’re in Baja California, head for Los Cabos, San Lucas, or San José. Isla de Mujeres is perfect if you’re in the Yucatán.

Take some time to explore the underwater world in Cancun. Snorkel along the Mayan Riviera, visit the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks, or take a trip on the Cozumel Aqua World. Manchones Reef is a popular diving spot and you will find an array of diving trips on offer here.

For experienced divers seeking something a little different, you can always go on a unique Cavern Diving experience with a guide or reef diving off the Yucatán Peninsula.

For those who like some history, head to the archaeological site of the Maya Ruins of Tulum. There are plenty more on offer though so remember to visit Monte Alban, Palenque and El Tajin too.

If you fancy becoming a Mexican cowboy, pay a visit to a ranch. Spend the day in the saddle before enjoying a relaxing evening with great food and a tequila tasting.

Speaking of tequila, why not pay a visit to Tequila in Jalisco? See the blue agave plants from which it’s made before sampling some of the best tequilas around. Look for Patron or Partida!

Ensure you sample some delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine. For a really authentic experience try a tamale from a food stall.

Learn about the Maya culture at San Cristóbal de las Casas. This community in the Chiapas highlands is the perfect place to discover more about this fascinating culture.

If you’re looking for a unique hiking experience, head to Popocatépetl or Iztaccíhuatl. These snow-capped volcanoes lie east of Mexico City and make for memorable hiking and climbing. There are a number of 16th century monasteries to see around Popocatépetl as well.

Festivals and events

Visit a carnival and enjoy bright lights, floats, food and drink, dancing, costumes and parades. There is a 3 day festival in Veracruz before Ash Wednesday and there is also a carnival called Mazatlan’s Party lasting a full week before Lent. (March)

Holy week in Mexico is celebrated during the last week of Lent in Taxaco. A fascinating festival celebrated with both night and day processions. (April)

Guelaguetza is a dance related cultural celebration in the state city of Oaxaca. Dances are performed by several community groups in the amphitheatre on the hill side overlooking the city. (July)

Day of the Dead is a Halloween related festival celebrated with marigolds, food, drink and specially crafted gifts. Prayers are said and songs are sung for the souls of the deceased. A greatly historical but appealing event. (October / November)

Festival de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. The Virgin of Guadalupe is an important Mexican cultural icon. (December)

Night of the Radishes is celebrated in Oaxaca; amazing sculptures are constructed from radish flowers. (December)

Tipping etiquette

Tipping in Mexico is very similar to tipping in the USA or Canada. Most workers are on low salaries and supplement their incomes with tips.

In restaurants it’s customary to leave a tip of 15% before the tax (IVA or Impuesto al Valor Agregado) is added. IVA is 16% of the cost so you can always use this to calculate your tip.

Some restaurants will add a tip to your bill automatically. You’ll see “propina” on your bill if this is the case. It is not necessary to tip again.

If staying in a hotel, it’s customary to tip housekeepers based on the occupancy of your room. This is normally around 25-50 pesos per person, per housekeeping visit.

Time difference

GMT - 6