Mexico is an immensely popular tourist destination, teeming with archeological treasures, cultural heritage, lush jungles, and relaxed beach life. But, easy-to-get-to attractions, high-rise hotels in, and the spring breaker invasion are just the fraction of what is possible to experience in it. I would say it is worth wandering off the beaten track a bit in order to get a taste of some well-kept secrets. You have a chance to find your own piece of paradise unspoiled by crowds and feel completely removed from the rest of the world.
The only thing is you may need to hurry up.
This captivating scenic valley is located just an hour and a half from Tijuana, in Baja California. It is famous for its rural appeal, rich viniculture, and beverages that are popular outside Mexico. Apart from wineries, you can pay a visit to amazing restaurants (al fresco Finca Altozano is a prime example) to try out the local cuisine. It is also not too hard to find a luxury hotel if that is your style. I would say that wine enthusiasts and road trippers cannot afford to miss this one.
Paracho de Verduzco
Paracho is a real Mecca for guitar lovers across the globe. Namely, the lovely town has over 2,000 luthiers that craft some of the best guitars money can buy. There are many workshops where one can witness firsthand the process of bringing these pieces of art to life. Also, streets are dotted with shops selling handmade guitars and other string instruments. Every August, a music festival that attracts world-class musicians takes place. This is obviously a perfect time to go to Paracho.
Isla de Mujeres
Cancun is a well-known destination with vibrant nightlife, lavish resorts, and crowded beaches. However, just 15 kilometers off its coast lies Isla de Mujeres, the small Pearl of the Caribbean Sea. Despite proximity to Cancun, a former finishing village feels like a different world entirely. It has not only pristine beaches, but snorkeling and scuba diving on mesmerizing coral reefs. There are multiple convenient transportation options from Cancun airport to Puerto Juarez you can check out.
Lagunas de Montebello National Park
Near the border with Guatemala, a true wonder of nature waits to be explored. Lagunas is a vast, UNESCO-protected pine forest with abundant wildlife and 59 lakes, some of which have peculiar colors due to mineral deposits. To experience the National park like a local, take a lake tour on a wooden raft or canoe. Lake Tziscao is the largest lake of all and it is obfuscated in spellbinding mist between June and September. On top of all that, one can visit the Mayan ruins of Chincultic.
The adorable colonial town oozes authentic culture and sports attractions such as cathedrals and museums. There are also free events on town square you would be wise to take part in— one of the most interesting is “pok ta pok”, which stands for Mayan soccer. It is quite surprising that Merida remains undiscovered by tourists. Spas and hotels are opening fast, though, and it would not surprise me to see Starbucks popping up. So, you might want to hit the road soon.
San Luis Potosi
Getting to this destination may be a bit challenging, but it is worth every drop of sweat or gas. Namely, after a two-hour drive from San Miguel Del Allende, you arrive at a truly mysterious region. The highlight is probably Real de Catorce, an eerie ghost town with crumbling old buildings and cobblestone roads that form a maze. If that does not sound like your cup of tea (or tequila!), take on other outdoor escapades: whitewater rafting, visiting the largest cave shaft in the world, and marveling the waterfalls.
For a truly otherworldly experience, head to Edward James’ Garden of Eden, Las Pozas. Stretching 80 acres, this surreal park is full of concrete sculptures, weird constructions, pools, and other surprises. To me, the trippy environment almost feels like something that was built by a long-lost civilization of fey creatures and magical elves. Note that it is quite remote, literally in the middle of nowhere. Therefore, if you choose to go there, you need to prepare for an all-day trip to the wonderland.